AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 11: The Rumored CapuMon’s New Arrival (Placeholder + Notes on Chapter 24)

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Plot: Miho is gifted a gacha machine from a college student named Warashibe, who has a crush on her. The machine is filled with Capsule Monsters – toys used to play the latest gaming craze of the same name. Warashibe is friends with Yugi since they play Capsule Monsters together, and he helped Warashibe set all of this up.

Miho is flattered, so she sends him a nice letter and a Capsule Monster, stating that she’s starting to get into the game too.

Problem is, Warashibe is a massive creeper. Even Yugi, one of the friendliest souls in the world, is put off by his overly dramatic and obsessive behavior both in regards to Capsule Monsters and Miho. He has a ‘secret base’ that is actually an old warehouse loaded with every Capsule Monster you could ever dream of, and he spends a lot of his time playing with them in the dark. He had a chance encounter with Miho a short while before and was so enamored with her that he dubbed her his Capsule Monster Goddess.

In another effort to win Miho over, Warashibe traps Yugi into helping him with a ploy. Yugi pretends to be an attacker threatening Miho and Warashibe fights him off. However, the plan fails. Miho freaks out at Warashibe’s advances and even yells that she knows really nothing about Capsule Monsters, much to Warashibe’s dismay.

The next day at school, Jonouchi, Anzu and Honda mock Warashibe for what he did. However, they don’t realize that he’s in the cafeteria with them in disguise listening to their every word. Seeing them as a threat to his and Miho’s relationship, Warashibe poisons Anzu, Jonouchi and Honda with glasses of raw water, giving them stomachaches.

A note in her locker leads Miho to the revelation that Warashibe was behind this. Pissed off, she grabs Yugi and they head to Warashibe’s secret base to chew him out. However, he posits a challenge – Miho will face him in one game of Capsule Monsters. If she wins, he’ll leave her alone forever. If she loses, she has to give herself over to him.

She accepts, and they start the game. Using a gacha machine, they select their Capsule Monsters. However, Miho’s picks are horrible. She has three level ones, the lowest level, one level two and a level four. Warashibe has two level fours and three level fives, the highest level you can use.

Miho doesn’t even get two turns into the game before she becomes frustrated at the one-sidedness and Warashibe’s attitude. Yugi accidentally knocks the gacha machine over and reveals a hidden mechanism designed to give Warashibe the best Capsule Monsters.

They try to run out of the building, but Warashibe uses a trap gate over the door to stop them. He also unveils a giant capsule in which he plans to keep Miho forever. The beam which is holding the gate crumbles, however, and knocks Miho out. Yami emerges from the smoke holding Miho’s unconscious body and challenges Warashibe to a game himself.

Yami decides to use the Capsule Monsters that Miho used in their game instead of picking a better batch, and they’ll simply pick up where Miho left off, not clear the board and start a new game. He has also declared that this game will be a Shadow Game.

Warashibe accepts and the battle starts. Warashibe easily starts picking off all of Yami’s creatures one by one, and he’s quickly left with only one on the board. However, Yami points out that he was luring him into a trap. He has lined up all of his monsters into a diagonal line in front of Yami’s last creature, who, despite being a lowly level two, just so happens to have the ability to insta-kill any monster, even level fives, as long as they’re diagonal to it.

Yami activates the ability, destroying all of Warashibe’s monsters and winning the game. Yami reminds Warashibe that Capsule Monsters aren’t about collecting – they’re about battle and using even seeming disadvantageous creatures to their full potential to win.

Warashibe has a hissy fit about the loss, but Yami delivers his punishment game – locking Warashibe in a giant level one Capsule Monster capsule.

Back with a now recovered Anzu, Jonouchi and Honda, the group talks about what happened. Miho runs up yelling about the new Capsule Monster she got, but trips and falls, dropping a slue of Capsule Monsters everywhere.

Breakdown: Oh my god. Fuck this episode with a spork made of porcupine needles.

This episode is a perfect storm of annoyingness and bad writing decisions.

Miho being given the focus is already bad enough, but Warashibe is one of the creepiest yet lamest piece of shit antagonists I’ve ever seen. The guy tries to act all menacing while he sucks on a striped lollipop 24/7, sits at gacha machines for hours basically emptying them out to get the best Capsule Monsters, sits in the dark in his little den of Capsule Monsters just playing by himself somehow and when he doesn’t get what he wants he collapses on the ground crying and has a tantrum.

Funnily enough, the subber pointed out during his last tantrum that his name translates to ‘Child.’

He also has a super-villain-esque trap set up in this warehouse and has that ridiculous life-sized Capsule Monster capsule that he plans on storing Miho in? What the actual hell?

Not to mention that he likes to pepper in English words into his speech, and they’re always just pet names for Miho like ‘Baby’ ‘Sweetheart’ and ‘My darling.’ Plus, his creepy little smiley expression can go die in a hole.

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While I do commend Miho for stepping up during this episode, she’s also a complete dumbass for the entire run. Creepy college student she barely knows gifting her a gacha Capsule Monsters machine loaded with Capsule Monsters? Better write him what was basically a love letter and include a little gift for him so he’s lead on even more. Have physical evidence that would link him to the poisoning of your three friends? Better not call the cops and instead confront him yourself with your only defense being a four foot tall spiky haired game enthusiast who is so innocent his mind is literally a child’s playroom. Guy who is obsessed with Capsule Monsters, has a warehouse full of rare Capsule Monsters (that Miho’s currently in) and spends his days playing Capsule Monsters whenever he can? Meanwhile you admit that you know little to nothing of the game and have only started practicing by yourself a day ago? Better accept his challenge where the stakes involve you handing yourself over to him if you lose.

I thought they would pull a 180 on me. I thought they’d have Miho take Yami’s place in this Shadow Game and actually manage to impress everyone with how skilled she is, secretly being a Capsule Monsters nut or something. It would’ve been a good twist, a great (and much needed) moment for Miho and it would have added something to her character.

But nope.

She makes stupid moves, basically quits after two turns and then is knocked out and Yami has to swoop in and save her ass. Then she becomes obsessed with Capsule Monsters for a quick end tag joke, but I guarantee this will never be brought up again. She ends the episode with no development or anything – she’s just ditz-ass Miho as usual.

What’s even worse is they kinda imply that Yami was just employing a strategy that Miho started – a brilliant but also completely luck based strategy that instantly won the game. I can’t believe for a minute that that would be the case. Even little Yugi pointed out that she was making bad moves, and it was never implied that she might have been up to something. Plus, if she really did have this brilliant strategy in mind, why did she quit after two moves? Even in her inner monologue, she admits that she has no idea what she’s doing.

I’m want to believe this is poor wording and that Yami was really taking advantage of a situation and monster that Miho didn’t realize she had….but I can’t.

The reason for this being the only actual AniManga Clash note I have for this episode. I mentioned in the review of chapter 24 that the Shadow Game part of that chapter was the only part adapted in Season Zero. And, yeah, it is. Just replace Warashibe with Mokuba, replace a weird love obsession motive with one of vengeance and remove Miho entirely and it’s the same game. He even cheated the same way and got the same punishment.

Remember how I mentioned that, in that chapter, they foreshadowed Yami’s strategy by having his bird monster off on its own while the other monsters were bunched up together? He was clearly planning that BS move from the very beginning….

Well…..Miho’s side of the field is set up the exact same way…..

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So even though she herself admits that she has no clue what the hell she’s doing, she still managed to think up and create this miracle winning opening formation and perfectly set up the BS win. Yami basically just noticed what she was planning and went through the motions, I guess. Miho’s an unwitting Capsule Monster prodigy.

OR, and here’s the more likely theory, the artists mirrored this game without it clicking in their minds that this opening formation was the perfect setup for Yami’s BS plan and didn’t realize what it would be implying to anyone paying attention.

This is another reason why it would have made more sense for Miho to take Yami’s place here. Have her hustle Warashibe and even trick Yugi. Act like the simple annoying moron she always is, but slowly reveal that she’s secretly a badass Capsule Monster player who has been playing in private for a long time. She just doesn’t tell anyone because it’s viewed as a game for younger children and she doesn’t want to get made fun of. She can even claim she told Warashibe that she didn’t know anything about Capsule Monsters because she thought he was creepy and wanted him to go away.

Then her opening formation would make perfect sense, and she’d be winning her own freedom instead of Yami doing it for her.

But again, nope. Just have her be a complete idiot who accepted a challenge that clearly wasn’t in her favor, even in spite of the rigged capsule selection.

And how, after all of that, is she suddenly obsessed with Capsule Monsters? I’d think if a guy stalked me, poisoned my friends, nearly kept me as a human Capsule Monster for his own sick enjoyment, and gambled my life on a rigged Capsule Monster game, the last game I’d ever want to play would be Capsule Monsters. But, nope nope nope. Miho does things just cuz.

Is this the last Miho-centric episode? Please say it is. They never do anything worthwhile with her and she’s like sandpaper on all of my senses, so why bother?

Go away, Miho.

Next time, Jonouchi tries to win big on a local game show, but certain people aren’t willing to let him get the prize money so easily.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 10: The Approaching Beautiful Teacher’s Secret Mask/Manga Chapter 7

(Normally I would custom-make a header image, but this chapter title card was way too cool.)

This is our first instance of a plot revolving around Honda in the anime (and…pretty much ever, manga-wise) and the only instance of Miho existing in the manga. Why she was specifically chosen to be main girl character #2 in the anime is beyond me, but just be thankful she’s not in the 2000 anime.

I suppose it might have simply been because she is really the only other female student that is ever given even a modicum of focus in the manga, which is pathetic to say the least. Usually, the main girl in a group of mostly guys in an anime will have one or two girls who are barely-there side friends just to prove that the girl doesn’t only hang out with guys or something. But nope. Manga!Anzu’s in a sausage fest.

Jonouchi brings Honda to Yugi to help him with a problem – Honda is love sick for a girl named Miho, whom he’s nicknamed Ribbon-chan because she wears a ribbon (the amount of cleverness is high.) He needs advice on a gift to get her attention. Honda doesn’t want Yugi’s help at first and is quite rude and threatening to him about it, even strangling him a few times. However, Yugi, being a precious cupcake, decides to help him anyway. And, again, being Yugi, they go to his grandpa’s game shop to find a present.

Sugoroku hears his plight and grabs a blank puzzle, citing it as the gift he used to woo Yugi’s grandma. It’s weird, I never once thought about Sugoroku’s wife before. I wonder why they never bother talking about her….then again this show really doesn’t like explaining where anyone’s parents are or who they are, so it’s probably asking too much to think they’d include information on grandparents. Though, oddly, the one person on Yugi’s family tree that we do get the most info on is Sugoroku.

Anyhoo, the blank puzzle is used for messages. You write a love note on the puzzle and break it into pieces. Your loved one will complete the puzzle, see the message and, if all goes well, return your feelings. It’s a bit convoluted, especially if the person doesn’t want to do the puzzle or doesn’t return the confessor’s feelings, but it is fairly romantic.

Honda gets Yugi to write the note for him, which takes him all night, and they put the puzzle in Miho’s desk.

You might be wondering why I haven’t so much as mentioned episode ten yet. That’s because the adaptation of this episode had to be drastically changed since Honda and Miho’s dynamic is so different in the anime, and she’s an actual main character there. They could have had an episode like this where Honda decides to confess his love for Miho through a puzzle. It’s not that difficult to change up a few things and make that plotline work.

Maybe if he was actually shot down he’d stop being such a pathetic doofus around her. But why bother trying to think about how you could adapt the story properly and maybe even develop Honda’s character a little when you can pretty much just cheat in a manner we’ll talk about shortly.

The next scene in the manga is basically adapted just fine, though. Chouno-sensei is an incredibly beautiful teacher at their school, fawned over by many of the boys, but she’s also an incredibly strict devil woman. In the anime, she merely takes some girl’s charm off of her bag since it was against the rules, but in the manga she’s known as The Expelling Witch, having expelled 15 students in six months. She’s also very egotistical and wears gobs of makeup. In the anime, she’s so strict that she is trying to coerce (Read: seduce) the vice-principal into banning all personal items from school and increasing penalties for rule breakers.

Can I take the time to point out that the show is trying to torment my eyes again? What the hell is Chouno wearing? For someone who supposedly puts so much time and effort into their appearance, she chose a butt-ugly skirt suit.

The main plot starts here in the anime, and it’s pretty much the same plot as the Honda/Miho plot from the manga with the main difference being that the one with the crush is a completely new girl named Mayumi, who has hair that matches Chouno’s gross green skirt suit, yay. She likes Jonouchi and wants to confess to him. Anzu and Miho recruit Yugi to help her confess to Jonouchi, and he suggests going to the game shop where they get the same type of message puzzle.

There is a small running gag in the anime where, whenever someone asks what Jonouchi would like for a gift, they respond by saying he likes lewd videos. I thought that was pretty funny.

Believe it or not, even though they didn’t really have to change this plot so much, the anime’s arrangement makes more sense. At least it’s canon that Jonouchi likes games. Who’s to say Miho would like the puzzle or even try to complete it? This would make the most sense if Yugi was the recipient, but no one his age ever seems to have an actual crush on him – and that includes Anzu….

In the anime, Mayumi is the one who writes on the puzzle, not Yugi. I guess this makes more sense because she barely knows Yugi.

In the manga, we only hear about Chouno’s marriage interview when she’s discussing it with the vice principal. She says he didn’t deserve her and walks away.

In the anime, we actually see her marriage interview, and she mostly seems to use it to fish for compliments on her appearance. A little boy is playing around the area where they’re having their interview and accidentally runs into her. Chouno knocks the boy down and chastises him for dirtying her kimono, calling him a brat. He runs off crying, and Chouno laments on how terribly kids are brought up these days. Then her date dumps her after the spectacle – understandably so.

The thing about this change is that it’s not just adding the marriage interview, it’s also changing her character a tiny bit. In the manga, she’s a pure cold-hearted bitch who is toying with men and punishing them for no reason.

In the anime, while she’s still just a bitch, they inadvertently make her a little sympathetic. Fishing for compliments makes her seem like she has severe self-esteem issues, and having her be the one who got dumped leaves the door open for sympathy.

The conversation later when the vice principal asks her how her date went is kept the same as the one at the start of the manga chapter, but it’s made different because they showed the interview. Likewise, the following scene where she smashes the bathroom mirror and goes off about how she was planning on dumping the guy anyway and that she only uses marriage interviews to toy with men is also kept the same, but they add in a slight bit of her being extra insulted because the guy dumped her.

In the manga, for all we know, she did just toy with the guy and dumped his ass like old mop water so she could relish in his humiliation. But in the anime we know she was dumped, and nothing in inner monologue suggested she was going to dump him, though she was obviously just using him for an ego boost. Now it just seems like she’s embarrassed and she’s trying to make excuses to save face….hehe, save face…That joke will sense a bit later.

Bear in mind that I’m not saying anything the anime is adding is making her someone to root for or feel sorry for, especially when you consider the later events, but they did add a slight bit more depth to her character by making subtle changes. It’s not big change or anything, but it’s better than just making her fully two-dimensional.

In the manga, Chouno, being pissed off, decides to calm herself by springing a surprise inspection on the class. She wants them to empty their bags and their desks and will be thoroughly punished if she finds anything out of line. Funnily enough, when she’s listing off items that are against the rules, she mentions condoms – and they’re the most prominently displayed word in the text. I never thought I’d ever see the word ‘condoms’ in anything Yu-Gi-Oh related, but here I am.

