AniManga Clash! Tokyo Mew Mew Volume 7 (FINALE + Entire Series Champion Decision)

Plot: Deep Blue has arrived, and it’s time for the final climactic showdown!

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– I mentioned in my review of the anime that it bothered me a little that Ichigo was so shook by the revelation that Aoyama was Deep Blue that her friends got hurt trying to protect her from her own perilous behavior. However, I also gave some leeway due to the fact that she was rightfully and lovingly chewed out by the other Mews after this occurred. They had been fighting in her stead to give her time to process and grieve, but when the situation got too dire, it was time to slap some sense into her and get her back in the game.

The manga…..WHOO BOY. I got a bone to pick with you, manga. A big bone. Dinosaur sized.

Sssooooo….in the manga….Ichigo is still too shook by the Deep Blue/Aoyama revelation that she’s in a daze just watching the girls try to fight Deep Blue….In her daze….she picks up her bell….and ATTACKS THEM TO DEFEND DEEP BLUE.

What….the hell?

She did immediately regret what she did, but she still consciously did it. No mind control, no nothing – she willingly attacked her friends. There’s a world of difference between being unable to accept reality to the point where you can’t defend yourself properly against a threat, which puts others in danger as they try to protect you, and consciously making the decision to attack your friends. I really thought she would just jump between the Mews and Deep Blue and she’d get hurt, which would be incredibly reckless but so much more understandable than attacking her friends.

That was the first time I’ve ever been really shocked while following this series. Sure the Aoyama/BK/Deep Blue revelation was surprising when I first watched the series, but Ichigo attacking her friends….wow….I just lost untold amounts of respect for her. I really don’t care about the circumstances. There’s no excusing that, if you ask me.

– Mint still chews out Ichigo, but the speech is much shorter and no one tries to bring her spirits up afterward – they just say they’ll die if they don’t fight.

– Likewise, even after all of that, manga!Ichigo seems to have much less faith in Aoyama than anime!Ichigo did because, in the manga, when she’s having her first clash with Deep Blue, she’s acting like it’s hopeless and Aoyama might have been lying to her this whole time. In the anime, she was either adamant he was still the same person or hopeful that she could get him to come back to her. Even when she was faltering, she still never gave up on Aoyama. For a girl who just tried to kill her friends for this dude, her faith is sure flighty.

– Alto/Ryou still comes in to save Ichigo, but whereas in the anime where he stopped the attack and pointlessly scratched Deep Blue’s face, here he takes the brunt of Deep Blue’s attack and badly wounds his arm as a result. There’s actually quite a bit of blood for this series.

– In the anime, Pai was really the only one who had such strong faith in Deep Blue that he realized the destruction he was about to bring and accepted it with open arms. Kisshu was silent about it for a long time, though clearly torn and upset, and Taruto was visibly upset and turned on them immediately, wanting the fighting to end. He also quickly went to Pudding’s aid after she was de-transformed from Deep Blue’s attack.

In the manga, all of them are tickled pink that Deep Blue’s going to destroy the world. They’re also taking great pleasure in the knowledge that the Mews will all die soon. Kisshu even quickly jumps at the chance to ask Deep Blue if he can be the one to end Ichigo.

– As if there wasn’t enough Ichigo favoritism around, there’s this ridiculousness. When Deep Blue’s base appears, Ichigo and the other girls need to reach it. Since the girls can’t seem to confusingly fly on their own in this manga, Ichigo asks them to lend her their power, which combines in her bell….

….and allows her to grow butterfly/angel wings???????????????????

And then she engulfs the other Mews in light that allows them to fly with her???????? And she just knows how to do this even though this is the first time she’s ever shown this ability????

I cannot compute…..What is this? It doesn’t make a lick of sense that Ichigo would have this kind of ability, even with the other Mews helping. This is the kind of thing I’d expect a Mew Aqua’d MINT to be able to do – with her, ya know, being a bird and all – but nope. Ichigo, the CAT of the group can suddenly sprout angel/butterfly wings and not only fly but extend a public transport service to the other Mew

– And just so we’re keeping score with the favoritism, the same old ‘Ichigo’s the only one who can save the world’ spiel is alive and well in the manga.

– In another grand example of the poor pacing the manga tends to have sometimes, the battle between Pai, Taruto and the Mews is literally over in less than two pages. They launch one attack at their Chimera Animal and then…that’s it. They’re defeated. Battle of the century.

In the anime, while the girls couldn’t do much against it, at least the battle between the Chimera Animal and Pai was somewhat entertaining and lasted quite a while. They were suffering from hits, they were landing hits, they were clashing and struggling – it was decent enough. This was a flash in the pan not-battle.

And the sweet moments from the aliens? Basically gone. Pai just says with a smile that it seems like the humans were stronger than them afterall, and Taruto tells Pudding that he never hated her, which makes Pudding cry out his name. Both moments are contained on one page.

In the anime, Taruto and Pudding got two very sweet and tender moments after he turned heel. He helped prop her up when she was de-transformed, and Pudding’s speech as she cradled his dead body after being killed by Pai was really heartbreaking. And while Pai’s ‘emotional’ sacrifice was rushed and somewhat nonsensical, it was at least cool.

In the manga, it’s just kinda sad and really out of left field considering they were all still having tons of fun trying to kill the Mews and destroy the earth. Taruto stuttered once before the battle started, when he was talking to Pudding for a second, but that’s about it.

Almost comically, I literally nearly laughed out loud, the next page has the girls all toppling over, near dead from exhaustion. They didn’t even get hit by Pai and Taruto’s Chimera Animal or anything – they’re just really tired.

Granted, it’s hard as hell to keep up with the timeline in this manga sometimes, especially when it comes to the other Mews because the focus is so squarely on Ichigo most of the time, so maybe they have more of a reason to be so exhausted than I’m aware of. Hm. Maybe they got blasted in the face with Mew Mew power by some bitch.

– In another weird heel-turn, despite itching to kill Ichigo earlier, Kisshu is now defending Ichigo and challenging Deep Blue to a duel to protect her. I was going to mention how he’s a bit nicer here in that he doesn’t imply that the world and everything in it can be destroyed as long as Ichigo’s okay, but he kinda lost those points where he started snuggling up on her boobs after he got mortally wounded….

There are some good things to note here, though. Kisshu seems to have accepted that Ichigo doesn’t love him, even if he’s trying so hard to get her to do so. He doesn’t care, though. He still loves her anyway and will do whatever it takes to protect her. He also manages to sneak a cheek kiss and tells her he loves her twice before passing away.

Then Aoyama just kinda appears. There’s no sudden revelation that Ichigo looks exactly as she did in his nightmares (even if she was in completely different clothes in that nightmare), no dealing with an internal struggle, just Kisshu dies and then boop Aoyama pops up.

– In the anime, Aoyama doesn’t really pay any mind to the fact that he just murdered Kisshu in cold blood – besides that Ichigo was upset about it. In the manga, he touches Kisshu’s face and acknowledges that he did this horrible thing, which I appreciated.

– In the anime, the Mew Aqua within Aoyama gets revealed when Ichigo triggers it with her emotions. In the manga, the Mew Aqua is revealed by Aoyama crying and one of his tears turning into a plant, which I thought was cool and should have been added to the anime version.

– Aoyama bubbles up Ichigo to protect her from Deep Blue, which actually panics her because Deep Blue tries to unleash a massive Mew Aqua explosion over Tokyo, which would kill all of her friends, but leave her alive.

– Aoyama’s sacrifice was similar, but in the manga he impales himself on his sword, whereas in the anime this was changed to having Ichigo attack him. I actually like the anime version quite a bit better. It showed that Ichigo was willing to do something so terrible and painful for both of them because it was what Aoyama wanted. In the manga, she’s very passive and just kinda has to let it happen.

– Anyway, Ichigo’s naked now. I don’t know.

I don’t know.

I don’t….know.

She’s about to transfer her life energy to Aoyama to resurrect him and she’s just suddenly naked.

Oh and she has her light wings back somehow, in a more angel-esque shape this time, there are even feathers flying around, somehow, even though they’re wings made of light. Cats sure have feathers.

– And now she has her clothes back on, again, inexplicably. Also, despite the fact that the others girls have all de-transformed, like in the anime, Ichigo is still in her Mew outfit, despite being ‘dead.’

– So I guess Aoyama is still magic even without Deep Blue or the Mew Aqua, because he bubbles them both up and floats them back down to the ground.

– This also means that the Mews and the aliens find out about Ichigo’s ‘passing’ on the ground, not in the base. It also means the base doesn’t just turn into a spaceship so the aliens make a quick getaway without a strong goodbye for them.

– Ichigo’s naked again, but I guess this time it makes sense because all of the Mews are naked when they transform – only makes sense to have them be naked on the de-transform.

Gotta love Kisshu’s face right as it’s happening though. Lol

– Speaking of giving the aliens their proper sendoff, Kisshu expresses that he’s fine with Aoyama and Ichigo being together, but is still clearly disappointed. Ichigo stops him before he leaves and tries to come up with the words to thank him for everything, even if it’s awkward for her. Kisshu kneels before her and tells her that the only thing he wishes is for her to be happy. In inner monologue, he also thanks her for giving him the chance to love her, even if it was hopeless.

He manages to sneak one last cheek kiss before running off.

Taruto and the others are about to head home when Pudding stops him. He says he doesn’t have a reason to stick around anymore and Pudding kisses him!

N’AW!

I remember seeing the pic of this a long time ago and was so happy. They’re so adorable.

Granted the kiss is an excuse to give him a candy drop, which just makes it…..SWEETER.

She pleads with him to not say goodbye, but Taruto says he might return sometime for another candy drop…OoooOOOOooooohhhh Taruto’s such a charmer.

– Instead of the aliens finding a bit of Mew Aqua left behind from Aoyama/Deep Blue, Shirogane just gives his last bit of it to them in the manga.

I’m not….sure I really like this version of events. Shirogane doesn’t have much of a reason to trust them. The only one who turned heel in the manga was Kisshu. The others were just defeated by the other Mews. But hey, take the last bit of this superpowerful material we’ve been spending seven volumes specifically trying to keep away from you lot.

