I”s Pure Review

Rating: 4/10

Plot: Seto Ichitaka has been in love with a girl named Iori for a long time, but he could never get up the nerve to tell her how he feels. This six episode OVA follows Seto and Iori through various trials in their relationship. Will Seto ever get his dream girl?

Breakdown: Well, let’s just get this out of the way, this OVA is based on an H-game. Okay? Okay. That being said, there’s no sex….so there’s that.

I realize that this OVA proceeds another OVA called From I’s, but I’ve yet to see that. It doesn’t seem like this OVA is really a sequel or a situation where you need to do homework, so I’m taking this at face value.
The relationship toggles between a crush and borderline stalkery. Seto is very much stalkery and creepy in his adoration of Iori. He truly does love her, yes, but he’s creepy. He’s also a bit of a jerk and this gets progressively worse as the episodes go on. Want an example? Okay. He finds out that his childhood friend Itsuki’s house has gone up in flames and Itsuki’s gone missing, but he decides that he wants to stay on his date with Iori instead of seeing if she’s not a smoldering pile of side character.

The plot is also fairly Three’s Company-ish and predictable. For example, Teratani, Seto’s best friend and cool guy/pervert, gives Seto a picture of a naked girl that’s digitally manipulated to have Iori’s face on it. Instead of ripping it up, he accepts it and guess what happens. She finds it. Oh and finding out that he had it (In his schoolbook, no less) made her quite perturbed.

Episode five is just damn annoying. It introduces us to Iori’s manager, some chick whose name I’ve forgotten, and the instant, and I mean instant, that you see her you know she’s a Yayoi-esque villain. She’s a bitch and she only wants Seto to stay away from her star. I should point out that they’re not even dating at this point – she just wants Iori to have no friends whatsoever, I guess.

Iori’s not much better. She’s one of those characters who never sees what’s blatantly obvious (even when, at one point, it is made as obvious as humanly possible) She’s not very likable after a few episodes. She’s not hatable, really, but there’s not much to like about her.

SUPER SPOILER ALERT. MOVE ON TO BOTTOM LINE TO AVOID SPOILERS. THANK YOU.

In the final episode Seto decides to actually listen to the manager and coldly break up with Iori to save her career that was never in any danger. Seto has a brief moment of slight scariness in saying that he’ll always love her from afar as his face is mostly in shadow….okay….*shudders*…

I guess their other friend or Teratani’s brother randomly finds a website called The Marionette King and all it says on it is that he’ll take Iori’s soul. This freaks Seto right the hell out even though celebrities (she is vaguely one at this point) always get vague threats and whatnot especially over the Internet. He decides he’ll be her secret bodyguard. And by ‘secret bodyguard’ I mean ‘stalker’. He starts training himself through martial arts books and camps out in front of her studio in a hoodie with a pair of binoculars watching Iori all day…..I checked, this isn’t a horror anime.

The Marionette King actually does show up. I won’t explain who he is, but his appearance and motive make no sense. He should be targeting Seto, not Iori. He gets the jump on Seto and slams his head into the wall. They fight some more and Seto knocks him off of the roof where Iori’s bodyguards grab him after he spouts psycho nonsense. Seto then plops onto the roof in a small puddle of blood from his head wound.

Cut to the hospital, Seto is in a coma and the doctors can’t figure out why. Ya know, I’m not Dr. House or anything, but I think it might have something to do with the severe concussion he got from his head slamming into the wall.

They say his life will be in danger if he doesn’t wake up soon, so Teratani and his friends decide to go see Iori at the big important play she’s putting on. They beg Iori to go with them, explaining everything that happened because of her manager, that Seto still loves her with all of his heart and that he really needs her right now. Yayoi (She’s given no real name that I know of and she’s basically the same as her, so I’m calling her Yayoi.) gives the same stupid grin she’s been giving since her debut and basically shoos them away even after hearing that someone’s life is in danger.

What’s even worse is that after she hears that Seto got hurt while trying to protect Iori from the psycho, she smiles and says her bodyguards were the ones who caught the guy, so his efforts were pointless. Which they weren’t. They never would’ve known about the Marionette King if Seto hadn’t gone after him. Though I do have to say that Seto got friggin lucky. All that was said on that webpage was that he’d take Iori’s soul. He didn’t specify a time or a place, yet he seemed to know exactly when and where he’d strike. He also targeted the first creepy-looking guy that he saw and got lucky there too.

Iori actually doesn’t go with them despite their pleas and hearing that the man she loves and risked his life for hers is dying because of her. Wow. That was actually unexpected. Unexpected and ungodly horrible.

Later, back at the hospital, Iori calls the hospital and decides to talk to Seto that way. Apparently her reasoning was that she didn’t want to disappoint the people in the play or the audience by leaving.

Boy, way to have your priorities straight. Your loved one is in a coma, dying, for trying to protect you from a psychopath and you can’t even ditch a play to see him? Who cares about the people at the play?! Don’t you have an understudy? That’ll be a great story to tell your kids. “Mommy, tell us again about how you ditched Daddy for a stupid play as he was dying after saving your life.”

Oh and get this, she even said that after this play that she’d quit acting. If you’re gonna give it up anyway, why not leave the damn play!?

And before you can say “Don’t you wake up, you damn bastard. That’s way too cliche, way too overdone, way too corny, way too lame” he wakes up after hearing Iori’s voice on the phone. I was seriously rooting for him to either not wake up or flatline right there just to slap Iori in the face for not going to him personally.

END OF SPOILERS

The main couple’s okay, but they’re not very likable, I was never rooting for them (I liked him with Itsuki. And it would’ve been much more interesting if we started out with SetoxIori but moved to SetoxItsuki. It would also be more realistic and not computer-chair-gnawingly cliche.)

The plot’s very convoluted and stupid at times, and in other times it’s a chore to sit through.

Art:
The art and animation are a high point for the series. It’s all very clean and fluid. The art is also very nice to look at, but nothing very awe inspiring.

Music: The music was decent. The OP was okay and the BG music was alright.

Voice acting: Japanese Version: The voice acting was fairly well done. I had no real complaints.

Bottomline: Like there are turn-your-brain-off action movies, this is a turn-your-brain-off romance/drama series. However, even then, it’s nothing to write home about. Also, I still feel uneasy about how stalker-y he is sometimes, and that ending is just rrrrghhhhh.

Additional Information and Notes: I”s Pure is the sequel to From I”s. It was based on a manga written by Masakazu Katsura, who has also written Zetman, DNA2 and the Video Girl series. It was directed by Mamoru Kanbe, who has also directed numerous episodes of Cardcaptor Sakura and Elfen Lied. It was produced by Studio Pierrot.

Episodes: 6

Year: 2005 – 2006

Recommended Audience: There’s some sexual themes, but no one even kisses. Some fanservice, one sexual assault scene, no swearing, no gore or anything. 13+

 

Bamboo Blade Review

Rating: 8.5/10

Plot: The Moroe High Kendo Team is in seriously bad shape. They have very few members and their instructor seems more motivated by food and money than actually helping improve his team. However, after building up a decent team of both newbies and experienced kendo fighters for the club in order to fight another school on the basis of a bet between their instructor and his old senpai, both he and the team get rared up and ready to fight harder, get stronger, celebrate the victories and deal with the losses.

Breakdown: Bamboo Blade isn’t your typical sports anime, and I say that for two reasons; 1 – it’s about kendo and 2 – the team being focused on is mostly girls. Boys really have the market cornered when it comes to sports anime.

I have to say, this show got me really interested in wanting to learn kendo. Too bad there’s no place within a reasonable distance of me to learn at.

It’s difficult for me to really analyze the story. It encompasses about one full year of the team’s various trials and tribulations. It’s a realistic look at what a team actually goes through instead of being one of those predictable sports anime, shows or movies where the underdog constantly wins because that’s the rules of sports shows.

In fact, the team is in three different tournaments in the entirety of the series and they don’t really put that much emphasis on them. I mean, yeah they’re pumped about them but they don’t showcase many matches, they don’t put a huge weight on the outcome and it’s clear that the entire tournament is really about one match or two. That’s both…disappointing and refreshing at the same time. I say disappointing because, in sports anime, it really is supposed to be a big event to have a tournament. Hell, even Pokemon gives their tournaments a few episodes at least, but in Bamboo Blade, the tournaments are always over within one episode.

Let’s talk about the characters.

Tamaki or Tama is an extremely shy (and by that I mean I had to keep my computer’s volume on high just to understand her most of the time) tiny freshman girl who also happens to be a prodigy at kendo. She was taught kendo since the day she was old enough to properly hold a shinai by her father, a well known and respected kendo instructor who runs his own dojo at their house. After showcasing her skills with a sword…..well, okay, broom, Kirino is itching to have Tama join their team, but Tama states that she views kendo as more of a chore instead of an enjoyable activity and declines.

Later, she finds out that the kendo club is being terrorized by two bullies who are the main reason why the kendo club has lost so many members. In defense of the members of the club, she beats the bullies in a match and officially joins the club.

Tama’s a very nice character and another welcome change from the loud and egotistical main characters that usually spawn up in sports anime. She’s also essentially our main focus in the show…..however, you may notice that I used a word that I really hate to use in sports and gaming anime…..’prodigy’.

Yeah, Tama’s a kendo prodigy who can’t be touched by anyone on their team, not even their instructor. She easily takes down people twice her size and age with ease and everyone is always amazed by her skills and speed. And yes, it does get annoying after a certain point because it essentially devolves into the messiah trope. Everything always rides on Tama’s shoulders and it really seems like, a lot of time, it’s up to the others to merely keep the team’s head above water while Tama ensures their win.

Tama’s not without weakness. Like I said, she’s incredibly shy to a fault. She’s quick to get flustered in situations that she doesn’t know how to deal with, as long as it’s not kendo. But when it does come to kendo she’s nearly untouchable.

I say nearly untouchable because her biggest weakness in kendo is when anyone takes the high stance, an advanced stance that Tama’s deceased mother usually took when fighting. When people take this stance against her, she always tenses up and becomes extremely distracted. However, due to the fact that this stance is for advanced fighters, hardly anyone uses it against her.

Characters like that almost always have to succumb to the other trope of the ‘fallen hero’. Eventually Tama loses a match, and because she’s such a prodigy who has never once lost a match, she is utterly shattered by this revelation that she can indeed lose to the point where she actually resigns from the team.

It’s basically like Yugi’s first loss in YGO only without the catatonic state and having a loved one’s soul on the line.

I mean, I’ve never been nearly so good at something that I’ve never lost at it, so maybe I just can’t relate, but when you’re on a team of people who frequently lose and still manage to get back up every time and learn from it, what kind of message is that sending them to quit after your very first loss EVER? Hell, her first loss coincides exactly with another character, Miya-Miya, also basically quitting kendo because she also lost in the same tournament Tama did, but the reason she quit was because she had never once WON in kendo even after training her ass off for months.

Tama is a really good character and despite the messiah-ism, she is very enjoyable to watch while fighting. To be fair, she actually had a fairly good reason for being as affected by that loss as she was. She still viewed kendo as a chore with her ultimate goal being to do nothing but win, and it didn’t help that her team was constantly shoving it in her face that she was a shoe-in and would definitely win no matter what. When she finally lost, she also lost that sense of purpose and had to decide whether she still viewed kendo as a chore or if she now truly enjoyed it.

Tama has a strong sense of righteousness and justice, which is part of what drives her to join the kendo team to begin with. This is due to the fact that Tama’s actually quite the big anime geek, most notably with a Power Rangers (or more to the point, Super Sentai) -type series called Blade Bravers. Tama’s soft-spoken and generally passive attitude can easily be felled when Blade Bravers or anime is involved, She’s especially inspired by the leader of the Blade Bravers, the Red Braver, whom she bases much of her personal philosophy on.

Her one true rival over the course of the series is actually someone who idolized a character named Shinaider, a villain and I guess anti-hero in Blade Bravers.

Ishida is the team’s instructor and, at first, he really comes off as a lazy and somewhat flippant kendo instructor. He leaves most of the team’s activities to the team captain, Kirino, in the beginning and really only becomes inspired to actually make something of his team after gathering more members for a match between his girls’ team and that of his old senpai, Ishibashi, on the basis of a bet.

Ishida lives paycheck to paycheck and is constantly scrounging together money, even from his students, to barely be able to eat. Thus the bet is that Ishibashi will take him out to a sushi dinner if he wins and Ishibashi gets the trophy Ishida won from their last kendo tournament if he loses. Ishida doesn’t give a crap about the trophy, he just wants the sushi.

However, he eventually matures and grows to deeply care about his team and wishes nothing more for them than to grow and get stronger while also having as much fun as possible.

Kirino is the team captain and has been called the heart of the team by Ishida. Kirino is by far the most enthusiastic and optimistic of the team and she basically stood as the team’s sole member before recruiting the others.

Kirino is always the first to cheer on her teammates and she does it loudly and proudly. She is also not one to ever discount or look down upon fellow team members, no matter their skill level or even their attitude. She seems like a really great person to have as a friend. Kirino’s biggest weakness is the fact that she overextends herself to please others and always puts on a smiling face no matter how much she’s going through.

Yuji is one of very few male members of the team and he’s a very handsome lawn ornament—I mean character! Yeah that…Look as much as I like Yuji as a character, he’s very nice, well spoken, knowledgeable in kendo etc…..he doesn’t do much…He’s just kinda there. He gives pep talks to characters, usually Tama, but as a team member, he doesn’t do much.

See, since the focus is mostly on the girls’ team, this means that almost all of the male team’s activities are non-existent. Yuji usually spars with the only other active male member of the club, that he actually recruited, Danjuro or Donny and really that’s about the only person you even see him fighting at all. It’s a shame too because Yuji seems to be almost as passionate and knowledgeable at kendo as Tama. He was on his junior high team and was part of the dojo that Tama’s father runs. It’s also implied that Yuji and Tama have a bit of a thing going together, but the hints that are there are fairly subtle and they’re both clueless about the opposite sex.

