AniManga Clash! Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 2

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Chapter 9: The Momentary Resurrection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 10: Forbidden Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 11-12 A Broken Friendship/Demonic Hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 17: The Golden Awakening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winner: Anime


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Episode 8: The Dream Gazing Trap Review (Spoilers!)

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Plot: Towa, Setsuna and Moroha pursue the four-eyed owl demon, Yotsume, who is fleeing back to Kyuki in a panic. She instructs him to use the power of her rainbow pearl in conjunction with his dream gazing ability to discover the weaknesses of the half-demon princesses.

He does just that, downing Moroha, Towa and Takechiyo, but Setsuna is immune because of her inability to sleep and dream. As Setsuna battles Yotsume, the other three dream about memories buried deep in their minds, revealing some mysterious events from their past.

Setsuna manages to defeat Yotsume on her own, allowing the others to wake from their slumber.

However, Kyuki has obtained the memories revealed in the dreams via the rainbow pearl. Now she must face the half-demon princesses herself.

Kyuki’s rainbow pearl possesses the ability to absorb demon power, which makes all of their attacks useless. Since they were hit with the dream gazing attack, which absorbed their demon power, Towa can’t call her sword and Moroha can’t become Beniyasha. Only Setsuna is left to fight, but she’s fairly powerless either way since she relies on demonic attacks.

Moroha reminds Towa that she possesses a similar ability to Kyuki’s. If she can absorb Kyuki’s demon energy, she can get some of hers back. Towa allows herself to get hit by Kyuki, which does indeed rejuvenate some of her demon energy and allows her to call her sword. She attacks the pearl directly, but it’s no use. She didn’t have enough resolve in her swing to actually cut the pearl out.

Setsuna saves Towa from another blow, but she ends up getting knocked unconscious as a result. Seeing her sister injured while trying to save her again angers Towa to the point where she can generate her sword and use what we now know is Sesshomaru’s Azure Dragon Wave. The wave fells Kyuki and knocks the rainbow pearl out of her grasp.

Riku, who has revealed himself as an incredibly powerful being who actually commanded Jyubei to send the girls out to defeat all of the Perils, finishes off Kyuki incredibly easily and obtains her pearl.

For their troubles, the girls earn a bag of gold from Takechiyo, delighting Moroha.

Two Perils down, two to go.

Breakdown: Twix getting to the most current episode of Yashahime before the next one drops? It’s a Thanksgiving miracle.

So, wow, there is a LOT to cover in this episode. Like…a lot a lot. Let’s get started with a good ol’ fashioned breakdown.

– Riku’s actually some insanely powerful being who is a very important ‘client’ of Jyubei’s to the point where Jyubei and Takechiyo are subservient to him. Let me tell you straight out a line which kinda damages most of the current plot. Jyubei asks why Riku is sending the girls to kill the Perils if he can do it easily. And Riku flippantly says that he hates the Perils – he only kills those he loves.

It’s very unclear whether Riku’s actually a good or bad guy right now, but…he wants the Perils dead…can ‘easily’ defeat the Four Perils, and he won’t – for a very stupid reason. Okie dokie…

It downplays the power of the Perils as a whole, which makes their defeats at the hands of the girls seem less impressive. This is highlighted later when Towa defeats Kyuki and Riku says it was a ‘half-assed Azure Dragon Wave’ that took her out.

It’s disheartening to have one of Towa’s biggest moments in battle so far be farted on like that. ‘Pfft, weakling Peril defeated by weak attack. Pfft.’

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Oh and, yeah, he said he doesn’t kill those he hates, only those he loves, yet uhm, wait, who delivered the killing blow again? *checks notes* Ah, yes, Riku….He even told Kyuki that he hated the Perils as he killed her. Contradictory character, you are.

– Speaking of Kyuki, let’s talk about her quick defeat, shall we?

But before I go off, a positive note to help balance things out. Ahem. I really like Kyuki’s design both in her false form and her true form. They are pretty cool designs. And now back my grumpy criticisms.

Kyuki is a peril that has been built up for a few episodes, and she’s the first enemy that the girls properly face now that we’ve caught up with the first episode’s initial scene, yet she’s defeated and killed in HALF AN EPISODE.

HALF.

Don’t even get me started on how stupid the entire battle itself was. Kyuki’s ability to absorb demon energy is a good threat, but absolutely nothing about the actual battle makes a lick of sense.

First of all, the fact that she obtained their dreams? Had absolutely no bearing on the battle. They don’t even bring it up after she faces them. She didn’t learn of any weaknesses they had, which was the intention, yet she acted as if her getting the dreams from the pearl was to her benefit.

Second, hoo yeah, it is a BIG problem that Kyuki can absorb demon energy, making all of their demonic attacks useless. Sure is a shame none of them has spiritual abilities and sacred arrows which are the polar opposite of demon powers and are, in fact, meant to purify demon energy. Sure is a good thing they didn’t remind us that anyone in the group had these abilities in the first part of the episode by having that certain someone use those abilities against Yotsume and nearly defeat him that way.

Third, does Setsuna, this trained demon slayer, not have any abilities for slaying demons outside of her own demonic powers? Why does she keep using her demonic abilities when she knows they’ll just be absorbed? It makes her look really stupid. She could have used that opening to cut out the pearl herself with her naginata. That’s just a traditional weapon.

Fourth, the way Towa resolves this makes even less sense. Moroha’s like “Hey, remember, Myoga said you have a similar ability to absorb demon energy.” And then she frickin’ Iron-Reaver’s Towa in the chest to make this point! I was flabbergasted. Although, points for giving me a chance to use the word ‘flabbergasted.’

Towa absorbed demon energy through her sword last time. There was never any occasion where getting hit by demon energy allowed her to absorb it into her body, yet somehow Moroha was so confident that she could do this that she nearly maimed her friend to test it out.

The Iron-Reaver not only doesn’t hurt Towa, but it doesn’t even rip her clothes. This isn’t the first time this has happened – Inuyasha also Iron-Reaver’d Miroku in Movie 02 and didn’t rip his clothes – but why? All the Iron-Reaver does is leave a big purple claw mark on Towa’s chest to show that she actually absorbed the demon energy.

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Took the words right out of my mouth, Towa.

…Hold the phone. Now Towa can absorb demon energy through her body via attacks…..Why has that ability not been shown until now? Wouldn’t every demon attack she’s taken so far just leave a mark on her instead of actually hurt her? It’s not as if Towa did anything to prepare for this, either. Moroha just swiped her out of nowhere.

Moroha says Towa can absorb any demon attack as long as she can withstand it. If she can’t, she’d end up getting killed.

Towa heads out to challenge Kyuki, but Kyuki swipes at her with her paw, leaving a claw mark on Towa’s chest. Even though that wasn’t a demonic energy attack (it was literally just her pawing Towa) it still allows Towa to absorb Kyuki’s demonic energy and get her sword back.

This shouldn’t matter because it’s a sword made of demon energy, meaning Kyuki would just absorb it again. It would an absorb-off.