Also, the whole ‘this itty bitty amount of Mew Aqua is enough to rejuvenate our world into being as beautiful and lush as earth so we totally didn’t need to do 99% of all of this to help our people.’ plot hole is alive and well.

They also leave without a spaceship somehow? Can they teleport all that way?

– The anime ended with the cafe shutting down, the Mews spending weeks or months apart and somehow all ending up at the cafe like they were being called there. Just then Shirogane and Akasaka explain that a new enemy has arrived and they need the Mews to take them down. Ichigo and others were rightfully confused, but Akasaka explained that the loss of powers was only temporary due to the Mew Aqua. Now that some time has passed and there’s a new threat, they have their powers back and are being called into action.

In the manga, the girls still work at Cafe Mew Mew, though some time has passed. Ichigo explains that Aoyama is now studying abroad in London to learn about red data animals, specifically the animals the Mews were based on since their abilities help save the world.

Ichigo acts like she’s okay since she’s supporting someone she loves, but the other girls know she’s secretly very lonely and sad. They come up with the plan, Mew Project W, to cheer her up. They kidnap her and bring her to a church. They put her in a wedding dress (the W stood for wedding if you’re not catching on) and have invited Aoyama to have a fake wedding ceremony.

They ‘get married,’ but not before a strange new figure arrives at the cafe (I assume she’s Berry from the sequel?)

As Ichigo says ‘I do,’ her ears and tail suddenly sprout, indicating that her powers aren’t really gone and their story is not quite over.

The end!…For now!

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So, who wins the final battle in the finale battle in the end finally?…..Uhmmmmm….

This is actually kinda difficult. I think, out of all of the volumes, this one both has the most drastic differences from the manga version but also has the most discrepancy in whether the changes were good or not. For example, I really hate that the manga has Ichigo attacking her friends while she’s in shock. I thought that was going way too far and really tainted my view of Ichigo. The Mews get shafted enough in nearly every way possible without her basically acting like they’re the bad guys and blasting them in the face with her bell.

The Mews’ pep talk to her after the fact was also better in the anime.

However, I love the better absolute ending the aliens got in the manga, especially the really sweet moments between Kisshu and Ichigo and Taruto and Pudding, even if they were less earned.

I didn’t like that the aliens stayed firm on Deep Blue’s side, barring Kisshu, until the very end because it kinda ruins their redemption if they don’t….ya know…have redemption arcs. Or even just a redeeming scene. I complained that Pai’s heel turn was just too sudden and didn’t make a lot of sense in the anime, but at least it was something and at least it was pretty cool to watch.

Taruto’s turn in the anime made total sense, and was one of the more emotionally impacting moments of the series to have Pai kill him in order to carry out his orders. Pudding cradling Taruto’s body and her speech to him was also incredibly sweet.

Would you rather have those cool moments or two lines that take up all of one page? Pai basically compliments the Mews on how strong they are, and Taruto tells Pudding he never hated her. And that’s it. They’re redeemed.

The other Mews got even less to do in this finale. Their big battle was just one attack on some random Chimera Animal that instantly wins them the match and kills Pai and Taruto.

That’s pretty much something else to complain about, too. The Mews killed the aliens themselves instead of Pai killing Taruto, who was trying to help the Mews, or Deep Blue’s Mew Aqua beam killing Pai as he tried to sacrifice himself to save the Mews.

Granted, they didn’t technically get to do a lot in the anime finale battle, either, and both side battles ended on disappointing notes, but it was still an actual battle that lasted longer than a sneeze and things happened in it.

I guess Ichigo using the girls’ powers to summon weird butterfly/angel wings of light can be interchanged with the anime using their powers to create an attack, but the anime also wins out here because the girls were flippin’ exhausted, collapsed on the ground, when they did that in the anime – and they were doing it to create one final attack on Deep Blue, not to turn Ichigo into a flying Uber. In the manga, they were fine and this ability comes right the hell out of nowhere.

Ichigo, shockingly, didn’t even get a big moment other than her reviving Aoyama….while naked. She barely got a shot off the whole battle besides one clash with Deep Blue and that whole ‘attacking her friends’ fiasco. She gets bubbled by Aoyama and then he kills himself instead of having Ichigo attack him. Then it’s just over. Kisshu fought him properly, Aoyama fought him internally, the Mews fought him properly – the only one who didn’t really legitimately fight the main bad guy in the series was the main character.

Ichigo narrowly avoided suffering the same fate in the anime, but she did deliver the final blow to him.

The epilogue was much better in the manga, if you ask me. The anime’s absolute end just made very little sense. The girls gather at the cafe for no reason. It’s suddenly right as a new enemy is attacking somehow. Their powers have suddenly returned right then, even if we physically saw Ichigo’s cat leave her (which doesn’t happen in the manga, by the way. She just de-transforms) Shirogane and Akasaka have no guilt over throwing the girls back into Mew duty even when he promised they’d live a normal life afterwards. And we don’t learn who or what this new threat is, especially considering the main and only threat they were created for was the aliens and Deep Blue. And we never will learn who it is because the anime never got a sequel.

In the manga, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Aoyama to suddenly study abroad and leave Ichigo behind, but the wedding was really sweet. The little bit at the end where we catch a glimpse of Berry and we see that Ichigo’s cat powers are still present was enough of a cliffhanger to want to continue on to the sequel, Tokyo Mew Mew A La Mode. Being fair, Shirogane said their powers would disappear once they weren’t needed anymore, not that the Mew Aqua had any hand in it. So her gaining her ears and tail again is both a nice nod that she’s still a Mew while subtly indicating that a new threat might be around the corner.

Logically, if we tally things up here, the anime would probably win, but I’m struggling with handing over the point so easily. I had a lot of issues with the anime ending, culminating in the opinion that it was ultimately middle of the road. I think the same can be said of the manga’s ending. What they did so much better in the manga is balanced out by what they did so much worse.

It’s a close call, and if you pulled my arm I’d probably say the anime won here, but I’m going to just say it’s a tie.

Winner: TIE

And so, we’ve come to the end of this AniManga Clash! Only one thing left to do, and that’s crown an overall champion.

Overall AniManga Clash Champion!: Anime

I wish I could say I struggled with this decision more, but I really didn’t. While the manga does have a lot going for it, numerous things I wish the anime had kept, the anime just made, overall, better choices with the way the story unfolded.

If there was one thing I was really looking forward to in regards to the manga, it was getting to see the other Mews use the Mew Aqua Rod, considering they got no new powerups in the anime. However, that was a disappointment. I got a bit too excited when Mint got her shot with it because it was the first time – and it was a moment that was wrenched away to Ichigo in the anime. When Pudding’s time came, it was also a cool moment, but, again, I might have been more excited than I should have been, especially considering the anime actually did something arguably better with this moment, and it was for the sake of Taruto and/or PuddingxTaruto. And after that point, you realize what is going on.

They literally all did the exact same thing with it. It was the same thing with each Mew. They sense the Mew Aqua, they find it and then they use Mew Aqua Drops to solve the problem. They could have had the Rod react differently to each Mew or something, but nope. It’s just copy/pasted on all four of them.

Ichigo technically remains the only Mew with actual powerups, of which she got even more in the manga than she did in the anime.

Like I mentioned before, filler also worked in the anime’s favor in regards to giving a better degree of characterization to the other Mews. While the focus typically did lie with Ichigo most of the time, the filler allowed us to have more episodes centered on the other Mews, like Mint and her brother, Zakuro and that lonely little girl, Lettuce and her one-sided crush on that guy who was about to propose to another girl, Pudding getting sick, prompting the girls to help take care of her little brothers and sisters, and several others.

In the manga, let’s be real, the other girls might as well have not been there at all. They’re glorified props with rare times where they have an actual purpose. The girls did get some small storylines here and there, but it felt more like an obligation than the author actually wanting to explore their characters.

That makes sense considering the series was originally designed to be about one girl, Tokyo Black Cat Girl, which was shown in a special bonus chapter of Tokyo Mew Mew, but then then the editorstold Mia Ikumi, the artist and co-creator (alongside Reiko Yoshida) it would be more appealing to audiences if it was a team. I don’t think either of them had any resentment towards being forced to make this change, but it’s quite possible their hearts just weren’t fully in making a team series.

We don’t even get a lot regarding Ichigo’s relationships to the other Mews. They just hang out a lot because they work and fight evil together, so they must be important to each other. The other Mews are endlessly loyal to Ichigo, and we can tell she’s fond of them, but it pretty much ends there. It definitely comes to a screeching halt during the scene in which she attacks them to protect Aoyama/Deep Blue. In any other situation like this, the main character would be far too torn between her love of her friends and her love of her boyfriend to likely do anything outside of either yell at them to stop, commit self-sacrifice or do literally nothing.

I can’t help but imagine how the series would have gone had she actually seriously harmed them or killed them. And you can’t tell me these girls don’t have endless loyalty to Ichigo considering they didn’t even actually get mad at her for doing this. Like in the anime, they were moreso mad that she wasn’t seeing the situation for what it was, getting up and taking on the actual threat of Deep Blue. But unlike the manga, the anime just had Ichigo being so out of it that she nearly got herself killed as a result. I could never imagine the Ichigo I know from the anime ever, and I mean ever, attacking her friends like that, which is probably why it was rewritten in the first place.

I mentioned how lackluster Mint’s yelling of ‘Ichigo!’ was when she realized Ichigo was dead in the anime because her VA just didn’t seem like she was putting enough oomph into it. She does the same thing in the manga, but the reason I had a problem with it here, despite having no audio accompaniment, was because the dramatic collapse and yelling didn’t really feel warranted. In the anime, she and Ichigo had a relationship akin to Rei and Usagi from Sailor Moon. They seemed like they got along the least, but Rei was basically the closest Sailor Scout to Usagi.

