AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 14: An Explosion Makes for the Worst Date/Manga Chapter 45

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Plot: Now that she realizes that there’s ‘another Yugi’, Anzu brings Yugi to an amusement park to try and lure out the darker more mysterious Yugi.

Breakdown: Oh dear lord, this is going to be a trial. Don’t let that plot fool you. Just because it seems like slice-of-life fodder doesn’t mean we don’t still have insanity. And it definitely doesn’t mean that someone’s not a complete mean-spirited twat today.

Sidetracking a bit, I really don’t understand the wonky way in which they adapted these chapters. I can’t review chapter 27, where I left off on the manga chronologically, yet because it’s adapted in episode 22, which I am no where near, yet I have to keep skipping to the near end of the manga when I’m barely to the midway point of the anime.

Anyhoo, let’s get into it.

In the manga, we merely start with an image of a newspaper explaining the latest in a string of bombings caused by the Card Bomber. He’s called such because he announces his bombings through playing cards. In the anime, we actually see the inspector from the Burger World episode investigating the threat before the bomb goes off. He’s called by the bomber who gives him a ‘quiz’ to determine where the bomb is in the department store.

The quiz is ‘Big or small (upper or lower)? The department store has 12 floors, so is the bomb lower than the sixth floor or above the seventh?’ The inspector guesses ‘small’ and the bomb goes off because it was on the ninth floor.

I really don’t get this quiz. It’s a complete guessing game considering it’s a 50/50 shot. No other clues were given.

Cut to school where Yugi is explaining the serial bombings to Jonouchi, Honda and Anzu. In the manga, Yugi was reading the story in the paper as he and Anzu were already walking to the amusement park.

In the anime, Anzu recaps that Yugi has the same wound on his hand as the person who saved her in the previous episode. She doesn’t readily believe that this Yugi is the same Yugi who saved her, though. He must be another Yugi. Because it’s more logical to think that there’s some Yugi clone or alternate Yugi personality instead of believing Yugi could just be brave and save his friend.

Anzu grabs Yugi’s paper because she sees an ad for an amusement park. She invites Yugi to go with her on Sunday. Jonouchi, Honda and Miho eavesdrop on their conversation and assume that Yugi and Anzu are dating behind their backs. They decide to go to the amusement park on Sunday as well in order to spy on them. We get a pretty funny daydream where Jonouchi imagines Anzu and Yugi on a roller coaster. Anzu is proudly standing up with her arms crossed as it descends and Yugi’s screaming and grabbing her leg.

Anyway, there’s no respectful way of segueing into this observation, so look at Anzu’s boobs in this bottom left panel.

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They’re so pointy, I’m convinced she stole the Millennium puzzle for a second and hid it in her bra.

Back with matching both versions, Yugi and Anzu arrive at the park the next day. Yugi stutters through nearly asking Anzu if this is a date, but she interrupts him by telling him they need to buy entrance tickets. When Yugi goes to the gate to get two student tickets, the woman assumes he needs one student ticket and one child ticket. Yugi pouts and asks what she means by that. She explains to Yugi, whom she calls ‘Boy’ in both versions, that student tickets are for high schoolers not elementary school students. Yugi gets understandably upset and angrily explains to her that, despite his appearance, he’s a high school student.

I’d get pissed too, but the writers of the manga, Season Zero and the 2000 anime really do their best to make Yugi look like a little kid. I get that that’s his thing, all innocent and pure and whatnot, but do they have to make him look like he’s half his age? As much as I’d think it was cute to see Yugi and Anzu together, to some degree (*coughYugiandJonouchiforevercough*) it’s hard to ship them because he looks too much like a little kid. Keep in mind, Yugi is supposed to be 16…..

In the manga, we cut to them getting ready to go on the water slide. In the anime, we get an added scene where the bomber is giving the inspector a hint as to his next target.

‘Big or small? Will the temperature at 11 o’clock be more or less than 28 degrees (Celsius)? The answer will be revealed on the 11 o’clock weather report.’

Back at the park, in the manga, Yugi and Anzu are next seen on the water slide where we get probably the most shameless instance of fanservice I’ve ever seen in Yu-Gi-Oh. They go down the water slide and….well….pretty much this entire page.

I swear she went up two cup sizes since the title page.

Also, I can’t believe I have to say these words, but look at Yugi between Anzu’s legs. He’s looks like a toddler.

In the anime, we also get pretty much this same fanservice shot of Anzu in her bikini, but she’s dry. Yugi is meeting with Anzu after they get changed into their bathing suits and that is the first shot of her that he sees.

Oh and Jonouchi, Honda and Miho are stalking them throughout all of this in the anime. I probably won’t bother noting it from here on unless something important happens.

If you’re wondering if we get the waterslide scene in the anime, we do, but it’s not so ridiculously drawn as it is here.

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Anyway, look at Yugi’s stupid face.

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This is actually mirrored from the manga, but how hilarious does he look?

As they’re sunbathing, it looks like Yami takes over Yugi for a split second and Anzu notices. Either that or she’s hallucinating. I’d probably bank on the latter because Yami typically never emerges unless there’s something serious going on. Also, uhm…he kinda can’t emerge unless Yugi’s wearing the Puzzle…….Where’s your Puzzle, Yugi? You were wearing it when you came in. I know they probably wouldn’t allow him to wear that clunky chunk of metal at a water park, safety hazards and whatnot, but where did he put it? Don’t tell me he left it in one of those lockers they give you for your shoes and clothes. My dude’s gonna get so robbed.

He changes back when some kid shoots a water pistol in his face, causing Yugi to chase after him. Anzu also believes it was her imagination, but I’m not entirely sure. It’s unclear.

Anzu’s all about that hot Yami action, so she decides to force the ‘other’ Yugi to appear.

This is so manipulative. I know that Anzu is legitimately Yugi’s friend, but she’s taking advantage of his feelings to get closer to his sexy alter-ego.

Also, considering that Anzu doesn’t know about the actual separate spirit within the Puzzle….What does Anzu believe the ‘other’ Yugi actually is? Because, in real life, the only real explanation for someone having two personalities is a mental health issue….Which means that Anzu looks even worse in hindsight because, to anyone else in this universe, she’d look like she was not only taking advantage of a friend’s feelings but also like she’s taking advantage of someone with a mental health problem. And trying to force out the other identities of another person, especially for the sake of lusting over him, sounds like flatout abuse.

I’m just trying to imagine Anzu attempting to explain to Jonouchi, Honda or even Miho that her intentions with this date were to force out Yugi’s ‘other’ personality because she wants to get into that Yugi’s pants.

In the manga, some oiled up beach dude comes up to Anzu and asks if she wants to hang out with him. Anzu, seeing this as an opportunity to get the ‘other’ Yugi to defend her, screams out that he’s a pervert. Yugi does take notice, but so does a large group of people around who start beating the shit out of the guy.

And Anzu just grabs Yugi and walks away before anyone asks any questions. What the hell, Anzu?! You got some poor dude beaten up all because you’re horny and then you just bounce? The guy was kinda sleazy, sure, but he didn’t deserve to get the crap kicked out of him all because he asked if she wanted to hang out.

What I think is especially funny is, in the anime, Jonouchi hits on some women in basically the exact same manner as this guy, but gets shut down pretty badly and we’re meant to sympathize with him. So, basically, this dude was no worse than Jonouchi with girls, but it’s supposed to be okay that he gets beaten up. Okay.

In the anime, Anzu’s first approach to this was to pretend she was drowning in the pool. Yugi rushes out to save her, but, funnily enough, she’s saved by two guys in the pool, and Yugi actually ends up legitimately nearly drowning and needs to be saved by another guy. (Where are the lifeguards?)

