AniManga Clash! Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 2

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Chapter 9: The Momentary Resurrection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 10: Forbidden Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 11-12 A Broken Friendship/Demonic Hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 17: The Golden Awakening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winner: Anime


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 it. As the lines burst into flames, the thugs run away into the water of the dam.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Plot: Evil sentient Tamagotchis!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is even this story?

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

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

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

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

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

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And then…..

…..Honda actually wins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shadow Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh and there’s also this picture….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP

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

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

Shadow Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 5/Manga Chapters 13-14

Animanga Clash YGO Ep5

Plot: The gang wants to head to an Egyptian exhibit at the Domino art museum where a friend of Yugi’s grandpa, Professor Yoshimori, is revealing some artifacts he found.

Before they enter the exhibit, they, along with Yugi’s grandpa, meet Yoshimori and the financial backer of the expedition that heralded many of the artifacts being presented today, Kanekura. In awe of Yugi’s Millennium Puzzle, he asks if he can put it in the exhibit, to which Yugi hesitantly agrees.

The gang goes to see the rest of the exhibit when Yoshimori explains that archaeologists don’t get to keep the items they discover since it’s illegal in Egypt. This surprises Yugi and the others since they believed archaeologists got rich off of the artifacts that they found and were typically greedy individuals.

Yugi spots an Egyptian man (Shadi) crying at the exhibit and asks him what’s wrong. He states that these tears are not his own – they’re those of the pharaoh who is mummified before them, unable to find rest in this state. Shadi pats his head and calls him a nice boy, which irritates Yugi. He also notes that the man carries around a scale, so he might be crazy.

Surprisingly absolutely no one, Kanekura is secretly a bad dude who wants to sell the Millennium Puzzle behind Yugi’s back, but not before Shadi targets him for a shadow game for his role in excavating all of these artifacts and looking to profit off of it.

Kanekura loses his shadow game, and, ultimately, his mind.

He grabs the Puzzle and leaves, bumping into Yugi, who notices the Puzzle in his hand and remarks on it. Upon learning that Yugi is the one who solved the Millennium Puzzle, he enters Yugi’s mind, which actually contains two rooms – one that is so innocent and child-like it almost seems like a baby’s room, and another that is frighteningly ominous. He meets Yami at the door, and he allows him into his room, which is a massive maze filled with hundreds of doors.

Yami posits a game, if Shadi can find the ‘true room’ in his mind’s room, then he can obtain the ‘treasure’ that awaits there. If not, he’ll be lost in his mind forever. Shadi’s is pretty confident he can do it because his Ankh/Key/Cross allows him to also alter the mind rooms of others, but the massive maze of Yami’s mind is too much to allow him to do this, so he opts to just visit each room individually, resulting in him finding a plethora of traps.

Yami saves Shadi from falling to his death (Or…mind death?) in one room, finally allowing him to leave. Shadi returns the Puzzle to Yugi and warns him of the power of the Puzzle as well as his other personality. Shadi reveals his name to Yugi before departing, aiming to test Yoshimori next.

Breakdown: Oh good. Anime!Honda wants to go to the Egyptian exhibit to scare Miho so she’ll fall into his arms. Nice…

Wait a second, so in 1922 the Egyptian government passed a legislation that made it so whatever ancient Egyptian artifacts were found in the country stayed in the country and did not belong to the person who discovered them (This isn’t something I researched independently – this was said in the manga and the anime.)

….But….Sugoroku found the Millennium Puzzle in the Valley of the Kings in the 1960s. Doesn’t that mean that, technically, the Puzzle doesn’t belong to him and he’s had an ancient Egyptian artifact illegally for over 40 years? How did he even get that out of the country?

Also……..Excuse me…..What?! Miho finds this mummy…this…dead person….CUTE? Because it has a bald head so it looks like a baby to her? Someone please get this increasingly difficult to watch character off of my screen.

They omit a small part in the manga where Kanekura goes off to display the Millennium Puzzle and Yugi thinks to himself that he feels like a worried parent. I’m not sure why, but the parent comment seemed very intriguing. It could be general unease at being away from something that is precious to him, but it could also be an anxiety brought on by his connection to the Puzzle, telling him something’s wrong.

Considering the bond between owner and item seems to stay intact no matter if the item isn’t on their person, this is very possible.

Both Manga and Anime!Yugi yell that he’s a high school student when Shadi calls him a ‘nice boy’ and pats his head, and he follows that up with calling him a weird Egyptian. The main change here is that Manga!Yugi says all of this in his head (thought balloon) whereas Anime!Yugi yells all of this out loud. The reason I bring this up is because that’s a really rude thing to yell and an even ruder and somewhat racist thing to say out loud, even if Shadi was already walking away by then. He didn’t yell out either of those things in the manga because Yugi’s not such a rude person, even if it is still in poor taste for him to think that ‘weird Egyptian’ comment.

Also, yeah Yugi, he must be insane because he carries around a scale. Now go walk around with a giant golden upside-down pyramid hanging from your neck you sane boy, you.

Why is that even seen as odd? He’s carrying around an Egyptian artifact in an Egyptian exhibit. For all Yugi knew, he was just moving the thing.

Speaking of which, the owner of the Millennium Scale kinda gets the raw end of the deal in regards to convenience, doesn’t he? Every other item can easily be carried on your person – the Puzzle, Ring, Key and Necklace are all worn around the neck, and the Rod can be holstered easily. However, the Scale has to be carried around by hand. The Eye is carried around in the user’s head, but I think we can all agree that the Eye is the worst item to actually obtain or have taken from you because it needs to be jammed into your eye and then plucked out.

Shadow Game

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This Shadow Game is based entirely on the functions of the Millennium Scale. Shadi asks Kanekura questions, and the scale tips one way or another depending on how much sin he’s revealing, which is technically how much he’s lying in his responses.

Shadi’s first question is kept mostly the same, but the manga says the girl dropped money on the ground before she fell into the well, not a gold ring. Truth be told, though, I prefer the anime version because a gold ring is more valuable and more realistic to covet than ‘Oh yeah, I would let a girl die for whatever cash she just got from her piggy bank.’

In the end, Kanekura is ‘eaten’ by a demonic representation of the greed and evil in his mind’s room, as seen by Shadi’s Millennium Key/Cross/Ankh.

Manga!Yugi doesn’t think Shadi would know where his Puzzle would be, but in the anime, he noticed Shadi carrying the Puzzle and remarks on it. Small change, honestly, but the anime makes him look a little better because in the manga he’s, again, thinking Shadi is crazy for really no reason this time.

There are many more traps in the anime version of Yami’s mind than there are in the manga, which is fine, in my opinion.

——————————-

This episode covered two chapters this time, and I think it did a really good job reflecting the manga material. I like how we technically got two Shadow Games in this episode as a result – one run by Shadi and the other by Yami. The initial Shadow Game was a great intro to Shadi, and the second was a very interesting and intense start of the conflict between Shadi and Yami. It was also a really intriguing way of depicting Yami’s mind’s inner secrets.

Also, this panel:

Animanga Clash YGO Ep5 2

lolwut?

Final Notes: The 2000 anime did basically keep in the entirety of chapter 14/the second half of episode 5. The sequence in Yami’s mind room is almost exactly the same except three crucial details.

First, in the manga and Season Zero, Shadi and Yugi meet by chance at this Egyptian artifact exhibit. In the 2000 anime, they meet when Shadi comes to Pegasus’ castle looking to investigate a criminal who stole the Millennium Eye. (2000Anime!Shadi can also use portals because reasons.) Yugi happened to be there after the events of Duelist Kingdom concluded.

Second, the one who saves Shadi from Yami’s room is Yugi – not Yami. The reason for this, supposedly, is that Yugi recently realized and acknowledged that he had another spirit living within him and was able to save him. He was thereby able to learn more about the history of the items whereas in the manga and Season Zero he wasn’t all too aware of this for most of the run. However, the 2000 anime really makes Yami look like a dick who was going to let an innocent man lose his mind forever.

Finally, the 2000 anime adds an entirely new sequence. Yami supposedly lets both Yugi and Shadi out of his room, but it leads to a mysterious new room that seemingly showcases more things related to the backstory. They’re attacked by Yami’s mind’s guardian, Dark Magician, which is weird because Yami should have control over this place, despite not having his memories, and Dark Magician should instinctively know not to attack Yugi, but whatever.

Shadi tries to summon Blue-Eyes from a tablet on the floor, claiming it’s the only monster who can beat Dark Magician, but Yugi stops Dark Magician by merely talking to him, which shocks Shadi. (I’m fuzzy on the details of this arrangement, if it’s ever explained. If Seto always lost to Yami, then why is Blue-Eyes an instant win over Dark Magician even in the card game?) Dark Magician then releases them both from the mind room.

Next time, continuing on with the Shadi plot – we got a lot to cover in the next episode.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 4 (Placeholder Review)

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Plot: Miho convinces Honda to stand in line for a limited edition D-Shock watch that she desperately wants. Honda, needing to use the restroom, asks Yugi if he’ll stand in his place. Yugi manages to snag the last watch, but he’s suddenly harassed by a teenager named Shotaro. He’s an avid watch collector and he wants the D-Shock for himself. He tries to steal it from Yugi right in the store, but Honda manages to fend him off.

Miho is extremely happy with her new D-Shock and Honda, but quickly becomes furious when Honda reveals that he lost the watch somewhere in an arcade.

Yugi notices that Shotaro is in the arcade and instantly becomes suspicious that he stole it. While the others are trying to control Honda in his watch-searching rampage, Yugi goes to confront Shotaro. He receives a vicious beating in return. Before Shotaro can leave, Yugi transforms into Yami and challenges Shotaro to a shadow game.

Yami is victorious and returns the watch to Honda, who can now face Miho again.

While Miho is happy about her watch, she tells Honda of a new perfume they’re coming out with and convinces him to stand in line for that as well. Some things never change….

Breakdown: This is our first anime-exclusive filler episode and it’s….really goddamn annoying.

At face value, the story is really no different from what we’ve come to expect. Douchebag has a run-in with Yugi and the gang, shadow game happens, douchebag loses, all sunshine and roses for everyone but douchebag.

However, there are two things about this episode that really rub me the wrong way. First of all, can we please just get rid of Miho altogether? We’ve established that she’s stupid, immature and annoying, but now we can add lazy and manipulative to that list. It’s not like Miho has a pressing engagement and can’t stand in line herself. She just doesn’t want to do it so she gets Honda to do it, at the ass crack of dawn, mind you.

Then, when he loses it and is clearly upset at this ACCIDENT, Miho slaps Honda and runs away yelling that she hates him. (Granted, he did strip down to his skivvies to search for it, so maybe that’s why she slapped him, but it was clearly more about finding the watch. Also, her animation when running away was literally nonexistent. They didn’t want to actually animate her leaving, so they showed her running animation for about three seconds then just fade transitioned the character’s layer away.)