To make this even funnier, she thinks this with such a creepy look on her face, and she’s yelling it.

Miho brings out the present and Chouno takes it away, shocking everyone and embarrassing Miho.

In the anime, Chouno just tells them to get out their textbooks. Jonouchi finds the present on accident while trying to get his book.

In both versions, Chouno rips the wrapping paper off of the gift and starts slowly trying to humiliate Miho/Jonouchi by putting the puzzle together and revealing the message.

In the manga, Yugi and Jonouchi stand up and try to claim the puzzle as their own to prevent Honda from being embarrassed or getting punished. Touched by their gesture, Honda decides to take the rap anyway and admits that it was his message and puzzle. Chouno can’t know for certain which boy is actually telling the truth, so she decides to complete the puzzle to see who signed it. She’s very close to revealing the name when Yami emerges and turns the puzzle into a Shadow Game.

In the anime, Anzu decides to take the heat for it, believing she can merely tell Jonouchi it was a prank. She’s told to go to the advisor’s office later, where she debates with Chouno on the ethical nature of the strict rules that she loves to enforce, particularly those of ‘distractions’ like a harmless puzzle or a part-time job. She tells Chouno that she believes many other students are on her side about this issue, so Chouno tells her to prove it by gathering the signatures of other students.

As Anzu prepares to do that exact thing, Chouno lies to the other teachers acting as if Anzu is a threatening troublemaker who is looking to appeal all the rules in the school.

Anzu starts putting up posters and gathering signatures. She admits that doing this is both for the sake of the students’ happiness and for allowing her to work her part-time jobs without worrying about getting caught.

Apparently, Chouno was able to convince the other teachers of Anzu’s misdeeds, especially with her posters up everywhere, so they start harassing her. Her posters get vandalized, and she starts getting unfairly targeted by her teachers in class. Despite this, Anzu keeps trying her best, though apparently she has zero signatures? I thought Jonouchi was going to sign it, and wouldn’t Miho, Yugi and Mayumi sign it immediately? Maybe Honda wouldn’t because he’s all about school rules, even if he doesn’t support Chouno’s behavior, but he’s pretty loyal to his friends. Surely he’d do it if Miho asked him, anyway.

Miho explains that there’s a rumor going around school that anyone who has signed has been targeted by Chouno and her fellow teacher cronies, which either isn’t true because she has no signatures or isn’t true because it hasn’t happened, as Anzu attests.

Anyway, pre-soft-reboot Yu-Gi-Oh being what it is, of course Anzu and Yugi get bullied. Three assholes mock her and take her sign-up sheets. They push Yugi to the ground and tear up her papers. Jonouchi comes over to confront the guys, one of them ironically calling him a rule-breaker. Jonouchi, unable to stomach this abuse to his friends, tackles the guy to the ground and punches him to face.

Obviously, this a big no-no, so Chouno brings them all to the advisor office for punishment. Anzu tries to take the full blame again, and Chouno threatens her with expulsion. She releases them all, explaining that the staff will decide Anzu’s fate tomorrow. She brings the three assholes into the room for their ‘punishment’ next.

They all leave, barring Yugi, who listens in at the door. Not surprisingly, Chouno was the one pulling the strings behind the three assholes. In exchange for expunging their records, they were told to harass Anzu and Yugi and get them to break the rules.

Shocked at this revelation, Yugi triggers Yami’s emergence.

Shadow Game

So, here’s the deal. In the manga, the Shadow Game really isn’t a Shadow Game so much as Yami utilizing the power of the Puzzle to warp Chouno’s face into a crumbling jigsaw puzzle (Though, oddly, we never get to see her ‘ugly’ face) and never allowing her to complete the puzzle to find out the confessor’s name. Chouno runs off in terror and uh….that’s it. The end. Of the Shadow Game anyway. Chouno is never seen again, either.

In the anime, Yami confronts Chouno in the hall and offers to play a game. If he wins, Anzu and her friends don’t get any punishment. If he loses, he’ll keep quiet about her using the students to further her own twisted plans, and he’ll willing be her pawn. She accepts.

Yami throws two mirrors up into the air. Each falls on their respective sides of the table and shatter into pieces, which was a really sick move. Yami always knows how to do these games in style. Whomever puts the mirror back together first wins. However, there’s a catch. They each have to be wearing blindfolds.

Chouno accepts, and the game starts. Before they actually get into it, however, Yami offers Chouno a pair of gloves to keep her from getting cut.

They start putting the mirror back together, but of course Chouno just takes the blindfold off because she knows Yami won’t see her. As they work, Yami reveals that this is actually a Shadow Game – if she cheats, there will be dire consequences. Chouno doesn’t think anything of it, but keeps up her blindness act as they continue to work. He’s halfway done, but she only has one more piece. She completes the puzzle, but Yami knows she has cheated.

He calls her out on her misdeeds and starts her penalty game. Her face turns into a crumbling puzzle, and beneath the pieces lies an old ugly sagging face. Chouno runs off in horror, but that’s, surprisingly, not the full end for her. Later, we see that she’s still preoccupied with her looks and vehemently supports stern rule enforcement, but now, whenever she goes too far with it, she hallucinates her face start cracking away and excuses herself. Apparently, she’s even caking on more makeup than usual because she’s trying to cover the cracks and it won’t stick.

Meanwhile, at the end of the manga, Honda formally confesses to Miho and gets shot down. However, Yugi points out that his friendship with Jonouchi and Honda has grown as a result of their ordeal.

At the end of the anime, Chouno’s plans seemingly fall apart, but it’s very unclear if Anzu got her wish to lighten up the rule on part-time jobs. Jonouchi asks Anzu what was up with the puzzle message, and like she claimed she’d do earlier, she just says it was a prank and he brushes it off. Miho tells Anzu it’s all okay because, get this, during this whole fiasco, Mayumi fell for an upperclassman and confessed to HIM, so they’re dating now.

……Mayumi, you were barely a character…but FUCK OFF. Anzu, Yugi and Jonouchi went through all of this bullshit because of you, and not only do you not help Anzu with her goal, but in the two days this was all going down you just decide you don’t like Jonouchi anymore, fall for someone else, confess to them and start dating them? What a bitch. The only reason they wrote this in is because they didn’t want this character to return and they were too lazy to write a proper resolution to that plotline.

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The anime definitely has the edge over the manga in pretty much every respect this time. In both scenarios, there’s a one-off character I couldn’t care less about (Though Mayumi is more of a bitch than Manga!Miho. At least she let Honda down gently), but the story is much more fleshed out in the anime version.

By the end, even though they added a layer or two to Chouno’s character, she was still extremely hateable. That guy who dumped her might as well be named Neo because he dodged a bullet.

I like how they showed that, even though she technically escaped the Shadow Game illusion, she’s still trapped seemingly forever, and it’s forcing her to keep changing her ways. It makes me think that this might be the case for everyone else, though considering Manga!Kaiba and Mokuba, probably not.

Having Anzu take the stage with this story was also a lot better than focusing on Honda. She’s a more interesting character, she already has a bone to pick with Chouno in regards to the rules being a hindrance on her, and I felt really bad for her when she was being harassed.

They obviously greatly improved on the manga’s shadow game, which wasn’t even really a game. And, like I mentioned, despite the punishment being the same between versions, we never see the ‘ugly’ face everyone, including Chouno, hallucinated at the end. Considering how scary this art can be when it’s just trying to be normal, they could have had a field day trying to make a purposefully ugly face, but they couldn’t be bothered.

The game itself was really cool. Yami even broke the mirrors in a cool way and put on his uniform in that badass manner where he uses his jacket as basically a cape. The broken mirrors also had symbolism in reflecting her ugly insides and being a sendup to her breaking the mirror earlier.

It’s subtle, but there are some cute little hints of Yugi’s crush on Anzu peppered throughout the episode. This was a good way to keep the theme of romance throughout, even if it was just slightly. However, it does bother me a little because, even in the soft-rebooted series, Anzu is definitely more romantically attracted to Yami than Yugi, if she even has an iota of feelings for Yugi at all. It’s just sad. The only reason they’d ever get together is if she waited about ten years when Yugi magically becomes a carbon copy of Yami, as far as we were able to tell from that one shot in GX anyway.

That’d be an uncomfortable situation. Imagine them in bed and her being like ‘Can I call you Yami or Atem?’

Overall, a decent story on the manga side and a pretty good episode on the anime side.

Winner: Anime

Next time, Miho and Yugi enter the world of Capsule Monsters.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 9: Explosion! Yo-Yo Ultimate Technique/Manga Chapters 48-49 (Notes on 11-12)

Plot: Jonouchi is showing off his awesome yoyo skills, but he’s halted when a boy named Nezumi rains on his parade. He hates yoyos because a group of thugs with yoyos attacked him the previous day. Jonouchi and Yugi declare that they’ll help him get revenge on the yoyo-ing thugs, but quickly find out that it’s a trap laid by Jonouchi’s old comrade turned enemy, Hirutani.

He wants Jonouchi back on his side, and he’s willing to do anything to achieve his goals, including trying to kill Yugi.

Breakdown: In typical fashion, anything involving Miho is 100% anime exclusive. This week, she expresses interest in the yoyo, but Honda tells her not to do it because he’s afraid she’ll…get hurt and die?

However, Honda is actually in the first scene where Jonouchi is messing around with his yoyo. Like always, manga-wise, though, he’s just kinda there. In the anime, he catches Jonouchi’s yoyo to make him stop. In the manga, Nezumi made him stop by yelling at him and explaining his story.

Nezumi doesn’t seem to exist in Season Zero, unless he’s that guy who gets attacked in the cold open, but he doesn’t look a thing like he does in the manga if it is meant to be him.

Let me get this out of the way, yes, the concept of this story is super goofy even for Yu-Gi-Oh. The concept of a yoyo gang is about as silly as the bicycle gang in Pokemon, but at least they were plausible, especially since they were on a stretch of road that was meant only for bikes. A gang that mainly uses yoyos as a weapon? I mean, yeah they’d hurt if they hit you, but they’re certainly not the most efficient weapons in existence – most notably because, once they hit their target they usually stop spinning, meaning you have to manually yank them back and manually wind the string back up to throw it again.

Can someone please explain to me why they live in a world where elementary school students are whipping out switchblades and uzis but one of the most feared near adult age gangs in town wields a bunch of yoyos?

Since Nezumi doesn’t exist in this version, the reason Jonouchi wants to go out to challenge the yoyo gang is because they’ve just been harassing people in general and he wants to put a stop to it. I kinda don’t mind this change because Nezumi gets away at the end of this arc in the manga and ultimately vanishes entirely. It’s clear that he was a willing participant in this, not threatened or blackmailed into luring them down there, so it’s a little disappointing that he never got comeuppance.

A very short scene of Yugi at home worrying about Jonouchi is not present in the manga.

From this point until the commercial break, pretty much everything is adapted from chapters 11-12, which I covered in the review of that arc. If you haven’t already, please go read that review. Not a ton is changed between versions, but it’s still a good idea to read that and check back here afterward.

This is still technically in regards to chapters 11-12, but Honda interrogates one of the Rintama gang members outside of the bar before going in. That’s not present in the anime. Additionally, when Yugi and the gang entered the bar, they found the gang member that hit Yugi on the ground, but Jonouchi is nowhere to be found. Fearing the worst, they all split up, but Yugi finds Jonouchi by asking the Puzzle to help him.

In the anime, they ask the bartender what’s up. He tells them that, if the gang is not at the bar, they’re likely either in a fight on the streets or in the warehouses, since that seems to be their base. The bartender notices that they’re Domino High students and tells them to avoid the Rintama gang because they recently coerced a Domino High student into joining them.

Yugi proclaims, out loud, that the bartender must be talking about Jonouchi and that he really was forced into joining back up with the gang.

Then possibly one of the stupidest things they ever could have done happens. Honda lies to the girls…again…and says Jonouchi is probably just hanging out with old friends. Miho happily agrees and says he’ll probably be back in school tomorrow. Anzu also agrees and says he’ll be back to swing around his silly yoyo like he was before. Then they leave.

……Are Anzu and Miho braindead? Are they deaf? They’ve been right next to Honda and Yugi during this whole conversation. They just heard the bartender say that the gang coerced a Domino High student to join them and Yugi proclaiming Jonouchi was forced into being a gang member….but Honda brushes it off like he’s just hanging around with old buddies and Miho and Anzu are like ‘Oh phew, that’s a relief. Let’s go home!’

Even if they, for reason, ate up this excuse without question, are they also forgetting that they saw Jonouchi being entirely complacent with the gang beating up some poor guy, the fact that Jonouchi said he didn’t know Yugi and the others and that he both said and did nothing when one of the gang punched Yugi in the face? You’re either ignoring or forgetting ALL of that and are just expecting him to be at school tomorrow like nothing happened? What the hell is wrong with you two?

The only reason I can see for them doing this is that they wanted the girls out of the picture so they could head to the warehouses and get Jonouchi back, but it was entirely unnecessary. What was wrong with the manga version where they split up to find Jonouchi and Yugi manages to find them with the Puzzle? If you need Honda to be there in the anime, just have them split up in teams of two and tell them to not engage with Hirutani and the gang without getting the others first, as they did in the manga.

This scene just serves to make Anzu and Miho look like oblivious idiots and all for the purpose of ‘gurlz kant b envolvd n sumthing soooo danguriss!!’ Even though they have been involved in a multitude of dangerous things, so this just seems pointless even in canon.

When Honda and Yugi arrive at the warehouse, they try to convince Jonouchi to come with them, explaining that they know he was forced to join the gang, but Jonouchi stands firm against their claim and says he’s with them by choice and is sick of his life adhering to rules and pretending to be their friend.

Honda presents the band to Jonouchi, pleading with him to remember their friendship. Jonouchi drops the band on the floor, steps on it and punches Honda in the stomach.

The next day, Honda and Yugi head to Rintama High. Honda challenges Hirutani to a fight – if he wins, Jonouchi goes free. Hirutani agrees and whips out his yoyo….his yoyo with retractable spikes…. Ya know, between this episode’s gimmick and the last episode with the fully realistic adult woman marionette being controlled by a dude behind a curtain with two pieces of wood, I’m really just finding my footing in the marvelous insanity of this series. I’m not kidding, it’s a hilariously fun ride when it’s not being miserable.

By the way, Hirutani doesn’t even have his own yoyo in the manga.

Honda gets felled rather quickly, and when Hirutani throws his yoyo for a final blow, Yugi steps in the way. His Puzzle deflects the yoyo back at Hirutani, cutting his face.

Hirutani is not happy about this, so he ties up Yugi in the warehouse and has his goons relentlessly wail on Yugi. In the manga, both Jonouchi and Yugi (With Nezumi) had entered the warehouse and when Yugi got jumped they literally hung him by his Puzzle. Jonouchi had to concede to Hirutani or else Yugi would die.

Jonouchi enters the warehouse and tells Yugi once more that he shouldn’t keep pursuing him. With a flick of his yoyo (….That sounded dirty) he seemingly tries to attack Yugi, but ends up hitting one of the guys who was beating him up instead. Jonouchi challenges Hirutani for going back on their deal. He said if Jonouchi joined their gang, he’d leave his friends alone, but now that he’s broken that promise, Jonouchi wants to take Hirutani down.

