Plot: Mokuba has been kidnapped by Pegasus in order to take over Kaiba’s company. Desperate to save the company and his brother’s reputation, he escapes and steals a duelist’s deck and star chips to challenge Yugi so that Pegasus can’t duel him and win control over the company. Yugi and the others have a thirty minute time limit to help the theft victim or he will leave on the boat.
================================= The words “Funny Rabbit” were edited off of the comic Pegasus has. Because English is evil too. Oddly, though, they also add a picture of Funny Bunny to the cover.
Pegasus’s wine was dialogue changed to fruit juice. Because alcohol doesn’t exist…I can understand editing out smoking and alcohol if a good character is doing it (prevent kids from imitating their favorite characters) but doesn’t a villain doing those things insinuate that they’re bad? Subbed version says it’s been nine hours since the tournament began. The dub says six.
Both versions clearly state that those without star chips must leave the island…Again, why is no one bothering to take away T’ea/Anzu, Honda/Tristan and Bakura? I love how Pegasus obviously has cameras all over the island yet he can’t/won’t catch cheaters. Anyone could steal star chips this way as Bandit Keith and Mokuba show…Then again, Pegasus is a cheater too… I also love how they arrange a luxury cruise liner to bring them to the island, but only have a rowboat to get them off.
They edit out Jounouchi telling the kid that if he finds his chips that he has to give him half. Makes the entire scene where it transitions from heroic to exasperated groans incredibly awkward.
Yugi needs Yami….to beat a kid half his age at a game he’s supposedly awesome at….I just….geez. Jounouchi doesn’t insinuate anything about Yugi’s Millennium puzzle in the original. It’s like 4Kids is constantly dropping hints at the fact that there’s a different spirit in there. As if the transformation sequences every episode weren’t a freakin’ clue.
They impose a Millennium symbol on Yugi’s head right after Mokuba puts his chips down and T’ea follows it up by saying it’s like Yugi is looking into his soul….We get it, 4Kids, the damn necklace is magic. We’re picking up what you’re slamming down. In the subbed version, T’ea just says that Mokuba doesn’t have a duel glove, thus he must be the criminal.
In the flashback, subbed version, Kaiba says he needs to learn of the heart of the cards in order to be as good as Yugi. Then he gives Mokuba a secret key card that allows access to numerous company files and secrets that he’s meant to protect while he’s away. (Yeah, leave a little kid in charge of a multi-billion dollar company. That’s smart. Hope he doesn’t get kidnap—oh wait.)
In the dub, they strangely omit this. Kaiba just says he’s not himself and needs time away to think. He gives Mokuba a card claiming it was his favorite and then leaves. I also don’t like how Kaiba’s constantly calling his brother “kid” here. They’re closer than that.
This is kind of a big deal because that card is the whole focal point behind Mokuba’s kidnapping. They kidnapped him to find out where the key card was. In the dub, he’s kidnapped because they want to control him because only a Kaiba can give orders in his company. The subbed version makes more sense, but I guess they didn’t want to associate cards with kidnapping…No wait, cards are associated with all sorts of bad crap in this show, so I guess it’s just pointless.
I find it hard to believe that a kid who was brought up in a company that focuses on Duel Monsters and is the brother of the world champion of Duel Monsters doesn’t know the main basics of Duel Monsters. If a monster’s attack points are lower than your opponent’s monster’s, you lose. You had to have picked up at least that much just by watching Kaiba duel once or twice.
Again, they impose a Millennium symbol on Yugi’s head to insinuate that he’s using his powers in the dub, when in the original, he’s not. Because Yugi’s so stupid he needed magic to figure out that was Mokuba. What with his clever disguise of wearing the exact same clothes he was wearing the last time Yugi saw him, pulling his scarf over his mouth and wearing a hat, he should be in the CIA.
In the sub, the Big Five, as they’ll later be called, says they’ll talk with Kaiba about the arrangement with Pegasus. In the dub, they want Kaiba out of the picture, AKA killed.
Dub Mokuba: “If I can’t beat you *grabs two of Yugi’s star chips* I’ll have you disqualified!”
…..Because Yugi losing two of his five star chips means he’ll be disqualified? What?
I dunno why but they edited in a scene of Mokuba looking down and sad just to say “Let’s do it” right before they transition back to the boat.
Kaiba’s scene at his hideaway is edited in to before when Yugi and the others arrive at the docks.
4Kids edited in the goons knocking at Kaiba’s door by basically cutting out the door and quickly animating a zoom-in and out a few times. Because it’s rude not to knock dammit! They do this twice, by the way. Once after Kaiba glances at the door and another before he places the duel disks in the briefcase.
The infamous guns changed to pointing fingers scene. And yes, it still looks ridiculous. They also edited out the scene where he fires the gun at Kaiba, and they edited out the shot of Kaiba falling. I do have to say Kaiba saying “You’ll never take me alive” still tickles my funny bone. I will admit, their cut of Kaiba blocking the bullet is impressively done. You’d never notice there’s a (literal) shot missing from that. Subbed + Extras:
They splice in a closeup shot of the ocean after the initial shot of the window.
I don’t think I have to tell you that fake-Kaiba doesn’t make puns in the subbed version. In the original, he just says “I have to have revenge” over and over. This episode was okay. I think it was a little bit of an excuse to get rid of some of Yugi’s star chips to give him more duels to compete in. However, it does show how dedicated Mokuba is to his brother and introduces us to one of the weirder duels of the show.
Next episode, Yugi duels ‘ghost’ Kaiba or Kaiba’s evil shadow realm counterpart as he’s known in the dub.
Captures (technically): Misty’s Psyduck – Not really a legit capture since Psyduck trapped himself in Misty’s Pokeball, Psyduck is one of Misty’s most notable Pokemon next to the yet-to-debut Togepi. He is one of the funnier comic relief Pokemon with his dopey behavior, but the fact that he starts the teeth-gnashingly annoying trend of Pokemon who let themselves out of their Pokeball just to appear, say their name and that’s somehow deemed funny is something I will never forgive him for.
Plot: Ash and his friends arrive in a large city called Hophophop Town, lost yet again. Suddenly, a woman runs up to Ash and hugs him tightly, proclaiming that he’s her lost son, Arnold. They clear up the mistake, and Arnold’s mother explains that Arnold suddenly disappeared three days ago with no communication in the meantime and no logical explanation for his sudden disappearance.
Arnold’s mother explains that her son is just one of many children who have disappeared in the town recently, so she has little hope of seeing her son again. Brock, always earnest to help Officer Jenny and Ash, reminded of his own mother through Arnold’s mother, along with Misty get involved in the missing child investigations.
Officer Jenny relays to the kids that all of the missing children disappeared exactly three days ago. Since Jenny has no other leads, she’s decided to ask the children hanging out at the Pokemon Center if they know anything or if they’ve seen the missing children. They don’t get many answers from the children, but Nurse Joy brings up a curious development.
Exactly three days ago, all of the Pokemon in the Pokemon Center and several local Pokemon suddenly lost all of their energy. Jenny surmises that the problems with the Pokemon and missing children might be connected. Suddenly, her sleep wave detector goes off, indicating a source of waves that induce sleep. Joy says no Pokemon at the Center should be emitting such waves, and Pikachu succumbs to the energy draining effects.
At this turn of events, they deduce that the sleep waves might have something to do with the odd changes in the health of the Pokemon. They follow the intensity of the sleep waves and find themselves at a mansion that that’s been built on top of a skyscraper. It turns out that the sleep waves were being emitted by a Drowzee and a Hypno. One of their Drowzee evolved into this Hypno three days ago, creating another link in the oddities around the city.
The club members explain that they’ve been using Hypno and Drowzee to help with their insomnia. Brock deduces that Hypno’s Hypnosis must be having an adverse affect on the Pokemon and certain sensitive children since the wavelength must’ve been changed to put humans asleep as opposed to Pokemon.
Misty tries it out, and after Hypno uses his Hypnosis on her, she suddenly starts acting like a Seel. She bursts from the mansion and runs towards a large park. As she enters a clearing, the group sees all of the missing children have gathered here. They’re all acting like Pokemon and vehemently refuse to snap out of it.