Then when he gets it back, she implies that she wants him to wait in line for something else…….Does Miho have any redeeming traits?

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Second, Honda is equally annoying in this episode. Between his pathetic behavior around Miho and his yelling for 90% of his screentime, he was insufferable. At least he protected Yugi from Shotaro that one time, but still.

He’s also incredibly stupid. Like, “Golly, the guy who was super obsessed with watches at the watch store, to the point where both of his forearms were covered in watches, and tried to steal the D-Shock from Yugi is not only in the same arcade as I am, but he also stepped on my hand and purposely tried to confront me after the watch mysteriously went missing…….Well, back to looking around on the floor for the watch. “

The only two redeemable aspects of this episode are that the interactions with Jonouchi and Anzu are kinda funny, mostly in regards to the facial expressions they gave them, and the shadow game was good.

Shadow Game

Yami was really digging the clock motif because the shadow game is all about clock gears, coo-coo clocks and pendulums. A coo-coo clock bird steals the watch from Shotaro and locks itself in its little room. Upon the game start, the bird will emerge and the stopwatch will start. The goal is to reach out and stop the timer as close to ten seconds as possible without going over. If they stop it too late, the giant pendulum will swing by and smash the player’s hand.

If Yami wins, he gets the watch. If Shotaro wins, Yami will acknowledge him as the watch’s rightful owner and he can leave.

Shotaro agrees and he loses, but he claims it was a practice run. Believing Yami has the better angle to make a quick escape, he demands they switch sides. He’s ready to go again, more confident that he can last longer, but the pendulum also switches sides and he smashes his hand. Yami proclaims himself winner, but Shotaro won’t let that go.

Sporting an incredibly freaky and scary look, Yami forces a penalty game on him.

His smashed hand is revealed to be filled with clock gears. His watches have all merged with his skin and even his eyes have turned into clocks.

YGOS0EP4SCREEN3

In an odd turn of events, they even decide to followup on what happened to Shotaro later, after Yugi returned the watch that night to Honda and they returned it to Miho the next morning at school. Shotaro went home in a complete daze and viciously smashed his watch collection while his mother yelled for him to snap out of his trance. The end…..

—————————————-

Despite the shadow game and punishment being pretty good, I don’t think it makes up for all of the annoyingness that is the first half of this episode. Shotaro’s a confusing bad guy to start with. He’s so obsessed with watches but he wasn’t first in line to get this D-shock watch that even Miho technically got up early to get? (She got up early to meet with Honda to ask HIM to do it…) He loves his watches so much he wears as many watches as he can on his forearms, but the instant anyone even brushes them or annoys him, he comes out swinging. That’s obviously putting your precious watches at risk of damage.

I’m surprised he even agreed to the shadow game without removing his watches first, to be honest. He beat up some dude for nudging one of his watches while walking by, but he’s fine putting his arm in the way of a massive metal pendulum when he has all those watches on?

And, of course, this is yet another story where Yugi has to get beaten up because why not?

Next time, it’s back to the adaptation – Shadi appears and we learn more about the Millennium Puzzle!


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AniManga Clash! Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 1

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Preface: It’s no secret that I love Yu Yu Hakusho. It’s one of my favorite anime, and it’s my favorite shounen fighting anime. (Naruto, DBZ and One Piece are up there, and HunterXHunter is looking to be very strong competition for top spot as I get further into it, but YYH has maintained the top spot.)

However, I’ve never read the manga before. I’ve never even heard or read up much about it before, either. So I figured, since I’m also doing a Shounen Step-By-Step on the series, it’s the perfect opportunity to also dive into the manga and do an AniManga Clash on it.

So let’s not waste anymore time and explore volume one of the Yu Yu Hakusho manga!

Chapter One: So Long World

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(First episode review and summary) Yusuke smokes in the manga when he’s about to chew gum in the first episode.

The wake is a lot less dramatic in the manga. Atsuko sits for half of it like she does in the anime, but she does it with this cartoonish blank face as opposed to just a blank face. Additionally, Kuwabara doesn’t attempt to hit Yusuke’s picture and end up bursting into tears in the manga. The picture in question is a cartoony picture of Yusuke, though to be honest the one they used in the anime seemed really weird to me. Like he was a much younger kid looking back at a camera, but he was obviously the same age.

The anime doesn’t include a really sweet flashback (Well, part of this flashback is in the anime much later.) Atsuko thinks back to the last time she saw Keiko so forlorn. It was several years prior when Yusuke got a bad cold.

He fell into the river after running from Keiko after he flipped her skirt. Keiko was adamant to not leave Yusuke’s side and was very upset about how sick he had gotten. The next day, despite still being sick as a dog, Yusuke decided to suck it up and go to school because if he took a sick day Keiko would continue to worry as she was the day prior, and he didn’t want that. When we cut back to present day, Atsuko slightly berates her son for making Keiko sad again before basically passing out on the counter.

It’s a shame because this is an adorable flashback that adds to Keiko and Yusuke’s relationship quite a bit and even gives us some more glimpses into Atsuko as a caring mother, if only slightly. I mean, she is still blaming him for leaving.

Chapter Two: The Test for Revival

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(Episode 2 review and summary) Keiko is blaming herself heavily throughout all of chapter two. The last thing she said to Yusuke was ‘Just die!’ and now her last exchange with him keeps replaying in her head. The anime doesn’t include this, which is a shame because Yusuke comforts her (in his own way) and combats her guilt before he tries to tell her about his body being cremated.

Apparently, in the manga, they implement a restriction on Yusuke after he possesses Kuwabara. He can’t infiltrate people’s dreams or possess anyone until the test is over. But this restriction wasn’t in the anime. In fact, much of the episode about Kuwabara and his friends is centered on Yusuke helping him through his dreams and possessing people.

Chapter Three: Time to Begin!

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This story is actually pretty different from the anime version, and that’s quite disappointing because, in the manga, this chapter is one of very few where the focus is entirely on Yusuke’s feelings for Keiko and vice versa.

In the manga, Yusuke is told that he only has one more day to talk with any loved ones, specifically Keiko (or his mother) before the test to get revived formally starts and he’s completely barred from communicating with them. Why is he barred from communicating with his closest loved ones? No idea. Just cuz, I guess.

Because of this, Yusuke has a chance to give his ‘last words’ to Keiko in person instead of a dream, because she might not believe the dream is really Yusuke talking to her. Yusuke must possess Kuwabara, because he has higher spirit sensitivity, find her, convince her that he’s Yusuke and pass on his final words before his possession window closes in 30 minutes.

In the anime, they continue on the plotline from the previous chapter about trying to prevent his body from being cremated. Originally, Keiko was convinced enough by the dream sequence of Yusuke telling her to check to see if his body’s still alive that she ran to Atsuko’s house in the middle of the night to do so. She was successful, though Atsuko had already discovered Yusuke was alive because Atsuko opened his coffin to smack him one more time and noticed his face had color.

In the anime, she’s somewhat convinced by the dream, but decides to not tell Atsuko about it out of fear that she might upset her even further. Yusuke has to find a more convincing avenue of telling her, so we cue up the Kuwabara plot to tell her in person. I don’t much care for this change because we go from a sweeter plot of Yusuke rushing around to give one last message to the girl he loves to a race to save his body from being cremated with sweet moments with Keiko interspersed throughout. The sweet moments are still very sweet, but it’s more romantic in the manga.

The rest of the story goes the same in both versions, basically. Yusuke possesses Kuwabara but runs into all sorts of problems while trying to find Keiko including accidentally pissing off Keiko’s parents by ‘posing’ as Yusuke and running into a ton of thugs that Kuwabara and his gang have challenged in the past.

However, he does indeed find Keiko and convinces her that he’s who he says he is by grabbing her boobs and joking around about it, which is something Yusuke has more or less done since they were kids. She slaps the fuck out of him, yelling out his name, and she instantly knows he really is Yusuke.

This is where the two stories shift again. In the manga, he only asks her to wait for him and have faith that he’ll return to her. She agrees and tells him she’ll wait forever. In the anime, obviously, they have to add in the part where he tells her that he’s taking a test to return to life and that he needs her to take care of his body until then, including stopping the funeral so he won’t get cremated. Then the conversation ends with the aforementioned dialogue exchange.

Again, this scene is still sweet and romantic, but it loses something when the other stuff is piled on there. It’s much more emotionally impacting if he’s simply rushing around to tell the girl he loves his ‘last words’ to her than it is to have him tack it on at the end of telling her stuff she has to do for him to help him out.

Oh and the anime adds Kuwabara taking advantage of the fact that Keiko was hugging his body when he was possessed by Yusuke to get in some hugs from a cute girl only to have Keiko slap the fuck out of him again. This was unnecessary but it did kinda highlight that Keiko truly knows Yusuke and could tell when Kuwabara had taken over again. However, I don’t think Kuwabara, Mr. Honor over there, would continue hugging Keiko like that to be a little pervy.

After Yusuke is saved in the anime or just after he returns to spirit form in the manga, Yusuke looks on at Keiko and proclaims that he must go back now because he promised her. He even says he’ll never do another bad deed again if he can come back to life (though he thinks to himself that fighting’s not a bad deed.) In the anime, Yusuke just checks the spirit egg, which is feeding off of his spirit energy. He wonders if that’s a good thing because he thinks he only did good things that day, but Botan wonders because he beat up a lot of people too.

This is actually a point where they lost a sweet moment entirely. I love that Yusuke has a newfound determination to come back to life for Keiko, even promising that he’ll never do another bad deed if he returns. The anime’s ending isn’t necessarily bad, but this romantic gesture is completely lost.

Chapter Four: The Old Dog and the Wolf

This chapter never made it to the anime, and I’m very glad for that because, even though I can’t bring myself to say it’s a particularly bad chapter, it is still insanely sad, and I don’t much care for Yusuke’s behavior in it.

The chapter involves a boy named Shota grieving over his dying dog, Jiro. His bitch of a mother coldly forces him to go to school while Jiro is on death’s door, and a bunch of asshole kids bully him about his dog when he arrives. Botan and Yusuke are watching, knowing that the dog won’t live until Shota returns.

They’re right. Jiro dies while Shota is at school and he’s completely devastated by it to the point where Yusuke thinks this may be the tipping point for the kid to commit suicide.

Jiro’s spirit won’t leave Shota’s house because he’s worried about him. Yusuke comes up with a plan to appear to Shota in his dreams, pretending to be an agent of hell trying to ferry Jiro down to hell because he won’t go up to heaven. He even uses a thorny leash and kicks him over and over, which I thought was really overkill. I get that Jiro is dead, but if hell is a place in this universe and you can feel pain there, it’s not a stretch to say Yusuke is actually hurting the dog.