Towa attacks the pearl directly, trying to pop it out of Kyuki’s mouth, but she fails because she doesn’t have enough resolve to succeed. After Setsuna pushes Towa out of the way of another attack, Setsuna winds up unconscious. Towa is devastated because her weakness got Setsuna hurt again, just like it did ten years ago. Channeling her inner shounen protagonist, this allows her to get a massive increase in power, which allows her to do the Azure Dragon Wave, which, from the way Riku was talking earlier, I thought might be different than the other dragon attack she had before, but it’s not….So they’re making a big to-do about her using an ability she already had?

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Who cares anyway? It’s a demon-energy based attack, right? So, logically, Kyuki would just absorb the power and—whoops, she’s defeated by it.

….So uh…this was the demon who wanted to usurp Kirinmaru, eh? Either the girls, Towa specifically, are way too OP or these Perils are weaker than a newborn baby made of feathers.

Riku kills Kyuki by simply tapping his earring, which I still believe is probably another rainbow pearl, and she just fades into dust. Could he have killed her that easily this whole time?

– It’s confirmed that there are seven rainbow pearls, which means someone didn’t learn their rainbow colors. Silver is not a rainbow color. Maybe gold can pass for yellow or orange, but you ain’t getting a pass for silver. Moriah Elizabeth would be ashamed.

– Riku made off with Kyuki’s rainbow pearl and no one noticed, cared or mentioned it. The girls just completely forget that Kyuki had a rainbow pearl. And they forget this even before she’s killed. I don’t even think they noticed that Riku killed her. They’re literally about 20 feet away and not taking notice of anything Riku’s doing.

Speaking of being oblivious airheads, Towa happily greets Riku as if he’s an old friend and not a guy who just framed her for stealing a valuable sword from a powerful shogun lord and nearly got her killed.

And that’s the end of the episode. The battle may have been a jumbled nonsensical mess, but—Oh wait. You probably want me to talk about the dreams. That is mostly likely the main reason you clicked on this post in the first place.

Ladies and gentlemen, the dreams~~~

– Moroha, Towa and Takechiyo all get hit with Yotsume’s dream gazing ability. Moroha and Takechiyo’s dreams get mixed up because Setsuna used her cyclone ability near them. I don’t know why or how either. I guess so neither Takechiyo nor Moroha would properly remember the events of their dreams for some reason?

Moroha has Takechiyo’s dream. In it, he’s being ‘given’ to Jyubei as a servant by Miroku, which leads me to believe Takechiyo is indeed Hachiemon’s kid. Is this another case of a kid of one of the original characters not remembering where they came from or who their parents are and/or their parent is dead/trapped somewhere?

Still wondering why Sango’s been missing entirely too. This is another instance where Miroku is seen, but not Sango. Getting increasingly concerned.

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Why is Miroku giving Takechiyo to Jyubei as a servant? Dunno. What connection does either of them have to Jyubei? Dunno. All I know is that Jyubei, at this point, calls Takechiyo a ‘young lord’ and Hachiemon is an ‘elder’ who is connected to Takechiyo. Also, he says he can’t treat Takechiyo the way he was treated before, he needs to be put to work, for some reason, implying that he was treated rather well, perhaps like royalty. What exactly did Hachiemon get into after the series ended that made him so important?

Miroku, by the way, still has his face obscured by his hat for some reason, and they’re not even allowing him to talk. He’s communicating purely through head nods in this flashback. Why? I can’t think of any reason why they’re doing this. He does still possess the ability to talk – he spoke to Setsuna, even though we didn’t see or hear it – so why? It’s always really awkward when shows try to mask cameos of old beloved characters by making sure they just barely have a presence by obscuring their appearances and not letting them talk. Especially Miroku of all people. Miroku practically had a silver tongue. There’s no reason he’d be communicating purely through nods.

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Baby Morohaaaaaa!!~~~

Takechiyo has Moroha’s dream, which is the one everyone’s been waiting for. In this dream, Sesshomaru and Kirinmaru are together for some reason and they’re seemingly facing off against Inuyasha and Kagome.

Just to drive the weirdness of the obscure cameos even further, Sesshomaru is cloaked in shadow and doesn’t talk….but Inuyasha and Kagome are shown fully and audibly speak.

Kagome cradles a baby Moroha and gives her Inuyasha’s mother’s rouge. She tells her that she and Inuyasha agreed that, if they had a girl, they’d give that to her. (Well, that’s sexist. This series has proven men can have some mad makeup game.) That’s real sweet, but I still can’t stop thinking about the Kikyo aspect of that whole thing.

Kagome then tearfully hands Moroha off to Hachiemon, telling him to take care of her before she and Inuyasha, presumably, follow Sesshomaru and Kirinmaru into a temple for some reason. Their ultimate fates are never shown. I don’t really know how Moroha’s remembering this, considering she was a baby at the time, but at least we have a little more information on what happened to Inuyasha and Kagome. Doesn’t really alleviate any concerns that they died or anything, though. Does this mean that Moroha was raised by Hachiemon?

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This also might confirm that Inuyasha didn’t give his robe of the fire rat to her, so where did she get it if that’s indeed what she’s wearing?

Towa’s dream is about Setsuna’s ability to sleep being stolen by the Dream Butterfly. In an interesting development, we see the Dream Butterfly flying to the Tree of Ages, who is the one in control of the butterfly, and sprinkling what it absorbed from Setsuna onto a sleeping Rin. This seems to imply that there’s a connection between the two conditions and, possibly, if they kill the Dream Butterfly, Rin might wake up too, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s not that simple.

This dream really confuses me because there’s no rhyme or reason why Towa is seeing this. She wasn’t there to witness Setsuna getting attacked by the Dream Butterfly, and there’s absolutely no way she knows of Rin’s current state or that the Dream Butterfly is connected to Rin. The only way I can think of this working is if she’s psychically connected with Setsuna, which is possible (there is that belief that twins are physically linked and whatnot) but even Setsuna wouldn’t know about Rin…..would she?

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In the end, none of them even talk about the events of the dreams, which is rather frustrating because I keep feeling like they’re purposefully stalling as much as humanly possible to avoid actually developing the backstories of the girls and what happened to the original cast. I should give some leeway here, because they were in the middle of a battle and didn’t have time to chat about the dreams, but I still feel like it’ll be a while before they discuss any of it, which just doesn’t feel realistic to me. Though, lest we forget that they all still remain completely uninterested in talking about their origins or parents in the slightest.

All in all, this episode is….eehhhhh….okay. It wasn’t a bad ride, and I appreciated the parts with the dreams, but the battle with Kyuki was a complete mess, and the dreams left me more confused than anything. I’m all for nostalgic fanservice, but they’re not even doing that right. Why are some old characters being hidden from us but the main friggin’ characters are fully on display? Miroku better have some badass facial scar or something.

At the end of the day, I can’t help but remember a tweet I saw a couple weeks ago where someone was saying something like ‘Yashahime continues to display its amazing ability to put too much plot into an episode while also not really furthering the plot.’ And….yeah that is pretty much what they’re doing.

They’re giving us the absolute bare bones of information each time they bother giving us some. Keep in mind, the dream stuff didn’t even matter to the plot of this episode. Kyuki didn’t use the information for any purpose. She mentioned that she tweaked Yotsume’s dream gazing ability in the rainbow pearl to absorb demon energy, which also doesn’t make any sense, and that’s about it. She already knew the girls were half/quarter-demon. All the dream gazing served to do was give a little more information to the audience about what happened to the original cast – information that is only about 1% useful.

