SSBS – Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch | Episode 3: Flickering Emotion Review

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Plot: A new girl arrives at Luchia and Hanon’s school named Rina Toin. She immediately strikes everyone as a cool person, and Luchia and Hanon try to befriend her, but Hanon is too put off by her rude and cold attitude to continue pursuing her friendship. Luchia, however, is more accommodating and makes a trio of friendship rings for her, Hanon and Rina. When she’s about to give the ring to Rina, she spots what looks like Rina and Kaito kissing on the roof. Luchia is devastated, but not everything is as it seems.

Breakdown: In this episode, we’re introduced to Rina, who is the third mermaid in the magical girl trio, but we’re supposed to not know that, I guess, despite the fact that she’s in the opening theme song as a mermaid. Rina is very rude and cold, and she extremely suspicious of Kaito, believing him to be the evil Gaito. Well, she never directly says “Gaito” but we can assume considering the insanely similar names (to the point where the fansubber even mistakenly wrote “Kaito” in Gaito’s scene today)

Hanon also moves in with Luchia in this episode in order to help keep her mermaid secret from Kaito. She’s also getting closer to Taro Mitsuki, who is the music teacher, because she has a crush on him, and from what I’ve read on the Fandom page, this may have been kinda mutual so, ick.

Luchia believes she sees Kaito and Rina on the roof kissing, and she’s super bummed about it, but we see that she was just getting super close to his face because she believes he’s Gaito in disguise just pretending to be an average student.

While Luchia deals with that, she meets Jennifer Houston, a famous singer, who is in a similar predicament. She is in love with a man named Richard, who looks like a porn director from the 80s. However, she saw him out and about in town with some girl who looks a lot like Jennifer, so she believed they were dating. Luchia asserts that she must find out the truth because she only saw them from a distance (like she only saw Rina and Kaito from a distance) She could be mistaken, and she’ll never know for sure unless she asks him directly, which is what Hanon told Luchia several hours ago, but she couldn’t ask Kaito.

Just as Luchia manages to convince Jennifer to approach Richard, she and Richard are attacked by Gaito’s two goons, Eriru and Izuru, because Jennifer has a green pearl necklace that they believe is proof that she’s one of the mermaid princesses, but it turns out to be fake. They get knocked unconscious, and Luchia and Hanon transform, sing and take out Eriru and Izuru.

When they awake, Richard tries to explain himself to Jennifer, claiming the girl she saw him with was a fan of hers and “as (Jennifer’s) producer, she was enthusiastic….” and then Jennifer stopped him talking so she could confess, but, uh, Jennifer, that sounds really suspicious. This girl is a fan of yours, so your producer just, what, took her out on the town? And she was really enthusiastic? About what? This doesn’t sound like a legit explanation, but whatever. They confess their feelings, kiss, and that’s it.

Surprisingly, they’re actually continuing the story about Luchia being jealous about Kaito and Rina into the next episode, so we don’t get any resolution to that here, but that’s perfectly fine. I mean, we know this wasn’t what Luchia thought it was, so there’s not much in regards in regards to a cliffhanger, but sorting it all out and hopefully getting Kaito and Luchia closer is something to look forward to anyway.

Overall, this was a pretty okay episode. If these episodes have any message, not jumping to conclusions, especially when what you’re witnessing is far away, is a fairly good one. You may be afraid of what you think you’re seemingly witnessing, but you’ll needlessly stress yourself out or depress yourself if you don’t make the effort to directly find out for yourself. I think that’s a good message to give to kids, especially when they’re pre-teen and will start to be concerned about gossip and whatnot soon.

Next Episode….

…..Previous Episode


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 14: An Explosion Makes for the Worst Date/Manga Chapter 45

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Plot: Now that she realizes that there’s ‘another Yugi’, Anzu brings Yugi to an amusement park to try and lure out the darker more mysterious Yugi.

Breakdown: Oh dear lord, this is going to be a trial. Don’t let that plot fool you. Just because it seems like slice-of-life fodder doesn’t mean we don’t still have insanity. And it definitely doesn’t mean that someone’s not a complete mean-spirited twat today.

Sidetracking a bit, I really don’t understand the wonky way in which they adapted these chapters. I can’t review chapter 27, where I left off on the manga chronologically, yet because it’s adapted in episode 22, which I am no where near, yet I have to keep skipping to the near end of the manga when I’m barely to the midway point of the anime.

Anyhoo, let’s get into it.

In the manga, we merely start with an image of a newspaper explaining the latest in a string of bombings caused by the Card Bomber. He’s called such because he announces his bombings through playing cards. In the anime, we actually see the inspector from the Burger World episode investigating the threat before the bomb goes off. He’s called by the bomber who gives him a ‘quiz’ to determine where the bomb is in the department store.

The quiz is ‘Big or small (upper or lower)? The department store has 12 floors, so is the bomb lower than the sixth floor or above the seventh?’ The inspector guesses ‘small’ and the bomb goes off because it was on the ninth floor.

I really don’t get this quiz. It’s a complete guessing game considering it’s a 50/50 shot. No other clues were given.

Cut to school where Yugi is explaining the serial bombings to Jonouchi, Honda and Anzu. In the manga, Yugi was reading the story in the paper as he and Anzu were already walking to the amusement park.

In the anime, Anzu recaps that Yugi has the same wound on his hand as the person who saved her in the previous episode. She doesn’t readily believe that this Yugi is the same Yugi who saved her, though. He must be another Yugi. Because it’s more logical to think that there’s some Yugi clone or alternate Yugi personality instead of believing Yugi could just be brave and save his friend.

Anzu grabs Yugi’s paper because she sees an ad for an amusement park. She invites Yugi to go with her on Sunday. Jonouchi, Honda and Miho eavesdrop on their conversation and assume that Yugi and Anzu are dating behind their backs. They decide to go to the amusement park on Sunday as well in order to spy on them. We get a pretty funny daydream where Jonouchi imagines Anzu and Yugi on a roller coaster. Anzu is proudly standing up with her arms crossed as it descends and Yugi’s screaming and grabbing her leg.

Anyway, there’s no respectful way of segueing into this observation, so look at Anzu’s boobs in this bottom left panel.

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They’re so pointy, I’m convinced she stole the Millennium puzzle for a second and hid it in her bra.

Back with matching both versions, Yugi and Anzu arrive at the park the next day. Yugi stutters through nearly asking Anzu if this is a date, but she interrupts him by telling him they need to buy entrance tickets. When Yugi goes to the gate to get two student tickets, the woman assumes he needs one student ticket and one child ticket. Yugi pouts and asks what she means by that. She explains to Yugi, whom she calls ‘Boy’ in both versions, that student tickets are for high schoolers not elementary school students. Yugi gets understandably upset and angrily explains to her that, despite his appearance, he’s a high school student.

I’d get pissed too, but the writers of the manga, Season Zero and the 2000 anime really do their best to make Yugi look like a little kid. I get that that’s his thing, all innocent and pure and whatnot, but do they have to make him look like he’s half his age? As much as I’d think it was cute to see Yugi and Anzu together, to some degree (*coughYugiandJonouchiforevercough*) it’s hard to ship them because he looks too much like a little kid. Keep in mind, Yugi is supposed to be 16…..

In the manga, we cut to them getting ready to go on the water slide. In the anime, we get an added scene where the bomber is giving the inspector a hint as to his next target.

‘Big or small? Will the temperature at 11 o’clock be more or less than 28 degrees (Celsius)? The answer will be revealed on the 11 o’clock weather report.’

Back at the park, in the manga, Yugi and Anzu are next seen on the water slide where we get probably the most shameless instance of fanservice I’ve ever seen in Yu-Gi-Oh. They go down the water slide and….well….pretty much this entire page.

I swear she went up two cup sizes since the title page.

Also, I can’t believe I have to say these words, but look at Yugi between Anzu’s legs. He’s looks like a toddler.

In the anime, we also get pretty much this same fanservice shot of Anzu in her bikini, but she’s dry. Yugi is meeting with Anzu after they get changed into their bathing suits and that is the first shot of her that he sees.

Oh and Jonouchi, Honda and Miho are stalking them throughout all of this in the anime. I probably won’t bother noting it from here on unless something important happens.

If you’re wondering if we get the waterslide scene in the anime, we do, but it’s not so ridiculously drawn as it is here.

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Anyway, look at Yugi’s stupid face.

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This is actually mirrored from the manga, but how hilarious does he look?

As they’re sunbathing, it looks like Yami takes over Yugi for a split second and Anzu notices. Either that or she’s hallucinating. I’d probably bank on the latter because Yami typically never emerges unless there’s something serious going on. Also, uhm…he kinda can’t emerge unless Yugi’s wearing the Puzzle…….Where’s your Puzzle, Yugi? You were wearing it when you came in. I know they probably wouldn’t allow him to wear that clunky chunk of metal at a water park, safety hazards and whatnot, but where did he put it? Don’t tell me he left it in one of those lockers they give you for your shoes and clothes. My dude’s gonna get so robbed.

He changes back when some kid shoots a water pistol in his face, causing Yugi to chase after him. Anzu also believes it was her imagination, but I’m not entirely sure. It’s unclear.

Anzu’s all about that hot Yami action, so she decides to force the ‘other’ Yugi to appear.

This is so manipulative. I know that Anzu is legitimately Yugi’s friend, but she’s taking advantage of his feelings to get closer to his sexy alter-ego.

Also, considering that Anzu doesn’t know about the actual separate spirit within the Puzzle….What does Anzu believe the ‘other’ Yugi actually is? Because, in real life, the only real explanation for someone having two personalities is a mental health issue….Which means that Anzu looks even worse in hindsight because, to anyone else in this universe, she’d look like she was not only taking advantage of a friend’s feelings but also like she’s taking advantage of someone with a mental health problem. And trying to force out the other identities of another person, especially for the sake of lusting over him, sounds like flatout abuse.

I’m just trying to imagine Anzu attempting to explain to Jonouchi, Honda or even Miho that her intentions with this date were to force out Yugi’s ‘other’ personality because she wants to get into that Yugi’s pants.

In the manga, some oiled up beach dude comes up to Anzu and asks if she wants to hang out with him. Anzu, seeing this as an opportunity to get the ‘other’ Yugi to defend her, screams out that he’s a pervert. Yugi does take notice, but so does a large group of people around who start beating the shit out of the guy.

And Anzu just grabs Yugi and walks away before anyone asks any questions. What the hell, Anzu?! You got some poor dude beaten up all because you’re horny and then you just bounce? The guy was kinda sleazy, sure, but he didn’t deserve to get the crap kicked out of him all because he asked if she wanted to hang out.

What I think is especially funny is, in the anime, Jonouchi hits on some women in basically the exact same manner as this guy, but gets shut down pretty badly and we’re meant to sympathize with him. So, basically, this dude was no worse than Jonouchi with girls, but it’s supposed to be okay that he gets beaten up. Okay.

In the anime, Anzu’s first approach to this was to pretend she was drowning in the pool. Yugi rushes out to save her, but, funnily enough, she’s saved by two guys in the pool, and Yugi actually ends up legitimately nearly drowning and needs to be saved by another guy. (Where are the lifeguards?)

Manga!Anzu: “After all that, I haven’t seen him.” All that what? You tried one thing.

In the anime, we catch up with the police after Anzu’s failed attempt to draw out Yami. The weather report states that it’s now 28.2 degrees, meaning the answer to the ‘quiz’ was ‘big.’

There are so many variables here. He never mentioned what specific weather report he wanted them to listen to/watch, and considering the threshold was merely a couple of decimal points, I’d say that it could have varied quite a lot between reporters depending on where they’re getting their readings and what equipment they were using. It also means the bomber had no plan for this one since he didn’t know the answer either. This was purely another guessing game. There is no way to know the answers to these ‘quizzes.’

I’m guessing since the inspector starts getting upset that he answered ‘small.’ Not that it matters anyway because the bomber calls up and says it’d be boring if they ended the game there, so he’ll give them another quiz. Thanks for wasting our time, man.

The bomber basically just straight out tells them that his next target is the largest pool in the city, which just so happens to be located at the amusement park where Yugi and Anzu are hanging out.

Hey, just thought I’d tell you, a little late, sorry, but the anime does recreate the pervert scene beat by beat at this point only with two major changes. 1) Unlike Manga!Anzu, SeasonZero!Anzu specifically says the pervert touched her in a nasty place. And 2) Remember how I compared the manga pervert to Jonouchi a bit ago?……Yeah, the ‘pervert’ in the anime is Jonouchi. She spotted him following them so she allowed him to accidentally bump into them, giving her the opportunity to act like she was getting groped so Yugi would Yami up and save her.