Shota, in an effort to save his dog from hell, beats up Yusuke and tells him to leave Jiro alone. Yusuke relents, but says he’ll come back for Jiro if Shota continues to be a crybaby and wimp. He won’t let that happen, and an angelic Botan takes Jiro up to heaven.

The next day, Shota’s mom was apparently replaced by another woman because she actually offers to allow him to stay home from school today. Yeah, his dog is hours away from death, so you scream at him, act like the dog doesn’t matter and force him to go to school. Dog’s already dead? Oh honey, you can stay home today.

Bite me, lady.

Shota, however, declares that he must be strong and go to school because he made a promise to Jiro and he’s going to keep it.

At school, the bullies continue to be dicks, even going so far as saying that once his dog dies (they’re unaware that he died) they’ll chop him up and make dog stew. This time Shota fights back and tells them if they ever talk about his dog again, he’ll beat them both up. Because the chapter’s almost over, of course they relent and Shota’s off to start a new life as a confident young man who will be forever worried that the slightest show of cowardice or soft-heartedness will be a one-way ticket to hell for his beloved doggo. The end.

This chapter really pulls me in two directions. First of all, it deals with the death of a pet, and that’s a very sore topic with me. If you want to see me cry, just show me any story that involves animal death, particularly dogs. It’s almost instantaneous with me.

Second of all, I can’t really get behind Yusuke’s methods for helping this kid. Sure, he pretended like he legitimately got his ass kicked by Shota so he’d get a boost of confidence, but he also threatened the kid basically saying if he ever went back to having feelings and not attempting to beat up two kids who were way bigger than him that he’d send his dog to hell.

Third of all, they were worried that Shota was in such a bad place that he might commit suicide soon, so they decide saying that his dog is going to hell because he’s such a wimp is the best course of action? They’re incredibly lucky that worked, otherwise they might have blood on their hands.

Finally, the ending was really cliché and, realistically, shouldn’t have worked. As far as I can tell, standing up to bullies does tend to make them back off, if you’re dealing with one bully, but in this situation the power balance was a bit too much – it was two bigger sociopathic kids against little Shota threatening to beat them up. They not only relented after he told them off, but they were so stunned and in total fear of him that it was a bit comedic. He didn’t even hit them – he just grabbed one of them by the collar.

I won’t say this was a bad chapter, even if it does have several objective problems, but it did make me really uncomfortable and sad.

Chapter Five: Christmas of the First Year

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Another story that was completely lost from the anime – and it was a Christmas special. Yeah…I never knew there was a Yu Yu Hakusho Christmas special but here we are. It kinda threw me for a loop because that implies that Yusuke’s been dead for MONTHS now. Remember, the episode with Yusuke saving Keiko with his spirit egg happened in summer. I had no idea there was so much of a gap between him getting his spirit egg and actually being revived. I guess this is so we can see Yusuke doing more good deeds while dead instead of him just doing a couple like he did in the anime.

As for the chapter as a whole, it’s very sweet. There’s a spirit of a girl (She’s never given a name) who has been waiting on a park bench for over a year. She’s very adamant about not moving because she agreed to meet a guy she liked, Kenji, on that bench on Christmas of last year, but she suddenly fell very ill, lapsed into a coma and died. Botan wants to help her move on, but she will only leave if she’s able to see Kenji to apologize for standing him up, whether he can hear her or not. They make an agreement – if he’s not there by their meeting time last year, noon on Christmas, then they leave. They wait until 1:30, because she says he’s always late and finds that charming about him.

Kenji, surprisingly, does show up, but he’s there to meet another girl. When they talk about how late he was, he mentions the spirit girl. He explains that he loves to leave girls waiting for him. On that day on Christmas, he had a 10,000 yen (1000 dollars) bet running with his friends that she would wait over five hours for him to show up, but she never showed and he never talked to her again, implying he doesn’t know she’s even dead. He also mocks her before heading off with his girlfriend.

The spirit girl can’t find it within her to get angry with Kenji, however, especially when she states that she would have waited the five hours if she hadn’t fallen ill. She is, understandably, devastated, though. Yusuke is angry that he can’t beat the crap out of Kenji, and he’s frustrated that the spirit girl won’t get angry either, so he decides to help her forget about him and move on instead.

He takes her on a date – movie, seeing the sites, going on a roller coaster etc. as best they can since they’re spirits. At the end of the date, he tells her to tell Kenji off by yelling into the city, but she just yells out a note of thanks to Kenji because, if it wasn’t for him, she’d never have met Yusuke and had such a nice time.

She happily departs from this realm knowing that there are better people than Kenji who are probably waiting for her on the other side. If she can manage to find someone even half as nice as Yusuke, she’ll be happy forever.

Yusuke, while glad that the girl passed on with no regrets, is not as forgiving of Kenji. Somehow breaking the laws of appearing to humans, he’s able to speak to Kenji over the phone, acting like one of the girls he’s burned by his games and he also appears to him as a ghost to scare him. Botan ‘lets’ him just this once, but I really don’t understand how he’s doing this or why, if he’s able to appear to humans, he hasn’t been allowed to do so with his family or friends outside of dreams.

No matter, though. The jerk had it coming to him. It even looks like his current girlfriend isn’t too happy with him now. Not that she should have been from the very beginning, though. He talks about the girls he’s emotionally screwed around with, brags that she’s a new one just like the others and implies that he’s currently doing this to many other girls.

Chapter Six: Lonely Journey

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Yet another story never told in the anime. This one is about an old man who is close to death, so Botan and Yusuke are keeping an eye on him. He’s a bitter old man who doesn’t trust anyone and throws the kindness of others back in their faces, but he wasn’t always like that.

He used to be a very kind old man who loved spending time with his family, particularly his grandson, Shinji. However, his daughter/son and son/daughter-in-law along with Shinji died in a terrible car accident. His family fought him over the estate, so he became distrustful, got rid of most of the estate and closed himself off from others.

Botan and Yusuke spot a tanuki wandering around the old man’s house, and it’s confirmed that in this universe animals can see and interact with spirits. In addition, animals like foxes and tanuki can transform. This is a rather young tanuki, and it explains why it’s watching the old man.

When he was a little baby tanuki, he got his foot caught in a snap trap. The old man and Shinji freed the tanuki from the trap and patched him up, saving his foot and, ultimately, his life, so he wanted to repay them somehow. When he learns that Shinji has passed and the old man is close to death, the tanuki decides to transform into Shinji to keep him company on his dying days, but he can only do it at night.

The old man is very happy to have Shinji around, even if it’s only at night, and his last days (or nights) on earth are made so much better because of it. As the old man is reaching his end, his final request is for Shinji to stay with him until he goes. But the sun is rising, and the little tanuki’s time transformed is about to be up.

Surprisingly, the old man reveals that he’s known all along that ‘Shinji’ was actually the little Tanuki. He knew he was just trying to provide him with comfort, so he played along. He still wanted the little tanuki to stay with him until he passed, and the tanuki tearfully honored his final request.

The old man finally passed on to reunite with Shinji and the rest of his family, and the little tanuki went back off into the wild.

This story was pretty heartwarming and sweet. I won’t lie, I teared up a bit by the end, but….you notice how Botan and Yusuke had really nothing to do with the actual story? That’s a bit weird. They really were just reacting to what was going on and talking about it. They had no effect on the story whatsoever besides telling the tanuki about the old man’s family, and he could’ve figured that out on his own.

Chapter Seven: Promise

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(Episode 3 review and summary) The next chapter finally matches back up with the anime (or vice versa, I guess I should say) as they cover the story where Kuwabara needs to both stop fighting for a week and get at least a 50 on his next test in order to save his friend, Okubo’s, job.

The anime adapted this story pretty well. They didn’t really omit anything nor do I remember them including anything notable. There are some notes here and there that I don’t remember being in the anime, like the first scene being Yusuke visiting Keiko at school to see how she’s doing, and Yusuke explaining that he thinks his mom makes money to support them by….extorting a cop. Atsuko: Mother of the Fucking Year.

Also, there’s a little character blurb off to the side about Keiko and uh…..Ya know, I could write a whole post about how shafted girls are in this series (As much as I love Botan, she’s still just an assistant – as much I enjoy Keiko and Yusuke’s relationship, she gets to do fuck all over the course of the series and doesn’t have that deep of a personality – Atsuko’s a horrible mom – Yukina’s as literal of a damsel in distress as possible, complete with being locked in a tower, and certified love interest etc. The only really good female character in the series who fights and does important stuff is Genkai.) I had to pause and just sigh because her little character blurb said this:

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Yes…Keiko’s hobbies are….cooking….and cleaning…..There’s nothing wrong with enjoying cooking and cleaning, but, Keiko, for God’s sake, you’re really not helping the pseudo-sexist vibe this series gives off whenever women are involved nor are you making yourself any more interesting as a character.

Anyhoo, I’ve always really loved this story. It’s a very sweet example of how dedicated Kuwabara is to his friends and how much honor he has a person. It highlights the friendship between Yusuke and Kuwabara very well too. Beforehand, you really just think they had a mutual respect for each other and weren’t really friends, but this episode truly shows that their bond was a lot deeper than just fightin’ buddies.

Chapter Eight: A Short Lived Revival

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The final chapter of the volume does a bit more for Keiko’s character, but not so for Atsuko who, AGAIN, has left Yusuke all alone and even has the balls to say in a note to Keiko that Yusuke is ‘sleeping like the dead.’ What the unholy hell, Atsuko?

In this chapter, Yusuke is temporarily reunited with his body. Apparently, if his body doesn’t get some activity from his soul every month after being revived, then his body might actually die from the lack of energy.

Botan tells him to just sleep the entire time he’s in his body so he can more efficiently recharge his batteries and so he doesn’t accidentally interact with his mom or Keiko, which will break the terms of his revival and make it so he’s unable to come back.

Yusuke, of course, doesn’t listen to her advice and goes off in public anyway. Like in the anime, though in that case it was after he’s officially resurrected, he decides to stay under the radar for the most part. In the manga, he doesn’t slick back his hair, and that’s his only disguise. In the anime, he also puts on sunglasses.

Like in the anime, he bumps into a few people and is just happy they can see and feel him. Even when a couple of thugs try to mug him, he’s just happy that he’s alive and corporeal. These thugs are from Kasanegafuchi Junior High, whereas in the anime they were from Rugafuji Junior High.

The rest is altered from the anime, however.

Yusuke manages to scare off these thugs by nearly strangling one of them. The one who nearly got strangled is so pissed, he decides to take out his anger on one of Keiko’s friends, who accidentally bumped into him. He kicks her to the ground, and Keiko, not taking an iota of shit, slaps him across the face.