The other gang members surround Jonouchi with their yoyos, which is also what happens in the manga. I assume all of their yoyos are metal and not plastic, so they’d definitely hurt being hit by them, but in each version Hirutani’s acting like it’d be absolute torture to walk through the hail of yoyos. Yeah, it’d hurt, but again, once they’d hit their target, they’d fall. And, really, how insulting would that be to their friendship? “Yeah, I love ya, Yug, but I ain’t getting smacked with a few yoyos to save yer life. Deuces!”

Admittedly, it is extremely sweet when, in both versions, Jonouchi braves the yoyo storm and tries to protect Yugi, but you really have to focus on the fact that he’s being nearly beaten to death and ignoring the fact that the weapon of choice is a bunch of yoyos. The manga is more dramatic and sweet, in my opinion, though.

In the manga, Jonouchi saves Yugi by giving him a boost and allowing the Puzzle’s rope to gain enough slack to be removed from the hook. Jonouchi then asks to borrow the Puzzle and spins it in front of the yoyos, getting the strings tangled up with the Puzzle and stopping their assault. He then takes their yoyo strings and hooks them up to the hanging hook, lifting them up in the air by their fingers, which is insanely dangerous, but also quite easy to get out of.

In the anime, Hirutani tries to shoot his spiked yoyo at Jonouchi, which gives Jonouchi the opening he needs to throw his own yoyo, deflecting Hirutani’s yoyo and….somehow…Jonouchi’s yoyo slices the rope and frees Yugi.

Sooo….is Jonouchi’s yoyo super sharp or is this just stupid?

Once Yugi is freed, Jonouchi is knocked down by a swift strike to the back of his head via one of the bigger gang members. This finally prompts Yugi to transform into Yami. Jesus, Yami, what took you so long? It took him the same amount of time to transform in the manga, but still, why did it take so long?

In both the anime and the manga, the other gang members chase after Yami, who has escaped to the roof. Yami reveals that he also, for some reason, has a yoyo, and he has some rad skillz with it.

Shadow Game (Kinda)

Yami challenges the thugs to a game. Whoever is the last one on the roof wins. Yami runs from the gang, simply grazing the roof with his yoyo as he runs around and dodging the strikes of the gang, who are also frequently hitting the roof when they miss Yami. They corner Yami on the roof and proclaim that they’ve won. However, Yami turns the table on them and directs their attention to the roof below their feet. It’s rusted and old metal, easily punctured with a yoyo, but it will soon crumble beneath their weight. Yami is supported on the corner beam of the warehouse, but the thugs aren’t so lucky and fall through the roof.

This game is exactly the same as it is in the manga….and yes, it’s just as silly. I mean, if the roof were THAT weak, they never should have been able to stand on it in the first place, let alone run around like it’s a basketball court.

Meanwhile, Jonouchi challenges Hirutani to a fist fight. Jonouchi is getting the better of Hirutani, but he plays dirty and throws BROKEN GLASS INTO JONOUCHI’S EYES. Geez. You’d think that would leave Jonouchi with lasting vision problems and maybe even blindness, but nope. He’s temporarily blinded but perfectly fine by the end of the chapter/episode…

In the manga, after Jonouchi struck Hirutani, causing him to hang from the ledge, Jonouchi was just fine. However, in the anime, he also falls for some reason. Honda saves him by throwing him the band, which he used to hang from the hook and return to the ledge. That sure was necessary.

In both versions, Jonouchi uses ‘Walk the dog’ (Or Jonouchi’s version “Let the Dog Out.”) on Hirutani’s fingers, causing him to fall. By the way, in Season Zero, you can clearly see that Jonouchi’s yoyo has ‘Made in USE’ written on it. Quality products always come from the United States of ‘Erica. (In the manga, it says ‘Made in the USA’)

In the manga, Jonouchi reunites with Yugi and proclaims that he’ll kick Nezumi’s ass if he ever sees him again and that’s the end of the chapter. In the anime, he thanks Honda for saving his life and Yugi happily returns affirming that Jonouchi would never change like that.

Meanwhile, back in school, Jonouchi tries his variant on ‘Around the World’ again, but this time he does it so fast that the wind causes Anzu and Miho’s skirts to fly up. They get pissed and Jonouchi runs off. The end.

—————————————-

Well, that was a bit complicated to compare, but as a whole….The manga does both stories better than the anime’s combination of the two. It’s to be expected. They’re not only merging four chapters but two stories into one episode, but it’s not just that. The little changes that they made that didn’t need to happen just made the story worse off, if you ask me.

That scene with Anzu and Miho is still irking me, and, overall, I feel like Honda’s presence was poorly written in this entire episode. It’s like they’re having Honda and Yugi struggle for the spot of Jonouchi’s best friend but no one will point out that Yugi’s obviously winning. It’s like they adapted the manga chapter pretty well and then the anime writers wrote on the script ‘Oh yeah, and Honda’s there too.’

The backstory they made for Jonouchi and Honda was just stupid. He passed off a band to Jonouchi in a track meet, which he was meant to do, Jonouchi won and they’ve been buddies ever since?….But they also don’t seem to be all that close? In the anime, Honda may fight people if need be, but he’s not a fellow ex-bully like Jonouchi. He’s a rule-abiding, strict goodie-two-shoes. The only thing we really know about Honda’s past is that he aimed to be class president but didn’t get the role.Those two would never hang out pre-Jonouchi’s attitude change, but yeah, I totally believe that pink track band is a huge emotional symbol of their friendship.

In the manga, it makes more sense because Honda is an ex-thug like Jonouchi and hung around with him because he liked picking fights. He’s still a superfluous character, if you ask me, but his story makes more sense. In neither story does Honda play a big role outside of explaining Jonouchi’s family situation, for the most part, and Jonouchi’s past with Hirutani, and that’s all he really needs to do.

Instead, he’s jammed in here like broken glass in Jonouchi’s non-blind eyes. Reading the manga alongside watching the anime really makes that moment when Honda saves Jonouchi stick out like a sore thumb as something that felt like it was tacked on. Did he even need that band? Wouldn’t it have been easier and more realistic to just grab the hook itself? How did he have time to both catch it and loop it on the hook without having time to just grab the hook? Would it even support his weight? How did Honda even throw it up that high? It’s a frickin’ band of fabric.

In addition, the more emotional moments were better in the manga, and I liked that it was moreso a great moment for Jonouchi and Yugi’s friendship instead of having Honda butt his nose into it. Like I said before, Honda can exist and Jonouchi can have more than Yugi as a friend, but Honda doesn’t have any purpose being as prominent as a character as he is in the anime.

I know this tirade seems contradictory given my statement in the review of chapters 11-12 where I praise them for giving Manga!Honda more story to work with, but that’s mostly because his presence so far in the manga has been to be set dressing. It’s nice to see him get a bit of an actual role in their dynamic, but as I’ve pointed out here, he doesn’t need to be anymore prominent than that. If Hanasaki, an objectively much better character, has to be dumped almost entirely, Honda can be mostly in the background too. Either that or give him more independence and agency as a character. Stop making him entirely reliant on those around him.

The yoyos make this whole story rather goofy, of course. I do think yo-yos are a fun weapon idea, and I’ve seen before in Yu Yu Hakusho and HunterxHunter, but there they were enhanced/created with supernatural abilities, not bought at Target in a three-pack for $9.99. They really easily could have just adapted the first story and been all the better off for it. It’s a much more dramatic story, and it’s pretty much the one they adapted outside of all the yoyo stuff and the psuedo-shadow game.

Or, here’s a thought, maybe try keeping both stories. Hirutani’s return, barring the silly yoyos, was well done. We needed a reprise for this storyline where Jonouchi actually comes out on top over his former comrade. The first story provided the backbone and the last story provided the payoff. It’s not like they don’t have filler episodes they can lose to squeeze it in there.

Another thing I didn’t care for was the way Jonouchi acted. In the manga, he has to struggle to restrain himself when Yugi is punched. He doesn’t even make it more than 10-15 minutes before he punches the guy who did it. That punch was more than enough to break their deal, and Jonouchi knew that.

In the anime, Yugi gets punched by the same gang member and he deals with it, even though that should have broken their deal. He socks Honda in the stomach, sending him to the ground and thinks nothing of it, which makes no sense. I get that he’s trying to convince them that he’s bad and to leave him alone, but he’s trying to save his friends from getting hurt and here he is punching one of them.

Next time….

Final Notes: Hirutani never once makes an appearance in the 2000 anime, nor is he referenced, but he does make an appearance in one of the video games. And when I found this out, I was kinda floored.

Hirutani is in the Dungeon Dice Monsters video game for the Game Boy Advance, only his name in that version, in the American release, is Diesel Kane. I love the Dungeon Dice Monsters video game, and I actually remembered that dude. It’s really cool that he’s not just some generic thug made for the game, but I wish they had explored this dynamic more in the actual game. All I remember and all the Wiki says is that the guy has a vendetta against Jonouchi, but you never find out what it is.

All of his gang members, both from the taser story and the yoyo story, are also in the game but they’re never given names.

Coincidentally, Nezumi also exists in the DDM game……..And his name is changed to…..Nibbles. Look, I get that both names are a reference to West Side Story, but that name is just as silly as a gang using yoyos as weapons.

Apparently, a ton of manga-exclusive characters are in DDM with funny names. For example, the escaped convict from the Burger World story is Jackpot, the old bald guy who owned the store Mokuba stole a Capsule Monsters machine from is Egger Baldwin, Kokurano (fortune-telling character we’ll meet later) is named Fortuno,Kujirada is named Beluga (Get it?! Because whale! He’s fat!….Again!) Sozoji is named Fender Shrill, and Hanasaki is named Lint Greendale…….LINT. His name is LINT! Hasn’t this kid been through enough without naming him Lint?

….Also, Yugi’s mother’s in DDM, which I didn’t remember at all. She doesn’t get a goofy name, but she is merely called ‘Yugi’s Mother.’ Like, guys, I assume she has a real name. At the very least, she’s Mrs. Muto…..


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Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapter 24 Review (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

Hey guys, who remembers that short Yu-Gi-Oh! Spin-off thinger – Capsule Monsters? I sure do!….Kinda!…I remember it existing. I remember watching some of it and being rather bored.

Fun fact: The Capsule Monsters anime, despite being based on an actual game in this old-ass version of the manga (No idea if it’s played the same way, though), wasn’t something the original anime creators wanted to make. In fact, the series never released in Japan.

Also, apparently, according to the Fandom Wiki anyway (I really question whether this is true), despite never once airing in Japan, there is a Japanese version of it. Why they dubbed it and never released it is beyond me.

Who was actually behind this spin-off no one asked for, no one paid much attention to and amounted to nothing but basically being a money sink? Why, who else but the donut bakers themselves, 4Kids?

Yup, 4Kids, for some inexplicable reason, ‘commissioned, produced and editedCapsule Monsters when Yu-Gi-Oh’s original run was reaching its final season. They also did the kinda skeevy thing of re-editing the series into a movie (Two movies, I guess, technically?) and treating it like it was a new movie based on the series. Because that’s never sketchy or annoying, especially when you’re dealing with something aimed towards kids.

At least they released the movie for free for one day on their website for some reason so some people could be made aware that it wasn’t new content….No idea why they did that, but they did.

I really have to review Capsule Monsters at some point, but back to the topic at hand….Uh…well, more Capsule Monsters.

I brought up the anime because, even when that aired, I didn’t really understand how the game was played nor did I feel very compelled to learn because the anime, to my recollection, was quite boring.

Capsule Monsters, otherwise known as Capsule Monster Chess/Capmon in the manga (sometimes) is Mokuba’s niche game in the manga. I could’ve sworn he was also a player of the game in the anime. I would have bet a substantial amount of money on that….but he’s not. Mokuba not only isn’t an avid Capsule Monster player in the Capsule Monsters anime – he’s not even in the anime. Poor Mokuba. Were you too busy being kidnapped to be in the anime?

What of the first depiction of Capsule Monsters in the manga? Let’s find out.

——————————————-

The manga actually explains fairly well how this version of the game is played. Capsule Monsters are dispensed in gashapon machines, which I just learned are supposed to be called ‘blind boxes’ in America, but I have never once heard that ever. They’re also called ‘gacha’ machines, and if you play pretty much any MMO or mobile game in existence, that word awakens something visceral in you.

Yugi explains how the game is played, for the most part. The capsules all have one number between one and five on them – this indicates their attack power. Within the capsules are….the uh…well, the monsters, of course. Each player unleashes five monsters onto an 8×8 game board, of which there are 50 different types. This game area mimics the planet of ganastar….I’m not sure why that matters, but okay.

All of the monsters stay within the capsules when they’re setting the game up, so each side starts the game mostly blind to the monsters the opponent is playing, outside of their attack strength. Monsters all have their own ranges, types of attacks and effects, so strategy comes into play when moving the pieces and battling the monsters. Whoever destroys all of the opponent’s monsters wins.

Yugi’s in line to get some capsules when, in typical Yu-Gi-Oh manga fashion, he comes across an asshole. This asshole kid cuts in front of him in line then says Yugi’s too old to play the game, being in high school. This game is equated to chess and yet it’s aimed squarely at middle school and younger?

He lets Yugi get his capsules eventually, though, but Yugi’s money gets lost in the machine. He, strangely, loses his shit and starts swearing at the machine, shaking it violently. Bit of an OOC moment for him. I know he’s passionate about games, but he’s never one to have a temper like that. The old man who owns the candy store that the machines are in starts screaming at him.

Suddenly, Mokuba Kaiba makes his debut appearance, looking just as frightening and creepy as you’d expect in this manga’s art. Apparently he’s such a Capsule Monsters baller that the other kids go silent in his presence. Like Seto is a champion in Duel Monsters, Mokuba is a champion in Capsule Monsters.

So, did you guys forget that you’re reading Yu-Gi-Oh’s early manga days? You did? Oh, let me remind you by showing you this scene where Mokuba, the small child, orders these small child children of the kid nature to attack Yugi. They have a taser………..a switchblade……………..And….I’m not kidding…..A fucking Uzi.

What kind of world does this manga take place in?! Not even the chapter with an actual murderer involved a fucking UZI.

Mokuba wants to fight for his big brother’s honor, so he’s kidnapping Yugi and taking the candy shop’s gashapon machine (After throwing the owner a stack of money to pay for it.)

They bring Yugi to their secret base, which is just a warehouse, so they can play. Beforehand, though, Mokuba’s little goons try to intimidate him some more, saying stuff like he’s wimpy and they’ll burn down his house. Ya know, typical schoolyard stuff.

They cross the line when they try to touch Yugi’s Puzzle, however, because, under threat of smashing it and trying to grab it from him, Yugi instantly shifts to Yami, who flips his shit and screams at them to let go of his Puzzle.

The goons are shocked at this change, but, surprisingly, Mokuba’s not because apparently Seto told him about Yugi’s ability to transform. *shrug*

Mokuba says he stole the gashapon machine to make the capsule picks completely blind so he wouldn’t have an unfair advantage using his own capsules…..then he reveals in inner monologue that he rigged the machine, paid off the candy shop owner from before Yugi even got there and rigged the machine to give him the better capsules anyway, so….I don’t know why he even bothered trying to act like this was fair.

Also, again with making the Kaibas cheaters. Granted, in the 2000 anime, the one and only time you see Mokuba duel, against Yugi, he cheats by trying to steal some of Yugi’s star chips in the middle of the duel, but that was in desperation to keep Kaiba Corp from being sold to Pegasus.

Yugi’s capsules result in attack strengths of 1-1-1-2-4 while Mokuba’s are 4-4-5-5-5….I think anyone with a single brain cell could have deduced that Mokuba rigged the machine just on this result alone without him immediately telling us, but okay.