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Luckily, Jonouchi didn’t get beaten up by the guys who apprehended him, but seriously Anzu you should be smart enough to realize that was Jonouchi. His only ‘disguise’ was sunglasses….

I love how no one calls her out on the fact that she clearly lied about a sexual assault here. Jonouchi asks why she did that, but we get no answer before cutting away to a later shot of them walking together. She could have just told Yugi that some creepy guy was following them (Although, he’d definitely recognize Jonouchi….) or yelled out ‘creepy stalker!’ or something. But nope. Instead, she accused him of touching her in her bathing suit area. That type of accusation can land a guy in prison, Anzu. And you almost did that your good friend all because, again, you’re horny and manipulative.

As Jonouchi, Yugi and Anzu walk together, Jonouchi reveals that Honda and Miho are there too. Anzu asks why he was secretly following them and Jonouchi denies the accusation. To help tamper tensions, Yugi suggests that they all play together now since they’re together for the day. Anzu suggests….playing tag? And specifically just with her and Yugi? I get what she’s doing, I do, but even Yugi should be confused.

First off, who the hell goes to an amusement park to play tag?

Second, what 16-year-olds go to an amusement park to play tag?

Third, why would you suggest playing two player tag as a response to Yugi saying they should all do something together?

God, Anzu, your plans are so transparent and stupid.

The next part is changed in a very important way, and it’s one of the key reasons why the manga version upsets me so much. Yes, the pervert scene wasn’t the worst of Anzu in this chapter.

In the manga, Yugi and Anzu spot the police in the park and wonder why they’re there. An announcement over the PA system informs them that a dangerous item has been brought to the park and that everyone needs to evacuate immediately. Yugi thinks it’s the Card Bomber, and Anzu responds by saying “A bomber, eh?….What a thrill! This could get interesting!” And then she thinks to herself ‘This is the perfect chance to see the other Yugi.’

Jesus.

Christ.

Anzu.

People could get killed or lose limbs and your only thought is ‘Oh boy, I can use this terrorist attack to see sexy Yugi-kun!?’ Whatever drops of respect I still had for you just went down the drain into the most putrid sewer system. What the fuck is wrong with you, Anzu?

In order to enact her plan, she sneaks away from Yugi and takes a ride on the Ferris wheel. Why the Ferris wheel is still taking passengers and operating when the police are evacuating the place in response to a bomb threat, I have no clue.

Manga!Anzu: “I hope Yugi gets worried! If he does, I might meet that stranger…The other Yugi-kun….”

Back with the anime, Anzu just heads off to the Ferris wheel because she’s upset.

Anime!Anzu: “Stupid Yugi. I finally had him alone….” Yes, stupid Yugi for being unable to control our friends and suggesting we all spend the day together when I never made it clear or official that this was a date.

A bomb explodes on the Ferris wheel, but not in the car that Anzu is riding, car three. It’s only here where they finally announce that there’s a bomb in the park and they need to evacuate. Anzu reacts to the news of a bomb with shock and horror, like a normal person.

Everyone stampedes out, forcing Jonouchi and Honda with them. Yugi is left behind. He informs the police that Anzu is on the Ferris wheel. Another officer explains that there are actually three cars with people in them – one with Anzu, another with a mother and her child and yet another with a mysterious shadowed person who is totally not the bomber.

SPOILER ALERT: HE IS.

And what a stupid-ass bomber to place bombs on the very Ferris wheel on which he’s riding. Even if there isn’t one in his car, he can still easily cause the Ferris wheel to topple over and kill him.

Yami emerges, which makes Anzu ecstatic. (Congratulations, Anzu. Do you think you’ll have enough time to pleasure yourself before your car explodes?) and takes over the game for the police, who just allow it because Yami proclaims he’s really good at card games….O…kay…

Shadow Game…..Kinda

In the manga, the ‘Shadow Game’ (it’s not really a Shadow Game in this chapter, and it’s not initially in the episode, but let’s just call it that) is a game called Clock Solitaire. A deck of 52 cards (excluding the joker) is used to distribute the face-down cards into twelve piles of four cards each. The piles are arranged like the points of a clock, each representing one number that matches the numbers on the Ferris wheel. A thirteenth pile of four cards is created in the middle to represent car thirteen.

The player, Yami, will randomly choose to flip a card from a pile one by one. Whatever number is on the card that he flips over, he will set on the pile that corresponds with the point on the clock. If he flips an ace, it will go on the one pile, two on the two pile, etc. This will keep going until the piles are completed. The first pile to be completed will have the bomb on that car blow up, as demonstrated when he completes the four pile and again when he completes the eight pile.

After the first car explodes, Anzu finally realizes, holy shit, tempting fate with a bomber on the loose was a BAD IDEA?!

Yugi needs to ensure that he doesn’t complete the piles for any cars that have people in them, especially Anzu’s car, number three. Before he knows it, the three pile already has three cards on it, so he needs to win.

How do you ‘win’ this game, you might ask? Well, initially Yami explains it like this.

Manga!Yami: “There’s only one way to win this game! I have to gather all of the king cards! I started the game by drawing from that pile, so I have to finish the game by completing it!” Uhm, Yami, the bomber never said that. He never explained how to win this game at all. You’re just making a guess.

Yami IS right, but for an entirely different reason. As I already stated, the bomber is on that Ferris wheel, which is how he can see what’s going on (and, really, the only reason this is kept a secret is because the art allows this to stay secret. In reality, the police would be pretty damn suspicious of the guy in the car who keeps looking down with binoculars and talking on the phone….the one with the bomb detonator in his hands. He’s also in the car closest to the ground, so they’d be able to see roughly everything he’s doing. Why would he trap himself in there anyway? I get that he needs to be close to the action to see what cards Yugi’s flipping, but surely there’s a better way.) He can’t blow up car thirteen because he’s the one in car thirteen.

Yami wins the game, and everyone’s rescued. Before Yami walks off with Anzu, he tells the inspector to interview the guy in car thirteen since he’s obviously the bomber. Anzu happily grabs his arm and insists they continue their date….which totally wouldn’t happen.

First of all, the park is bound to be shut down for at least few days because of the TERRORIST ATTACK they just suffered. Secondly, you’re going to be a little busy making statements to the police. Third, Anzu….are you a sociopath? I was going to say that jokingly, but I really mean it. Are you?

Between the messed up stuff you did today and now going off on a date like you didn’t just survive a TERRORIST BOMBING WHILE TRAPPED ON THE FERRIS WHEEL THAT WAS BEING BOMBED, you’d think you’d maybe need a breather….maybe wish to go home? Perhaps look up one of those “therapists” I’ve been hearing about.

In the anime, the game is entirely different. The police are instructed to get a bunch of balloons of various colors. The inspector is then told to release a balloon of any color. He chooses a white balloon. For a second, everyone’s on pins and needles because the balloon catches on Anzu’s car. However, it becomes loose and floats away. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief, but car one suddenly explodes.

Also, somehow the bomb made the car look like this.

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It looks more like the car was detached, dropped off a cliff and then reattached. How would any bomb cause that kind of damage?

The bomber explains the rules – the colors of the balloons each correspond to a car. If the player can figure out which color corresponds to Anzu’s car, he wins and saves the passengers. If not, the cars will explode and the people will die.

In a very hilarious take on the police handing over the reigns to Yugi in the manga, the anime has the police just flatout saying they can’t play this game. The inspector himself says he doesn’t have the confidence. The. Confidence. You are a goddamn police inspector. You’re not confident playing a game? A game that involves solving a puzzle? Something police inspectors typically do?

I can somewhat understand being hesitant about playing the card game, even if that was purely luck, but this is an actual problem that can be solved logically. The only luck involved is potentially needing to sacrifice cars in order to make it easier to reach the solution.

Yami takes over and accepts the challenge. Anzu realizes Yugi has changed, but unlike Manga!Anzu, she’s not swamping her bikini bottom over it.

The bomber explains some more conditions. Yami has a fifteen minute time limit. If he gives the wrong answer or explodes a car with a person in it, he loses. If he doesn’t provide any answer within fifteen minutes, he’ll detonate all of the bombs.

The only information Yami has is that the white balloon corresponded to car one. All of the cars are identical in color both inside and out, they’re not known by any other names outside of their given numbers, and they’re all the same shape.

The bomber decides to throw Yami a bone. Knowing he needs more to go on, he suggests releasing the yellow balloon. He promises that the balloon does not correspond to a car containing any passengers. The inspector doesn’t believe him, but Yami does, citing that the bomber enjoys his games too much to purposely end it here.

Yami releases the yellow balloon, and, in response, car ten blows up.

He can’t reach a conclusion based on only two answers. Half of his time is already eaten up. The bomber is getting bored, so he suggests releasing another balloon – this time pink. Yami asks if the pink balloon is safe to release, but the bomber refuses to give anymore hints, meaning Yami will have to gamble more than he did before. The bomber threatens to blow up a car with a passenger if he doesn’t release the pink balloon soon. Yami, realizing the bomber still desperately wants to enjoy his game, decides to release the pink balloon.

Car four blows up.

Also, it seems like someone phoenix down’d car one in this shot.

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Yami keeps looking at his watch, keeping an eye on his time limit. Suddenly, he comes to a revelation. The Ferris wheel is mirroring a clock. The way the numbers correspond to colors is by use of a flower clock. I have no clue what a flower clock is. I tried looking it up, but all I found, predictably enough, were images of either clocks with flowers on them or clocks made in gardens. I don’t know why either would be in an amusement park. When we see the flower clock, it’s a giant clock on the ground that has different colors for each hour of the day. I have no clue what flowers have to do with it.

The park staff member doesn’t know what color corresponds with the number three on the clock, so they have no choice but to go to the clock and see for themselves. It will take two minutes to run there, but they only have one minute. Yami spots a drop tower nearby and heads off to ride that to get an aerial view of the clock. It somehow starts the second Yami sits in it. Are these rides all sentient? What is happening? There shouldn’t be anyone manning this ride and no one was running ahead of him.

Yami spots the clock and finds the color for three – blue.

He’s wrong, and Anzu blows up.

Oh fine, you never let me have my fun.

He’s right, but they’re not done. Yami decides to make him play his game now. He’ll specify where the bombs are and the bomber has to guess. Also, Yami’s kinda just stuck on the tower drop ride?

The bomber likes Yami and games so much that he agrees.

Yami says the hint balloon he’s symbolically releasing is white. The bomber states that the number is one since they’ve already gone over that. Yami says he’s wrong because now they entered into evening time on a 24 hour clock. The white balloon would actually correspond to the number thirteen, as in thirteen o’clock. Yami deduces the same thing he deduced in the manga, that the bomber had a clear view of both him and the Ferris wheel, but the entire park had been evacuated. The only number that doesn’t exist on a traditional analog clock is thirteen.

Yami tells him to blow up car thirteen if he is really wrong. The bomber claims he is wrong and that he’ll blow up car three in retaliation. Surprisingly, Yami tells him that he won’t have time to detonate car three (Also, looking at the detonator, how is he even specifying the cars? It’s literally two buttons.) because thirteen will blow up before he has a chance to push the button.

The bomber laughs, claiming there is no bomb on car thirteen, but scary-ass!Yami educates him a little and claims there is indeed a bomb. He amplifies the sound of his ticking watch over the phone to make the bomber paranoid. Then he implements his punishment game by making the bomber hallucinate a bomb in the car. Despite the fact that he can just try to throw the fake bomb out the window, he instead decides to bust open the door and risk falling to his death.

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He falls through a concession stand and is alive, but holy fuck Yami! You could’ve killed that guy! I saw the far shot of the Ferris wheel. Car thirteen was up so high it was near the top of the tree line. Yami’s no stranger to nearly killing people, and, in the manga, he canonically has killed people, but wow.

Unlike in the manga where Yami sticks around and Anzu gets to happily finish her date with him, Yami reverts back to what Anzu refers to as ‘usual’ Yugi, which upsets her a little. She then asks “What happened to the cool Yugi from earlier?”…out loud….to ‘usual’ Yugi.

Jonouchi, Honda and Miho reunite with them, which also wouldn’t happen because this place is a terrorist crime scene with a bombed Ferris wheel right there. Anzu is still annoyed that Yami isn’t around, but she’s happy she was able to see him and Yugi’s happy because he’s a precious marshmallow who deserves way better than this bimbo.