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Moroha’s hair is extremely light in this flashback. It’s in a shade that lies almost exactly between Inuyasha’s silver and Kagome’s black. Why is that?

I’m not saying back up the exposition dump truck onto my needy little head – you can’t shoot off all the fireworks at the start of the show, that’s boring – I’m saying they need to find a better way of dealing with the stuff in the past to make the overall story flow a little better. Following a trail of bread crumbs to your destination doesn’t work well when the bread crumbs are half a mile apart and you sometimes find a bunch of bread crumbs in one spot, but they’re spread out in the middle of a fork in the road.

I was continuously getting concerned about the power spikes in Towa, but I guess I shouldn’t because she’s still considered a weakling to actually powerful characters like Riku? Even though she’s mowing down Perils one after another in record time.

Inuyasha had a talent for making even low-level demons seem like a legit threat. Yashahime has a talent for making high-level demons seem like they’re weaklings. Remember these are the highest generals of Kirinmaru – a demon meant to be matched in power only by Inutaisho and Sesshomaru and who is also seemingly our main antagonist for now. If they’re not having significant problems with the Perils (Two have been killed so far, and we’re not even in the double-digits of episode numbers), why should I be in the least bit concerned about Kirinmaru?

What has Kirinmaru even done yet? Nothing, besides sit in the shadows and tell his troops “Take out the girls and bring me pearls. Yes, that rhymed.” Also, if Kyuki thought she could take on Kirinmaru with four out of seven rainbow pearls and she’s as weak as she was, then even his underlings don’t find him to be that much of a threat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not begging for another Naraku – please, dear god, anything but that – but still. I don’t much give a damn about him right now is all.

Next episode, it seems we might be getting another full-on filler episode, but maybe it’ll be fun.

Final notes: Yes, I did forget that Sesshomaru had an attack called the Azure Dragon Wave in the movies and The Final Act, so it makes sense that Towa would have this ability. In my defense, it’s been years since I watched The Final Act or any of the movies, and my memory is breathtakingly awful.


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Episode 5 – Jakotsumaru of the Red Bone Palace Review (Spoilers!)

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Plot: Moroha has split off from Towa and Setsuna to do more bounty hunting since she has a debt to pay off. She’s told by a corpse dealer, Jyubei, to retrieve the head of a demon she slayed previously named Tokotsu. She had only brought back his headless body before, and he’s currently being brought back to life by his son, Jakotsumaru, by stealing the bones of people and animals from the nearby villages and feeding them to his skull.

With the promise of a bag of gold for her troubles, Moroha heads off to slay the beast and his son.

Meanwhile, Towa and Setsuna get information on the location of the Dream Butterfly, but Setsuna is more interested in demon slaying missions. Coincidentally enough, the closest mission is investigating the boneless corpses of the villagers, which of course leads them back to Moroha to face Tokotsu.

Tokotsu happens to be one of four beasts – referring to themselves as the Four Perils—under the command of Kirinmaru, much to Setsuna’s annoyance because it means they might be accidentally walking a path that will eventually lead them to fulfilling the wishes of the Tree of Ages. They explain Kirinmaru’s plans to Myoga, but he is perplexed because he knows Kirinmaru as a being who would never do something so treacherous as destroying the fabric of space and time.

Moroha also reveals that she didn’t slay Tokotsu. She has no memory of the battle and suddenly woke up in front of Tokotsu’s headless body. She took the red rainbow pearl in his armor for herself and brought the body to the corpse dealer for a bag of silver. She has no idea who actually killed Tokotsu.

Nonetheless, she faces off against Jakotsumaru and Tokotsu once more, and Tokotsu asserts that Moroha is indeed the one who killed him. Towa wants her to apologize and return the money she got for his corpse, but Moroha refuses as a matter of pride and blazing her own path in life.

She battles against them for a while, and then decides to use her secret weapon. Applying a special rouge, she is able to gain the memories of Inutaisho as well as a massive increase in demonic power. She calls this form Beniyasha. She’s able to slay Jakotsumaru easily and even badly wounds Tokotsu, but she suddenly passes out, having run out of energy. She’ll be out cold for at least 24 hours.

Setsuna and Towa pick up the slack and slay Tokotsu once and for all. The bodies of the demons are atomized, however, meaning no bounty for poor Moroha.

Breakdown: Okay, I guess I’ll concede a bit here. Unlike what I thought in the previous episode, they didn’t go down the episodic route yet. Things were definitely happening, almost to the point of exposition-dump-y levels.

First and foremost, I called it – they confirmed that Setsuna and Moroha were only in the modern era for a few days. But somehow Setsuna became a skilled violinist in that time.

Secondly, somehow, Setsuna and Towa haven’t connected the dots that they’re technically cousins with Moroha? Or if they have, they haven’t acknowledged it.

Third, Towa’s a bit too naive here, to the point where she’s almost kinda stupid. She’s seriously like “Apologize to him” and acting like they shouldn’t slay these demons when she saw firsthand that he’s been ripping the skeletons out of living beings to feed them to his father. By the way, thanks for the imagery of a bunch of dogs having their skeletons ripped out through their mouths. I wasn’t aware an Inuyasha sequel would bring me nightmare fuel. The scenes with the bandits getting their bones ripped out was also horrific, but those poor dogs….

Back to the point at hand, she actually views it like THEY’RE the bad guys in this situation and hesitates in both fighting and slaying them as a result. She even laments Jakotsumaru’s death. I get that she’s not nearly as battle hardened as Setsuna or Moroha, it’s to be expected that she’d be more put off by killing, but these are killer demons who are also currently trying to kill them.

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It could be argued that Tokotsu didn’t do anything to warrant being killed the first time, that we know of anyway, but that’s about it. I don’t think there’d be a bounty on his head if he hadn’t been doing something bad in the first place anyway. Remember, he’s a bone-eating demon. I can assume he’s habitually eaten people. Towa has to be convinced by Setsuna that their crimes are nothing compared to those of Tokotsu and Jakotsumaru, which…duh.

Even Kagome had no real qualms about demons being killed when she first arrived in the feudal era. And, remember, it’s not like Towa is averse to violence. Her whole backstory is nothing but fighting people.

This episode is fairly Moroha-centric, which means we finally get more of her story. She’s apparently in deep debt to Jyubei for some reason and is using her bounties to pay it off. She also knows Myoga – and, yes, he’s here, which just adds even more questions.

Myoga’s a great big exposition dump in this episode, like he has a tendency to be. He explains all about the Four Perils, how Moroha has demon powers from Inuyasha and spiritual powers from Kagome, he also explains the deal behind Moroha’s rouge, which was brought up in episode one but never really explained or shown until now.