Kuwabara’s friends, sans Kuwabara because he’s actually off studying, confront them instead. Keiko’s friends manage to convince her to leave and let them handle it. However, almost as soon as they start to leave, Dai(Daisuke), the thugs’ leader, arrives and swiftly beats the snot out of Kuwabara’s gang.

Keiko turns around and demands he stop, smacking him in the back of the head with her bag when he ignores her. Dai grabs her face and threatens her. Meanwhile, Yusuke is off playing pachinko, completely unaware of what’s happening with Keiko. Even if he does learn about it, it would mean his certain death if she sees him.

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I’m actually quite astonished about how little the manga, so far, has been adapted in the anime. Only a week or two seems to go by after Yusuke’s body is revived when he’s finally brought back to life for good, but in the manga he’s been out for at least a month, given that he’s only learning of this body recharge thing now, and I have to imagine it’s way more than that – bear in mind the thing about it one minute being summer and the next it’s Christmas.

Do I fault the anime for omitting all of these stories?….Yes and no. I could’ve done without the story about Shota, for obvious reasons, and while the story with the old man was really sweet, it really had absolutely nothing to do with either the main plot or Yusuke or any main character. I’m on the fence about whether or not I’d like this cliffhanger plot with Keiko to have stayed. On one hand, it’s a bit of a badass moment for her, and she gets few in the course of the series, if any. On the other hand, the badassery leads her to be a damsel in distress – complete with impending rape implications….

I get that they probably wanted to rush Yusuke back to life so he could finally get into some Spirit Detective action, but I can’t deny that it would have been nice to at least see a couple more stories of him being a ghost and helping people or spirits out. I’m especially disappointed that we didn’t get that Christmas special. It could easily be altered to not be a Christmas special if the timing or whatever is an issue, and it was a very sweet story about an equally sweet girl. Plus, Yusuke’s being a big teddy bear in it, and that’s rare to see, even when he’s with Keiko.

The parts that were actually adapted were done well, and the anime’s changes were mostly made for the better, especially that wake scene. There were some snippets of information here and there that were lost, but it was nothing too bad.

I’m actually at a bit of a loss as to how to determine a winner here. Only about half of the manga so far, if that, was adapted to anime form. I don’t feel like the side-stories that were lost were so vital that it should damage the anime’s score too much, but I also feel like we simply got more out of the manga.

I want to say ‘Tie’ here, but…

Winner: Manga

I’m mostly giving this round to the manga because I think they really should have explored more stories while Yusuke was a ghost in the anime, and I think they did some of the adapted stuff just a tiny bit better – by a barely noticeable margin. The anime did the wake better, but the manga did the brief reunion with Keiko better as well as several other quieter moments with her.


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My AniManga-ish Thoughts on Aishiteruze Baby

A long, long time ago in a place….directly where I am now, maybe a few feet away, Twix watched an anime called Aishiteruze Baby. Twix was not one to be easily swayed by stories of little children. No, she was a jaded old grump whose thoughts would instantly jump to ‘Oh god, here comes an annoyance.’ whenever a child character would be introduced to, well, pretty much anything, which she’s now realizing is insanely ironic because her favorite TV show as a kid was Rugrats.

The point is, it would’ve taken quite the lovable little kid and a nice heartwarming story for her to really be invested in an anime centered on a little kid. And Aishiteruze Baby was that anime.

I dunno why I keep doing the storybook-esque intro. Anyway, it’s been eons since I watched Aishiteruze Baby. In fact, it was one of the first dozen shows I ever reviewed.

Aishiteruze Baby is the story of five year old Yuzuyu who has been temporarily abandoned by her mother. Her teenage cousin, Kippei, is forced to take care of her until his family can figure out where Yuzuyu’s mother is and when or if she intends on coming back for her daughter. The story explores how Kippei adjusts to being a surrogate parent to Yuzuyu while also trying to balance his own life, and how Yuzuyu copes with being abandoned by her mother as more and more time goes on.

I really enjoyed the series when I first watched it. Kippei was a sweetheart, his relationship to Kokoro, his stoic yet lonely girlfriend, was nicely done, the stories were cute and heartwarming with some well-done drama and tension, and Yuzuyu was a PWECIOUS WITTLE CUPCAKE!! She was such a little sweetie, and she was so adorable, and she loved Kippei so much, and she was so cute, and so sweet and she so cute and she was so sweet and she so cute and she was s—

*cough* Sorry.

I really enjoyed watching Kippei mature and take to his new role as a parent more and more to the point where he was excitedly doing stuff for Yuzuyu, even without anyone telling him to. I loved seeing Yuzuyu have fun with Kippei and everyone else, even if it was tough watching her whenever she’d be reminded of her mother or when she was thinking she was a burden on Kippei. While it’s not a perfect show, I really enjoyed every minute of it.

The only two real issues I had with the show were that the very serious conflicts they’d bring up were usually resolved too quickly, and there wasn’t really much of an ending, though I didn’t think the ending was as unsatisfactory as many seemed to think. I knew the manga had properly ended the show and I pretty much knew what the ending was, but it would be well over a decade before I finally sat down and read it to see if it was also void of the other problems I had with the anime.

Well, was it?

….No, not really.

Let me back up.

First of all, to my recollection, the anime did a very good job adapting most of the stories from the manga. About 90% of the story material here I remember being in the anime, loosely or exactly, so in that regard, good job, anime.

Second of all, sadly, yes, the series still has that problem of bringing up a lot of serious issues and resolving them super quickly and sometimes overly easily. I mentioned the storyline with the stalker in my initial review of the series, and that story was resolved exactly the same way in the manga.

She should have at least been slapped for this. Get a life, you goblin.

For a differentiation on this issue, we also have a story of a little boy named Shouta. He became fast friends with Yuzuyu, but it’s revealed that his mother is terribly abusive. How is this resolved in the manga?

Kippei has a conversation with his mother, pointing out that her behavior is going to drive Shouta away someday. She takes a good hard look at herself, stops being an abusive shitstain and convinces her husband to move them away to the country where it’s quiet and less stressful, which is totally easy to do considering the fact that he doesn’t have a job is one of the key points of her stress.

I’m not saying that things couldn’t happen like this in real life, but the odds are insanely low.

You need to understand something – this bitch is a monster. She wouldn’t just hit Shouta. She’d make him feel like garbage. She’d make this five year old boy feel like he was an embarrassment to her, like everything was his fault and everything he was doing was wrong. And she’d sometimes do it with a smirk. She wasn’t just terrible to Shouta, either. She was also an asshole to Kippei AND YUZUYU! But yeah, sure, one conversation with Kippei would certainly turn her around entirely and make everything better.

Believe it or not, the anime did this much better. We get more backstory on why his mother started acting this way, not that it’s much to sympathize with. She had difficulty coping with the challenges of being a parent, and, seemingly, Shouta was a bit behind other kids his age, which made her believe Shouta was an embarrassment. She quickly started taking her frustrations out on Shouta for pretty much everything and began smacking him around.

Kippei does talk to Shouta’s mom, but it doesn’t really sink in fully. Shouta accidentally runs into her when she has groceries in her arms, causing her to drop them everywhere. She slaps him so hard he fell down the stairs, knocking him out, and he had to be sent to the hospital. The doctor treating him finds all of the old bruises on his body and suggests she and her husband seek family counseling. He tells them that, if they ask for it, people will help them.

As a result, his mother realized what a monster she’s been to him, and even her husband realizes that he’s been failing as a parent. After Shouta recovers, they move to the country to be with Shouta’s grandparents so they can help take care of Shouta and her husband can have a better chance at finding steady work. The country lifestyle will also be more relaxing and hopefully relieve some of the stress his mother has. She proclaims that she’s no longer afraid to ask for help if she needs it. All she wants is to start over.

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Nearly getting your kid killed, someone suggesting therapy to you and having such a deep moment of self-reflection that leads you down a better path is more preferred than just another instance of Kippei’s Talk no Jutsu. I’m just sad Shouta had to suffer more in the anime than in the manga.

Another plotline involved Yuzuyu’s cousin, Miki, attempting to kidnap Yuzuyu. In the anime, she would carry around a bike chain as a weapon, but in the manga she wielded a KNIFE and would even threaten Yuzuyu with it. I don’t care if she never intended to actually hurt Yuzuyu, you don’t hold up a knife to a little kid.

Miki was a horribly depressed girl, to the point of self-harm and suicidal ideation. She wanted to kill herself, but she didn’t want to leave her parents without a child, so she decided she would kidnap Yuzuyu and give her to them. No, it really doesn’t make any sense, but mental illness isn’t exactly known for creating logical thought. At home, Miki’s life was a nightmare.

She wanted to oust an incident of a teacher viciously beating a student, which made all of her teachers target her. All of her classmates harassed her, even the person she was trying to defend, who just told her she should’ve stayed out of it. Her parents were no help, either. Her father even hit her when he found out about her poor performance in school.

She’s about to commit suicide via cutting her throat and jumping off a bridge, but Kippei talks her down and convinces her to go back to her family by telling her she’s still important to several people and plenty of people still want to talk to her, which is all she needed to hear.

This one I’m more lenient about. These kinds of situations diffuse under a multitude of circumstances, so I’m definitely not going to say that’s an unrealistic way of going about things. Plus, her troubles really didn’t just end there. She still had to talk with her parents. Her father, by the way, upon hearing that his daughter just tried to kill herself, nearly smacked her again while yelling “You’re still causing trouble!?” Father of the fucking year.

Her mother was much more receptive, however, and is able to get her dad to stop being a dumbass and listen to her. In the end we just know Miki is on a healthier path, not that her life is fixed or anything. She reappears later and is, indeed, getting better, which is great.

Sadly, one of those rushed resolved plotlines was the main one. Like I mentioned, there wasn’t really a solid ending to the anime. Yuzuyu was concerned she would someday forget her mother since she outgrew the pajamas she had made for her, but after talking with Kokoro about their mothers and loneliness, she felt better. The pajama plotline, by the way, is part of the manga too, but it’s quite a bit earlier. Reiko (Kippei’s older sister) finds Yuzuyu’s mother, who is apparently so far away that she needed to take a plane to get there.

Yuzuyu’s mother, Miyako, had initially abandoned Yuzuyu because her husband had recently died and she couldn’t handle the stress of being a single parent. After his funeral, she couldn’t stop herself from crying. It reached a boiling point when she struck Yuzuyu for no reason. Thus she left her kid behind in her house and vowed to return when she felt she was mentally strong enough to handle taking care of Yuzuyu properly. She doesn’t call, she doesn’t send letters, except once, and the one time she came to check up on Yuzuyu she wore a disguise and skulked around Yuzuyu’s school.