Manga!Anzu: “After all that, I haven’t seen him.” All that what? You tried one thing.

In the anime, we catch up with the police after Anzu’s failed attempt to draw out Yami. The weather report states that it’s now 28.2 degrees, meaning the answer to the ‘quiz’ was ‘big.’

There are so many variables here. He never mentioned what specific weather report he wanted them to listen to/watch, and considering the threshold was merely a couple of decimal points, I’d say that it could have varied quite a lot between reporters depending on where they’re getting their readings and what equipment they were using. It also means the bomber had no plan for this one since he didn’t know the answer either. This was purely another guessing game. There is no way to know the answers to these ‘quizzes.’

I’m guessing since the inspector starts getting upset that he answered ‘small.’ Not that it matters anyway because the bomber calls up and says it’d be boring if they ended the game there, so he’ll give them another quiz. Thanks for wasting our time, man.

The bomber basically just straight out tells them that his next target is the largest pool in the city, which just so happens to be located at the amusement park where Yugi and Anzu are hanging out.

Hey, just thought I’d tell you, a little late, sorry, but the anime does recreate the pervert scene beat by beat at this point only with two major changes. 1) Unlike Manga!Anzu, SeasonZero!Anzu specifically says the pervert touched her in a nasty place. And 2) Remember how I compared the manga pervert to Jonouchi a bit ago?……Yeah, the ‘pervert’ in the anime is Jonouchi. She spotted him following them so she allowed him to accidentally bump into them, giving her the opportunity to act like she was getting groped so Yugi would Yami up and save her.

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Luckily, Jonouchi didn’t get beaten up by the guys who apprehended him, but seriously Anzu you should be smart enough to realize that was Jonouchi. His only ‘disguise’ was sunglasses….

I love how no one calls her out on the fact that she clearly lied about a sexual assault here. Jonouchi asks why she did that, but we get no answer before cutting away to a later shot of them walking together. She could have just told Yugi that some creepy guy was following them (Although, he’d definitely recognize Jonouchi….) or yelled out ‘creepy stalker!’ or something. But nope. Instead, she accused him of touching her in her bathing suit area. That type of accusation can land a guy in prison, Anzu. And you almost did that your good friend all because, again, you’re horny and manipulative.

As Jonouchi, Yugi and Anzu walk together, Jonouchi reveals that Honda and Miho are there too. Anzu asks why he was secretly following them and Jonouchi denies the accusation. To help tamper tensions, Yugi suggests that they all play together now since they’re together for the day. Anzu suggests….playing tag? And specifically just with her and Yugi? I get what she’s doing, I do, but even Yugi should be confused.

First off, who the hell goes to an amusement park to play tag?

Second, what 16-year-olds go to an amusement park to play tag?

Third, why would you suggest playing two player tag as a response to Yugi saying they should all do something together?

God, Anzu, your plans are so transparent and stupid.

The next part is changed in a very important way, and it’s one of the key reasons why the manga version upsets me so much. Yes, the pervert scene wasn’t the worst of Anzu in this chapter.

In the manga, Yugi and Anzu spot the police in the park and wonder why they’re there. An announcement over the PA system informs them that a dangerous item has been brought to the park and that everyone needs to evacuate immediately. Yugi thinks it’s the Card Bomber, and Anzu responds by saying “A bomber, eh?….What a thrill! This could get interesting!” And then she thinks to herself ‘This is the perfect chance to see the other Yugi.’

Jesus.

Christ.

Anzu.

People could get killed or lose limbs and your only thought is ‘Oh boy, I can use this terrorist attack to see sexy Yugi-kun!?’ Whatever drops of respect I still had for you just went down the drain into the most putrid sewer system. What the fuck is wrong with you, Anzu?

In order to enact her plan, she sneaks away from Yugi and takes a ride on the Ferris wheel. Why the Ferris wheel is still taking passengers and operating when the police are evacuating the place in response to a bomb threat, I have no clue.

Manga!Anzu: “I hope Yugi gets worried! If he does, I might meet that stranger…The other Yugi-kun….”

Back with the anime, Anzu just heads off to the Ferris wheel because she’s upset.

Anime!Anzu: “Stupid Yugi. I finally had him alone….” Yes, stupid Yugi for being unable to control our friends and suggesting we all spend the day together when I never made it clear or official that this was a date.

A bomb explodes on the Ferris wheel, but not in the car that Anzu is riding, car three. It’s only here where they finally announce that there’s a bomb in the park and they need to evacuate. Anzu reacts to the news of a bomb with shock and horror, like a normal person.

Everyone stampedes out, forcing Jonouchi and Honda with them. Yugi is left behind. He informs the police that Anzu is on the Ferris wheel. Another officer explains that there are actually three cars with people in them – one with Anzu, another with a mother and her child and yet another with a mysterious shadowed person who is totally not the bomber.

SPOILER ALERT: HE IS.

And what a stupid-ass bomber to place bombs on the very Ferris wheel on which he’s riding. Even if there isn’t one in his car, he can still easily cause the Ferris wheel to topple over and kill him.

Yami emerges, which makes Anzu ecstatic. (Congratulations, Anzu. Do you think you’ll have enough time to pleasure yourself before your car explodes?) and takes over the game for the police, who just allow it because Yami proclaims he’s really good at card games….O…kay…

Shadow Game…..Kinda

In the manga, the ‘Shadow Game’ (it’s not really a Shadow Game in this chapter, and it’s not initially in the episode, but let’s just call it that) is a game called Clock Solitaire. A deck of 52 cards (excluding the joker) is used to distribute the face-down cards into twelve piles of four cards each. The piles are arranged like the points of a clock, each representing one number that matches the numbers on the Ferris wheel. A thirteenth pile of four cards is created in the middle to represent car thirteen.

The player, Yami, will randomly choose to flip a card from a pile one by one. Whatever number is on the card that he flips over, he will set on the pile that corresponds with the point on the clock. If he flips an ace, it will go on the one pile, two on the two pile, etc. This will keep going until the piles are completed. The first pile to be completed will have the bomb on that car blow up, as demonstrated when he completes the four pile and again when he completes the eight pile.

After the first car explodes, Anzu finally realizes, holy shit, tempting fate with a bomber on the loose was a BAD IDEA?!

Yugi needs to ensure that he doesn’t complete the piles for any cars that have people in them, especially Anzu’s car, number three. Before he knows it, the three pile already has three cards on it, so he needs to win.

How do you ‘win’ this game, you might ask? Well, initially Yami explains it like this.

Manga!Yami: “There’s only one way to win this game! I have to gather all of the king cards! I started the game by drawing from that pile, so I have to finish the game by completing it!” Uhm, Yami, the bomber never said that. He never explained how to win this game at all. You’re just making a guess.

Yami IS right, but for an entirely different reason. As I already stated, the bomber is on that Ferris wheel, which is how he can see what’s going on (and, really, the only reason this is kept a secret is because the art allows this to stay secret. In reality, the police would be pretty damn suspicious of the guy in the car who keeps looking down with binoculars and talking on the phone….the one with the bomb detonator in his hands. He’s also in the car closest to the ground, so they’d be able to see roughly everything he’s doing. Why would he trap himself in there anyway? I get that he needs to be close to the action to see what cards Yugi’s flipping, but surely there’s a better way.) He can’t blow up car thirteen because he’s the one in car thirteen.

Yami wins the game, and everyone’s rescued. Before Yami walks off with Anzu, he tells the inspector to interview the guy in car thirteen since he’s obviously the bomber. Anzu happily grabs his arm and insists they continue their date….which totally wouldn’t happen.