It’s even worse considering that he doesn’t even really grow or change at all over the series. Donny at least shows that he’s getting better and has clear weaknesses that need to be addressed (his height allowing for easy head strikes) while also showcasing his actual strengths. With Yuji, there’s nothing. Again, he’s just kinda there.

Danjuro or Donny as he’s nicknamed in the English dub, is a very short and weird looking little guy who is full of enthusiasm and on some occasions himself. He’s recruited by Yuji after Ishida informs him that they need more members, though his membership is basically moot since, as I said, the boys’ team really does nothing.

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Donny’s a very laid back and kind individual as well as being Yuji’s best friend, but he’s mostly preoccupied with his girlfriend, Miya-Miya, who most people can’t believe he’s dating due to their stark contrast in physical appearance. They’re usually being incredibly lovey-duvey with each other. It’s somewhat weird in the first few episodes, but their relationship actually grows and becomes very sweet over time……even if Miya-Miya initially liked Donny because he reminded her of her old pet pangolin….

Speaking of Miyako or Miya-Miya, she was arguably the most complex character and a really surprising one at that. When she first showed up, she really seemed like she’d be an annoying ditz who only cared about her boyfriend and nothing else, but she evolves quite a bit and there is definitely more to her than meets the eye.

Miya-Miya is actually a very angry, dark and violent individual to the point where she’s almost a bully to some people, especially Azuma. When not talking to or being looked at by Donny, she presents a visible dark aura that freaks out nearly everyone. She’s recruited by Donny and initially finds kendo boring, but the darker side of her loves the fact that she gets to fight. She is the greenest member of the team alongside Donny, but whereas Donny (supposedly) grows so much to the point that Yuji says he might surpass him by the time they graduate, Miya-Miya struggles quite a bit and never once wins a match over the course of the series until the very end.

She has two big weaknesses; 1 – The fact that her anger and that she loves to hit people seriously gets in the way of her moves. She fights very aggressively and while this can sometimes work to intimidate fighters, it also results in very sloppy swings, attacks and footwork, allowing her opponents to easily find openings for attack. Sometimes, this anger even causes her to make possibly dangerous moves. For example, she’s the first to showcase a throat strike, which is considered the most dangerous legal move in kendo that only advanced fighters are supposed to employ.

2 – She has a stalker from her old school named Reimi who freaks her out so much just at a glance that she quickly loses concentration and ends up losing. She does eventually get much better both in attitude and skill, and I’m always up for an underdog story.

Saya is Kirino’s best friend and the only other lasting member of the kendo club besides Kirino and the bullies, Iwada and Toyama, before the others join. However, Saya’s initial participation in the club was widely unreliable because of how consumed she gets by wanting to create a wonderful song or great story.

She always finds failures in these areas, which commonly devastates her to the point where her friends treat her outbursts of depression and even suicidal remarks with flippant responses. Saya doesn’t really change much over the course of the series either, but she is a very close friend to Kirino and is always the first to realize when something is wrong with her.

Azuma is the final member of the team to join in order to make a full five member kendo team to be official in tournaments. It takes her half the series to actually become a character with only very brief appearances beforehand. There’s sadly not much to say about Azuma. Both the ED and the OP make her look pretty bad as I had assumed that she was going to be one of those incredibly annoying characters whose only schtick is constantly falling over, but she’s actually fairly bland.

She’s a talented kendo practitioner who ended up quitting kendo when she reached high school. Despite her hard work, constant studying and dedication to her schoolwork, her grades continuously falter because she’s so scatterbrained and makes little mistakes that end up costing her greatly. Since her parents believed kendo was only distracting her more and making her worse, she promised to give up kendo to improve her grades. However, it was noted that she is actually incredibly focused and calculating when she is fighting, and she was convinced by the team to hone these skills to actually help her grades. Along the way Kirino and Donny, who are actually some of the best students at the school, help improve her with her schoolwork. However, this plotline is never brought up again after she joins so we just have to assume it worked.

Azuma is somewhat of a doormat, and she’s the target of some abuse by Miya-Miya. However, despite this, Azuma actually becomes somewhat of Miya-Miya’s own personal kendo teacher, especially after Miya-Miya finds a drive to train much harder in order to beat an American opponent (who obviously has a bitchy attitude, snotty manner of speaking, red hair, huge lips and huge boobs) named Carrie who also has a crush on Donny because he reminds her of her pet armadillo.

Can I just say it’s insanely weird to want to pursue a relationship with someone on the basis that they remind you of an animal?

There are various side characters, mostly opposing kendo teams, who get varying degrees of spotlight. Most of these characters are funny and likable, but they didn’t get enough spotlight in my opinion. I would’ve liked to have seen a sequel to get a rematch against most of the people we saw them fight.

In terms of learning about the sport, you do learn a fair degree about the footwork, stances, terms, strikes and strategies involved in kendo, and I really enjoyed learning about the sport as it’s always been one to intrigue me after seeing it showcased in several forms of media.

This show handles both the drama and the comedy extremely well. None of the drama was unbelievable or seemed like it was thrown in to hook audiences. Some of the situations seemed a bit hokey like the tournament involving a serious cheater (and by serious I mean she injures people before the match to either make them quit before the match even starts or to humiliate them and make them suffer during the match if they decide to fight anyway) but it’s nothing too drastic.

Art: The art was very sharp, bright and appealing. It mixed a shoujo-like style with more realistic very well. The animation was also very fluid and clean with nary a hiccup or odd scene in sight.

Music: I really loved the music, OP, ED and BG for the series. It’s somewhat generic, but it adds its own flare to make it more unique. Although, I’d like to know what ‘I’m calling the star rise’ means….I will say that one of the sentimental pieces of BG music was starting to get irritating. Considering that there’s one to five tender moments in nearly every episode, it starts to get grating, but only towards the very end.

Voice acting: English – Funimation provides superb quality yet again. The English dub was excellent, maybe one of their best works I’ve seen so far. Only thing I’d note is that Tama is just too quiet sometimes.

Bottomline: This is a very enjoyable sports anime with plenty to enjoy in terms of characters, story, comedy, drama and of course kendo. Even if you don’t like sports anime or kendo, this is still a good watch just for the characters, comedy and the actually believable storyline.

Recommended Audience: This show is basically as clean as you could possibly get. Even the episode that states ‘first public bath’ shows no nudity (in fact, I’d call foul on that title because they completely skip the bath scene entirely). There’s no real swearing, no sex, no blood, no gore. The absolute worse thing that happens is one of the characters injures their ankle, and even that’s just a bad sprain. E FOR EVERYONE!

Ergo Proxy Review

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Rating: 8.5/10

Plot: Humankind is on the brink of extinction. The earth is a desolate wasteland with a toxic atmosphere, and trying to live on it has proved to be near impossible. To retain humanity, cities were created under protective domes. One such city called Romdeau was created, only allowing those deserving of becoming ‘fellow citizens’ to live within its walls while the immigrants from other cities try their hardest to earn citizenship. An immigrant from the city of Mosk named Vincent Law seems to have trouble following him everywhere and he gains the attention of one the Intelligence Bureau’s top investigators, Re-L Mayer. While investigating both him and the strange cogito virus that is plaguing the city’s AutoReivs, she uncovers the existence of a strange creature called a proxy. What is its connection to Vincent, the cogito virus and the fabric of humanity itself?

Breakdown: While it was a fairly bumpy one, this was a really interesting and intense ride of an anime. I have no clue why I dropped this a few years ago, but I’m glad I picked it back up.

Ergo Proxy is touted as being a psychological and philosophical dark thriller. That means a hell of a lot of talking, introspection, thinking in inner monologue and more talking. However, there is plenty to keep your attention in terms of action, mystery, conspiracy and intrigue, and just because an anime is dialogue heavy doesn’t mean it’s boring.

This show tricks you the tiniest bit in not outwardly focusing on Vincent from the start. It focuses more on Re-L in the beginning along with her AutoReiv entourage, Iggy. AutoReivs are assigned to pretty much everyone in one way or another. They come in various types such as companions, entertainment, caretaking, medical practice, work assistants and more. While some of them are very clearly mechanical beings, some of them, such as companion AutoReivs, are designed specifically to mimic humans in both physical appearance and actions. However, they do lack a soul so even with the technology being amazing in how they can mimic humans, they still can’t really pass for human.

The aforementioned cogito virus is said to give AutoReivs a soul, but the reason that it’s such a problem is because it’s causing many of those infected to start becoming violent if not homicidal for whatever reason. But that’s really only one piece of the puzzle.

In investigating this, Re-L discovers Vincent as well as his odd tendency to attract trouble. Soon after, she has a run-in with the proxy, which is basically a masked monster. She soon becomes completely consumed with finding out what the proxy is and what Vincent has to do with it, and she later becomes rogue because it’s obvious that the government in Romdeau want to keep the secret of the proxies under wraps.

I wouldn’t be spoiling entirely too much to tell you that Vincent is the proxy, but the mystery about who he is, what he is and his past remains until the end of the series for the most part. He doesn’t even realize what he is or what proxies are until later. I can quell fears that this is another ‘oh god I’m a monster and must become a lone wolf because of it’ story, so that’s something.

This show has a really good pace up until the halfway point where you can almost hear the screeching of the brakes. While there is still new information being found about the proxy and Vincent, actual plot-related revelations slow down a hell of a lot in lieu of cryptic clues, character development and introspection. This is by no means bad. Taking time out for character development and deeper thought is fine, but you lose speed on the story. This is more than made up with in the end, but it’s still a bit of a trial to get through.

The tone is really the issue in that department. It has ‘dark’ in its description for a reason. This show’s tone is so serious and downright dreary that the slow moments start to drain you. If it didn’t have an interesting premise, likable and dimensional characters and Pino, whom I’ll get to in a minute, it would probably require you to take a break from it after a few episodes.

This is why episodes such as the game show and Smile Town become so jarring. I honestly couldn’t believe it when they had an entire episode parodying a game show, but it ended up including dark humor and somehow squeaked in information about the proxies. Hell, it still ended up actually having a purpose in the series as a whole. It’s like they knew that the audience needed a break for a second and while it was jarring and weird, those episodes were a welcome breath of fresh air from the constant bleakness.

In that regard, we have our one comic relief character in the little girl companion AutoReiv named Pino. I can’t believe they actually pulled her off to be likable, cute and funny, but they managed to do it. Making her the comic relief character was a great choice. She’s not in your face with jokes, she’s just funny because of her mannerisms and childish nature. She is also infected with the cogito virus, but despite this she never becomes violent for some reason. If anything, she’s the happiest being in this show, and I really liked her.

Vincent has two sides to him. On one hand, he can be pretty fun-loving, especially when playing with Pino. On the other hand he’s played by Liam O’Brien, one of the most emo-typecast VA’s in existence alongside Sasuke himself, Yuri Lowenthal, who also has a role here as the creepy Daedalus (and yes, the symbolism with him is exactly what you’d expect). He laments, monologues, philosophizes and makes speeches like there’s no tomorrow. And hell, there might not be—oh oops, spoilers.

Re-L, and yeah that’s her name, pronounced Ree-El, is a bit harder to like for most of the series. On one hand she’s an awesome, kickass, strong, smart and resilient female lead who will find the answers to these mysteries no matter what. On the other hand, she kinda falls victim to the trope of ‘strong female lead? Better make her a complete spoiled bitch!’ Thankfully she starts getting better in this regard, but she did grate on my nerves a little.

The actual answers as to what the proxies are and what its connections to, well, pretty much everything was actually a lot more inventive and surprising than I ever anticipated. I never saw it coming anyway. I first thought they were failed attempts at genetically engineered humans or something and Creed was trying to rule the world or end it, but it’s a lot bigger and more complicated than that.

As a final note, the ending delivers pretty damn well. It’s a bit much to take in all at once, especially since the regent basically dumps a huge load of exposition near the end, but it actually creates a satisfying ending, which is far more than I can say for many anime.

Art and Animation: This part has me torn. A part of me wants to make sweet love down by the fire with the art and animation done so wonderfully in both 2D traditional and CGI by Manglobe, producer of such series as Samurai Champloo and Deadman Wonderland. However, another part of me wants to punch whoever was in charge of quality control in regards to the characters faces because there are way too many moments where the faces look so off and awkward that a couple of them are nearly laughable. I believe the good outweighs the bad by far, but it’s still so distracting when you have such a stylish and appealing art design coupled with amazing animation only to have derpy faces on occasion…

Music: I love the OP. In fact, I’d say it’s now one of my favorite OP’s ever. The BG music is very nice and the ED is also decent, but I ended up skipping it most of the time.

Voice Acting: English Dub – I believe everyone was very well-cast for this show. The acting was very good, the voices fit and besides a few touchy moments with Re-L’s voice actress, Megan Hollingstead, it was a great dub.

Bottomline: The constant dark tone, slower pacing in the middle as well as some jarring shifts in tone and even time and place can be a little trying to deal with, but it’s still an incredibly interesting story with great characters. I can’t bring myself to say it’s a masterpiece, but I’d gladly watch it again both for enjoyment value and to learn more about the psychological and philosophical aspects.

Additional Information and Notes: Ergo Proxy was directed by Shuko Mirase, who also directed Witch Hunter Robin and Gangsta. It was written by Dai Sato, who has written scripts for Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Wolf’s Rain and Samurai Champloo. It was produced by Manglobe and is currently licensed in North America by Funimation.