Before they start, Mokuba lays a bet down. Now, you’d imagine that, considering he’s playing for his older brother’s honor, his wager would be something like Yugi would have to kiss Kaiba’s feet or give him all of his Duel Monster cards or something, right?

……His wager is, if he wins, he’ll CUT OFF ONE OF YUGI’S FINGERS! He’s even holding a folding knife as he says it. What the hell is wrong with this manga?!

Yugi says, if he wins, Mokuba will suffer a penalty game.

Anyway, as expected, even though they laid out the rules at the beginning, much like with the part with Duel Monsters, they just pretty much do whatever without explaining anything. Like, what determines which piece moves how far and when? Why do formations matter all that much if you can move freely? If attack level is all that matters in battles, then doesn’t that mean the match can be decided before they even get on the board? If monsters have effects or abilities, like duel monster cards, where is this information held? In some sort of book or something? Because there’s no text on the capsules or in them.

Yami gets pummeled, only managing to kill one of Mokuba’s creatures on a stalemated attack, so he had to sacrifice his most powerful creature for that.

He’s down to his last monster, and it seems all is lost until, luck of all lucks, Yugi reveals that he was luring all of Mokuba’s monsters into a diagonal line, and his last monster, which is level one, just so happens to have the ability to literally insta-kill any monster with its attack, even if it’s level five. And it shoots this ability in a diagonal pattern, meaning all of Mokuba’s monsters are defeated in one shot.

If you think this situation stinks at all, it’s because Yugi totally pulled this win out of his ass.

Mokuba may be a cheat, but he’s still a Capsule Monsters champion. And even if he cheated in those championships (We don’t know that, but he cheated here and it’s suggested that Seto cheated in his championships, so it’s not a far cry to say Mokuba did too) he definitely knows the game well enough to play the part. He’s making observations about strategy and formation as if he’s a veteran, so he has to be pretty skilled. All of the monsters get revealed at the start of the game, meaning he had to know what that monster was and what ability it had, so he should have been very careful to not do anything dumb like line up literally all of his monsters in a perfect diagonal line right in front of him.

How does this low-level creature have such an awesome ability anyway? If it’s a simple straight diagonal line of insta-kill damage, he could kill a monster from the other side of the board if he aimed carefully. And it insta-kills even the strongest monsters, too?

Granted, they did set this up visually. As you’ll note in the first shot of the game board when they’re done setting up, the bird thing that has this ability is off on its own, further back than his other four creatures, which were meant to cut off Mokuba’s creatures on the way there and set up this line.

The problem is, though, he gambled a hell of a lot here. I know the Heart of the Cards thing has basically become a meme by now, but come on – this isn’t even Duel Monsters. Is there a Heart of the Capsules? The luck in play here is insane. What if Mokuba caught on to his game and avoided the diagonal line? What if he sent one monster off to approach from directly ahead or off to either side? Or what if he spread out his monsters even a tiny bit more? If he didn’t get all of those monsters in one shot, he definitely would have lost. And Yami never once seemed the slightest bit concerned that his plan wouldn’t work. He was sporting a cocky smirk the whole time like his plan was foolproof when it was about as airtight as a moth’s nylon stocking.

I feel like this is the anime version (Season Zero) of the duel with Seto where Seto just pulled a sudden ‘It’s a draw lol’ card out of nowhere at the last minute, right as he was about to lose.

Anyhoo, Yami sentences Mokuba to a penalty game, which is being trapped in an illusion of being sealed in a Capsule Monster capsule (and it has a level one mark on it – nice shade, Yami.) But before it’s closed, Mokuba teases that this isn’t over. Seto is setting up for his revenge against Yugi with something called Death T.

Also, this chapter ends with a pretty cool illustration of a little dice game you can play to try and beat Kaiba. I might try it for myself sometime. It’s a neat little addition.

——————————

So, uh, this chapter was pretty messed up, wouldn’t ya say? Uzis and switchblades and threatening to cut off people’s fingers – all brought to you by elementary school students. Fun fun.

The story is alright. I still think that ending was complete bullshit, but it’s not like this series is a stranger to bullshit wins. Mokuba’s a friggin’ psychopath in this version, and I can’t really tell if I love that or hate it. In the 2000 anime, he’s kinda Seto’s morality pet more or less, but, on his own, he’s really not all that interesting. He’s basically Tristan just with more of a purpose (behind the scenes anyway) and 10000% more kidnappings. He’s a nice little kid with a good sense of justice and very strong loyalty to Seto, and he’s very forgiving, but he’s just not that interesting.

Can I even say this version of Mokuba is more interesting, though? Because he’s just a nutcase. There’s nothing likable about this future mob boss besides his desire to avenge his brother’s honor, and that’s kinda watered down by the fact that he doesn’t even try to face Yugi/Yami properly before cheating. The little prick cheated before he even MET Yugi.

I actually like the concept of Capsule Monsters here, even if I’m still kinda confused about it. I hope it becomes a little clearer when we revisit the game later (at least in Season Zero. We might revisit it again in the manga, I’m not sure. The manga and anime will stray away from each other quite a bit in the future.) I’m not holding my breath, though because even the Wiki page for it says some concepts are just flatout poorly explained, like abilities.

I thought I remembered Capsule Monster toys being a thing when I was younger and turns out I was right. It was very shortlived, obviously, and didn’t get a lot of distribution in stores, but apparently they pushed it enough for me to remember it being in my local Walmart for probably a month before it faded in obscurity.

Also, it seems like this version of the game is played differently from both the manga and anime versions.

Not only that, but apparently there was a video game version of Capsule Monsters made for the Playstation in 1998 called Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule: Breed and Battle that was only released in Japan. Golly, a video game released in 1998 where you collect monsters in small balls and raise them to help them evolve into stronger monsters that you will use to battle other monsters. How did that not immediately take off?

To my surprise, there was another video game that came out in 2004 based on Capsule Monsters for the PS2 titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum. I had followed the Yu-Gi-Oh video games pretty well when I was a kid, but I didn’t have much money to buy many of them, and I never once remembered seeing this game in stores. Maybe I did – the box art is just the slightest bit familiar – but, again, they didn’t seem to push this game very well. I remember them pushing the Dungeon Dice Monsters game, and I bought that, but the Capsule Monsters game is a blur at best.

Also, it’s weird that they spelled ‘coliseum’ like that, isn’t it? You don’t typically see it spelled that way. It’s usually spelled ‘Colosseum.’ Ya know….like, uh, hm what’s a good example?…..Uhm….Oh, how about Pokemon Colosseum….the game that was also released in 2004?

I’m just poking fun at the Pokemon connection, really, because Capsule Monsters does seem like a fun game and honestly isn’t a ripoff of Pokemon, given the board game aspect and chess-like strategies. I just think it doesn’t do a good job of explaining how different it is out the gate. You hear ‘capsule monsters’ and see that the blurb is just ‘collect, raise and battle monsters in small balls’ and you can’t help but think ‘Pokemon rip-off.’

And, to be completely fair….the concept name of Pokemon was literally Capsule Monsters, so they’re kinda asking for it.

I think if it had taken off more I would’ve definitely gotten into it. Maybe not so much because I was spending enough money on Yu-Gi-Oh cards without buying packs of small toys that probably cost even more. It just seems like, no matter how much they tried, they couldn’t get this game off the ground. They really hit their stride with Yu-Gi-Oh/Duel Monsters, but I think you could still make something great with Capsule Monsters. It’s a shame, really. Seems like a missed opportunity. Maybe the timing wasn’t right or something.

Final Notes: This episode is only extremely lightly referenced in episode 11, and that’s because the Capsule Monsters game played there is basically a mirror of the one played here. Literally everything else is different, including there being a different opponent.


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My AniManga Clash-ish Thoughts on Angelic Layer

I haven’t watched Angelic Layer in quite a long time, but it still holds a place in my heart. It’s a rare shouJO gaming anime that had likable characters, a fun game to focus on and a decent story. It had its problems, but none of them were so severe that it badly damaged my perception of the series.

When I started reading the manga of Angelic Layer, I really thought I wouldn’t even wind up writing one of these posts because, frankly, there wasn’t much to talk about. The anime and manga, as far as I can remember anyway, were pretty well matched for several volumes. There wasn’t much in regards to changes to the story or characters, so what was there to say other than ‘Yeah, they’re pretty much the same.’?

But then I got to the ending.

And here I am.

Before I get to the ending, I would like to discuss some things regarding earlier parts of the anime and manga. As far as I remember, the anime had a more gradual buildup to Misaki eventually becoming the ‘Miracle Rookie.’ There was more in regards to her playing Angelic Layer with other people before she was flung into tournament play. In the manga, she has one match before she’s entered into the regional tournament.

Because of this, her ‘Miracle Rookie’ status irks me a bit more than it did in the anime. She is about as rookie as a rookie can be before she’s entering a major tournament – and she winds up winning that tournament. Then it’s immediately followed by the national tournament, which she doesn’t technically win, even though she does in the anime.

I say she doesn’t technically win the tournament in the manga because, even though she lost in the finals to Athena, the very last scene is the crowd cheering on her tournament win? (The announcer says ‘Here is the winner of our tournament!’ when she walks out.) She’s wearing a royal cape thing and crown at the end of the tournament – Hikaru (her Angel) even gets the same outfit. The epilogue has people calling her the Angelic Layer Champion, too. I don’t get it. Was Athena like a set champion to try and defeat once she won the main tournament? Like how there’s a league champion to defeat once you defeat the Elite Four? I dunno.

Either way, she somehow managed to make her way to the finals at least despite being almost completely new to the game when she started out in the tournament bracket as a whole.

She does practice a lot and studies frequently in between matches and tournaments, and it’s not like her record is flawless, she does lose a couple times, but so many of her matches are Hikaru struggling → Misaki struggling → Can’t give up! → Oh I figured out how to win against this highly-experienced veteran. → One-hit defeat. (And by that I mean the only hit that actually does damage. A lot of the time her hits will connect but do nothing.)

Many of her victories are one-hit wins, even though her Angel is built mostly for speed and is very light. There’s no reason why she should have such powerhouse hits that they either cause impressive ring-outs or deplete an Angel’s full health bar in one go. This is especially frustrating considering that Hikaru takes so much damage during these battles yet she always manages to keep hanging on, despite the fact that, again, she’s not built for defense – she’s built for speed.

Even when they make a huge multi-volume long deal out of Hikaru’s mystery weakness to build tension, it’s not that significant or interesting when revealed (Hikaru’s really light……We already knew that, and it’s been mentioned numerous times over the course of the series. She’s a small model built for speed. Of course her weight means she both can’t land moves as powerful as others, and she, by default, has a disadvantage against heavier models.) and it’s resolved rather quickly and easily.

Coincidentally, her weakness is revealed on a field that gives Hikaru the advantage. They were on a beach layer, so she had Hikaru grab her opponent and dive into the ocean. Since Hikaru is light, she could swim, I guess, even though it’s never established that Angels are buoyant, and her opponent, being heavy, just sank.

Being completely fair, I never got angry at this happening. I just kinda started rolling my eyes after a while and found myself not really immersed in the matches because I came to expect that Misaki would win, which, in itself, is a big problem because Misaki’s supposed to be the underdog. Her motivation is all about proving how small, seemingly weak-looking people can face their toughest challenges and come out on top. She does that, but she does it too easily. I greatly admire her passion for the game and her love of Angels, but she’s just too good too quickly to truly be relatable to anyone in the real world who would sympathize with her.

Moving onto the ending changes, we have two significant alterations to discuss – the first being Misaki’s relationship with her mother/ her mother as a whole, and the endgame romantic relationships.

Starting with Misaki and her mom, Shuko, the story still remains about 50% the same. In both the anime and manga, Misaki doesn’t even really remember her mom much. She left Misaki in the care of her grandparents when she was five years old. Turns out, her mother holds a high position in the company that developed Angelic Layer and is the Deus of Athena – the strongest Angel in the league and the Angel that Misaki saw in a commercial that got her interested in the game in the first place.

That’s where the similarities end. In the anime, the reason Shuko abandoned her daughter was because she had a neurological disease that confined her to a wheelchair. She decided to dedicate all of her spare time to researching a cure/treatment with Icchan, which incidentally lead to them developing Angelic Layer. She was so ashamed of her condition that she couldn’t bear to imagine what Misaki might think of her as she grew older, so she left her in the care of her grandparents. She had hoped that, one day, when she was better, she would reunite with her daughter. Until then, she’d cut off all communication with Misaki and keep tabs on her from the shadows.

After a bit of a dark tonal shift upon their reunion during the national tournament, Misaki and Shuko air out their feelings and work things out before their final match, which Misaki manages to win….even if it is pretty much one of the most asspull-ish wins I’ve ever seen in anime.

In the manga, the reason Shuko abandoned her daughter…….

….is almost insultingly dumb.

Something you should know about me before I go on – I have severe social anxiety disorder and general problems with anxiety. So believe me when I discuss the stupidity of Shuko’s manga backstory.

According to any info page on her character, Shuko has severe social anxiety disorder. However, it’s not actually social anxiety disorder. The manga never once uses the term. She can be out and about and live her life with little issue. She’s seen talking to Icchan and Ojirou numerous times, and, from how they talk about her, it seems she’s regularly socialized with them for years. She’s a famous Deus who participates in many tournaments, and numerous people seem to know her personally.

I’m not saying all of these factors means she absolutely doesn’t have some degree of social anxiety – you can live a fairly ‘normal’ life externally but be suffering significantly internally – but I am saying that, considering how she can cope with her anxiety enough to do all of these things, there’s no reason why she can’t cope with it enough to be with her child.

“So, why isn’t she?” you ask?

Shuko’s problem in particular is being around people she loves. The more she loves someone, the more anxious she gets, to the point where she has ‘panic attacks.’ She loved Misaki too much to be around her without freaking out all the time, so she just flatout abandoned her child at the age of five with, I guess, no intentions on ever returning.

That….is not….how anxiety works…..like even a little. Does the feeling of love make you flustered and nervous? Oh yeah, definitely. It makes everyone feel that way. In people with anxiety, it’s worse, of course, but 1) that’s usually just in regards to romantic love and new relationships and 2) if the anxiety really only comes when you’re in the presence of someone you love, the odds of the core issue being social anxiety disorder are very, very slim. That is either a symptom of some other disorder or it’s just not a thing.

One of the few things that helps alleviate anxiety is having loved ones around. They make you more comfortable, they help pick you up when you’re spiraling and they work with you to help you through the tough times. Why would a loved one make you so ridiculously anxious? Unless it’s a situation where you love them but they’re very abusive or something, but this isn’t the case here.

Lest we forget, she has a freakin’ child. She used to have a freakin’ husband. Which means she has dated, fallen in love, gotten married, had sex, gone through pregnancy, birthed a child and raised it for five years all without noping out of there because of her anxiety. They even briefly mention that her condition must’ve made life for her husband really difficult. Yet, for some reason, when Misaki turned five, she suddenly decided she couldn’t take it anymore.

You could argue that her husband dying (I think he died anyway) was the crux of her abandoning Misaki, but you’d think that one fewer loved one around would make it easier for her to deal with her love-based anxiety. Plus, her husband is never mentioned as a correlating issue here. He was only slightly mentioned at the beginning of the manga.