————————————–

In regards to the manga chapter, I kinda hate it. Everything with Anzu is terrible because she’s a terrible person. The game was boring and based entirely on luck. And I hate that Anzu ends up getting her dream date with Yami in the end. Screw that noise.

The only good points in the manga were that there were some funny moments and expressions, and most of those were reflected in the anime.

The anime episode, in my opinion, is a million times better than the manga chapter. Sure, there was still a decent degree of Anzu being horrible, but she was more tolerable and acted more understandably than her manga counterpart, and she didn’t end up on a date with Yami in the end. Jonouchi, Honda and Miho had absolutely 100% no purpose in being here. I can’t remember the last time they felt so shoehorned into an episode. I can tune those spots out, though.

The real highlight is in just how much better the anime’s Shadow Game is compared to the manga’s. The manga’s game was based entirely on luck and never became an actual Shadow Game. The anime’s game was pretty well-crafted. Even though the connection to the clock and the flower clock was never really set up very well, it was one of the most intense Shadow Games I’ve watched throughout the series. Not only that, but it ended on an awesome Shadow Game/punishment game where a really scary Yami nearly straight-up murdered a man. I love how he pulled a switcheroo on him and challenged the bomber to his exact same game and beat him. Such a badass move.

Only negative points in the bomber story for the anime are that the ‘Big or small’ ‘quizzes’ were stupid and based entirely on luck. For a guy who Yami deemed as basically being obsessed with games, he’s certainly not good at making them. Those moments were also complete wastes of time, but they did set the tone, so I don’t mind much.

Winner: Anime

Next three episodes are, as far as I can tell, not mirrors of the manga so we’ll have some placeholders to deal with for a bit.

Specifically, the next episode is about…..*sigh* Anzu being jealous that a new girl is giving Yugi attention. Oh boy. More Anzu goodness. Is it my birthday or did the gates of hell open?


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Episode One-Derland | Erased

Plot: Satoru is a 29-year-old who seems more bothered by life than anything. He has a job as a pizza delivery boy and doesn’t have many people he would consider friends. However, one thing makes his life extraordinary – the power of what he calls ‘revival.’ Every now and then, Satoru will suddenly be jolted back in time about one to five minutes in order to stop something terrible from happening. Problem is, he usually doesn’t know what it is he’s stopping or what to look for. All he knows is that something is ‘off’ on the replay of events after he goes back in time. He has saved numerous people this way, but it’s just another thing he lives with.

One day, Satoru’s mother is mysteriously murdered in his apartment by a man who seemingly has ties to the murder of a young girl back when Satoru was a child. Satoru, locked in a panicked state at the sight of his murdered mother, runs away from the police when they try to question him. As he runs, he triggers another revival, only this time he goes back much further than one to five minutes. He goes all the way back to 1988, when he was a child, seemingly propelled back to find the one who will murder the young girl, save her and hopefully save his mother in the process.

Breakdown: I was very sick, tired and medicine’d when I first started watching this, so I didn’t watch as closely as I would normally, but I still very much enjoyed this first episode. The concept of time travel is always kinda iffy, though. I didn’t think I’d be bothered since he travels in such short bursts, but now that he’s traveled back around twenty years, I think I’ll become a bit more confused. Hopefully, they’ll be able to handle it well.

As a first episode, they do a good job setting up the world, story and characters. Satoru’s power is kinda introduced out of nowhere, but we’re given a sample of it in such a way that it had a point and allowed for some development with other characters.

The characters are fairly interesting. I really liked Satoru’s mom, even if it is really weird that this 50+ year old woman looks like she’s in her mid 20s at most. I also liked Satoru’s young co-worker, Airi, even if I find it a little weird that it seems like they might be setting up a romance between Satoru and Airi considering she’s in high school and he’s nearly my age.

Satoru himself is rather lackadaisical, but he’s not a bad person. He always tries his best to save whomever he’s supposed to save when these revivals happen. He just also happens to be rather closed off and abrasive.

I really like this murder mystery we have on our hands here. The fact that someone seemingly innocent was framed for the murder is also really intense. I’m very intrigued to see where this mystery ends up.

Verdict:

Continue Yes

I’ve heard some pretty good things about this show before I checked it out, and now that I have gotten a taste I am very much looking forward to the rest.

Note: I wrote this quite a while back. It somehow got filed on my computer as something I’ve already posted. And, being honest, I really did think I really did think I had posted it, but I can’t find it. I’m posting now just for completion’s sake. Since then I have watched and written a review of the rest of the series that will be posted in the near future.


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My Poke-Pinions | #052-053 (863) The Meow Line

Meowth

Name: Meowth is a combination of ‘meow’ and either ‘mouth’ which doesn’t make sense to me, or ‘wealth’ which makes a lot more sense to me. It’s also possible that they based Meowth’s name partially on its Japanese name, which is Nyasu or Nyarth, just replacing the Japanese sound for a cat’s cry, ‘nya’ with a more westernly common onomatopoeia, ‘meow.’

I like Meowth’s name just fine, it’s fitting and cute. While I also like Nyasu just fine, I find its Japanese name to be frustrating because almost no one can agree on whether it’s supposed to be Nyasu or Nyarth. The last hiragana in the name is for ‘su’ but so many sources choose to call it Nyarth, including Bulbapedia. I tend to call it Nyasu, but I feel like people who claim that’s wrong are not really incorrect in claiming so.

The explanation for the tail end of Nyasu’s name, that I can’t really understand, is that it “may” be meant to reference ‘shamu’ just with the syllables switched (Which would be musha, I think? But it doesn’t say that) and that, together, it literally makes Myasu, which I can’t understand at all, and that shamu/musha is really referencing Siam in regards to Siamese cats.

Look, I have no idea. All I know is that Meowth’s Japanese name is really frustratingly confusing.

Design: I find Meowth to be really cute, even with years of overexposure. It’s just a cat with a coin on its head, but it’s a cute cat with a coin on its head. Really, the coin does so much more for Meowth’s design than anyone would probably think. It’s just one feature, but it stands out so much that it’s a trademark.

I do have to say that, oddly, Meowth looks a little awkward when on four legs. Maybe it’s just because I’m used to seeing Team Rocket’s Meowth (though, to be fair, most Meowth are depicted as being on their hind legs now) but it’s still weird.

Most of the sprites for Meowth are varying degrees of really cute. R/G is a bit weird, though, because they were leaning more heavily towards the Maneki-neko inspiration, and he winds up looking like a toy or a statue.

Absolutely love the wink in Crystal’s animation.

Emerald is still cute, but the twitch is a little off-putting.

They actually managed to make Meowth look threatening in D/P/P.

Although he’s back to adorable in HG/SS.

Gen V’s animation is really funny to me. It’s like when a little kid is pretending they know karate.

Admittedly, Gen VI and beyond look really, really creepy when not animated, because it just has dead eyes.

Alolan Meowth

Alolan Meowth looks….okay. I really don’t have much to say about it at all, either good nor bad. It’s a nice steel gray color, the eye shape is nice….It’s fine. I think its posing and whiskers are a bit weird, but otherwise it’s okay.

Gigantamax Meowth

Okay, when I first saw this image way back when it was first released, I thought this was super dumb. They just super-stretched out a Meowth, added some stuff near its face and called it a day. But now that I’m really looking at it, I think it’s actually pretty cool. It definitely gives off the air like it’s this crazy supernatural giant malformed version of a Meowth, and I love the shadows on the top with the smoke clouds and the glowing eyes.

Galarian Meowth

What the hell is this thing? It looks like Taz from Looney Tunes fused with a Meowth. Also, I don’t care for the black coin. The coin is what makes Meowth Meowth. Turning it black just makes it look like some weird thing on its head. I get why its black, but I don’t care for it being black. I had to double take because this just doesn’t look like a Meowth. It has some Meowth-esque features, but this isn’t a Meowth to me.

Shiny:

Eeehhhhhhh this shiny needs work. It’s half lazy in that it’s mostly just a darkened Meowth, but the brown parts are replaced with this bubblegum pink color, and I don’t think it works at all. If you’re going to change something so drastically, I feel like you have to change the rest drastically in order to fit. Beige and brown to a slightly darker beige and bubblegum pink is just awkward.

Admittedly, the Gen II shiny sprites look the best because the pink is more of a magenta or purple-ish color, but it definitely wouldn’t be my first choice of shiny for Meowth. It needs a shiny rework.

Shiny Alolan Meowth looks fairly good. It’s a darker steel blue-like color with purple where the white was. The only part I don’t care for is the ears. I don’t know why they opted for an olive-green color where the black was. It doesn’t match very well, if you ask me.

Shiny Gigantamax Meowth didn’t look any different to me upon first glance because it has a hot pink aura around it, but it’s the same shiny scheme as regular shiny Meowth – darker beige with pink, which is disappointing.

Shiny Galarian Meowth is strange. It has the base fur color of Meowth with white eyes, so it looks a lot more like it’s a Meowth form than the normal Galarian Meowth does. I don’t know how I feel about that, but, for the record, I like the shiny version better than the original.

Dex Entries and Backstory: The Dex entries can’t seem to decide if it’s round or shiny things that Meowth loves most as it goes back and forth claiming it’s obsessed with one or the other. Meowth will spend most of its day sleeping while it roams the streets of cities at night looking for coins, which it pursues either because they’re round or because they’re shiny (or both?) Like a normal cat, it has retractable claws, and it typically retracts them to be more sneaky when wandering the streets. In later Gens, Meowth are noted to get into fights with Murkrow over shiny objects. You can make friends easily with Meowth by giving them coins, but Meowth, being cats, are so fickle that friendships made this way typically don’t last.

In regards to design, I’ve already touched upon the fact that Meowth are based on the Japanese legend of Maneki-Neko, which you’re probably familiar with even if you don’t know many Japanese legends. They’re those little cat statues that you see even in some western shops with the big koban coins on their collars, which is where Meowth gets the big coin on its head. They’re very common in Japanese businesses because they’re meant to beckon people into their establishments to buy things, and they’re said to bring good fortune.

Meowth are seemingly based on Siamese cats in regards to style and coloring, but the Wiki also states that the original Japanese classification, Bakeneko, implies that it’s based on the, well, bakeneko legend. There is way too much involving the various legends of bakeneko for me to cover here, so let’s just leave it at them being supernatural, ghost or yokai cats.

Like some other Pokemon, Alolan Meowth didn’t originate in Alola but instead came to be when normal Meowth were brought to the region.

They’re assholes.

That is the majority of what I gleamed from its Dex entries. They’re selfish, fickle, quick to fly into a rage if their pride is wounded or their coin is dirtied, they’re very spoiled because they used to live with royalty, they’re ruthless in battle, cunning, incredibly proud and “famously difficult to handle.”

There’s no information on what Alolan Meowth may be based on in terms of either origins or design.

There’s not a lot of information on Gigantamax Meowth outside of its two Dex entries in Gen VIII where the entry for Shield is SUPER informative and helpful by basically saying ‘A Meowth that has grown larger thanks to Gigantamax power.’

And Sword, which states that the symbol on its coin is said to hold the secrets to the Dynamax phenomenon, but why they think that isn’t mentioned.

Apparently, and this makes no sense to me, Galarian Meowth are Meowth who spent so much time with savage seafaring people that parts of their body started turning to iron (???) The coin on its head has also hardened and became black. It’s said that the harder and darker the coin is, the more respect it gets from other Galarian Meowth. They’re meant to be based on Norwegian Forest Cats, which, honestly, don’t look any different from a typical cat to me, and DEFINITELY don’t look anything like this mess. They do have beard-like poofs in their fur, which I guess may be reflected in Galarian Meowth, but that was also said to be more referencing the fact that they were most commonly owned by vikings. The Wiki doesn’t say this, but I assume that’s also why Galarian Meowth has its fur shaped into tiny horns on the top of its head, like the stereotypical (and historically incorrect) viking helmets? I dunno.

Persian

Name: Persian’s name is strange. It’s very fitting and slick, but you’d think it’d be spelled Purrsian or something, to fit in with the cat sounds theme of Meowth, but it’s not – it’s just the word ‘Persian.’ It makes the name come off like it’s uncreative, and additionally makes no sense because Persian is referencing Persia, which shouldn’t exist in the Pokemon world.

Also, believe it or not, the Japanese name is exactly the same.