First of all, the park is bound to be shut down for at least few days because of the TERRORIST ATTACK they just suffered. Secondly, you’re going to be a little busy making statements to the police. Third, Anzu….are you a sociopath? I was going to say that jokingly, but I really mean it. Are you?

Between the messed up stuff you did today and now going off on a date like you didn’t just survive a TERRORIST BOMBING WHILE TRAPPED ON THE FERRIS WHEEL THAT WAS BEING BOMBED, you’d think you’d maybe need a breather….maybe wish to go home? Perhaps look up one of those “therapists” I’ve been hearing about.

In the anime, the game is entirely different. The police are instructed to get a bunch of balloons of various colors. The inspector is then told to release a balloon of any color. He chooses a white balloon. For a second, everyone’s on pins and needles because the balloon catches on Anzu’s car. However, it becomes loose and floats away. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief, but car one suddenly explodes.

Also, somehow the bomb made the car look like this.

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It looks more like the car was detached, dropped off a cliff and then reattached. How would any bomb cause that kind of damage?

The bomber explains the rules – the colors of the balloons each correspond to a car. If the player can figure out which color corresponds to Anzu’s car, he wins and saves the passengers. If not, the cars will explode and the people will die.

In a very hilarious take on the police handing over the reigns to Yugi in the manga, the anime has the police just flatout saying they can’t play this game. The inspector himself says he doesn’t have the confidence. The. Confidence. You are a goddamn police inspector. You’re not confident playing a game? A game that involves solving a puzzle? Something police inspectors typically do?

I can somewhat understand being hesitant about playing the card game, even if that was purely luck, but this is an actual problem that can be solved logically. The only luck involved is potentially needing to sacrifice cars in order to make it easier to reach the solution.

Yami takes over and accepts the challenge. Anzu realizes Yugi has changed, but unlike Manga!Anzu, she’s not swamping her bikini bottom over it.

The bomber explains some more conditions. Yami has a fifteen minute time limit. If he gives the wrong answer or explodes a car with a person in it, he loses. If he doesn’t provide any answer within fifteen minutes, he’ll detonate all of the bombs.

The only information Yami has is that the white balloon corresponded to car one. All of the cars are identical in color both inside and out, they’re not known by any other names outside of their given numbers, and they’re all the same shape.

The bomber decides to throw Yami a bone. Knowing he needs more to go on, he suggests releasing the yellow balloon. He promises that the balloon does not correspond to a car containing any passengers. The inspector doesn’t believe him, but Yami does, citing that the bomber enjoys his games too much to purposely end it here.

Yami releases the yellow balloon, and, in response, car ten blows up.

He can’t reach a conclusion based on only two answers. Half of his time is already eaten up. The bomber is getting bored, so he suggests releasing another balloon – this time pink. Yami asks if the pink balloon is safe to release, but the bomber refuses to give anymore hints, meaning Yami will have to gamble more than he did before. The bomber threatens to blow up a car with a passenger if he doesn’t release the pink balloon soon. Yami, realizing the bomber still desperately wants to enjoy his game, decides to release the pink balloon.

Car four blows up.

Also, it seems like someone phoenix down’d car one in this shot.

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Yami keeps looking at his watch, keeping an eye on his time limit. Suddenly, he comes to a revelation. The Ferris wheel is mirroring a clock. The way the numbers correspond to colors is by use of a flower clock. I have no clue what a flower clock is. I tried looking it up, but all I found, predictably enough, were images of either clocks with flowers on them or clocks made in gardens. I don’t know why either would be in an amusement park. When we see the flower clock, it’s a giant clock on the ground that has different colors for each hour of the day. I have no clue what flowers have to do with it.

The park staff member doesn’t know what color corresponds with the number three on the clock, so they have no choice but to go to the clock and see for themselves. It will take two minutes to run there, but they only have one minute. Yami spots a drop tower nearby and heads off to ride that to get an aerial view of the clock. It somehow starts the second Yami sits in it. Are these rides all sentient? What is happening? There shouldn’t be anyone manning this ride and no one was running ahead of him.

Yami spots the clock and finds the color for three – blue.

He’s wrong, and Anzu blows up.

Oh fine, you never let me have my fun.

He’s right, but they’re not done. Yami decides to make him play his game now. He’ll specify where the bombs are and the bomber has to guess. Also, Yami’s kinda just stuck on the tower drop ride?

The bomber likes Yami and games so much that he agrees.

Yami says the hint balloon he’s symbolically releasing is white. The bomber states that the number is one since they’ve already gone over that. Yami says he’s wrong because now they entered into evening time on a 24 hour clock. The white balloon would actually correspond to the number thirteen, as in thirteen o’clock. Yami deduces the same thing he deduced in the manga, that the bomber had a clear view of both him and the Ferris wheel, but the entire park had been evacuated. The only number that doesn’t exist on a traditional analog clock is thirteen.

Yami tells him to blow up car thirteen if he is really wrong. The bomber claims he is wrong and that he’ll blow up car three in retaliation. Surprisingly, Yami tells him that he won’t have time to detonate car three (Also, looking at the detonator, how is he even specifying the cars? It’s literally two buttons.) because thirteen will blow up before he has a chance to push the button.

The bomber laughs, claiming there is no bomb on car thirteen, but scary-ass!Yami educates him a little and claims there is indeed a bomb. He amplifies the sound of his ticking watch over the phone to make the bomber paranoid. Then he implements his punishment game by making the bomber hallucinate a bomb in the car. Despite the fact that he can just try to throw the fake bomb out the window, he instead decides to bust open the door and risk falling to his death.

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He falls through a concession stand and is alive, but holy fuck Yami! You could’ve killed that guy! I saw the far shot of the Ferris wheel. Car thirteen was up so high it was near the top of the tree line. Yami’s no stranger to nearly killing people, and, in the manga, he canonically has killed people, but wow.

Unlike in the manga where Yami sticks around and Anzu gets to happily finish her date with him, Yami reverts back to what Anzu refers to as ‘usual’ Yugi, which upsets her a little. She then asks “What happened to the cool Yugi from earlier?”…out loud….to ‘usual’ Yugi.

Jonouchi, Honda and Miho reunite with them, which also wouldn’t happen because this place is a terrorist crime scene with a bombed Ferris wheel right there. Anzu is still annoyed that Yami isn’t around, but she’s happy she was able to see him and Yugi’s happy because he’s a precious marshmallow who deserves way better than this bimbo.

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In regards to the manga chapter, I kinda hate it. Everything with Anzu is terrible because she’s a terrible person. The game was boring and based entirely on luck. And I hate that Anzu ends up getting her dream date with Yami in the end. Screw that noise.

The only good points in the manga were that there were some funny moments and expressions, and most of those were reflected in the anime.

The anime episode, in my opinion, is a million times better than the manga chapter. Sure, there was still a decent degree of Anzu being horrible, but she was more tolerable and acted more understandably than her manga counterpart, and she didn’t end up on a date with Yami in the end. Jonouchi, Honda and Miho had absolutely 100% no purpose in being here. I can’t remember the last time they felt so shoehorned into an episode. I can tune those spots out, though.

The real highlight is in just how much better the anime’s Shadow Game is compared to the manga’s. The manga’s game was based entirely on luck and never became an actual Shadow Game. The anime’s game was pretty well-crafted. Even though the connection to the clock and the flower clock was never really set up very well, it was one of the most intense Shadow Games I’ve watched throughout the series. Not only that, but it ended on an awesome Shadow Game/punishment game where a really scary Yami nearly straight-up murdered a man. I love how he pulled a switcheroo on him and challenged the bomber to his exact same game and beat him. Such a badass move.