One of the club members suggests to use Drowzee’s dream waves to counter Hypno’s sleep waves, and they bring Misty back to the mansion to try it. It works, and Misty snaps out of her Seel state. Encouraged by the results in Misty, Ash and the others decide to bring Drowzee to the park to snap the other children out of their trances.
Suddenly, Team Rocket drops from the sky on gliders, intent on stealing Drowzee and Hypno. They trick Hypno into hypnotizing itself by putting him in front of a mirror, but Ash stops it before it completes by smashing the mirror with a potted plant.
As plan B, Jessie and James nab Drowzee and Hypno with whips, but Misty uses Staryu to slice through both of the whips and free them. Ash uses Pidgeotto’s best Gust attack to blast them off, and they head back off to save the children.
Drowzee works his dream magic on the children, and they’re all back to normal. Pikachu also snaps out of his drained state. As the children clear out of the park, Arnold’s mother appears and reunites with her son.
They head to the Pokemon Center and cure the Pokemon too. Everything’s back to normal, but Joy remains concerned over the Psyduck that keeps holding its head. In an attempt to impress Joy, Brock agrees to take Psyduck and try to help it. However, he’s completely clueless as to what to do with it. He tries to pawn it off on Misty, but Misty isn’t interested in a ‘boring’ Pokemon.
Ash attempts to research Psyduck again through Dexter and it’s revealed that there’s nothing wrong with Psyduck – it’s a part of its nature to always suffer from a perpetual headache. As Misty bursts in anger at this revelation, she topples over and one of her Pokeballs falls out of her bag. Psyduck bops the button on the ball and captures itself, leaving Misty with ownership over it.
– Like the Rainbow Badge episode, this was another episode I had on VHS, which means I watched it fairly frequently.
And, even back then, this episode raised all sorts of questions with me that left me more confused and weirded out the more I watched it. I can’t really think of any episode like it. It’s such an odd duck. But don’t just take my plot synopsis’ word for it. Let me take you on a journey of confusion.
– Even in cities, these three cannot help themselves but get lost.
– Why is it never explained why this city is called Hophophop Town? Nothing about this name makes sense. There’s never anything hopping related going on ever (this episode might be better suited for a much later Hoppip themed episode or something) and it’s not a town – it’s a huge city rivaling Celadon in its sheer size and skyscrapers.
You might think this is just 4Kids having their stupid jollies, but it’s not really. In the Japanese version, this town is called Yoyoyo Town……which makes about as much if not less sense. Actually, it sounds like they got the names backwards. If either set of writers would stake a claim on Yoyoyo Town, it would be the masters of rap, 4Kids.
– Misty: *after seeing the wall of posters* “My picture’s going to be on posters when I’m a big famous star!” Reacting to a wall of posters with pictures of missing children with ‘~~~*sigh* I’m going to be famous!~~~’ is about as vain, self-absorbed and terrifyingly uncaring as you can get, Misty. Please hit yourself repeatedly with a rock for 45 minutes and think about how awful your last line was.
Though, if I can delve into the Bulbagarden comparison for a moment, this actually isn’t nearly as bad as her original lines.
“Originally, Kasumi’s first line has her saying that she’d better watch out for kidnappers because she’s so cute. Satoshi and Takeshi kind of give her a look, prompting her to go “What!?” Satoshi then pats Pikachu’s head and tells Kasumi that, fine, she is cute and that she had better watch out.
I guess the dub changed this because they didn’t want parents walking into the room and hearing one of the main characters act so nonchalant about a subject like child abduction.”
Yeah, 4Kids didn’t do a great job changing this line, but the Japanese writers definitely eek out a WTF at this.
In all honesty, this would be one occasion where I’d be fine just cutting the whole exchange, animation and all, but Kasumi, my God, what the fuck is wrong with you? Your elated smile and pose lead me to believe you find child abduction to be flattering. Not to mention that kidnapping usually has little to nothing to do with how ‘cute’ you are. Hate to go dark here, but if a child abductor is really nabbing you on the grounds of your physical appearance, the outcome would likely not be in the least bit happy for you, Kasumi. Please seek help.
– It was in this episode where Ash has the flashback to the lost episode, which spurred my multi-year-long annoyance as to where that scene came from.
You want to know what else? Even this little tidbit induces additional confusion!
Another dip into Bulbagarden’s comparison shows that this isn’t even the clip that was originally used for Ash’s flashback to his mom. In the Japanese version, they used a clip of her from the pilot.
Since I’d just be parroting their reaction, here’s another excerpt.
“Like…what was the logic behind that decision!? Maybe they thought it would be better for Ash to think about the most recent time he had seen his mother instead of the first time? But when that “most recent time” comes from an episode that, as far as dub viewers know, doesn’t exist, you run into problems. I wonder how many fans watched this episode and wondered “wait a minute…when did that happen!?” I’m sure there were more than a few.
Even today, this edit is weird because the majority of Pokémon fans in the U.S. have never seen “Beauty and The Beach” and would therefore have no reason to know where those clips came from.”
I believe 4Kids wanted a more sentimental memory of Delia for Ash to be thinking of at this moment since the original was a comedic scene where Delia’s handing him a bunch of stuff to take with him on his journey. Though, this is still a little sentimental because it shows how much Delia dotes on him and cares about his well-being.
While the shot from Beauty and the Beach appears more sentimental and is nice in context with the trophy, the actual scene when shown here and with no prior knowledge of the lost episode is just empty. He smiles at her, she smiles at him while holding a trophy (‘for some reason’, thinks the oblivious viewer) and he leaves.
I have enough to develop a headache about in this episode, so let’s just leave that there.
– Ash is incredibly annoying saying ‘Brilliant deduction!’ every few minutes. Mostly because he doesn’t seem to know what that really means.
– Brock’s also being obnoxious by scaring the crap out of a couple of little kids just for the sake of impressing Jenny.
– Ash: *in reference to a sick Magikarp* “Looks like it’s ready for the deli counter.” Why the hell would you say something that crass? You might as well tell Oddish it’s ready to be in a salad and Cubone that he’s about to be reunited with his mom. Not only is it crass, but it’s also stupid. Ash knows quite well that Magikarp are inedible. They’re nothing but scales and bones. He learned this on Pokemon Shipwreck.
– Nice to see Nurse Joy’s also joining in on the idiocy. She should know that Psyduck suffers from an endless headache, thus there’s nothing really wrong with it.
– Here’s one of the biggest questions of the episode – Why the hell does Jenny have a sleep wave detector? Nonono – why does she have a sleep wave detector on her? Nonoononononono – Are sleep wave detectors standard issue for cops in the Pokemon world? Nnononononononononononononononono – why are sleep wave detectors a thing? How could they possibly be useful outside of this insanely specific circumstance?
Was there a rash of criminals taking naps in their crime scenes? Are you worried Freddy Krueger’s going to pop up somewhere? Are you a cop who usually patrols parks and you use it to detect sleeping homeless people so you can ask them to please sleep somewhere else, sir? Do you scan pieces of evidence to see if anyone’s napped on it recently? Did a hypnotist on a cheap cruise line traumatize you because he made you quack like a duck every time someone says ‘potato salad’? I am legitimately curious as to the history of this thing.
The whole concept of the sleep wave detector just seems silly and incredibly lazy. They could’ve made up something like the sleep waves were interfering with some of the equipment in the Pokemon Center or something of Jenny’s and the malfunctions got worse the closer they got to the source. Or they could’ve had a Pokemon be somehow attracted to the sleep waves and follow it to the source.
Nope – fucking sleep wave detector.
In the first draft, this thing was called ‘the convenient plot device generator’
– Alright, with all of that sleep wave detector nonsense behind us, we can move o—why the hell does Team Rocket have a sleep wave detector?! I mean….I guess if anyone had such a stupid device, it would be Team Rocket, but, seriously, where did they get a sleep wave detector and how did they know such a device would be useful here?
– Their plan this week is also pathetic and stupid. They plan on finding the source of the waves and knocking out Giovanni with it so they can take a vacation. Yeah, I’m so sure no one will notice he’s MIA and wake him up incredibly quickly. I’m sure he doesn’t have any subordinates who can take over his job temporarily if he’s indisposed. I’m sure he won’t realize what you did to him when he wakes up and he won’t put your collective asses in a sling.