Fun Fact: In Germany, it’s called Snobilikat, which is a combination of ‘snob’, ‘nobilis’ which is Latin for ‘noble’ and ‘katze’ which German for ‘cat.’ I think that’s an absolutely amazing name on all fronts.

Design: Persian looks fine. It’s both cute and threatening-looking, but as a Pokemon it is very plain, even moreso than Meowth. It’s just a big beige feline. If Persian existed in real life, it wouldn’t seem out of place among normal animals, outside of the little jewel. It does bother me that Meowth lost its coin upon evolution (Where did it go?) and got this little red jewel that has no explanation.

Sprite-wise, I don’t really have any notes for any Gen. All of the sprites, even early Gens, look fine. They’re either cute or threatening or both.

Alolan Persian

Oh god, here we go. What is this ugly-ass thing? It looks exactly like a gray Persian had an allergic reaction and desperately needs an epi-pen. Admittedly, its head shape does make it look more connected to Meowth, but that doesn’t mean it makes the design any better. It is awful. If I saw this thing, I’d take to the vet because it obviously has some sort of glandular issue in its face.

Also, its jewel is now blue for some reason.

Galarian Persian

Doesn’t exist. I’ll get to that in a little while…..

Shiny:

It’s the same as shiny Meowth only much lazier. It’s slightly lighter instead of darker, and the only pink area is in the ears……ya know….where pink commonly is on any animal. It’s really hard to tell the difference between normal and shiny Persian. You really need to sit for a second and basically ‘spot the difference’ it.

Shiny Alolan Persian is exactly the same as shiny Alolan Meowth.

Dex Entries and Backstory: It’s a very sophisticated and beautiful Pokemon much sought-after as a pet, especially for rich people, because of its shiny fur and sparkling/glowing forehead jewel, but it’s also noted as being notoriously difficult to keep as a pet because it will attack for literally no reason and is particularly vicious, even to its owners. It will attack anyone who looks it in the eye. It’s also so prideful and snooty that it’s even more difficult to make friends with a Persian than with a Meowth.

Fans of Persian do apparently discuss the size of a Persian’s jewel a lot, which…..I dunno how much mileage you’d get out of those conversations.

“That Persian’s jewel is quite big.”

“Yes, quite.”

“That Persian’s jewel is not quite as big.”

“No, not quite.”

Sadly, Persian are also hunted for their jewels.

Its whiskers are very sensitive, and they use the air movement around their whiskers to sense things in the environment. Oddly, it’s also noted that yanking on a Persian’s whiskers makes it docile. I’d think that’d make it super pissed, but okay. It will also stick its tail straight up when it’s about to attack.

Finally, Persian’s temperament puts it at direct odds with Perrserker, which, again, we’ll talk about in a bit.

In terms of design, Persian was based off of Persian leopards and other large felines, with its facial features being attributed to Siamese cats. The Wiki says the jewel is meant to resemble a Carbuncle, and I implore you to not Google image search that word without ‘jewel’ or ‘legend’ with the search keywords.

Alolan Persian are assholes.

I’m not kidding. It’s basically the same stuff as Alolan Meowth only worse because Alolan Persian will have fun trying to kill you in addition to being a snotty prick. It will fight dirty and brutally tortures its weak prey instead of finishing it off……Wow.

What’s especially funny is that you can only get an Alolan Meowth to evolve to Alolan Persian by leveling it up with high friendship…..

Its ugly-ass round head is by design. It’s said that the round face is a symbol of wealth and prosperity in Alola – the bigger and rounder the face the better. It also has an amazingly silky and beautiful coat, making it a favorite Pokemon in high-class environments.

Design-wise, the Wiki states that Alolan Persian was likely based on British Shorthairs, which were bred in such a manner than they developed trademark round faces, and its coloring both in fur and jewel may be based specifically on the British Blue type of British Shorthair…….And then it also states that maybe it has a big head because it’s a visual pun on the term ‘big-headed,’ as in egotistical, which made me chuckle. “Ah, yes, the elegant Alolan Persian is likely based off of this beautiful British breed of cat that is highly regarded and popular……or it just has a fat head, I dunno.”

What I find funny about the British Shorthair connection is that their Wiki page specifically says those cats are easygoing, extremely sweet and devoted to their owners, which is the exact opposite of what they’re saying about Alolan Persian. Although, interestingly, when the popularity of British Shorthairs were waning in the early 1900s, they started breeding them with the more popular Persians, creating the British Longhairs.

Perrserker

I had no idea how to list this because, technically, it’s not a new Meowth evolution nor is it a different form of Persian. It’s a new evolution purely for the Galarian version of Meowth only. Why they didn’t just have Galarian Persian, I have no idea. Soooo….Uhm….enjoy this awkwardly placed entry for Perrserker….

Name: Honestly, I like Perrserker’s name. It’s a mixture of ‘purr’ or ‘Persian’ and ‘berserker.’ I always thought the word ‘berserker’ was really awesome, which makes me kinda bummed that it’s reserved for…..this. It also frustrates me that they add the extra ‘r’ but don’t spell it ‘Purrserker.’ It’s right there. Just make it say ‘purr.’

Its Japanese name is Nyaking, which supposed to be a mixture of ‘nya’ and ‘viking’ or ‘king.’ I get the viking thing, but without the ‘vi’ part, people are just going to assume it’s ‘king.’

Fun Fact: In Germany, it’s known as Mauzinger, which not only makes me think of Mazinger Z, but is also really cool because it’s just the German version of the Japanese name as in it’s ‘mauzen’ which is the German onomatopoeia for cat sounds, and ‘wikinger’ which is German for ‘viking.’

Design: Ew.

I don’t even feel like elaborating.

Just ew.

This is…no. There’s nothing right about this Pokemon, except maybe its goofy-ass expression. It looks awful, and why this is related in the slightest to the Meowth line baffles me immensely. It doesn’t even look like a cat anymore. Does it even have ears? What is that weird huge tail? That’s not even a coin on its head anymore. It’s just some weird bulge that comes to a coin-shaped end. Ugh, go away.

Shiny:

Ew.

It’s YELLOW.

It’s not even beige like Meowth and Persian. It’s just straight yellow where the brown was. The brown was ugly enough, but the shiny makes it super ugly. Ew.

Dex Entries and Backstory: It has hair oddly shaped like a viking helmet, it’s even hardened to a metal-like consistency, but it’s still just hair. Ew. Perrserker lives for battle, and can even turn its claws into daggers, which are really the only cool thing about it.

Perrserker has a very scattered design explanation. It is obviously based on vikings, even moreso than Galarian Meowth was, and its name and behavior are based on berserkers of Norse legend. I have no idea why because, while berserkers had several animal variants, none of them were feline in nature. There were bears, wolves and boars – no felines of any kind. Perrserker may also be based on Freya’s cats, Bygul and Trjegul. Bygul means ‘honey’ while Trjegul means ‘amber’ which is supposedly the explanation behind the colors of the normal and shiny versions of Perrserker, but I don’t particularly believe that. Maybe honey for the shiny, maybe, but amber for the normal? No. It’s not orange at all. It’s brown. Being fair, not only are these names not technically accurate because the legends never gave the cats names (Any names listed were made up by writers years later) but also the cats were supposedly blue or gray in color, which means their names didn’t make any sense for them either.

Its Steel typing is meant to be because of the iron vikings commonly used in their helmets and weapons, which…okay? I really don’t understand how new Pokemon species come into existence if shit like this happens. Vulpix becoming an Ice type because it suddenly had to live in snowy mountains, fine. But because a bunch of Meowth spent a few hundred years with vikings, suddenly they not only change their base appearance entirely, but they evolve into a completely different Pokemon than they evolved into before, have beard-like fur and their hair hardens into a metal-like substance that forms a stereotypical viking helmet?

Finally, Bulbapedia states that its weird grin could be based off of the Cheshire Cat……..the hell? What does that have to do with vikings or Norse mythology or anything? This Pokemon is so confusing. Honestly, I don’t get why the Alolan or the Galarian Meowth/Persian and Perrserker exist. They don’t add anything interesting to the lore nor do they have any really interesting features just as standalone Pokemon, and most of them are fugly.

Meowth wound up getting more forms than Pikachu, and that’s really friggin’ weird. It got an entirely new evolution and everything. I wonder if they don’t like changing too much with Pikachu because they’re worried about backlash. I mean, they created Alolan Raichu without an Alolan Pikachu or Pichu, and that’s even more confusing. These new forms are confusing as a whole, but the more I learn about them the more confused I get.

——————————————-

And that was the Meow line. I honestly didn’t realize what a rabbit hole this was until it was too late. I’m still confused on why Meowth has so many forms. The only form it didn’t get was a Mega form, and that’s kinda offset by having a Gigantamax form.

Next time, we’ll have an easier time with the ‘duck line!

Previous – The Dig Line


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 25 – Yuzuki Review

HGTVEP25

Plot: The truth has finally been revealed to a distraught Yuzuki – she died when she was a child and everything she’s been experiencing over the past year has been nothing but an illusion. When she learns the truth of her death, she has to decide whether or not to take up the mantle of Hell Girl.

Breakdown: As much as I’ve been ragging on Yuzuki, and as much as I didn’t care for the previous episode, I still held out hope that the reveal behind Yuzuki’s true backstory would be serviceable. I had little hope it would be so good that it would be worth all of the episodes of Yuzuki being a bland sack of drywall dust, but from all I heard about this season I did hold out hope that her story would be alright. Fully bracing for mediocrity, I watched.

And my response was….

I have been trying really, really hard to not lose my temper when writing reviews lately because it tends to make me come off as unfair and grumpy. Well, I’m not worried about that right now, so I’m letting ranty!Twix have a moment out of her cage today, because fuck this, this is brain-bleedingly stupid, fuck this, why, why, why? 25 episodes….for THIS? No, fuck you, Hell Girl: Three Vessels. I’d rather have a full 26 episode run without any main storyline than this steaming heap of garbage.

I had to pause the episode at least three times to exclaim out loud how stupid all of this was. This is next level stupid. How anyone thought Yuzuki’s story was anything but insanely poorly written and purposefully exaggerated to ridiculous levels does not compute with me. It just doesn’t.

Okay….backing up and calming down a tad. Obviously, we have to establish why Yuzuki is considered a replacement for Ai as Hell Girl. She needs to have some sort of deep vendetta or something that would make her a proper candidate, right?

What could such a young girl have gone through to have this vendetta?

Yuzuki’s family life was very normal when she was young. In fact, it was pretty much unrealistically Full House brand saccharine. So, this being Hell Girl, of course things have to go horribly wrong.

HGTVEP25SCREEN1

Yuzuki’s father was a bus driver. One day, the brakes went out, causing him to t-bone another bus. He lost his life in the crash, and at least one other person was confirmed to have died as well. We never get confirmation on how many people died or were injured in the crash, but Yuzuki’s father and some girl or woman died.

The bus company completely denied that their bus had suffered from any malfunction or that they were at fault at all. They wouldn’t place any blame on the driver either, but they didn’t say it wasn’t him, so everyone just assumed that Yuzuki’s father was to blame for the crash, which is dumb because several reporters stated that some of the survivors from the bus asserted that the driver said the brakes failed right before they crashed.

Apparently, in this ridiculous version of the world, everyone completely believes the official statement of a bus company who would obviously rather – prepare for an awesome joke – throw one of their drivers under the bus rather than accept any responsibility for a fatal crash. And not a one of them would want to believe the survivors who know firsthand what happened when they were there and witnessed it.

Why wouldn’t there be an official police investigation into this? The only investigation that was cited was the internal one the bus company ran.

Everyone also acts as if he crashed the bus on purpose or something, calling him a murderer and such, which makes absolutely no sense because no one ever presented any theory as to why he’d ever do such a thing on purpose. He wasn’t suicidal, he was a great guy as far as I saw, and I’m certain plenty of people would vouch for him, but nope. Just grr, this awful bus driver man who fucking DIED in the accident and left behind an ailing wife and young child is a monster who obviously crashed the bus with malice.

In any other situation, people would probably have a lot of sympathy for the driver’s family at least. It was a terrible accident that they had nothing to do with. There’s no reason for them to suffer for any of thi—‘Fuck you, viewer!’ says the writers.

It’s time to put the patented Hell Girl ‘people are nothing but evil stupid shitbags’ writing into….

For some reason I still cannot wrap my head around, everyone, and I do mean everyone, starts to treat Yuzuki and her mother like they’re monsters – as if they’re the ones who crashed the bus and did it completely on purpose. As if they all lost precious loved ones in the accident while Yuzuki and her mother laughed maniacally from the street corner while pissing on a pile of everyone’s family heirlooms.