The most angering part of this whole plotline is that it’s all simply brushed away. After their match, Misaki chases after Shuko to reveal that she knew she was her mother since the match started. And, unlike in the anime where there’s a pretty dramatic exchange of words, their reunion in the manga is more or less comedic. Her anxiety is treated comically (Less ‘realistic panic attacks’ and more ‘cartoony turning red and chibi with little dot eyes.’) Misaki has absolutely no axe to grind with her mother, which is just ridiculous and practically makes a joke out of this whole situation – even more than it already was. In the absolute end, they simply suggest that Shuko try living with Misaki and Shoko (Shuko’s sister/Misaki’s aunt whom she’s been staying with after moving to Tokyo) and Shuko agrees.

In the epilogue, Shuko’s still very much flustered around Misaki, but they work through it by having Shoko basically tell Shuko to chill out and they live happily ever after…..Yup, that’s it. No reason whatsoever why Shuko couldn’t have been doing this from the very beginning. She’s literally just giving a single iota of effort to deal with it and it’s fine now.

Actually, let me be completely fair. Before the epilogue, Shoko mentions that playing Angelic Layer with Misaki more might help because Shuko is more comfortable while playing the game, but that’s it. Granted, there is a lot of value in having an activity that helps reduce the feelings of anxiety – art and games help me quite a bit – but that just feels so cheap and corny to act like Angelic Layer will cure her eventually and that its existence basically saved their relationship. And I mean that literally. Shoko tells Shuko that they should thank the person who made Angelic Layer when she brings up them playing more to get accustomed to each other.

Speaking of Shoko, does Shuko not love her sister enough to panic around her? She’s having a conversation with her normally, albeit with a blush on her face.

I never thought Angelic Layer would make me feel like I was too harsh on the mom from Aishiteruze Baby. At least in that situation it was a traumatic event and fear of becoming an abuser that caused her to leave. At least she tried to reach out to her daughter while she was gone. At least she attempted to better herself. At least she came back for Yuzuyu a year later. Shuko? She just bounced the instant things started getting difficult. She didn’t seek therapy, she didn’t ask for help from family, she didn’t send Misaki letters or try to communicate with her for over seven years, and she lived a fairly normal life after the fact, even becoming the top player of a game in the meantime.

She’s never held accountable for what she did. Misaki forgives her without a thought, Shoko welcomes her with open arms, and she gets to live a happy life with her child even after doing something so terrible to her for such a pitiful reason. Seven years of fully abandoning her daughter wiped away with nary a stain left behind.

Her story may not be perfect in the anime, but having a debilitating disease that leaves you in a wheelchair and being so distraught over your condition that you feel too ashamed to face your daughter anymore is much more understandable than ‘I can’t be your mom anymore, Misaki. Being around you makes me 😳.’ It’s still not enough to warrant never communicating with her for seven years, but it’s better.

They even work in the Angelic Layer aspect better in the anime by saying Shuko helped create it when she was trying to develop a treatment method (or means of helping her walk. I forget.) with Icchan. She naturally became a master at it because she was using it as a means of medical research. In the manga, she’s just an employee at the company that makes the game and, I guess, played it so much that she became a master at it. So much time spent pointlessly playing a game that could have been spent with your daughter and/or in therapy.

I know how much of a struggle it is for anyone with mental health problems to seek therapy, and it’s particularly a problem when you have social anxiety disorder (for obvious reasons. There’s a joke that’s like ‘There was a group therapy session for people with social anxiety, but no one showed up.’) but I’m convinced she doesn’t have social anxiety disorder. She has ‘flustered female anime character’ syndrome. There’s no reason whatsoever that Shuko hasn’t reunited with her daughter by now. There was barely a reason to abandon her in the first place, but there is definitely no reason why she’s left her daughter without so much as a note for over seven years.

In the anime, Shuko is held accountable for her actions, even if she is also forgiven by Misaki. In the manga, no one’s ever mad at her for what she did. Misaki never so much as makes a frown at her. Not only is that very frustrating, but it’s such a disappointing payoff for this whole running plot.

Onto more lighthearted fare, it’s time to talk about the romantic relationships.

In the anime, they tease Kotarou and Misaki getting together for a long while. If we’re gender-flipping the typical shounen formula, Kotarou would take the role of the token girl/love interest. He does know quite a bit about the game, but he doesn’t play it and mostly sits on the sidelines cheering on Misaki. Outside of the arena, he helps her by giving her advice and teaching her about fighting via his karate moves.

Tamayo is Kotarou’s childhood friend who is rather loud, physical and teasing. She loves hugging Misaki and play-flirting with her, and she loves tormenting Kotarou with wrestling moves. As the series goes on, it’s clear that Tamayo has a crush on Kotarou. However, he’s too enamored by Misaki to notice. Plus, by his own admission, he never saw Tamayo as a woman before. Once she makes her feelings clear, things between the two get pretty awkward, but he eventually warms up to the idea of dating her, which they, presumably, do at the end.

Not a romance for the ages or anything, but I did like this pairing. It was nice to skew away from the predictable route of having him end up with Misaki, even if their chemistry was good, and I thought this pseudo-love triangle worked very well. It feels a bit one-sided for my liking, I thought they would make a very good couple over time.

As for Misaki, she ended up with Ojirou, who is Icchan’s step-brother and a very highly-ranked Deus. He adores Angelic Layer and has a strong personal connection with the game, just like Misaki. He’s clearly enamored with her over the series, flirts with her numerous times, and, once they meet in the arena, it seems like the feeling is mutual. By the end of the series, it’s also implied that they start dating.

In the manga, neither of these pairings happen.

Instead, the pairing that you’d expect to happen, Misaki and Kotarou, wind up together (canonically, as it’s established in an epilogue that they start dating officially) and….for some reason, despite never sharing a single line of dialogue or having anything even remotely in common, Tamayo ends up dating Ojirou (again, canonically).

I have no qualms with Misaki and Kotarou ending up together. It’s predictable, sure, but their chemistry is fine and they set up the relationship well.

I am kinda bummed that Tamayo and Kotarou didn’t even get touched upon, but what can ya do?

As for Tamayo and Ojirou……just…HUH?! That pairing had no lead up whatsoever. I don’t even think they properly met. Where the hell did this come from? Their personalities could not be any more different, which wouldn’t be a big problem if we saw them interacting and understood how their dynamic worked, but nope. The epilogue just slaps us with ‘Lol ya, they’re dating now.’ I guess they did share in making Misaki flustered by guessing what her underwear looked like, but 1) that’s dumb as a basis for a relationship, and 2) They never did that together. Again, I don’t think they ever even met before. Ojirou clearly had a crush on Misaki in the manga as well. He never once acknowledges Tamayo.

What’s even more confusing is, somehow, they’ve been dating LONGER than Misaki and Kotarou. The epilogue takes place a year after the end of the national tournament, and Misaki explains in narration that Tamayo and Ojirou have been dating for a month while Misaki and Kotarou have been dating for a week.

Keep in mind, Misaki and Kotarou were practically unofficially dating when the tournaments were going on. How did this all happen? Misaki and Ojirou made much more sense, even if they didn’t have quite as much buildup as Misaki and Kotarou. It feels like a complete afterthought to put Tamayo and Ojirou together.

———————————-

At the end of the day, the anime beats the manga handily.

Reading the manga highlighted the problems with the series as a whole more than the anime did. There’s not really a lot to be gained from either watching or reading this outside of ‘believe in yourself’ and ‘being small/short doesn’t mean you can’t be strong.’ The Miracle Rookie stuff also gets very repetitive, as does everyone constantly focusing on and praising Misaki.

Gaming anime typically don’t have to have deep storylines or messages, but that’s usually because the fun action of the game makes up for that, and fun action in gaming is so difficult to capture in manga panels, especially when the art isn’t that impressive. There were numerous instances where I honestly couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. I still have no clue how Misaki won her second to last match of the nationals. She was struggling, she couldn’t figure out how to win, everyone was worried she’d lose and then, fwoop, she won somehow.

I still really like the concept of Angelic Layer, but, quite frankly, reading the manga just made me yearn to watch the anime again just so I could see the concept done better. Not only do action/sports/gaming anime already have a leg up because they can show action in a more engaging manner, but the anime simply did a better job telling this story. The anime felt like it had more freedom above all else. There was better pacing in regards to Misaki’s development as a Deus, and everything involving Misaki’s mom made much more sense and was far more emotionally impacting that what the manga came out with. The romantic stuff I can give or take, but in my opinion they even did much better in that regard.

If Angelic Layer’s plot interests you, I fully recommend the anime. I had a lot of fun with it back when I first watched it, and I think anyone with an interest in gaming anime will have fun with it too. I still wish we had gotten a spin-off or sequel or something, and I’m forever sad Angelic Layer as a game doesn’t exist….

I can also recommend the manga, but not as enthusiastically. If nothing else, it’s a relaxing little gaming title that never has the ol’ cliché of ‘The fate of the world rests on my ability to play a children’s game!’. It’s nothing deep or introspective, you won’t tear up or yell at your screen, but if the premise sounds at all interesting it will likely entertain you for a while.


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AniManga Clash! Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 2

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Chapter 9: The Momentary Resurrection

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Picking up where we last left off, Keiko was in the hands of the thug, Daisuke, who brought her back to some seedy bar to show her off to his friends. She doesn’t go quietly, however, especially when they start trying to do pervy things to her. They beat her up and knock her unconscious, leaving them open to sexually assaulting her. However, Yusuke, who comes in wearing a mask he won at a pachinko parlor, rescues her before they do anything.

Kuwabara, who got the news when Yusuke did, arrives on scene to save her, but Yusuke hands over the unconscious Keiko to Kuwabara so he can pretend he saved her – making it so she won’t ask questions or realize he’s alive for a day.

I don’t know why Yusuke is allowed to talk to Kuwabara but not Keiko or his mom. Also, Keiko is just faking being unconscious right now, she woke up a little earlier…so…what’s the rules there? She’s allowed to acknowledge that he’s temporarily alive, touch him and hear him speak, but as long as he doesn’t speak to her and vice versa….it’s fine? That’s so dumb….

Keiko continues to fake being unconscious for several more hours, I guess to force Yusuke to not go traipsing around town and risking his body like that. When she leaves, Yusuke realizes she put a little kissy mark on his face.

This was…a fairly okay little arc. It was cool to see Yusuke back in action, and his ridiculous masks were hilarious. Plus, this was a cute little moment between Keiko and Yusuke, but this is just one of so many instances of Keiko being a damsel in distress. And the continued aspect of threatening sexual assault is uncomfortable.

Not to mention that I just find the whole aspect of him being able to see and converse with literally anyone else BUT Keiko and his mom is a grade A plot device that doesn’t even function logically. Yusuke put on a mask so Keiko wouldn’t recognize him, but it turns out she can acknowledge everything about his existence except communicate with him. And if he wrote that note to Keiko at the end, the one where he acts as if he’s Kuwabara, doesn’t that count as communicating with her?

I can definitely see why they didn’t put this in the anime.

Chapter 10: Forbidden Games

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Another manga exclusive story, this chapter returns us to Shouta, the boy from a few chapters back who was dealing with confidence issues and the loss of his beloved dog, Jiro. Now, Shouta is doing pretty good in life, but he’s haunted by the spirit of a girl named Sayaka. She’s dragging him out of his body every night to play with her because she’s so lonely, as she was also very lonely in life. Shouta doesn’t remember these encounters after he wakes up, but when he’s in spirit form he resists going with Yusuke and abandoning Sayaka because he doesn’t want her to be lonely.

This is the first spirit Yusuke actually fights in the manga – and he loses pretty badly. Sayaka’s loneliness has created a deep darkness in her heart, and it’s granted her incredible power that Yusuke just can’t stand up against. If Sayaka continues to take Shouta’s soul out of his body night after night, she’ll eventually weaken his soul enough to drag him to the afterlife with her, but since her soul is so corrupted by loneliness, she’ll only be entering a world of darkness and despair with him.

After a few days of being Yusuke being unconscious (how that works as a ghost, I don’t know) we discover that Shouta is becoming pretty weak, though still not realizing what’s happening at night. Yusuke goes to confront Sayaka once more, but she refuses. She wants to finally bring Shouta to what she believes is heaven, but when she goes to force Yusuke away again, she finds her powers to be entirely diminished.

It seems that hanging out with Shouta so much has quelled the loneliness in her heart, and her powers have greatly weakened because of it. She still doesn’t want to leave Shouta and vice versa, however, so Yusuke happily offers to be a big brother to her and play with her until she’s finally ready to pass on for real.

She agrees, and Shouta returns to his regular life, healthy as a child should be, but it seems Sayaka is sticking around for longer than they thought.

I really liked this story and, truth be told, it’s better than the anime version of Sayaka.

Yes, Sayaka exists in the anime, but she’s basically changed so much that she’s not even the same character outside of the design. In the anime, she’s a one-episode character, taking the role of a spirit investigator sent to determine if Yusuke is really worth saving. She evaluates Yusuke’s friends and family as well as Yusuke and his relationship to them. Most notably, she investigates the relationship that Keiko and Yusuke have. She’s uncertain about her findings until Yusuke willfully sacrifices his spirit egg, his one chance at returning to life, in order to save Keiko’s life.

Sayaka’s report on the matter impresses Koenma, who agrees to bring him back anyway since he showed such selflessness.

Sayaka just always seemed like an unnecessary character. Isn’t Botan doing enough investigating and reporting on Yusuke’s attitude and relationships that Sayaka’s role is redundant? I never disliked her in the anime or anything, but she wasn’t really made interesting and, like I said, her presence seemed pointless.

In the manga, her story is much more interesting, and even somewhat heartbreaking. I absolutely loved that Yusuke offered to be her big brother and play with her without any hesitation. He knows she’s not a bad kid, she’s just lonely and sad. It was also nice to see Shouta again. It’s good that he’s still doing well and is turning into such a sweet kid, even if it is slightly implied that he’s becoming a bit of a ladies man….as much as an eight year old can be, anyway. I dunno why they needed that implication. Can’t he just be a nice kid to both genders without implying that he’s being nice to girls to impress them?

I was a bit sad that Shouta didn’t even mention Jiro, but Yusuke brought up his promise to Jiro, and that was really sweet. We’ll have to wait and see what Sayaka’s continued presence will bring to the series.

Chapter 11-12 A Broken Friendship/Demonic Hand

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This is a two-parter story involving two best friends, Emi and Natsuko. They’re both top of their respective classes, and they’re competing for the lone spot offered by their school to go to N High School – a very prestigious school that everyone’s pressuring them to attend.

Recently, Emi has been having very ominous feelings, as if something is watching her or causing her to suffer misfortune. Yusuke spots the seeming culprit, the spirit of a boy who used to attend the school five years ago. He committed suicide, and I quote “due to some setback” but very much regrets his decision.

He’s not really the problem, though. He was attracted to Emi due to a dark power resonated from her because of an amulet. Natsuko had placed a curse on Emi to cause her to slip up in her studies and stop being competition for her for the spot in N High School. Natsuko was pressured even more by everyone else, especially her family, to get the N High School spot. This pressure was compounded by the fact that Natsuko was consistently second place to Emi throughout their entire friendship. She resented her for it, but those feelings would usually quickly dissipate after saving Emi from bullies or spending time with her.

Evil and corrupted spirits were attracted to the amulet, making it more powerful. However, the boy’s evil energy started fading when he kept seeing what a kind person Emi was. He didn’t fall in love with her or anything, but she showed him a light that drove back the darkness.

