SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 36: Shirogane’s Past – The Secret of the Mew Mews’ Birth

SSBS - TMM EP 36 TITLE

Plot: Ichigo chews Shirogane out for her transforming into a cat. These days, the transformations are happening more frequently and they’re being triggered by something as minor as a dog lick. She is frustrated because the increasing risk of transformation makes it more difficult for her to live her day to day life and date Aoyama. Shirogane offers no help, however, and tells her to leave the room so he can change.

As she waits for him so she can chew him out some more, Akasaka informs her that Shirogane left. Ichigo begrudgingly leaves and is suddenly kissed by an iguana that flew out of the hands of a young boy.

She rushes to kiss a nearby bird to turn back and heads to school. As she’s walking, the same kid with the iguana shows back up and the exact same thing happens again. She spots a dog walking by so she rushes off to kiss it, but is stopped by the dog’s massive and angry boyfriend. He identifies her as the weird cat who’s been going around kissing small animals and is enraged that she’d go after his girlfriend.

He’s about to attack her when Alto shows up and saves her. Then run off and he kisses her, turning her back into a person. Before Alto is able to walk away, Ichigo grabs him and decides she’ll treat him to a can of cat food before she heads to school.

Alto suddenly starts glowing and turns into Shirogane, revealing he also has cat transformation powers. Ichigo spends the rest of the day in a daze at this revelation, especially considering that he kissed her. Akasaka pulls her aside and decides to tell her the whole story of Ryou’s power.

Five years ago, Akasaka was working in America under the archaeologist, Dr. Shirogane – Ryou’s father. He was secretly investigating some technology of a previously unknown species after a significant find in some ancient ruins.

They seemed to be the remains of creatures who could create chimeras, and Dr. Shirogane lived in dread of his find because he believed they could still be a threat to humanity to this day.

Ryou was an incredibly intelligent boy. He had an IQ of 180 and desired to be a scientist like his father. However, he was also bullied quite frequently, and his mother would always gently tend to his wounds without judgment since he was never in the wrong.

Akasaka suggested that, since they’re in America, his father let Ryou skip to attend university, something that is impossible to do in Japan. Dr. Shirogane, who didn’t really want to let his son follow in his dangerous footsteps, agreed since it might be the best choice for his son’s future and happiness.

Later that night, Ryou and Akasaka were out driving back home when they heard an explosion. They arrived home only to find the entire building engulfed in flames. Ryou was restrained by Akasaka as they saw the chimera animal from the fossil that Dr. Shirogane had been investigating had somehow resurrected and attacked the lab. The chimera animal vanished and Ryou’s father and mother perished in the blaze.

After the fire had died down, Ryou and Akasaka stood in the ruins of his home. Ryou proclaimed that his father’s research was not lost – he remembered everything in his father’s research logs, and he swore to go to Japan to restart and finish the Mew Project.

Like he promised, they returned to Japan and completed the Mew Project after five years of rebuilding and research. In order to ensure that this power was safe to inject in the girls they planned to target, Ryou injected himself with it, entrusting Akasaka to the project should this experiment fail.

Akasaka reveals that this power, when injected into someone who does not have the proper gene type, merely turns the person into an animal. As expected, Ryou turns into a cat when the process is complete, and he is forever granted the ability to transform back and forth into a cat through will. However, the hitch is that he cannot stay in cat form for longer than ten minutes, otherwise he’ll remain a cat forever.

Shirogane, in private, of course, has always been protecting the girls since before he even knew them. And he is always telling Akasaka that he’ll protect them no matter what.

A tearful Ichigo expresses regret that she’s always said such nasty things to him without knowing his story or his true intentions and feelings. Ryou walks in and tells her to not worry since he got them all into this in the first place – it’s merely the right thing to do.

Ichigo says she feels sorry for Ryou, and he suddenly decides to kiss her and turn her into a cat as punishment for saying she feels sorry for him. Akasaka tries to kiss her to turn her back, but she freaks out. The other girls, who have been listening outside the door, collapse on the floor when Ryou leaves. Ichigo takes the opportunity to kiss Pudding to transform back.

She confronts Ryou in the hall saying she’ll never pity him, but now that she knows Ryou’s serious about this situation, she’ll always do her best.

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– This episode has a lot of Shirogane fanservice for a budget episode….wait, Shirogane’s backstory episode is a budget episode? What the hell?

– This is the second time Ichigo’s walked in on a half-naked Shirogane…

– Ichigo says that she never used to transform unless she was properly kissed, but now she’s turning into one when she’s licked by a dog….but a dog kiss is what turned her in the episode where she discovered this ability. I guess that was still a kiss-kiss, but still.

-….Alright, why the hell is there a kid running in the sidewalk holding up a massive iguana yelling ‘YAY! IGUANA!’?

– Wait, what the hell?! She can talk to birds now?! Sorry, Mint. Ichigo took your thunder – the thunder you only kinda have.….I guess I’ll file this under ‘all animals can talk to each other’ but Aoyama’s dog never talked to her in the last transformation episode – only other cats did.

– Why even bother asking if the bird is male or female if it didn’t matter to her?

SSBS - TMM EP 36 Screen1

– What the hell was the point of that entire segment? It’s not even really showing that Ichigo is transforming more easily because the iguana full-on kissed her – it’s just that the circumstances were ridiculously convoluted.