It’s not just the adults either. All of the children in Yuzuki’s school avoid her or write ‘Murderer, disappear’ on the chalkboard because of the terrible things their parents told them about her, which, again, I can’t imagine what they could possibly be saying. ‘I don’t want you associating with that Yuzuki girl again. She’s somehow responsible by proxy for a terrible bus accident her now dead father caused, I think.’

Really, even if Yuzuki’s dad did cause the accident on purpose, which is a HUGE stretch with absolutely no evidence – even it being his fault at all holds little water because of the witnesses – isn’t it enough punishment that he died in the accident? Isn’t it bad enough that Yuzuki lost a father and her mother lost her husband? Why would any of these people, let alone ALL OF THEM be such malicious, horrible scumbags that they’d torment Yuzuki and her mother like this?

I haven’t even scratched the surface of how overblown this behavior is.

It’s not just whispers and people being rude, oh no. They plaster her apartment door with papers that say various horrible things like “God of death,” “Murderer,” “Leave,” “Fall to hell,” “Die,” and “Disappear.”

HGTVEP25SCREEN2

An employee/co-owner at the local grocery store not only doesn’t want to sell food to Yuzuki, but she detests that her co-owner, who was childhood friends with Yuzuki’s mother, decided to hire her since they were low on money after the death of Yuzuki’s father (It’s mentioned that Yuzuki’s mother was offered money by the bus company, probably to decrease the chances that she’d sue them, but she refused it.) She even knows that she’s ill, but that only makes her hate the decision more because she can’t do as much work while sick even though she’s trying her best.

I’m still not done. That same childhood friend decided that while Yuzuki’s mother, the one who just lost her husband in a terrible bus accident like not even a month prior, is having a terrible coughing fit (spoiler alert, she’s dying) would be a great time to hit on her, but she rejected his advances and ran off. She said she quit after that, but it’s moreso implied that the guy fired her for it because he’s super pissed the next time he sees Yuzuki and won’t even let her buy food at the store….

Yuzuki’s mom tries to solicit help from their relatives, but each one turns them down. Seemingly for the same reasons as everyone else, so apparently this condemnation is so terrible even family is turning their backs on them. Lovely.

But, hm, how can we go even further with this? How can we assure the audience that all human beings are complete and total irredeemable rotten monsters?

Ah, yes. How about when Yuzuki’s mom gets deathly ill no doctor will see her. I am not kidding. Yuzuki’s mom is turned away at every local hospital and doctor’s office all because of this moronic bus accident bullshit. I paused for several minutes and yelled at my computer screen when I saw this. NO ONE WOULD BE THIS TERRIBLE FOR SUCH RIDICULOUS REASONS, LET ALONE AN ENTIRE TOWN.

Compare this story with that of Ai or Takuma. Ai was treated as a monster because of rumors involving her having weird powers, and because she was seemingly the cause of much suffering in her village for escaping the Seven Sending ritual that was meant to bring prosperity to them. Takuma was framed for the murder of his mother and putting his father into a coma while also being blamed for every Hell Girl incident in his town and everyone accusing him of being a devil child who wrecks stuff and flippantly kills animals.

Yuzuki was the daughter of a bus driver who got into an accident that killed an only confirmed two people, one of which being some no-name no-face person that no one ever references outside of her parents when she initially died, the other of which being himself. Nothing else happened. And yet they’re being treated WORSE than Takuma was. Yes, I’m not kidding. Because at least Takuma’s father was able to get medical treatment, and Takuma was fully allowed to visit him. At least Takuma was able to go out and buy things. At least Takuma had a few people who were willing to try and clear his name. And Takuma’s case was so unreal and ridiculous that I made a running joke about how ludicrous it was becoming.

And Takuma’s town full of horrible people did have some modicum of legitimate reasoning to hate and fear Takuma, considering everyone was convinced he was both a parent murderer and a demon with the power to make anyone he wants vanish. It was only the circumstances revolving around why the evidence for these assumptions initially kept piling up that was convoluted. He was ‘coincidentally’ put in the middle of so much shit that it was insane. Once the wheels were in motion, everyone just kept abusing the ‘Takuma did it’ excuse for friggin’ everything awful, particularly Hell Girl vanishings, that realistic (for the most part) mob mentally set in rather violently.

In addition, both Takuma and Ai were directly the targets of the ire of their respective villages/towns. Yuzuki and her mother are merely related to the target of everyone’s hatred here.

Literally NO ONE will stand up for Yuzuki and her mother – not even the survivors of the crash who went on record saying it was a brake failure will come out of the woodwork. Yuzuki’s mother is dying in front of everyone, and no one will give a single shit – not even doctors in hospitals. Even mass murderers would be able to find medical treatment because doctors have a duty to treat people who are sick and injured, even if they don’t like them or are the worst scum in the world.

Yuzuki is running around town in a panic when her mother collapses after coughing up a bunch of blood, desperately trying to find her help, but no one will listen. They either turn her away or ignore her, saying, and I quote “Children’s problems are negligible.” “Making such a big fuss. She probably has a cold or something.” Granted, I have no idea why Yuzuki doesn’t just call for an ambulance, but knowing this backwards-ass episode, the operator would probably be like “Oh, you’re the kid of the evil bus driver. Yeah, your mom can go die. Call us when she croaks. We’ll have a pizza party. Without you, of course. I hope you die too.” *hangs up*

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Yuzuki’s mom is literally hobbling down the street, supported by her like four-year-old daughter, she’s pale with dark circles under her eyes and may as well have a giant neon sign over her head that says “I’m going to take a dirt nap soon.” and everyone just stares at her with sheer hatred in their eyes.

This story might be made a bit better if Yuzuki’s father survived the crash, but wound up permanently injured or disabled because of the wreck, and he grew hateful and bitter because of both his injuries and how no one would believe that he didn’t cause the wreck. And many more people died in the accident, like practically everyone in both buses, and he was one of the few survivors. Everyone would start treating Yuzuki and her mom like crap too for their association with him. Yuzuki’s father would become so far gone that he wouldn’t care about Yuzuki or his sick wife anymore. Maybe, and this is going a bit far, admittedly, Yuzuki’s mom would die out of nowhere because she hid the severity of her illness to not worry Yuzuki or bother her husband. And then, fed up with everything, Yuzuki, who’d I’d imagine as being slightly older in this scenario, would kill her father because he was the cause of everything, and then she’d somehow get some revenge on the people in town who made the situation a million times worse.

This is coming from a place of a genuine desire to help this story be better, by the way, because there is really a good deal of potential in Hell Girl, especially for something like finding Ai’s replacement, but this is just ridiculous. This entire town would run laps around Takuma’s town in regards to being overly evil and ‘we ran an x-ray and we’re afraid there’s literally nothing in your skull’ levels of stupid. I’m not a great writer either, and this suggestion isn’t even that good to be honest, but it’s really all I could come up with while still keeping the bare bones of what they gave us. If I want to be honest, Yuzuki’s story probably needed to be scrapped and just rewritten from the ground up.

Anyway, at the very end of their ropes, and with Yuzuki’s mother clearly at death’s door, Yuzuki’s mother decides to bring Yuzuki to an old rickety shrine where she plans on mercy killing Yuzuki via strangulation before she dies herself. She’s stopped before her hand even reaches Yuzuki’s throat by the sounds of some passing teenagers who pray at the shrine briefly. Almost immediately after they leave, Yuzuki’s mother dies.

Yuzuki buries her in cherry blossoms under a cherry tree. Her eyes turn red, which lead me to believe that she was about to go kill someone or, I dunno, burn her whole town down or something. It would’ve been way too much for a little kid to do, but it’s not anymore unrealistic than anything else in this episode.

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……Nope.

She gets the red vengeance eyes and then goes home to clutch her teddy bear and…..die. Of what, I don’t know. I assume dehydration or starvation or something. She didn’t look like she was dying or was ill when she left, but she just falls asleep on her bear and never gets up. Her corpse is seriously as Ai and the others presented to her. She is just a pile of bones on a teddy bear, which only adds to the confusion of this episode.

So no one thought to check up on Yuzuki? No one ever went back into that apartment? No one ever smelled the stench of dead child?

Back in the present, Yuzuki, whose form also confuses me because I don’t understand why she’s a teenager if she died as a small child, willingly accepts her role as Hell Girl now that she remembers her horribly written tragic backstory. No argument, no nothing, she just accepts her role with open arms.

Also, her assistant is now Akie, who I guess is seriously in hell, which I guess means that the series DID happen….somehow? But they weren’t really friends as teenagers because Yuzuki died as a child? There was a brief scene where the young Yuzuki ‘met’ young Akie, but all that happened was Akie passed by her, gave her a candy and left. She never even introduced herself. So….I don’t really get why Akie is considered so precious to her outside of being the one person who showed her a slight bit of kindness while everyone was being a freshly baked pan of frosted bastards.

Isn’t Akie really confused right now? Like, ‘Wait, who are you? Why am I serving you? I met you for 11 seconds as a little kid and gave you a candy? What?’

Yuzuki’s whole present-day situation is extremely confusing to me. So she left this world full of hatred with a desire for vengeance, if her red eyes were any indication, and she supposedly didn’t pass on to either heaven or hell because she was wandering in this realm because of those dark feelings, if Tsugumi is to be believed….So Ai and the others prepped her for being the next Hell Girl by aging her up and allowing her to live a mostly happy-ish life with good friends that she never had before in addition to having her mom and dad still be alive and speaking to her, just not physically there, while also briefly having her skim by most of the clients they had in the interim, hopelessly “trying” to stop them or maybe not it depends, with her one major moment of slipping in this illusion being witnessing Akie get sent to hell, and all of that really just made her vehement AGAINST Hell Correspondence. Did they even know ahead of time that Akie would be sent to hell? Was that part of the plan? What exactly was the goal here? I don’t get it. Wouldn’t they have been better off just teaching the little girl version of Yuzuki about how to do Ai’s job?

Ai didn’t just transfer her role to Yuzuki. She put her soul back inside of Yuzuki to make her Hell Girl, which makes even less sense. Hell Girl is a role Ai was given. She shouldn’t need to be a part of Yuzuki’s soul to pass on the baton. They act like Ai is gone, Yuzuki tells the Hell Team to leave because Akie’s her assistant now and their previous master is gone, but Ai literally went into Yuzuki’s body. She didn’t pass on or anything. I don’t get it.

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Why is Yuzuki even being given this role? Ai was given the role as a punishment for slaughtering her entire village in vengeance after she was killed by them and betrayed by her closest friend. She needed hundreds of years of watching how vengeance causes suffering to understand her wrongdoing and eventually accept her pain and move on. Yuzuki didn’t do anything. Her eyes turned red, then she hugged a teddy bear and died. She may be a wandering spirit filled with vengeance because of how badly everyone treated her and how their actions basically caused her and her mother’s deaths, but she didn’t do anything to warrant being given this job if it’s really meant to be a punishment. If anything, they’re putting someone in a role who will surely abuse it because they’re clearly now glorifying the act of vengeance.

Case and point, the first thing Yuzuki says when she becomes Hell Girl is that she won’t send someone sinless, like Akie, to hell ever again. She’ll purify the world. Problem is, Hell Girl doesn’t have that power. She is bound by the rules of her role to never reject viable clients or target people who haven’t been marked by clients. That’s a big part of why her existence is so tragic. Even if many of her targets aren’t innocent, she has to ferry a ton of nice people, children etc. to hell all the time since they’re clients. And she also has to let some of the worst people in the world to run free. The one time she chose to attack people she had a personal vendetta against cost her more time as Hell Girl. And the one time she refused a ferry was a test to see if she could really let vengeance go.

The point is, Yuzuki is now Hell Girl, none of this feels ‘earned’ and I am much angrier than I ever thought I would be after watching this. And what’s even worse is this is only going to get…..well….worse…Because, as I mentioned before, this shift isn’t permanent. Yuzuki does not stay as Hell Girl, and Ai doesn’t get relieved of her duties quite yet. We have to go through one more episode to return to the stupid status quo, and I can only hope they don’t manage to piss me off anymore….

Next Episode, the ending. At this point, I just wanna plow through it so we can also plow through Fourth Twilight to see Ai finally pass on for good.

….Previous Episode


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Update: 5/1/2022 – Did I ABANDON the Madhouse?! *gasp*

Short answer, no.