Year: 2006

Episode: 23

Recommended Audience: No nudity or sex, some swearing, quite a bit of blood and some amounts of gore. The biggest moment of gore being near the end, but coming in close second was a shot of a baby dying from its carriage falling down an escalator. No real gore there either, but there is a big puddle of blood, so thought I’d warn you there either way. The heavy tone and subject matter is already enough to refute a recommendation to kids anyway. 14+

Alien Nine Review

kcsossn

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Aliens invaded the earth some time ago and now schools are tasked with selecting three people from each class to be Alien Fighters. The Alien Fighters are given borgs, frog-like aliens with wings and drill-like cables that sit on their heads and act like their protectors. Yuri Otani, the world’s biggest friggin’ crybaby on the face of the planet, is selected as being one of the three Alien Fighters for her class because I guess they just wanted to pawn the job off on her along with Kumi, a strong independent fighter who is seen as the mature one in the group, and Kasumi, who couldn’t be more excited to have the job. While much of their job is seen as busywork, the aliens do pose a threat far greater than what you’d imagine.

Breakdown: This is a short four episode OVA and I gotta say this is one of those shows that starts off rocky but ends up leaving you wanting so much more.

I first thought this series to be some parody of alien apocalypse anime. I mean, come on. Logistically, this makes no sense. Aliens invade and instead of military involvement, police or anything, they assign three kids from various elementary school classes to take care of aliens who roam around the school grounds armed with rollerblades and said borgs.

Also, they’re not allowed to kill the aliens. Well, they are allowed, but they’re strongly urged to merely tranquilize the alien and bring it into some pen at school. The reasoning is that they’re living beings too and they should respect their lives, but when they’re the ones trying to kill you; well, they obviously don’t respect your life so….

However, when a borg senses that their master is getting too scared of the threat and believes that they will die, the borg freaks out and kills the threat. Guess who sets this action off….twice. Just guess.

I suppose that’s as good of a lead-in as ever for the character bios. Yuri is our main character, and I swear to god if you thought Shinji from Evangelion was a whiny twat, you’ve never seen Yuri. She does nothing….and I mean nothing….but whimper and cry and say she’s scared. 99.9% of her screentime is that. I’m not even kidding.

You may see her smile once or twice, but it’s that awkward smile where your brow is still furrowed and it seems like you’re fake smiling to fit in. Even when she’s not on alien duty, even before she got picked, even when she’s just having fun on summer vacation with her friends, she was a whiny little cry baby.

I give Shinji and Yuri some leeway because they’re kids who were thrown into very dangerous situations and told to fight aliens who may very well kill them and their friends. However, there’s only so far I can go with that, and Yuri crosses that line so, so, so much. Considering she was this way before she even got selected, I give her even less leeway.

What’s worse is that, by the end, she’s not much better. She watches one of her friends getting attacked and does jack about it because she’s too busy whimpering. The only reason she does whatever minut thing she does at the very end is because Kumi was quite literally holding her hand.

She’s such a detriment to the team that I really wonder why no one will let her quit or even just purposely kick her off the team. The only times she ever gets anything done is when her borg tries to protect her and sometimes kills the enemy when she gets too freaked. Give Shinji some credit, at least he fought when he had to most of the time.

I loved the crap out of Kumi because she was the only one willing to be completely blunt about how much of a crybaby Yuri is. She’s a little cold, but she lightens up by the end.

Kasumi was pretty okay in the first half, but working my nerves in the second because of how happy-peppy she is and how she constantly says “NYA!”

Miyu, Yuri’s best friend, was also a good character though she had little in terms of personality.

While this show started out seemingly lighthearted, especially considering the artwork, it gets pretty damn dark, particularly the final episode. I was pretty surprised by the sudden turnaround from “being an alien fighter means you get to skip homework!” to sudden alien massacre, psychological warfare and conspiracies.

I won’t spoil the ending, but it is a great advertisement to read the manga. That’s basically what this is – just a sneak peak into the manga because we learn quite literally nothing of what’s actually going on.

We don’t know who’s sending the aliens, why the teacher and principal seem to have something to do with it, why they seem to have borg-hair, why the Yellow Knife was sent, what he meant by “It was your fault” and, I’m going to give two major spoilers here, so fair warning;

but at the very end, we don’t know if the Kasumi we see is actually Kasumi or something the alien made and we see that Kumi, during the end credits no less, suddenly got attacked by something and supposedly murdered in the library. What the hell happened to her? And why was she on alien duty anyway if her borg was out of commission?

End of spoilers.

The reason I took points off was for that ending and for Yuri. She is one of the most annoying anime characters I’ve ever seen. If they made her grow some semblance of a pair near the end, it wouldn’t have been as bad, but nope.

I plan on reading the manga because ‘m really interested to know what happened, so here’s hoping the manga does explain it.

Art and Animation: The art is………good, barring the faces of the people. They have huge eyes, which is usually fine, but they’re even big for anime standards. The eyes themselves also don’t look well-drawn, they’re craggy and awkward. They have small noses when seen from the front, but when you look at them from the side, no noses. Their ears are also friggin’ huge. Barring that, however, the art is pretty good and the animation is very well done.

Music: The ending theme was nice, the OP was forgettable. Nothing much to say about the BGM.

Voice Acting: EnglishEveryone was great in their roles, even whiny Yuri. I will say I was distracted by Rachel Lillis, the voice of Misty from Pokemon, playing Miyu. Veronica Taylor, Ash and May from Pokemon, also plays their teacher, Megumi, but I honestly didn’t catch on that that was her. Miyu was sporting Misty’s voice clearly, however. I really only note this because I found it funny that Rachel Lillis, who plays Misty, was playing in an anime with a character named Kasumi. Kasumi is Misty’s Japanese name.

Bottomline: At four episodes, it’s definitely worth a watch, but Yuri was seriously pushing it with her whining and crying. It does end with a lot of questions left unanswered and even has an actual cliffhanger that basically forces you to read the manga.

Additional Information and Notes: Alien Nine was based on a manga written by Hitoshi Tamizawa, though he doesn’t seem to have anything to do with this OVA. The OVA itself was directed by Yasuhiro Irie, director of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Code:Breaker, and Jiro Fujimoto who directed some episodes of Wagnaria!!3, Samurai 7, Kaze no Stigma and The Familiar of Zero. It was written by Murai Sadayuki, who also wrote the screenplay for Steamboy, the script for Perfect Blue and even some episodes of Cowboy Bebop.

Alien Nine was produced by JC Staff, and is currently licensed in the US by Central Park Media.

Year: 2001-2002

Episodes: 4

Recommended Audience: Some dark themes, blood, blood and gore on the alien’s side (meaning pea-soup green gore and blood) a little nudity, but you don’t see anything, technically. It is full frontal, but they do the Sailor moon thing with it. No nips, no naughty bits. No sex, some swearing here and there, but no f-bombs. 14+

Dragon Ball Movie 2: Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle Review

DragonBall-Movie2

Rating: 4.5/10

Plot: Goku has arrived on Roshi’s island to train under him, but a boy named Krillin has arrived to request the same thing. Roshi only wants to take on one student, so he offers a race to decide who gets to be his pupil. There’s a legend about a sleeping princess who has been held captive in a castle called The Devil’s Hand under the absurdly fittingly named Lucifer. Whoever saves the princess and brings her back to him wins. But there’s more to this ‘princess’ than you might think.

Breakdown: Returning to Funimation back in its early days. How quaint. This was picked up by Funimation when they were making their trial runs with Dragon Ball, but apparently this movie was a special release completely uncut and unedited, meaning all of the text remains in Japanese, including the credits, at least certain versions, the one that I have included them anyway. This is yet another movie that Harmony Gold also dubbed but damn it all if I can’t find that version. We also have a couple more HG name changes to note, one them being hilarious.

By the way, doesn’t that plot just sound like the most cliché thing ever? A princess is being held hostage by an evil being and it’s up to our valiant heroes to save her? Was that like the first story plot ever made?

Our plot is set up by our narrator saying a sleeping princess is trapped in some castle by a freaky demon thing and actually scares me with the odd and creepy animation they’re using here. I have to say, that was unexpected.

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We get the opening theme which seems to be the original Japanese version. No idea why. Funi already had a dubbed theme made for Dragon Ball and their own title card. To be honest, I prefer Funi’s version over the original. The vocals are fine, but the music is awful. It’s a shame because the Funi version that was finalized for the entirety of the series is one of my favorite themes ever.

Oh well, at least I don’t have to see that lame title card again.

This movie continues on the previous adventures from the last movie, so I guess these movies are in their own little canon. Goku is flying around on his nimbus catching some food as he heads to Master Roshi’s house to ask to be his student. Goku here is voiced by Ceyli Delgadillo as opposed to Saffron Henderson from the previous movie. You may know her as…….No one else. Apparently she voiced young Dende in the older dubs of Dragonball Z as well as the kid that Yusuke saves in the first episode of Yu Yu Hakusho, but her role as Dende was redubbed in the remastered versions of the DBZ series.

She does a pretty good job, and I don’t have any real complaints beyond that same weird feeling of having a different voice actor play a well-known character.

He meets back up with Master Roshi and asks to be his student, but he says he doesn’t take on many students and wonders if Goku has what it takes. Huh? In the last movie he performed the move that took you years to create and master in about two minutes. That doesn’t show you that he has potential?

Goku hears something and they look outside to see a small boat paddling in the distance. It’s everyone’s favorite bald guy, Krillin!

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Krillin here is voiced by Lauren Steele, who was never replaced as his VA barring when he became an adult.

Oh and Krillin’s HG name is the hilarious one I was talking about.

You…you ready?

You sure?

Okay, here it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…..It’s Bongo!

…..BONGO! Funny – he doesn’t look like the guy from The Mosquitoes…..If you get that reference, you earn a hug.

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Krillin makes a grand entrance by jumping from his boat that is still pretty far away from shore, but ends up getting his head stuck in the sand. He asks to be Roshi’s student as well, presenting him with a dirty magazine as a gift.

Roshi only seems to want to take on one student. Krillin presented him with a gift when Goku did not but Goku arrived there first and asked first, so he decides to give them a test to see who should get to be his student.

The test is one of legend that is incredibly dangerous. They have to save the princess from the plot—I mean legend has it that a Count named Lucifer (yes, Lucifer. She’s literally being held hostage by the devil) put a spell over a princess to put her in a constant state of sleep. Hey, you stole Maleficent’s gig! Their task is to go to the castle and save the princess. Whoever does the actual saving gets to be his student.

At the bare bones, this story’s as cliché as humanly possible, but Dragon Ball never makes things that boring.

As the story concludes, we see our first glimpse of Launch unenthusiastic applause

or as she’s known in the HG dub, Marilyn.

Her voice actress(es) isn’t (aren’t) the same here, but they emulate her voices pretty well and I never paid much attention to Launch anyway. During the series she was just kinda there and meant for comedy. I don’t blame you if you didn’t pay attention to her or remembered her either. Akira Toriyama has reportedly straight up admitted that, at a certain point, he completely forgot Launch even existed.

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Roshi forbids Goku from using the nimbus to prevent an unfair advantage against Krillin and merely points them in the supposed direction of the castle.

Krillin trips Goku as they start their race, but not like that matters because it’s Goku.

The race continues and Krillin continues to try all sorts of tricks to make Goku fall behind, even cutting a rope bridge and making Goku fall hundreds of feet into the rocky waters below. Krillin, there’s a difference between little underhanded tricks to win a race and attempted murder.

He also takes a bus and rides a herd of buffalo to get there faster, but Goku catches up on foot.

Meanwhile back on Roshi’s island, Bulma, Yamcha, Oolong and Puar come for a visit. The only significant voice change here is Bulma who is played by Leslie Alexander and, from what I can find this is the only voice acting role she’s ever done. I don’t like her as Bulma because she sounds way too much like a shy 40 year old librarian than the loud screaming teenager I know her as.

Goku and Krillin arrive at the Devil’s Hand while Bulma and the others catch up to them to see them/visit or help them I dunno. However, their plane gets attacked by some monster and they crash land.

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This movie’s villain is weird. He’s named Lucifer but he looks and acts like a vampire and he has an assistant named Igor. You’re meshing so many evil icons together…

Anyway, Bulma wakes up in a beautiful bedroom and Lucifer tries to sweet-talk her, but she demands to see Yamcha and the others.

Krillin and Goku make their way through the castle and see a whole army of monsters charging at them. However, they pretty much ignore them and run over them. One monster stays behind – a typical looking demon thing with….pink horns and a pink ribbon circling its head? And a little pink puffball sidekick?…..Okay.

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The army comes back, but Krillin won’t have any of that and starts kicking some ass while Goku faces off against the whateverthehellthatis who fights with….giant orange lollipops?……Did I eat the wrong brownies a minute ago?

Once the candy man is dispatched, Goku goes to help Krillin with the others and we get a good ol’ fashioned ass kicking montage. It’s here where some of the voice acting gets a little lame, but it’s not too bad.

However, pinky gets back up and starts Master Asia-ing everything. Goku demands that he release the princess, but he tells them that the princess isn’t a girl.

Goku starts to take him on, and Krillin decides that this is his opportunity to split.

Unsurprisingly, the thing with Bulma is a trap and they really want to drain her blood with a needle for a ceremony they’re having.

Krillin gets carried off by a pterodactyl and Goku pursues him. Goku calls his flying nimbus to save Krillin from falling into the mouth of a sea monster. He tries to set Krillin on the nimbus, but since Krillin doesn’t have a ‘pure heart’ he falls right through and Goku has to save him again.

The pink and red monster thing gains the ability to fly by putting two balls of green fire beneath his feet and sends out his army of flying monsters with machine guns to chase after Goku and Krillin on the flying nimbus—You know sometimes I need to take a step back and realize how silly anime is sometimes…Ahhhh.