Only negative points in the bomber story for the anime are that the ‘Big or small’ ‘quizzes’ were stupid and based entirely on luck. For a guy who Yami deemed as basically being obsessed with games, he’s certainly not good at making them. Those moments were also complete wastes of time, but they did set the tone, so I don’t mind much.

Winner: Anime

Next three episodes are, as far as I can tell, not mirrors of the manga so we’ll have some placeholders to deal with for a bit.

Specifically, the next episode is about…..*sigh* Anzu being jealous that a new girl is giving Yugi attention. Oh boy. More Anzu goodness. Is it my birthday or did the gates of hell open?


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 13: Targeting the Female Students – The Prophet’s Fang/Manga Chapter 5

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Hmm, this is a 90s anime taking place in a school. Aren’t we due for the ol’ fortune teller episode?

We sure are!

Introducing Kokurano, a fake psychic who has everyone convinced he’s the real deal. He even has a posse of girls who practically worship him.

Jonouchi feels as though he’s cursed because he got into a bad fight and nearly got clocked by a piece of equipment falling off of a power pole, so he reluctantly goes to Kokurano for his fortune.

In the anime, he doesn’t believe he’s cursed. He just goes to get his fortune told because he wants to.

Additionally, while both the anime and the manga include the story about how Kokurano accurately predicted a classmate’s home would burn down, we don’t actually see it in the manga. In the anime, the episode starts out with showing the fire. However, the anime omits the part about the classmate getting wounded in the fire. In fact, the classmate is seen at the opening shot and he’s fine. It’s never really made clear whether Kokurano set this fire or not, but if he did, holy crap!

Since most of the people coming to see Kokurano are girls, Jonouchi decides to save face by proclaiming that Anzu dragged him here.

Love his expression when he does so.

The anime kinda mirrors the expression, but it’s better in the manga.

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The anime also changed this to Jonouchi claiming Honda dragged him here, which, in my opinion, makes the scene funnier.

Kokurano’s headband originally bore the symbol for “chou” which stands for ultra, upper, super and/or ascend. In the anime, it’s just a blank star.

Another thing the anime added to this scene was a short joke exchange with a girl student. Kokurano tells this girl, who is clearly designed to be unattractive, that the ‘dawn of her beauty’ will last forever.

More anime-exclusive stuff – Honda berates Kokurano for improperly using school supplies for his fortune telling. In order to get him to shut up, he tells Honda that he will marry the girl he’s in love with, which obviously sends him over the moon imagining himself being married to Miho.

A minor earthquake occurs in both versions, and Kokurano pulls out a piece of paper he supposedly wrote on earlier that predicted the earthquake, causing mostly everyone to gawk at his powers.

The only one of them who actually gets their fortune told in the manga is Anzu (well, technically, Jonouchi does too, but all Kokurano tells him is that he’s cursed. In the anime, he tells Jonouchi off-screen that he’ll be a policeman in Los Angeles.)

The manga and the anime differ widely here, but they also leave the core information alone. In the manga, Anzu wants her fortune told at the same time Jonouchi gets his done, and she’s flattered when Kokurano starts creepily molesting her hands in order to get a palm reading. Anime!Anzu is creeped out and disgusted when he does it to her later (which is a much better and reasonable reaction if you ask me.)

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He tells Anzu that she’ll soon meet a wonderful man and she’ll surrender her body and mind to him. Anzu is pretty willing to believe him almost immediately. In the anime, however, she’s incredibly skeptical and doesn’t even get her fortune read until we’re into the second half of the episode.

Yugi ousts Kokurano during the first round of predictions claiming that he doesn’t really believe in his ‘powers’ since he’s seen similar tricks like that before. For instance, the piece of paper he claimed he used to predict the earthquake earlier could have been one of hundreds of slips of paper with vague predictions on them that he whips out whenever a ‘prediction’ comes true.

Technically, Anime!Yugi also ousts Kokurano with the same theory, but he does it much later in the story. The reason he waits so long is because he believes Kokurano, in his own way, is playing a game. As far as he can tell, his predictions and tricks are harmless. Being such a game enthusiast, he believes revealing Kokurano’s trickery is breaking the rules of his game, so he leaves him be. Only when Anzu starts believing in Kokurano’s powers and he convinces her she has a secret mysterious admirer does he finally snap and make the accusations.

Additionally, in the manga, Yugi doesn’t care that he said those things to Kokurano. In the anime, Yugi feels really bad that he ‘broke the rules’ of Kokurano’s game all because he was jealous. I like Anime!Yugi here much better because refusing to ruin the fun of a fortune teller because he respects games so much is a totally Yugi thing for him to do. The fact that he feels bad about doing it in the end only makes him seem sweeter and more innocent.

In both versions, Kokurano makes an ominous prediction on Yugi after this point. He tells him that countless words from heaven will fall down on him and bring destruction.

As I said before, Anime!Anzu stays skeptical throughout much of the episode and refuses to get her fortune told (probably to extend this otherwise short story to fit the episode length), much to Kokurano’s disdain. He’s intent on making her his, so he persists in luring her into getting her fortune told.

Between when Anzu finally gets her fortune told and the initial fortune telling scene in the anime, there’s quite a bit of filler involving Kokurano’s predictions. Kokurano tries to convince her that he’s the real deal by the lockers, but she stands firm. There’s a scene where the group is getting ready for gym, and Jonouchi complains that he’s too stiff. He also complains that the girls get the easy task of playing tennis while the boys have to do Judo.

Continuing on from that, they meet Kokurano in the hallway. Jonouchi literally gets on his hands and knees in front of Kokurano asking him to read his fortune some more. Kokurano tells him to beware of lights coming towards him – a prediction that later comes true during Judo when a lighting fixture above Jonouchi falls and nearly injures him.

Miho pops up to….act like she’s friggin’ three years old and starts tugging on Kokurano’s cloak, wondering what’s underneath it. She has no reason to ask this – like she glimpsed something strange underneath it – she just has the mind of a toddler who took ten too many tumbles down the stairs. It’s not like this is the big reveal of him cheating or anything, either. It’s just Miho being irritating.

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Kokurano tells Anzu that there’s a mysterious man watching over her from the shadows and that, if she wants to learn more, to come see him later to get her fortune told. She still doesn’t bite, however. After she hears of the light prediction coming true, she decides to get her fortune told, curious if the mysterious man he’s speaking of is Yami.

When she actually goes to get her fortune told, the scene stays more or less the same as it was in the start of manga, barring some notes I already mentioned and excluding everything the anime already showed. Anzu gets her hands molested, Kokurano tells her about the mysterious man, but in the anime he also adds that the man will be in the science room at six o’clock.

Some minor changes in Anzu and Yugi’s plans for after school. In the manga, she seemingly told Yugi at the end of the day that she had the day off from work and wanted to go window shopping with him. He’s just gathering his things in the classroom while she waits in a different classroom. He spots a book left on a desk and decides to return it to the library real quick before going to meet Anzu.

In the anime, Anzu tells him about having the day off earlier in the day, when they’re talking by the lockers, and asks if he wants to go to a tea shop after school. Once the day ends, Anzu decides to see if the prediction was true, so she hangs out in the science room waiting for the mysterious man to arrive. Meanwhile, Yugi had just found a book lying in the hallway and decided to return it to the library.

In both versions, as Yugi is returning the book, the bookcases all domino into each other and nearly squash poor Yugi (countless words from heaven), but Yami kicks in and escapes from the danger in the nick of time. He realizes that this was set up by Kokurano. Fearing Anzu is in danger, he rushes off to save her.