– It happened the exact same way A SECOND TIME!? Why does this complete braindead moron of a child keep running around yelling ‘Yay IGUANA!’ without looking where he’s going? He tripped in the exact same way at the exact spot with the exact force needed to send it flying onto Ichigo’s lips AGAIN! And, in spite of the transformation to cat form including a big pink light, this idiot kid again doesn’t see a thing.

This is some lazy writing meant to pad time and recycle animation. Seriously, most of the shots are from the last transformation scene only with the perspective reversed.

– She can understand dogs now! For god’s sake! I know it’s, probably, only when she’s transformed, but screw it. I’m calling this – she snaked the only two ‘extra’ powers the other girls had. Sorry, girls. Ichigo’s too special. Go back to being part of the wall.

SSBS - TMM EP 36 Screen2

– This has been happening so often to Ichigo that animals are going around talking about the strange cat who’s forcing kisses on small animals? (“Kissing maniac”, as Ryou puts it) Even if dog licks are also triggering it now, she shouldn’t be transforming at this frequency.

– I hate to side with the dog attacking Ichigo…but…she is a little bit of a serial animal molester right now.

– How did Ryou know she’d be in that alley or that she was being attacked? Does he have Blue Knight powers now? Funnily enough, even Ichigo draws this comparison.

– Wait, she de-transformed….and now she can’t understand Alto….the cat…who she should be able to understand….Did the writers completely forget the powers she has?

– Just out of curiosity, why does Ryou not transform with kisses?

– Did her bag transform with her?

– Give the show props – this is the first time we’ve gotten confirmation that chimera animals have killed people before. That’s definitely a proper jump in threat level.

SSBS - TMM EP 36 Screen3
Pretty intimidating design too.

– Why can only girls properly attain Mew power? Akasaka says you need a specific gene type to attain the power, which is fine, but he specifically said that girls were the main target for the power. Is it only girls who can have this gene? Why?

– Also doesn’t explain where the scarf came from.

– I get that they did extensive research on this stuff, but how do they know ten minutes is the time limit for Shirogane’s permanent transformation?

– God, Ichigo’s getting all sorts of game. Yet the girls can’t even get a love interest to save their lives.

– She clearly seems more comfortable kissing Pudding than she does Akasaka. I’m not sure what I’m implying, but there ya go.

SSBS - TMM EP 36 Screen4

– I love how the girls have been literally nothing but background decorations this whole episode. They didn’t even get a line. At most they got a few reaction noises. If Ichigo had just let Akasaka kiss her, I wouldn’t have even mentioned one of them in the synopsis. That final shot of them all in front of the cafe is even worse since Ichigo’s the only one who moves so it makes them all look like literal cardboard cutouts.

– I like how the next episode preview music is changed for the Christmas episode. It’s the music box song, and I love it.

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Overall, pretty bad first half, but great second half.

There were much better ways to show that Ichigo’s fed up with Ryou’s flippant attitude towards her Mew problems than to have a contrived ‘Ichigo keeps getting kissed by an iguana’ plot. Maybe, I dunno, show her on a date with Aoyama and needing to run away because he made her so flustered that she turned into a full-on cat.

Her transforming more often because the threshold for emotion keeps getting lower is much more believable than ‘dammit, I can’t go one day without something or someone kissing me….and it’s turning me into an animal molester!’

Ryou’s backstory was quite good and does up the ante with the whole situation with the aliens and the chimera animals. I don’t remember if we ever find out what happened to the chimera animal that killed Ryou’s parents nor what allowed it to resurrect, but that’s alright.

I kinda wish the backstory had been longer and went over the majority of the episode instead of being relegated to the second half. We would’ve been able to connect more with Ryou’s parents and feel more of his pain.

Also, despite being a budget episode, the animation wasn’t all that bad. I wish they didn’t default to the ‘insanely giant eyes – can barely see the lines for the nose and mouth’ style, though. Still wondering why such an important episode was a budget episode, too.

Next episode, CHRISTMAS IN SEPTEMBER!? WHOO!

Ichigo struggles with her feelings as she and Aoyama spend Christmas together. Can she continue to keep her Mew powers a secret? Should she?

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SSBS – Yu Yu Hakusho Episode 3: Kuwabara – A Promise Between Men

SSBS - YYH EP 3

Plot: Kuwabara and his friends save Keiko from a bunch of thugs, but their actions land them in trouble back at school. The bastard teacher Mr. Akashi is more than happy to lay out the punishment for them. The terms: No fighting for a whole week or else Okubo loses his part-time job privileges. Okubo desperately needs this job since his mother is too sick to work, his siblings are too young to work and his father’s not in the picture.

It seems like a doable task, even with Kuwabara willingly taking every beating that the many thugs who have a vendetta against him and his friends dole out. He even commands them to target him and only him so his friends won’t suffer.

Mr. Akashi suddenly adds another condition: Every boy in the group must earn at least 50 points on the upcoming physical science test. Most of the boys are confident that they can meet this challenge since their scores in the previous test weren’t too bad, but Kuwabara reveals that he got a measly seven points on his last test.

Desperate to help his friend, Kuwabara starts studying like never before. He’s hitting the books hard, but his many rivals in the area are hitting him even harder. Yusuke decides to try and help his friend by reaching him in a dream the night before the test. He helps him study while he sleeps, and he seems set for a passing grade the next morning.