Plus, they’re completely ignoring the obvious criminal use for a source of sleep waves – putting Pokemon to sleep. Their main objective is stealing Pokemon. Imagine if you could put any Pokemon to sleep. A whole Pokemon Center, forest, lake etc. of Pokemon out like a light. All you’d have to do is nab them and put them in a container then gift wrap them and send them to Giovanni. I’m sure he’d rather have loads of Pokemon delivered to him than be pseudo-roofied by you nimrods.
– Why is there a huge mansion/estate on top of a skyscraper? The characters also express surprise and confusion at this, but not a single person gives a reason as to why this is happening. It seems so inefficient, illogical, not cost-effective and just stupid. Surely if you have the money to get a mansion built on top of a skyscraper, you have the money to buy a huge plot of real estate in the city or just beyond it.
By the way, skipping ahead a bit, maybe if you rich idiots want to help your insomnia, you might not want to live and socialize in a huge loud city by purposely building your house/meeting area on top of a skyscraper.
– Yes, Officer Jenny, just let these small children break into what could be a building filled with dangerous people.
– I have a bunch of questions about the Pokemon Lovers Club.
1 – So this mansion isn’t even a place where someone lives – it’s just a clubhouse? You went through all that trouble and spent so much money for a clubhouse on top of a skyscraper? Talk about disposable income.
2 – This is a Pokemon Lovers Club, so I assume there are frequently lots of Pokemon up in this clubhouse at any given time…..On top of this skyscraper…..with no protective barriers to stop them from falling off the roof. More like Pokemon Negligence Club.
3 – For a Pokemon Lovers Club, this place is sure devoid of….well, Pokemon. The only Pokemon in the area are Hypno and Drowzee, and those are the only Pokemon they talk about.
This is a far cry from what is supposed to be the inspiration of this club, which is the game’s Pokemon Fan Club. (It’s never explicitly stated that it is, but given that the original Japanese name for the fan club is Pokemon Lovers Club, it’s hard to say it’s not)
You’d think they might make up for it with Pokemon décor or activities or something, but there’s nothing even Pokemon related in the entire vicinity besides the Hypno and Drowzee sitting on that table. Everyone’s just standing around drinking wine….err, I mean, what I assume is fruit juice. It’s like that pseudo-sitcom trope where the mom has a book club but it’s really an excuse for her and her friends to sit around and gossip while drinking wine.
4 – So if the point of this club isn’t celebrating all Pokemon, I guess I can assume it’s for a Hypno or Drowzee fandom….if that’s true, why is no one paying it any mind before Ash and the others talk about it?
5 – From what they say, it’s almost like the point of this club is an insomniacs club. All of these rich tycoons are so stressed out from living in the city (pbbbttttmove awaypbbbttttput your clubhouse in a place that isn’t the top of a skyscraperpbbbbtttyou’re hobnobbing and drinking in the middle of the day – you can’t be too stressedpbbbbttt) that all of them suffer from insomnia, a condition I’m surprised 4Kids didn’t try to explain to the audience. So they all get together and have Hypno and Drowzee use Hypnosis on them to help them get to sleep at night.
6 – To help them get to sleep AT NIGHT. Why are they making Hypno put them to sleep now?
– Why is the closeup shot of Hypno using Hypnosis a still-screen? It is insanely creepy because of that.
– Okay, I can understand Hypno’s changed wavelength having an energy-draining effect on Pokemon. If it’s altered from the regular version, it’s just making the Pokemon in the area incredibly tired as opposed to being entirely asleep. That doesn’t really explain Charmander’s dying tail flame, but still.
I can even believe it’s affecting only certain children in the area who might be sensitive to such waves, putting them in a trance state.
What I DON’T understand is why the children all start believing they’re Pokemon. The only reason I can come up with is that, when people get hypnotized in shows in real life, they’re commonly given something goofy to do, and it usually involves acting like an animal – like acting like a dog at the sound of a bell or acting like a chicken at the sound of a clap……but that just doesn’t make much sense at all.
Apparently they originally based this off atavistic regression, which is a hypnosis technique in which the therapist helps psychologically regress a person to previous evolutionary states, eliminating internal stressors, activities and barriers that usually cloud a person’s mind and make them stressed and anxious. This therapeutic technique is used to help people sleep better, be more relaxed and be more open to hypnotic suggestion.
Problem is, humans did not evolve from Pokemon in this world. (Did they? I’m not current on Pokemon lore. I know Arceus is treated as Pokemon God, and that’s about it in that regard.) Even if they did, atavistic regression doesn’t cause you to start acting like you’re devolved. It just attempts to switch off certain higher functions of the brain that have only been utilized in recent stages of evolution. You’ll have a clearer head, not communicate through grunts and attempt to spear down a city bus.
I also don’t understand how these waves can be so friggin’ powerful that it’s affecting children and Pokemon for miles around. By that logic, any other Hypnosis should zonk out any Pokemon in a five mile radius, like when Jigglypuff uses Sing only much worse.
– Ash, you stuffed a comatose Pikachu in your zipped backpack instead of leaving it at the Pokemon Center where it could be treated? What is wrong with you?
– Thank God Seel!Misty knows how to use an elevator or else there’d be a big stain on the sidewalk out front.
– If the aspect of the children all suddenly believing they’re Pokemon is hard to swallow, even given the backstory of the idea, it’s impossible to believe that they’d all be drawn to the exact same spot in the park. Misty was gunning for that place, she knew exactly where she was going – like it was innate. What’s so special about this section of the park?
– Let’s hope none of the kids believed they were Water Pokemon based on fish or else you might want to call a dive team.
– That one kid should not have been able to crawl down that tree on his belly like that.
– These kids are surprisingly clean and well-groomed for living in the woods acting like Pokemon for three days.
Gentleman Guy – “I know! Why don’t we use Drowzee to cure the children?”
Gentleman Guy – “Sleep emits dream wavelengths, which, in this case, might counteract Hypno’s wavelengths.”
I don’t….understand that sentence…..Sleep….emits dream wavelengths…yes. That might counteract Hypno’s wavelengths…..no….Hypno made those wavelengths….Why would Drowzee….he might have a different wavelength but….dream wavelengths… Dream Eater? How would that help?…..How is this…working?……Forget it. Let’s just say they’re reversing the polarity and move on with our lives.
Ah, according to the Wiki, this is just a dub error. Sleep is Drowzee’s original name and 4Kids accidentally used it here……Still doesn’t clear up what the hell is going on, but that clears up the sentence structure anyway.
– They’re having Drowzee emit his dream waves toward Misty?….How is that not Hypnosis?….Why does Hypno not have an ability of his pre-evo? Nope, I’m not going down that slippery slope again.
– Drowzee’s Hypnosis shot isn’t nearly as creepy as Hypno’s because he’s actually animated here, but it’s obvious the animation is just keyframes. Is this a post-edit because of the Porygon episode? Even Misty, when she’s being subjected to the dream waves, is clearly animated in an extremely shaky way (IE, you can see the frames jutting up and down) Neither the Bulbagarden comparison nor the Wiki page even mentions this odd animation.
– I’ve always thought Eric Stuart’s delivery when he says ‘Just don’t hypnotize me. Okay, do it.’ was hilarious for some reason.
– Hypno’s incredibly stupid for attempting to hypnotize a mirror. Who is its trainer/owner? Why did no one command it to stop?
– Oh now Hypno’s animated when doing Hypnosis. No clue what’s different now. Also, it has that same keyframe animation issue.
– Nice throwing that flower pot to destroy that mirror, Ash. Considering Hypno was standing a foot away from it and you threw it through the back, Hypno should be cut up like a Christmas ham right now, but good job.
– Hey, Pidgeotto nice to see you actually being used for a change. Though, this is still technically using it for blasting Team Rocket off.
– All, and I mean all of the voices of these children are horrible. Awful. Just….awful.
– Why did they all spontaneously blurt out what they wanted to be when grow up?