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They fight for a bit and Goku takes the pink and red monster thing down by leading him into the mouth of the monster that was going to eat Krillin before and he gets eaten. However, they remain pursued by the army of monsters behind him.

Meanwhile, the monster army is taking their sweet time sucking out Bulma’s blood. Oolong, Puar and Yamcha are in disguise in the crowd keeping an eye on her. Just as she’s about to be poked with the needle and just as Yamcha’s about to run to her aid, a giant explosion occurs overhead and Goku and Krillin fall into the Sleeping Princess’s canopy bed where they discover that there is no princess in terms of a girl. It’s actually the name of a giant jewel. Okay, if it’s not an actual princess, why is it being held in a canopy bed? I mean, what’s the point besides to further confuse people?

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Launch comes out of friggin’ nowhere riding a motor unicycle and steals the jewel away. She starts escaping, but Count Lucifer sends his army after her. Since she now has the jewel, Krillin and Goku pursue her not realizing that Bulma and the others are also in trouble. Yamcha and the others make their way to Bulma and are about to rescue her when Oolong and Puar lose their transformations and they all end up getting outed and surrounded by monsters.

As Launch is getting away, stray hairs tickle her nose and make her sneeze, which causes her to transform back into good launch. (If you need a refresher on her character seeing as how they never explain here who she is or what her schtick is, Launch has two personalities; one being a gun-crazy thief and the other being a super sweet ball of sunshine. Besides the obvious manner change, her hair also changes color between blue (good) and blonde (bad) with her eyes also changing color from black (good) to green (bad). She switches between the two against her will when she sneezes and neither personality remembers anything the other has done.)

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Her sudden transformation causes her to crash and lose the jewel to Goku, but Lucifer grabs Krillin and threatens to kill him if Goku doesn’t hand over the jewel. He gives Lucifer the jewel but Lucifer’s army attacks anyway. Goku handles them just fine until that little pink puffball thing from earlier bites his tail, causing him to become faint. The monsters take this opportunity to beat the crap out of Goku while Krillin looks on helplessly. Later, Goku and the others are all trapped in some wall being guarded by the pink puffball.

Lucifer and his cronies begin their ritual which involves aligning the full moon with the skylight of their castle and shining the light onto the gem to ‘activate’ it. Did the writers just take every cliché around and shove them into a Dragon Ball movie?

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If you’re familiar with the series, you know what the full moon entails. Goku turning into a giant uncontrollable ape. Despite the first movie not showcasing the ape, Yamcha seems to know about the transformation and how to stop it. I only mention this because this movie as well as the first one clearly do not follow the show’s canon because several aspects such as Goku’s adventures with Bulma, meeting Yamcha and Puar, meeting Oolong, Master Roshi etc. are all pretty damn different from the occurrences in the show. Even this movie’s initial plot with Krillin is not how it happened.

We also have no idea what Goku and the others were doing between movies but we know they weren’t together the entire time because Goku was off on his own when he went to Roshi’s. If you’re merely following the movie’s canon, you’d be pretty confused as to the workings of a good chunk of this movie such as what Goku is, what happens during a full moon, what Launch’s deal is and more.

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King Kong Reference confirmed

As Goku causes havoc, Yamcha tells Puar to turn into a giant pair of scissors and he cuts off his tail, causing him to transform back.

Once that’s said and done (What was the point of that? I guess it did free them from the wall, but I don’t even know how they got in the wall to begin with.) they go off to rescue Bulma who’s still being held captive by Lucifer.

Lucifer’s big plan is to use a giant friggin’ laser beam to blow up the sun. They never explain why they need Bulma’s blood in the first place. And to make it even more annoying, they never even take any of her blood so I honestly don’t understand why that plot point was needed.

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The blood wasn’t part of the ritual in any way nor was it a part of the master plan. Were they going somewhere with that and just forgot? What would they have done if Bulma and the others never went to the Devil’s Hand? That was a one in a million chance and they needed that blood, supposedly right then and there, for their ceremony. They also never explain what the Sleeping Princess jewel is or where it came from or what it even does really besides I guess make lasers work. RRRGHHHH.

They want to blow up the sun to take over the worldOf course

because they thrive in darkness while humans die without sunlight. They claim the sun is useless to them, but hi science. Do they even realize that moonlight is only possible with sunlight? The moon doesn’t produce its own light – it’s reflecting light from the sun. That’s why the moon frequently has shadows. Seeing as how the moon was critical to this plan and the overall workings of the jewel, they can’t call the sun ‘useless.’

Also, I hope these demons have an extremely strong low temperature tolerance.

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Goku and the others show up and they have short fight with Lucifer’s only attack being a red ball of light replayed with stock footage a couple of times. Right as the laser is being fired, Goku destroys it with a Kamehameha wave, but the blast instead backs up in the laser beam, kills Lucifer and destroys his castle. Oh wait, come on. This was another movie where Goku didn’t technically beat the baddie? Hmph.

They take a picture by the destroyed castle and show it to Master Roshi along with Launch who decided to tag along for some reason. Can she ride the nimbus? At least when she’s good Launch? Also, I love how Launch isn’t even named in this movie. They never mention it once. If you’re going to make your own movie canon, you need to explain stuff like this, movie.

Launch barely even had a purpose in this movie. She showed up, stole the jewel and lost it two minutes after getting it. Her being there had no bearing on the plot whatsoever.

Anyway, Roshi’s so enamored by Launch that he immediately accepts both Krillin and Goku as his pupils and shows Launch around the house. However, she turns back into bad Launch and shoots up the place, even shooting Roshi three times in the head. (He got better)

And the movie ends with Goku, Krillin and Roshi freaked out by Launch.

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Bottomline: I have to say, this movie’s probably one of the weakest movies based on an anime I’ve ever seen. It’s not horrible, it’s just not interesting and there are a ton of issues with the storytelling.

If you’re only following the canon of the movies, this movie would be pretty confusing with Launch (especially considering that, since you never hear or see her name, you’d never even know who she was) and Goku turning into an ape. The story is as cliché as it sounds, the villain is weak as hell, the master plan is cliché as hell and most of it is nonsensical. If this weren’t a Dragon Ball movie and included its humor and characters I would be asleep right now.

That being said, the main/only highlights of the movie were Goku and the others. There are several awesome jokes and I love watching Krillin kick ass even if he ultimately doesn’t get to do much. The only reason this movie gets as many points as it has is merely the lovable qualities of the Dragon Ball universe. If it didn’t have these qualities, it’d be an awful standalone movie.

The voice acting’s pretty good even if Funimation was just starting to take their training wheels off back then.

The music is also standard DB fare, great with it’s own style and flair.

Additional Information and Notes: Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle was directed by Daisuke Nishio, a prominent director in the Dragon Ball series with the entirety of the series, several movies and nearly half of Dragon Ball Z under his belt. It was written by Kenji Torui. The movie was produced by Toei and is currently licensed in the US by Funimation.

Runtime: 45 minutes

Year: 1987

Recommended Audience: Nothing particularly bad. There’s violence and nudity with Goku after he de-transforms. Roshi’s still a perv, but he doesn’t do anything too bad here. 10+

De:Vadasy Review

zeibsry

Rating: 1/10

Plot: The world has been under siege for over a year by mysterious nanomachines that turn people into goo the instant contact is made. A mech called Devadasy is the only thing that can be used to combat these nanomachines, and the organization called Spirits recruits teenagers to help pilot it. A boy named Kei has signed up for Spirits in order to avoid schoolwork, and he soon finds himself in the midst of battle…..And for those that have seen this show, I know I’m omitting a very important aspect of the plot. I will get to it, my friends. Trust me.

Breakdown: ……..Hm.

This is another of those works that I caught onto due to reading THEM anime reviews, and they pretty much hated it. Another one-star wonder on their radar. So I went into this thinking it would be either rage worthy awful or hilariously awful.

To my disappointment, it’s both yet neither.

Let me back up, we have to address something first. De: Vadasy, I have no clue why it’s separated like that in the title, is a huge Evangelion rip off. I know that phrase is tossed around all over for shows that meet the criteria of;

– Post apocalyptic

– Mechs (piloted only by teens)

– Mind fuckery

but trust me, this is an Eva clone to the bone. Even the art style, animation and backgrounds seem reminiscent of Evangelion. Kei also seems to wear the same school uniform as Shinji.

Want more? Okay. The mech is basically ‘alive’, bleeds, and when the mech suffers from any kind of damage, the pilot suffers from similar injuries.

The main character is named Kei Anno, which could be ignored if not for the fact that Evangelion was created by a man named Hideaki Anno, and Kei sounds insanely similar to Rei.

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Not enough? There’s a girl with blue hair and red eyes that ends up essentially being Kei’s mom despite the fact that she seems like she’s a teenager.

They seem to preface the title of the show as ‘The Tale of Genesis: Devadasy’ in the next episode previews. Had enough yet?

The main differences between Eva and Deva……Oh god, I just realized that…..Anyway, the main difference between the two is that while Eva was mostly taking a beat from Christian references, Deva works very loosely in Hindu culture.

To save you from a long lecture, devadasy or devadasi are basically Hindu prostitutes. From what I read, they weren’t technically always that, but they are strongly linked to prostitution, either because it was a part of their initial practice or because they needed the money after the British Rule started, but there ya go.

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What does a Hindu prostitute have to do with this Devadasy? Well, the big aspect I omitted from the plot is that Devadasy differs from other mechs, and even the Eva units, because of its power source. In Devadasy, there must be two people in the machine in order for it to function, a male and a female. The male is set as the pilot and the female is used as a source of power.

This power is generated by sexual energy.

Yes, you heard me. The world is about to be saved by the power of horniness.

As the pilot controls Devadasy, more energy is pulled from the female, and nanomachines, taking the form of green scales, slowly cover the female and she feels increasingly turned on, as does the pilot. In fact, in a weird way, it’s heavily implied that merely piloting Devadasy is like having proxy sex with the battery.

The amount of power reaches its peak when the girl does. *wink wink wink wink wink wink winkNUDGENUDGE*

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So…..yeah….that’s a thing. If that’s not enough, it’s implicated that the Spirits organization is purposely making Kei and all the girls horny somehow, and when Kei starts to get too sexually aggressive, our Misato stand-in (Whose name is, of all things, MisaKO) has sex with him.

I know what you’re thinking; no, this isn’t a hentai. And yes, this is one of those titles that really should’ve just given in and become a hentai. Why not? Afterall, the show is already produced by Green Bunny and Media Blasters, two of the biggest producers and distributors of hentai and hard ecchi in existence.

That really is one of the biggest problems here; it could’ve worked as a hentai spoof of Eva. It actually could’ve been a pretty good hentai spoof of Eva, but the show takes itself so seriously you’d think it was actually striving to be the next Eva, and it just isn’t happening.

It also seems like….maybe that was the intention seeing as how there are six other girls in Spirits, to make a nice good harem for Kei, but despite the fact that all of the girls are included in the end credits’ stillscreen, they….do….nothing. They’re there to gawk at Kei and might possibly be friends of Naoki, but that’s it. I don’t even think they get names.

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The story is just confusing as hell, something else they probably wanted to mirror from Eva. A year ago, nanomachines ‘landed’ on earth. They take the form of huge globs of red and pink goo and if they get anywhere near people, the people melt, or I guess they’re assimilated into the goo to make more goo. No explanation as to what these things are called outside of ‘nanomachines’ nor where they came from or anything.

The only thing that can beat them is a mech called Devadasy, which Kei’s grandfather found 20 years ago. Why is Devadasy not affected by the nanomachines? I dunno. It has nanomachines of its own so, like Evas, it’s possible that Devadasy was made from the same kinds of materials as the enemy nanomachines. Why these don’t melt the pilots I don’t know either.

For that matter, why are teenagers only able to pilot the Devadasy? In Eva, they’re chosen for how well their body signatures correspond to the Evas, right? And because they were born around the Second Impact? Well, no explanation is given as to why the teens are chosen here. It might be because they have healthy sex drives, but so do adults. Also, there’s only one Devadasy and Kei is our sole male teen in the group. Yes, the offer of legally skipping school and getting to fight battles was mostly taken up by teenage girls with only one guy in the entire region interested in taking part.

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Nothing much of note happens for a good long while, and they jump all over the place from different points in time. At least in episode one they tried to explain these jumps by pointing out when one was taking place and to what time. In subsequent episodes, though, there are no cards or text to explain it. We just hop, hop, hop and hope we keep up, which I couldn’t half the time.

Let’s get to the characters. The only three you really need to worry about are Kei, Naoki and Amala.

Like I stated in the plot, Kei randomly signs up for Spirits just because of the promise that he can skip school for it. Kei’s also a pervert even before he goes there, so there’s that. He’s not a Shinji clone, but he’s actually less enjoyable to watch. At least you can justify Shinji’s whining and moping to a degree. At least Shinji sometimes smiles, laughs and has comedic moments to break up his mopeyness. Kei is constantly either just being flippant, perverted, an attempted rapist and just an overall unpleasant guy. Even his VA is annoying.

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He treats his best childhood friend, Naoki, like crap and gets psychotic when piloting Devadasy. The big issue is that, if he is likable beforehand, it’s never shown. He spends so much of his screentime at Spirits, which means he’s always influenced by the drugs that are making him crazy and sex starved. The few scenes before Spirits have him slacking off and perving on a group of girls as well as perving on Naoki. That’s it.

Naoki is…..meh. She’s the only prominent character that I can say doesn’t have an Eva counterpart. She’s a good friend to Kei, even if he treats her poorly, and obviously has a crush on him. There’s really not much to say about her besides that….Oh except she’s willing to forgive Kei for nearly raping her not even a day after it happened. Such a kind soul.