When we catch up to Miyako in the finale, we learn that she’s been counting the days that she’s been trying really hard to not cry and she got a job to save money for Yuzuyu’s care when she returned for her. When she feels she can make it through without crying, she’ll come for Yuzuyu.

Most people, justifiably, dislike Yuzuyu’s mom. I totally understand if she was struggling mentally and emotionally with her husband’s death and being a single parent, and I get that striking your kid has to be difficult to process when you’re actually remorseful about it, but she went about this in the worst way possible. She really comes off as just being selfish and stupid as a result.

Her family seems like they’re really nice and accommodating people. If family is in dire straits, they welcome them to live in their home without barely batting an eye. In the manga, even when Kippei proclaims that he wants his girlfriend, Kokoro, to live with them because she’s lonely living all alone, they’re just like ‘Eh sure! Welcome!’

Why didn’t she just come to them and ask if she and Yuzuyu could live with them? Why didn’t she ask if they could take care of Yuzuyu during the day, sleepover some time, etc. while she got her shit together and maybe sought some therapy? Abandoning her child and never really making an effort to communicate with her was one of the worst options she could’ve taken.

But we’re not even done with her yet.

In the manga, Reiko still tracks down Yuzuyu’s mother, being tired of hearing or seeing nothing from her for months on end. When she finds her, she appears to be living with a man. Reiko was enraged by this because she perceived this as Miyako ditching her kid and going to live a new life with some man with no intentions of ever coming back for her daughter.

This especially hurt Reiko because it’s revealed after this that Reiko cannot bear children, thus she has no intentions of marrying or leaving the house (Yeah, that doesn’t make much sense either.) She sees Miyako have a child, what Reiko views as a precious gift, and to seemingly just throw her away is already a massive sin in her eyes, but to do that and then move in with some guy is practically unforgivable to her.

She and Kippei have a private discussion later, and Reiko basically tells him to have Yuzuyu forget about her mother. She’s not coming back, and continuing to give Yuzuyu false hope will only hurt her in the long run. Yuzuyu was listening to this, and she was so shocked that she actually did forget her mother.

All of this ongoing trauma and Reiko’s final words about her mother basically caused Yuzuyu to have a mental breakdown to the point where she was having massive fits when her mother was brought up and she was even passing out due to the emotional strain.

Even though Kippei was having a lot of difficulty finding the heart to let go of Yuzuyu, they do decide to start sending Miyako letters and pictures Yuzuyu drew to her mother, now that they knew where she lived.

Even though Kippei was very uneasy about the idea of Miyako writing back or coming back, they still checked every day for a return letter from her, to no avail.

One night, as Reiko gets the mail, she finds a letter from Miyako simply saying “I’ll be coming to pick up Yuzuyu on her birthday.” And, surprise, her birthday is in just a couple of days. Reiko, however, doesn’t say anything because she doesn’t want to upset the birthday festivities in case Miyako doesn’t come.

Yuzuyu’s birthday comes around, and Miyako does indeed arrive to take Yuzuyu back. Kokoro takes Yuzuyu upstairs before she becomes aware of her mother’s arrival.

Miyako’s got some ‘splainin’ to do. So, what does she have to say for herself? While she’s been gone, she’s gotten a new job and has been saving up little by little for when she’d get Yuzuyu back. She realizes that she was selfish and naive, but she needed some time to be alone and figure herself out. She asserts that didn’t throw Yuzuyu away – she got away from her to protect her…..which is still bullshit.

Like I pointed out before, there were so many other options she could have taken that would have been a lot more helpful and beneficial to both her and Yuzuyu. Even if she felt she was a danger to Yuzuyu, she could have explained the situation to her sister and worked some arrangement out with her. She still could have had time to herself while also keeping in touch and ensuring her daughter that she would indeed come back for her. You don’t ditch her without barely a word, go missing and only send two letters in the several months you stay gone. Have 23 hours and 50 minutes to be alone, and at least attribute 10 minutes to a friggin’ phone call, you idiot.

“I had no choice, no matter what you think.” Fuck off, yes you did.

But, again, we’re still not done.

Reiko bitterly asks what she means by wanting to be alone since she saw her living with a man. I’ll give Miyako’s response in her own words.

“We’re….not actually living together. I met him at work. And he provides comfort to me in many ways.” In layman’s terms, he’s boinking her.

Misako (Kippei’s mom/Miyako’s sister): “Do you plan to marry him?”

“Yes, I do….I talked to him about Yuzuyu….and it took him quite a while to accept the idea. But it seems like he’s finally accepted it. So…”

Are you kidding me? This nameless dude you’re obviously boinking boinked the bad parent out of you, and then he didn’t like the idea of taking Yuzuyu in, even though she’s the daughter of the woman he supposedly loves, and now he’s ‘finally accepted it.’ like it’s an inevitability that he has to bear in order to keep his sex ticket.

My thoughts exactly, Misako.

No.

No.

No.

You’ve been gone for, what, a year at this point? And THAT’S the best you’ve been able to do? No seeking therapy? No gaining true independence? Just shacking up with some guy who, I guess, has been so kind as to stomach the idea of his fiancee’s daughter living with them.

I wasn’t expecting to actually be angry at the manga’s resolution. At least in the anime it seemed like Miyako was striving to gain the strength to return to Yuzuyu on her own, even if the method was quite questionable. Here, it’s almost like she’s expecting this guy to take care of everything. He’s got the house, he can provide money, he’ll be able to ensure Miyako doesn’t backhand Yuzuyu again, I guess. She did mention getting a job, but that’s about it – and the problem was never that they didn’t have money. It was shown that Miyako would chew Yuzuyu out for stupid shit even when her father was still alive, so this won’t fix anything.

This is so much less Miyako bettering herself and trying to become a good mom to Yuzuyu and more her improving a little and finding Yuzuyu a new daddy.

I’m not alone in feeling this way because both Reiko and Misako don’t accept her words. They blatantly tell her that her explanations aren’t good enough and they can’t just hand Yuzuyu over because of that. They tell her to go home, but also tell her that if she’s serious about getting Yuzuyu back that she has to visit every single day to prove her determination. Then, eventually, she’ll earn the right to get Yuzuyu back.

Meanwhile, Kokoro and Yuzuyu wait in her bedroom. Kokoro asks what Yuzuyu thinks of her mom, and she replies that she thinks her mom loves her. She sent her a bunch of letters, so of course she loves her (I don’t really get that either, but maybe it’s just kindergartner logic.)

After Misako sets her terms, Kokoro brings Yuzuyu downstairs, much to everyone’s surprise. Yuzuyu finally reunites with her mom, and Miyako even shows her all of the letters Yuzuyu sent her, telling her what a talented artist she’s become. However, Misako soon silently interjects, and Miyako knows she must go. She tearfully leaves, promising to come back again, much to Yuzuyu’s dismay.

Yuzuyu runs after her, and Kippei goes off to get something. Yuzuyu calls again and again for her mother, but Kippei stops Yuzuyu….to give her her shoes. He tells her to go because she’s wanted to be with her mother all this time and it’s what she’s truly wants. He tells her he loves her, in a scene which nearly made me cry, and Yuzuyu runs back to her mom.

That cracking noise is my heart breaking.

Kippei doesn’t stick around for more than a few seconds, however. He runs back into the house and sadly crumbles in front of the door, looking at the birthday cake he made her and her teddy bear lying on the floor. He’ll always cherish their time together no matter what.

Cut ahead to….I’m gonna guess maybe ten years in the future. Kokoro is rushing Kippei out the door to get him to work. She tells him he got a letter from Yuzuyu, which we see on the table in front of her teddy bear.

As we see a now teenage Yuzuyu back home, she explains in the letter that she’s still doing art, and is apparently so good at it now that she’s won an award for it. She tells Kippei that she was never lonely when her mom left because she always had her Kippei Onii-chan with her to make her lunches, take her to school and play with her. Those are precious memories to her, and she thanks him for everything he did. She closes out the letter telling Kippei that she’s always really loved him.

And as a special treat, apparently Yuzuyu and Shouta reunited and may or may not be an item now. They’re at least friends, and that’s good enough for me.

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For all of my bitching about Yuzuyu’s mom, this absolute end did hit me more than I expected it to. As I was re-reading the passage again while writing this, I was actually tearing up, which was annoying because I just managed to get through her and Kippei departing from each other without getting misty eyed.

I really just wish we 1) had more insight as to what was going on in the future with Yuzuyu, Kippei and Kokoro at least (but all of the characters would’ve been very much welcome) and 2) that it had been less abrupt of a shift.

Still, it was a very fitting end to the series, and it reminded me all over again why I really love these two.

While we’re still on the subject of storylines that didn’t make it to the anime, however, there was quite the doozy that was omitted….Two doozies, technically. Maybe three.

Doozy 1: Buckle up, buttercup, because this doozy is….a…doozy. We’re introduced to Itagaki, or as I affectionately call him ‘Creepy Asshole.’ Technically, Itagaki was in the anime for a fleeting moment. He was an artist there, and he asked Kokoro out on a date. She refused because she was dating Kippei and…that was pretty much it.

In the manga, there’s an entire arc about this guy.

Here, he’s a baseball player, but that’s not important. He admits to Kokoro that he likes her, but she rejects him because she’s dating Kippei. Itagaki won’t stand down, however. He confesses to her again and reminds her of what a playboy Kippei is (he does have a tendency to flirt, but he’s completely devoted to Kokoro.) Still, she turns him down, but this time he’s not accepting that. He grabs her arm and forces a kiss on her. She manages to struggle away, bruising her leg in the process, and she’s traumatized by the assault. She becomes very nervous and jumpy, even around Kippei, and she becomes distant to all of her friends.

Kokoro decides not to tell Kippei about what happened, and, guess what? Creepy Asshole legitimately thinks that her choosing to not tell her boyfriend about the sexual assault is proof that she likes him more than Kippei.

Bear in mind that literally 30 seconds before he said this, Kokoro was telling Itagaki she didn’t want anything to do with him and never wanted to speak to him again. Whoo yeah, Itagaki. She’s falling for you hard….as in literally….ya know that thing she did when she was trying to fight off your sexual assault.

She, of course, shoots him down again, but the Creepy Asshole persists. This time he goes to Kippei himself. Itagaki tells Kippei that he confessed to Kokoro and that the reason Kokoro has been so distant from him lately is probably because Kokoro feels the same way.

Kippei, not being a creepy asshole, handles this pretty well and realistically. Before Itagaki confronts him, Kippei gives Kokoro her space and doesn’t get angry or frustrated with her. After he learns of the confession, he simply finds Kokoro and asks her about it, plainly wondering if she plans on breaking up with him. Again, he’s not angry or judging her, he’s legitimately concerned about their relationship.