– Ash really doesn’t look much like Arnold at all. You only see him for a few frames, but he’s much shorter, has completely different clothes and his hair is blue not black. Guess his mom could’ve just been hysterical, but still.
– Misty is known for adoring even the ugliest of Water Pokemon, but she has absolutely no respect for Psyduck out of the gate and even calls it boring despite hearing that it has mysterious powers.
– Why does Misty have such a burst of anger over hearing Psyduck always has a headache? She doesn’t even own it at this point.
– That last bit is just all sorts of giant convenient coincidence. She just happens to fall. She just happens to have a Pokeball fall out of her pocket/bag. It just happens to stop rolling right in front of Psyduck. Psyduck just happens to bop the button over and over to enlarge the ball and capture itself.
– Not to be cruel, but why doesn’t Misty just instantly release Psyduck if she’s so intent on hating it from the get-go? It didn’t even do anything wrong. She just hates it for no reason.
– Mystery of what the inside of a Pokeball looks like solved – it’s a blue abyss of nothingness.
Like I said, this episode is just an endless stream of confusion and peculiarity for me. It only got even worse the more I analyzed it. Some questions were answered, but I just raised other questions I never even thought of before, and if this weren’t the episode where Misty gets Psyduck, I’d almost say it’d be better off if we all just believed it was a weird collective dream.
Now that I think about it, this is the perfect episode for Psyduck to debut in. What better Pokemon to have be caught in this massive web of weirdness and disarray than the Pokemon who, like all of us at this point, has a massive headache?
Next episode, one of my favorites, Brock meets his idol in breeding, Suzie, and gets Vupix.
Plot: Bakugan is the latest gaming craze across the globe, but it’s not just any old kids game. The origins of the Bakugan are a complete mystery. Cards just suddenly started raining from the sky across the world, and some of the cards contained monsters which could be summoned by the card wielders. A group of kids decided to make a game out of the mysterious cards and monsters, and Bakugan was born. However, the world where the Bakugan originate from is in danger, and it’s up to Bakugan players such as the hotheaded upstart Dan and his friends to save it.
Breakdown: I’m not going to sugarcoat this. Bakugan Battle Brawlers looked like a very dumb show to me from the instant I saw a trailer for it. Hearing the plot synopsis didn’t help. I think I finally understand what parents felt like when we tried to explain Yugioh, Digimon and Pokemon to them. Does that mean I’m a grown up now?
I have a soft spot for gaming anime either way, so I felt like I needed to give it a shot. My opinions ended up…….well, let’s find out.
Let’s start out with seriously just parroting the opening lines word for word.
Dan: “I know this is going to sound weird, but one day my whole world changed. You see, cards started dropping from the sky; coming down like rain. At first, we didn’t know where they were coming from or who sent them – we only knew they were more than just ordinary playing cards. And it was happening all across the world. The north. The south. They landed everywhere.
Together with my new online friends from around the world, we invented a wicked new game that we called ‘Bakugan’. That’s when the power of the cards was revealed. Each one of them held their own battling beast which came alive when you threw it down. The battles were intense, and if you chose the wrong card you lost it and the beast inside. But that’s only half the story. An even bigger battle is taking place in an alternate universe called Vestroia. My name is Dan, and together with my friends Runo, Marucho, Mr. Hotshot himself, Shun, Julie and Alice we are the Bakugan Battle Brawlers!”
Did you get all that? Because holy crap that’s a lot of backstory for a first episode plot snippet.
Let’s break this down piece by piece.
Cards suddenly fell from the sky all over the world and instead of being investigated by any government or being confiscated, all the kids just picked up the cards and decided to make a game out of it while the parents and other adults just accepted it. Okay, I guess that’s fine.
The cards held the spirits of monsters and, when released, the beasts took on the forms of…transformable marbles that you could shoot onto a playing field, allowing you to release them into a more formal beast state, and they conveniently also work with the game that the kids made up?
But wait, there’s more!
These beasts also exist in an alternate dimension called Vestroia where they battle each other all the time and might be at war for some reason.
And what do these kids being the Bakugan Battle Brawlers have to do with it, besides the fact that they play the game?
It’s just so much to take in in a matter of about 45 seconds. That could’ve been an episode all its own.
Anyway, after our intro narration, we get our theme song which is a really mixed bag. I like the melody and instrumentation, but the lead singer just sounds horribly generic and the lyrics are the exact same BS that plagues nearly every show similar to this; never give up, power’s in your hand, blah blah blah.
Our main character, Dan, arrives home and goes through his little marble things that all look exactly the same yet he can tell them apart somehow. He then runs off to meet a little runt named Akira whom he supposedly had a Bakugan match with, but Akira reveals that he’s switched with his big brother, a towering fat thug named Shuji. I don’t know why they’re keeping in all of these Japanese names, yet they altered Dan’s name to being short for Daniel instead of his real name of Danma.
Anyway, Shuji states that his specialty is subterra space, something Dan’s never even heard of before, and they start their battle.
They each draw a card and call the field to open, which sends Dan and Shuji into another dimension and slows down time…..Why did the many governments of the world not take these cards again?
While in the weird multi-colored purgatory dimension, Dan and Shuji draw one more card each to set their gate cards, which grow to the size of a soccer field and materialize face down. Shuji throws a brown and yellow marble on the field and calls his Bakugan to stand which prompts the marble to open into a little monster form. Out of the field comes a giant praying mantis monster.
Using his….calculator watch (?) Dan analyzes the field and finds out that his opponent is a subterra mantis with a power level of 270.
Dan selects his Bakugan and throws a marble thing out onto the field, calls it to stand which prompts it to open into a little monster form. This summons some giant red snake that is never named with a power level of 320. They battle or Bakugan Brawl and it looks like Dan’s monster will win because he has the higher power level, but Shuji opens his gate card and changes the playing field to a desert – Egypt I suppose if the pyramids are any indication. This gives the subterra mantis a power boost to 420, which allows him to beat Dan’s monster.
Shuji: “Oh man, that was easy. You fell faster than a deck of cards in a tornado.” Is he meant to be too dumb to realize it’s supposed to be a ‘house of cards in a tornado’ or are the dubbers dumb? Decisions, decisions.
High off his first round win, Shuji sends out another Bakugan. This time it summons a giant enemy crab.
Dan isn’t fazed by this and also sends out another Bakugan, this time revealing a…..Male Garudamon?…..Nah it can’t…..B—huh?
Anyway, Dan opens his gate card, which changes the playing field into a bunch of fire and Garudamon dude easily hits the enemy crab’s weak point for massive damage.
It’s one to one now and they prepare two new gate cards for the tie breaker. They each release another Bakugan and they summon….one green and brown lizard warrior and one red lizard warrior thing. Shuji’s monster has a power level of 320 while Dan’s has 280. They brawl and Dan activates an ability card (?) which makes fire on the ground and powers up his lizard warrior thing I guess to a point where he can take out the brown lizard warrior thing.
Dan has taken the lead and now Shuji only has his mantis left. They set gate cards again (?) and they launch their Bakugan. Shuji summons his mantis while Dan calls out Mr. Garudamon again. Shuji opens his gate card, which creates desert again, and then uses his ability card to give the mantis some sort of super powered slash ability.
However, Dan’s not sitting back and letting him finish his attack as he also has an ability card, a counter ability card to be precise, that gives Mr. Garudamon a shield of fire to stave off the slash attack. This ability card I guess also gives him enough power to take out the mantis and Dan wins.
Since we’re at commercial, I think now’s as good a time as any to ask what in the depths of fuck just happened?!
Traipsing into Episode One-derland for a minute, first episodes have a lot of work to do. They need to hook us in, they need to establish the world they live in, what the main character is like etc. It has to set a strong foundation for the series to help us understand the story as it unfolds in subsequent episodes. When it comes to gaming anime, there’s an additional factor that absolutely needs to come into play; explaining how the goddamn game is played.
I have no clue how this game is played right now, even after seeing a full match, and that is a huge problem for this type of show. I know some Bakugan fan is probably looking at this now and rolling their eyes at me for not getting it merely by watching, but it is not set up in any way that explains really anything.