Hello my lovely word readers who direct their browsers to my little blog’s URL. It is I, Twix. Person who writes the words that sometimes make sense.

It’s been two months since I last posted in here, but if you missed my tweet about this a while ago, fear not. I did not abandon my blog baby. I’ve been here every day, actually. I’ve been on a mission to deep-clean my blog for sake of improving past mistakes, fixing issues with the blog, and removing some overly harsh/unfair/flatout incorrect/poorly articulated statements. I know I’ve said I’ve done this before, but those were very cursory cleanings. This was a ‘get some overalls, a power washer and press ‘edit’ on everything’ cleaning. Most were just spruced up a little bit for the sake of consistency and proofreading, some got a bit more of an overhaul. I thought it wouldn’t take that long, but I was obviously wrong. I’ve been working on this bit by bit since March. It didn’t click with me that I had over 1100 posts to go through, soooo…..womp womp.

My review of Pokemon the First Movie and Pokemon Movie 09 were some of the most changed with the first getting an update because I’ve had a slight change of heart and recognized a good deal of bad writing on my part, and the second was to include a significant note about the voice actor changes to Pokemon that I thought was very important to include.

Most notably across all posts, however, I have been working to purge my reviews of all number ratings. This change might be a bit confusing or maybe even annoying to some people, but I honestly think it’s for the best. I have gone without number ratings in my reviews for a year or so now, prompted by someone else posting that they weren’t including number ratings anymore, so I thought I’d give it a try, and, honestly, it’s made my blogging life a lot easier. Giving set ratings based on numbers or stars has ALWAYS stressed me out since way, way, way back when I first started writing reviews around 15 years ago (oh god….the oldness…ow.) I was always bad at it, and I always struggled trying to settle on a number, even when I allowed it to go into decimals. I don’t even like leaving number/star ratings on MAL or Anime-Planet because it seems like people always just make snap judgements without wanting to hear why I rated it that way. And, even when they do read why, they still seem focused on the number. Granted, it’s not like a cheat into getting people to agree with me, people still disagree with me all the time, and that’s fine, but I’d rather be rid of the stress of coming up with the number at all and worrying how people will accept that, as if that’s the most important part of the post, than stick with it just because that’s what a lot of reviewers do.

Other updates: Officially canceled Analyzing the Criticized: Sakura Haruno. This has been quietly canceled for some time, but just officially announcing it now. I’m probably not going to do anymore ‘Analyzing the Criticized’ again. I just didn’t think I did a good job even with how much effort I put into it. I had read more to prepare for the fourth entry, even wrote some of it and read some of the Sakura Hiden novel, but I just didn’t enjoy writing it anymore and I still think I wasn’t doing it ‘correctly’ if that makes any sense.

If you want my final say on Sakura, here it is. She’s gotten a lot better as an adult than she was ever allowed to be as a kid/teen. I respect the living hell out of her efforts to improve the mental health of children in their war-torn world – not just in Konoha, but everywhere. I also have a fair amount of respect for her as a ninja and a medical practitioner. How she was treated as a character through basically the entirety of the series was one of the story’s biggest sins. She could have been so much more, but, then again, we can say that about so many characters in Naruto – Sakura is just one of the worst examples. It’s weird how neither Sakura nor Sasuke was meant to exist in the series in the first place, but Sasuke was made into a creator’s pet because Kishimoto wound up loving him so much, and Sakura just puttered through the story on Sasuke’s leash for the most part until Kishimoto finally decided ‘Oh yeah, let’s give her something to do.’

I do stand firm in my assertion that her relationship to Sasuke is one of the worst-written most toxic and unhealthy relationships put to page or screen, and the fact that they ended up together and had a kid still rattles my brain cells. I don’t care about the pittance of affection he shows her after he becomes a good guy again. I don’t care about him smirking when she shows off her strength or him catching her after she nearly fainted in the final battle or him booping her on the forehead (Which I find far more weird than romantic. That’s more like a sibling/familial gesture of love, not romantic.) – it’s bad. He should’ve wound up alone, and she should have taken several years to mature emotionally in her romantic life before pursuing literally anyone else.

Even Sakura Hiden, which I was kinda enjoying otherwise, was constantly marred by Sakura’s annoying yearning for Sasuke. You wanna hear some of my notes from the novel?

– “We started at “You’re annoying.” and we’ve made it all the way to “I’ll see you soon.” Along with the remembered sensation of that poke. My heart feels a little warmer somehow when I think about it like that.”

Sakura, can I be real with you for a second? That is, without a doubt, the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard in all my days of breathing oxygen.

In the course of like four or five years, much of that time being spent with Sasuke being a horrible crate of fresh assholes/a terrorist and trying to kill you twice, you went from “You’re annoying.” to “I’ll see you soon.” and got a little poke on the noggin, and that puts you on cloud nine? You have severe problems, Sakura. I’m not even joking right now. This is disturbing.

– Sakura is jealous of Naruto and Hinata when she sees them on a date. She’s jealous of Ino and Sai, who are close to confessing their feelings to each other. She’s jealous of Shikamaru and Temari. She’s even jealous of Choji and Karui.

– Sakura has a dream where she gets to see Sasuke again. It actually seems like it’s developing into a genuinely sweet and romantic moment for the two of them, capped off with a….head pat…but nope. It was just a dream. Sakura is so hard up for Sasuke’s affection, that she’s dreaming of him patting her head like a dog.

Another uneasy thing about her dream is that dream!Sasuke has a new arm courtesy of Hashirama cells, and he tells her that he’ll contact her if he has any problems with it. Thing is, real!Sasuke didn’t get a new arm, and it really feels like she’s dreaming this detail just so he’ll have a slightly bigger chance of visiting again in the future.

I never finished reading Sakura Hiden, and I’m not sure I want to. Granted, Sakura is, in my opinion, at her best here, but maybe that’s because this story isn’t even written by Kishimoto.

In conclusion, for the last time, finally, Sakura deserves a very hefty amount of criticism for a variety of reasons, but, at the very least, I can say that they could have done a lot worse. At least near the tail end of everything they made an effort to improve her, which is a lot more than I can say for some other characters. I don’t really think there’s any real defense for Sasuke as Sakura as a couple, though. If they’re happy the way they are, fine, I guess, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a dumpster fire within a dumpster fire.

Officially Canceled Smile Precure SSBSs and SDCs. Sorry, but I felt like a few series needed to be dropped to help me stay on course, and my heart just wasn’t in this anymore. However, if you do want to read some reviews and SDCs on Smile Precure/Glitter Force beyond what I’ve written, by someone much more qualified than I, please visit my friend GlitterInformer’s blog.

Officially put Dinosaur King on hiatus. I feel like I’ll probably revisit this one somewhere in the future after I’ve finished a different SSBS project, but it’s just not entertaining enough for me to keep in my list for now.

I’ve now added episode titles (both original Japanese and English dubbed) to all of my archives. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. I realized that it could be very difficult to navigate the episode lists if you only know the title but not the episode number, so hopefully this will make things a little easier.

I’ve added “Next episode….” and “….Previous Episode” links to every episode-by-episode review and SDC. This is also meant to help people with navigation. Now you can just immediately jump to the next episode or visit the last one to easily read the reviews or comparisons in succession.

I have acquired the rest of the Cyborg 009 manga beyond volume ten and the novel. So, in theory, I should be able to review quite literally everything Cyborg 009 now. However, big-ass asterisk, the thing about the manga beyond volume ten (and the novel) was that no company ever acquired or translated the rest of the manga (or novel) in English. I….do not speak Japanese. I am currently learning it and enjoying it, but I am nowhere the level I would need to be to read this properly. It’s going to be a struggle, and I guarantee manga updates will slow to a crawl once I get to that point, but I’m just thankful I have the files and can maybe sorta kinda talk about them…..maybe…..I hope.

I’m gonna have the same issues with the 1968 anime series beyond episode 16 as well. Subs stopped for that series, and I am forever sad. I’ll do my best.

Some minor updates: I fixed the Twitter social media button at the bottom of the posts, and fixed my Twitter feed over on the side. This may have just been a problem on my end, but neither was loading no matter what browser I used for months, and now they are, so hopefully I fixed whatever problem that was.

You can now see likes on comments. I had no clue how to turn that functionality on despite seeing it everywhere else, but now I’ve found it, and you can like comments and see other likes on comments.

And I think that’s all folks. I am still not done with the cleaning, but I am nearing the finish line. I think I can finally start posting again, likely sometime in the next few days, and once I’m finally done I should be back to regularly scheduled shenanigans. Thank you for being so patient with me! Thanks especially to the people who have dropped by to comment around here in the meantime. I love all your faces, and I’ll see ya soon!

~Twix


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 13: Targeting the Female Students – The Prophet’s Fang/Manga Chapter 5

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Hmm, this is a 90s anime taking place in a school. Aren’t we due for the ol’ fortune teller episode?

We sure are!

Introducing Kokurano, a fake psychic who has everyone convinced he’s the real deal. He even has a posse of girls who practically worship him.

Jonouchi feels as though he’s cursed because he got into a bad fight and nearly got clocked by a piece of equipment falling off of a power pole, so he reluctantly goes to Kokurano for his fortune.

In the anime, he doesn’t believe he’s cursed. He just goes to get his fortune told because he wants to.

Additionally, while both the anime and the manga include the story about how Kokurano accurately predicted a classmate’s home would burn down, we don’t actually see it in the manga. In the anime, the episode starts out with showing the fire. However, the anime omits the part about the classmate getting wounded in the fire. In fact, the classmate is seen at the opening shot and he’s fine. It’s never really made clear whether Kokurano set this fire or not, but if he did, holy crap!

Since most of the people coming to see Kokurano are girls, Jonouchi decides to save face by proclaiming that Anzu dragged him here.

Love his expression when he does so.

The anime kinda mirrors the expression, but it’s better in the manga.

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The anime also changed this to Jonouchi claiming Honda dragged him here, which, in my opinion, makes the scene funnier.

Kokurano’s headband originally bore the symbol for “chou” which stands for ultra, upper, super and/or ascend. In the anime, it’s just a blank star.

Another thing the anime added to this scene was a short joke exchange with a girl student. Kokurano tells this girl, who is clearly designed to be unattractive, that the ‘dawn of her beauty’ will last forever.

More anime-exclusive stuff – Honda berates Kokurano for improperly using school supplies for his fortune telling. In order to get him to shut up, he tells Honda that he will marry the girl he’s in love with, which obviously sends him over the moon imagining himself being married to Miho.

A minor earthquake occurs in both versions, and Kokurano pulls out a piece of paper he supposedly wrote on earlier that predicted the earthquake, causing mostly everyone to gawk at his powers.

The only one of them who actually gets their fortune told in the manga is Anzu (well, technically, Jonouchi does too, but all Kokurano tells him is that he’s cursed. In the anime, he tells Jonouchi off-screen that he’ll be a policeman in Los Angeles.)

The manga and the anime differ widely here, but they also leave the core information alone. In the manga, Anzu wants her fortune told at the same time Jonouchi gets his done, and she’s flattered when Kokurano starts creepily molesting her hands in order to get a palm reading. Anime!Anzu is creeped out and disgusted when he does it to her later (which is a much better and reasonable reaction if you ask me.)

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He tells Anzu that she’ll soon meet a wonderful man and she’ll surrender her body and mind to him. Anzu is pretty willing to believe him almost immediately. In the anime, however, she’s incredibly skeptical and doesn’t even get her fortune read until we’re into the second half of the episode.

Yugi ousts Kokurano during the first round of predictions claiming that he doesn’t really believe in his ‘powers’ since he’s seen similar tricks like that before. For instance, the piece of paper he claimed he used to predict the earthquake earlier could have been one of hundreds of slips of paper with vague predictions on them that he whips out whenever a ‘prediction’ comes true.

Technically, Anime!Yugi also ousts Kokurano with the same theory, but he does it much later in the story. The reason he waits so long is because he believes Kokurano, in his own way, is playing a game. As far as he can tell, his predictions and tricks are harmless. Being such a game enthusiast, he believes revealing Kokurano’s trickery is breaking the rules of his game, so he leaves him be. Only when Anzu starts believing in Kokurano’s powers and he convinces her she has a secret mysterious admirer does he finally snap and make the accusations.

Additionally, in the manga, Yugi doesn’t care that he said those things to Kokurano. In the anime, Yugi feels really bad that he ‘broke the rules’ of Kokurano’s game all because he was jealous. I like Anime!Yugi here much better because refusing to ruin the fun of a fortune teller because he respects games so much is a totally Yugi thing for him to do. The fact that he feels bad about doing it in the end only makes him seem sweeter and more innocent.