Anzu is met with Kokurano in the science room. In the manga, he claims Yugi’s not coming to meet her, but since she’s not waiting for him in the anime he doesn’t make this statement there. He does, however, state that his prediction was right and that she did meet her mysterious man that she will surrender her body and mind to – him.

He uses chloroform to knock her out. The only difference between the two versions here is that, in the manga, he’s clearly copping a feel on her boob. In the anime, he’s not.

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Yami arrives and challenges him to a Shadow Game. Anzu is just about to lose consciousness at this time and tries to get a look at Yami’s face so she can finally learn the identity of the owner of the mysterious voice, but she passes out before she can.

Shadow Game

The Shadow Game today is almost entirely different barring the use of chloroform bottles and the risk being the loser will be knocked out by the chemical.

In the manga, Yami spreads a bunch of sheets of paper on a desk and places the chloroform bottle on top. They will take turns each sliding a piece of paper out from under the bottle without knocking it over. Whomever knocks over the bottle loses and will be knocked out.

They each remove some pieces of paper until one of Yami’s pulls lands the bottle on the very edge of the desk. Surely, if Kokurano tries to remove one more piece of paper the bottle will fall. Yami goads him into trying anyway, claiming, if he is a psychic, he’d be able to telekinetically lift the bottle and take a piece of paper. Too full of pride to disagree, or maybe simply delusional, Kokurano agrees and tries to lift the bottle with his mind. He pretends like it’s working, but Yami points out that it’s clearly a lie. Unable to remove the paper without knocking the bottle over, the bottle breaks and Kokurano is left unconscious on the floor with his cloak splayed out.

His open cloak reveals, as Yugi coincidentally predicted, that he had a slue of papers with vague predictions written on them so he could whip them out whenever appropriate and pretend he had psychic powers.

In the anime, the game is a bit more complex. Yami attaches several chloroform bottles to the classroom clock via thin wires. The clock is set up to snip a wire once every minute. Which wire is connected to which bottle is a mystery. They’ll each have to take turns guessing which bottle will fall each minute and try to catch it before it hits the ground.

They each take a turn, successfully catching a bottle, but then Kokurano plays dirty and trips Yami when he rushes for a falling bottle. He’s able to keep the bottle from falling by….I honestly don’t know what happened. He threw his Puzzle, the pointed bottom stuck in a wall and the string….somehow grabbed the bottle and suspended it in mid-air….I have no clue. I think Yami just screwed over the laws of physics ten ways to Sunday and back to Friday.

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There are only two bottles left now, and they’re way too far apart for the player to recover if they choose the wrong bottle. Yami eggs Kokurano on, claiming if he’s a real psychic he can just use his powers to accurately predict which bottle will fall. (Of course, if he does, that just leaves one bottle and….what, does the game just end?)

He guesses wrong, the bottle breaks, and, as in the manga, he’s splayed out on the floor with his ‘predictions’ in his cloak on display, certain to expose him as a fraud in the morning.

Truthfully, I like the anime’s Shadow Game a little better than the manga’s. The manga’s game is a little overly simple (Kokurano could have pulled the paper from any other side to prevent the bottle from falling…) Not to mention the fact that just because you have psychic premonitions doesn’t mean you also have telekinesis. Kokurano never once claimed that he had telekinesis. Why would Yami be like ‘If you’re psychic, you can just make the bottle float with your mind.’? And why would Kokurano lean into that?

The anime’s game makes much more sense because Yami’s coaxing him based on the fact that Kokurano claimed he could predict the future and this game relies entirely on predictions. Plus, I like that Kokurano tried to cheat during the game in the anime. It keeps in line with the theme of antagonists cheating during Shadow Games to open the doors to darkness. I do still wonder what would have happened if Kokurano just guessed correctly. Is the door to darkness thing that he would’ve chosen wrong no matter what?

In both versions, Yami carries a still-unconscious Anzu to safety, and she groggily muses over her mysterious savior again onto the fall back to sleep once more. However, the anime continues on and carries a very important change with it.

In the anime, while she was being carried, Anzu saw that Yami’s hand was injured (somehow. They never show it being damaged and we never see an injury on his hand before Anzu notices it.)

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In an added scene after that, the group all discusses how Kokurano was a fake. In a rather genuinely sweet scene, Honda is shown being depressed at this revelation because he believes it means he and Miho aren’t destined to be married. Miho walks over the cheer him up saying they can make their own futures now (unaware that he was upset specifically about his future with her.) Honda instantly gets his spring back in his step.

When Yugi runs off to join Honda, Jonouchi and Miho, calling Anzu to join them too, Anzu notices that Yugi has a wound on his hand that is identical to her mysterious savior’s wound.

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Yes, Anzu seemingly now knows that Yugi and Yami are one in the same. I don’t know why they rushed this revelation, but they keep on with it considering the next episode leaps WAY ahead to chapter 45.

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I thought the manga chapter was fine, but I much prefer the anime version. It fixed many issues I had with the story in the manga and even added some stuff that was unexpected but nice. Anzu was made much more tolerable in the anime than she is in the manga. She isn’t being terrible in the manga, but I much prefer her being skeptical and weirded out by Kokurano than instantly falling for his predictions, getting all swoony over her hand being groped and being gushy over the thoughts of the owner of the mysterious voice.

Yugi was also just being an adorable sweetheart in the anime. Again, there’s nothing terribly wrong with him in the manga, but he comes off as more of a spoilsport from the beginning in the manga whereas, in the anime, he’s playing along and being sweet. The only reason he loses his cool is because he was jealous, and even then he felt very guilty about it.

Honda and Miho went back and forth this episode. I liked that Miho was also skeptical of Kokurano, and her scene with Honda at the end was sweet, but her tackling Kokurano over getting his cloak off was obnoxious and completely unnecessary, and I am getting so sick of Honda’s shtick of puppy dogging after Miho. Jonouchi was also being pathetic in this episode, groveling after Kokurano, whereas he more or less has nothing to do with the plot after the initial fortune telling in the manga.

Winner: Anime

Next time, Anzu is at her absolute worst as she tries to lure out Yami at a water park. Prepare for one of the absolute worst chapters of Yu-Gi-Oh!….But can the same be said of the anime version?


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 12: The Extremely Lucky Enemy – The Undefeated Legend/Manga Chapter 42

Plot: Jonouchi becomes a contestant on a game show in order to win one million yen to pay off his father’s gambling debts. He’s excited for the opportunity, but those behind the scenes are more intent on simply making good TV, no matter if they have to torment poor Jonouchi to do it.

Breakdown: This is another one of those episodes where the plot is only loosely adapted to the anime. Most notably, the antagonist this time around is entirely changed, they added A LOT of stuff to the story to pad it out, and the game show aspect is played down quite a bit.

Starting out with the manga chapter, Jonouchi is super excited because he got accepted to be a contestant on a game show where you can win one million yen or roughly 10,000 USD because it will allow him to pay off his father’s gambling debts. Jonouchi’s currently working a bunch of part-time jobs to help them scrape by, but winning this game show will help him immensely. He also hopes that, with the debt gone, he and his father can put the past behind them and finally act like a true father and son.

This is really heartwarming and sweet, and, later, every game he wins gives him a bright smile and a sparkle in his eye. He’s not being a greedy person here – he’s legitimately hoping this money will help him and his father and make them closer. He’s not even really damning his father for getting them into debt in the first place. He just wants to make things better….which is why the ending is such a bummer, but we’ll get to that down the line.

The producer behind the show has no intention of letting him win this money, however. He just heard Jonouchi’s ‘sob story’ and knew it’d increase ratings.