Where is our audience surrogate – the character who explains stuff about the plot to unimportant people as a means of explaining to the audience certain aspects of the story? Usually on the side lines as someone marvels at the game?
For example, in Yugioh, our audience surrogate in the first episode was T’ea and to a lesser extent Joey who explained the game’s basics to Tristan. In Beyblade, a completely superfluous character explained the game to another completely superfluous character. In Pokemon, Ash, Brock and Misty usually doled out that information either straight to us or to Ash as he was also a rookie. You get the point.
I just have so many questions like, why send out two gate cards supposedly every turn if you’re not going to just use them immediately or at all? I was under the impression that two gate cards are set and neither player can play more until both of those cards have been used. They don’t send out more gate cards on each turn at first, they just suddenly start doing it. Can you not use two gate cards at once? Gate cards can also be used to weaken enemies? Are gate cards just like field power bonuses in Yugioh? Who or what dictates the power increase or decrease?
What are ability cards? Why can you just grab them and chuck them out whenever you please instead of having a legit deck and a hand of cards?
Why do these monsters seem to have no names? Mantis kinda sounded like it was being pronounced ‘Mantriss’ but, really, that’s it for a name? Just throw a consonant in there and it’s instant name? None of Dan’s monsters were given names. Shuji’s other monsters weren’t given names. I think some of the ability cards had names but I could never hear them because the other sounds drown them out. (Poor sound mixing is yay)
Why do they need to transport themselves to an alternate dimension to do this? Why does doing so slow down time across at least the whole city? And are the parents of these kids just okay that their children play games in alternate dimensions with real beasts that they keep….in…balls….In fairness to Pokemon, they don’t usually go to alternate dimensions to do that. What is that little device on Dan’s wrist and why does it look so….boring?
I know that Yugioh is justifiably ragged on for constantly prattling on about what a card does and the rules of the game and certain strategies etc. but you know what, I’d rather know too much about what I’m watching than have really no idea. Dan does have slight inner monologue and the little watch thing helps slightly, but the watch thing only popped up a couple of times, same with Dan’s thoughts. In addition, Dan’s analysis was pointing out stuff that was already pretty obvious. Other than that, absolutely nothing.
I have never felt so lost watching the first game of a gaming anime. No one’s explaining strategies, no one’s explaining rules, no one’s explaining card effects, I don’t know what these monsters are called, I don’t know the names of the cards; things happen and then Dan wins.
Medabots, which is probably the worst shounen gaming anime I’ve ever seen to this point, did a much better job of explaining this stuff to us in its first few minutes. Rules, structure and even some strategy.
To make matters worse is how Dan is portrayed so far. He is just very very very typical. That’s pretty much the perfect word for his character. Typical. A kid who loves a game and is so good at it that he’s never lost. The first match we see him in is one in which he seems to pretty easily win, and he even ends the match by saying it was easy. So great, he’s not even a humble type protagonist, he’s a cocky prodigy type.
Even his character design, color scheme, element selection and the types of monsters he usually uses are very typical. Red, fire and lizards/dinosaurs/dragons.
As for the battle in just an entertainment aspect, it was still dull as dirt. Nothing at all in this match was unique or cool. Shuji had a mantis, a crab, and a brown lizard warrior thing. His gate cards were deserts and his only ability card was a slashing attack. Dan’s side was equally boring; fire gate cards, fire ability card and a fire counter ability card with a red snake, a male Garudamon and a red lizard warrior thing. Also, how boring and uncreative are you to have the final match be two nearly identical monsters only palette swapped?
Plus, considering the opponent was the also typical easily defeated archetype of fat stupid cocky thug, there was no question about who would win so it’s even more boring.
Well, maybe we’ll get better as the episode goes on.
After the commercial, Dan is seen bragging to his online friends about how awesome he was in his match earlier and proclaims himself the most awesome Bakugan Brawler.
Runo states that Dan is still stuck at 121 in the world rankings, but Dan checks himself to see that he’s now 117. Runo and Dan have a little argument and Runo really comes off as a jealous bitch. I can’t understand why she’s friends with Dan. Julie chimes in to gush over Dan, and apparently she calls him Danny. Ugh. I can tell from her very first line that I’m going to hate this girl even more than Runo.
Marucho tells Dan that he should set his sights on Shun as he’s currently ranked number one, and if he tries hard enough he could surpass him in a few years. Alice states that a few years is too long to wait, and that he should find some way to challenge him as soon as possible. Wait, what is the rush? A second ago he was excited to just be at 117, now they’re acting like it’s an emergency to challenge and surpass the highest ranking brawler. Slow down, guys.
Dan yet again gets all cocky and says he’d probably beat him easily because no one has ever even given him a challenge before. Why the like for these cocky main characters? Is it just in the hopes that they’ll get that ever sweet ‘humble pie’ arc where they get thrashed and learn to not be such an asshat?
Also, Dan is a 12 year old boy and most of his group of close friends are cute girls his age, one of which obviously has a huge crush on him and another starting a love/hate relationship deal. I’m getting Gary Stu vibes.
We cut to Shun who is lamenting over the fact that defending his title isn’t even hard. As he wishes for an opponent who will give him a real challenge, we suddenly shift to looming narration I think from a Bakugan as he wishes Dan would understand that Bakugan is more than a game.
The unknown Bakugan then explains Vestroia to us. The dimension is separated into several sections based on the elements. The earth section is called subterra, and considering this seems like a very basic aspect of the game it seems kinda dumb that Dan is where he is right now in rank and yet never heard of it. Unless it’s just insanely unpopular as an element.
The light section is called Haos. The dark section is so creatively named Darkus. The water section is called Aquos. The wind section is Ventus. Finally, the fire section is Pyrus.
The narration suddenly ends in the Pyrus section as a red dragon, named, again so creatively, Drago, confronts a white dragon named Naga as he tries to stop his relentless pursuit of power. Drago accuses Naga of being responsible for someone named Michael, and Naga reveals that he has a card that opens a portal to Vestroia….wait, I thought they were in Vestroia, just the fire area of it. Oh whatever. Naga escapes and we cut back to earth where Dan is being challenged to a rematch by Shuji.
Oh joy, a reprise of a boring match. I can’t wait. But hang on, Shuji’s now using Darkus attribute Bakugan. Oooh. Wait, if he was best at subterra attribute Bakugan then shouldn’t this match go even worse? Oh hang on again, apparently now Shuji’s calling himself the master of Darkus. This guy’s an idiot and is obviously going to lose again. Why am I here?
Anyway, he summons a black and purple turtle thing while Dan summons the same red lizard warrior thing from earlier only he summons him behind the turtle thing. Okay, so now we’re adding stuff we didn’t see in the last match as you can apparently summon Bakugan on various areas of the field as long as you have decent throwing or bouncing capabilities. What this does is beyond me. They don’t bother to tell you anything about it.
Shuji throws out another Bakug—What? Since when can you summon more than one Bakugan per round? That never happened once in the first game. Anyway, he summons a Darkus Stingslash, in front of the red lizard warrior thing. The little calculator watch thing explains that the Stingslash has a power level of 330 while his red lizard warrior thing apparently called a Saurus has 280. They brawl and Dan, seeing he’s in trouble, opens his gate card which is just the same fire. This increases his Saurus’ power level to 310.
Class, can you tell me which number is higher? 330 or 310? You’re right! It’s 330, the power increase wasn’t enough and Saurus goes down…..Which means….Dan’s an idiot? I mean, he had to have known that the gate card wasn’t powerful enough to save his Saurus so why even bother using it?
Oh wait….he wasn’t destroyed….but….yes he was. I saw it happen. He was hit, glowed and then turned into his little marble form. That’s defeat isn’t it? It was before. Why is Dan saying, after the fact, that he needs to increase his Saurus’ power level by at least 20 more points if he should be out of the running? Again, this didn’t happen when the monsters were defeated in the first match.
…..And what was the point of the turtle in that battle? For that matter, what was the point of summoning the Saurus behind the turtle?
We cut back to Naga who is now in the center of the universe as he stares at the two conflicting forces of infinity and silence. The two forces keep Vestroia in balance, and he wishes to absorb their power to, say it with me everyone, RULE THE WORLD!