More thugs try to jump him while he makes his way to the test. Yusuke is helpless to protect him until the boys accidentally knock out a schoolgirl that Yusuke is acquainted with. He possesses her and beats the hell out of the boys without Kuwabara even noticing.

Kuwabara’s test goes well, and he’s able to determine that he passed before he even got his grade by copying his answers and checking them after the test was over. He and his friends are ecstatic, but Mr. Akashi is devastated that his plan didn’t work. Mr. Iwamoto, his bastard partner in crime, helps him by erasing the last answer on the test, giving Kuwabara a failing grade.

When Kuwabara gets his grade, he’s furious, but he’s even more enraged when he notices that Mr. Akashi erased the final answer on his test. Fed up, Kuwabara attempts to hit Mr. Akashi, but Yusuke ‘stops’ him and tells him to not give up everything he just did for Okubo for the sake of beating an idiot teacher.

Kuwabara relents and walks away. Mr. Akashi looks on in satisfaction until Mr. Takanaka shows up and reveals he knows what Mr. Akashi and Iwamoto did to his test. He demands that he change the grade and honor the conditions that he set for Kuwabara and his friends.

Okubo and the others share the good news with Kuwabara as Yusuke and Botan watch them up in the sky. She reveals that Kuwabara couldn’t hear him or feel him back there, but he probably felt the communication of his intentions through Yusuke’s feelings.

Kuwabara looks up into the sky, seemingly sensing Yusuke’s feelings again, and thanks his lost buddy for his help.

——————————

Episodes like this are a shining example of why I love this show and these characters so much.

It also exemplifies why Kuwabara is a precious cupcake, protect him.

Every second of this episode, barring the enraging Mr. Akashi and Mr. Iwamoto, makes my little jaded heart flutter. Kuwabara and his friends protecting Keiko, Kuwabara and his friends fiercely sticking together as they get unfairly punished, them also sticking up for Okubo when he gets targeted, Kuwabara asking, without prompt, for the bullies to target him and only him with their beatings, Kuwabara taking the beatings without an ounce of retaliation, Kuwabara doing all of that hard work studying to get a good grade for Okuko to keep his job, Yusuke helping out Kuwabara several times in various ways, those little moments between Kuwabara and his friends at the end as well as his look to the sky to thank Yusuke and his smile back down at him – how can you not feel all warm and gooey?

When people ask me why this is my favorite fighting anime, I just think of episodes like this. Particularly this one, to be honest, because this is one of my absolute favorite episodes of YYH.

In addition to being a wonderful friendship episode, it’s also a perfect melding of the action aspect with the gentler moments. Yusuke beating the crap out of those jerks as an innocent schoolgirl is just golden. It sucks that the Toonami airing cut out him viciously kicking one of them over and over in the groin.

It’s also great how they perfectly mixed this episode as both a story that highlights the strength of Kuwabara’s friendship with his inner circle with his friendship with Yusuke. We barely even know anything about his other friends at this point either, yet you feel like you know them quite well in this episode.

We never got to focus much on the friendship aspect of Yusuke and Kuwabara’s relationship yet, so this was a great opportunity to show them as more than just rivals, and it gives a lot of backing behind Kuwabara’s outburst at Yusuke’s funeral.

I guess the only thing left to say about this episode is….

Fuck Mr. Akashi and Mr. Iwamoto.

Next time, Yusuke’s revival is getting closer and closer, but his reincarnation might be put in danger when his house catches fire. There’s no one in the house to save Yusuke’s barely living body, and it’s up to Keiko to save him. Can she get Yusuke’s body to safety or will she die trying?

SSBS – Saint Seiya Episode 2

SSBS - Saint Seiya Episode 2

Plot: Seiya has arrived in Japan right as the Galactic Tournament is starting up. The Galactic Tournament is a series of matches between those who have earned Bronze cloths for the sake of winning one of the 12 Golden Cloths. Seiya has absolutely no interest in joining, however. His one goal in coming to Japan and the tournament arena was to deliver the Pegasus cloth to a man named Mitsumasa Kido, who ran the tournament.

Six years ago, Kido separated Seiya from his sister after their parents died. He shipped him off to Greece and told him he could only return and be reunited with his sister once he acquired the Pegasus cloth. Now that he has done so, he wants to see his sister.

Saori Kido, Mitsumasa’s granddaughter and current runner of the tournament gives him terrible news. Not only is her grandfather dead, but Seiya’s sister went missing from the orphanage almost immediately after Seiya was shipped off to Greece. Saori was never told where she was, if her grandfather had anything to do with her disappearance.

However, she is very keen on getting Seiya to participate in the tournament, so she offers to lend her resources and money to him to find his sister should he win the tournament. He’s still not interested, even after also being pressured by the owner of the Unicorn cloth, Jabu, who used to know him in the orphanage.

He goes to the orphanage, known as The Foundation, for clues and meets with his old friend, Miho, who is currently helping care for the children there. She tells him that she also doesn’t know where his sister might be, but suggests that he try to get her to find him by fighting in the tournament. It’s a massively publicized event, and he has a good chance of having his sister find him if he participates.

Seiya agrees, thanks Miho and goes to join the tournament.