When Jonouchi gets on the show, cheered on by his friends, he works very hard to ensure that he’ll make it far enough to get the million yen, and he aces numerous games. There’s a commercial break before the final game for the million yen starts, and Yugi excuses himself to the restroom. Along the way, he overhears the unnamed producer speaking with an employee about how they’re rigging the roulette wheel to ensure Jonouchi doesn’t land on the million yen. He’s laughing about how they’ll rake in viewers who will desperately want to see this ‘pauper’ win the money for his father’s debts and then feel despair when he loses. But who cares as long as he makes bank.

Because, yeah, it totally makes sense for a producer to just yell out his evil plans in a space where it seems anyone is allowed to walk around and overhear them, possibly ousting their cheating and destroying their show, perhaps even sending them to prison.

Yugi won’t stand for these scumbags ruining his best friend’s dream.

In what is probably the clunkiest dialogue ever, and I’m pretty sure it can’t just be attributed to the translators, we get this moment when Jonouchi is about to spin the wheel.

Employee: “I’ll hit the red button! There may be a lot of buttons, but you can’t miss this one! Pressing this makes it impossible for the roulette wheel to land on ‘million yen’!”

BOY THIS SURE IS SOME CHEATING WE’RE DOING, SIR!

IT SURE IS, EMPLOYEE! JUST REMEMBER TO CHEAT BY HITTING THAT RED BUTTON! YA KNOW, THE ONE THAT’S RED!

SURE IS A GOOD THING I CAN’T MISS THIS CLEARLY RED BUTTON – THE ONE THAT WILL LET US CHEAT AND COMMIT THE CRIME WE’RE DOING!

YES, IT SURE IS! THAT’S THE RED BUTTON THAT WILL MAKE IT SO THE CONTESTANT CAN’T WIN! THAT THING THAT’S ILLEGAL! BY THE WAY, I HAVEN’T FILED TAXES IN 30 YEARS AND I RAN OVER A CHILD ON MY WAY TO THE STUDIO!

YOUR SECRET’S SAFE WITH ME, PRODUCER OF THIS SHOW!

Yami walks in and starts the Shadow Game, which we’ll get to after I catch you up on the anime’s side of things.

In the anime, the producer guy doesn’t exist, and he’s not rigging the show. Instead, we get some guy named Ryuichi Fuwa who is the seven-time reigning champion of the game show. He’s a cocky little twat who wins yet again.

With Yugi and the others, they discuss Ryuichi’s win streak. While Jonouchi gushes over the possibility of the grand prize reaching 100,000 yen, which is about 1000 USD, Miho also gushes about Ryuichi’s money, but Honda halts her, claiming it’s better to get money a little bit at a time. Someone who gets a lot of money at once will be driven from society and killed by a guillotine? Honda, have you been huffing cleaning products again?

I mean, granted, he does have a slight point. Stumbling into a lot of money, such as from inheritance or through the lottery, does tend to lead people into despair more often than not. But that’s, like, huge amounts of money. Not a measly 1000 USD….People with money in general tend to have it easy. Also, Ryuichi is getting his money bit by bit considering his prize goes up in increments in each episode. His last prize was 10000 yen, which is only 100 USD…

Jonouchi gets pissed off by Honda’s words because he claims he can pay off his father’s gambling debts with the money and possibly even run away….I think that’s going a bit far, but alright. Like in the manga, he’s been working since he was young to pay for his school and living expenses on his own since his dad’s such a deadbeat. Jonouchi also snaps again at Honda, claiming he truly lives bit by bit while Honda has the nerve to say such things while ‘leeching’ off of his parents. Ouch.

He definitely has a point, though. I know Honda’s just saying these things because Miho likes Ryuichi and Honda’s jealous, but he should still have enough awareness to know that saying things like that in front of Jonouchi would be offensive.

When class starts, they’re introduced to a new transfer student who just happens to be Ryuichi. He’s a complete asshole, let’s just get that out there. He speaks like a thug, says he doesn’t give out autographs without anyone asking in the first place, and tells all the girls in the class that he just instantly knows are drooling over him that they have no chance of being his girlfriend and that he doesn’t have any interest in having kids.

Miho, being a stereotypical ditzy moron, swoons over Ryuichi after he gets done saying the terrible stuff to the girls. I really, really, really need some evidence that Miho is in any way likable. I’m not even halfway through the series yet. This is getting ridiculous.

Honda also starts hating Ryuichi the instant Miho starts gushing over him because of course he does.

Ryuichi selects his desk by chucking his bag at an empty seat, because we’re really doing everything in our power to drive home the fact that this guy is obnoxious. His teacher tries to get him in line, but Ryuichi offers a game instead. A simple coin flip. Whoever wins gets to determine where he sits. The teacher loses, so Ryuichi goes off to the seat he selected while the teacher just sulks, because that’s totally what a teacher would do. He wouldn’t just, ya know, tell him ‘I’m the teacher. Go to your seat, before I send you to the principal.’ and then probably mutter under his breath ‘and then shove that coin up your ass.’

He’s sat down right next to Yugi, who, being the sweet little muffin he is, politely introduces himself to this human kidney stone.

After class, everyone, including Miho, is still clamoring over Ryuichi, and he’s still being a tractor trailer load of douche. He gets asked if he meets actors since he appears on TV, and he says he does but they’re all stupid and he has no interest in them….Dude, you’re on some two-bit game show. I sincerely doubt you meet actors on the reg. He also gets asked how much money he’s won so far, but he says he doesn’t know because he spends it immediately. You can still, ya know…do math. Unless you’re a dick AND an idiot….which…yeah, that tracks.

Someone bursts into the room yelling about a surprise test they’re going to have tomorrow, and everyone panics. Yugi just becomes depressed because he believes there’s no way he’ll pass at such short notice. Ryuichi, however, lends a helping hand by flipping to the pages in his textbook that he believes are the only things they have to study for the test, even though he should have no idea what the test is on, especially considering he’s a brand-new student.

Turns out, he was spot-on, which baffled Yugi. Despite knowing what section to study, however, Ryuichi turns in his test blank because he doesn’t want to waste his life on stupid tests…..Why are you even in school then?

He’s a ‘chosen one’ and normies wouldn’t understand…..I’m not joking about that last statement. He basically says that straight out.

Also, it should be noted that apparently the teacher with the vanity issues from a few episodes ago didn’t quit. She is right here. I was wondering if it was her for a second and then Ryuichi proved it by telling her her makeup was off, which caused her face to crack and break apart again (at least in her mind?) So….I guess penalty games really are permanent, but only to a certain extent?

After school, Miho proves to be even more annoying and cringey than ever before by trying to grab Ryuichi’s hand as he’s walking. The first things that come out of her mouth are “Hi. Miho is a virgo, AB blood type. How about you, Fuwa-kun?”

It seems like Miho is somehow making this little jackoff nervous for some reason so he invites them out for a meal, his treat. When they walk through the door, he’s congratulated as being the 10,000th customer, earning him a free meal for him and the others.

Also, after Miho gushes about it, Ryuichi gives this expression for some reason.

Honda’s been watching Jonouchi this entire time because he thinks he’s been stewing in anger and is mere moments away from punching Ryuichi out. As he eats the free unlimited meal Ryuichi gave him, he snickers that it looks like Jonouchi’s going to punch him out any second. I may hate this kid, and he may be a complete douche, but if he’s treating you to a meal and is seemingly being civil right now, it just makes you look like the dick to be gleefully hoping he gets his ass handed to him, especially as you’re stuffing your face. And considering the main reason Honda is so upset is because Miho is lusting after his money and not really because he’s an asshole, it just makes this situation look worse.