Apparently, somehow, Moroha not only has, out of all of his descendants, blood tasting the most similar to Inutaisho’s despite being only a quarter demon, but she has rouge which originally belonged to Izayoi, Inuyasha’s human mother. Inutaisho gave it to Izayoi as a present and it somehow made its way to Moroha. When applied, the rouge allows her to channel the memories or powers or something from Inutaisho, giving her a huge boost in strength (and allows her to use a couple of familiar abilities – Iron-Reaver Soul-Stealer and Blades of Blood) She names this form Beniyasha, and it’s implied that she was Beniyasha when she defeated Tokotsu the first time, but doesn’t remember it because the form only lasts less than a minute before she’s wiped out, falls unconscious and doesn’t awaken for 24 hours.

This is fine and dandy and all, it gives her a way of boosting her strength a little more considering she’s a quarter-demon, though her unique ability to use spiritual powers and demon power was already enough in my opinion, but…where the hell did she get that rouge? And why does it suddenly have powers?

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I definitely remember the rouge. Inuyasha gave it to Kikyo, if I’m not mistaken. But he obviously didn’t have it after the fact (I’d be shocked if Kaede kept it for 50 years and, for some reason, gave it back to Inuyasha.) and, like I said, it didn’t have powers. So either the rouge just doesn’t affect humans and Kikyo didn’t sense anything about it or they bullshitted this out of thin air. Not even Expositionyoga explains why the rouge gives her powers – he just explains that it was a gift from Inutaisho to Izayoi.

Also, uhm, can we talk about the faux pas Inuyasha seemingly pulled here by giving a gift he gave to his late lover to his daughter born of another woman? ….Yikes.

SUPER LATE STAGE EDIT: Holy. Shit. I just remembered something. Didn’t Naraku destroy the rouge Inuyasha gave to Kikyo? Did Inuyasha have more than one of those things or are they being super sloppy with their continuity?

How did Myoga go this whole episode without explaining where Kagome and Inuyasha were? And why does Moroha neither seem to know nor care about any of the information that she does obtain about them?

We also learn that Tokotsu had the red rainbow pearl and Moroha just snatched it very shortly before she was brought to the modern era….*shrug* Why did Tokotsu have it in the first place?

I just kinda assumed Moroha got it from Inuyasha somehow or she was born with it, like Setsuna and Towa had theirs in their eyes. But nope. She’s just a thief who stumbled upon it.

They still haven’t really explained what the rainbow pearls even are or if there are more than three. I get that they’re jewels infused with great power, but that’s about it.

A final note we have to add about this episode is the totally random brief Miroku cameo. I say ‘cameo’ but he never really appeared. When talking to Towa about needing to kill demons like Tokotsu, she muttered “On meeting an arhat, slay the arhat; On meeting your parents, slay your parents. Know that the light to your path lies there.” She heard that mantra from a traveling monk and we cut to a shot of Miroku, though his face is obscured because they’re just doing that with old characters for some reason.

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If that occurred any time recently, he seemingly looks absolutely no different than he looked 15 years ago. Maybe it’s also excusable for him because I would assume monks just wear the same robes throughout adulthood, and I never saw his face so maybe he’s a bit more aged there, but still. It was nice to see him, and it’s good to know he’s alive, even though he’s kinda low on my list of must-see characters at the moment, but it was really random to drop him in there like that.

Why is he traveling now? Wasn’t he doing his demon-slaying for cash with Inuyasha? Where is Sango, for that matter? Even though her kids have all grown up, she seems to have given up demon slaying entirely if she gave her hiraikotsu to Hisui. It doesn’t seem like she lives in the village anymore. Either she’s off traveling with Miroku and she just wasn’t present when Miroku told Setsuna that or something’s wrong.

Also, WHY did Miroku tell Setsuna that, and did he know who she was when he said that? What a screwed up thing to say. ‘Go on, kill arhats and your parents. That’s how you get on the right path in life.’ Like, whaaaaa?

EDIT: I just now realized that this implies that Setsuna has never formally met Miroku, which is weird because she works alongside Kohaku and Hisui, one of which being Miroku’s brother-in-law and the other being his son. That has a lot of worrisome implications.

Oh and as a final-final note, we’re also introduced to Takechiyo, who is basically like if you merged Hachi with Shippo – he can be used for transportation by changing into a bigger floating form of himself, and he’s a tiny demon kid used for comic relief.

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Hm….I wonder if we’ll see an adult Shippo in this series sometime. Maybe not because I don’t exactly know how aging works with demons, but it’d be cool to see him all grown up. It’d be nice to know where he is, too.

All in all, this was a good episode for more establishment, and it had some really great moments with Moroha (I cheered when she did the Iron-Reaver and Blades of Blood), and I love how Setsuna’s warming up to Moroha more than she is to Towa, even calling the former her friend. It allows us to see that Setsuna is reasonable and can be friendly and sweet, but she just gets annoyed by Towa for a variety of reasons.

I didn’t much care for how easily Jakotsumaru and Tokotsu were defeated, considering Tokotsu is seemingly one of the highest ranked demons under the command of Kirinmaru. If they defeated this Peril so easily (and, remember, Moroha killed Tokotsu once before entirely on her own – she also defeated Jakotsumaru purely with an Iron-Reaver…) then the tension in the series is going to wane.

Next time, CATS!


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Episode 4 – The Gateway to the Past Review (Spoilers!)

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Plot: Hearing the story of Setsuna’s plight, Towa plans on heading back to the feudal era with Setsuna and Moroha to find the dream butterfly and kill it to restore Setsuna’s memories as well as her ability to sleep and dream.

Utilizing the power of the still-alive Root Head demon who was merged with the Tree of Ages, they all take their leave, promising to return to Towa’s family someday.

However, when they go through the portal, they’re stopped midway by the spirit of the Tree of Ages who has taken on the appearance of Kikyo since some of her spirit was embedded in the tree when she pinned Inuyasha to it with one of her sacred arrows.

The spirit of the tree has a request for the daughters of Sesshomaru – find and slay the dog-demon beast, Kirinmaru, a demon who was matched in power only by his counterpart, their grandfather Inutaisho. Sesshomaru is unable to defeat him, so the task is being passed on to them. Setsuna refuses, explaining that it’s Sesshomaru’s responsibility and they shouldn’t have to do his work. Towa, however, wants to complete the task until she learns that Sesshomaru will, too, have to be slain.

As punishment for defying the spirit, it sends them to the location of the Root Head within its body. However, the three manage to slay the demon, later realizing that this means they destroyed their only means of returning back to the modern era.

The spirit of the tree has a one-sided conversation with Sesshomaru as he lurks in the shadows wondering what will become of the woman slumbering before them if things don’t go as planned….

Breakdown: Excuse me for a second.

*deep breath*

RIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!! That comatose woman has to be Rin, right? It looks like what I would picture an adult Rin to look like. What happened to her? Is Sesshomaru being blackmailed or something right now?….Is she their mother? I continue to be confused.

Anyhoo, this is more or less a segue episode to get us back to the feudal era so we can have all dem adventures, but there is a little more action and advancement. Mainly, the battle with Root Head which debuted a new attack for Towa, which, for some reason, is another energy dragon thing like Moroha’s, though Towa’s is blue as opposed to red. I really don’t understand why these dog demons keep displaying dragon powers. Is Setsuna going to get a gold one?