Amala…..oh boy. Amala is a being that is never adequately explained. Kei’s grandfather found her alongside Devadasy (I think) 20 years ago. Despite this, she still looks like a teenage girl. For the most part, it seems like there’s purposely a sexual link between Kei and Amala. She’s the first ‘battery’, they have sex a couple of times, Kei seems to always be drawn to her somehow, and there’s always a sexual connotation when he goes to her.

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Oh yeah, that thing about her being his mom.

Well, Amala, back when she was discovered, decided to create Kei in order to have him give birth to something through her and Devadasy. I don’t know what, I don’t know why, I don’t understand Kei’s past or what he really is at all if this is true, but there ya go.

Amala, Kei’s essential lover this whole time, was his mommy.

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You know, story-wise, while being disjointed, confusing, somewhat pretentious, and slightly dumb…..there is still something there that could’ve been turned into something pretty good. At the very least, decent. I was actually getting into it pretty well through episodes two and half of three….then we get the ending.

We find out Kei is pregnant – I’ll let that sink in for a minute, because that’s not even the weird part of this sentence.

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……Good now? Good. We find out Kei is pregnant with a mech……. I’ll give you another couple of minutes. Please take your time.

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Ready? Okay. We find out Kei is pregnant with a mech, and was impregnated by Amala, Devadasy and an enemy mech who kinda tentacle raped him earlier.

Did you hear that? That’s the sound of ‘what the hell am I watching?’ And…..wait for it…..wait…for…it…..ah, there’s the sound of ‘well, crap, it’s too late to stop watching now.’

He starts to give birth while inside Devadasy and Devadasy seems to be giving birth too….through astral projection?????

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I wish the world made sense again.

It starts a huge panic as they believe there will be a massive nanomachine outbreak while this is going on. The nanomachines in Devadasy have already started attacking Spirits personnel like the enemy nanomachines in an effort to get enough energy to go through the birthing process, which just confuses me further,. They make the painstaking decision to level Spirits headquarters and destroy Devadasy as well as the nanomachines that are emerging from Devadasy.

However, before they can do that, Kei tops off Amala which causes Devadasy to go crazy with pink beams of energy that level everything within what seems like a two mile radius. Don’t worry, though, the Spirits underground headquarters is completely unaffected somehow and everyone who matters is alive. Thousands of no-names are dead and untold amounts of destruction happened, but nothing we’re meant to care about! Hooray!

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After that happens, Kei and Amala stand before the ‘baby’ that was created, which is basically a black mech that doesn’t really look any different than the other enemy mechs. And yes, a mech gives birth, literally, to another mech in this series. If you have that oddly specific fetish and never found anything to sate it, you’re welcome.

The mech is surprisingly piloted by Naoki. How’d she get in there? Why does this thing need a pilot? Especially when it seems like, unlike Kei and Devadasy, she doesn’t seem to be in control at all.

“We’re not going to give you answers because then it wouldn’t be deep.”

Kei’s forced to battle her, but doesn’t want to. He wonders why she’s trying to kill him…..yes, he actually believes that Naoki’s doing this of her own volition. He then remembers the near rape and thinks this is revenge so he tries to kill her. Our hero, everyone!

Let me remind everyone that she told Kei that she forgave him for the near rape hours ago.

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Once he’s nearly murdered her, he realizes that she’s not in control and starts feeling guilty. I’d feel bad if he weren’t dumb.

He also reveals something odd. The battery in the baby-Deva….is a weird black and white version of Kei, which is where we get the explanation of Kei’s birth which really doesn’t explain why that thing looks exactly like Kei does now nor what its function is, but whatever. You now have to stomach that Kei gave birth through a mech with astral projection to a mech and a zebra clone of himself that someone insta-kidnapped his childhood friend……Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to anime.

He destroys the weird Kei clone, manages to save Naoki, hooray, everyone else is rescued and the world is still in turmoil under threat of the nanomachines. Hooray?

What of our heroes? Naoki survives and undergoes treatment to get rid of the mech’s nanomachines. I still have no clue why these nanomachines are different than the melting ones.

However, the fate of Kei and Amala….is…weird and confusing. What a surprise.

We cut to Kei in school. It….appears like this isn’t a dream since one of his classmates makes a remark about him saving the world. But why is he in school if he’s still a pilot? He also spots a child version of Amala sitting in a nearby desk and then we just end.

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What the hell was that? What happened to the actual Amala? Is that her? Why is she so young now? Why is she in school? What happened to the nanomachines or Devadasy? Why did Kei’s body go through so much graphic damage only to have him continuously end up fine? What the hell is up with the gigantic solar-system-sized square black hole thing that was headed to earth that was mentioned a few times? Is it the monolith from 2001 on super space crack?

Art and Animation: It’s actually fairly decent. The character art is a bit lacking and there’s nothing really special about it. Plus, the art and color are so reminiscent of Eva that I actually feel weird trying to review it properly.

The designs for Devadasy are really the highlight here. While I can’t get the image out of my mind that it’s a mech version of Palkia, it’s a pretty original design given most mech designs which are usually either gundam or eva clones. It even turns into a jet.

Music: Mostly forgettable in terms of the BG and ED. There is no OP. There was some music that was fairly ominous and creepy, but still not really noteworthy.

Voice acting: Japanese – The voice acting’s alright. Kei’s VA seriously annoyed me when he was yelling for some reason. He also wasn’t terribly good with regular dialogue either.

Bottomline: It is indeed a terrible anime, but I don’t think it’s quite as atrocious as some people make it out to be. There is some semblance of an original-ish plot there that could’ve made for a better series instead of a bad OVA, if they got a writer who made sense. The sexual stuff is enough to put people off or make people think it’s completely ridiculous, and I do think it was a little dumb to take that route without just making it a hentai or at the very least a harder ecchi.

I’m not saying the only way to improve this show would’ve been to rely on fanservice and porn, that’s really the exact opposite of how to make a show ‘better’, but considering that the main subject matter is sex, it seems pointless to go down the cleaner route. Even Eva had raunchier scenes than this show, and sex wasn’t focal there…..well, unless you overanalyze everything.

The characters aren’t memorable with our main being damn near unlikable, the story’s really confusing with the narrative being broken and hard to follow, the ending is just awful, the tone seems pretentious and need I repeat that this really is too much of an Eva clone?

The very least I can say about it is that they did try. They failed horribly, but they tried. I really believe that something better could’ve come out of this if there were more episodes and more things were explained and better written, but they simply weren’t and never will be. Some aspects just aren’t salvageable anyway, but it could’ve been something better.

As it stands, though, I can’t in good conscience tell people to give it a shot. There are much better ‘Eva clones’ out there to watch that actually make sense and have characters that are likable.

It could be said that the worst aspect about it is that the entire thing is ultimately pointless. There’s no character development, really, and we don’t learn much about this world nor the enemy. The giant square black hole thing I mentioned before is still coming towards earth and there are still nanomachines covering the planet. Devadasy could be down for the count, who knows what’s really up with Kei and Amala, and while the ending battle was pretty entertaining, it was with an enemy that suddenly sprang up without warning in that episode and ultimately did nothing.

While Eva’s various ends are confusing, at least they were actual ends in some way whether they were apocalyptic or otherwise. At least something happened. This ending is almost exactly where we started.

Additional Information and Notes: De:Vadasy was directed by Kondo Nobuhiro, director of over 200 episodes of Sgt. Frog, and it was written by Sho Tokimura, who also wrote seven episodes of Medabots. It was produced by AIC and Studio Gazelle. It is licensed in the US by Media Blasters.

Year: 2000-2001

Episodes: 3

Recommended Audience: There’s a lot of blood, people melting, bones being broken slowly, attempted rape, a few sex scenes done mostly with stills but a couple of shots are animated for a second or two, nudity, but nothing below the waist, possible statutory rape, I don’t know how old Kei is, and incest. 17+

See, Devadasy? Even just going the ecchi route, you still don’t appeal to audiences low enough to warrant not being a spoof hentai. I’m not trying to nag, but seriously, why bother with this kind of thing if you’re not just going to go the extra mile?

Eiken Episode 1 Review

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Rating: 0/10

Plot: Boing, boing, boing, banana, boing.

Breakdown: Warning – This review contains screencaps and language that is not suitable for younger audiences. Reader discretion is advised.

I’ve been wanting to review this series for some time now mostly because I see this as the pinnacle of pandering in terms of fetish anime…….except maybe Seikon no Qwazer, but one brain aneurysm at a time.

There are a lot of ecchi shows out there that basically bank on fanservice alone, but this is basically Fanservice: The Series, and it’s not even like regular fanservice; it’s specifically nothing but fanservice aimed at people who have a thing for ridiculously huge breasts. Not just anime ridiculous breasts, but like ‘How are they not dead by now?’ breasts.

Because I think it would be redundant and/or short to just write off this series based on that, I decided I would be kind enough to walk you through both episodes of Eiken. Ready your bras.

Episode 1: The first shot of the first episode is of a banana peel on the floor. See, bananas are phallic symbols…..That’s all I got.

We get narration from our main character, Densuke, as he explains facts about his school, Zashono Academy. The building of which is also a big ol’ phallic symbol.

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Also, it’s Den-Skay. Little to no emphasis on the ‘su’ part. Not Den-Su-kay, dub. He’s basically every male protagonist in every harem ever. Modest, bland character design, practically no personality and he’s completely forgettable.

As we see our first shot of Densuke, we also see a good chunk of the female student body and not one of them has a cup size below DD.

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Also, what the crap is up with those uniforms? This is like Kaichou wa Maid-sama levels of ugly. The boys have basically normal dark clothing yet the girls get fugly yellow, green and purple garbage. At least it doesn’t involve plaid, but that sweater vest isn’t helping any.

A girl runs into him and they both fall over due to the banana peel from earlier (Damn kids and their banana peels. Haven’t they ever seen a comedy sketch!?) And somehow someway this causes her to fall on her back and him to fall on top of her. Physics, what’s that? Hell, they even show the fall in slow motion, because we really needed to see her teddy bear panties, and he’s clearly falling backwards on his back and she’s falling forward on her front.

Apparently he’s a kid that a lot of people are gossiping about because he scored highest on the entrance exams to this supposedly prestigious academy because that’s what they yell when they see him fall over.

He realizes that he’s not just on top of the girl, he’s squeezing her shirt balloons. Her tatas are also so big and apparently squishy that his hands are practically melting into them. I don’t have a chest quite so comically large, but I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t happen.

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The others are getting on his case for groping the girl, Chiharu, and even though it was an accident, I actually find it justified because even after he realizes what he’s touching he still squeezes them twice.

A mech comes flying out of nowhere with a girl, Kirika, riding on the side with a shot of her bra weights literally flapping in the wind. She has ridiculously long purple hair and seems to have the biggest bazongas thusfar.

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You’ll also note that hey had to get Phallic Symbol High in a better shot in the background with her too.

She tells Densuke that he’s been selected to join their club, the Eiken club, or as the dub likes to call it the Ai-ken club. Because why learn proper Japanese pronunciation when dubbing a Japanese show? That’s just silly.

She basically kidnaps him and tries to force him to sign up I guess because he literally is the perfect description of a Gary Stu character and most importantly, not joking, because he touched another club member, Chiharu’s, ‘extra F-cup boobies’. I’ve been trying to avoid that word for comedic effect and moderate censoring (because I really don’t want the SEO of this blog post to be 80% keyword – boobies) but that is a direct quote from the show.

She eventually forces him to sign with his thumb print by forcing him down on the paper and sitting on his head. And she wears no underwear. You can’t see anything, but you can plainly tell.

As the deal is sealed we get our opening theme song. The song itself is completely generic and forgettable. The background animation is blah, but the main character runs through a generic background as he bumps into the various members of Eiken. Oh, they’re giant versions of the members and he always bumps into their hot air balloons.

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After that, we see Chiharu standing behind the same background as the wind gently blows both her hair and her chimmichangas around. Okay, look, I gave a pass to the whole Kirika thing on the mech because the wind was likely really intense as she flew around and I would suppose something like that might be possible with winds that strong, but come on. There’s not understanding milk balloon physics and being concerned that the people behind this have never seen or felt real ones before. They’re not made of the same material as flags!

Blah blah panty shots, blah blah random girl crotching Densuke to the face, blah blah random hula hoop session for all the characters to make their watermelons bounce around some more while simultaneously giving us plenty of panty shots. Also, Densuke looks ridiculous during this whole thing.

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Blah blah making the credits bounce on one of the girl’s oingo boingos. Can we end now? Thank you.

Densuke’s apparently alone in some building with some woman and the dialogue is making it seem like like they’re about to do the bedroom tango, but what they’re really doing is some insanely dumb form of fortune telling where they crawl around on the floor and try to pass a rose between their lips. If it falls or something, she can then tell his fortune. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Anyway, he doesn’t put the rose in her mouth and she says from the way the rose fell that he’s going to suffer misfortune, be beaten up and some opposing character will cause him grief.

Cut to later, oh and there’s a double balloon blimp in the sky. Guess why. Because they look like boo–

Densuke gets called over by his friends to look in a window and we see the female student body having their physicals with all of them being topless and/or braless talking about how big Chiharu’s chichis are.

He gets caught and Kirika’s practically impressed that he’s a peeping tom….Kirika’s weird.

I’m gonna take a time out here to say the art is awful. I won’t go so far as to say it’s some of the worst I’ve seen but ew. If you’re going to get into the business of ecchi, at least be skilled enough in art to make things visually appealing. Between the stupid designs only blown up to ludicrous due to their chest sizes and the gross color schemes, no wonder even people who like even the stupidest of ecchi hate this show.

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Now’s also as good a time as any to get the intros to the other club members out of the way.