His first match is against the owner of the Bear cloth, Geki. The Bear Saint has massive power in his arms, and he boasts about killing hundreds of bears with his bare hands, no pun intended. He tries to strangle Seiya to death, and it seems he has him down for the count until Seiya remembers what Marin once told him when he was a child.

When fighting someone more powerful than you, find the main source of their strength and attack it. Since Geki’s strength is in his arms, he starts crushing the armor on his arms with his hands. He breaks free and uses a flurry of kicks too fast for the human eye to catch to destroy Geki’s cloth and knock him out of the fight.

Seiya’s next match is against Jabu. Who will win a battle of the horses?

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We’re getting slightly rushed with this episode because not only do we get thrown into the tournament and see our first match, but we also have to acquaint ourselves with backstory and several new characters.

I love tournament fighters, so I’m not really complaining about the latter, though I will mark something down on that in a minute, I’m moreso complaining about the former.

Seiya’s backstory is pretty good, but I won’t deny that it feels very rushed here. I feel like we needed a full episode to develop this firmly instead of having it crammed into the first part of this episode. The inclusion of Miho felt particularly rushed, especially considering she’s obviously being set up as Seiya’s love interest.

The tournament half was good, and it was nice to see Seiya struggle during his first match instead of flippantly blow his first opponent away just to show what a badass he is, which he did a few times in the start of the episode, but the manner in which he would achieve victory was a little too obvious from the beginning.

What imbecile tells his opponent where his true power lies in the middle of a fight? That’s almost as bad as telling someone where your weakness is. The instant he said ‘My true power lies in these arms’ I facepalmed and said to myself ‘well, now he knows what to attack, you idiot.’ If you manage to take away someone’s source of power, they’re helpless. Hubris, Geki. Hubris.

Then we get an almost insulting scene where Seiya flashes back to his studies under Marin, where she shares the aforementioned lesson. Since Seiya’s a child in this flashback, I wasn’t bothered that it was included, but I could feel my blood pressure increasing when they flashed back to Geki saying his true power lied in his arms, then again when they repeat Marin’s lesson, then again when Geki repeats what he said, then they do it again, and again, and again – we get it! Most people would’ve figured it out on their own without a single flashback, but apparently the writers and editor think we’re so dense that we can’t piece together such simple strategy.

I also found it stupid that Geki has such massive strength in his arms, but instead of ripping Seiya apart or incapacitating him and beating or crushing him to death in a few blows, Geki gives Seiya ample time to come up with a strategy as he slowly strangles him. He’s not even really aiming to strangle him – he wants to build up enough strength, incredibly slowly, to snap Seiya’s neck, which is something people without bear strength can do in a matter of seconds but Geki wants to savor it I guess.

Seiya breaks Geki’s cloth, so…does that mean the Bear cloth no longer exists?

It was an entertaining match for a little bit, but then the rest of the match is a prolonged strangling session until Seiya is able to break free and give his badass finale move – this time in kick flavor.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode, but it has a bunch of logic issues and the pacing needs work.

Next episode, we meet the Swan Saint and the tournament continues.

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 18

SSBS CFV Ep 18

Plot: They basically skip through every match until we get to the finals, then we break for lunch and that’s pretty much it.

Breakdown: This episode is a gigantic mess. It is, by far, the worst episode I’ve seen.

I’d like to apologize to anyone who read my last CFV review because I was wrong about the next episode. The preview made it seem like we’d see Goki and Kamui fight, at least in separate matches, but no.

First half, we rush through all of the remaining matches for the tournament so we can quickly get to Team Q4 vs. Team Handsome, which is kinda pointless because we don’t even get to see the start of that match in this episode.

I like tournaments because, even if they’re battling people who will obviously lose, it gives the writers the opportunity to get creative and introduce us to some interesting one-off characters. CFV doesn’t seem like they want to bother with this.

If you need more evidence, just look at the brief glimpses of the teams as they whiz by in the montage of defeat. If you thought Team Handsome was a stupid name, try Team Martial Arts, Team Chemistry Club or even Team Hot Noodles….And, yes, Team Martial arts is filled with martial artists (whose only saving grace is giving Q4 their dojo signs after they lose. That was a little funny.) Team Chemistry Club is, well, duh, and Team Hot Noodles…is a bunch of ramen cooks. How did these people even get here?

The only other team is Team Nadeshiko, who are alright in name, and their shtick is that they’re…super respectful and traditional?

Oh and yeah, people are still creaming their pants over Kai. Because that never gets old.

They also jam in the backstory of Kamui and Goki. Kamui was bullied as a kid because he was so small, but he saw Goki beat an adult at Vanguard and he was inspired by that, so Goki became a bit of a mentor to him, I suppose. Kamui wants to prove to Goki that he can fight on his own.

It’s….not a good backstory, if you ask me.

Beating an adult at a children’s card game is not akin to beating someone twice your size in a physical altercation. Besides, Goki is clearly a teenager here and he’s a pretty big muscular guy. He’s nearly as tall as the adult he’s battling, and he’s definitely bigger than the kid we see beat up Kamui.

The logic doesn’t click. It would’ve made more sense if Goki was younger and smaller like Kamui and he took down someone twice his size at Vanguard. It’s still not the same, but at least it would make more sense. Maybe it would show Kamui that he can come out on top in certain things despite his small stature.

But at least we got to see the origins of Goki’s bandanna…..That was something on your mind, wasn’t it?