He also needs to do this to unite with someone named Hal-G. *shrug* He starts the absorption while prattling on about how much power he’s feeling when something goes awry. Apparently he had an overload of negative energy, which threw the balance that is required off. Without enough positive energy to counteract it, he is absorbed into the silence force as it is corrupted by darkness. Then all hell breaks loose as Vestroia starts falling apart. The various elemental sections that were once separated from each other are now open and collapsing.
As a Darkus Bakugan attacks Drago, Dan gets a vision of the battle, mistaking Drago for a Bakugan of his as he is confused by what is happening to the dimension. The vision ends and Shuji, using his Stingslash, attacks Dan’s giant red snake thing. However, the snake thing counters him and constricts Stingslash as Dan opens his gate card called Quartet battle. This prompts Drago and the Darkus monster to be transported through Shuji and Dan’s ability cards as marble things. The marble things both roll onto the field, stand and summon themselves as Dan’s ability card turns into a Dragonoid card.
Why do you need a special card to have a quartet battle when you can seemingly summon Bakugan whenever you want?
Drago tries to get the Darkus monster, called FearReaper, to snap out of his rage since he has been influenced by the influx of negative energy. The power builds and FearReaper won’t listen so Drago kills him….and…that’s the end of the match. I guess Dan somehow won because of that. I’m just now realizing that they don’t explain the scoring system either.
You know what really gets me though?
Dan: “I don’t get it. I thought Bakugan was just a game. But there’s more to it, and I gotta find out what.”
You thought it was just a game…Cards rain over the skies of earth. These cards act as dimensional portals which slow down time in the real world. They also act as portals for one specific Bakugan, in marble form, to emerge, and while in the alternate time-slowing dimension you create, the monsters become real and are under your control. All the while you possess the ability to create elemental powers and other abilities.
You are the dumbest person—nonono, these are the dumbest….entire human population to ever exist if they truly thought there was nothing more to all that than merely a game….that THEY CREATED FROM IT.
This isn’t like Yugioh where magical stuff happened through a legit game that was merely based on magical things originally. You created a game from interdimensional cards and marbles that turn into monsters yet you’re surprised that it’s not merely a little kid game? There’s not enough dumb to go around.
Later that night, Dan tries to get the Bakugan to talk again, but to no avail. He gives up and names Drago, of all things, Drago. Thank God both whomever named Drago initially and Dan are both incredibly uncreative. Come to think of it, I guess the same can be said of Bakugan.
Dan: “Well, time to hook up to the web.”
When was this show made again?….2007? Yeah, stop that.
Dan enters into a video chat with his friends and explains his experience with a talking Bakugan when Runo reveals that the chat rooms and forums are flooding with people who experienced the same thing. Dan concludes that the Bakugan did indeed talk, though it’s never established that the Bakugan can’t talk to begin with so this revelation really isn’t impacting to us as an audience…actually, why can’t the Bakugan that they’ve been summoning this whole time talk? Why are they different from Drago, Naga and the others?
Dan: “Maybe there’s more to the Bakugan world than we thought!”
You’re still all really dumb.
This….is awful. Just…terrible. It’s not the worst show I’ve ever seen by a long shot, but it’s definitely the worst shounen gaming anime so far. Congrats, Medabots. You’ve been bumped for now.
What a huge mess, especially as an intro episode. The premise is very dumb, even by gaming anime standards, but it could have been very acceptable had….anything been properly explained or explored.
I have no clue how to play Bakugan even after watching one and a half matches (the second match has a big gap in it and seems to end abruptly). The rules seemed to change in the second match, and I am just completely lost on how it really works. It’s also frustrating that cards, Bakugan and the items for the game like the marbles and Dan’s watch are not given names, at least not now. This fails on multiple levels as a first episode and as an advertisement.
Face it, gaming anime are meant to sell toys or cards or what have you. I know I saw a slue of Bakugan toys in stores when this show was popular. Why would a kid want to buy Bakugan toys if they have no clue what most of the stuff is called nor how to friggin’ play it? I mean, obviously a lot of them did because it was a pretty successful gaming anime, but it really just seems like, basing it from the first episode alone, you’re either focusing on the lowest common denominator who will just want the toys and watch the show because of mindless action and monsters or you’re aiming the show at people who already know how to the play the game, which only exists because of the show….
The other storyline involving Vestroia, while having more explanation and focus, is also not really given much explanation outside of the elemental areas of the dimension and the forces of infinity and silence being sent out of balance. If Drago was narrating that part where we first get a scene in Vestroia….does that mean Drago knows who Dan is? And why is he so important if he does? I swear, if they turn Dan into some ‘chosen one’ or messiah character I am dropping this series like a hot rock soaked in acid.
Character-wise, we’re also really scraping some barrel bottom. Dan is just blah at best and annoying at worst because he’s such a cocky kid who keeps winning, thus giving him fuel to continue being a snotrag.
Shuji is an idiot who was never a threat, making both battles boring and predictable.
Shun, even though we only saw him for a minute, is the very typical silent loner sitting at the top of his game and will obviously be the rival of the main character. Runo’s a bitch, Julie’s an annoying little Dan fangirl, and while Marucho and Alice are fine so far they also show zero personality in the couple of scenes that they’re in.
Drago is also very typical. As if his name weren’t generic enough, you can tell right off the bat that he’s some largely noble creature trying his best to protect everyone and do the right thing.
Naga is about as generic bad guy as you can get. Two things are revealed about him so far; he has a great thirst for power and he wants to take over the world. Even the destruction of a world due to a lack of balance is overdone.
Design-wise, the Bakugan are largely uninspired. Even the ability and gate cards are boring. You can’t really tell any of the Bakugan marbles apart except by attribute, which makes me wonder how the Brawlers can make accurate selections without opening them. The summoned monsters are just animals mostly. Snakes, scorpions, praying mantises, dragons, turtles, etc. What is slightly different from just animals is usually just an animal slightly altered like Saurus or Garudamon guy thing.
The character designs are fine, and I will admit that I like the color selections as well as Julie’s design, but Dan’s design is really cut and paste – he even wears goggles on his head.
Animation-wise, it really seems like there are some instances where it’s painfully obvious that they’re trying to make it look like it’s of much higher quality like when Dan throws the Bakugan out on the field. Sadly, these moments just spotlight how bad the animation really is. It juts, they reuse shots like there’s no tomorrow, and even the shots where they make a big effort to look well-animated just look bad. It looks like Dan is trapped in the same dimension that the guy from the Maxell VHS head cleaner tapes is from. Every part of him is just moving so much and so fast, except for his limbs which are purposely animated to be slow to make the animation look better.
While I will continue with this series just because, this really is a terrible first episode. I hope this series gets better over time, and I really hope with every fiber of my being that they start explaining this game more so I can actually follow along. At least become a mindless shounen gaming anime that I can understand and follow without having an aneurysm.
Next episode, Dan brings Drago to school to continue his attempts at getting him to talk, but he gets in trouble with his teacher because of it. Meanwhile, a mysterious guy named Masquerade is challenging Brawlers.
Plot: In the year 2050, astronauts uncovered an odd dark being that, when revealed, suddenly gave the moon an atmosphere, air and earth-like gravity levels. 50 years later, a boy named Daichi goes on a trip to the moon to spend the summer. He hears of sightings of a strange rabbit man and believes he’s found the being when he finds a little girl with rabbit ears and the ability to teleport called Guri Guri. He accidentally falls into Guri Guri’s house where he sees all sorts of magical items and meets Guri Guri’s aunt, V-Mei, who claims they’re of the long ear race.
He assembles three weapons for them and V-Mei reveals that the weapons are magical weapons used to combat the evil monsters threatening their land. When she senses magical power within Daichi, she sees one of the weapons, a magical gun, react to his presence. Utilizing the power of the magical weapon, Daichi calls upon the mech, Granzort, the mado king of earth, to fight black mats, evil robots, who suddenly appear.
Breakdown: The first part of this episode puts it on real shaky ground for me. There are so many things that either don’t make sense, are annoying or are annoyingly weird. First off, giving the moon an atmosphere, air and earth-like gravity makes it basically a clone of earth? Lush landscapes, clouds, blue skies, bodies of water etc. And people live and travel there willy nilly? Especially given only a fifty year time frame? Sure.