Kokoro breaks down and talks about the assault. Kippei wants to confront Itagaki immediately, but Kokoro stops him. Instead he comforts her and reassures her, staying with her for as long as she needs him.

Uhm, I kinda can’t talk about the resolution to this plotline without moving onto doozy 2.

Doozy 2: Kokoro and Kippei end up making love as a result of this. They’re on a school trip and in a hotel room, and it just kinda naturally happens. It’s not graphic or anything, and even the implications only last a few panels, but it was a really sweet and beautiful moment for the two of them. They never sleep together in the anime.

Doozy 1 cont.: After the deed is thoroughly done, Itagaki deduces that the two of their groins did the fusion dance. And, as if he wasn’t enough of a douchebag, Itagaki acts as if her sleeping with Kippei is a betrayal to HIM and basically implies that she’s a slut for having slept with Kippei behind his back.

Itagaki: “Even though I’m here, you still went and did that as if it was okay, Tokunaga-san. I didn’t think you were that type of person.”

FUCK.

OFF.

Even after Kippei confronts him, with Kippei not even bringing up the sexual assault for the sake of Itagaki and Kokoro (they’re having this fight in the hallway in front of numerous people), Itagaki has the balls to say Kippei should give up on Kokoro and HE brings up that they kissed.

Luckily, Kippei verbally tears him a new one, and Kokoro tells Itagaki she never wants anything to do with him ever again.

Whoo Kippei!

The last we see of him is one of his friends acknowledging that his manner with girls is messed up and asks if he wants him to teach him on how to date. Kokoro briefly mentions later that she hasn’t seen Itagaki ever since that confrontation, and Itagaki was thankfully gone from this manga forever.

Doozy 3: Still building off of that entire plotline, our final doozy is a pregnancy scare. Soon after Kokoro and Kippei have their first time together, she starts developing weird symptoms and believes she’s pregnant.

Now…this doesn’t really go anywhere because she later realizes she wasn’t pregnant. Kippei realizes that he’s been a bit too preoccupied with Yuzuyu, which kinda made him not realize Kokoro was acting weird. Kokoro says she was actually looking forward to being pregnant a little, because she wanted to spend more time with Kippei. And it mostly just culminates in Kippei inviting Kokoro to live in their house so she can be less lonely and spend more time with him and Yuzuyu, which both his family and Kokoro happily accepts.

I was disappointed a little because this would have been the perfect opportunity for them to discuss the possibility of them someday having kids, but it somehow doesn’t really come up. Remember, they’re 17 so it’s not really completely illogical for them to be having discussions about someday having a family.

Something unfortunate I noticed is that Kokoro, in the manga, is actually flatter than she is in the anime. 90% of her character is her relationship to Kippei. 8% is her being lonely and the other 2% is her being stoic and seemingly cold.

Her backstory is that her mom died some time ago and her dad is getting remarried, so he’s basically kicking her out of the house for when his new wife moves in. She doesn’t seem to care, and the apartment her father gets for her is extremely nice (because her family is rich), but it’s the foundation of the running issue with her character being lonely.

It’s perfectly understandable that she is lonely, but it really is the bulk of her character when she’s on screen and not with Kippei. She’s lonely, and she either expresses it to Kippei or not. Over time, it becomes easier for her to express her loneliness and not be afraid of it. After Kokoro moves in with him and his family, she really doesn’t do much but be with Kippei and sometimes play with Yuzuyu.

She’s friends with two other girls, Aki and Mai (the latter of whom is basically just Kokoro lite with more expression in public), who are typically seen sticking up for Kokoro whenever they think Kippei has done something wrong. Aki is particularly vocal about putting Kippei in his place and blaming him for pretty much anything. In a side story, they reveal that she hates men and is terrified of them. When she was 16, a man in a trench coat flashed her, and she’s thought men were nothing but perverts ever since. She even has recurring nightmares about the flasher and panics when a man approaches her from behind.

And this is one of those plots that is resolved abruptly and in a rather unsatisfying manner.

Aki was closest to a boy named Shin, whom she had known since elementary school. She didn’t see Shin as either male or female, so their relationship got on fine. However, when he started expressing interest in girls, Aki started resenting him, believing he was indeed another pervert man.

Despite Aki’s traumas being very valid, she still secretly holds a desire to also be sought after by guys (particularly Shin). She feels like she might not be cute enough or attractive enough.

She’s suddenly spooked accidentally by a male teacher, screams and runs off. Shin finds her, she yells out that she hates men and she hates Shin and then Shin just kisses her and says “Don’t say hate! You love me!” And then she realizes he’s right because he was the one she turned to all the time, even when the flasher incident happened, and the story ends with them seemingly getting together even though I don’t remember Shin showing up in the regular story.

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You know that joke that a lot of people make about female leads in romance movies and romantic comedies? That they make it seem like all of your problems can be solved by a man? Well, apparently, even lasting trauma brought on by sexual harassment is one of those problems.

Now why did I just go through all of that for the sake of a character who doesn’t really impact the main plot at all? Because I can write all that about a character like Aki but I can barely write a paragraph on Kokoro.

Don’t get me wrong, I still adore her relationship with Kippei, and it’s not like she likes him for shallow reasons. She loves that he never says anything to hurt anybody, he’s so carefree yet caring that she feels more at ease around him, and he’s the one who is able to make her smile the most.

Problem is, it’s kinda hard to describe her without resorting to either calling her Kippei’s girlfriend or just saying she’s lonely. She’s nice, but she also comes off as cold and unfriendly sometimes. She’s also willing to be blunt about some things, especially when it comes to Kippei. She connects with Yuzuyu on a level Kippei can’t quite get because she lost her mother, but she never becomes a mother or even big sister-like figure to her.

The issue with her father, which is the most prominent part of her story that doesn’t have anything to do with Kippei, isn’t even one that’s properly resolved. She never goes back and talks with her dad or explains her feelings. The guy never gets redeemed or anything. He never pops up again after Kokoro moves out, which happens in the first couple of volumes. We don’t know if he knows Kokoro moved in with Kippei and his family, which is something you’d think he’d have words about it if he cared about his daughter.

In the anime, they did explore this aspect a bit further. We saw more of Kokoro as a kid. After her mother’s death, she became more independent and closed herself off. It took a few years for her mother’s death to truly hit her emotionally, but she slowly started becoming more and more lonely. One day, she found that all of the pictures of her mother that were hanging up throughout the house were taken down. Her father explained that she wouldn’t stop crying when she looked at them, so he put them away. Shortly after he did this, he brought home the woman he intended to marry.

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The last shot we see of Kokoro’s dad, she’s walking by his house and he’s snipping roses to help keep local kids from getting hurt on the thorns. She and her mother had planted that rose bush together, and, again, it seemed like he was wiping her memory away. Kokoro is terrified that she’ll forget her mother entirely. She’s even forgotten what her voice sounded like.

Kokoro’s dad did offer to have Kokoro come in the house to talk about things, but she refused, and that was the end of that in regards to her dad. It’s weird how one of the aspects of her character development is opening up more to others, but she never expresses her feelings to her father or mends bridges with him.

I still really like Kokoro, and the problems with her character aren’t very severe, but I just think they should have fleshed her out more to help allow her to be a stronger character on her own, considering she’s such an important part of Kippei’s life.

One other storyline that was not included in the anime was Aya and Akari Ooga. Aya is about Yuzuyu’s age and Akari is about Kippei’s age. Their situation is fairly similar to Yuzuyu and Kippei’s in that Akari is usually the one who has to care for Aya since their parents are constantly working. Truth be told, I nearly forgot about this plotline, mostly because they don’t impact the main story much. Akari’s presence makes Kokoro a little jealous, especially when they connect through the kids, and she asks him for help once or twice, but, again, Kippei is entirely devoted to Kokoro and has no interest in Akari that way, Akari also says she has no interest nor does have time for a boyfriend, and Kokoro is never seriously jealous, so it’s kinda pointless.

The biggest point of conflict in that story is Aya overhearing Akari say something like she wishes she could just live a normal life instead of watching Aya all the time, but it’s fixed rather easily by just clearing up the misunderstanding. There was also a point where Aya, Yuzuyu and Marika (Yuzuyu’s friend) got lost in the city because they were trying to find Aya’s parents, but they were all okay.

Their storyline wasn’t bad, and Akari and Aya are nice enough characters, but I didn’t see much of a point in it, especially since their situation is so similar to Yuzuyu and Kippei’s situation that it makes it seem redundant. In fact, there’s a plotline where Yuzuyu tries to walk home by herself in order to not be a burden on Kippei, and Kippei and Yuzuyu get sick after the brief story about Aya getting sick, so it’s pretty much exactly the same.

A couple more characters I want to touch upon are Marika and Satsuki.

Satsuki is Kippei’s younger brother. He’s very blasé about pretty much everything, he’s extremely mature for his age, and that’s really there is to his character. There’s only one episode of the anime that delves into his story even a little, and the same can be said of the manga.

In that story, a girl named Ayumi has a big crush on him, but she becomes convinced that he doesn’t like tall girls with long hair and he doesn’t like models (she’s a model) all because her friends are assholes who told her that for seemingly no reason. However, when she confronts him and confesses, he tells her he doesn’t dislike those things. Then it’s kinda implied that they’re dating afterward, even though she doesn’t appear again.

I just don’t really understand why he’s here. He does have a few cute moments with Yuzuyu and bonds with her a little, but that’s about it. Again, this is another situation where I don’t dislike his character or even his lone storyline, but I just struggle to understand his actual role in the main plot.

Unlike Satsuki or the Ooga sisters, however, there is one character whom I do dislike, and her name is Marika. Yuzuyu has two main friends at school – Marika and Ken. While Ken is a nice enough boy, there’s nothing much to say about him. Marika, on the other hand, is a stuck up bitch.

The end.

Oh fine, let’s be “FAIR” to the five year old. Pft.

All joking aside, Marika really is just a brat. She brags a lot around Yuzuyu, she makes nasty comments, and most of her moments are either making Yuzuyu feel bad or gushing over Kippei, whom she has a crush on.

She can be alright when she’s just hanging out, but usually she’s insufferable.

There’s one point in the anime where she’s pretty okay, though. Their kindergarten class is assigned to write a letter to whomever they deem as their special someone. Yuzuyu writes one to Kippei and Marika writes one to Yuzuyu. We never learn what it says, but the gesture is more than kind enough.

A girl in their class, Namiko, does her letter project with Yuzuyu and tells her that she doesn’t like Marika because she boasts and brags, she interrupts people and she ‘doesn’t look good in ribbons and socks.’