In both versions, Kokurano makes an ominous prediction on Yugi after this point. He tells him that countless words from heaven will fall down on him and bring destruction.

As I said before, Anime!Anzu stays skeptical throughout much of the episode and refuses to get her fortune told (probably to extend this otherwise short story to fit the episode length), much to Kokurano’s disdain. He’s intent on making her his, so he persists in luring her into getting her fortune told.

Between when Anzu finally gets her fortune told and the initial fortune telling scene in the anime, there’s quite a bit of filler involving Kokurano’s predictions. Kokurano tries to convince her that he’s the real deal by the lockers, but she stands firm. There’s a scene where the group is getting ready for gym, and Jonouchi complains that he’s too stiff. He also complains that the girls get the easy task of playing tennis while the boys have to do Judo.

Continuing on from that, they meet Kokurano in the hallway. Jonouchi literally gets on his hands and knees in front of Kokurano asking him to read his fortune some more. Kokurano tells him to beware of lights coming towards him – a prediction that later comes true during Judo when a lighting fixture above Jonouchi falls and nearly injures him.

Miho pops up to….act like she’s friggin’ three years old and starts tugging on Kokurano’s cloak, wondering what’s underneath it. She has no reason to ask this – like she glimpsed something strange underneath it – she just has the mind of a toddler who took ten too many tumbles down the stairs. It’s not like this is the big reveal of him cheating or anything, either. It’s just Miho being irritating.

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Kokurano tells Anzu that there’s a mysterious man watching over her from the shadows and that, if she wants to learn more, to come see him later to get her fortune told. She still doesn’t bite, however. After she hears of the light prediction coming true, she decides to get her fortune told, curious if the mysterious man he’s speaking of is Yami.

When she actually goes to get her fortune told, the scene stays more or less the same as it was in the start of manga, barring some notes I already mentioned and excluding everything the anime already showed. Anzu gets her hands molested, Kokurano tells her about the mysterious man, but in the anime he also adds that the man will be in the science room at six o’clock.

Some minor changes in Anzu and Yugi’s plans for after school. In the manga, she seemingly told Yugi at the end of the day that she had the day off from work and wanted to go window shopping with him. He’s just gathering his things in the classroom while she waits in a different classroom. He spots a book left on a desk and decides to return it to the library real quick before going to meet Anzu.

In the anime, Anzu tells him about having the day off earlier in the day, when they’re talking by the lockers, and asks if he wants to go to a tea shop after school. Once the day ends, Anzu decides to see if the prediction was true, so she hangs out in the science room waiting for the mysterious man to arrive. Meanwhile, Yugi had just found a book lying in the hallway and decided to return it to the library.

In both versions, as Yugi is returning the book, the bookcases all domino into each other and nearly squash poor Yugi (countless words from heaven), but Yami kicks in and escapes from the danger in the nick of time. He realizes that this was set up by Kokurano. Fearing Anzu is in danger, he rushes off to save her.

Anzu is met with Kokurano in the science room. In the manga, he claims Yugi’s not coming to meet her, but since she’s not waiting for him in the anime he doesn’t make this statement there. He does, however, state that his prediction was right and that she did meet her mysterious man that she will surrender her body and mind to – him.

He uses chloroform to knock her out. The only difference between the two versions here is that, in the manga, he’s clearly copping a feel on her boob. In the anime, he’s not.

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Yami arrives and challenges him to a Shadow Game. Anzu is just about to lose consciousness at this time and tries to get a look at Yami’s face so she can finally learn the identity of the owner of the mysterious voice, but she passes out before she can.

Shadow Game

The Shadow Game today is almost entirely different barring the use of chloroform bottles and the risk being the loser will be knocked out by the chemical.

In the manga, Yami spreads a bunch of sheets of paper on a desk and places the chloroform bottle on top. They will take turns each sliding a piece of paper out from under the bottle without knocking it over. Whomever knocks over the bottle loses and will be knocked out.

They each remove some pieces of paper until one of Yami’s pulls lands the bottle on the very edge of the desk. Surely, if Kokurano tries to remove one more piece of paper the bottle will fall. Yami goads him into trying anyway, claiming, if he is a psychic, he’d be able to telekinetically lift the bottle and take a piece of paper. Too full of pride to disagree, or maybe simply delusional, Kokurano agrees and tries to lift the bottle with his mind. He pretends like it’s working, but Yami points out that it’s clearly a lie. Unable to remove the paper without knocking the bottle over, the bottle breaks and Kokurano is left unconscious on the floor with his cloak splayed out.

His open cloak reveals, as Yugi coincidentally predicted, that he had a slue of papers with vague predictions written on them so he could whip them out whenever appropriate and pretend he had psychic powers.

In the anime, the game is a bit more complex. Yami attaches several chloroform bottles to the classroom clock via thin wires. The clock is set up to snip a wire once every minute. Which wire is connected to which bottle is a mystery. They’ll each have to take turns guessing which bottle will fall each minute and try to catch it before it hits the ground.

They each take a turn, successfully catching a bottle, but then Kokurano plays dirty and trips Yami when he rushes for a falling bottle. He’s able to keep the bottle from falling by….I honestly don’t know what happened. He threw his Puzzle, the pointed bottom stuck in a wall and the string….somehow grabbed the bottle and suspended it in mid-air….I have no clue. I think Yami just screwed over the laws of physics ten ways to Sunday and back to Friday.

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There are only two bottles left now, and they’re way too far apart for the player to recover if they choose the wrong bottle. Yami eggs Kokurano on, claiming if he’s a real psychic he can just use his powers to accurately predict which bottle will fall. (Of course, if he does, that just leaves one bottle and….what, does the game just end?)

He guesses wrong, the bottle breaks, and, as in the manga, he’s splayed out on the floor with his ‘predictions’ in his cloak on display, certain to expose him as a fraud in the morning.

Truthfully, I like the anime’s Shadow Game a little better than the manga’s. The manga’s game is a little overly simple (Kokurano could have pulled the paper from any other side to prevent the bottle from falling…) Not to mention the fact that just because you have psychic premonitions doesn’t mean you also have telekinesis. Kokurano never once claimed that he had telekinesis. Why would Yami be like ‘If you’re psychic, you can just make the bottle float with your mind.’? And why would Kokurano lean into that?

The anime’s game makes much more sense because Yami’s coaxing him based on the fact that Kokurano claimed he could predict the future and this game relies entirely on predictions. Plus, I like that Kokurano tried to cheat during the game in the anime. It keeps in line with the theme of antagonists cheating during Shadow Games to open the doors to darkness. I do still wonder what would have happened if Kokurano just guessed correctly. Is the door to darkness thing that he would’ve chosen wrong no matter what?

In both versions, Yami carries a still-unconscious Anzu to safety, and she groggily muses over her mysterious savior again onto the fall back to sleep once more. However, the anime continues on and carries a very important change with it.

In the anime, while she was being carried, Anzu saw that Yami’s hand was injured (somehow. They never show it being damaged and we never see an injury on his hand before Anzu notices it.)

YGOSZEP13SCREEN10

In an added scene after that, the group all discusses how Kokurano was a fake. In a rather genuinely sweet scene, Honda is shown being depressed at this revelation because he believes it means he and Miho aren’t destined to be married. Miho walks over the cheer him up saying they can make their own futures now (unaware that he was upset specifically about his future with her.) Honda instantly gets his spring back in his step.

When Yugi runs off to join Honda, Jonouchi and Miho, calling Anzu to join them too, Anzu notices that Yugi has a wound on his hand that is identical to her mysterious savior’s wound.

YGOSZEP13SCREEN11

Yes, Anzu seemingly now knows that Yugi and Yami are one in the same. I don’t know why they rushed this revelation, but they keep on with it considering the next episode leaps WAY ahead to chapter 45.

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I thought the manga chapter was fine, but I much prefer the anime version. It fixed many issues I had with the story in the manga and even added some stuff that was unexpected but nice. Anzu was made much more tolerable in the anime than she is in the manga. She isn’t being terrible in the manga, but I much prefer her being skeptical and weirded out by Kokurano than instantly falling for his predictions, getting all swoony over her hand being groped and being gushy over the thoughts of the owner of the mysterious voice.

Yugi was also just being an adorable sweetheart in the anime. Again, there’s nothing terribly wrong with him in the manga, but he comes off as more of a spoilsport from the beginning in the manga whereas, in the anime, he’s playing along and being sweet. The only reason he loses his cool is because he was jealous, and even then he felt very guilty about it.

Honda and Miho went back and forth this episode. I liked that Miho was also skeptical of Kokurano, and her scene with Honda at the end was sweet, but her tackling Kokurano over getting his cloak off was obnoxious and completely unnecessary, and I am getting so sick of Honda’s shtick of puppy dogging after Miho. Jonouchi was also being pathetic in this episode, groveling after Kokurano, whereas he more or less has nothing to do with the plot after the initial fortune telling in the manga.

Winner: Anime

Next time, Anzu is at her absolute worst as she tries to lure out Yami at a water park. Prepare for one of the absolute worst chapters of Yu-Gi-Oh!….But can the same be said of the anime version?


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Sorette Dakara Ne! (ONA) Review

Plot: Released as a promotional ONA for the animated idol group, AGC38, this anime follows a girl named Ayano who is suffering from some kind of terminal illness or condition. Her friends desperately try to convince her to get an operation that could save her life, but she seems to have accepted her fate. However, her friends won’t let her go that easily.

Breakdown: I’m actually a little uneasy about how I feel about this one. It’s an eight-minute web release, so there is no time whatsoever for character development or even exploration. I only remembered two of the girls names by the end and would never be able to pick them out of a lineup except maybe Nene with her weird purple hair rope.

So the focus has to go purely to the story. How’s it fare in that regard?

Just okay.

Ayano has some sort of terminal illness, and her doctor says there’s an operation that they can do to possibly save her, but it only has a 2% success rate. Ayano vehemently refuses to do it.

No matter what her friends do, which is pester her day after day, she still won’t go through with it. I don’t blame her at all. A 2% success rate is appalling, and if there is a 98% chance she’d either be worse off for it or instantly die when she could just live out her sickly days doing what she wants then I completely understand her decision.

Her friends won’t stop asking her about it, though. They bring her gifts everyday and ask her to reconsider. Her closest friend, Nene, soon snaps, slaps her in the face, complains about the fact that Ayano doesn’t understand how they feel about the situation and runs off.

Okay, I understand emotional outbursts in times like this, but that was the wrong way to handle this situation. The slap is bad enough, but she’s actually straight out saying ‘Well, what about meeeee?’ Way to make someone’s terminal medical condition about you.

It takes that and learning that Nene prayed at a shrine for Ayano’s recovery that she decides to do the procedure, which I also find slightly questionable. It makes it seem like she is just choosing to take an operation with appalling odds (odds I don’t even think most doctors would operate on?) just to appease her friend. It’s a sweet gesture, but she shouldn’t feel she has to do something like that.

However, after she decides to have the operation, we get quite a few cute, but really quick, shots that warm the heart like Nene focusing more during archery because she has faith in Ayano, the girls writing ‘Hold out’ outside of Ayano’s hospital with their umbrellas etc.

Then she dies. The end.

……..Oh alright, of course she doesn’t die. That’d be the non-Hallmark Channel version. Instead, she lives, hooray, and gets to go after some guy who hasn’t been seen this entire ONA.

The actual end.

Oh, but we also get 2 minutes and 40 seconds worth of end credits. I will never understand why ONAs and OVAs that are so pressed for time will easily flush a good chunk of it away with credits. Credits are important, but they don’t have to be so long.

Art and Animation: Surprisingly really detailed and fluid for just a short ONA. Ayano’s hair bugged me a lot, though. I just wanted to reach my hand through the monitor and brush it away from her eye. Why does she like it like that?

Music: The music’s forgettable, but decent enough.

Bottomline: You’d lose nothing from watching this, especially at a paltry eight minute runtime, but you also won’t gain much from watching it either. It’s a cute little story and a shot or two may tug at the heartstrings, but you don’t know any of these characters well enough for this story to have a true impact, and the fact that the girls are so pushy about making Ayano do the surgery, something which has a much bigger chance of harming or killing her than making her better, is a little off putting.

Additional Information and Notes: Sorette Nakara Ne! was produced by Asahi Production.