Second, Guri Guri is bound to get insanely irritating. And her face….It’s like someone injected a baby’s face with panda hugs and candy kisses. She’s way too cute, and not in a good way. It’s doesn’t help that she’s a little too young to really be endearing. Usually young cutesy characters are like six or seven. She’s like two or three.
Third, the entire process of the mech thing is just nonsensical, and it basically boils down every magical gir—boy plot and mixes it with a mech design. Main character’s a good guy with hidden magical abilities, obviously gets red as his color, and finds he’s destined to be a hero against evil. He’s an inquisitive, smart, excitable, slightly clumsy, heroic young lad, because of course he is.
This intro gives both a good yet a terrible introduction to the series as a whole. It introduces Daichi, Guri Guri and V-Mei just fine and it kinda establishes the mech thing, but where the hell did it come from? Why is it called from a magic gun? Why does the magic gun only shoot a badge? Why are the three magical weapons a gun, bow and a top? The top just seems really out of place. I don’t care if it’s a legit weapon – one of these things is not like the others.
Who are the evil guys? Why are they evil? What do they want? Why did they wait 50 years before doing anything? Did they wait until the main character arrived? What are long-ears? Have they been living on the moon this whole time? Why? How has no one really caught a decent glimpse of them or caught them considering Guri Guri is roaming public areas and teleporting like nothing? They have carrots? How? The soil on the moon can’t even grow weeds. Why does the music from Daichi’s music box make the weapon pieces turn colors? What does music have to do with weapons and mechs?
All that aside….yeah, it’s tickling that soft spot on my heart. Old series about magical g—boys and mechs? Sign me up! I don’t care if nothing’s making sense, you’re having fun with it and I am too.
Art and animation-wise, it’s old and it’s odd. It’s clunky in the animation department sometimes, but nothing too bad. The art has that dated 90’s feel, though Daichi’s head is just way too friggin’ big.
In the music department, it’s pretty good. I especially like the OP. It’s some catchy stuff.
I can’t help it. It’s not a masterpiece of writing by any means, but dammit if you like mechs, magical girl boy shows and nostalgic anime, then this is a fine watch. If not, feel free to walk away after episode one. I don’t think you’d be missing anything.
Recommended Audience: Nothing questionable so far. E for everyone!
Plot: Satoshi and the others are heading to their next Orange Island destination when a sudden storm beaches them on a nearby island called Earthia Island. The villagers are holding a legend festival and Satoshi is chosen to be the ‘great controller’ from the legend. He’s tasked with retrieving three spheres from three neighboring islands and returning them to Earthia to stop the destruction of the world through an imbalance in nature. However, he soon discovers that the legend is coming true.
Breakdown: Okay, the good news is that they seem to have gotten better at making movie posters. The bad news is, it’s still a pretty bad poster. I mean, Lugia looks fantastic, which is the main thing, the three legendary birds don’t look too small, but Satoshi is oddly placed. I find it weird that he’s even making that pose. It just seems like everyone’s picture is clipart that they pasted onto the cool Lugia and legendary birds poster. What is Okido even doing there?
Just to solidify something without a doubt, I want you all to take notice of something. Who is oddly missing from this poster?…..That’s right, Kenji/Tracey. Proving just how useless he is in the movie and the series as a whole. Less than Okido, less than Slowking. That is just sad.
Now, since this movie doesn’t appear to be anywhere as drastically changed as movie 01, I won’t bother doing a complete run though of the entire movie. Instead, like I have done in the past with other review projects, I will break this movie up into chunks (of ten minute segments) and give my notes of each segment of the movie. Let’s begin!
Ten Minute Mark
As expected, Fire, Freezer and Lightning (Moltres, Articuno and Zapdos respectively) are called the gods of fire, ice and lightning as opposed to titans. Lugia is also called the ocean god.
Shamuti Island is actually called Earthia, and it wasn’t until they said this that I noticed his computer labels the island in green. Then it hit me. Earthia corresponds with Flame, Ice and Lightning as representing life and the balance of nature; earth as a whole. That also explains why the light at the end of the movie is green…I know 4Kids changes the names of practically everything, but Earthia actually seems to have a clear point in its name, so that’s disappointing. Plus, like the comparison says, it seems odd that 4Kids would purposely change its original name to something more foreign-sounding.
The title is, of course, different, but something I found odd is that the Japanese version only uses fire effects during its title whereas the dub utilizes fire, ice and lightning to represent the birds. Gotta give 4Kids props for actually being more thorough. I do miss the awesome electric guitar.
The original’s theme song is also still pretty good, being another rendition of Mezaze Pokemon Master. I don’t know why it still has a Charizard/Lizardon’s roar and Pikachu sounds on it though. Without visuals to match that, it just seems random.
I’m just now realizing how much I miss Scyther/Strike. It was the only one of Tracey’s/Kenji’s Pokemon that got both a backstory and a personality; and it was pretty interesting too. It was just the shot where it’s trying to protect Venonat/Kongpang for a minute, but that did spring to mind.
Twenty Minute Mark
Ohhh THAT’S why they specifically needed a Pokemon trainer. The original’s legend states that a ‘great controller’ will calm the anger of the gods. They’re equating a trainer to a controller to fit the legend. Also, that is what equates to ‘the chosen one’ in the original. In my opinion, it sounds better and doesn’t insinuate that Ash was destined at birth to do this. One could say that since the dub legend says the chosen one will ‘tame the beast of the sea’ that that may also be poking at that, but I think that’s more of a stretch.
The song is obviously different, but it’s surprisingly not all that different to my ears, really. The original one has higher pitches and some different tones, but it seems to follow roughly the same melody.
Again, applause with no moving hands. What the hell?
Furura (Melody) doesn’t seem to be quite as upfront with her flirting as the dub would insinuate.
Thirty Minute Mark
MistyxTracey fans may be sad to note that the one hint of that pairing (Tracey wondering if the girls are talking about him when they discuss Misty liking Ash) is not present in the original. He just says ‘I’m going too!’ If it makes you guys feel any better, the original line makes the scene much funnier.
Musashi actually asks why they’re bothering talking about Kasumi and Satoshi’s love-hate relationship since they’re ten years too young to be caught up in that stuff. Kojirou chimes in and says even they don’t talk about it much. Nyarth’s line is kept the same. I know I keep delving into sub dub comparison stuff, but the Bulbagarden comparison doesn’t cover much of what I’m talking about, probably because it’s not really important, but still noteworthy to me.
Forty Minute Mark
I love how Kasumi’s line to Jirarudan (Lawrence; who, by the way, hasn’t been named yet (if ever) in the original either.) makes it seem even worse. She yells at him to put the legendary birds in monster balls because trapping them this way is a waste. Yes, it’s awful that he’s forcing Pokemon into small technologically advanced cages to look at them when he could be forcing Pokemon into much smaller technologically advanced cages and making them fight. Shame!
I just realized, when we cut to the water Pokemon traveling by sea to get to Earthia Island, we see Arbo/Ekans in the water traveling this way too….I know some snakes can swim and some even slither on top of water, but I never knew they traveled by water too. Kinda makes you think maybe Team Rocket could’ve used Arbok in movie 01.
Hanako (Delia) actually solidifies that she has no clue where Satoshi is; just that he’s somewhere in the Orange Islands. Considering how vast and wide the Orange Islands seem to extend, that is an incredibly flimsy reason to be out there. Hey, I can fix this in one sentence. Watch. Ahem…. ”Satoshi/Ash just contacted me from Earthia/Shamuti Island earlier!” …..Boom! Was that so hard? You can send me money now, writers. I have a Paypal.
Fifty Minute Mark
We’re at that cut scene with Kenji talking about the explosion made to free Fire. He’s saying how the electricity affects the water separating the H2 and O. That coupled with flamethrower equals boom. I think it’s going a bit far to say that’s instructions for essentially making a bomb – it’s moreso just explaining the chemical reaction going on and the explosion that proceeds it, but I guess 4Kids has removed scenes for lesser reasons. They honestly just could’ve said “Water…plus electricity…and fire….?!” And really, that’s the only thing Kenji’s noted as doing in this movie? He truly is a boring worthless character.