Also, we learned of Kirinmaru, who sounds like a pretty severe threat, going after space and time and whatnot, so I guess they justified Towa getting all freaked out over modern stuff in the feudal era from the first episode. Although, I can’t help but get a slight sense of laziness in that he’s the OTHER great dog demon. I don’t remember a lot about Inutaisho, but I’m pretty sure someone would have mentioned another great dog demon in the interim. And where exactly has he been for the past 20+ years? Is this another one of those weird situations where a villain just chills until the person or persons who are the only ones who can defeat him are of an age where they can defeat him and then he’s like ‘Ya! NOW is the time to strike!’

We still haven’t met him, though, so how good of a villain he’ll be is yet to be seen.

I love how Moroha pointed out that she wasn’t Sesshomaru’s daughter so it seemed like “Kikyo” wasn’t asking anything of her and was annoyed. The spirit replied that she’d basically be addressed in a minute….and she never was. Like, what the hell? Is it just because Setsuna and Towa refused the request so the spirit of the tree was just never able to ask anything of Moroha? Moroha was still on board with the whole thing because she’s awesome, but she was basically just accepting THEIR mission. I mean….technically, you can give the request to all three of them as she’s also a descendant of Inutaisho. Is it really necessary for descendants of Sesshomaru specifically to be the chosen ones here? It can’t be because of pure blood since they’re half-demons….

And now for Twix’s random musings of the episode.

– How long have Moroha and Setsuna been staying with Towa and her family? Because Setsuna, with no formal training beforehand, has learned how to play a song on the violin fully and seemingly flawlessly. Moe, who is a concert violinist I guess, calls her a one-in-a-hundred prodigy, but even prodigies wouldn’t be THAT good in what seems like a day or two.

– Why is it that Setsuna and Moroha aren’t confused at all by stuff in the modern era? Everything used to confuse the hell out of Inuyasha, but Moroha not only knows what a credit card is, but also uses it easily to go on a shopping spree by herself.

– SOTA NEVER TOLD TOWA ABOUT KAGOME OR SHOWED HIM PICTURES OF HIS SISTER?! ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING HE ALWAYS SUSPECTED TOWA CAME FROM THE FEUDAL ERA?! WHAT?!?!

– It is really adorable that Moroha actually loved the weird gift Grandpa gave her as opposed to Kagome who would always either trash his gifts or feed them to Buyo. It was a great moment for both of them.

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– Speaking of Moroha in relation to her parents….uhhh why does she have absolutely nothing to say about discovering the names and relatives of her parents? Does she just not care? Does she not have questions about her origins? Likewise, why isn’t Kagome’s family asking Moroha any questions like how Kagome is, what she’s been up to over the past nearly two decades, if she has anymore children etc?

Also, Moroha may or may not have mentioned to them that she doesn’t know Kagome, meaning she never met her mom and her family should be up to their elbows in worry right now in regards to her current whereabouts and condition.

Setsuna and Towa are just kinda falling into information about Sesshomaru, but they also don’t ask many questions about their parentage…..such as, I dunno, just throwing this one out there….who their mother might be. *shrug*

Also, would it make sense or not that Moroha should be able to piece together that Sesshomaru and Inuyasha are siblings and that Inuyasha’s her father? She seems to know plenty about Sesshomaru (she even knows his scent somehow) and she seemingly heard of Kirinmaru, so she should know about Inuyasha. Even without those factors, wouldn’t Inuyasha be a bit of a legend in the feudal era?

I can’t imagine Sota and the others didn’t mention Inuyasha likely being her father…..Then again, they’re obviously not very good in the communication department. They’re just like ‘YOU’RE KAGOME’S DAUGHTER!’ and everyone left it at that apparently.

– They really couldn’t go the entire series without showing that same tired shot of Kikyo pinning Inuyasha to the Tree of Ages…Do I get some sort of achievement for viewing it a million times? Because I have to be close by now.

– Why do we need the name plates popping up on everyone? On their introductions, I get, but literally every time we see a character for the first time in an episode we have to put their names on screen. It’s episode four, I’m pretty acquainted with them. I didn’t see a nameplate on Rin, though. Ya know, the one person actually showing up for the first time since episode one.…

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All in all, it’s a solid episode that served its purpose and had some great and cute moments interspersed within. And thank god Kikyo didn’t actually come back. I was probably blowing everything out of proportion before, but I can never be too sure with this franchise….Although, I was kinda right about her blowing off Moroha.

I’m not sure why the spirit needed to take on any form at all, though. Can it not just be a mysterious booming voice or something?

I don’t know how long this series is meant to be, especially considering there’s no manga to gauge anything from, but it seems we’re heading for the more episodic approach soon, and I don’t know when we’ll be formally introduced to the main villain or how long it will take to get the MacGuff—Dream Butterfly.

But who cares? Next episode seems Moroha-centric and I am HERE for that!

Rating: 7.5/10


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Episode One-Derland – Majestic Prince

Plot: Team Rabbits is known as the ‘Fail Five’ in the Military Junior Pre-Academy or MJP where they pilot mechs and train to defend their space colonies from threats. One such colony needs some pilots to buy them time while they evacuate from a massive attack by enemy aliens. Despite their lack of teamwork and sporting the lowest scores in class, Team Rabbits is chosen as that someone.

Even though they have no experience in real mechs, they’re able to pull themselves together and succeed in their mission. When they discover there are civilians left behind with no ships to take them back to safety, their appointed leader, Izuru, takes it upon himself to take a step towards being a hero and goes forth to force the enemy to retreat so he can rescue the colonists.

Breakdown: I love mech anime. Something about giant robots and lasers and space wars is just always really cool to me.

That being said, it’s a bit hard to break out in the genre because a lot of things either seem like they want to be an Evangelion clone or a Gundam clone.

This definitely isn’t gunning for an Eva clone, but it might still be a less-serious Gundam clone. We’ll have to see.

I definitely appreciate the more teamwork-oriented focus this series has. It always seems like it’s one singular protagonist who does all the important stuff or they pretend like it’s a team when it’s really, again, just one person doing everything.

Izuru might be that considering he’s the leader and his one goal in life is, literally, to be a hero, but I’ll reserve judgment.

Each person on the team has their own concrete personalities, though some need a bit more fleshing out like Ataru and Kei. That’s completely understandable this early in the series, though.

Izuru is a very likable protagonist. I like MCs that are really brave and yearn to be heroes, but still obviously have a lot of reservations about what they’re doing. He’s also an artist, so that earns a +1 from me.

Asagi is the hot-head of the group. Kei is the serious one who holds basically a supervisory role in combat. Ataru is the sniper who has much more reservations than anyone, but is also a geek about weaponry and tech.

Then there’s…..*sigh*…Tamaki. I quickly learned to hate Tamaki. No idea why she’s even in this academy. She’s insanely boy-crazy and hardly ever doesn’t think about guys or finding her true love. She’s also clumsy and has such moe characteristics that she even has that breathy whiny baby voice I just wanna stab.

I just don’t know why she’s here. Why is a girl who acts like an infant in a damn military academy?

The mech designs were pretty unique and fun to watch. The fact that the mechs react to their emotional states and thoughts based on their DNA is somewhat unique, and I like that each mech has a specific purpose in combat and they’re not all just ‘robot with gun’ or ‘robot with sword.’