Meanwhile, Natsuko started regretting her decision after hearing Emi talk about not wanting to bother Natsuko with her worries, especially since Natsuko believes in the paranormal and may freak out.

Natsuko rips up the ‘amulet’ which I think is moreso a talisman, but okay. However, she’s shocked to find the mark of the amulet now tattooed on her wrist. At the same time, Emi is being pulled across the railroad tracks by a dark entity right as a train approaches.

The boy vanishes before the second half of the story. Yusuke asks if he’s moving on now, and Botan says suicide is too grave a sin to move on yet. He has a lot of repentance to do before he can do so.

Sayaka, who alerted them to Emi’s problems in the first place, notifies them of Emi’s current situation. However, they can’t do anything about it since spirits can’t really interfere much with human matters, and this evil entity is too powerful for any of them to take on. That’s not enough for Yusuke, however, as he rushes in and tries to bite the entity into submission, but he’s literally chucked all the way into space as a result.

The boy’s spirit returns and manages to bring Natsuko to the tracks to save Emi. That’s all he’s able to do before he disappears once more.

Natsuko pleads with the entity to let her go, and after a touching speech, the entity finally vanishes, as does the mark, and Natsuko saves Emi.

Later, at school, Natsuko and Emi tell their respective teachers, who have been pressuring them a lot since the class of the student who goes to N High School will get a lot of respect and adoration (and Natsuko and Emi are from two different classes) that they want the school to take them out of consideration for the N High School spot. They’ve both decided to not listen to anyone who is pressuring them anymore. They want to make their own decisions from now on. They’ve decided to go to S High School together, much to their teachers’ dismay.

This story was pretty good, even if I’m not sure it warranted being a two-parter. Emi and Natsuko have a very realistic friendship. Even the best of friends can have hidden resentments and anger amongst them while still being very strong friends, and such massive pressure on the both them could easily make them do crazy things, especially if they believe it won’t actually work. Despite believing in the paranormal, Natsuko didn’t believe her silly spell would work until she realized something was actually troubling Emi, and when she realized it was real she almost sacrificed her life to make things right.

My two main problems with this story are the boy spirit and the roles of Yusuke, Botan and Sayaka. The boy spirit, who is never named, mind you, seems like he could have an interesting story. He’s a kid who committed suicide at the very school the girls are currently attending, but we get an almost insultingly pitiful amount of information on him. Not only do we never learn his name, but we never learn of his story or why he committed suicide in the first place. “Due to some setback” is so vague it’s almost irritating. It was only five years ago. Why is he so unspecific about it?

And even though I get that suicide is taboo in a lot of religions, it does bother me that even in YYH suicide is apparently so grave a sin that you can’t go to heaven once you do it. They never imply he’s in hell or anything, just that he has to do god knows how many good deeds as a spirit before he can move on, but still. The kid was suffering so much that he killed himself and now, as a ghost, realizes he lost everything and regrets it. Isn’t that bad enough?

He does come back and help Natsuko save Emi, but then he vanishes and is never even brought up again. It’s a sad ending to an already sad story and it’s pretty much glossed over.

In regards to Yusuke, Botan and Sayaka, this is another story where they might as well have not even been there in the first place. You could completely remove them from this story and everything would have been exactly the same. The trio basically just acted as audience surrogates – creating an avenue for the characters to give exposition without it being narration or something, and that wasn’t necessary because…yeah, just have it be narration.

It’s not like Yusuke did any Spirit Detective-ing either. He literally just talked to the ghost stalking Emi and asked what’s up. The boy ghost was even the one who found out it was Natsuko who cursed Emi.

Yusuke attacked the entity, and that was a little funny, but it did absolutely nothing and the girls weren’t even able to notice he did it.

So, in conclusion, decent story but it didn’t have to be a YYH story nor a two-parter.

Chapters 13-14: Prerequisites of a Loved One/Inside the Flames

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Ah, finally. We’re at another chapter that was reflected in the anime – Prerequisites for Lovers.

As I mentioned before, Sayaka is not a spirit investigator in the manga as she is in the anime – she’s just the spirit of a little girl. She has grown extremely attached to Yusuke, and she and Botan basically follow Keiko around so Sayaka can see if Keiko and Yusuke’s relationship is true love.

Everything else in the story is exactly the same barring the very ending. In the anime, Yusuke was told that the only way to save Keiko’s life was to use the power that has been stored up in his spirit egg to create a pathway in the fire. This would mean sacrificing his one chance at coming back to life, but Yusuke does it anyway since Keiko’s life means more to him than his.

After the ordeal, Koenma appears. He’s so impressed by Yusuke’s selflessness that he agrees to bring him back to life anyway.

In the manga, Koenma appears during the fire and explains to Yusuke that he’ll have to agree to a deal for Koenma to use his power to save Keiko. Yusuke doesn’t let him explain what it is as he’s far too impatient to wait for Keiko to be safe. Koenma uses his power and opens a pathway in the flames. Later, Botan explains that, in order for Koenma to make a miracle, like saving Keiko, he needed to use human virtue. Since Yusuke was the other half of the deal, he used the virtue that Yusuke had been saving up in his body to use his power.

However, unlike in the anime where this meant he sacrificed his chance to come back to life, in the manga, this simply means that it will take longer for Yusuke to build up more virtue and return to life. And he really doesn’t care, so this doesn’t seem like nearly the same kind of massive sacrifice as Yusuke made in the anime, which is disappointing.

Granted, the anime also doesn’t make a lot of sense because it’s revealed later that, despite the egg being destroyed in the fire, his spirit egg hatched further down the line and became Puu. Still, you lose a lot of the emotional impact when you replace ‘You can never be resurrected’ with ‘it’ll take a bit longer to be resurrected.’

The manga also goes a bit further in the story. Kuwabara shows up and takes Keiko and Yusuke’s body to his house to help cover up Yusuke’s secret. His sister, Shizuru, loans Keiko some clothes to replace her burned ones, and she cuts Keiko’s hair since it was singed. We also learn Shizuru wants to be a beautician, which is something I don’t believe was ever conveyed in the anime.

Shizuru, having even stronger spiritual powers than Kuwabara, can actually see Yusuke’s spirit around Keiko. She comments that he seems to be a good guy and asks if she likes him. She says yes and Yusuke looks a little embarrassed.

Meanwhile, Sayaka also bids her farewell. She accepts that Yusuke and Keiko are a great pair. She doesn’t like the idea of relying on anyone else’s boyfriend, so she decides to pass on and find her own boyfriend in the afterlife. She even suggests Koenma is kinda cute and might seek him out next. She tells Yusuke to have two kids with Keiko, a boy and a girl, before finally departing.

There’s also a small part where Koenma shows back up after Sayaka leaves. He tells Yusuke that, since he had to save Keiko’s life and interfere in real world matters, he took a body part from her. Yusuke freaks out and rushes to Keiko and Koenma giggles and points out that he took her hair (since she just got a haircut.)

You’ll notice that another scene is missing from the manga, and that’s the scene after the fire is put out. Keiko stands by with Yusuke’s body in a wheelchair, believing he saved her from the fire. Atsuko, in a kind of annoying ‘I’m not really taking this seriously’ tone goes on about how sorry she is that she wasn’t there, but she’s thankful Yusuke is alive and will do better for him from now on.

I do kinda wish the manga had some scene with Atsuko, because this is literally all her fault. Like I said in my review of the anime episode, I almost feel like it was originally planned to have Atsuko accidentally set the fire due to her negligence but they decided against it to not make Atsuko too unlikable. Instead, she left the windows unlocked and covered her son in dust and garbage, giving the arsonist easy access and allowing the fire to spread easily.

This was definitely a sweet story in both versions, but I can’t help but prefer the anime’s retelling a little more. Yusuke knowingly and willingly sacrificing his one shot at being brought back to life is just better than him needing to be a ghost for a while longer. He didn’t know what he was agreeing to in the first place, and he didn’t care at all when he found out the cost.

Yusuke, in the anime, after everything was said and done, had a bit of a blowup. He yelled out to his mom, Keiko and Kuwabara to stop talking to what was now an actual dead body. He yelled at his mom to stop apologizing because he’ll never be around to say it’s okay, and he accepted that he was dead for good. He even started crying a little before telling Botan to just take him heaven or hell or wherever he was supposed to go now.

This blowup doesn’t mean he regrets saving Keiko, of course he doesn’t, but it’s very genuine to also show that the cost deeply affected him. A sacrifice isn’t really much of a sacrifice if the loss doesn’t hurt you.

Chapters 15-16: Target! A Victory/Victory Depends on Guts

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As he’s floating around town, Yusuke spots an old classmate of his, Suekichi, being bullied by a group of thugs. Back when they were kids, Suekichi was always being bullied and Yusuke would save him from the bullies….for a fee, of course. He was so spineless and weak that the other kids had nicknamed him Suekichi the idiot.

Yusuke couldn’t stand watching Suekichi be ruthlessly beaten into the ground anymore, so once he was knocked unconscious Yusuke jumped into his body, ignoring the warnings of Botan. Yusukichi easily flattened all of the thugs in one fell swoop, but Yusuke became locked in Suekichi’s body.

Meanwhile, Koenma appears before Botan and explains that a decision was made on Yusuke’s revival. They will allow Yusuke to be brought back to life even without him regaining the virtue he lost earlier. They explored Yusuke’s heart and found that he wasn’t evil, but he wasn’t entirely noble either. He very much acts without thinking, but many of his acts lead him to noble deeds….and some not so noble.

They’ve concluded that he’s a ‘bubblehead’ who can’t be accurately judged in his spirit form, so they’re taking the opportunity to see what he’ll do in a regular body..

Once Suekichi’s consciousness was reawakened, he freaked out at the invasion of Yusuke’s spirit, but Yusuke explained that he wished to help him. Suekichi is an aspiring boxer and he’s loved the sport of boxing since he was a kid. However, he’s never won a single match, which is really all he wants to do. Being bullied his whole life, he has a nasty habit of closing his eyes when the opponent is about to strike, so he always loses.

He does have a wealth of knowledge on boxing and great technique, but when it comes to applying it, he’s a total mess. However, he was chosen to partake in a competition as a representative of their school’s boxing society. He was one of only two candidates with the other being a thug named Itou who lost the position due to skipping too many practices. Itou’s cohorts were the ones beating on him in the start of the story, trying to get him to relinquish his spot. Itou himself starts wailing on him to get him to give up, but once again Yusuke takes over and beats the snot out of him.

Yusuke keeps trying to get Suekichi to believe in himself and have fighting spirit, but no matter the situation, he always folds.

One day, they bump into Tachikawa, who is meant to be his opponent in the match. He’s a dirty fighter who is known for purposely breaking bones and blinding his opponents in order to win. Yusuke took over his body and stood up to him for Suekichi, but when the time came for the match and he tried to get Suekichi to rise to the occasion, Suekichi simply couldn’t do it.

Yusuke finally got fed up and punched Suekichi (and by extension himself) in the face. With one final…let’s call it a pep talk Yusuke-style, Suekichi bites the bullet and heads out, which allows Yusuke to leave his body.

During the match, he does quite well. He doesn’t close his eyes and he has a newfound confidence. Even after he takes a hit, he’s able to power through because Yusuke’s punch was a lot worse. Tachikawa then aims to elbow him in the eyes to blind him, but Suekichi blocks with his head gear and socks Tachikawa in the face, laying him out and winning him the match. He cheers to Yusuke, even though he’s gone from his body, and Yusuke looks on with a smile.

I gotta say, if this was the main crux they were using for Yusuke earning his right to be revived….what a shitty story to do that with. It’s not a terrible story, it’s just largely uninteresting and not worth being so important. And haven’t we already had a story when Yusuke helps some bullied kid be brave? Nothing is riding on this competition besides some vow he made to himself several years ago, the outcome is entirely predictable, Suekichi is not an engaging character at all, and Yusuke was able to help him by beating up a dozen people and punching Suekichi in the face? Are you kidding me? THAT’S the act that instantly shows the higher ups in Spirit World that Yusuke’s worth bringing back to life?

Why couldn’t they have just made it so him sacrificing his ‘life’ for Keiko was the big act that convinced them? Why did he need to something in a human body to show this? Didn’t he also do good deeds the few times he possessed people? Hell, just look to the brief period he was brought back to life and how he saved Keiko from that gang, even risking losing his chance at coming back to life if she spoke to him. It’s so backwards. This should have been one of the first ‘Yusuke proves he’s an alright guy’ stories not the final one.

Chapter 17: The Golden Awakening

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I love how the action lines are also inside Yusuke’s mouth.

Ah, we’ve finally reached Yusuke’s awakening, and it’s pretty much exactly as it was in the anime. The only real change I saw was that, at least in the English dub, Yusuke claims Atsuko had good insurance and that’s how they got such a good apartment after the fire. In the manga, a text box explains that Atsuko got money from pimps to pay for it…..I don’t know if they’re insinuating that Atsuko’s a prostitute or she just knows pimps who would give her money, but….there’s that.

Speaking of Atsuko, another thing that stayed the same was Atsuko going out and getting plastered, leaving Yusuke’s body all alone AGAIN. I know I’ve already complained about that when talking about the anime, but REALLY. She nearly loses her son AGAIN to a house fire because she was out getting shitfaced, and she decides it’s a good idea to yet again leave her son alone while she goes to get shitfaced. Bloody hell….

As a few final notes, the anime did add a scene where Yusuke tries to corral Kuwabara while he’s at the arcade, but his efforts fail, and the anime’s shot of Keiko kissing Yusuke was just plain better in the manga. The actual kiss is covered, but the angle is a lot better than the weird sideways kiss she gives him in the anime.

….Oh and also, the previous two chapters were even more pointless if he was just going to be revived immediately after.

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And that was volume two! Quite the long road to Yusuke getting revived, but we’re finally getting him into Spirit Detective mode.

As for this volume’s journey to getting him there….Eh. The filler was okay, but I didn’t feel particularly impacted to the point where I was like ‘Whoa, I’m sad they never adapted this to the anime.’ The arc with Suekichi only gets increasingly frustrating the more I think about it. It’s boring padding that definitely didn’t deserve to be the defining moment for proving Yusuke’s worth as a person.

The manga just seems to have a problem with making stories that otherwise don’t really need Yusuke and Botan around. It doesn’t feel like Yu Yu Hakusho – it feels like an anthology. A Yu Yu Hakusho anthology-esque section could very well work if they focused more on giving Yusuke and Botan more stuff to do instead of reacting to what’s going on around them.

The arc with Yusuke’s temporary resurrection was okay, and the ending with Keiko was a little sweet, but I still find the conditions of this temporary arrangement to be bunk. It really just felt like a forced plot device to ensure Keiko and Yusuke don’t have some sort of reunion before he actually revives.

When it came to storylines that were adapted into the anime for this volume, everything seems in order, barring that one moment at the end of Prerequisites for a Loved One where the anime just did it objectively better all around. The manga did Sayaka’s role a lot better, but in comparison to the ending changes, it’s not much consolation.

Hm…..I feel like it’s a bit of a close call, but, ultimately, I’d give this round to the anime. If the anime had omitted more memorable stories and moments, I’d definitely give it to the manga, but they just made too many missteps here.

Winner: Anime


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Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapters 22-23 (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

This is another story I’m sorry didn’t make it into Season Zero. It’s weird because this a two parter, so it easily could’ve been adapted into the show without needing to write anything new, but I guess they just didn’t like the story enough.