Marika gets angry upon hearing this and calls her a stupid jerk, Namiko cries, though she was clearly putting on an act, and sticks her tongue out at Marika as she leaves the classroom. Yuzuyu asks Namiko if she’s jealous of Marika. She doesn’t get an answer and decides to go outside to do her letter project with Marika, who is crying over what Namiko said. The end of this story is Marika asking Yuzuyu a question. She boasts and brags and loses her temper easily – is that okay with her? Yuzuyu says it is and then she says then that makes them friends.

This storyline is pretty cute and it does redeem Marika to some degree, but this also is not very healthy. Marika’s basically saying “Look, I’m a total jerk, even to you, are you cool with that?” And Yuzuyu’s just like ‘Yup!’ It’s not like Namiko didn’t have reason to say what she said. Marika IS a braggart. She IS a glutton for attention. And she’s a brat. It’s great that Yuzuyu sees the good in Marika, but she’s not really making an effort to be better. It’s like that ‘If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best’ thing.

Yes, I’m still aware we’re talking about five year olds. If this can be a series where a stalker of Kippei’s thinks his five year old cousin is a romantic threat, I can believe a five year old can realize she’s a bit of a harpy and try to be a better person.

Granted, Namiko’s still in the wrong anyway for making fun of her socks and ribbons. And earlier she purposely got her new socks dirty because Marika was showing them off to Yuzuyu. Didn’t say Namiko wasn’t a brat too, she just seemingly has a slight reason to be a brat.

And remember this one bit of genuine niceness is only in the anime. In the manga, she’s not quite as insufferable because she doesn’t have as many scenes, but she never gets a chance to redeem herself or having a really nice moment with Yuzuyu.

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And….I think that’s all there is to say. While the anime is a bit dated in the art department, I’d definitely give both the anime and the manga a big recommend. The anime omits some parts of the manga, though how much that truly impacts your experience depends greatly on how interesting and important the Itagaki plotline seems to you (since the parts with them sleeping together and the pregnancy scare can be omitted without bothering anything) and which ending seems better to you.

While I was writing this, I found that way more people hated the manga ended than I originally thought, so make of that what you will. The general complaint was that they thought Kippei and Kokoro should have adopted Yuzuyu, and they were angry that we didn’t get much of an update on any other characters after the time skip, the latter of which is very understandable. Plus, people seemed to not realize the woman at the end with Kippei was Kokoro. *shrug*

I think both versions still provide a really great experience, though. It’s a very cute and heartwarming (and heartbreaking) story that never fails to hit the right chords with me. While you can make the argument that it’s a little melodramatic sometimes and some of the plotlines get resolved a bit too easily, I never really felt like anything was that unrealistic. Things in real life can be very dramatic and dark, and sometimes they can be put on a better path with a few simple words.

……But mostly THERAPY. Go get therapy, Miyako. Jesus. I’m glad that the future glimpse of you seems like you’re in a better place, but still therapy. Grief counseling. Family counseling. Anything. The actually abusive monster mother sought therapy – you can too.

P.S. Yuzuyu is still the cutest little kid in anime and manga. I shall love her forever. ♥


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 3 (Chapters 9-10)

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Plot: Duel Monsters is a trading card game that is quickly gaining popularity across Japan. Kaiba, heir to the powerful and massively successful Kaiba Corp., is a champion of the game and is always looking to ‘acquire’ rare cards. He sets his sights on Sugoroku’s extremely rare Blue-Eyes White Dragon card, but his means of acquiring it lead him into the clutches of Yami and a shadow game.

Breakdown: The manga did not include a scene where Kaiba has his goons viciously beat up a student at a school for the sake of getting his Dark Magician card, which he was vehement in not handing over because it was a memento of his father. Kaiba has apparently been doing this or similar things to everyone else at this school that has rare Duel Monster cards and has possibly wiped out other schools in the same manner.

I don’t think there are enough super-special-awesome cards out there rare enough to warrant this. Considering, in the 2000 anime, Yugi has a Dark Magician card by default, there is a duelist who specializes explicitly in Dark Magician cards, Dark Magician has several variations and is one of the easiest to get strong cards ever, I sincerely doubt that card is worth strong-arming from someone, especially when Kaiba’s one of the richest mothereffers in the world.

In the manga, the story starts out with Yugi, Jonouchi and Anzu talking about the upcoming craze, Duel Monsters, at the game shop with Sugoroku. It has been popular in America for a while, but is just gaining traction in Japan. Sugoroku shows the kids his precious Blue-Eyes White Dragon card. It’s extremely rare because they stopped production on the card since it was deemed too powerful to use in the game.

Kaiba suddenly enters the card shop, and he makes no effort to hide his assholery as he looks at the cards Jonouchi just bought and calls them garbage before flippantly chucking them back at him. He also makes it clear that he’s a champion Duel Monsters player and wouldn’t sully his good name to play with an amateur, but gracefully offers to have Jonouchi duel him when he’s collected at least 10,000 cards.

If you know of the 2000 anime, you likely know how the rest goes in the manga. He sees Blue-Eyes, desperately wants it, offers Sugoroku an entire briefcase filled with rare cards for it, but Sugoroku refuses because it was a gift from a treasured friend, so Kaiba begrudgingly leaves. A very similar scene does happen a bit later on, but in Season Zero Kaiba makes a clear effort to get on Yugi’s good side first, believing he might have rare cards.

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Jonouchi was originally extremely interested in Duel Monsters. In Season Zero, he spends a little time brushing it off as a childish game.

Honda is not in this chapter at all. In the anime, he goes on a tangent about protecting the students from unlawful card maniacs who will obtain Duel Monsters cards through illicit means.

Even though we’ve never seen him before this chapter, Yugi and the others act as if Kaiba has been a classmate for quite a while. In the anime, Kaiba just now transfers to their school for the sake of finding kids with rare cards and stealing them.

If you know Season Zero, you know it takes quite a bit for me to say this – This episode’s animation quality is noticeably worse than usual….and that’s just upsetting.

The anime is setup rather poorly, if you ask me. While the manga doesn’t make it a secret that Kaiba’s a douche, the anime goes to the trouble of establishing that he’s an even bigger douche than his manga counterpart, and then they try to pull off the ol’ ‘Forget what my clearly evil character design implies – I’m a good guy! Hey protagonist, let’s be pals! Wanna come to my really cool house? Invite your friends! I’m a good guy!’ to ‘Psych, I was really a bad guy! Muahahaha!’ switcheroo. In the anime, all you’re doing is waiting for the other boot to fall because we know Kaiba’s a bad guy who steals cards.

They could’ve pulled this off cleanly if they simply didn’t have the opening scene with Kaiba stealing the Dark Magician card, which is a scene that turns out to be entirely pointless outside of showing us prematurely that Kaiba’s a jerk.

Speaking of him pretending to be Kindba (hahah, I make the puns. They are funny) anime!Kaiba invites Yugi over to his house to check out his Duel Monster card collection. Yugi brings everyone else along, and Kaiba basically says ‘the more the merrier.’ Jonouchi hates him because he’s rich but also super nice because he translates that as being snobby. Honda later hates him because Miho starts fawning over him for giving them free tickets to his amusement park.

Kaiba conveys his Duel Monsters Champion status when he reveals his card collection room which also displays several of his trophies from Duel Monsters tournaments.

Kaiba asks Yugi if he has any rare cards, and Anzu remembers that Yugi said his grandpa has a really rare card. Kaiba asks if he could see it and Yugi agrees. Despite the other setup being poor, I like this particular setup because at least now Kaiba has a reason to visit the card shop. In the 2000 anime, Kaiba overhears Yugi talking about his grandpa’s rare card when they’re in class, which he just assumes might be the Blue-Eyes. The manga just has him randomly arrive.

I find it even weirder that Kaiba would do all of this without the belief that Yugi has a rare card. Kaiba is a complete ass. He wouldn’t play Mr. Nice Guy unless he knew he’d be able to get something out of it.

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Somewhat minor, but the anime neglects to mention that, supposedly, people have killed each other over Duel Monsters cards before. Yikes.

Miho: “What!? I thought it would have diamonds or jewels attached to it!”……You thought a rare trading card for a children’s card game would have diamonds and jewels on it……Miho, please go be stupid somewhere else.

Also fairly minor, but the anime calls it Blue-Eyes Dragon not Blue-Eyes White Dragon. It’s not an issue with the subs either, I can hear it.

They point out that this next bit doesn’t make sense, but still—Honda claims it’s too dangerous to hold such a rare card and that Sugoroku should hand it over to the beautification club. Sugoroku asks why a beautification club member would care and Honda doesn’t have any response to that.

The beautification club stuff was silly enough at school, mostly because Honda keeps equating being a beautification club member to being a school prefect or something, but even if the beautification club had any say in these matters, why would he ask to confiscate a card that someone off school grounds is holding?….That an elderly man off school grounds is holding?……That an elderly man who owns a game shop off school grounds is holding?

I don’t think it’s a matter of him wanting to take the card for himself because Honda’s such a goodie-two shoes (well…kinda. He beats people up in the name of justice with Jonouchi sometimes) and I don’t think he even plays the game in the first place (His first match seems like it’s in the next scene). This whole sequence is just strange.

While the scene at the game shop plays out basically the same outside of those Honda and Miho moments, Kaiba continues to play the nice guy when he gets shot down. In the manga, he basically has a big huff and leaves.

The next scene in the manga has Yugi playing a friendly game of Duel Monsters with Jonouchi. In the anime, Jonouchi’s playing with Honda. The duel is changed up slightly, though. Honda plays the card manga!Jonouchi originally played, Zombie, and places it in the graveyard zone. The manga doesn’t have any sort of field advantage mat like the anime does, so the card just gets played regularly. Anime!Jonouchi plays the Dark Dragon card – the same one manga!Yugi played. It’s 1500 vs. 800, so Jonouchi proclaims himself as the winner, as manga!Yugi did, but anime!Yugi stops him. Since Honda played Zombie in the graveyard field, its attack points double, making it 1600, so Honda wins.

I find this increasing entertaining the more I think about it, because it’s almost like Yugi is retroactively cheating between versions for the sake of not letting Jonouchi win.

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Also, DOUBLE ATTACK POWER for undead creatures in the graveyard? Are you insane? I know Zombie only had 800 attack points, but even slightly stronger creatures would be ridiculously overpowered in there.

Honda and Jonouchi both get into Duel Monsters for the sake of beating Kaiba. I find this disappointing because manga!Jonouchi was genuinely excited about the game itself and even challenged Kaiba before he started thinking he was a jackass. Having his one drive be defeating Kaiba, and pawning off that same drive on Honda, just feels lazy and uninteresting. Granted, they never play the game again after this, in this continuity anyway.

In the manga, Yugi randomly brings Blue-Eyes to school for the day after asking his grandpa if he could borrow it….for…some reason. In the anime, Kaiba specifically calls Yugi the previous night and asks if he can borrow the card from his grandpa so he can see it up close again.