In regards to being a first episode, this one does alright. We establish the main cast pretty well, but the world-building definitely needs work. We can tell they have space colonies and they’re at war (?) but we have no idea who these aliens are or why they’re attacking. They just have weird green mechs and their own unique language. Also, they live on Jupiter, I guess?

The music was alright, but mostly forgettable so far. I have the same notes for the voice work, basically, but damn Tamaki’s voice, seriously. I guess I can’t fault her VA too much, because I can’t say the voice doesn’t fit the character, but it’s so annoying when combined.

The CGI work is really quite good, though the character designs leave something to be desired. They feel very much like a rushed rip-off of Gundam SEED’s style. Some of the details are also very odd, and some characters are simply ugly. I have to roll my eyes at the fact that we have two prominent women in command there and they both look like porn stars. The one who works in the pit has a jumpsuit on and I can’t believe for a second that her boobs aren’t always falling out on the job. They have to be.

I also have to mark off the direction because some of the editing and directorial choices are very unappealing, like sudden quick cuts and the really annoying habit of bobbing the camera and zooming in real quick.

Final Verdict:

Continue Yes

I’ve heard really good things about this, and even though I was a bit uncertain at first, I’ve been told that it gets much more interesting and intense after a handful of episodes. Let’s see where the journey takes us.


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Animating Halloween: Higanjima Volume 3 (Manga) Review

Plot: Akira and the others have made it to Higanjima, but they don’t even get to shore before they’re attacked by the vampires. Unlike what Rei said about their only being a few, the island is basically littered with nothing but vampires. The ambush them on the boat and take them prisoner. Rei, however, escapes into the wilderness.

The group learns that the vampires don’t just suck all of your blood at once. They have a special chair prepared for their victims where they sit naked, are force-fed nutrients and water and get bitten for as long as possible on a regular basis until their bodies can’t stand anymore and they die.

Akira and the others sit in horror for several days, hearing the screams of some of the other people they had brought with them to island as their blood is drained away. They begin to turn on each other out of fear, hunger and thirst. The vampires mock and taunt them regularly, frustrating them even further.

Ken seemingly sacrifices himself to allow Akira and the others the opportunity to escape, stating he can take two to three months on the chair, trusting that Akira and the other survivors will come rescue him when they have the chance.

Once they get out, they split up to escape the vampires, and Akira attempts to find his brother in hopes of getting his help.

Breakdown: So, in the end of volume two, I kinda thought to myself…. ‘These guys have to have a real….plan, right? Their plan can’t just be ‘arrive on the vampire island with a bunch of randos. Not tell them what’s going on at this island and hope for the best.’ right?….Right?’ Nope, that was their plan.

Granted, Rei lied about how many vampires there were, but still. And the fact that they didn’t tell any of these people, not only making them completely useless as backup but also making them, essentially, giant snacks for the vampires….Why? You might as well have given all of these poor people red shirts.

Not to mention that, for added measure, they make sure to plow it in your face that two of these people, fresh out of high school, are engaged to be married. Gee, I wonder if they’ll live.

The best part of this volume is when Akira, Ken and the others are going crazy while waiting in their little prison. They have nothing but screams and wails to listen to, and there’s the impending wait to get on ‘the seat’ that is terrifying them all at every minute. They eventually start turning on each other and even throw poor Pon to the vampires as their next sacrifice to ‘the seat.’

Ken volunteers to take his place, however, both sacrificing himself and giving the others an opportunity to escape by staging an attack and getting the key loose from the guard. He states he’ll survive for two to three months, much longer than the week or so the others tend to live, all so they can regroup and rescue him.

Atsushi comes back a bit in this volume, but only teased at the very end. However, it seems he likely will team up with Akira in the next volume. How that will go, I don’t know.

This volume was also very….gross. And they made it a point to point out the grossness. We learn in this volume that the vampire’s bite makes you go numb and all of your bodily fluids involuntarily spew out as a result, everything from tears to drool to pee. They never don’t focus on the peeing. They also add in pooping in this volume, because there’s no bathroom in that prison cell, and show us that ‘the seat’ has a hole in the bottom for waste. Lovely.

There’s a lot of good buildup and tension in this volume, and I nearly wanted to smack them for trying to sacrifice Pon. I mean, yes, he is the most scared of them all and he is, arguably, the most useless, but he’s also the most relatable, to be honest.

Yuki’s barely even in this volume, relegated to about one shot of pleading for Ken to not sacrifice himself.

The end of the volume is a big question mark as the entire group is split up, no one really knows how long Ken will last or even if he will survive, and we have no clue how Atsushi and Akira will interact after two years of being apart.

All in all, this was a good, but slightly stupid and gross, volume of Higanjima. I greatly look forward to volume four.

Rating: 8/10


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Episode One-Derland: Kekkaishi

Plot: Yoshimori Sumimura and Tokine Yukimura are the youngest of their rival clans. Their families are heirs to the Hazama style Kekkai technique, giving them the powers to contain, battle and destroy ayakashi – monsters with immense power who threaten the land.

The Kekkai users or Kekkaishi are tasked with protecting the Karasumori school – a building that was built on top of the burial ground of Tokimori Hazama himself. He was born with a strange power that drew ayakashi to him and increased their power exponentially in mere moments. Even after his death, the power still resonates within the school grounds.

A young Yoshimori used to want nothing more than to shrug off his responsibilities as a Kekkaishi. He hated the constant training, always getting his battles interrupted by Tokine, the fact that his older brother seemed more suited for the job despite not being a legitimate heir, like him, and the fact that their roles as Kekkaishi put a real strain on his and Tokine’s friendship.

Tokine, on the other hand, loves her role as a Kekkaishi and excels at it. She’s stern with Yoshimori, but only because she realizes what a dangerous and important job it is.

One day, Tokine badly wounds herself trying to protect Yoshimori from an ayakashi that he failed to properly dispose of due to being tricked by it. Ever since that day, he’s felt a heavy burden of guilt and has vowed to become stronger so he won’t get anyone hurt ever again.

Breakdown: Hey, it’s Kekkaishi! That show everyone’s heard of, but no one ever seems to talk about ever.

Even when this show was airing on Toonami/Adult Swim, I really heard no one talking about it. The best I managed was someone mentioning the OP on a ‘Best Anime Opening Theme Songs’ list, and I’d agree with that.

I caught a bit of the show here and there when it was airing on TV, but it never caught on with me for some reason.

Now that I’ve finally sat down and given it a full chance, I’m happy to report that I really liked it.

Is it breaking new ground in the shounen genre? No. At the end of the day, it’s still a show where it’s the MC’s ‘destiny’ to beat monsters and protect the land and those he cares about. At the very least, he’s not a prodigy MC. In fact, he’s quite inept, at least so far, at being a Kekkaishi. Even when we cut to present day where he’s older and more focused, he’s still overly headstrong and makes a bunch of mistakes.

The thing more people remember about this show, at least I do anyway, is the unique aspect of the glowing boxes, also known as Kekkai. Despite just being, well, glowing boxes, they’re useful for a plethora of purposes, and it’s a welcome change up from the typical ‘blam-blam Imma firin’ mah lazar’ powers most supernatural shounen shows get.