Second half, lunch time. You heard me. They’re pulling this shit again. And, like last time, this part of the episode is filled with Kamui gushing over Emi, who arrives late to get some lunch to Aichi and his friends.

Ooh, but wait! There’s more! Remember, Nagisa, the human cheese grater for the ears, is here, so she’s also filling up this half of the episode with gushing over Kamui and getting in poor Emi’s face for ‘stealing her man.’ I am developing a massive pile of hatred for this little brat. I hope to God she just fades into the background more and more as time goes on, because I can’t stand much more of her.

Misaki arrives after lunch with no explanation as to where she’s been this entire time. They keep bringing up that Aichi ‘had’ to fight the first match of the tournament, even though, like Shin points out, the teams are the ones who choose the order of their participants, so Aichi never really had to fight at all other than to give him some screen time.

Dash your hopes for seeing her fight in this tournament, though, because she passes the baton to Aichi since he’s been doing so well…..Then why even show up at all?

Shin references Larry the Cable Guy by saying ‘Let’s get ‘er done!’………….That was a thing that happened.

So the finals st—nope. We have to interrupt our tournament for a random song number by the Ultra Rares – the pop group made up of the girls from the card shop PSY. The song’s not good, though they keep the Japanese version for it, which is nice, and it’s a completely unwelcome intrusion that’s accompanied by another unwelcome intrusion – a random unnecessary clip show to the episode in PSY so we can….remember who these girls are? I dunno.

Just when you finally think they’ll start the finals, you look at the time stamp and realize the episode is very nearly over. Kamui’s first up, itching to take on Goki when –

Goki’s not fighting! But wait! Who’s taking his—Nagisa….Nagisa’s fighting Kamui. And she’s added the stipulation that, should she win, she and Kamui will get married. She’s also wearing pink Vanguard Fight Gloves…of course she is.

Which means….next episode is chockful of Nagisa. The only thing I might find more enjoyable than that is shoving a swarm of angry wasps into my eye socket.

Oh and since this is the last round of the regional qualifiers and I can’t see Kai the VanGod losing his match, I assume Kamui must lose his match in order to have Aichi be the crux match in the finals. I care so little about this next match that I’m going to cheat and peek at the end of the next episode.

Yup, he friggin’ loses. Which also means Nagisa will never shut up about the marriage thing, right? Let me cheat again! To the Wiki!

Yup, even after a time skip, she’s still trying to force him into marriage. Lovely.

I’m going to take a break on this series for a little bit since…I just really don’t want to watch the next episode right now. The show’s not falling to pieces or anything, but this episode is so sloppily done I’m almost angry at it. Not to mention, I need to charge up if I’m going to watch an entire episode centered on Nagisa.

For now, I’ll switch to Tokyo Mew Mew for my regular updates.

Rating: 2/10

Next episode, Nagisa gets locked in a box and never appears in the series again so Twix can refrain from ripping the screen off of her laptop.

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 17

SSBS CFV EP 17

Plot: Aichi’s match is coming to a close. Can he utilize his newest units to get a win against Team Black Magic? Afterward, it’s Kai’s turn to see if he can put one in the win column.

Breakdown: Aichi’s match was intense, but, I won’t lie, I felt a little bit like the match was won due to the ‘heart of the cards’ luck. Even Shin said he likely wouldn’t have won had he not drawn a critical trigger. It’s a bit annoying how draw luck is such a deeply integrated part of this game, but I guess, technically, that’s a part of any card game.

He utilized his new units well, and it’s clear that Aichi is improving his strategies every day. Also, it’s a bit surreal to hear them talk about expansion packs. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a TCG based anime talk about that stuff. I’ve heard booster packs but not expansion packs.

It’s so pointless to watch Kai’s matches now that this is yet another of his matches that they opt to completely skip over. They hype it up like ‘Wow, they both use the same kind of decks. This will be intense!’ Then they skip to the final turn where Kai completely thrashes the opponent without batting an eyelash. It’s getting old…

And even though we only catch the final turn, he still draws two critical triggers. Is his deck loaded with them or something? Then everyone, not just Aichi, gushes over him. It’s irritating that so many people are such massive fanboys for a guy as douchey as Kai. He cracks a smile during Aichi’s match, but he’s still a cocky douche.

Because they won two matches in a row, Kamui becomes devastated that he’s unable to fight. He’s completely shocked that this is a rule…..but I’m confused as to why. Kamui either has first-hand experience fighting in tournaments or he’s watched a lot of them, yet he’s surprised that he’s not allowed to fight when they’ve won 2/3 matches already.

Team Black Magic is revealed to be a bunch of pretty boys, but they’re really nice and respectful. Also, they somehow all have surnames that start with ‘Kuro’ (Black) How they managed that, I don’t know, but I hope they come back in the future.

Rating: 7/10

Next episode, Kamui is finally able to fight and we see Goki in battle again.

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 16

SSBS CFV EP 16

Plot: Aichi, Kai and Kamui, dubbed team quadrifoglio for four leaf clover, prep to go to regionals, but Misaki is mysteriously missing. Shin explains that Misaki had something to do and that she’d meet them later that afternoon at the arena. Problem is, their first match is in the morning. Don’t worry, though. That’s what alternates are for. Right, Aichi?