I have problems with both versions. In the manga, why would he take such a rare card with him to school? His friends have already seen the card, and carrying around such a rarity just makes him a target for ‘maniacs.’

In the anime, why wouldn’t Yugi find it odd that Kaiba would ask him to do such a thing? His grandpa’s a reasonable guy. Surely he’d let Kaiba keep seeing it. Maybe not hold it again, but he’d be able to see it. Yugi’s a bit naive to believe Kaiba would ask something like that without having ulterior motives.

By the way, why is Kaiba allowed to wear such a drastically different school uniform? Every other boy has a blue uniform, but Kaiba is allowed to wear a pure white one in the anime. Is it just because he’s rich? (Just for the sake of noting this, he only wears his school uniform in a few episodes of the 2000 version, but his uniform is the proper color there.)

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Literally just realized how gross the color scheme in his hallway is. Is there any place in this anime that has pleasant colors?

The manga only goes so far as to show Kaiba pulling the fake Blue-Eyes out of his pocket to make the switch while the anime decides to show him dropping the card to make the switch too. I like this change because it bugged me a little that we don’t see how Kaiba swapped the cards right in front of Yugi’s face.

In the manga, Yugi is the only one who notices that Kaiba swapped the cards. In the anime, Jonouchi and Honda notice and take action against Kaiba after school without telling Yugi, which promptly gets their asses kicked by Kaiba’s guards.

I can’t really decide how much this bothers me. Anime!Yugi does later reveal that he noticed Kaiba take his card, but he thought he’d reconsider and give him the chance to return it. He was heading home with the fake and I guess hoped Kaiba would come to the shop later and own up or something. Manga!Yugi, on the other hand, confronted Kaiba after school about it, begged him to give him the card back since it’s so precious to his grandfather and got beat up by Kaiba who refused to cater to his wishes.

I prefer the manga side in that regard because, while it is realistic that Yugi would give Kaiba the chance to own up to what he did and make things right, I don’t think Yugi would return home with the fake Blue-Eyes card and possibly have to break the bad news to his grandpa, who may notice it’s a fake.

Also, I’m a tad annoyed because so many episodes/chapters include the main characters getting beaten up. It starts to wear thin.

After school, Yugi walks home and is confronted by Anzu who tells him she thought he’d be with Honda and Jonouchi because they decided to challenge Kaiba. Yugi somehow puts it together that Honda and Jonouchi are back at school, on the roof no less, physically confronting Kaiba.

The rest of the exchange goes the same, essentially, but since the guards are in the picture in the anime, Yami has to beat them up before going to confront Kaiba.

Shadow Game

The manga and Season Zero share the 2000 anime’s original default life point count of 2000, which will later get bumped up to 4000, though rarely, if ever, do they mirror the real life TCG’s default life point count of 8000.

Make fun of the game in later days all you want, it is a million times more complex and entertaining than the game in the manga and Season Zero. I would’ve been really bored playing the game like this. Most of the moves are drawing and playing whatever you’ve just drawn then attacking with whatever monster you summoned. Also, there’s only magic cards, no traps, though you can put magic cards face down and have them act like traps, I think?

Oh my god, the animation for the Dark Dragon falling! That is too hilarious. It was literally like someone knocked down a cardboard cutout. Is this a rough draft version of the episode? Wow.

It’s interesting seeing the beta versions of some of the more well-known Yu-Gi-Oh cards like Holy Elf/Mystical Elf and Minotaurus/Battle Ox.

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Apparently Season Zero wants to channel Bakugan in the future for a minute here as they play a magic card, but only say it makes the monster stronger. They don’t explain how much stronger or for how long. In the manga, they explain that Growth increases Minotaurus’ attack by 20%.

In the manga, once Minotaurus is powered up, Yugi suffers several losses in a slight montage where his life points are eventually whittled down to 500. His next card has to be strong or else there’s a high chance he’ll lose, which is where Demon Summon/Summoned Skull comes into play a la heart of the cards.

What’s that? You say you thought the heart of the cards was some 2000 version bullshit? Haha, you’re silly, reader.

In the anime, Yugi only suffers the loss of Holy Elf. His life points stay the same, since she was in defense mode, and he instantly draws Demon Summon.

I don’t really mind this too much because the manga makes Yugi out to be a complete idiot who keeps throwing out weak monsters in attack mode instead of defense.

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Also, have another aged chuckle, because Kaiba notes that Demon Summon is one of the five strongest monsters in the game. Wow.

Here’s where Kaiba really differs from manga and Season Zero to the 2000 anime. In the manga and Season Zero, Kaiba cheats by pulling a Blue-Eyes out of his jacket pocket, palming it and pretending to draw it on his next turn.

2000!Kaiba, as much of a jackass as he is, would never sully his good name or his honor as a duelist and cheat (The ‘summoning a bunch of monsters on one turn’ thing doesn’t really count because that was technically in the Duelist Kingdom days where half the moves were technically cheating or making shit up.) The closest he ever got was threatening to commit suicide if Yugi chose to defeat him, but that was only because Mokuba’s life/soul was on the line. If he lost that match, he’d have lost his only chance to challenge Pegasus and save his last remaining family and one of the only beings he loved.

Either Kaiba loses another monster off-panel in the manga or they did some bad math. Kaiba went down to 1500 LP when his Gargoyle was defeated. His 2040 Attack Minotaurus was his next monster to be downed, and it was by a 2500 Attack monster, which means he should be at 1040 LP. However, the next time we see his LP counter, it’s at 800.

I want to believe the anime did this wrong as well because Kaiba’s LP only go to 1200 when Minotaurus is defeated there. However, since the anime didn’t tell us Minotaurus’ exact power boost with Growth, I can only assume it’s wrong. It’s not either 800 or 1040, so unless they changed the card effect, it has to be wrong.

A small bit of text above Kaiba’s head in the manga implies that he also cheated to win those aforementioned tournaments, so this isn’t a new thing for him.

Oh, oh….oh retro Blue-Eyes and its animation…..Wow….just..wow.

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What the…? Blue-Eyes isn’t even attacking and is, in fact, in the process of destroying itself, but anime!Yami’s life points are going down to 50? Whaaa?????

I would call BS on Blue-Eyes not attacking because he’s not Kaiba’s card, thus he doesn’t have his heart in it, his grandfather does, but I think this is just the embodiment of Kaiba’s cheating so I’ll give it a pass.

I get that it’s poetic justice for Yami to revive Blue-Eyes to fight for him, but he could’ve just attacked Kaiba’s life points directly with Demon Summon. Or are direct attacks not allowed in this version, like it wasn’t in the first season of YGO? Also, when anime!Yami revived Blue-Eyes, why did he not attack with either?

Now when it’s anime!Kaiba’s turn, like Yami, his life points start going down for absolutely no reason. What the hell is happening?

Even more weirdness because, in the manga, Kaiba loses this duel, and the subsequent penalty game has a lasting effect on him that will herald in the biggest arc of the manga. Yami attacks with Blue-Eyes and wins.

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In the anime….I have no clue what the hell happened. Kaiba draws a Gremlin, which, even with 2000 attack, isn’t enough to defeat either Demon Summon or Blue-Eyes. However…Kaiba summons him on a mountain range, I think, which, I guess, grants the card the ability called Split the Land….which automatically ends the duel in a draw…I suppose?

…..HUH!? Why did Kaiba not get defeated here? He not only should’ve lost, he should’ve got a well-deserved penalty game for cheating. But the anime decides, nah, let’s have it end in a draw? Even 2000 anime Kaiba lost. And where did Kaiba vanish to after the duel ended? What is going on!?!?

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It also makes th setup for the Kaiba arc so much weaker than the manga. Instead of Kaiba, the champion, being pissed about being defeated and basically being forced to go through hell, instead he’s just butthurt that he got a tie.

I’m a bit surprised that manga!Yami was lenient on Kaiba in his penalty game. It’s horrible to be trapped in a card and experiencing something ‘close to death’ as all of the fallen creatures torment him, but he clearly says it’s only for one night whereas we’re left to assume most of the other people who got penalty games were punished indefinitely.

If they weren’t, then why haven’t people like Ushio come back to get their revenge on Yugi? Are they just too scared of him now? Have they changed their ways because of their punishment? Tetsu got straight-up killed for sure, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think most of the other penalty games stuck unless stated otherwise so…..??

Kaiba beat up numerous people, stole god knows how many Duel Monsters cards and tried to steal Yugi’s grandfather’s precious treasure. I’m not saying all of that is worth eternal torment or death, I’m saying Yami’s done worse to some people for much less. Why is Yami so inconsistent with how he punishes people?

Also, the anime ends with a few tags – Kaiba trashing his trophy room in anger at getting a mere draw in a duel, Yugi, Anzu and Jonouchi being glad Yugi got Blue-Eyes back (somehow) and an overly long really stupid sequence of Miho riding on the back of Honda’s bike and them spending a ridiculous amount of time on the ground in a daze after crashing.

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I thought this was a good introduction to Duel Monsters, for the most part. I don’t think they do an adequate enough job explaining the rules (The manga does a lot more than the anime, but they have an advantage in being able to display fairly detailed text boxes that convey that type of info. Still, a good anime would be able to convey the information naturally), and both versions have a serious problem with keeping track of life points, but the anime moreso because both of their life points went down so far for literally no reason. Nothing was happening at the time, but they were losing points. I feel like they only did that so it would be more viable for the duel to end in a draw.

I already expressed how I also didn’t care much for the nice guy act they put on Kaiba in the anime. Like I said, that would’ve been perfectly fine if they didn’t ruin the act in the first place by showing Kaiba’s guards beating up a kid for a Duel Monsters card and establishing that he does that stuff all the time.

Kaiba’s design has been noted throughout the years as being the funniest manga/Season Zero design of all of our well-known characters because, while the Kaiba we know and love has brown hair, manga/Season Zero Kaiba…well.

Again, what is up with the screwed up colors in this show?

Do I even need to bring up the janky animation in this episode? This series has always been poorly animated, but this is lower than shoestring budget. It’s like…..off-brand floss budget. It reminded me of those old Filmmation cartoons from the 70s on occasion.

Kaiba is a good antagonist, of course, and I’m glad they left the door open for him to return in the future, but that draw wasn’t earned in the anime. He may not have been able to do anything with Blue-Eyes once he was on the field, but he still cheated. He deserved to lose. There’s honestly no reason he shouldn’t have lost either. It’s like the writers were cheating FOR them. What was wrong with the manga’s ending that they felt the need to change it? Just wanted it to seem more like Kaiba and Yugi/Yami were on the same level? That’s just silly.

Winner: Manga

Next time, some filler on the anime’s part and some not really filler but never adapted chapters in the manga.


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