As a first episode, it lays down the groundwork extremely well – maybe a bit too well, because they went way overboard with those text-boxes that explain every little thing, but it’s not a big deal. In one episode, we firmly establish the backstory, the enemies, the lore, the characters and their motivations – and the pacing never felt off-kilter.

Yoshimori is a little annoying, but he’s also very relatable. He doesn’t want to get out of being a Kekkashi at first because he’s sick of the training and being out every night – he’s sick of being bad at it and knowing that being a Kekkashi and even part of the Sumimura family prevents him from being close friends with Tokine.

He’s also emotional and greatly sympathetic towards others, even perceived enemies, which is something I greatly appreciate in my shounen protagonists.

His grandfather is more annoying than anything. The worst part of this whole episode was the five-ish minutes of him just screaming at Yoshimori.

Tokine is also a good character. You can tell she still wants to be close friends with Yoshimori again and feels the strain of their families and responsibilities impeding on them. She’s a great Kekkashi, even if she does seemingly ‘take’ Yoshimori’s targets and kinda treats him poorly when they’re older.

I was very disappointed to read on the Wiki that she’s regarded as the weakest Kekkaishi when she’s so good right now. I am sick to death of female fighters getting nerfed in action anime just because ‘hurr hurr penis=power, go battle an ayakashi in the kitchen lol’ I really hope that I’m wrong about that and the Wiki’s just wording things poorly, but seeing as how I’ve found several sources of this label, I’m inclined to believe it. Can someone who’s actually seen all of the show or read the manga tell me otherwise?

He didn’t get much screentime, but I really liked Yoshimori’s father. He reminded me a lot of Sakura’s father from Cardcaptor Sakura. He’s kind and very supportive.

The art and animation is okay. The character art, particularly with the noses, never meshed that well with me, but it’s not really bad. The animation is nothing special, but alright.

The music is really good. Not sure it’s a soundtrack I’d run out and buy yet, but I really love the OP, the ED is good and the BGM is pretty nice.

The voices, English dub, were good, though I’m questioning whether Laura Bailey is fully-suited for Tokine. Love ya, Laura, I’m just not sure you fully fit her yet. Judgment pending.

Final Verdict:

Continue Yes

I was pleasantly surprised by this episode, even if it is fairly generic. Being generic isn’t necessarily bad as long as the execution and style is interesting enough to hook my attention. I look forward to the rest of this series and hope that it’s a lost gem, not rightfully buried under the sands of time.


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CSBS – Xiaolin Showdown S01 Ep03: Tangled Web

CSBS XS EP3 SCREEN4

Plot: Kimiko and Jack Spicer are in a Xiaolin Showdown for the Monkey Staff, a shen gong wu that can turn people into monkeys. Jack is breezing through while using his shen gong wu, the Jetbootsu, which allow him to defy gravity and walk on walls. Kimiko, however, only has the Fist of Tebigong, which doesn’t lend any help to their current climbing contest.

She tries to use it to knock Jack down by punching into the mountainside, but since his boots allow him to defy gravity, he doesn’t move an inch. Instead, it causes a rockslide that knocks Kimiko down the mountain, allowing Jack to win the Showdown, the Monkey Staff and the Fist of Tebigong.

On the way back home, Omi tries to ‘comfort’ Kimiko by saying she had no chance anyway since she’s a girl and was competing against a guy. Clay says the real reason behind her loss is her quick temper. He others start taunting her when they’re interrupted by Dojo detecting a shen gong wu – the Tangle Web Comb, which allows the user to wrap up their enemies in web. They’re in luck, because the shen gong wu is right below the boat so Kimiko dives in and retrieves it to make up for the ones she just lost.

Still being mocked at home because her new shen gong wu is a comb (and combs are a ‘girl’ thing) Kimiko tries to impress the boys by showing off her skills with the Tangle Web Comb only to get wrapped up in the webs herself. As she struggles to free herself, the boys leave to snoop through her things.

Master Fung arrives and tells her the real reason the Comb isn’t working for her is because it requires total focus. To help her understand her level of focus, he asks Kimiko to pour a cup of tea from an incredibly heavy pot without spilling any. She does the task quite well until Raimundo, Clay and Omi walk in the room with Clay reading her diary, Raimundo messing with her PDA and Omi eating her lipstick. They continue on with the sexist comments and mocking, telling her to serve them tea too. She struggles through the pouring, but gets so angry at Omi’s next sexist comment that she breaks the pot.

Meanwhile, back with Spicer, he’s loving the Monkey Staff, but finds that he’s slowly getting more and more monkey-like the longer he holds it. A teenage girl enters his lab, having sneaked out of his parents party upstairs. She likes his evil lair but he demands that she leave. Just then, Wuya sense the next shen gong wu – the Gold Tiger Claws, which allow the user to teleport anywhere they please.

The Golden Tiger Claws are inside the Emperor’s palace. To get in, they need connections, and Kimiko’s dad has plenty of those. He grants them access on one condition – they all need to be wearing formal robes and Kimiko needs to wear an elegant kimono. She begrudgingly agrees and they enter through a secret passageway that leads to an underground cavern.

Jack Spicer has beat them to the area but not to the Golden Tiger Claws. Jack distracts the group with his Jack-Bots so he can get to the Claws first. Kimiko doesn’t fall for the distraction, however, and both she and Spicer get to the Claws at the same time, starting a Xiaolin Showdown. The game? A race across twin bridges.

Jack bolts ahead with his newfound monkey abilities, and Kimiko trails behind due to the constricting nature of her kimono. She’s able to move a little better when she throws off her wooden shoes, but she still can’t even start to keep up with Jack. She tries to use the Tangle Web Comb, but her lack of focus makes the Comb backfire on her again. She realizes that, the angrier she gets at Jack’s laughing, the tighter the web constricts. She clears her mind and finally focuses, allowing her to snatch the Monkey Staff from Spicer. With the agility given to her by the Monkey Staff and the abilities of the Comb, she is able to grab the Claws before Spicer, winning the Showdown. Omi gains a newfound respect for women and she states that she expects more respect from the whole group.

Back with Jack, he’s getting chewed out by Wuya for losing another Xiaolin Showdown when the same girl from earlier enters dressed in a Catwoman-like outfit and introducing herself as Katnappe. Jack sics his Jack-Bots on her and she easily defeats them. Completely impressed by her skills, Wuya recruits her to help them gain the shen gong wu.

————————

This episode was yet another where the message is shoved in our faces from the very instant the episode starts. Kimiko’s a hothead. She needs to learn to calm down. Wonder what will happen in the rest of the episode.

And, really, was getting pissed off that Omi was telling her that girls are not as skilled as guys, are meant to serve tea and belong in the kitchen an example of that? Fuck off. I know Omi is basing his logic off of ancient mindsets, but no one tries to teach him otherwise or correct him on his behavior. When he says this stuff, Clay just says ‘Go easy on Kimiko.’ Master Fung doesn’t even stop them from being sexist assholes. He just lets it happen.

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I get that the lesson is to keep calm no matter what is being thrown at you, but this still seems like it’s overkill and unnecessary.