Likewise, despite butting heads a lot, Mint is the closest Mew to Ichigo, so it makes perfect sense, in the anime, that she would be the one to collapse and yell out her name when Ichigo died. In the manga? Not so much. They have the same relationship in the manga as the anime, but there is much less exploration into it and moments between them to build the type of relationship necessary to warrant such an outburst.

It was so odd. And the art didn’t even actually focus on Mint, so I was confused as to who was even saying that line when it happened.

Even the aliens and Deep Blue are done better in the anime. The aliens have more time focused on them and their individual dynamics, and Kisshu defecting started their actual redemption arc as a whole. He had a crisis of faith, essentially, and even though it made him go mad, it also gave him more perspective on everything and lead him to the real source of power that he needed. Him also getting severely wounded and Deep Blue abandoning him while he’s laid out on the floor also sewed the first seeds of doubt into Pai and Taruto’s heads that Deep Blue might not be so great afterall.

Taruto choosing to save Pudding instead of letting her die was also a massive turning point for him, even if he didn’t defect as Kisshu did at the time.

Having Pai be the only one who stood by Deep Blue, even causing him to kill Taruto, was quite powerful also. It was the most understandable for the stoic most non-feeling of the group to be the most loyal to Deep Blue, even under the circumstances, but it never felt like he was irredeemable. It was weak that his big turnaround was unearned, but it was still better than the manga’s explanation.

Deep Blue got more time to talk with the aliens, be more of an imposing figure lurking in the shadows and even got a tad more characterization once he was actually awakened than he did in the manga.

Speaking of Deep Blue, they don’t give any actual explanation as to his situation in the manga either. In the anime, they explained that Deep Blue was one spirit/being that broke off into Aoyama and The Blue Knight until Deep Blue could be properly awakened, in which case those personalities should have vanished, leaving only Deep Blue.

In the manga, Aoyama becomes Deep Blue and they kinda don’t talk about why or how that is. They just accept it without question. Likewise, no one talks about how or why Aoyama is The Blue Knight, either. Granted, the anime also doesn’t explore this before the Deep Blue revelation, but still.

Even Aoyama doesn’t escape this because he’s nothing but a sweetheart in the anime, but there are so many times that he’s super creepy in the manga. I don’t dislike him or anything, but it’s still unnerving to have those moments in there.

Some might say the anime is too drawn out, but I’d argue that the manga is too compressed. Yes, there are seven volumes to this story, but 80% of it feels like it’s going way too fast, especially when you compare it to the anime. The battles are the worst examples of this. So many times I was reacting to scenes going ‘What, that’s it?’ or ‘Wait, it’s over already?’ In a similar manner, there were moments where I was shocked a plot thread was still going on, like with the giant moth or the heat dome, because the manga got distracted and went off elsewhere, usually to something Ichigo was doing.

You’d think that the one thing the manga would explicitly have over the anime would be the art. Afterall, I had my fair share of time complaining about Studio Pierrot’s art and animation that ranged from ‘Good’ at its best to ‘Please gouge out my eyes with a cork screw’ at its worst. However…….eh.

The art of the manga is by no means consistently bad, it’s pretty good most of the time, but there is always at least one moment in every chapter where I’m left scratching my head as to a decision they made in the art.

You remember me being confused as to the shot where Mint yells out ‘Ichigo!’? Why was Mint in the background of that shot? Why did the speech balloon not connect to her? It honestly looked like either Kisshu or Shirogane could have been yelling that, but even they were shot from behind or not on-panel so it was hard to tell. Why are there so many moments where Aoyama gets this glazed over ‘I’m going to murder you’ look in his eyes? Is that to hint at Deep Blue or is the art just inadvertently making him look 100x creepier than he should, even when he’s not acting creepy? Why was Ichigo drawn with a massive blush and looking at Shirogane with bedroom eyes when he said she could go with Aoyama? Why was she drawn in day clothes/negligee crying in Aoyama’s future vision when she was in her Mew form when that happened (Something the anime fixed)? Why are there several fight scenes where I honestly can’t even tell who or what they’re attacking?

That coupled with the fast pacing really makes the manga a little difficult to keep up with sometimes.

I definitely don’t feel like I can give the art award to the anime either since there was just mounds of derp, and I kinda don’t forgive them for cheaping out on the series finale, of all things, so let’s just call that a tie there.

But yeah, at the end of the day, I feel more comfortable giving this clash over to the anime. I still really enjoyed the manga, there was a lot to like about it, and I look forward to A La Mode, but I was mostly just disappointed that, even though they did some things right that the anime did poorly and even did some things better that the anime did well, there were too many instances of the anime doing things better or just not doing things as badly as the manga.

And that’s that, my friends. At least until the reboot comes out. I don’t think I’ll be doing another AniManga Clash when the reboot comes out, but I’ll certainly talk about it in relation to the first anime and manga. I hope it takes all the best parts of the anime and manga, adds even better stuff to it and makes something amazing. I really do truly enjoy this franchise, and it has so much potential, they just need to draw it out.

Coming soon, A La Mode!


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Chapters 11-12 (Notes on Episode 9 Comparison)

Animanga clash YGO Chapters 11-12Animanga clash YGO Chapters 11-12 1

Plot: Jonouchi mysteriously goes missing. When his friends find him, he’s hanging out with a gang of thugs from Rintama High, lead by Jonouchi’s old partner in crime, Hirutani. Yugi and the others confront him about what he’s doing with these guys, but Jonouchi pretends he doesn’t know them and is even complacent when one of the gang socks Yugi in the stomach.

Yugi refuses to lose faith in his best friend, however, and believes there must be a good reason for his behavior. He’s right – Jonouchi was coerced into joining Hirutani’s gang by threatening to hurt his friends if he didn’t. Unable to keep a lid on his rage for too long from one of the thugs hitting Yugi, Jonouchi attacks the gang member. Having shown insubordination, Hirutani aims to ‘educate’ Jonouchi on who’s top dog. Can Yugi, Honda and Anzu save him from this gang before it’s too late?

Episode 9 Notes: This is a bit complicated. Season Zero never fully adapted the story that this arc is focusing on. However, they did take the first half of this arc and staple it onto the anime’s adaptation of Jonouchi’s second encounter with Hirutani, which is way down the line in the manga in chapters 48 and 49, and episode nine in Season Zero.

Namely, they realize that Jonouchi is absent, which is strange for him, go to his house to investigate and find his drunken pile of crap of a dad (The first and only time we ever see him, though we never see his face) yelling about Jonouchi being missing all night, not even realizing Honda, Yugi, Miho and Anzu are at the door. We learn that Honda and Jonouchi have known each other since middle school, longer than Anzu and Yugi have known him. His dad is a loud, obnoxious, possibly abusive drunk, which is why he doesn’t invite friends over to his house. Since his father mentioned Jonouchi never came home last night, Yugi, Honda, Anzu and Miho search all over town for him.

6

The anime also adapts the parts where Jonouchi initially joins up with Hirutani’s gang, Yugi tries to talk to Jonouchi, he pretends he doesn’t know him, one of the gang punches Yugi, but they add the yoyo aspect of the seconds story arc to it (For a second. They don’t even hit the guy with the yoyos.) They don’t put Jonouchi in the Rintama uniform as they do here (Which I’m okay with because, what, did he get a transfer overnight?) and they remove the fact that the Rintama gang were all smoking in the manga.

Also, they changed Hirutani’s design a little. His hair is meant to be blond, and he’s thinner in the manga. In the anime, he’s taller, bulkier and his hair is a murky blue/purple color.

They also adapt Jonouchi’s backstory with Hirutani, but they kinda had to in order for the second story to make sense.

In the manga, since Honda was basically Jonouchi Lite, he also used to brawl a lot in middle school, but he didn’t like Hirutani and his gang because they’d pick on weaklings a lot (Which actually creates a bit of a contradiction because the first time we met Honda in the manga he was helping Jonouchi pick on Yugi….)

Yugi has very strong faith in Jonouchi, however, so he proclaims that he hasn’t changed. Whereas Honda immediately chose to believe Yugi’s words and believe in Jonouchi in the manga, Honda denounces Jonouchi entirely and claims that he’s always been rotten and always will be in the anime. He then leaves and tells the others to not associate themselves with Jonouchi anymore.

Meanwhile, in an anime exclusive scene, Hirutani and his gang clash with the gang of some other school. He specifically sends out Jonouchi to fight alone since he stated that fights should be done with fists, not yoyos. Jonouchi actually does manage to fight off every single one of their gang, alone, and off-screen.

Later, Anzu, Miho and Yugi head to J’z (which is the same bar they visit in the manga) to see if they can spot Jonouchi, but Honda shows up wearing some pink band across his torso. He’s about to go into J’z to confront the gang and Jonouchi when the trio spots him and point out that he was lying about what he said earlier about Jonouchi….Why he said that at all, I don’t know. Does he not want to seem like he cares about Jonouchi?

In the manga, Anzu, Yugi and Honda go to J’z together, and Honda confronts one of the Rintama gang members leaving the bar.

The anime also adds in Honda explaining what the band means. When he was in middle school, they had a track meet. The band was used as a baton, basically, and Honda, in second place, passed it off to Jonouchi, who won them the meet. Ever since that day, they’ve been friends, and that band is a sign of their friendship. While Yugi and Miho love the story, Anzu says it sounds fishy.

Since the commercial break hits there and the rest of the episode is not really related to this arc, I’ll stop there for now and continue when we get to episode nine’s review.

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Jonouchi has gone missing, and Yugi, Honda and Anzu are very concerned about him. They go to his house to see if he’s there, but only catch a glimpse of his irate drunk father lazing about on the couch. He throws a beer bottle at the door as it opens, complaining about Jonouchi being gone all night, not even realizing the three are at the door.

As the group investigates Jonouchi’s disappearance further, they spot a gang of thugs from Rintama High School beating on some guy. The gang from Rintama, particularly their leader, Hirutani, are known for being some of the most ruthless thugs in the area; Honda showing a particular distaste for them. They decide to move on, but then they notice Jonouchi with the thugs, wearing Rintama High’s uniform.