Hanasaki, the timid kid from chapter three, makes a reappearance. He is a huge fan of the American comic book hero, Zombire – which is literally a fusion of a zombie and a vampire. His father makes sure to get him some cool Zombire merch, like masks, model kits etc. every time he returns from a business trip from America.

His father feels bad for not being around much, especially considering Hanasaki has rather poor health and has spent a lot of time in the hospital. Hanasaki doesn’t have a lot of friends or self-confidence, so his father is happy whenever he can put a smile on his face by getting him Zombire stuff. He’s especially happy that Hanasaki has found some new friends in Yugi and the gang.

(Can I just point out how crazy rude it is to unbox something you find in someone’s room? Let alone if it’s a model kit and choosing to assemble it right there just because you assume the person doesn’t have the time to do it. Even if he didn’t just want to collect it and preserve the box, he still would have wanted to have the fun of putting it together himself. For god’s sake, Jonouchi. Get a clue.)

However, his father’s a bit of an idiot. A well-meaning idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.

To help boost Hanasaki’s confidence, he pretends to be a stranger getting attacked by some goons in the middle of the night. Hanasaki rushes out in his new Zombire costume that his father just bought him and ‘defeats’ the goons with ease.

This plan works wonderfully as Hanasaki pretty much believes he can do anything now. However, I really, really, really need to point out how misguided this plan is.

It’s great that his dad wants to boost his confidence. It’s great that he wants to give him a chance to be a hero like Zombire. But making your scrawny, physically weak, child who has a history of health problems believe he can easily beat up thugs twice his size, especially when he has a hero complex, is not the smartest thing in the world. He may gain confidence, but he may also gain overconfidence and a desire to continue challenging huge people who would wipe their asses with his mangled remains.

What’s even worse is that, 1) These jerks aren’t people Hanasaki’s dad knows well or is friends with – they’re just random thugs he found on the street and 2) when Hanasaki’s dad pays them off, they ask for Hanasaki’s full name and WHERE HE GOES TO SCHOOL so they can supposedly do this again…..And he just gives them that information. There’s a difference between being misguided and being an idiot. I know the 90s were a different time in regards to child safety, but this is too much even for then.

Predictably, the goons arrive at their school and they threaten Yugi, knowing he’s a friend of Hanasaki, so Hanasaki can come in to save him. They run off, and Hanasaki is once again emboldened by his heroism. However, the real reason they did that was so they’d know Hanasaki’s face too, since he was masked the first time they saw him….doesn’t really make a difference because knowing his face doesn’t mean you know where he lives, but either way, they find out where he lives, throw a rock through his window claiming they’ve kidnapped Yugi and to come face them if he ever wants to see him again.

Hanasaki dons his Zombire costume and heads out to save his friend.

Meanwhile, Yugi is getting into Zombire model kits thanks to Hanasaki, but he’s run out of spray paint and can’t color his newest creation. Since all the shops are closed, he runs to Hanasaki’s house to borrow some paint. However, all he finds is his father in a panic, holding the note the goons left for Hanasaki. They call him up and tell him they’ve got Hanasaki and are holding him hostage for 500,000 yen, which is about 4500 USD. If he doesn’t pay, they’ll hurt Hanasaki. And even though they haven’t given his father enough time to do anything, they’re still beating up Hanasaki and even spraying spray paint into his eyes. Yikes…

Yugi, who soon becomes Yami, rushes off to save him, vehement in saving the friend who was only trying to protect him in the first place. Hanasaki’s father is close behind and retrieves Hanasaki while Yugi takes care of the goons.

Before we head on to the Shadow Game portion, let me point out one final bit of idiocy in Hanasaki’s dad. He tells Hanasaki that they should just…go home. *lip smack* First of all, you’re just gonna leave poor Yugi alone with three thugs who have knives? Real nice. Why aren’t you helping him or calling the cops? Yugi’s a kid too. What are you thinking? Second, your child has been beaten and had spray paint shot directly into his eyes. Maybe take him to a hospital first? You’re a terrible parent.

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It’s honestly not much of a game. The thugs chase Yami around as he draws lines on the ground with spray paint. Eventually, they realize he was drawing a maze around them and a discarded cigarette is set to ignite it. As the lines burst into flames, the thugs run away into the water of the dam.

That’s it. That’s all. They don’t even actually go through the maze, they just run away.

Hanasaki refuses to go home, sheds his Zombire mask and heads off to help Yugi fight the goons. He doesn’t get to actually do anything, but the fact that he rushed in either way proved to himself and his father that he doesn’t need some silly costume or some fake super strength to be a hero – he had it in him all along.

This is a pretty sweet couple of chapters. I really liked Hanasaki when we first met him in chapter three, so I’m glad we got more time with him and got to explore his character more. I really wish he was made into more of a regular character, to be honest. He’s very likable, brave and sweet. I think he’d make a great addition to the group – especially in this series loaded with jerks around every corner. The ending explaining that he had the heart of a hero and plenty of courage all along was predictable, but not as much as you’d might think. I was more worried they’d do worse damage to him than they did, just because so many people in this manga are ridiculously evil.

This plot is interesting, even if the choices made by the father are just stupid sometimes. It’s also weird that he decides to do this confidence boost plot thing right as he learns Hanasaki has a group of friends. Isn’t his confidence the highest it’s ever been right now?

Though I do have to say….isn’t he a tad old to be believing he’s randomly acquiring super powers? He’s meant to be the same age as Yugi and the others, which is at least 16, right? Yet he’s leaning into the make-believe so much it’s almost delusional.

The Shadow Game is boring too, but that’s not really the point. The point is, Hanasaki has found a strength within himself that has nothing to do with Zombire, and he has a big heart that allows him to fight for his friends no matter what, even if the enemy outnumbers him and are twice his size. That’s just as good, if not better, as any comic book hero.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 7/Manga Chapter 21

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Plot: Evil sentient Tamagotchis!

Breakdown: So this story is really….strange, even for Season Zero. Today’s episode centers around digital keychain pets – more commonly known as Gigapets, Tamagotchi and Nanopets. They’re the latest craze in school. Everyone has them – even the Yu-Gi-Oh gang.

All this talk about the digital pets is truly nostalgic, and boy does it make me feel old. The rough pixel animations, the LCD screen, the 8-bit sounds. It’s just so….outdated. I can bet any kid watching this today would laugh at it. Granted, these pets are a little cooler than the ones we had in real life in that they, somehow, take on the characteristics and physical traits of their owners.

It’s actually even weirder than you might think. In the Yu-Gi-Oh world, they’ll soon develop a holographic system meant to create projections so real that you can feel air pressure and even smell them (And stand on them sometimes….) This technology is designed for use with a trading card game. And yet these little pixel-y games are popular in the same couple of years.

Originally, our very clear antagonist was a boy named Kujirada. Kujira means ‘whale’ and just guess why he’s named that. Yes, he’s fat. But he’s not just fat – he’s ridiculous in his design too. His face is about ten sizes too small for his head and he has ears that could easily cover his entire face.

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In the anime, they add in that he’s also rich and literally throws money at any problem that he usually creates.

The manga chapter is actually pretty uneventful, so a lot of the anime episode is loaded with subplot and an extension of the original plot. Honda is bummed because Miho missed first period, and he shows extra grumpiness about it by going on about how much of a waste of time the digital pets are. He’s not going to waste time cleaning up digital pet poop when he is dedicated to cleaning up the real world. I’m not gonna say he doesn’t have a point, but he’s being a real ass about it. Digital pets are no more a ‘waste of time’ than any other game. It’s called fun, Honda.

Miho shows up before second period starts, and she explains that she missed first period because she was so busy taking care of her digital pet last night that she slept late. She’s been trying really hard to raise a good pet because the company that makes them is having a pet competition. The owner of the best pet will win a trip to Australia.

Miho shows her manipulative bitch ways again by oh so subtly wishing that someone could take care of her pet for her so she could win the trip without having to…ya know…do the work herself. Just like in that episode where she manipulated Honda into standing in line for an unreasonable amount of time so she could get some fancy watch.

They act like she’s an airhead, but she knows exactly what’s she’s doing to poor, pathetic Honda – especially when she mentions that the trip is for two. And, for God’s sake, Honda. You may be boring in the 2000 show, and you may have a similar patheti-sad puppy love for Shizuka there too, but this is just upsetting.

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At this point, I really don’t know why Honda or Miho exist. I mentioned last time that I thought Honda having a past with Jonouchi was at least interesting, but the focus was still purely on Jonouchi and Yugi’s friendship above all else. You could’ve made it so Yugi used to be friends with Jonouchi at a young age, but then he fell in with a bad crowd when his parents started getting divorced and then he just turned into an asshole until he made up with Yugi.

Even in the 2000 anime, I find it hard to justify Honda’s presence. He doesn’t do anything on his own, and if his role is simply ‘Jonouchi’s good friend’ Yugi already takes that role in an exemplary fashion. Their friendship is legendary. Not saying Honda has no right to exist at all or that Jonouchi can’t have more than one friend, but he should’ve been a much more minor character if they weren’t going to bother trying to make him interesting.

Honda then has to be two-faced when Jonouchi calls him out for accepting the task by explaining that he suddenly realized the digital world and reality are the same….Uh huh.

He even takes the next day off at school so he can care for the digital pet. Also, Honda’s definitely not a pure puppy dog about this, because he clearly shouts that he’s thinking about having sex with Miho (Though feels he can’t as he and Miho aren’t married yet. He’s enjoying the thought of her in a swimsuit, though. Guess that will have to tide him over.)

At least Anzu kinda calls out Miho’s manipulation later, especially when she shows her hypocrisy in saying Kujirada is wrong for using pets other people have raised to win the contest….

Another addition to the anime version is a new character called Haiyama. He’s a very shy and lonely boy who reminds Yugi a lot of himself before he made friends with the others. Yugi’s worried about him since he’s very reserved and seems to be paying off Kujirada for something in private. He tries to make friends with him and tells him he can always talk with him whenever he wants. Yugi also gives Haiyama a spare digital pet he has in order for him to join in on the fun.

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I said that Kujirada was originally the obvious main antagonist of the manga chapter of which this episode’s story derived from because, in the anime version, while he is the antagonist for a while, it’s eventually revealed that the main enemy all along was Haiyama.

But before we get to Haiyama, let’s talk about Kujirada’s role in the manga. Originally, he was just a big brute who used his limited edition ‘hidden character’ pet (and you know it’s limited edition because it has a star on it) to bully the pets of Jonouchi and Yugi through the linking capability (They call it dating/mating, but it’s really just linking) Outside of the star, nothing else makes the pet special besides that it has a longer life span than other pets.

Apparently, all digital pets die after 20 days, which is reasonable considering, from what I’ve read, the average lifespan of a real-life digital pet was around 12 days with the maximum being 25 days. Apparently, the world record is 89 days, which kinda confuses me because these pets are designed to die by old age, so I have no clue how they managed to work around that to keep one alive for 89 days, but that’s cool anyway.

When Kujirada went home, he realized his pet had become sentient and evil. The pet demanded more food, but he wasn’t satisfied with the pittance that the game itself offered so he demanded to be fed other people’s pets.

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The next day at school, Kujirada fed his pet Jonouchi and Anzu’s pets. His pet was was about to eat Yugi’s pet, Yuu-2, but it suddenly evolved (thanks to the data exchange from Jonouchi’s pet from earlier) and just…kicked the evil sentient digital pet’s ass and….that’s it. The end.

You see what I meant by this chapter being strange? Yugi never turns into Yami, there’s no shadow game nor is there any explanation as to why and how this digital pet became sentient and evil, and after his pet is defeated, Kujirada just walks away literally going ‘Oh well, at least I can sleep now.’ The chapter ends with Yugi watching Yuu-2 eating because he knows he’ll vanish the next day due to the life span limit.

What is even this story?

In the anime, as I mentioned before, Kujirada is super rich now. They make it a point a few times to say he used to be a kind kid but then his family fell into money and he suddenly became a massive asshole. He smashes the window to some shop selling an incredibly rare golden digital pet device for 50,000 yen (Around 500 USD) and takes it from the display, then he rains a bunch of cash on the owner to cover the cost of the pet and the window….He could’ve just walked in and bought the thing, but this is Season Zero where 99% of people who aren’t the main characters are cartoonishly evil super villains.

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Also, there’s no reason this dude is so happy right now. Kujirada said that was enough money to cover the pet and the damage, meaning he’s breaking even right now. Plus, he has the headache of having to cover the window, clean up all the broken glass, looking bad in front of customers and having to get a repair service down to replace the window….

The pet is apparently not sentient or evil in this version, it’s just a monster because its owner is a dick. And it’s only eating pets because that will make it more impressive, which will make Kujirada a shoe-in to win the contest.

In the anime, before Kujirada’s pet, DevilMaster can try to eat Yuu-2, Honda shows up with Miho’s new and improved pet that he’s been slaving over called Ichigo. Since he’s been so attentive of the pet, it adopts Honda’s traits and becomes a cleaning fiend. Honda challenges DevilMaster with it and I don’t understand why he’s doing this.

He’s just spent two straight days tirelessly raising this thing for Miho, the girl he’s obsessed with and would do anything for. Why would he see pets being destroyed by Kujirada’s pet and then openly declare a challenge to him with Miho’s pet? Even if he didn’t have a thing for her, he’s still risking her pet on a gamble.

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And then…..

…..Honda actually wins.

He has trained Ichigo to be the ultimate beautification club member, and it eliminates all trash. DevilMaster’s evilness, I guess, makes it constitute as trash, so it was deleted. I actually don’t care about this change because, in all honesty, it’s not much better or worse than what the manga gave us.

Later, Kujirada supposedly kidnaps Miho and writes a ransom note to Honda telling him to meet him in a warehouse. When Honda arrives, however, he finds Kujirada unconscious with his back covered in whiplashes. Out from the shadows emerges Haiyama, who looks 1000% different than he did in the last scene he was in. His eyes are now crazy and about 500x bigger than they were before, his mouth is equally enlarged, and his hair went from black and blunt to purple and spiky. He actually reminds me of a weird version of Weevil.

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Haiyama reveals that Kujirada was his real-life pet this whole time. Like they feed digital pets to make them stronger, he ‘fed’ the weak-willed Kujirada loads of money to make him stronger. Haiyama’s abuse is what made Kujirada have such a change in character from the kind, timid boy he supposedly was before.

Also, apparently, before Haiyama got to him, Kujirada wasn’t overweight at all. I don’t know if they’re making some sort of symbolism here in regards to the fact he was ‘feeding’ Kujirada a lot of money, and he overdid it, which made him fat. (Also, it seems to have changed his hair color too?)

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Yugi arrives, having followed Haiyama because he was worried about him coming across Kujirada again. Haiyama throws the digital pet Yugi gave him on Kujirada’s back and calls Yugi a fool before whipping him aside. Honda tries to fight him, dodging his whip strikes, but his all-nighter starts getting to him so he just passes out.

Haiyama reveals the real reason he called Honda there – he wants Honda as his newest pet. Kujirada has proven a failure since he couldn’t even win at a digital pet game. Honda’s ‘feed’ will be…I guess….holding Miho captive and stripping her in front of him? What the hell?

Yugi transforms into Yami who challenges Haiyama to a shadow game.

Shadow Game

There’s nothing to compare here since the manga chapter didn’t have a shadow game, but the shadow game is, more or less, exactly the same as Yuu-2’s battle against Kujirada’s pet in the manga. Yuu-2 evolves because of the data exchange with Jounouchi’s pet from earlier and he wins. Here, it’s a little unfair, at least by logic in the writing, because Haiyama has clearly not been using that digital pet so Yuu-2 would obviously be, by default, stronger than Haiyama’s pet.