Not to mention that Kimiko didn’t lose the first time because of her temper – she lost because that was literally the only option for her. It was a last-ditch effort and it failed. What else is she supposed to do in a climbing race with the Fist of Tebigong?

I’m also getting really sick of how much these guys do nothing but make fun of and disrespect each other. There’s friendly jabbing and then there’s 95% of their scenes together being mocking, taunting and jackassery. The first thing they do when Kimiko wraps herself up in webs is go snooping through her stuff and leave her there. And they don’t just go through her things – they take her PDA and use it, eat her lipstick and read her diary.

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You want to know something really weird? The one guy not being completely douchey today…..was Jack. It’s expected for him to be mocking and taunting, especially during the Xiaolin Showdown. But his mocking is mostly just laughing at her and calling her out on her temper. And he never once says a sexist word – even in spite of interacting with another female character who annoys him (Katnappe).

To be honest, I still don’t see the major problem with her temper. She’s acting no more impulsive and easily aggravated than Raimundo or Omi. Anyone would get pissed if they had to constantly be treated like crap and listen to their so-called friends spout out a never-ending stream of sexist comments. If anything, she has a problem with her ego…..which is also a problem shared with Raimundo and Omi.

The Xiaolin Showdown this time also didn’t make much sense. Each time that one of them has gone into a Xiaolin Showdown, they instantly get changed into their warrior robes. Here, Kimiko stays in her kimono purely so they can slow her down in the race and get a plot device started.

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They try to make up for the mocking and crap by having the boys start a bet on when Kimiko will find her focus, making it seem like that in itself is mocking her, but then it’s revealed that they, or at least Raimundo, bet that it would be very soon…..but no. No. I don’t buy it. Also, Omi never apologizes for what he said. He just said that her actions in the Showdown taught him a lot about the strength of women.

I do indeed get the irony in that it seems like I’m losing my temper right now.

The only redeeming aspects of this episode are Kimiko getting her first show of badassery and Monkey!Jack.

Rating: 3/10

Next episode, Katnappe goes on a crime spree after acquiring the Golden Tiger Claws from the monks.

…Previous Episode

 

CSBS – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) S01 Ep03 – Attack of the Mousers

CSBS - TMNT EP3

Plot: With their new ally, April, the turtles aim to take down Baxter Stockman and his mouser robots for good.

Breakdown: I don’t really have much to say about this episode. It’s a fitting end to this three-parter, and we get the backstory of Splinter and the turtles, which was pretty cute and cool, but it’s ultimately just a wrap-up with no real surprises.

We do get some sweet moments with Donatello and April, but that’s about it.

The only negative points worth noting are incredibly minor and borderline nitpicky. For example, I get that the ooze gave the turtles the capability to speak human language, and being around Splinter must’ve given them a concept of language to the point where they could eventually speak, but if they had never gone above ground until the series started, where did they pick up all the slang?

Also, why are all the cameras that Stockman has thermal imaging cameras? I get that we need to have their turtle nature be a surprise to their enemies, but why? This would make sense if the area was dark, but it’s perfectly lit. Even the mouser robots only take thermal imaging pictures.

All in all, a good ending to this arc, but it wasn’t anything special.

Rating: 7/10

Next episode….

…Previous Episode

Green Blood (Manga) Review

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: The year was 1865, New York USA. After the assassination of Lincoln, the country remained as divided as ever. Nonetheless, immigrants from all over the world started flocking to the United States to seek out a better life. Many of these individuals ended up in a place called Five Points, the worst slum in the world.

In a place wrought with poverty, violence and misery, it takes blood, sweat and tears just to get by. Brad Burns and his brother, Luke, wish for nothing more than to earn enough money to get a plot of land for themselves and live their lives happily.

Luke does this by doing tough jobs out at the harbor.

Brad does this by being the number one assassin of one of the roughest gangs in Five Points, the Grave Diggers. He’s so well known and so widely feared, that he’s earned the moniker of the Grim Reaper.

Breakdown: Here’s an example of a manga that had a fairly unique setting, a good starting point and great characters, but ultimately ended up falling a bit short because the overarching plotline is just not that strong.

Don’t let the plot synopsis fool you. This whole story amounts to mostly just a tale of revenge. Brad and Luke are the bastard children of a man named Edward King – an Irish immigrant who is the leader of one of the most feared gangs in the country, the Crimson Gang. He has a $15,000 bounty on his head, and is ruthless to the point of psychopathy.

King killed Brad and Luke’s mother, and they’ve desired revenge ever since. When there’s a massive blowup between the gangs in Five Points, both Brad and Luke decide to set out and kill him once and for all.

Along the way, they cover topics like racism against black people and the plight of the Native Americans as their land continues to get ripped from them and they get slaughtered by the thousands. While I wouldn’t say these plots are forced into the story, it don’t feel like it quite meshes with everything as well as it could’ve. These stories are meant to highlight not only the hardships of these people in the 1800s, but also how much Luke struggles with dropping his innocent nature and becoming the hardened fighter he needs to be in order to take down King.

It’s very important to explore this because it’s a massive part of Luke’s character development, but I still feel like the combination is the tiniest bit awkward.

One of the biggest problems is that Edward King is not a compelling antagonist. He’s just a massive asshole through and through. He’ll kill whomever he has to, even his own children, of which he cares nothing about, to achieve his goals. He doesn’t even have any solid goals outside of money and murder. He gains control of these areas and just abandons them, I suppose because he gets bored of them.

He’s intimidating, but he’s hardly memorable. I had to flip back through the chapters to even remember his gang’s name.

That’s the problem with all of the antagonists in this manga, to be honest. They’re all just psychotic assholes who flippantly maim, murder and rob. They don’t have any personality beyond that.

The story ends pretty much as you’d expect it to. It’s a good ending that wraps things up nicely, but it’s predictable. Also, it’s slightly depressing given how the conflict ended up.

Onto more positive notes, the art is astonishingly good. The details, the lighting, the landscapes, they’re all amazing. If I had one negative to say about the art is that some of the action scenes are a little hard to make out, but other than that it’s brutally gorgeous.

I stayed invested in the story from start to finish, and I find Brad to be a slick badass. Luke even becomes quite the badass near the end. However, I can’t deny that I was more invested in their story back when they were at Five Points. Their travels, beyond the story with Jenny and her mother, just didn’t connect with me as much. They were good stories that were fairly well-written, and I give them a lot of credit for even discussing that stuff in a manga of all things, but I felt like it was more connected and focused back in Five Points. I didn’t like jumping around.

Overall, this is a solid old west style gritty manga with lots of action, emotion, hope and badassery. It’s not breaking any new ground or living up to what I believe is its full potential, but it’s still a very good manga that I would gladly recommend.

Additional Information and Notes:

Green Blood was written and illustrated by Kakizaki Masasumi and it was published by Young Magazine.

Volumes: 5

Year: 2011 – 2013

Recommended Audience: Green Blood is filled with blood, a decent amount of gore, nudity and some sexual situations. People get killed a lot in various ways, and it’s hard to find a kind soul in this whole manga outside of the main characters. There are also numerous racial slurs and foul language. 16+