He pretends to not know the group and blows them off, which angers Honda. Yugi tries desperately to get him to come back, only to have one of the other thugs punch him in the face. Jonouchi and the Rintama gang then leave.

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As Honda and Anzu tend to Yugi, Honda expresses his disappointment in Jonouchi for joining up with those jerks, especially his old partner in crime, Hirutani. But Yugi proclaims that he’s sure there’s a logical reason. He’d never believe Jonouchi would turn into someone like that. Honda happily agrees and they go off once more. They overhear the gang wanting to head to an American-style dive bar called J’z so they head there next.

They catch one of the gang members outside, and Honda threatens him into telling them what they’ve done to Jonouchi. The thug explains that Hirutani wants to expand his gang’s influence, and for that he needed Jonouchi. However, Jonouchi had been reformed, so Hirutani threatened him by saying he’d attack his friends from Domino High if he didn’t comply.

Meanwhile, Jonouchi finds he can’t restrain himself for long after the attack on Yugi, so he punches the gang member who delivered the punch and knocks him out cold. Hirutani likes Jonouchi’s spirit, but doesn’t accept his rebellious attitude. He calls on all of his thugs to beat the hell out of Jonouchi. He manages to stand his ground for only a few seconds before being felled. Hirutani then demands that they take him to the Execution Grounds.

Sooo….yeah, another group of people so evil they’re literal murderers without a care in the world.

They tie up Jonouchi in some warehouse or hangar and give him a thorough beating. Hirutani explains their relationship in middle school. Jonouchi was his underling, but he also called him his partner and they thought exactly the same way. However, as his underling, Hirutani made the mistake of not properly ‘educating’ Jonouchi, which I take to mean he never put him in his place to make him always remember that he was the underling, not an equal.

He plans to rectify that by having his whole gang relentlessly assault him with stun guns. Before they’re able to do so, however, Jonouchi manages to knock one of them out by kicking them in the head. This doesn’t stop the others from assaulting him, and Jonouchi’s eventually brought to a state of catatonia from all the shocks. But it’s still not enough for Hirutani. He commands his thugs to shock him until he dies.

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Back with Honda, Anzu and Yugi, they rush into J’z only to find the place wrecked because of the fight. Only the gang member that Jonouchi knocked out is still in the room. They decide to split up and look for Jonouchi and the remaining gang members. Honda tells Yugi and Anzu to not confront the gang if they find them and get him first.

Yugi, left all alone worrying in the rain and seemingly able to sense Jonouchi crying out in pain at the stun guns, asks the Millennium Puzzle if it will show him where Jonouchi is. It hears his plea and shows him where to go. He finds Jonouchi in his near-death state and gets so upset he turns into Yami.

The gang notices Yami outside and go punch him in the face, knocking him to the ground next to the thug who was knocked out by Jonouchi.

Shadow Game

When he stands up, Yami proclaims that it’s now his turn. He challenges the group to a game. He claims that he’s surrounded the group with land mines, but they seemingly can’t see them. If they can find the switch for the land mines, they win and they can kill Yami if they want. If they lose, they’ll suffer the penalty game and be at the mercy of the land mines.

One of the thugs doesn’t want to play Yami’s game and just wants to shock him with his stun gun, but Hirutani stops him in a panic. He seemingly realizes Yami’s game. He lured them outside where it’s pouring rain. They’re all soaked and so is the ground. If they use their stun guns, they’ll all get a massive shock.

Seemingly having found the trigger, Hirutani declares himself the winner, but Yami just smirks and says he lost. He points to the actual trigger – the unconscious thug Jonouchi knocked out. While he was on the ground after being punched, Yami propped up the thug’s arm with a metal bar and put the stun gun in his hand…seemingly being triggered this whole time I suppose (I’d imagine the battery would die fairly quickly).

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The thug is waking up, meaning he’ll soon knock his arm off the bar and put the active stun gun into the water. Hirutani and his gang look on in terror as the thug wakes up, the stun gun hits the water and they’re all electrocuted……and….disintegrated? They literally go from them being shocked to Yugi tending to Jonouchi and Honda and Anzu reuniting with them. No bodies on the floor or anything, they’re all just gone.

However, as I already mentioned earlier, Hirutani and his gang returns, soooo….I dunno where they went at all.

Yugi and Jonouchi have a very touching reunion, though. You could really feel the emotion jump right off the page – it was so sweet.

I am going to nitpick the shadow game a little here. While the basic concept is good, the fact that they used stun guns really damages it, in my opinion. They act like stun guns have such massive voltage or amperage that there’s no doubt they’d all be seriously injured or killed if they were shocked by a stun gun hitting water, but that’s really not the case.

As far as my research led me, if a stun gun was used on someone who was wet, it might amplify the effects a little, but that’s about it. If you shock a body of water with a taser and you’re standing in it, there’s a chance you’d feel tingly, but, again, that’s about it. You certainly wouldn’t get such a massive jolt of electricity that you’d severely injure or kill yourself, even though stun guns, by default, have the risk of death simply due to heart issues.

What electricity it is dispersing through the nodes would be dissipated over the wide area, so the effects would be minimal. This isn’t like lightning striking a lake you’re swimming in where it might seek you out as an outlet and you’d get a lot of the shock, if you’re close enough, or like a downed power line sitting in a puddle – it’s a taser in the rain.

I would usually just chalk things up to typical Yu-Gi-Oh exaggeration, but this one felt like one of those times I had to go investigate since the entire shadow game was dependent on it. I did like the little detail that Yami was standing on a tire that entire time, though.

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Overall, despite some odd details in the shadow game, this was a great two-parter. It gave strong focus to Yugi, Jonouchi and even Honda, which is welcome since this entire time he’s been little more than a goofy brutish side character. It’s cool to see his dedication to Jonouchi is on the same level as the Honda we get in the 2000 anime.

Jonouchi was willing to suffer for his friends, and Yugi showed that he’d never give up on Jonouchi. He’s a true friend, and he deserved the benefit of the doubt.

I feel really bad that Jonouchi has such a bad home life, but at least he has real friends now to help him through.

I do feel awkward that four chapters worth of manga, two different Jonouchi arcs, are mushed into one episode of Season Zero, however. They don’t technically do a bad job combining the two, but I’d much rather the series have adapted both stories separately instead of taking the first half of this arc and the second half of the other arc and making one episode.

Next time, we talk about the first filler the anime has that has no manga basis.


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AniManga Clash! Tokyo Mew Mew Volume 6

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Plot: Aoyama/The Blue Knight finally joins the ranks of the Mews, but things take a turn for the worse when Kisshu and the other aliens reveal a dark secret that leads to the awakening of their leader, Deep Blue.

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– The anime and manga vary quite a bit in Shirogane’s backstory. He was never bullied, and, sadly, he had a pet dog named Daisuke who also died in the big explosion at the lab. Shirogane was actually home when the lab exploded. Both he and Akasaka witnessed it.

Also, Akasaka looked kinda weird in the flashback.

One change might have also fixed a big problem I had with his anime backstory. In the anime, the lab was attacked by a supposedly fire-based (?) Chimera Animal that just attacked the lab, killed everyone in it and then disappeared forever. This bugged the hell out of me because we never see this Chimera Animal again (until the very end of the show). It was supposedly freed from a fossil Professor Shirogane was experimenting with, but we have no idea why it attacked everyone nor where it went afterwards.

The manga gives no reason for the explosion, which is also a problem but not as bad.

The rest of the story and the scene afterwards goes exactly the same between anime and manga. (However, I’m still left wondering why and how Shirogane can transform into a cat at will and seemingly doesn’t need kissing or adrenaline to do it.)

– Aoyama’s dream of Ichigo is a little different. They’re both still images of her crying, but the anime has her in her Mew gear crying on the floor….The manga has her in…..

Is that lingerie? It’s very flowy and see-through. Am I reading too much into this? What is up with her pose and expression? She doesn’t look like she’s upset more than she looks…I dunno, drugged? In the anime, she’s practically bawling while kneeling on the floor, and that’s much more impacting if you ask me.

– Okay 1) I guess Lettuce doesn’t need Mew Aqua to become a mermaid. It’s just something that happens to her when she’s transformed and she enters the water, which is cool, but obviously something the anime didn’t keep – in fact, they pretty much spat in her face in that regard by making her unable to swim….

2) Her Mew Aqua time to shine was boring….I am starting to get a little tired of the Mew Aqua Rod shtick in the manga being a constant ‘I feel it calling out to me.’ *goes to it* ‘Mew Aqua Drops!’ *end* I was going to keep giving the manga props for at least letting the others girls use the Mew Aqua Rod when the anime gives them nothing, but your props are running thin if you’re just going to do the same song and dance every time. It’s like they did something cool with Mint, similar but still pretty decent with Pudding and then just gave up and was like ‘eh just do the same thing two more times,’

– In addition, they basically mixed the episode where she saved Shirogane and used the Mew Aqua with the episode where Pudding and Taruto fight for the fake Mew Aqua in the river, and it somehow purified all of the water even though it was fake. Only the manga’s version is less interesting….

– It’s at this point where I realized something very important. I was under the assumption that the manga did the other girls more justice because I knew they all got a turn with the Mew Aqua Rod, but we’re already well into the final two volumes of the manga and I can’t help but say….the anime did them more justice – at least so far.

The other girls are literally set dressing most of the time, and because there’s a lack of filler, there aren’t nearly as many stories about them. In fact, beyond their debuts and the Tokyo Dome storyline, there really haven’t been ANY stories actually about the other girls throughout this entire manga. It’s all been Ichigo, Aoyama, Kisshu and the Blue Knight with some Shirogane.

Yes, you heard me, filler actually worked in the anime’s favor.

It’s quite possible they at least get some better time to shine in the finale, but I’m not holding my breath.

– Her finding out Aoyama’s identity was very similar to the anime, but, again, done in a less interesting manner. Kisshu didn’t go insane and they both kinda left in the middle of the fight.

– What was I saying about the other girls not getting to do anything? As they get overrun by Chimera Animals (off-panel) Ichigo comes in to save them. She needs the help of all of them!….To gather their powers, give her a super special new weapon and attack and save the day.