At the end of the match, Haiyama’s pet “eats” him, but it’s soon revealed that it was just an illusion and Haiyama is freaking out on the floor.

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The last scene of the episode shows Miho and Honda passed out on the floor and Miho says ‘Let’s go to Australia…Mama’….So yeah, Miho wasn’t even going to go to Australia with Honda in the end if she won – after all of that. Manipulative. Bitch.

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While this story as a whole is pretty strange, I will say this much – the anime is much better than the manga in this circumstance. The manga just feels so incomplete. Why was the digital pet sentient? Why was it evil? I guess it could’ve just been because Kujirada was evil, but that still doesn’t explain its sentience. How was the evil sentient pet defeated by a regular digital pet without any interference by the Millennium Puzzle? Why was there no shadow game? Why did Yami not appear? Why did Kujirada just give up after his pet was defeated? It’s a confusing mess.

The anime shifting focus to Honda and Miho while introducing a new antagonist in Haiyama was actually quite genius to help extend the episode. While I disagree with Honda bending over backwards for Miho and I hate Miho more with every new episode, their story did create an interesting new structure to expound upon what was there.

Haiyama was actually a pretty interesting antagonist. I was a little shocked to see that this little timid kid was managing to control such a huge brute like Kujirada, and his influence was so powerful he drastically changed Kujirada’s personality and basically turned him into a monster. I think the visible transformation of Haiyama into evil super villain Haiyama was a bit much though. The huge whip did not help. It would’ve been a bit more intimidating if he kept his regular design and mannerisms because there is certainly something very haunting about someone who seems innocent and reserved turning into a psychopath.

The shadow game was a little short and uninteresting, but hey….at least the anime had one. Although, maybe I should take points off anyway because the shadow game was really just the match Yugi had with Kujirada just with an added bit where he gets ‘eaten’ in the end.

I should also bring up that this episode certainly has a Digimon vibe to it. However, I’m not entirely certain I can say it had any influence on the story in the manga. Digimon as a brand started out in 1997. Yu-Gi-Oh’s manga run originally started in 1996, but the volume that contains this chapter was released in mid-1997. It’s a little too close for me to say it had any influence on this story, but it’s kinda interesting to think about.

Next time, we got some anime-exclusive stuff going down. Kaiba sends his Shitennou after Yugi for revenge.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 6/Manga Chapters 15-20

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Plot: Shadi is desperate to draw out Yugi’s other personality from the Millennium Puzzle. Still having unfinished business with Yoshimori, who excavated the artifacts Shadi believes should have stayed in their resting places, Shadi decides to use him as a puppet to corner Yugi. Also utilizing Anzu as a puppet and risking her life in a twisted Shadow Game, Shadi gets his wish and Yami emerges. Will Shadi regret what he has wished for, or will Yami pay the price?

Breakdown: This lone episode covers SIX chapters of the manga, so prepare for a lot of cuts.

In the manga, Kanekura was murdered by Shadi. In the anime, he just loses consciousness. They’re attributing that to the pharaoh’s curse, but that’s hardly newsworthy.

In the manga, Shadi entered Yoshimori’s mind room and found it full of artifacts and other items connected to archaeology. He also has a photo of his family collecting dust off to the side, symbolizing his neglected family due to his work. The mind room at the moment is dark and gloomy, symbolizing anxiety and dread. However, there’s a spark of light amongst the darkness – Yugi and the others, who are coming to visit him to help comfort him after Kanekura’s death. (Likewise, there’s a scene at school where the kids read about Kanekura’s death and they all decide to visit Yoshimori to comfort him, though Yugi has a bad feeling about it.)

Shadi takes this opportunity to draw out Yugi’s other self and challenge him on a more level playing field than last time. Using the power of his Millennium Ankh, he reorganizes Yoshimori’s mind room to make him into a puppet. When Yugi and the others arrive, they’re tricked by the INSANELY CREEPILY DRAWN Yoshimori (I swear to god, the way Yoshimori is drawn here is scarier than a good chunk of horror manga) who claims he killed Kanekura and tries to attack them.

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He starts by strangling Jonouchi. However, Anzu knocks Yoshimori over the head with a globe, freeing Jonouchi from his grasp, and she leads him away from the others. Yoshimori will not stop no matter what, per Shadi’s orders and powers, so Jonouchi tries to lead Yoshimori away while everyone else scrambles. Realizing he needs more than one puppet, he targets Anzu’s mind next. Her mind room is filled with mirrors and items relating to dancing and New York, symbolizing her confidence and her dreams of becoming a dancer in New York.

Oh and there’s also this picture….

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I have no idea what the hell that is. It’s a faceless ripoff of Superman? What does the G stand for?

Also, take a look at Anzu’s interpretation of the Statue of Liberty. It’s holding a dancing shoe, has ribbons around it and is holding a drink.

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Shadi feels more guilty screwing around with Anzu’s mind room since it’s so innocent and full of light, so he decides to make Anzu into a silent puppet instead of a crazed zombie like Kanekura.

Did you guys get all that? Because hardly any of it is in the anime. In that version, all we see is Shadi approaching Yoshimori, him freaking out, the Millennium Ankh glowing and then, as Sugoroku arrives to visit his friend, he sees Yoshimori busting through the window and falling to the ground below.

His injuries aren’t fatal, but we never see his mind room (which means we lose out on learning more about him, even if it is small. It also makes the point to show that, while Yoshimori is obsessed, he’s not greedy and uncaring like Kanekura was) he never turns into a crazed zombie or has a really long chase scene with Jonouchi, and he spends the rest of the episode in the hospital. Yugi and the others visit him in the hospital when they find out what happened, which is when Shadi catches onto Yugi’s presence again.

The group’s talk on the way back from the hospital might as well be a replacement for the discussion at school in the manga, I suppose.

As they walk home, Shadi plans his rematch with Yugi by targeting Anzu, who has split off from the group to head home. Shadi enters Anzu’s mind room to turn her into a puppet. They actually mirror (hehe, get it?) her mind room pretty well, even if I think the room should be much brighter. They don’t make the same alterations to the picture of lady liberty, however, yet they nearly perfectly match the very confusing picture of the G-man with no face.

In the manga, Anzu doesn’t really do much as Shadi’s puppet. She follows him to where he needs to place her and puts her in the Shadow Game trap almost immediately, after telling Yugi about it to prod Yami to come out, of course. He does trigger the shift by claiming that he can make Anzu do anything, even die, if he so wills it.

In the anime, Shadi doesn’t make himself known to Yugi for quite some time. He has secretly taken over Anzu and is using her as a silent puppet at school to try and trick Yugi into shifting into Yami by putting his life at risk – nearly causing a bunch of pipes to fall on him, making him fall down the stairs by dropping a basketball down them as he ascends (??????) and finally trying to strangle him in the infirmary.

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THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP

Yugi is saved by Jonouchi and the rest of the group, and Anzu runs off. Everyone tries to find her, though they’re concerned she’s affected by the pharaoh’s curse and that any one of them could be next. They split up, and Yugi manages to spot Anzu. He follows her to the roof and we get the Shadow Game portion here.

(Side Note: Throughout all of this, Honda is taken over by Shadi and he basically takes Yoshimori’s place in the long chase scene. The only real difference is that now Miho is here. We also didn’t get to see Honda’s mind room, which is a shame….but I worry it might have been filled with pictures of Miho and rulebooks or something. Zombie!Honda is actually pretty frightening, but not as creepy as Yoshimori was. Miho is the one who sprays the zombie with the fire extinguisher whereas it was Jonouchi in the manga.)

Shadow Game

Anzu is on a plank over the edge of the roof. It is being held up by five ropes connected to the fence. Shadi holds her life and mind in his hands, and he will kill her if Yami doesn’t show up and play his game.

(The only real difference here is that the plank had a bunch of ancient Egyptian designs on it in the manga, but this didn’t transfer to the anime.)

Shadi’s ploy works – Yami emerges from the Puzzle to confront Shadi. Before he explains the rules, Shadi tells Yami that the Millennium Puzzle did not end up in his hands and was not solved by him through pure coincidence. He was chosen by the Puzzle after 3000 years of waiting. Shadi’s family was chosen by the Millennium Items as well. Yami doesn’t want to hear anymore, though, and just wants to know the rules. Shadi points out, however, that the game is well since underway.

The ropes connected to Anzu’s ‘bridge of life’ are connected to the fence through six items – five ushabti or ‘answerer’ figurines, four belonging to Yami and one belonging to Shadi, and Shadi’s Millennium Ankh.

One of the figurines suddenly breaks – this was due to Yami showing his inner fright over the powers of the Puzzle. Each ushabti will break whenever he has a weakness of heart. If all four of his statues break, Anzu will fall to her death.

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However, if Yami can somehow break Shadi’s lone ushabti, it will cause the Ankh to slide down the rope and into Anzu’s hands. The only thing that can break her trance without Shadi’s interference is by Anzu holding the Ankh.

The first proper trial starts. The ground breaks apart under Yami’s feet, revealing a slue of zombies grabbing for him. Shadi presents a riddle to Yami – “It crawls out of the earth and clings to a pillar – what am I?” After calming himself down, Yami correctly answers that it’s his shadow.

Yami passes the first test, which, logically, would mean he wins the whole thing because all three of those ushabti need to break in order for the platform to fall, but whatever.

In the anime, they skip ahead to the second test for the first test and completely omit the manga’s first test.

Everything about this test is kept the same, but the anime omits that the monster holding Yami, Amemit, might still be full from eating the soul of Kanekura since, in the anime, he was only left unconscious not killed.

This game has Yami being held in place by an alligator-like monster named Amemit. Before him is a shinkei suijaku game – a game where you turn over one tile at a time and try to find matches. However, this one is different. There are nine tiles, not eight, meaning the middle tile stands alone. Yugi only has one opportunity to guess at what the slates show. The only clue he gets is that the slates are mirrors that reflect Amemit.

Yami eventually figures it out – The slates reflect Amemit’s appearance, meaning it has several pairs on its body: eyes, nostrils, hands, ears, which account for eight slates, but the lone feature, the middle slate, reflects its mouth.

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He passes this test, and we move onto the final round, which, of course, puts all three ushabti at risk of breaking because Shadi’s a cheating dick.

The final round, which is only the second but still final round in the anime, involves an illusion of Bully!Jonouchi from Yugi’s memories. Shadi is pitting Yami against the illusion in a game to the death. The floor falls around them, leaving only a small section to stand on. Using the Millennium Puzzle as a pointer, each person will roll the Puzzle like a die. Whichever direction it points to is the direction in which the other will have to take two steps. If Yugi can make Jonouchi fall first, he wins the game. If Jonouchi makes Yugi fall, he loses the entire Shadow Game and Anzu will fall to her death.

Yugi, not Yami, is the one being more harshly tested here because not only does Yami/Yugi not really know for absolute certain that this is not the real Jonouchi under a spell, possibly putting his best friend in mortal danger, but the memory of his friend as his old bully is revealing weaknesses in Yugi.

Just one line of mocking from the fake Jonouchi is enough to make two of Yami/Yugi’s sshabti’s shatter, leaving one to hold Anzu.

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Also, for some reason, the Puzzle sounds like it’s made of hollow plastic in the anime.

Jonouchi rolls the Puzzle, making Yami step forward. It’s Yami/Yugi’s turn, but he refuses to play this game with Jonouchi. Taking Yami’s turn as passed, the fake Jonouchi rolls the Puzzle again, making Yami take two more steps. Once again, Yami refuses to take his turn.

Shadi asks him if he’s forfeiting the game. Afterall, this challenge is about facing his past, the bully Jonouchi, and overcoming it by destroying it. Refusing to play and letting this memory push him over the edge must be a declaration of defeat. Yami, however, corrects him. He’s not conceding defeat – he just believes in his friends too much. He trusts Jonouchi, whether he be real or not, to not kill him like this.

Scoffing at this ideal, Shadi points out that such a mindset is what makes him weak. In order to truly show strength in this ordeal, he needs to only believe in himself. However, he’s not giving Yami any leeway either way and commands the fake Jonouchi to roll the Puzzle one more time, which would surely send Yami over the edge and end the game.

The illusion, however, refuses and eventually smiles and fades away. Yami/Yugi’s faith in his friend and his trust that Jonouchi has become a changed man since his days as a bully showed Yami/Yugi’s true strength and allowed him to win the game.

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Another problem arises when the lone rope holding Anzu starts breaking. Yami panics, but finds Jonouchi, the real one, holding up the plank Anzu is standing on.

Shadi watches in confusion. He’s shocked that Yami/Yugi’s friends are supporting each other. Yami declares that true strength doesn’t come from standing on your own – it comes from believing in your friends.

This actually shatters Shadi’s ushabti, sending the Ankh down to Anzu’s hand and freeing her from the trance. Jonouchi and Yugi help Anzu back up, though Honda is climbing up Jonouchi. In the manga, Yami is still the dominant one in Yugi’s body through the rest of this finale, but in the anime he switches back to Yugi when Anzu starts falling.

In the manga, Yami directs Jonouchi to touch Yoshimori’s hand to the Ankh to free him. In the anime, the plank holding the Ankh just conveniently smacks Honda on the back of the head, freeing him.

Yami has one last confrontation with Shadi before he leaves in the manga. He says he finally understands the power of the Puzzle. It’s the power of unity. He was able to connect with his friends and overcome these illusions and challenges because his friends were connected with him through it. Suddenly, all of Yugi’s friends, Yoshimori and his grandpa appear beside him. Then Jonouchi tells Shadi to stay out of their territory, which in this case is Yugi/Yami’s heart and mind, though I’m not sure how Jonouchi knows Shadi was responsible for all of this.

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Shadi grabs his Ankh and leaves, telling Yami he’s happy to have found people like him in possession of more Millennium Items and even asks if he can ‘Open the door.’

Jonouchi and Anzu wonder why Yugi looked so different, but when he turns around he’s back to normal so they just brush it off. Yoshimori’s fine, barring some soreness and loss of teeth thanks to Anzu, and they all go off to get something to eat, which is silly to do considering the teeth thing.

In the anime, Shadi leaves without confronting Yami again, though he does explain in voiceover that they’ll meet again and now Yugi has the mission to draw out the true power of the Puzzle.

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Overall, I really liked this arc and episode, even if the finale was a tad on the cheesy side. The rematch with Shadi was really unfair since the odds were so highly stacked against Yami, but the challenges were pretty good and the stakes were high.

I’m not quite sure how much I care about Yoshimori literally being thrown out of this episode. Though, given the narrative they’ve made in the anime, I suppose it is more impacting to have Honda be the crazy zombie here. They pretty much left Yoshimori’s fate up in the air, though. For all we know, at this point, the poor guy will be in a coma forever like Kanekura.

They did match the creepiness factor of Zombie!Yoshimori pretty well, though. Not perfectly, but they did a good job.

I understand why they erased the first game, but at the same time I kinda don’t. If they had removed all of those parts with Anzu trying, in a really pathetic fashion barring the strangulation, to assault Yugi, they probably would have had time to include it. They were already pushing it, trying to include six chapters worth of material into one episode, why add filler?

Next chapter/episode, hey guys, remember Gigapets/Nanopets/Tamogotchi? Time to fly down a nostalgia hole within a nostalgia hole!


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