After the meal, they go to one of those lottery booths. Ryuichi presents Yugi with a challenge. If he gets the A prize, he wins. If he gets anything lower, Yugi has to do whatever he says. Yugi agrees, and apparently he didn’t believe in the heart of the lottery ball roller drum because he loses. Ryuichi steps up and, surprise, he finds the golden ball and wins a trip to Italy.

Jonouchi finally snaps, much to Honda’s delight. He confronts Ryuichi, though instead of punching him out he gets on his hands and knees and begs him to take him in as a pupil….because he wants to learn how to have good luck like him. Do I even need to point out how stupid that is?

I guess I don’t because Ryuichi does that for me.

Ryuichi leaves, though Jonouchi stalks him in order to increase his luck so he can get on that show and win big. A bunch of kids follow Ryuichi, wanting his autograph…..I don’t get his fame. He’s a returning champion on a local luck-based game show that, in all likelihood, probably would have accused him of cheating by now. The fact that a bunch of little kids want this dude’s autograph is just a bit much to swallow.

The kids nearly get hit by a car as they cross the street, leaving them on the ground in a heap crying out for Ryuichi to help them. He tauntingly holds out his hand but then moves it away quickly explaining he doesn’t want to be tainted by unlucky hands.

Jonouchi rushes over to console the kids and check for injuries, all the while stewing in anger over Ryuichi’s callous actions.

As Ryuichi continues to walk, he’s stopped by someone in a limo telling him that Kaiba has summoned him. Turns out, Ryuichi is Kaiba’s second Shitennou. He told Ryuichi to transfer to Domino High so he could face Yugi. Ryuichi, however, is neither impressed with Yugi nor entertained. He once again gives us an example of his otherworldly luck by guessing the combination to the lock for a gun case on Kaiba’s wall on the first try. He also loads five bullets into the revolver, puts the gun to his head and pulls the trigger, but nothing happens. Geeeezzz, dude. I kinda have to imagine how funny it would’ve been if it went off, though.

Ryuichi is incredibly bored. He desperately wants a life or death duel, which Kaiba will provide for him at the game show. (Spoiler alert – he doesn’t for some reason.)

In the meantime, Ryuichi takes advantage of Yugi doing whatever he says to play a sadistic game with him. They both take turns shooting pool balls at each other. I say ‘take turns’ but Yugi seemingly never actually gets a turn. He just….*snicker* *giggles*….he keeps taking balls to the face….*snort*

I don’t even know how this is physically happening. He’s not shooting the pool balls any harder than he would be in a regular game, yet they’re bouncing around like ping-pong balls.

Jonouchi and the others rush in, but Ryuichi is so lucky that Jonouchi and Honda can’t do anything against him and end up thwarting themselves instead.

Back home, Yugi is wincing at getting his wounds treated with antiseptic but uh….he didn’t get cut or scraped. He got clocked with pool balls. Honda finds a letter on the counter from the TV station requesting Yugi’s participation in the game show. Yugi’s confused, but Jonouchi begs Yugi to let him take his place. He desperately wants the chance to show Ryuichi up and pay off his dad’s debts.

Yugi agrees, and Jonouchi takes his place as Ryuichi’s opponent while the others cheer from the audience.

The first game played in the manga is a simple game of darts where he can instantly win 100,000 yen as long as he doesn’t hit the spot that says “loser.” He wins.

In the anime, the first and only game is a concentration matching game. Each player takes turns selecting two cards on a board in hopes of matching their numbers. If they match all of the cards, they win. If they find the joker card, all of their matches go to the opponent. As another hitch, whenever a match is found, the opponent gets an electric shock.

Jonouchi misses on his turn, so obviously Mr. Luck over there gets the rest of the matches in one go, tormenting poor Jonouchi and causing him to lose because apparently this entire game show hinges on one game that lasts about one minute. (The game at the start of the episode also implies this. He only played one game after being introduced (which lasted even less time – about thirty seconds) but he was still declared an eight-time champion immediately after. How long are these episodes?)

In the manga, there were other games. The second was a game in which Jonouchi had to walk through a pathway with a special helmet on. The helmet had a rod attached to it that needed to be threaded between two electrified pipes all the way to the goal. If he got to the end without electrocuting himself, he’d win 500,000 yen, which he does.

The final game was the roulette wheel I mentioned before, but I’ll revisit that in the Shadow Game portion.

Back in the anime, backstage, Jonouchi tries to recover (I think if a game show made someone this ill from repeated electric shocks, they’d be facing legal action, but whatever. Kaiba has his hands in this place, so I’m not surprised.) and Ryuichi bursts in mocking him about his backstory.

Ryuichi: “I suppose ya want me ta cry for ya. That kind of story is what I hate the most. How lazy! I’m disgusted!” Wha….what?! How LAZY? Dude, you couldn’t be bothered to fill in one answer on a test and expect luck to solve all of your problems, but you’re calling a guy who works his ass off to get by lazy? Fuck you.

Yugi tries to defend his friend, but Ryuichi, pissed that Yugi’s a disappointment too, kicks him in the back of the head and starting crushing Yugi’s skull with his foot. Ryuichi even says in inner monologue that he’ll take the skin off Yugi’s face to see the ‘other face’ he supposedly has, if he needs to. This guy’s such a psychopath.

Apparently he stopped eventually and didn’t go through with his skinning threat because he’s later seen walking away through the darkened studio and, as he wanted, Yami comes out to play.

Shadow Game

In the manga, the Shadow Game involves two cans of paint seated on top of a ladder above Yami, the producer and the employee. Two ropes hang from the top of the ladder. One is attached to the paint can and the other isn’t. Yami will tie one rope to his arm, and the employee will select the other. On the count of three, they’ll tug. Whomever knocks over the paint can loses.

Yami wins, and the employee knocks red paint everywhere. The producer doesn’t care about his game, so he scrambles to push the button anyway. However – GASP! THE PAINT IS RED! AND ALL OVER THE EQUIPMENT! BUT THE CHEATING BUTTON WAS RED. AND NOW THE OTHER BUTTONS ARE RED TOO! GOLLY GEE WHIZ WE’LL NEVER FIND THE CHEATING BUTTON THAT CHEATS NOW!

And he doesn’t.

So Yami starts his penalty game, Mind on Air, which basically makes the producer money crazy, like Ushio in the first chapter. (Shouldn’t the employee get the penalty game since he played the Shadow Game?)

Meanwhile, Jonouchi actually does manage to land the wheel on one million yen. The producer rushes out and jumps the cameras, telling everyone watching the show to give him money.

This end is very bittersweet, if not a total downer, because, despite winning the million yen, the show got canceled and went bankrupt because of the producer’s actions. Jonouchi never saw a dime of his winnings, which absolutely sucks. They play it off rather comically with just one panel explaining this.

Jonouchi is shown…..I don’t even know what he’s doing. He looks like he’s yawning, but he might be crying. He also looks like he’s either kicking something that’s not there or he’s just kicking his leg out for some reason. He also nonchalantly has his hand in his pocket. He’s yelling ‘DAMMIT!’ but I really thought he was goofily yawning in this panel when I first saw it, indicating he really didn’t care about losing the money.

What a weird way to react to all of his dreams being shattered. I felt so bad for Jonouchi when I first read this. He was so happy and hopeful, and he won fair and square, but he was screwed out of his money and we’re just meant to laugh in the end, I guess. It’s kinda messed up.

In the anime, Yami propositions Ryuichi with the same concentration matching game, only this time the shocks are a lot worse. Ryuichi agrees, fully confident in his luck, and the fact that he already won this game earlier makes him even more sure of himself.