“Our” new weapon. Uh huh.

– Hah, Taruto calls the guy who is supposed to be their savior ‘geek.’

– There’s a plotline that didn’t make it to the anime. The aliens set up a dome over Tokyo. It’s an impenetrable force field that increases the internal temperature until it’s too hot for any living being within it to survive. And just to get more environmental messages in there, they point out that using the AC will just cause the temperatures outside to rise even more.

– Aoyama’s backstory remains the same, but unlike in the anime where he conveys this information to Ichigo, in the manga he’s just saying this stuff to himself, which, in my opinion, isn’t preferable. I liked that he was sharing that part of himself with Ichigo, especially considering that she needs to know stuff about his past and feelings if they’re going to be together for the rest of their lives. Plus, it was just a nice overall moment for the two of them. Him just saying stuff he already knows to himself is pointless other than informing the audience about it.

– Even though Kisshu doesn’t go hilariously/sadly insane like he does in the anime, he does emotionally break down when Ichigo refuses to love him or be with him. He tries to strangle her but then breaks down crying wondering why he can’t get her to do what he wants or love him back. When he releases her and tells her he’ll buy her some time before everything goes down, she wonders if he truly loves her…..Uh no. No. He just strangled you, and has tried several times to kill you. There is no love here. Only obsession and a deep desire for control.

I would say maybe his species doesn’t understand emotions such as love, which is why he’s so bad at expressing his emotions for her, but I can’t imagine that’s the case. Afterall, the main reason they’re all on earth in the first place is for the love of their friends, family and species, right? And if he were completely ignorant of how love works, he wouldn’t do legitimately sweet and romantic things sometimes.

– In the manga, The Blue Knight actually has an attack name; Indigo Comet Blade.

– It’s….very confusing as to what exactly happens when BK and the Mews use their attack….Are they attacking Pai and Taruto? Where did they go? The dome’s not gone, because Zakuro takes care of that later. Oh look, Taruto and Pai are back immediately. What did that all-team attack do?

– There’s a manga-exclusive plotline where BK and the Mews fight the aliens in a sewer. They try to drown the Mews by flooding the pipes, but BK saves them by using his sword to slash a drainage hole in the pipe.

– Zakuro gets her time with the Mew Aqua Rod, and it’s exactly what you’d expect. Ichigo’s just like ‘Zakuro, find the Mew Aqua.’ She does and then she uses the rod and the dome’s gone.

– Ichigo’s going a bit too hard with the insinuations that she literally wouldn’t be able to fight or win unless Aoyama/The Blue Knight was by her side. Come on, girl, you’ve done it plenty of times before.

– Deep Blue’s awakening is much less interesting in the manga. In the anime, they had his initial trigger being going insane and basically turning himself into a nuke while trying to protect Ichigo from Kisshu. Then Aoyama’s completely out of it the next time we see him, wandering around town. His soul is screwed with by Kisshu, and then when Ichigo arrives he makes the final transformation. Here, Aoyama/The Blue Knight pretty much just collapses in Ichigo’s arms because reasons and then wakes up as Deep Blue.

– Deep Blue actually draws blood on Ichigo, which I think was something that should’ve been added to the anime. He did attack her in the anime, but I think there would’ve been more weight added to the situation if he actually wounded her. Plus, that would’ve definitely been a reason for Aoyama to fight for control over his consciousness.

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This is probably the most I’ve ever been skewed towards the anime side. While the manga did include some plotlines that the anime never adapted, I can’t say that anything was really lost because of it. It’s just ‘these things happened.’ Nothing in those plotlines really had lasting consequences or added anything to the story or characters.

Everything else was either done better in the anime or was basically the same level of quality no matter if it was the same or not, like Shirogane’s backstory. And if I wanted to be petty, I’d ding the manga there based on the fact that they killed a dog for no other reason beyond sadness points.

It actually makes a little impressed with the anime, in spite of its own set of prominent problems. It didn’t do anything that blew my mind with this set of stories, but it did improve upon nearly every aspect, in my opinion.

Winner: Anime


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Chapters 6&8 (Placeholder) (Notes for Chapters 5 and 7)

Chapter Five’s plot was adapted in episode 13 so we won’t be going over it here. This post will be updated when we reach episode 13.

Chapter 6 – Burning Struggle to the Death

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Anzu is organizing a festival for school and is asking the class for suggestions on a stand they can put up.

Hanasaki makes another appearance briefly which is nice. He suggests making a manga table, which everyone mostly gets confused by, but no one makes fun of him.

A lot of suggestions are thrown out, and Yugi’s the last one to comment. He suggests a stand with carnival games and everyone gets really jazzed about the idea. He’s so happy about everyone liking his carnival game idea. It’s really sweet

Later, everyone works really hard to make some cool carnival games – a simple stack of bottles, a shooting gallery and a life-sized version of those pop-up pirate toys where you put swords into the barrel and try to make the pirate pop up.

Gorou and his gang of….cooking brutes knock all of their stuff out of the spot, even knocking Jonouchi and Yugi over and destroying some things, to take over the spot themselves. Their stand is a giant iron plate they plan to use for an okonomiyaki stand.

Yugi is taken over by Yami and meets Gorou later that night to challenge him to a very messed up shadow game.

Shadow Game

It’s a game of air hockey, basically, but the puck is a chunk of ice and the arena is the iron plate, now superheated. Inside the ice is a vial of gunpower. When the ice melts enough, it will hit the plate and explode, so the aim is to ensure the puck is not near you when that happens. Gorou accepts.

This is a rare moment of Yami actually struggling in a shadow game. In every game before this, he has been ridiculously confident in his abilities, almost to the point where you think he’s cheating sometimes. However, this time he’s actually sweating and conceding that Gorou’s strength gives him an advantage in this game. Yugi’s body can’t keep up very well. He needs to calm himself and find a way to use Gorou’s speed and strength against him.

He makes the clever play of smacking the puck at an angle to create a small crack in it. When Gorou realizes how much the ice has melted, he puts all of his strength into hitting the puck one more time. He fails to notice the crack until it’s too late and the puck breaks open in front of him, causing the vial to fall and explode.

This is seemingly another instance of someone actually dying in a shadow game because Gorou never reappears after he gets caught in the explosion. I gotta say….he was a jerk but he didn’t deserve to go out like that. All he did was push Yugi and Jonouchi down and steal a festival spot, possibly wrecking some of the things they built there (The art makes it hard to tell.)

Granted, him accepting this shadow game is basically him attempting murder, but still. People get away with much worse in this series and still retain their lives.

Chapter 7 in the manga is somewhat adapted in episode 10 of the anime, but the story had to be drastically altered since Honda and Miho are so different in the anime. This post will be updated when I reach episode 10.

Chapter 8 – The Venomous Man

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This chapter is both heartwarming and a little dumb. Jonouchi needs a new pair of sneakers and falls in love with an awesome pair he spots in a shoe shop in a bad part of town. The owner is a straight up crazy person who initially refuses to sell the sneakers to him because they’re rare. He won’t sell them to just anyone, so he posits a challenge. He’ll put a scorpion in the shoe. If Jonouchi is brave/stupid enough to put his foot into the shoe with the scorpion in it, he’ll sell him the shoes.

Jonouchi does so and is ‘rewarded’ for his ‘courage’ by the owner revealing that he never actually put the scorpion in the shoe. He faked it. But he’s impressed enough to sell them, at a half-off discount even. However, he warns Jonouchi of ‘hunters’ in the area who target people who have such nice shoes.

And right here is where you realize exactly where this is going, and it goes there. Jonouchi walks all of half a mile before he, Honda and Jonouchi are attacked by a group of thugs wielding a tire (Not a tire iron – a tire) and various tools. They beat the group up and steal Jonouchi’s shoes.

The thugs were obviously hired by the shop owner who seems to make a habit out of playing this trick so he can get a constant stream of money out of schmucks who want nice sneakers. I can’t imagine there are that many people who would do that, but I guess this is the world of original version YGO, where everyone’s a crazy asshole.

He screwed with the wrong reformed school bullies, however, because the group, even Yugi, decide to find the thugs and beat them down. They quickly reveal that they were working for the shop owner, and Yugi transforms into Yami to challenge the owner to a shadow game.

Shadow Game

The owner kinda triggers the game himself by issuing the same challenge he gave Jonouchi, only this time there’s an actual scorpion in the shoe. However, Yami changes it up by dropping a handful of coins into the shoe. They each have to reach into the shoe one at a time and get as many coins as they feel comfortable nabbing. Whoever gets the most coins without getting stung is the winner. The owner adds on a stipulation that each coin is worth 100,000 yen, which Yami will pay him if he wins.

The game starts and after a few grabs, the owner starts getting nervous about his chances of winning the game, so he decides to fudge the rules by stabbing the shoe, effectively killing the scorpion, and nabbing all of the coins left in the shoe.

Yami reveals, however, that he not only broke the rules and betrayed his pet, but the scorpion is still very much alive. It stings him, and Yami takes the shoes to return to Jonouchi. We learn that the shop owner didn’t die of the sting, which surprised me a little. Jonouchi is so touched by Yugi going to the shop to confront to the owner that he gladly takes the shoes that now have a stab mark in them and cherishes them, which is so sweet I can’t stand it.

Next time, we’ll be heading back to the anime with episode three, which covers chapters nine and ten.


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AniManga Clash! Tokyo Mew Mew Volume 5

Plot: Ichigo can no longer keep her Mew identity a secret from Aoyama. How will he take the news?

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– The Blue Knight is WAY more affectionate with Ichigo, especially upon first meeting, than he is in the anime. In fact, outside of a few touches and carrying Ichigo, BK never really does much with her in the anime. But in the manga, he hugs her, kisses her (on the cheek? Or chest? Hard to tell with the angle) he holds her romantically, almost hugging. It’s a lot, and like I said that’s all from their first meeting.

– Did Shirogane seriously revert to Alto form….to help Ichigo find her bell?