Their first match is against the ‘mysterious’ team Black Magic, who all wear black cloaks and try to act dramatic and imposing. It’s Aichi vs. Kurosawa in the first round, and Kurosawa uses a deck very similar to Kai’s. This fact along with the pressure of the tournament start to get to Aichi. Will he be able to pull out a win, or will Team Q4 start off the tournament 0-1?

Breakdown: Whoo yeah, regionals! Whoo yeah, trope subversions!

While the first half of the episode is largely establishing specifics of the tournament as well as revealing who of the known characters happen to be there (it’s damn near everyone – including Nagisa, who is still a bratty bitch), the second half starts off the action of the tournament. It was to be expected that Misaki would go missing purely for the sake of forcing Aichi to cardfight right out the gate. I thought Misaki would be treated as the alternate, but apparently Aichi is.

Team Black Magic is a bit of a parody of those super mysterious cloaked teams that lots of gaming and tournament fighters tend to have. They try to act imposing and dark, but they’re obviously a bunch of goofballs in cloaks. I found them to be pretty funny, and I actually like that Morikawa is slowly starting to believe they’re real wizards for no reason after he heckled them.

They’re not to be shooed aside, either, because they are very skilled Vanguard players.

The match isn’t all that fantastic so far, except the cliffhanger is pretty good considering Alfred isn’t at full power and Aichi had to sacrifice all of his cards to get him to the level he’s at now, which means he’s completely without guards.

Also, you really don’t know if Aichi will win this match because this is a team tournament. If Aichi loses, it doesn’t matter much because it’s best of three. Meaning, he could very well lose.

This tournament utilizes the Motion Figure System we were introduced to before at the card shop, PSY, meaning we’re now jumping headfirst into the hologram fights. And this time there are two major differences.

First, the holograms on the Motion Figure System at PSY were very small, like game pieces. The fighters lorded over the arena like gods in the sky. Here, the holograms consume the entire play field. All of the monsters are monster-sized and the fighters themselves take the spot of the Vanguard. Also, all of the cards are shown in the hologram when played. The only times we ever really see the fighters full-out anymore is when we see them drawing triggers, and even that’s not consistent.

Second…..they get some sort of special (albeit cool-looking) gloves called Vanguard Fight Gloves. According to Shin, they all bear a crystal that comes from the planet Cray…..*cough* So are these kids meant to be really gullible or is Cray meant to be a real place in this series? Because you guys may have just bitchslapped me away from my views of ‘wow, this series is really realistic.’

The gloves enhance the fighter’s experience in battle by allowing the Vanguard to track their movements and mimic them, making it seem like they’re actually leading the battle as their avatars instead of it all just being in their imaginations.

I would think a full-body tracker suit would be needed for this, but whatever.

I’m….not sure how cool I am with this. Like I always thought with Yugioh, this would be really awesome if it were a real thing, but I am more partial to them just imagining the battlefields. In a weird way, you’re both adding to and taking away from the experience by making these holograms.

The movements are no longer what you imagine them to be – they’re being imposed on you. It’s like how people are never happy with book adaptations because the TV show or movie isn’t matching what they imagined it was like. Each person has their own internal view on how things look, and if the vision is imposed on you, it makes you feel slightly disconnected.

At the very least, these holograms still aren’t as ridiculous as Yugioh holograms are, like when they induce pain or are seemingly so real you can stand on them.

….Or maybe not.

In the manga, from what the Wiki states, the gloves cause pain to the user whenever they take damage. Though they seem to only be used in conjunction with special systems and an antagonist team called Foo Fighter. Still, though.

Like I mentioned some episodes ago, the realness of the show made audience members connect with it better, too, because those overblown shounen gaming anime made you feel disappointed whenever you played the real thing and it wasn’t nearly as fun or exciting. Maybe that view is silly, though, I dunno.

…..I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a pair, though. I don’t care if I don’t have any Vanguard cards – those are cool gloves.

Rating: 7/10

Next time, the match between Kurosawa and Aichi concludes. Can Aichi and his paladins pull off a victory?

Final note: Apparently, fighters aren’t allowed into nationals unless they have a pair of these gloves…..I worry for a future ‘oh god, we can’t enter the tournament because we don’t have some superfluous item we’ll inevitably find or replace’ episode. I hate to keep making comparisons to Yugioh, but they did this, like, twice.

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 15

SSBS CFV EP 15

Plot: Emi decides she wants to try her hand at playing Vanguard, so Shin suggests having a practice cardfight with one of Aichi’s friends. Morikawa leaps at the chance to ‘teach’ her, really just itching to finally take down someone with his beloved grade threes. Misaki loans Emi her deck to get her started and the match begins. Can Emi’s first match be her first victory?

Breakdown:

Last episode review: “Can Morikawa manage to defeat a little girl on her first match?….That’s a serious question.”

The answer is no, no he can’t.

And thank god. It might be hard to believe a little girl who barely knows anything about Vanguard to win her first match, but it’s even more unbelievable for Morikawa to win any match period.

At least I can take solace in the fact that everyone else is as exasperated with Morikawa’s antics as I am. Seriously, he straight up throws away a grade zero unit just so he can litter his side of the field with grade threes. That doesn’t sound so bad until you learn the main reason he loves grade threes so much – their twin drive. However, as Kamui points out, only those in the Vanguard circle, of which there is only one, can use twin drive, so it’s entirely pointless. And his throwing away that unit made it so he couldn’t use the drive trigger for his actual Vanguard anyway.