He starts the game, and Yami keeps getting the match wrong while Ryuichi keeps getting his right. However, this time, even if Ryuichi gets the match correct, Yami gets his turn anyway for some reason. After a point, Yami keeps choosing the same two unmatching cards over and over, causing Ryuichi to become incredibly confused.

The power goes out due to the electric shocks tripping the breaker, but the backup system kicks on. Ryuichi makes his selection, which just happens to be one of the cards Yami kept unsuccessfully choosing before, so he chooses that selection and then….gets a Joker.

Apparently, the cards on the board change when the power goes out. Yami knew Ryuichi would be so cocky about his selection that he’d choose Yami’s spot, not realizing the cards flipped around. Yami smirks claiming Ryuichi isn’t the only lucky one.

Uh, yeah. But your luck doesn’t negate his insane supernatural levels of luck no matter how many heart of the card……matching boards you believe in. His luck would probably override Yami’s plan to have the power go out. How did Yami even know the board worked like that? In addition, his entire plan hinged on the Joker taking the spot of one of the two spots Yami kept choosing over and over, specifically the one that previously yielded the card that Ryuichi needed. Otherwise, Yami would lose no matter if he found a match or not because Ryuichi had more matches.

For that matter, how do the cards change when the power goes out? They seem to be physical plates that are simply rotated on a board not electronic displays that would reset when the system is rebooted. It would make sense for the board to be reset, as in all of the plates get returned back to their default face-down position, but I think the only way they’d swap or change at all would be if someone physically swapped the plates.

Anyway, despite the fact that the entire board reset (seriously, look at the board after the power comes back on. None of the cards are flipped over even though, before, Ryuichi was just one match away from victory) Ryuichi getting the Joker means all of his previous matches go to Yami, which means Yami wins and Ryuichi gets the strongest electric shock. I’d think his luck would prevent him from getting shocked, but whatever.

The following night, the group watches the game show’s latest episode, dreading Ryuichi getting his tenth win. However, he loses immediately by getting the lowest number on the roulette wheel and his chair even falls apart. Yugi notes that it seems like Ryuichi’s luck has finally run dry. Womp womp.

….Wait, did Yami honestly take his luck from him? It’s unclear whether that game was even really a Shadow Game, to be honest. Is this just a coincidence? Where did his luck even come from in the first place? There’s a difference between being lucky and being an anime version of Domino.

The end.

————————————–

While the anime definitely had more to it than the manga did, the manga has more emotional impact. Jonouchi’s backstory, his face as he goes through the games and wins all of the money, and finally the terrible realization that all of his dreams were crushed in the end, even if the manga doesn’t adequately reflect this, was a pretty good backbone for this story. Likewise, the producer was a good enough antagonist, even if he was way too obvious with his evil plans.

I really wish Jonouchi could have actually won, though. Maybe it wouldn’t fix all of his problems like he thought it would, but it would still be money he could use to live a little better. Though, maybe it would still end badly with his dad continuing to wrack up debt once the previous one was paid off.

He’s almost to the point of graduating. Maybe he could have just saved up the money for himself….

The Shadow Game there was fine, though kinda boring, but also wouldn’t have worked if the producer just knew which button was the right one from memory. The penalty game was also a bit disappointing because, as I pointed out, we basically saw this one before.

As for the anime, it’s just a shitton of padding. It’s a non-stop cavalcade of ‘Look at me! I’m Ryuichi and I’m a lucky piece of shit. Watch as I do a bunch of shitty things and basically get the most modest of comeuppance for it!’ and it is beyond obnoxious. Literally everything about this character is a pain in the ass, and we’re never told why he has this ridiculous level of luck. I was thinking they’d reveal he was cheating the whole time, but nope. He’s just a lucky duck.

The Shadow Game payoff was not worth it at all, either. I guess if you were ridiculously lucky your entirely life and it was suddenly ripped away from you, that would be terrible, but maybe imply that he’s ridiculously unlucky now or something. Just having his chair break isn’t enough for me to say ‘YEAH! Haha, that’s what you get!’

I also don’t think they handled the Jonouchi aspect well enough. They kinda just gloss over the points about his situation with his dad’s debt. I will give them a lot of props for the scene with Jonouchi yelling at Honda, but otherwise it’s either not really brought up or Ryuichi’s just mocking his story. Jonouchi doesn’t even lament on the loss of the money after he loses the game.

Miho jacked up her annoyance levels here, but at least she also dropped her crush on Ryuichi when she realized how much of an asshole he really was. I think she should have realized that in the first place instead of waiting until he’s wailing on Yugi with pool balls, but it’s better than nothing. I still think his status as a moderately successful game show contestant wouldn’t have trumped his terrible personality for any of them, though. Yugi’s Yugi, so of course he’ll be nice, and Honda didn’t like him for stupid reasons, but Anzu liked him just fine when, in any other world, she’d think he was an ass. Also, considering he said he doesn’t want a girlfriend and spends all of his winnings as soon as he gets it, why was Miho even pursuing him at all?

The Shadow Game here was boring as hell because it was purely luck-based, even moreso than usual. You can’t have Ryuichi’s main characteristic be that he’s insanely god-like in his luck and then have him lose because Yami’s somehow luckier. Ryuichi’s cockiness is what ultimately made him lose, but he was stupid to not realize the board had reset, and it only reset because he had the BAD LUCK to suffer from a power outage due to Yami’s electric shocks.

Winner: Manga

Next time, we head back a bit in the manga to finally go over chapter five with the creepy as hell psychic.


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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 dust 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. Warashibe 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 Capsule Monsters 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 episode 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. (Then again, Honda barely knows him in the manga too…)

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 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. 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 on this issue, so Chouno tells her to prove it by gathering the signatures of other students.

As Anzu prepares to do that, 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 the 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 willingly 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. How kind.

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 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 chapter, 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 version, 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.

———————————-

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 Takahashi couldn’t be bothered. I get that there’s a certain advantage in not showing us her face because, like in horror stories, what you imagine tends to be worse than what’s shown to you, making the impact stronger, but I felt like that wasn’t the intention. I could be wrong, though.

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 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 yoyoing, but Honda tells her not to do it because he’s afraid she’ll…get hurt and die?

However, Honda is actually in the manga’s 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 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 I’ve ever seen 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. However, Jonouchi stands firm against their claim. He says he’s with them by choice and is sick of his life adhering to rules and pretending to be their friend.

Honda presents a band to Jonouchi, pleading with him to remember their friendship. In a flashback, we learn that he passed off a band to Jonouchi in a track meet, Jonouchi won and they’ve been buddies ever since. 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 dodges 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 tables 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.

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. I mean, really? They became good buddies because he passed a band in a track meet? That’s what he’s supposed to do. That’s so boring and makes so little sense. What did they bond over? Because they don’t have much in common 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 in the anime 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. Also, in both versions, isn’t he supposed to have known Jonouchi for numerous years before Yugi, Anzu and Miho? They look about the same age in this track meet flashback.

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 the band 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 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 yoyos are a fun weapon idea, and I’ve seen this before in Yu Yu Hakusho and HunterxHunter, but in those examples 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.

Winner: Manga

Next time, a vain teacher makes the entire Yugi gang suffer when they try to help a friend confess their feelings.

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, 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. Wow, both of you are quite touchy today.

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 before Yugi even got there, and rigged the machine to give him the better capsules anyway.

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, meaning 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. His last monster, which is level two, 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. 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 manga version of the duel with Seto in Season Zero 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.

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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 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.

Next time…..


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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 was a great 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, but 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.

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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 over manga 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 are 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?

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 pass on properly.

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 do 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

Volume 3 coming soon….


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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.

Shadow Game

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 the paint. 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 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.

Next time, Mokuba’s friggin’ nuts!


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