– There’s a near miss confrontation with Mew Ichigo and Aoyama that reminds me a lot of episode 13 where Aoyama is targeted by Kisshu and Ichigo runs the risk of Aoyama seeing her as a Mew and finding out her secret. Only the story in the manga is really dumb.

Ichigo returns to the aquarium and sees a fish flopping on the floor, which she immediately believes is a chimera animal, even though the entire aquarium burst…meaning there’d be a lot of fish flopping around. She makes a snap judgment to transform right there and she quickly spots Aoyama behind her, but he doesn’t realize it’s actually Ichigo. He just asks her if she’s seen her.

– Pudding has a pet monkey in the manga?! Why was that not adapted?!

– I guess they put a lot of filler in the anime because we jump from episode 13 to episode 40. Now Pudding and Taruto are under Tokyo Dome. Only instead of Pudding finding the tunnel through sheer happenstance after an earthquake as she was attending a show, she was kidnapped. I kinda prefer the anime’s take because it had Pudding being proactive.

I also like the anime more in that they put additional stakes into Pudding’s situation. In the anime, she and Taruto eventually get trapped underground. They’re losing oxygen, but Taruto isn’t affected because he’s an ‘alien.’ Pudding, however, nearly dies, and Taruto struggles a lot with watching her suffer and the idea of letting her die down there. He actually ends up saving the both of them with his plant-controlling powers.

In the manga, it’s much less interesting, at least in my opinion. The girls literally defeat all of the chimera animals in a two page spread and Pudding is never in any danger as severe as what the anime depicted. Taruto, despite having some nice moments with Pudding, doesn’t gain nearly the same connection as he does in the anime, and he doesn’t save her life outside of one time where he spared her from getting poisoned. She’s just trapped in a cage hanging out with Taruto, more or less. There is more added risk later as Taruto attacks again with a bigger Chimera Animal, but The Blue Knight and Ichigo dispatch it rather easily.

The high point here is Pudding also gets to try her hand at using the Mew Aqua Rod. The Mew Aqua called out to her and she used its powers to grow the plant life around the dome to save it from collapse.

It’s great that she got a chance to shine, but I’m not sure it was really worth what we lost.

– The manga includes a passing suspicion that Akasaka is the Blue Knight, which is…Okay I guess. Thing is, it’s dropped just as quickly. BK hurt his shoulder in the same spot Akasaka did. That coupled with his charming nature lead Ichigo to believe he was BK. But then he explains that he hurt himself trying a new trick and broke a plate, which could easily be a gigantic lie, but Ichigo believes it immediately.

– The manga kinda contradicts the anime a little. In the anime, they make it a point that Ichigo sucks at cooking, at least if the chocolate cooking episode was any indication. Even though she had her mom’s help, she made a delicious lunch for her and Aoyama in the manga. Not really sure why the anime decided to make her a bad cook – though I guess that is a bit of a shoujo protagonist trope, kinda.

– Ladies and gentlemen, the hero of our story just cut herself…..on a blade of grass…………….?????????

– Aoyama: “Why do they always attack (Ichigo)?”

Kisshu: “Because I have to. That’s the whole point, dummy.” Lol I can’t not love Kisshu sometimes.

– Aoyama finding out about Ichigo’s Mewness is much different in the manga. In the anime, it was Christmastime and Aoyama got injured in a big two-part battle over Mew Aqua in the town Christmas tree. In a daze, Aoyama seemingly recognized Ichigo in her Mew outfit and she later confessed everything to him while he was sleeping (or wasn’t sleeping?)

In the manga, he gets injured in a completely unrelated incident during a random Kisshu attack during one of their dates. Ichigo doesn’t want to see him get hurt anymore since he’s so adamant in protecting her, so she decides to oust herself in front of him by transforming.

During this incident, BK does badly wound Kisshu, but Kisshu additionally requests BK to kill him. He almost grants him his request, but Ichigo stops him.

Like the anime, Aoyama admits he’s known for quite some time, putting the pieces together himself because he’s not an idiot, but unlike in the anime where they pretty much just cuddle, he actually kisses her.

– In the manga, Ichigo fully transforms into a cat in front of Aoyama after she divulges her secret and she kisses him to turn back. Taruto learns of her transforming secret because of this.

– I guess the kissing is the trigger for transforming back at least.

-….As for transforming…..In the next scene after she leaves Aoyama, the next day I presume, she trips, falls and that somehow turns her into a cat. Taruto kidnaps her, planning to get revenge on her for what BK did to Kisshu, which is a pretty good plan, admittedly, because she can’t transform in cat form and she can’t transform back without a kiss (Still think that’s really dumb…) Alto, however, saves her by kissing her, allowing her to change back and transform into her Mew form. She fends off Taruto and finds out Alto is Shirogane after keeping hold of him for too long to try to check his injuries. His transformation has a time limit, so he couldn’t hold it.

This is a tiny bit similar but quite a lot better than what we get in the anime which is one of the silliest and most convoluted things they had done. Basically, Ichigo goes on a wacky transformation spree. She’d kept accidentally transforming under the most ridiculous circumstances and need to basically sexually assault any female animal she could find for the sake of transforming back.

In one instance, she tries to kiss a female dog only to be blocked by her huge angry boyfriend who has heard rumors about the ‘kissing maniac’ and wants to beat her up for targeting his girlfriend. Alto saves her and kisses her to transform her back, but, like the manga, she keeps hold of him beyond his limit and he transforms back in front of her, ousting his identity as Shirogane.

Additional props for the manga because it doesn’t insinuate that she can talk to birds or dogs, robbing the other girls of their only unique additional powers.

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I struggled a bit more than usual in determining which version was better.

The anime did the brief brush Aoyama had with Mew Ichigo quite a bit better. She didn’t transform for no reason in the anime and the overall plot was more interesting and had higher tension. The anime also did the Tokyo Dome plot better both in regards to tension, development between Taruto and Pudding and giving Taruto a neat moment. However, in an odd turn of events, the moment he got in the anime was stolen from Pudding’s big moment with the Mew Aqua in the manga, so that’s quite the bummer.

The manga does have its points of glory, though. I liked Ichigo revealing her secret to Aoyama better in the manga than in the anime, even if they don’t include the stuff about his backstory here. The way he ‘found out’ just made a lot more sense than the anime. I think both post-identity reveal scenes are equally good, even if the manga includes a kiss where the anime did not.

The reveal of Alto’s identity was also done better in the manga than the anime. Sorry, but the anime’s reveal was just built on a foundation of goofiness. A series of ridiculous pratfalls leads her to needing to makeout with a bunch of female animals and Alto saves her from an angry dog….Compare that to Taruto coming up with a good plan to strike Ichigo when she’s most vulnerable to get revenge for Kisshu and Alto nearly dies trying to save her from him and she saves him in return. It’s no real contest there. However, I will still ding the manga for seemingly making her transform at least once with no real trigger. She seemingly transformed because she tripped….

I also have to commend the manga for having increasingly better pacing, even though it’s still kinda bad, and I’m getting consistently disappointed that we’re not getting much time with the other Mews. There are only two more volumes left in the series and I feel like we just don’t know nearly enough about the other girls or see them do enough as we should.

All in all, I really feel I have to give this another tie. It’s just too close for me to make a decision.

Winner: TIE


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AniManga Clash! Tokyo Mew Mew Volume 4

Plot: The Mews finally manage to find a way to destroy the cocoon that is housing a moth that could destroy all of Tokyo. Later, Ichigo and Aoyama go on a date to the aquarium when another encounter with the aliens introduces Ichigo to a mysterious man named The Blue Knight.

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– So Shirogane tries to coax Ichigo into a kiss for the sake of experimenting with her cat transformation, but then he stops and says this.

“Wait a second…You turn into a cat when you’re excited. It has nothing to do with kissing.”

*Thinks of the anime*

(HikaYagami explained to me that the TokyoPop translation is kinda off in some places, so maybe this is another poor translation?)

– Interestingly, in the Moth arc, Mint is seemingly possessed/entranced and knows exactly where to go to get the Mew Aqua, which leads her to flying up to the top of the tower and retrieving it. The other girls fight off the aliens to allow her to get to it. This is important because it’s actually MINT who gets to use the Mew Aqua Rod in this arc and use the Aqua Drops to save the city from the toxin when it was Ichigo in the anime.

Granted, Ichigo still gets the final shot because of course she does, but we were robbed of a cool moment where Mint gets 1) to use a new weapon first (All of the Mews get to use this exact same weapon at one point or another, but this is the first) and 2) a moment where Mint got to shine all on her own.

– It was especially cute because Ichigo hugs her after, Zakuro pats her head and Pudding kisses her.

– Aw cute, Aoyama kissed Ichigo’s tears away in the rain scene afterward.

– The near-kiss with sleeping Aoyama doesn’t trigger a full-body cat transformation because we already went through that plotline.

– Oh cool, another reprise of rapist cat and this time he has a ‘love leash’ the two of them will share……Is it possible to have a cat arrested?

– So Shirogane said kissing doesn’t trigger transformation, but then he kisses Ichigo to make her transform when he’s Alto. Is it just because kissing her would get her excited? Is ‘excited’ the same thing as just generally flustered from being suddenly kissed? In the anime, she does fully transform once without kissing, but then even getting little platonic pecks from friends and kissing animals (instigated by her) makes her change. Her cat transformation never ceases to confuse me…

– There’s a plotline at an aquarium that isn’t in the anime. I think this might be what the date at the amusement park originally was, but I can’t be certain. Shame, because Ichigo fights a SHARK in it.

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The anime kept pretty close to the manga when adapting this volume. The major point of contention being the Mint moment, and that just makes me ultra irritated because there’s no reason whatsoever why they gave Ichigo the spotlight there outside of the anime having more Ichigo favoritism.

In most magical girl shows that have upgraded transformations, weapons and attacks, it’s common that the other team members will get something cool but the point will be made that the leader gets the coolest one – sometimes the other girls will all get their upgrades one at a time as a buildup to the big leader upgrade, and other times the leader will get her upgrade as a way of opening the door for the other girls to get theirs. It’s still blatant favoritism, but at least it’s better than letting the other team members stagnate to the point where I’m wondering why dusting the cobwebs off of their outfits isn’t a part of the other girls’ transformations after a while.