I’m learning this game as I go along too. I’m only slightly more knowledgeable about it than Emi is, and even I’m rolling my eyes at Morikawa whenever he plays. How many times does he have to have that ‘OH MY GOD, I HAVE NO GRADE ONE OR TWOS’ moment before he finally gets the hint that his deck is horribly unbalanced? And even when he gets grade zeroes, ones and twos on his first draw, he opts to discard and redraw so he can get more grade threes. He is ridiculous.

Morikawa aside, we finally get to see Emi take the stage, and she is just a peach. Her imaginary version of Cray is a pretty field with butterflies and a bunch of moons and flower petals. She chooses monsters based on how cute they are and literally throws herself onto the game table when Morikawa attacks because she doesn’t want her units to get hurt and doesn’t want to guard with a unit in her hand for the same reason. It’s silly and adorable and I love her to death.

Emi’s not an idiot, either. While Kamui, Shin, Aichi and even, sometimes, Morikawa give her information and advice from the sidelines, Emi is able to work through the basics of what she needs to do rather easily since she’s seen Aichi and the others cardfight a few times at this point. She even catches Morikawa in a technicality that no one else caught – the aforementioned problem that his Vanguard had in using a drive trigger. He wasn’t allowed to use the trigger unless there was a unit of the same clan on the field, and the only one he had of that clan was a grade zero he threw away for the sake of summoning another grade three.

Morikawa’s not all that irritating through most of the match, in spite of his incessant stupidity. He actually does seem like he’s just pumping up his ego but is still kinda teaching Emi when the theatrics stop. Nearly every turn is him being a grade three fanboy while everyone groans at his antics and Emi just stares at him confused. However, once he gets a few damage, he starts mocking Emi and that’s when he gets irritating. Dude, it’s a little girl on her first Vanguard match. Get a clue.

At least Emi doesn’t pay his mocking a single mind. She just keeps being confused at him or ignores it.

The match was pretty entertaining for a first-time match with Morikawa. It was nice to see Emi throw her hat into the ring, and I loved watching her play. Not only did she seem to be having fun, but Aichi fondly watching his little sister get into the game he’s grown to love while giving her advice was too cute.

Even Kamui was pretty cool in this episode. He is obviously trying to wedge his way into becoming Emi’s Vanguard teacher to be closer to her, but he’s also legitimately giving her the rules and information about the game as a fellow player.

This episode was a strong example of the great dynamic the whole main cast has. Even Kamui’s friends played off of the story well and had some funny reactions. I love when all of the characters click so well together, even if Morikawa gets annoying. Plus, it was a nice refresher episode for those still trying to get the rules of the game down pat. I even learned a few new things.

I hope we see Emi build a deck of her own and play more in the future.

Rating: 8.5/10

Next time, the regional qualifiers are here. The Card Capital representatives make their way to the arena, but Shin and Misaki are mysteriously absent.

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 14

SSBS CFV EP 14

Plot: Kamui (begrudgingly) takes Aichi to a card shop called Card Shop Handsome to meet some national-level players and train for the regional qualifiers. Kamui introduces Aichi to Goki, leader of Team Handsome, the players who represented Card Shop Handsome in nationals last year.

Goki’s little sister, Nagisa, has a huge crush on Kamui and is constantly calling him her boyfriend and jumping all over him even though Kamui doesn’t return her feelings at all and explicitly states that he loves Aichi’s sister, Emi. Hearing this declaration, Goki defends his sister’s love by challenging Aichi to a cardfight. Utilizing a Granblue deck of zombie pirates, can Aichi find a way to win?

Breakdown: I wasn’t all that much into this episode. It was alright, but I just didn’t get into it very much. Goki and Team Handsome aren’t that interesting so far (and one of them has the annoying habit of saying ‘KABOOMY!’ for no reason) and the Granblue deck didn’t live up to the buildup, which is a shame on many fronts. I love zombies, I love pirates – why is a zombie pirate deck not that intriguing to me? Especially when it’s a little OP as well. Aichi didn’t get thrashed or anything, but Goki was never once even considering sweating.

Aichi is thinking even more methodically but yet another failed ‘heart of the cards’ instance screwed him over. Yeah, Aichi lost again, and his reaction was actually quite the typical ‘I’m gonna be stronger, like him. No, better than him!’ which kinda surprised me a bit.

Nagisa is also incredibly annoying. I may rag on Kamui for his crush on Emi sometimes, but at least he’s kinda cute about it. Nagisa is 35 pounds of irritating brat. She consciously doesn’t listen to anything Kamui says about not wanting to be her boyfriend or being in love with someone else, and she latches onto him like a leech. Not to mention that one line about tying him up to prevent him from running away. Someone’s going to get restraining orders as an adult.

While I didn’t downright hate or even deeply dislike anything in this episode, I didn’t really like it much. Even the match wasn’t all that great.

Rating: 4/10

Next time, Emi decides to throw her hat into the Cardfighting ring. Her first opponent is Morikawa. Can Morikawa manage to defeat a little girl on her first match?….That’s a serious question.

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 13

SSBS CFV EP 13

Plot: The Card Capital Tournament is coming to a close. Kai has defeated Misaki, and now it’s down to Kamui and Aichi’s last few turns to decide who gets to have a rematch with Kai. When the victor is chosen, will Kai fall in the finals or will his ego remain unscathed?