The person behind the mech and apparently a lot of other weird tech things around, like what looks like a nuke and a….possibly a giant bear thing…Don’t ask questions, just move on; is a girl named Kyoko who is actually flatchested (Alert the media.) I would say that this is due to her age as she’s the second youngest of the group but there’s another girl named Komoe who is actually younger than Kyoko and she has the same case of ‘parachuteforabra-itis’ that the other girls have. I guess we needed two loli characters; one for the ones with a chest fetish, the other for those who don’t.

I will also mention that the Wiki page was kind enough to actually provide the worryingly precise chest measurements of all of the girls in the series…..Just in case you needed to know that vital information.

The fortune teller from earlier is named Grace and she also doesn’t have particularly huge human utters.

And then there’s Sensei, who doesn’t have any name beyond ‘Sensei’ or in the dub ‘Teacher’. Her schtick is that she’s a whiny basketcase.

Finally we have the characters we’ve already met, Kirika, the psycho who apparently loves perversion, and Chiharu the shy one.

These characters are actually so paint-by-numbers that they’re friggin color coded. Not kidding at all. Chiharu has red hair, Kirika has purple, Kyoko has light blue, Grace has blond, Komoe has bright pink and Sensei has green.

Densuke tries to help Komoe get something in a high cabinet (Geez, those cabinets are like 7 feet off the ground, who built this place?) As they try something new, Kirika walks by….sucking on a banana.

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Okay, look, I’m not dumb, I get the joke. Haha. But I always found that joke to be dumb, and my reasoning’s going to be just as stupid…..Who sucks on a banana? It’s not a damn lollipop – it’s a banana! It’s one of the most fragile fruits in existence. Babies can eat them whole before their teeth come in! It’s not like it’s even tempting to try. Bananas aren’t particularly sweet, especially not enough to want to suck on. An apple, maybe. A plum, sure. But not a damned banana.

They get the idea to hold Komoe up to let her reach the cabinet, but, surprise, Densuke is being suffocated by her boom booms. It’s not even like this is an ecchi shot either because despite them being in the shot, they show it from the back so you can’t even see what’s going on.

Teacher walks up to them after that plan fails to suddenly bawl about how she’s been teaching at the school for over 12 years and not one student ever remembers her name. Also, she actually pronounces Eiken correctly…..Well…I guess she IS the teacher.

Densuke tries to cheer her up by saying, as the club’s adviser, only she can can help them out of this problem….Grab a goddamn step stool you lazy sons of bitches…..

She freaks out in delight that one of her students actually respects her and needs her help, so she does the logical thing and hug-humps Densuke….

She says two heads are better than one, and I bring this up because there are THREE of them, so that saying doesn’t work, and we see Kirika walk by….sucking on a hotdog.

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1) Who sucks on a hotdog?!

2) Really? You’re going to do one of the oldest ecchi-esque jokes in existence twice in a minute and a half? Comedy legends you lot are.

3) Who follows up eating a banana by eating a hotdog? Those tastes do not belong together at all.

4) Way to recycle animation.

So what was Teacher’s solution? To have both her AND Komoe climb up on Densuke’s shoulders to reach the cabinet….that they still can’t reach. But don’t worry. This time you can see Teacher’s thong. I have a hard time believing someone as insecure as her would wear a thong but whatever.

Also, uhm, question. How did you guys put the stuff into the cabinet? Take that method to REACH THE CABINETS NOW YOU DUMB SACKS OF DUMB.

They eventually reach what they need and eat lunch. Kirika asks Densuke how it was when he saw Chiharu’s bare flesh pillows, and they talk about boring crap involving food for a while until Komoe decides to freak out and dance which makes her sweater meat flop all over the place. While dancing, she falls on another banana peel which leads to an intense discussion over politics.

Pbbthahahaha, just kidding. It’s more slow motion fanservice.

This fall takes forever and they cover practically every angle they can to show Komoe’s flopping bouncy houses, her panties, as well as Densuke reaching for said bouncy houses to catch her and Teacher’s panties in several angles. Somehow this fall causes them to defy the laws of physics again and fall backwards, making Teacher’s dress go all the way up to her shoulders to display her in her bra and showing that Densuke is grabbing one of both of their orbs of power.

Oh yeah and because Teacher was trying to make more noodles, they got covered in noodles too….Long white wet stringy noodles. I guess I can at least be happy they weren’t eating anything with mayonnaise.…

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I feel like I need to censor almost all of these screencaps.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

6 Angels Review

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Rating: 0/10

Plot:…….Uhh…..A bunch of girls in some special guard thing fight some guy who wants to destroy the world and….stuff happens

Breakdown: WARNING – LONG RANTY REVIEW. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

This was…..an experience. I’ll give it that. I don’t know what kind of experience, but it was one. I don’t have much for introductions here, so let’s just get on with the show.

I can tell you something right now, I hate the artwork. I hate art styles that have the hair covering the eyes when it completely covers one eye or another, and leaves in the linework for the eyes while covered by the coloring for the hair. That looks so damn lazy it’s insane.

On top of that, it’s incredibly annoying. I can usually ignore it, but there’s this one chick with a bunch of orange yellow hair that hangs in front of her face that covers practically the entire side of her face and the linework for her eye shines right through it, making it looking crappy as sin.

The main girl, Maki as well as some Soviet soldier who comes out of nowhere and we’re expected to know or connect with also have hair that covers half their faces. The soldier is the worst as her hair veers off into some huge spike that doubles back towards her face. You’d think they’d want as much hair out of their face as possible considering they’re soldiers, but I guess her eye goes right through it anyway, so why bother?

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There’s one scene later on when one of the girls is naked lying splayed on her stomach and the art makes her look like a damn body builder when she looks slim in every other scene. (Also, warning, buttshot.)

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Then you have people with long pointy faces like in Vampire Hunter D.

And there’s also the main villain, but I’ll give you that taste of insanity in a little while.

The animation doesn’t fare much better. It’s choppy as hell and there are several scenes that seem like cardboard cut outs being panned over a background. In one episode with a character named Ed, I was laughing my ass off at how he was just sliding all over the place like the animator put butter on his character shot.

The CGI is mostly okay, but it contrasts badly with the awful traditional artwork. While objects made in CGI look perfectly fine, the ground and certain locations look pretty damn bad.

Another note: Gotta love when they don’t bother to spell-check anything that’s supposed to be on US technology. Not just any US technology, this is supposed to be the US government’s, specifically the president’s, computer system.

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That’s not a one-time thing either. It happens constantly. Later the screen spells “Cancel” as “Cancell”, “Warning” as “Warnning”, “Deceased” as “Decased” and the prison called Neo Purgatory is always spelled “Neo Pagatory.” Oh don’t bother spelling that focal location of our entire plot correctly. Oh and lest we not forget this gem.

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I wanna have that stitched on a pillow.

Sometimes they even misspell their own characters’ names like Terrie Canione (Terry Canyon) and Mariryne (Marilyn).

Okay, okay. Let me see if I can somehow mend the insanely broken plot of this movie together. Keep in mind, this is movie is so broken and hard to follow I had to do research after watching this movie to understand what was going on and I still have little clue, especially in regards to the ending.

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The movie starts out by telling us in super-fast subtitles (on the raw footage, though my subs were also awful) that war repeats itself, some meteor shower occurred and something about an angel falling. I couldn’t follow any of it. I guess no one else could either because none of my sources even mention this. The text also basically says that men are to blame and women are the only ones who can do anything about it. Oh God, I’m watching ICE again, aren’t I!?

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It’s the year 2026. The death penalty has been outlawed in the United States and now those meant to be on death row are held in an underground prison in the crater of a nuclear bomb explosion called Neo Purgatory. Just roll with it – this is the least of our problems.

After that, we’re introduced to our main girls, Maki, the Japanese named American leader of the girls, Doris, aforementioned girl with annoying silver and orange hair, Marilyn, some chick with yellow hair that has purple lines in it, Naomi the lone black chick becoming a double threat by also being a glasses girl, Naomi also has kids that don’t matter, and Katherine a red haired little brat I want to murder who sneaked on board their attack helicopter.

With them is Giga, a giant mech, and Link, a little robot pink rabbit thing who apparently acts like R2D2 in the helicopter and doubles as an alarm clock and convenient portable computer.

They work for the Guard of Rose which consists of only them. According to the Wiki, they’re the special guards for Neo Purgatory….Which makes no sense considering that their headquarters are stationed pretty far from there. Also, why would they need a specialized helicopter, a rabbit robot and a giant mech to guard such a place?

Link, by the way, is an official police robot. The government purposely made that thing to look like a pink rabbit….Also, if their credo is so much “women fighting men’s violence” then I really don’t understand their purpose at all. Are there no women on death row/Neo Purgatory? Are women just the kindest gentlest creatures ever? Coulda fooled me with all the gun fights and killing. Oh and congratulations on completely ignoring the issue of domestic violence against men, moron.

What kind of name is the Guard of Rose anyway? They guard Neo Purgatory. Are women roses? Is the prison a rose?

We see them fighting some rebels at Neo Purgatory who have missiles somehow (Outfit the prison filled with serial killers and rapists with accessible missiles immediately!) Katherine, a stowaway on their helicopter, is detained by Giga and their helicopter gets shot down. Before you can say “shortest movie ever”, Giga exits the helicopter and catches it, slowing it down just enough to not kill everyone. However, Giga’s badly damaged and needs repairs. This means he never does anything for the rest of the movie…..I mean it. They have a giant mech and do nothing but that with him.

US soldiers find them and rescue them from the wreckage as we cut to our villain preparing for more villain things. His name is Donn Canyon, though these subs seem to like calling him Tone Kane, (Not sure which is better to be honest. One sounds like a cartoon cowboy the other sounds like a cheesy action movie star.) and he looks like this.

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Yes, you are currently seeing this. This is a Fist of the North Star character after doing the fusion dance with Vash the Stampede, shooting up 400 gallons of steroids and inexplicably wearing an outfit with tons of tubes, pumps, bolts and for reasons beyond my understanding scissors and extractors. Look at him. Just….just look at him. Just stare in awe at how his character design was greenlit.

He’s working with his sons to take over Neo Purgatory and destroy humanity, but more on that later.

As the soldiers and the Guard of Rose are making a game plan, rebel prisoners show up. The mummy ninjas (try calling them anything besides that. They move and attack like Roadrunner while looking like this.

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brutally attack the soldiers, cutting their heads off and slicing them open. Also, it’s nice to know we’ll still have bad guys in 2026 who sport leather, spikes and mohawks. I was worried there for a bit.

It’s here where the girls, well, Maki, Doris and Marilyn at least, show off their magic science powers. That’s the only way I can describe it. See, their suits run on some sort of energy. I have no clue what kind of energy nor where any kind of battery can fit on those suits, nor how they recharge, but they do. Their suits summon weapons from nowhere like magical girls. Doris gets a sword, Marilyn gets a Boh staff while Maki gets some sort of lightning stuff that shoots from her fists.

I really have to ask, like a common question to Final Fantasy games, why are they using swords and even more confusingly boh staves when guns are a thing? Hell, this is 2026 so they probably have way better guns. They do use pistols, but why are their specialty weapons swords and boh staves? I don’t even know what Naomi gets if she gets any weapons since she seems to play a support role and the only thing we see Katherine do is use pistols.

The girls are doing well in the battle when energy bombs come from nowhere and start blowing everything up, followed by mechs shooting the energy bombs controlled by one of Donn Canyon’s sons, Terry Canyon. Terry Canyon also looks like crap and has a thing for old hard rock. He changes the songs as he increases the intensity of his attack and when he enters the “final secuence” He ends up blowing the girls up in the helicopter.

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Luckily two guys named JC and Mike, one of which sporting a horrible looking lavender beret for no reason, sneaks on board the helicopter to save the girls and brings them to a cell in Neo Purgatory.

Maki freaks out at the sight of them when she wakes up and nearly kills them while Naomi explains that he doesn’t know who they are or what they want. JC and Mike don’t explain, but claim that Ed Canyon, Donn Canyon’s oldest son and his second in command, told them that women or the Guard of Rose have bombs in their chests and they want to see it…..Okay, if the bombs are IN their chests, how the hell would you see them? On X-ray?

Hearing this, Maki does the rational thing and throws her bra in their faces showcasing her boobs to them as she talks about what violent filthy pigs men are. Right, you kill people with magic science lightning and guns and randomly take your top off in front of complete strangers, but they’re the violent filthy pigs. They’re so freaked out by her outburst and the sight of her boobs that they fall to the floor in a daze. Don’t worry, that’s just one of many things that make no sense.

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Maki, Naomi, Doris and Katherine are fine for reasons beyond my understanding, and they suffer no injuries that affect them over the course of the rest of the movie despite puddles of blood and wounds to the torso. They notice that Marilyn is gone and we learn that she’s been captured by the rebels.

While preparing for an assault to save Marilyn, Link detects a camera that runs across the rails of the halls of the prison and records any activity. Since Terry controls those cameras now, they’ll be caught if it catches them on camera. Probably wasn’t a good idea to take shelter inside of the place fully controlled by rebels then, was it? It’s like if they decided the best place to hide from the Empire in Star Wars was inside the Death Star.

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Mew Mew Power (4Kids Dub) Review

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Rating: 3/10

Plot: Zoey Hanson is a normal teenage girl. She’s has a huge crush on a great guy, is a bit lazy and a bit scatterbrained. While on a date with her crush, Mark, she is hit with a strange red light that grants her the abilities of the red data animal, the iriomote wild cat, and turns into Mew Ichigo. Elliot and Wesley, leaders of the Mew Project, are the ones who granted her these powers and they tell her that she, along with four other mews, need to stop the aliens, the cyniclons, from taking over the planet. Together, Zoey, Bridget, who has the powers of a finless porpoise, Corina, with the powers of a larakeet, Kiki, with the powers of a golden lion tamarin, and Renee, with the powers of a grey wolf, use a cafe as their cover as they try to save the world from the cyniclons, Dren, Tarb and Sardon and their mysterious leader Deep Blue.