However, that positive note might be offset by the manga including another scene with rapist cat.

Hmm…

…….Nope, I’m actually going to give the manga this one today. Mint got a time to shine and Ichigo got to fight a friggin’ shark. You don’t get to rob me of those things and get away with it, anime.

Winner: Manga


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Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapters 2 and 3 Review (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

Preface: I typically don’t do this, but the more series I cover in AniManga Clash, the more I might find the need to do so. Since Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero didn’t cover these chapters of the manga, I’m going to simply do a regular review on them instead.

Chapter 2: Lying Eyes

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Yugi and Jounouchi are talking about a dirty video that floating around. Jounouchi has seen it, but since Japan has strict censorship laws, he couldn’t make out anything in the mosaic censoring. Times sure were different before the Internet, eh?

A filmmaker comes to Domino High to film a documentary about bullying. When he sees Yugi, he assumes he must be bullied, so he decides to make him the star of their show. I guess just following a kid who seemingly must be bullied isn’t good enough, so he asks his assistant director to dress up like a student and beat the piss out of Yugi so they can film it and make a good scene for the documentary.

The assistant lures Yugi out back with the promises of seeing an idol he believes is hanging around the school. With the cameras in place, he beats the crap out of him. Jounouchi comes to his rescue (Noticeably holding a camera, so I think he was snooping to catch a picture of the idol who’s not there.) He tries to attack the director, but he says they’ll catch it on tape if he does. Jounouchi doesn’t realize the cameras are actually off, so the director takes that opportunity to beat him up.

As the director walks away, he says they shouldn’t worry because their faces will just be mosaiced out.

Angered by the injustice, Yugi transforms into Yami.

That night, the director muses that, next time, they should try killing someone on camera…..This guy is so ridiculously over-evil. You were pushing it having someone, a minor no less, beaten up on camera for the sake of a public feature. You want to KILL someone for a public video? Do you want to never see anything but the inside of a jail cell?

Shadow Game

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Yami arrives and challenges the director to a simple dice game. He’ll roll the die once. If the director can roll a die of equal or lower value, he’ll win. Yami rolls a six, and even though the director proclaims that this automatically makes him the winner, Yami insists he roll anyway.

The director then throws the die at his face, seemingly…trying to kill him? When it lands, he states he won since the die seemingly landed on a one, but Yami declares a penalty game for the attack and reveals that the die broke in half. One half landed on one, the other landed on six, equaling seven.

Yami punishes the director with illusion of mosaic, which alters his vision to make everything look like it’s being put through a mosaic filter. Yami’s reasoning was that he warped the reality of his subjects on camera, so he shall be damned to seeing everything through a warped mosaic filter.

The next day, Jounouchi delivers the tape to Yugi, but it ends up in Anzu’s hands and the final panel is of them chasing her to get it back.

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I gotta say, this chapter was kinda dumb. The bad guy setup was a little too ridiculous, the porn tape was an odd side plot, and the shadow game was kinda boring (even his rule breaking was lame. Did he really think he could throw a die so hard he’d kill Yugi?)

Chapter 3: Hard Beat!

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It wouldn’t be Yu-Gi-Oh without Yugi being bullied, so the chapter starts with Yugi being bullied.

A…uh…’music lover’ named Souzouji threatens Yugi into selling tickets for his monthly live karaoke show. No one ever comes to these events because his singing voice is inhumanly awful. Yugi can’t sell any of the tickets and doesn’t want to get Jounouchi or Anzu involved.

He comes across a small, timid boy named Hanasaki who was also bullied into selling tickets for Souzouji. He tries to sell Yugi a ticket, but Yugi decides instead to take the task of selling the tickets off of Hanasaki’s hands so he’ll be free from Souzouji. Problem is, Souzouji watched Yugi take the tickets and he’s none too happy about this.

Later, Yugi’s the only one at Souzouji’s show, and Souzouji’s very mad. He pulls a curtain to reveal Hanasaki, badly beaten as punishment for giving the tickets away.

Shadow Game

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Yugi is so filled with anger at Souzouji’s actions, that he transforms into Yami and challenges Souzouji to a game of silence.

In the karaoke room are Sound Pierrot dolls, which dance upon hearing any noise, even noise as light as moving your foot. The game is simple, one of these dolls will be placed in front of them. First one to dance, IE hear sound, loses.

Oddly, Yami makes no statement about what Souzouji will get if he wins, just that Yami will give his life if he loses and Souzouji will suffer a penalty game if he’s the loser.

The no-sound off starts, and Souzouji notices that Yami left the jack to his headphones perched on top of a glass. If it falls, he’ll win. It’s only a matter of time. Souzouji anxiously watches the jack, waiting for it to fall when the doll suddenly starts dancing.

It wasn’t triggered by the jack falling, however. Souzouji had left his microphone on high and never put it down. He was so amped up waiting for the jack to fall that his heartbeat increased substantially and was audible through the speakers. Yami wins, and Souzouji suffers the punishment game of beat festival.

Now his heart perpetually beats so loudly, to him anyway, that he can’t escape the noise.

Yami picks up Hanasaki and heads for home.

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This chapter was pretty interesting. The shadow game was a little boring because it was literally a game of doing nothing. I get how it connects back to Souzouji’s desire to be as loud and irritating as possible, but this is basically the game your parents made up to get you to shut up for long periods of time.

I like that Yugi has a new friend, even though I’m not quite certain if he’ll stick around.

I’m also enjoying Jounouchi, even if his part in this chapter was small. He was funny and he keeps showing how dedicated he now is to protecting Yugi and making sure he’s okay.

And now to get back on the anime track.

Episode 2/Chapter 4


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh (Manga) vs. Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Chapter 1/Episode 1

Plot: Yugi is a timid kid without many friends. He’s smaller than most of the other students, and frequently gets bullied by Jounouchi, who claims he’s trying to help him be a man, and his friend Honda. Yugi’s precious treasure is an ancient puzzle from Egypt called the Millennium Puzzle that he believes will grant his wish upon completion. His wish? To have true friends. However, he’s been working on it for over eight years and hasn’t solved it.

The school public morals officer, Ushio, takes it upon himself to punish Jounouchi and Honda for bullying Yugi by beating them senseless. When Yugi arrives to defend them, Ushio agrees to let up if he pays him 200k yen as a bodyguard fee.

Yugi doesn’t have anywhere near that kind of money, so he struggles with figuring out what to do. In an effort to clear his head, he decides to work on his Millennium Puzzle. He manages to almost finish it, but is shocked to find a piece is missing. Jounouchi had taken it earlier that day and thrown it into the school pool.

Yugi’s grandfather, Sugoroku, arrives with a surprise – the missing piece! Jounouchi had secretly retrieved it from the water and returned it to pay Yugi back for defending them.

Upon completing the Puzzle, Yugi is endowed with dark powers and a stark new personality – one who punishes evil people by challenging them to shadow games – competitions where your life, soul and sanity lay on the line.

‘Yami’ Yugi invites Ushio to school claiming he’ll pay him his money. Even moreso, in fact. 400K worth. However, there’s a catch. Ushio has to play a shadow game with him to get it.

Ushio accepts. The game is simple, yet dangerous. They each take turns stabbing the stack of money as it is perched on their hand. Whoever has the most money on the knife at the end wins. Whoever has the least or stabs himself, loses.

Ushio’s greed manifests itself in a force controlling his hand. Worried that this force will drive the knife too far, Ushio opts to stab Yugi instead and take the cash. Having broken the rules, Yugi punishes him with a never ending hallucination of money raining from the sky.

Yugi reverts back to normal with no memory of what had just occurred that night. He meets with Jounouchi, who kindly offers his friendship, and Yugi realizes that his wish had come true.

Breakdown: I’ve been wanting to do an episode-by-episode review of Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero for a long time now – but why not go for the gold and also include an AniManga Clash for you guys? For those unaware, Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero is the (Unofficial) name given to a 1998 anime based on the original Yu-Gi-Oh manga.

Both the manga and Season Zero are much darker and, outside of the characters, virtually nothing like the 2000 ‘reboot’s’ plot.

In the manga (before it was essentially soft rebooted) and Season Zero, the stories are more episodic and there’s a much wider variety of games being played.

In the 2000 ‘reboot’ (Which is really just a new series that focused more on the later parts of the manga (Chapter 60 and onward) that shifted tone and focus), the plot is almost exclusively driven by Duel Monsters with only a few variations, such as Dungeon Dice Monsters and Capsule Monsters (which is also in the classic manga), popping up. That’s why Yugi is the actual King of GameS. Kinda weird to get a title like that when you really only play one game.

Since this series is so episodic, I decided to go chapter by chapter instead of volume by volume like I normally do, though there will be some exceptions down the line.

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Let me just point something very obvious out before we start – the art, in both versions, is just terrible. Absolutely awful. Laughable at many points. Anyone who has made fun of the reboot’s art hasn’t seen anything yet.

In a complete 180 move, Honda, who was originally a fellow bully to Yugi and best friend to Jounouchi, gets turned into somewhat of a goody two shoes in the anime. He’s a school beautification club member and was even up for student council president, but lost the election.

I never thought I’d say this while doing this comparison, especially so early, but the reboot actually did this part more accurately. Even though this version gives Honda more personality and differentiates himself more from Jounouchi, the later anime keeps him as a fellow bully and best friend to Jounouchi, later fellow friend to Yugi…..And he basically becomes a load of nothingness once he stops being a bully because, unlike Jounouchi who has a strong personality, continues to better himself and goes off to become an amazing duelist, Honda basically stagnates for all of eternity, only duels all of once, and strives to…..drive a motorcycle, hit on his best friend’s sister and turn into a robot monkey.

This is a welcome change that I would’ve actually liked to have been kept in the reboot, kinda. At least it would’ve given Honda more personality. Honestly, it wouldn’t give him more of a reason to exist, but still, it’s better than nothing. My issue with the Season Zero!Honda in this situation is that he also gets beat up later in the episode even though he wasn’t one of the bullies attacking Yugi in this version, so you kinda feel bad for him.