Episodes: 1

Runtime: 8 minutes

Year: 2011

Recommended Audience: They don’t even show the slap, but it does discuss terminal illness and death, so probably 6+


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My Poke-Pinions | #50 and 51 – The Dig Line

Diglett

Name: Diglett is an adorable name. It’s easy to remember, cute and fitting. It’s fairly self-explanatory. Its Japanese is name Digda, which is as cute if not cuter than Diglett. Digda just seems to be based only on the word ‘dig.’

Fun Fact: In France, it’s known as Taupiqueur, which is derived from ‘taupe’ for ‘mole’ and ‘marteau-piqueer’ for jackhammer, which is pretty cool.

Design: Despite Diglett being an absolute cutie, its design is still almost ridiculously simplistic. It’s literally just four pill shapes. Pill-shaped body, pill-shaped nose…mouth…thing, and two pill-shaped eyes. It definitely works, I won’t lie, but they really didn’t pull out the creativity with the thing outside of never showing its bottom half.

Alolan Diglett

I feel like whoever made Alolan Diglett was a troll. Like, ‘What if we made Diglett a little darker and gave it three little hairs that are somehow made of metal and called it a new version of the Pokemon?’ Despite there not being much difference between the two, I don’t actually care much for Alolan Diglett. Something about those little hairs makes it somehow lose cuteness points with me.

Sprite-wise, Gen I looks normal until Green where it looks more like a baby Diglett, which is pretty cute.

Crystal looks like it’s trying to kiss something.

I like Emerald’s animation of it going underground.

Nothing much worth mentioning after that.

Shiny:

A simplistic Pokemon comes with a simplistic shiny. All that’s changed about shiny Diglett is that the brown color is SLIGHTLY darker and the nose mouth thing is blue. While I usually love blue shinies, and there’s really nothing wrong with this shiny, I can’t stop thinking that this looks like a Diglett that’s suffocating.

Shiny Alolan Diglett does the same thing.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Diglett digs.

Alright, they also gnaw on roots underground, destroying the crops of many farmers. Ironically, many Diglett are domesticated and are trained to work on farms since they quickly and effectively till soil. Farmers will plant trees that Diglett enjoy most around their crops so they’ll till the land when they move back and forth between them. Also, their droppings make good fertilizer….yay.

Wait, they can see their droppings, yet we’ve never seen a Diglett’s lower half?

No one knows exactly how big a Diglett is, and the size listed in the Pokedex is based purely on how much of its body peeks out of the ground.

Here’s something I found very interesting – Diglett’s skin is thin and weak. It can’t be exposed to light otherwise its blood will heat up and weaken it. In Clefairy and the Moon Stone, I criticized the fact that they said the lights being put up throughout the caves in Mt. Moon were having a negative impact on the Ground Pokemon. They stated that the heat from the lights was causing the Ground Pokemon to dry up, weakening them, which didn’t make much sense to me because Ground Pokemon thrive on dry environments and hate water. Well, I guess at least for Diglett, I have a reasonable answer.

Kinda weird that Diglett have thin skin, though, considering that you’d think it’d need tough skin to dig around in the dirt and rocks all day. However, I do have to note that, in the anime, Diglett show up a lot in the sunlight.

Alolan Diglett is stronger than regular Diglett because they dig through volcanic rock. The high iron content of the soil gave them three metallic ‘whiskers’ on their head through which they can communicate and sense their surroundings above ground.

In terms of design, Diglett is based less on real moles and more on the moles seen in Whac-A-Mole games.

Alolan Diglett’s whiskers are based on Pele’s hair, which are strands of volcanic glass found in Hawaii. It’s not metallic, it’s more pure rock closer to granite, but it does appear to be yellow or golden, mimicking the color of blond hair. The black dirt around the Alolan Diglett is likely in reference to black sand found near volcanoes and/or black magnetic sand since it’s also adopted Steel-typing in this form. That’s actually pretty neat, but considering the dirt isn’t REALLY a part of the Pokemon, it’s hard to say that I can give it anymore points for that.

Dugtrio

Name: Dugtrio’s name is extremely fitting. It’s slightly more intimidating than Diglett and reflects its…..three-ness very well. It has the same name in both English and Japanese.

Design: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first of several Pokemon evolutions where the brilliant idea was “Let’s take three of (x) and smush them together to make a new Pokemon!” I don’t hate Dugtrio, I just think the design is lazy, much like with Magneton and Dodrio. The most they do to differentiate it is give it an angry expression, but only like half the time.

Alolan Dugtrio

If someone was kinda trolling when they made Alolan Diglett, someone was top tier trolling when they made Alolan Dugtrio. When this image was first released, I laughed out loud for several minutes. This is just a Dugtrio in three stupid blond wigs. They look ridiculous. They look like they fused with Hanson. I don’t care if there’s lore here – at the end of the day, they have one of the stupidest most goofy designs I’ve ever seen in Pokemon.

Sprite-Wise, there’s not much to say. Crystal’s animation is pretty cute, but that’s about it.

Shiny:

Same as Diglett. Just a little darker and blue nose mouth thing. I think the shade of blue for Dugtrio might be just slightly deeper, but that’s about it.

Shiny Alolan Dugtrio is the same way, but looks worse than shiny Alolan Diglett purely due to the fucking stupid hair. Because the brown color is darker, the contrast with the blond hair is much more apparent, making it somehow look even worse than it originally did. Please save me from this bleached blond hell.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Why didn’t Ash’s Pokedex have any information on Dugtrio in episode 31? It’s not a mysterious Pokemon by any means besides the no lower half thing. Hm.

Dugtrio is either three Diglett fused together for some reason and somehow or a single Diglett split off into three heads. They all think the same thoughts and act together, which is the polar opposite of Dodrio, interestingly. Although, one section said the heads will sometimes fight each other food.

It can move underground at speeds upwards of 60 MPH and can create earthquakes, and that’s about it besides stuff it retained from its Diglett form.

Alolan Dugtrio is regarded as a deity, and no I’m not kidding. Remember how I said that Alolan Diglett’s whiskers were based on Pele’s Hair? The name Pele comes from the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, Pele. She created the islands of Hawaii, and she’s a very popular and respected Hawaiian deity. Alolan Dugtrio didn’t just use Pele’s hair in its design and conception – it also used Pele herself as inspiration.

In addition to being viewed as a deity, Alolan Dugtrio is also specifically said to be feminine deities of Alola incarnate, and there’s also a curse associated with Alolan Dugtrio – keeping any of its fallen hairs will bring the person bad luck. This is based on Pele’s curse where any visitor will be cursed if they take and keep anything from her island.

Pokemon, Game Freak, Nintendo, what are you doing? I’m not Hawaiian nor can I speak for any Hawaiians, so I won’t attest to how offended they might be, if at all, but I don’t think there’s any denying that this is overall insulting. You set an entire region in a place that is akin to Hawaii, use one of their most beloved (and fairly feared) deities for a Pokemon design, and you squeeze out that janky blond turd.

Can you imagine anyone worshiping an Alolan Dugtrio? How ridiculous that would look? There are some pretty weird religious practices in Pokemon, but I would be embarrassed watching anyone praying to a Dugtrio with a perm.

What’s even more embarrassing is that the design is also based off of the look of many typical surfer dudes, particularly the SoCal surfers that likely frequent Hawaii as tourists.

The only other things of note in the Dex entries are that its metal ‘whiskers’ are heavy and slow it down, but provide it with a lot of force to go through bedrock. They also act as helmets and sensors to help it as it travels.

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And that was the Dig line. Quite the ride that was. I didn’t have much to say about regular Diglett and Dugtrio, but damn the decisions made with the Alolan versions. Diglett may be a simple little thing, but it is cute and effective at what it does. Dugtrio may be a lazy evo, but……uhh…..at least it sounds cool when chanting with Diglett. Digletty, Digletty! TRIO TRIO TRIO!

The Alolan versions can kiss my ass. Call me grumpy and old all you want about my opinions on some mega and Alolan etc. versions, but these are just insultingly bad on every level. They’re uncreative or laughably goofy at best and headache-ingly goofy and offensive at worst.

Next up, Meowth and Persian! We have a LOT to cover here.

Previous – the Veno Line


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 24 – Mayfly Review

Plot: Yuzuki is fed up with Hell Girl, but she has more important things to worry about, such as the results to her high school entrance exams. However, when she tries to check to see if her name is on the list of accepted students, she suddenly finds that no one recognizes her and the results for her exams don’t exist. Even her home has become dilapidated and condemned. Yuzuki struggles to find someone who recognizes her or proof of her existence when she’s approached by Tsugumi, who explains the truth about what’s happening and Yuzuki’s fate as Hell Girl.

Breakdown: I have been saying for many episodes now that Yuzuki’s story better be pretty damn good in order for it be worth putting this soggy paper towel at the forefront, even though I had no faith that they could deliver something THAT good.

And, well, at least so far, they haven’t.

Let’s cut to the chase, pretty much the entire series was just an illusion. Or it wasn’t…? It’s very confusing. The world that Yuzuki has been living in as a student, as a friend, as a daughter, as someone trying to stop Hell Girl…a few times anyway, does not exist. It was an illusion built by Ai to make her understand the true nature of the world and how everyone has hate in them, but Hell Correspondence acts as a beacon of hope to the people who don’t use it because they can rest assured that the most evil people will pay from their crimes in some way.

This just makes everything so confusing. Does this mean that any Hell Girl case that even slightly involved Yuzuki didn’t exist? Were all the hell candles fake? Were the people in hell fake? Even the people that Yuzuki knew in the illusion didn’t recognize her (In the real version of the world) and/or they didn’t exist at all because it really seems like this entire town is empty once Yuzuki learns the truth. Her group of remaining friends also seemingly vanished in the hallway.

Are we really “It was all a dream”ing the ENTIRE SERIES? Were we seeing illusions? Were the scenes that didn’t involve Yuzuki also illusions? Were they not, and that’s why she wasn’t really involved in much of anything over the course of the series?

If you’re thinking that maybe all of this is a big fakeout illusion within an illusion or something – it’s not.

See.

She’s dead.

And has been the entire time.

She is one of apparently several potential Hell Girl replacements that Tsugumi has seen come through over the years (That doesn’t make any sense given the fact that between the second season and now, Ai has supposed to have been gone even to her associates. Although maybe they were coming through without Ai and they brought in Ai to help secure a replacement?) However, the others have hung on and lived between worlds, never being able to pass on and living in torment in the living world, and she was trying to tell Yuzuki that her fate as Hell Girl was preferable to the alternative.

Tsugumi has completely given up on the hope of ever getting rid of Hell Correspondence, which, again, is weird because she should have lived in a Hell Correspondence free world up until the past year or so. Her father lived with a hope and passion for that dream for years, but eventually he grew tired and gave up (it’s continuously implied that he died, but they still never outright say it.) Tsugumi gave up after years and years of her powers in seeing Hell Girl visions. They taught her that Hell Correspondence was necessary and fate is something you can’t fight. She needs to live alongside with Hell Girl and not deny her.

Yuzuki refuses to give up and tells Tsugumi that she doesn’t think she’s given up either or else she wouldn’t have stopped her from passing through that torii during the festival. She doesn’t know what will happen if she passes through it, but Tsugumi knows, and she’s still vehemently trying to get her to not pass through.

Tsugumi agrees and says maybe a small part of her does still believe, which is when she decides to tell Yuzuki the big death secret as long as she agrees to accept the truth and not fight it.

Yuzuki, however, refuses to believe and runs to her house in a panic only to find her skeletal remains on the floor of her room clutching her teddy bear and the Hell Team confronting her.

So….are the remains also an illusion or did no one think to look in this apartment for however many years? There’s just a dead child on the floor. How did no one notice this?

So far, I am less than impressed by this being Yuzuki’s big revelation. At best, it’s uninspired, and at worst you literally just told me to my face that I wasted around 12 hours of my life on stuff that didn’t happen, maybe, I think, possibly? Being an illusion or a dream doesn’t take the full value of an story experience away, the good stories that were told are still good, but it does damage it quite a bit.

At this point, all I can hope for is that Yuzuki’s full backstory will be worth a few more points, because, so far, it’s pretty lame and not worth the price of admission. So Yuzuki’s dead. It just means she somehow managed to be even more lifeless than she has been when I thought she was alive.

I’m also a little bummed that this episode had no case in it. I pretty much knew that would happen because the last few episodes in any season of this show is usually relegated to main plot stuff, but when our main plot stuff is Yuzuki-centric, I’d rather have a case to keep my attention…


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