Breakdown: Now that I’m a bit less enraged after going through the SDC of this show and it’s original version, Tokyo Mew Mew, I can try my hardest to find the merits of this show on its own, as if Tokyo Mew Mew doesn’t exist.

To get this out of the way, its merits as a dub effort are awful. You know this, I know this, there’s no point in getting into details since practically everything was covered in the SDC. Everyone’s is changed to be unpleasant as a character 98% of the time, the dialogue is constantly changed, there are untold amounts of edits and scene swaps, and the stories of the episodes are commonly changed to make them kiddier or to dumb them down. Rarely was there ever an episode that was left mostly alone. It’s, as far as I’m concerned, 4Kids second worst dubbed show outside of One Piece – and give that show credit; they kept the names the same, usually, in One Piece.

Getting back to stand-alone Mew Mew Power, I’m going to break this up as much as possible, so let’s tackle the voices first.

Voices:

Zoey: Her voice is very grating. I get that she is a teenage girl, but she’s over-the-top typical teenage girly girl and I can’t stand when she starts screaming. I feel like in those times when she’s being all romantic with Mark or thinking about Mark that her VA is rolling her eyes through all of it because she just lays it on so thick.

Corina: Her voice is actually fitting for a little rich snob, but she does sound a bit too old for the role, especially when she’s yelling.

Kiki: I actually don’t find Kiki’s voice to be that bad in terms of her character, but the actual sound is annoying as hell.

Bridget: She’s also pretty fitting, but her acting is hokey very often. She just can’t emote outside of timidness.

Renee: She’s voice is also fine, but she can’t seem to do any emotions outside of bitch and monotone.

Elliot: Sean Schemmel does a fine job as Elliot, for the most part, but he does nothing to differentiate his voice from Goku’s, besides seem a little more serious, which makes it very distracting. I don’t think I’d mention this if they didn’t reference his role as Goku in the series.

Wesley: His voice is completely forgettable, and doesn’t really fit the suave and cool character he’s supposed to be.

Dren: His voice is okay. He doesn’t get the cute lines down as much as…..uh, another show with the exact same character that I’m not supposed to talk about. His voice can be fun, slippery and malicious, but it’s not terribly effective.

Tarb: Gary Oak is a brat. I can’t say anything bad about that.

Sardon: His voice grew on me, but damn it just sounds so weird.

Mark: I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to give Mark this voice. He sounds way too old. Like I said in the SDC, this kid is supposed to be 15 in the dub yet he sounds like he’s in his forties and probably smoked in his youth. This is by far one of the worst voice casting choices I’ve ever seen.

Mini-Mew: His voice is actually really good. It’s a bit annoying since he talks quite a bit, but the choice of voice was good.

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Characters:

Zoey: At her best, Zoey is a typical self-absorbed materialistic teenage girl. She can be nice enough, but she has way too many moments of being snarky, bitchy and overall unpleasant. She’s obsessed with Mark to the point of willfully wanting to abandon her duties as a Mew, IE Saving the world, just to be with him. It’s incredibly hard to want to root for her or her relationship with Mark because of how unpleasant she is to watch.

Corina: Self-absorbed, lazy, bitchy snob. She rarely has moments where she’s being genuinely kind and even these moments are turned around to be sarcastic or bitchy. She also doesn’t really have much of a backstory beyond being a lonely rich girl.

Bridget: She’s one of the more tolerable characters, but man is she boring. Her voice and lack of range in emotion mixed with her personality make her really bland. Even her backstory isn’t very interesting.

Kiki: Kiki’s a little entertaining and not quite as annoying as I feared. However, there’s little in terms of filter between her brain and her mouth. I would say she just has no tact, but many of the instances of this come off as bratty/bitchy instead of just putting her foot in her mouth. She does have the best backstory of them all though.

Renee: She comes off as cold and bitchy, and at best she’s a seemingly cold older sister type. She can be nice when she wants to be, but these moments are also ruined most of the time by adding in stereotypical teenage girl attitude. You don’t really get to know anything about Renee besides a few character traits as the show doesn’t explore her backstory.

Elliot: He’s very abrasive most of the time and a downright asshole several times, but there are circumstances when he’s trying to be nice. These instances are sometimes ruined by poor dialogue choices or tone of voice, but not as often as the girls. We never delve into his backstory or why the Mew project came to be.

Wesley: Wesley’s a dork. I couldn’t quite find the right word before but yeah, he’s a dork, especially after the way he was talking in episode 25. What the hell was that, anyway? People on the Food Network don’t talk about food that much.

Mark: Mark is really nice, but down to the bare bones, he’s really boring. He plays kendo, he’s adored by girls, he’s a perfect guy, but he’s boring. His droning insurance salesman voice in no way helps.

Dren: He’s a fine villain, but a bit too cartoony to ever be taken seriously. He has a really stupid manner of speech that is very effeminate and littered with dumb cutesy nicknames and silly wordplay.

Tarb: Well, they weren’t wrong, he’s a brat.

Sardon: Probably the only of the three I would ever take seriously, but his voice makes it close to impossible to do so.

Deep Blue: Kinda pointless to talk about him. He’s a mysterious voice from the shadows who commands his lackeys to do everything and wants to rule the world. His voice is ridiculous, and he’s a lot like Giovanni from Pokemon except he somehow manages to do less on his own.

Blue Knight: There’s also not much to say about him. He’s this show’s Tuxedo Mask, though he doesn’t show up nearly as often as TM does in Sailor Moon. He’s obviously voiced by Sean Schemmel with a sore throat and he does nothing but save Zoey, protect Zoey, and give her pep talks before vanishing.

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In terms of story, outside of using animals, fighting aliens and DNA instead of magic (which is pretty silly to note as an original thing since they must still be relying on magic to a degree) it’s on par with most other magical girl anime dubs. Typical teenage girl voices, overly girl-ifying everything most of the time, and following roughly the same character archetypes and structure. Renee and Kiki kinda break the character archetype mold, though.

The ending is completely unsatisfactory, obviously, since the dub project was canceled.

The stories can sometimes be goofy, but I never expect full seriousness out of magical girls shows. They are usually aimed towards kids and are partially comedy shows.

The dialogue is bleh. If I can compare this to a similar-ish show and not the original show for a second; take Kim Possible. Both aimed at kids, both focus on teenage girls as the main heroes, both are no strangers to very girly things such as pop music, cheerleading, and of course, boys. The dialogue in that show, while being lame sometimes, mostly in the catchphrases, was overall snappy, realistic and, best of all, funny. The dialogue in this show is lame, forced, dated, not that realistic and not funny.

The music is very poppy, very girly, and the lyrics are almost always nauseatingly girly and lame. However, the music department at 4Kids is very good at making earworms in terms of their melodies. Their insert songs during the emotional scenes are forgettable, but Supernatural and We’ve Got the Animal Instinct admittedly grew on me. The OP is very catchy as well.

The art and animation don’t stand up to the average western cartoons and even many of the anime typically found on the same block. Better than Yugioh, but that’s like saying being beaten with a branch is better than being beaten with a plank of wood. Pierrot really did blech work on this show. The colors pop, the transformation scenes are well done, and when they actually decide to use their budget the show doesn’t look half bad. However, most episodes look like crap for the most part. The animation is average at best, and the art can be horrible at worst.

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Is there anything they did better than the original? I can’t really avoid comparing the two versions here as I really want to give 4Kids some credit…..Yes, they did something better than the original and you probably already know what it is; giving the other girls more time to shine.

While I doubt this was made with fairness between the characters in mind (it’s probably a marketing strategy both for their soundtrack and their character merchandise) they do give more focus to the other girls when they can in terms of showing them transforming and them doing their attacks. And in the cases of Kiki and Bridget, making up additional attack names for them to seem more diverse even when they don’t do anything different.

The original has this really nasty habit of favoring Ichigo far more than even the average magical girl show favors the leader. The other girls get what they get at the start and usually get nothing more. Mint can kinda fly, though she usually just floats. It’s possible she can also talk to birds. Zakuro might be able to talk to dogs/canines in general. Lettuce was able to turn into a mermaid once with Mew Aqua. Pudding got jack squat.

Ichigo, however, gets three different weapons, three different attacks and always gets the final shot. She has cat ears and a tail pop out when she’s upset and she eventually turns into a cat fully.

While one can argue that those abilities are the curse of this project, it would be better to give similar abilities to the other girls. Afterall, they’re supposed to be itching to be back to normal right? If transforming is a choice, this Mew project deal doesn’t affect the other girls nearly as much. Have Mint sprout wings or talons. Have Pudding sprout monkey ears and a tail. Have Renee sprout dog ears and a tail. Have Lettuce…..uhhh….sprout…a fish….tail? Hell, just have them take on animal behaviors like Pudding jonesing for bananas, Lettuce having irresistible urges to swim. Mint wanting to eat bird seed, Zakuro chewing on bones.

You can get really creative with this yet they never do. They don’t even explain what everyone else’s animals besides Ichigo’s are until more than halfway into season one. She gets practically all of the focus in every episode unless it’s a special character-driven episode and even then focus shifts to Ichigo much of the time.

It was a nice change of pace to have more focus on the other girls, however minor it may be. Is it really so much to ask to properly showcase a TEAM show without always having the focus and all the fun stuff go to one damn character?

They also had a few moments where their dialogue or story changes were better than what was originally there. Slightly….Just slightly.

Bottomline: It’s a terrible, horrible, butchered little dub, and I stand by my statement of ‘Second worst 4Kids’ dub ever.’ It’s an average dubbed magical girl show at very best, and I don’t fault anyone who liked this show as a kid. I never got into it as I was too busy watching Yugioh, Pokemon and Digimon. Doing/reading sub dub comparisons on those shows makes me cringe sometimes with how awful the dubs can be, but elements of the original version still shine through, just like it does here, and I can see how people would be allured by that. It doesn’t seem to do much harm to kids in terms of messages, it just doesn’t have much to offer. There are and were better similar shows out there for kids to watch.

Recommended Audience: Ichigo’s boob shadows and Kisshu’s stomach/groin lines were painted away because they were too risque. I think no one can argue with E for everyone.

Dragon Ball Movie 01: The Curse of the Blood Rubies Review

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Plot: In a different retelling of the Dragon Ball origin story, a powerful monkey-tailed boy named Goku meets a girl named Bulma. Long story short, they hunt down Dragon Balls together and along their adventures they come across a village that happens to have an incredibly sought after stone called Blood Rubies in its soil. They seem to cause terrible reactions in anyone who seeks them out, and Goku’s the only one who can save this village from total ruination.

Breakdown: Despite my nostalgic love of the Dragon Ball series, I never kept up much with the movies mostly because not many of them were aired on TV that often, at least where I live. I was able to catch a movie or two on Cartoon Network and I had one on DVD, but I never watched any of the original DB movies, only DBZ. I’m pretty excited, so let’s get into it.

I’m watching the second version English dub of this movie done by Funimation. This version is sandwiched between an earlier version done by a company called Harmony Gold which got its fame through dubbing Robotech, and the final version done by Funimation to show the movie in its entirety and clean it up a bit to match the dub that they eventually created. Harmony Gold’s version was apparently censored less than Funi’s first dub of it (surprising) and all of the names were changed.

Harmony Gold’s version of the dub was apparently not well received, though I will say from the clips I managed to track down that it was a pretty faithful adaptation, they even kept the original Japanese score. Despite this, they eventually lost their license to the fairly newborn Funimation. Apparently, the dub of this Dragon Ball movie was actually used as a pilot to launch the rest of the series, so you can actually thank this movie for giving us what we have today.

I haven’t been able to track down the full version of the Harmony Gold dub and I guess it might not even exist since it was only shown on TV and never released on VHS. HG also had the rights to the TV series, but no one seems to know how many episodes they dubbed and those episodes are also lost to the abyss. Basically the only information I have on the HG dub is the changed names, and I will include those in the review.

The opening theme song is not the same as the English version of the Japanese original OP as seen in the finished dub of Dragon Ball. I love the final product. It’s one of my favorite OP’s. This one is fairly good actually, except for the ending title card which looks friggin’ awful. It looks like it was hastily put together in MSPaint. The Harmony Gold version of the opening is available on YouTube and it’s an English version of the Japanese OP like Funi eventually created. HG, however, uses the actual Japanese score for it, which apparently Funi couldn’t get from Toei, and their lyrics were different.

Our movie starts off with a village countryside where the local farmlands are being dug up by soldiers in order to find blood rubies to give to the king. One of the villagers tries to stand up to the soldiers, but ends up getting beaten. As the soldiers leave, we get hints that the king wasn’t always a cruel tyrant and that he just recently became such. One little girl who I suppose is the daughter of the man who got beaten vows to show them who’s boss.

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Cut to a quiet mountain area where we see our hero, little Goku. Most of the characters have different voices in this early dub, but they seem to do alright. Goku is voiced by Saffron Henderson instead of Colleen Clinkenbeard. From the list I see, she’s probably better known for voicing Sota from Inuyasha, Genki from Monster Rancher or Sherry from Zatch Bell. Also, in the Harmony Gold version of this movie, Goku’s named Zero.

This movie really seems to be a different version of the origin story. Goku talks to his grandpa’s four-star Dragon Ball and goes off to catch some fish. He kicks a giant fish in the face and goes off to bring it back home.

Meanwhile, Bulma is seen driving around the mountainside while tracking down Goku’s Dragon Ball on her “bleeper”….Yeah, I guess it took them a bit to come up with “dragon radar”. She also noticed that military soldiers are heading in the same direction and fears that they’re after the Dragon Ball too.