Breakdown: Holy shit…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aichi lost.

 

 

 

 

 

To Kamui.

I honestly wasn’t expecting that at all. The way they were building it up, I thought for sure he’d make it to the finals and then get trounced by Kai to get a personal lesson delivered by Mr. Ego himself, but nope. Kamui took Aichi down.

He did it in a spectacular way, I might add. That is definitely my favorite match so far. Aichi went down fighting like friggin’ champ, but that Soul Blast of Kamui’s was too much for the poor guy. The fact that he was strategically building that up for so long was impressive to say the least. Kamui is a very strategic player, and it’s fascinating to watch him play sometimes.

This is the first time we really see Aichi upset about losing. After each defeat, Aichi tends to just be happy playing the game, learning and making friends. This time is different since it meant he lost his chance to have a rematch with Kai, which was what he was looking forward to the entire time. He also took it as proof that he really wasn’t strong enough to take Kai on again, which I think is something he needed to learn. Though, I think he’d just be happy fighting Kai again, win or lose.

Aichi is down for a while, but his friends pick him back up and he enjoys the tail end of the finals, admiring it as being a match currently beyond his level, but hoping he can one day roll with the big dogs.

Speaking of the finals, that was something I was concerned about before I even watched the episode. The next episode preview showed the title of the episode and it’s “Shop Tournament Champion Crowned!” Why is that a problem?

Let me ask you, doesn’t it sound like Aichi and Kamui’s match takes up quite a bit of time?

It does. More than half the episode.

How could they crown the champ in the piddly amount of time they have left?

Simple. They amputate 99% of the match and only show their last turns.

Love. Ly.

Yeah, we’ve just been watching this tournament for like four episodes now. Why would we want to see the main event? If Aichi’s not battling, who cares, right? Not like Kamui’s totally awesome to me lately or anything. PBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!

That is the one mar of this otherwise incredible episode. You can dedicate one more episode to the final match. Time management is key, guys. Be better.

Other than that, we get some insight into Misaki’s role in this tournament. We finally learn why she joined the tournament to begin with (Shin forced her) and we clearly see that she was drastically affected by her loss at the hands of Kai and has gained a better appreciation, if not passion, for the game in its entirety. I like that they actually bothered to include this as some subtle character development, and I look forward to Misaki’s matches in the future.

But wait, there’s more!

Shin reveals that this whole tournament was designed as a selection process for the upcoming Vanguard national tournament, because of course it was. I’ll give it a pass because they started with a small tournament first before chucking the characters into a national tournament.

Everyone who made it to the semi-finals gets to represent Card Capital in the national tournament after they pass a regional qualifier, meaning they’ll all be teammates. Whoo!

If I can say one last thing, someone please knock Kai down a peg. Between his beating Misaki and Kamui without so much as thinking about sweating, I feel like his ego won’t fit in the stadium during the tournament.

Kamui’s still doing his dumb joke shtick, but that’s fine because this episode was pretty awesome…barring the finals (seriously, one more episode, guys. Just one. Half of one, even.) I’m looking forward to what the next tournament has to offer.

Rating: 8/10

Next episode, Aichi needs to prep for the upcoming tournament.

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 12

SSBS CFV EP12

Plot: It’s the Card Capital Tournament semi-finals! Aichi is facing off against Kamui while Misaki faces off against Kai. Aichi’s definitely holding his own a lot better than he was the last time he fought against Kamui, but can he manage to pull off a win?

Breakdown: This episode focuses almost entirely on the match between Kamui and Aichi because, let’s be honest, Misaki is just not going to win her match. We all knew this the instant the lots were drawn. She’s inexperienced and Kai’s a ruthless powerhouse. I was impressed by her strategic thinking in the short bit of the match we were able to see, but of course she loses.

Aichi’s match against Kamui definitely shows how much Aichi has grown, learned and improved as a Vanguard fighter. He was getting absolutely mauled by Kamui last time and now they’re neck and neck. And it’s not just because he has Grade 3’s now, either. In fact, most of his best moves have come from his Grade 1’s and 2’s, proving that it’s more about having balance and knowing your cards well than it is about having powerful cards. It’s a fantastic fight, and I’m really starting to love watching Kamui battle.

There isn’t really much to say about this match besides that because this is our second cliffhanger. Their match was getting right down to the wire when they were interrupted by Kai finishing off Misaki. I was about to ding Aichi for yet again losing focus in his match just to focus on Kai (Seriously, dude, TCG etiquette), but Kamui was doing the same and this is a major match ending so I’ll let it slide.

Other than that, we have another nice added tidbit of realism in Morikawa and Izaki running around the Vanguard tables acting like idiots and Shin needing to tell them to stop their horsing around. This is a room filled with kids in what is essentially a toy store. Of course that is bound to happen. I’m not even mad that the scene was completely pointless because it just peppers in that feeling of realism and nostalgia.

Also, we get this exchange during that scene.

Taishi: “Word of advice – You’re never going to get a girlfriend acting like that.”

Morikawa: “Whatever, man. I’ve got Vanguard – the best girlfriend ever.” My stomach hurts from laughter at this line. Morikawa is starting to be less annoying to me because he gets such ridiculously funny (and stupid) lines.

Next time, the match between Kamui and Aichi concludes. Who will win? And who will face off against Kai?