Honda’s role is also increased quite a bit as he was basically a background character for most of the original seven volumes of manga this series bases itself from, only getting the spotlight a few times before being bumped up a bit to a moderate side character. This change was probably for the sake of increasing the main cast size and story padding since the material is typically a bit thin to run for a full 22 minutes.

Likewise, a character who barely exists in the manga, Miho, also has her role greatly expanded to being a side character. I assume this decision was for the sake of adding a little more to Honda’s character, as he has a massive crush on her, and to maybe add more girls/fanservice to the series. Miho, in the manga, appears for only one chapter centered around Honda trying to confess his love for her through a jigsaw puzzle. At the end, she rejects him and is never seen again.

Believe it or not, the bully, Ushio was indeed a public morals committee member who strictly enforced all school rules. In fact, if the subs on the anime are any indication, he WROTE all of the school rules, which I highly doubt.

Anzu is nicer in the manga than she is in the anime in this instance. She originally says that she couldn’t stand to watch a nice guy like Yugi get harassed by Jounouchi. She further expresses her frustration with them by explaining that Jounouchi and the other boys got the girls to play basketball with them just so they could see their panties when they jumped. In the anime, she says she has to be tough or else they’d pick on her too and berates Yugi for claiming Jounouchi’s not actually a bad guy since that kind of attitude is what gets him mocked in the first place. Kinda funny how a character who will later be known for her friendship speeches is acting like a cool jerk who believes thinking the better of people is good for nothing but getting your ass beat.

Also, Yugi’s a bit of a perv in the manga…….and noses come and go.

Minor, but the manga has a misunderstanding where Yugi tells Anzu that the puzzle is a memento of his grandfather, leading her to believe his grandfather passed away. When he brings her to the game shop later, she’s shocked to find he’s alive. Yugi then corrects himself and says he meant to say it’s going to be a memento of his. That’s a bit morbid, there, Yugi.

Sugoroku is a pervert in both the anime and the manga, by the way.

Ushio originally asks for 200k yen in the manga whereas, in the anime, he asks for 20k. The anime amounts to about 200 USD, while the manga amounts to about 2000, which is why it’s a bit more understandable for Yugi to be outraged. It’s still a lot in either version, but 2000 bucks is much more ridiculous to ask for than 200.

In the manga, Ushio says he’ll pass on the responsibility of punishment to Jounouchi and Honda if he pays the 200k. Yugi pretends to be interested in beating them up for the sake of getting Ushio off their back. As a bit of a down payment, Ushio beats up Yugi for a bit. In the anime, we cut straight from Yugi reacting to the 20k fee to him thinking about how to get the money while he continues work on the puzzle.

The scene in Yugi’s room continues beyond the point of finding that the last puzzle piece is missing. In the manga, Yugi starts crying and panicking because the piece is gone. Sugoroku arrives and hands it to him stating that a soaking wet boy delivered it to the house and asked to give it to him. It was Jounouchi, but he asked Sugoroku to not tell Yugi it was him. He had gone into the school pool to fish it out as a bit of repayment for Yugi protecting them from Ushio. Yugi then finished the puzzle and instantly becomes Yami.

In the anime, Sugoroku never comes into Yugi’s room or gives him the piece. Instead, he runs to school at sundown in hopes of finding where he dropped it.

In the manga, the now Yami’d Yugi invites Ushio to school at midnight with the promises of giving him the money he ‘owes’ him. Yami reveals that he ‘accidentally’ brought 400k yen instead of 200k and claims if he wants the additional 200k that he’ll have to play a shadow game. All they’ll need is Ushio’s knife.

In the anime, Ushio is still at school, for some reason, and catches Yugi returning. He asks for the money, but Yugi says he doesn’t have it nor does he think he’ll be able to get it. Ushio then takes Yugi out behind the school for some ‘education’ in the form of a beating. Jounouchi, who had just retrieved Yugi’s puzzle piece from the canal, and Honda see this happen, return his puzzle piece to him and attack Ushio in defense of Yugi. While he lies on the ground, Yugi mutters to Jounouchi that his wish was for true friends.

As they get beat by Ushio, Yugi elaborates more on his wish in inner monologue. When he sees Jounouchi and Honda lying unconscious, he crawls over to the puzzle and adds the final piece. Upon completion, Yami possesses Yugi.

Shadow Game

In the manga, today’s shadow game is fairly simple. They each take turns placing the stack of money on their hands. Then they take the knife and stab the money. However much money they stab through, they keep. Whoever has the most money at the end of the game wins. If you stab yourself at any time during the game, you lose. If you break the rules, you end up with a penalty game.

Yami goes first. He gets less than ten bills.

Upon Ushio’s turn, Yami gives him a tip – don’t use too much strength or you’ll stab yourself. The aim of the game is to control your greed. He uses more strength than Yami, earning him more bills.

As the game goes on, Ushio pulls out ahead, but he finds himself struggling with controlling his arm as the amount of bills decreases.

As Ushio’s about to take his turn, Yami reveals that shadow games unveil a person’s true character and sort of turns that into something physical IE Ushio’s inability to control his hand. In order to win the game and save his hand, he has to learn to control his greed.

Ushio thinks there’s an easier solution to this problem that allows him to use all of his strength, save his hand and get all the money – simply stab Yami/Yugi to death.

Yami is able to dodge out of the way. Since Ushio broke the rules, Yami punishes him with a penalty game: illusion of greed. He is now cursed for all eternity to having uncontrollable hallucinations about money falling all around him.

The next day at school, he’s rolling around in leaves and garbage, thinking they’re piles of cash.

In the anime, the game is entirely changed. As Ushio walks away, he’s suddenly teleported to the side of the school’s water tower, hanging by a rope. Yami appears with the money and challenges Ushio to a game, which Ushio accepts out of pride over never having lost a game in his life.

Yami also descends down the tower, revealing he and Ushio are connected via the rope. The lower he goes, the higher Ushio goes and vice versa. He drags a trail of playing cards behind him. Each of them will take turns flipping over the cards. The higher the value, the more you ascend. Whoever reaches the top, gets the money. He neglects to explain what will happen to the loser until the game is up.

Yami indeed wins the match, but Ushio’s not done with him. He climbs up the tower anyway, accusing Yami of fixing the game in his favor. Yami briefly warns him to not break the rules or else something bad will happen. He knocks Yami off the tower and cuts the rope, seemingly murdering him. He reaches for the money only to find that it’s a deck of playing cards.

As punishment for breaking the rules, Ushio is ‘swallowed by his greed’ which equates to him being eaten by a bunch of giant worms. In real life, however, he’s perpetually locked in a nightmare and ends up huddled in a fetal position crying out that he’s scared.

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I’m a little torn about this comparison, to be honest. The anime changed several things, but I can’t deny that some of them might have been for the better. Cutting out Yugi’s first beating was fine in my opinion. It didn’t make much sense to beat him then anyway. Plus Yugi trying to get out of it by saying he’ll beat Jounouchi and Honda was a little strange. He was asking for the money anyway and seemed like he’d let him off without him making that declaration.

Jounouchi did witness Yugi getting beaten up for them, but I think simply the act of standing between him, Honda and Ushio was enough to prove to Jounouchi that Yugi had guts and actually cared about them, despite what they did to him.

There was much more substantial buildup to Yugi getting his puzzle piece back in the anime. In the manga, Sugoroku just hands it over immediately after Yugi realizes that it’s missing. He never even learns that Jounouchi is the one who returned it to him (Granted, he’s also the one who took it….)

Yugi getting the piece back right before Honda and Jounouchi try to fight Ushio for Yugi’s sake is so much better. The inclusion of Jounouchi and Honda fighting for Yugi is a much better addition overall, to be honest. In the manga, Honda doesn’t do anything to earn Yugi’s friendship, and Jounouchi just gets wet. Even though Honda doing this when he was rewritten to not be a bully seems kinda unfair, it was still a cool thing to do.

Giving Honda more of his own personality was also welcome, even if it’s not the best personality. I don’t want him to be a watered down Jounouchi clone, but I also don’t want him to be such a massive bore like the reboot version is.

Miho is a bit of a question mark because she has no purpose here outside of making Jounouchi and Honda go away, which they were going to do anyway.

Anzu also kinda being changed to a slight jerk, in this episode anyway, also didn’t do it any favors.

The biggest aspect that the manga has in its favor is the shadow game, which is vastly better than the anime’s version. I don’t know why they changed it so drastically, to be honest. Was the knife thing too frightening?

The manga’s game actually involved Ushio’s greed and required a sense of self-control. The anime’s game relied entirely on luck. The only aspect that involved Ushio’s greed was in him cheating in the end. His attempt to kill Yugi there was pointless. He could’ve grabbed the money and ran, but instead he straight up murdered Yugi/Yami. However, he states he could survive a plunge into the canal and only end up getting wet, which is weird because the canal isn’t very deep and that is a very high tower.

His attempt to kill Yugi/Yami in the manga actually did have a point. It was either do that or stab his hand or risk losing the money.

The penalty game was also better or at least more creative in the manga than the anime. Him being trapped in a perpetual hallucination of money both fits his situation better and is a hell of his own design. In the anime, he’s just scared of giant worms with teeth.

All in all, it was really close, but I’ll have to give this episode to the anime. The additions and changes they made were almost entirely for the better outside of the shadow game, and while the shadow game was a lot better in the manga than the anime, it wasn’t enough for it to pull ahead.

Winner: Anime

Since the next chapter isn’t in the anime, I’ll be reviewing that as a singular chapter.

Chapter 2…..

Episode 2/Chapter 4

Final notes: I feel I should mention that the 2000 Yu-Gi-Oh series did indeed keep this backstory for Yugi, Honda and Jounouchi, but obviously it’s toned down immensely in that series. It was cut down to basically a minute-long barely-animated flashback. Also, there’s no mention of Ushio getting comeuppance in any way outside of the dub which claims he got expelled because of his actions.


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