Bulma here is voiced by Maggie Blue O’Hara instead of Monica Rial. She’s Madison in Cardcaptors, Holly from Monster Rancher and Kitty in X-Men Evolution. Bulma’s name in the HG version is Lena….I don’t even know why they bothered changing her name since her name is on the front of her shirt.

She crashes into Goku on the mountain path and if you’ve seen the origin story in the TV series, it’s the same schtick only this time she tells Goku that his Dragon Ball is likely being stolen by soldiers. When they go to his home, they discover that his Dragon Ball is indeed gone with a single gold coin left in its place as a signature of the army.

Bulma decides to go after them and uses a DynoCap (if that’s what they’re still called) for a HydroJet which sounds more like a jet ski than a plane, but there it is.

They get into an air battle with the soldiers, but are ultimately blown out of the sky by a rocket launcher. I honestly don’t understand how Bulma survived that without a scratch. The entire jet blew up to tiny bits and she didn’t eject before it happened. Goku’s Goku so it’s understandable that he survived just fine, but how did Bulma survive?

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Also, supposedly, the early Funi dub of this, the one I’m watching, is censored in some situations for pervertedness on the part of Master Roshi or Oolong later on, but why did they show the part with Bulma pissing herself if they were worried about needing to censor stuff? Were the 90’s more lenient with peeing yourself?

Their journey is taking them into the night, so Bulma decides to whip out a house DynoCap. Goku is amazed by everything in the house and Bulma is amazed by how much Goku smells. She finds out that he’s never had a bath before so she decides to give Goku a bath. Kid’s never had a bath. Great parenting, Gohan. After Goku has had a bath, she decides that she wants one now too.

She takes a bath and sees Goku is in the bathroom wanting to help Bulma wash her back since she doesn’t have a tail to do so and Bulma angrily kicks him out. Oh Goku, you dense little scamp.

We cut to dinner where Goku doesn’t really like the food that Bulma has prepared so he decides to go out hunting for some real dinner and Bulma accompanies him.

As they’re traveling, they hear a small girl yelling in terror as a Satan-esque monster appears. Goku jumps into action to protect her, but the monster doesn’t think much of him. They fight for a bit and the monster turns into some mecha thing. He challenges him by telling him to knock down the large tree beside him and laughs until Goku knocks the tree down with one punch. This scares the monster enough to transform into a bat and run off while Goku pursues him.

With one swift hit with his Power Pole, the bat is down and reveals himself to be Oolong, renamed as Mao Mao in the HG dub. Instead of Bryan Massey, he’s voiced here by Alec Willows who actually seems to have held the part in the Canadian/Ocean dub as Oolong for quite some time. His resume is quite long, but I really only recognize him as Mushin from Inuyasha.

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They talk for a minute before Oolong realizes that they’re in HIS territory. Goku asks who HE is before they get attacked by machine gun fire. As the gun shots end, the shooter is revealed to be everyone’s favorite desert bandit, Yamcha.

Yamcha in the HG dub is known as….Zedaki? HG sure made some weird name change choices in that dub. Instead of being voiced by Christopher Sabat, he’s voiced here by Ted Cole who’s….known for…..Well, I really only recognize his work as Lee from Beyblade, so let’s give it that, but apparently he also did several roles on Death Note’s English dub, which I didn’t watch much of.

Yamcha jumps down with his sidekick/BFF Puar, known in the HG dub as SQUEAKER?! PBBBTTTTAHAHAHAHAHA!!…..Ahhhh, anyway. Puar here, instead of Brina Palencia is voiced by Kathy Morse whooooooo……Voiced some woman from Maison Ikkoku, and that’s basically it. Puar sounds really weird here. Like a British butler trying to imitate a woman.

Hhehehe, Goku calls Yamcha Lamb Chop. That’s funny both in the sense of meat and the sock puppet.

Anyway, Goku and Yamcha fight with Goku gaining the upperhand by extending his Power Pole (I really wish that’s the one thing that Funimation renamed later on, because practically every sentence including that thing sounds dirty) Yamcha loses his sword, but gets back up to hit Goku with a Wolf Fang Fist. And I gotta say the sound effect when he gets hit into the rock is hilarious. It’s like a parody.

Goku loses his Power Pole as well, but escapes the rubble to fight once more. That is until Bulma shows up which stops Yamcha in his tracks because Yamcha always loses his cool when confronted with a pretty girl.

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His daze causes him to fall off the ledge and he tells Puar about his problem while Puar tells him about his broken tooth due to the fall. Yamcha freaks out at this because he thinks it means he’ll never get a date and he runs off.

After the fight, Goku, Bulma, the girl, Penny (Who is named Penny in both the HG version and here, but her real name is Pansy….I can see why they changed it.) and Oolong eat some dinner at Bulma’s DynoHouse. Penny tells them that she’s on her way to see Master Roshi, whose name is unchanged in the HG version, so that he can help save their town from being destroyed by the military.

Penny explains that the king, King Gurumes, known in the HG dub as King Gourmeth, though the Wiki’s kinda confusing about which is right because I know I hear Gurumes, used to be kind and gentle before he started mining Blood Rubies and she believes that the rubies come with a terrible curse. She explains how he’s essentially ruined the town and the surrounding landscape to mine for Blood Rubies and there’s nothing anyone can do about it since it’s a town of farmers against an army. What’s even worse is that he’s collecting the Dragon Balls and when he collects all seven he’s going to make a terrible wish. Goku and Bulma then come to the realization that the King must’ve sent those thieves to Goku’s house and agree to help Penny find Master Roshi.

We cut to Yamcha listening outside who goes back to his hideout where he explains to Puar that he’s going to steal the Dragon Balls while the King and the others are preoccupied with each other. He also says that he’ll use the wish to get over his crippling shyness around women so that he can get a date.

By the way, I dunno if this is the dub or the original version’s fault, but this movie has some lame-ass transitions. Like imagine Star Wars transitions with bright fuzzy lines.

They get to Master Roshi’s house (Holy crap, that was quick. I mean, I know they have a speedboat but wow.) where they’re slightly confused over the fact that Master Roshi’s an old man with a goofy shirt and a turtle shell on his back. Master Roshi here, instead of being voiced by Mike McFarland is voiced by another Mike, Michael Donovan, whom you may know as, wow, a hell of a lot of ‘extras’….errr…..Maybe you know him as Suikotsu from Inuyasha or Sabretooth from X-men Evolution?

Master Roshi implies that the group is going to try to kill him for his shell, but Penny explains the real reason and Master Roshi yells back behind the house that they seem nice so Yamcha seems to be wrong about them.

Yamcha appears and tells them that they’re lying to try to trick him before Bulma, realizing Yamcha’s weakness, nuzzles up to him which makes him run off screaming.

In order to test if they are lying or not, Roshi calls the flying nimbus which won’t let anyone ride it unless they’re pure of heart. Goku passes the test with ‘flying’ colors.

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Bulma realizes that Roshi has a Dragon Ball and Roshi says he’ll give it to her. Hm? No need for her to flash her unmentionables? Maybe that was censored.

The soldiers are then seen spying on them and they discover that the group has the final two Dragon Balls, so they decide to bomb the crap out of Roshi’s island and send out something called ‘pickpocket missiles’ which are just little robots with grabber claws, to retrieve the balls. They manage to get one, but Oolong, yeah Oolong, saves the other one from being stolen. As the soldiers mount another attack we see that Roshi is pissed about being attacked, so he gets Master Roshi on their asses, buffs up and launches a Kamehameha wave at the incoming missiles to destroy them all.

Penny tells Roshi about her situation, but they’re interrupted when Goku tries to do a Kamehameha wave and succeeds on his first try to destroy a rock, which baffles everyone especially Roshi who claims it took him 50 years to learn it.

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Roshi tells Penny that he’s just an old hermit and Goku is way better suited to help her since he’s so OP. He also tells her that she has the power within herself to help her village and they leave.

Bulma and the other arrive at the palace, which has turned into a desolate wasteland, where they’re met with air attacks from the royal army. A fight ensues against the group in one of Bulma’s planes and Goku on his flying nimbus. While planes fight the group, one of the big bulky soldiers fights Goku while riding a flying disc and sporting a double-sided mace.

Bulma and the others get shot down and crash into a stone pillar, yet they’re all miraculously fine again.

Goku gains the upperhand by slicing his hoverboard thing in half which means Goku just attempted murder, but this is DB world so he’s fine. His mace turns out to be able to shoot out a chain which wraps around Goku’s neck as they both slam into the palace wall.

Yamcha is seen infiltrating the palace as well on his hoverbike thing and fights off soldiers. He gets to a room filled with blood rubies and grabs an armful before trying to escape the building. Wait, I thought he wanted the Dragon Balls to make his wish, not the blood rubies. Eh, whatever.

More soldiers are seen running down the hall, but they run at the sight of a horrible monster which turns out to be Oolong. They hear more steps and hide to let Oolong scare the guards, but Oolong is scared and screams at the sight of another monster before him who also screams at his sight, but it turns out to be Puar using the same technique as Oolong to protect Yamcha.

Gunfire bursts from the hall and hits Yamcha straight on to which Puar replies “Hope those rubies shielded him” which is a pointless line that ruins any modicum of tension for that scene. He kicks the gun out of the soldier’s hands and shows that indeed the rubies did block the bullets which I think is kinda BS but whatever.

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He knocks her goggles off to show that she’s actually a beautiful woman who shouldn’t have hair nearly that long while in an army. Her name is originally Pasta named to Aldevia in the HG dub and to Raven here; she’s been one of the two soldiers who have been harassing the group, the other being some bulky guy who is fighting Goku.

She throws numerous bombs at the group which causes a rock to nearly fall on Bulma, but Yamcha saves her, prompting her to cuddle him, making him scream.

Goku beats the bulky guy by……extending his pole…..which causes him to burst through into the throne room (or the THROWN room! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….ahhh. Yes….) At that same moment, the other group has broken into the throne room as well.

We see the King who is doubled over in pain, crying for the last Dragon Ball. His eye nearly explodes and he transforms into a big monster.

He and Goku fight and Goku uses his Kamehameha, but its surprisingly to no avail (so that means Roshi’s part was pointless?)

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However, Bulma realizes that the Dragon Balls are in his stomach, so she decides to throw the final one in his mouth to see what happens. The balls glow and Shenron emerges from the King’s stomach and mouth (I’m sure Shenron really appreciates that….)

Shenron actually has a pretty good voice here. It’s not nearly as booming as the final one, but it’s mysterious and unnerving. Shenron is called The Dragon God in the HG dub. Here, he’s voiced by Doug Parker as opposed to Christopher Sabat. You may know him from….uhh, The New Adventures of He-Man as Prince Adam and…..Vulcan from Zoids?

Shenron grows impatient as the group stays silent in his presence instead of making a wish. Before Bulma or Yamcha have a chance to make a wish, however, Penny asks is she can make her wish instead. She wishes that her village’s land was peaceful, beautiful and vibrant again forever. Shenron grants the wish, but says that there will never be true peace in the village as long as the rubies are beneath its land, so it removes the rubies and sucks them into the sky.

Shenron leaves and Goku watches his grandpa’s Dragon Ball shoot off across the sky. Penny thanks the dragon for granting her wish, but Bulma laments over losing her chance to wish for a boyfriend and Yamcha laments over losing his chance to wish for a girlfriend (I thought you wanted to wish for the ability to talk to girls without crippling shyness?) and Yamcha and Bulma put two and two together and look at each other as if to say “hey, why not?”

Gurumes emerges from the rubble…naked (he’s censored by the rocks) and says he feels better but he’s still hungry so Penny gives him an apple. The king tastes it a loves it, apparently never having had an apple before. Penny’s dad scolds him by saying that’s one of the many things he nearly wiped out in his tyranny and the King feels guilty.

Goku gives the coin back to Raven and says that he’ll have to start the search for his grandpa’s Dragon Ball all over again, calls the nimbus and flies away on it, ending the movie. Meaning that, indeed, Roshi’s part was completely pointless other than to obtain the final Dragon Ball.

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Art: The art and animation are basically on par with the start of the DB series. It’s no masterpiece, but I like Akira Toriyama’s art style and the animation isn’t that bad. That title card bit, though. Sorry, Funi.

Music: I like the OP, which shocked me, and the BG music. The ED is just a different version of the OP.

Voice acting: Despite it seeming odd for anyone who knows the show with a different dub, and the DB franchise has been dubbed tons of times, even in English numerous times, it may sound odd, but no one really sounds ‘wrong’ and the voices grow on you. The acting in itself is also pretty good. Roshi’s not as animated acting-wise as his final VA is, but since his part was moot, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Bottomline: Overall, this movie’s fine. I mean, despite being a Dragon Ball movie, there’s no real good fight scenes involved. And, hell, Bulma’s the one who actually saved the day since Goku’s Kamehameha failed. It also gives an alternate take on the start of the series which may irk purists. However, it’s still a fun ride and a good watch for DB fans. The story’s not great, in fact it’s kinda cliché barring the parts with Goku. We don’t get very attached to Penny as she doesn’t have much of a personality. She’s a strong, determined girl, yeah, but she’s not much else. Also, the king’s not much of a villain. Barring his political power and army, he himself is not a big threat, and he’s defeated really quickly.

Additional Information and notes:

DB Movie 1: Curse of the Blood Rubies was directed by Daisuke Nishio, who also directed Dragon Ball and DBZ. The screenplay was written by Toshiki Inoue who also wrote Ranma ½, Kiba and Death Note. The story itself was written by the creator of the DB universe, Akira Toriyama.

This movie was animated by Toei Animation, and English dubs of the movie have been distributed by Harmony Gold and Funimation, who currently owns basically all English DB licenses.

Runtime: 50 Minutes

Year: 1986

Recommended Audience: Well, no swears, no nudity, no sex, but there’s peeing, some violence, a weird eyeball scene, but that’s about it. 8+