Also, I guess Fushigidane really didn’t have any role in that. He was just there whippin’ away.
Nothing to note here, to be honest. However, the reason he’s stuck with being the one who has to do this is really that he was chosen by the villagers, started collecting the spheres and has to finish it, not that he’s destined to anyway.
Hour and Ten Minute Mark
Despite also making a pun or two (“Pikachu, we’re gonna get ‘chu.”?) Team Rocket has a funny line when they let go of Lugia.
Team Rocket – “You’re the main character!” See, that’s how you break the fourth wall, 4Kids.
Satoshi: “Amazing! Are those really Pokemon?”
Lugia: “Yes, every Pokemon living on the planet.”…….Yeah you won’t come to eat those words in another year or so.
You know, if anything, the original movie has the opposite message from the dub. It seems like the original has more of a message of ‘it’s not what one person does, it’s everyone doing their part towards a specific goal that is powerful.’ whereas the dub is very clearly ‘the power of one.’ Lugia cements this further by saying everyone’s doing their part to try to help; the Pokemon, Lugia and Satoshi.
While he doesn’t mention it, even Team Rocket and Furura have been helping along the way. In the dub, Lugia outright says that the one with the power to actually make a difference is just Ash. I’m not saying the dub’s message is a particularly bad one. Many people succumb to the belief that just one person alone can’t do anything to make significant change, but it’s worth mentioning.
While I still really like the original song…I dunno, the dubbed version of the final legend song seems more impacting and epic to me.
Hanako actually says she saw Satoshi do…something dangerous. I’m assuming she saw him riding Lugia or something. She also doesn’t say anything about her constantly missing him; just that if he were to die, she’d lose her whole world. Her final words are also asking Satoshi what he really wants in life. Satoshi says he wants to be a Pokemon Master. Hanako replies if that’s really his dream then he can’t overdo it. I like the original version better. It explains a little why she was so angry and it doesn’t give us the slightly cheesy stuff about him always being her hero.
Surprisingly we don’t get ANY extra bits from Jirarudan stating what he plans to do now. He just picks up his ancient Mew card and smiles. According to his Wiki page, it’s supposed to imply that he intends to restart his collection but in a much more modest way. Whatever that means, I don’t know.
Team Rocket and Yadoking/Slowking don’t break the fourth wall at the end. They also rarely bring up the stuff about them being temporary good guys.
The song for the credits in the original is okay, but the song starts out with really irritating sing-talking. It also gets a bit repetitive. But at least it doesn’t bludgeon you with a sudden polka.
And that was Pokemon movie 02 subbed….I see no real reason to rate it that much higher than the dub. While I prefer it to the original mostly because I like the original score, voices and dialogue better, 4Kids didn’t change all that much. It’s odd, while 4Kids seemed to get better and better at dubbing the movies (I find movie 03 to be their best work ever, though I’ve only gotten to movie 06 as of this writing) they got progressively worse, in my opinion, with the series. Not saying everything was perfect after this movie-wise (there are definitely some stinkers and major issues) but they seemed to make more of an effort in the movies. Maybe they never wanted to suffer another backlash from fans and critics as they did after movie 01.
Anyway, if anything, maybe a .5 point for not being all ‘chosen one’ crap, but even that is still hinted at. Better than shoving it in your face, but still. Plus I do like the dub’s legend song just a tiny bit more.
Recommended Audience: E for everyone….Unless your kid is smart enough to build a bomb by learning a bit of simple chemistry and has intentions of doing so once he/she acquires the knowledge, in which case SV for Super Villain.
Plot: Aliens invaded the earth some time ago and now schools are tasked with selecting three people from each class to be Alien Fighters. The Alien Fighters are given borgs, frog-like aliens with wings and drill-like cables that sit on their heads and act like their protectors. Yuri Otani, the world’s biggest friggin’ crybaby on the face of the planet, is selected as being one of the three Alien Fighters for her class because I guess they just wanted to pawn the job off on her along with Kumi, a strong independent fighter who is seen as the mature one in the group, and Kasumi, who couldn’t be more excited to have the job. While much of their job is seen as busywork, the aliens do pose a threat far greater than what you’d imagine.
Breakdown: This is a short four episode OVA and I gotta say this is one of those shows that starts off rocky but ends up leaving you wanting so much more.
I first thought this series to be some parody of alien apocalypse anime. I mean, come on. Logistically, this makes no sense. Aliens invade and instead of military involvement, police or anything, they assign three kids from various elementary school classes to take care of aliens who roam around the school grounds armed with rollerblades and said borgs.
Also, they’re not allowed to kill the aliens. Well, they are allowed, but they’re strongly urged to merely tranquilize the alien and bring it into some pen at school. The reasoning is that they’re living beings too and they should respect their lives, but when they’re the ones trying to kill you; well, they obviously don’t respect your life so….
However, when a borg senses that their master is getting too scared of the threat and believes that they will die, the borg freaks out and kills the threat. Guess who sets this action off….twice. Just guess.
I suppose that’s as good of a lead-in as ever for the character bios. Yuri is our main character, and I swear to god if you thought Shinji from Evangelion was a whiny twat, you’ve never seen Yuri. She does nothing….and I mean nothing….but whimper and cry and say she’s scared. 99.9% of her screentime is that. I’m not even kidding.
You may see her smile once or twice, but it’s that awkward smile where your brow is still furrowed and it seems like you’re fake smiling to fit in. Even when she’s not on alien duty, even before she got picked, even when she’s just having fun on summer vacation with her friends, she was a whiny little cry baby.
I give Shinji and Yuri some leeway because they’re kids who were thrown into very dangerous situations and told to fight aliens who may very well kill them and their friends. However, there’s only so far I can go with that, and Yuri crosses that line so, so, so much. Considering she was this way before she even got selected, I give her even less leeway.
What’s worse is that, by the end, she’s not much better. She watches one of her friends getting attacked and does jack about it because she’s too busy whimpering. The only reason she does whatever minut thing she does at the very end is because Kumi was quite literally holding her hand.
She’s such a detriment to the team that I really wonder why no one will let her quit or even just purposely kick her off the team. The only times she ever gets anything done is when her borg tries to protect her and sometimes kills the enemy when she gets too freaked. Give Shinji some credit, at least he fought when he had to most of the time.
I loved the crap out of Kumi because she was the only one willing to be completely blunt about how much of a crybaby Yuri is. She’s a little cold, but she lightens up by the end.
Kasumi was pretty okay in the first half, but working my nerves in the second because of how happy-peppy she is and how she constantly says “NYA!”
Miyu, Yuri’s best friend, was also a good character though she had little in terms of personality.
While this show started out seemingly lighthearted, especially considering the artwork, it gets pretty damn dark, particularly the final episode. I was pretty surprised by the sudden turnaround from “being an alien fighter means you get to skip homework!” to sudden alien massacre, psychological warfare and conspiracies.
I won’t spoil the ending, but it is a great advertisement to read the manga. That’s basically what this is – just a sneak peak into the manga because we learn quite literally nothing of what’s actually going on.
We don’t know who’s sending the aliens, why the teacher and principal seem to have something to do with it, why they seem to have borg-hair, why the Yellow Knife was sent, what he meant by “It was your fault” and, I’m going to give two major spoilers here, so fair warning;
but at the very end, we don’t know if the Kasumi we see is actually Kasumi or something the alien made and we see that Kumi, during the end credits no less, suddenly got attacked by something and supposedly murdered in the library. What the hell happened to her? And why was she on alien duty anyway if her borg was out of commission?
End of spoilers.
The reason I took points off was for that ending and for Yuri. She is one of the most annoying anime characters I’ve ever seen. If they made her grow some semblance of a pair near the end, it wouldn’t have been as bad, but nope.
I plan on reading the manga because ‘m really interested to know what happened, so here’s hoping the manga does explain it.
Art and Animation: The art is………good, barring the faces of the people. They have huge eyes, which is usually fine, but they’re even big for anime standards. The eyes themselves also don’t look well-drawn, they’re craggy and awkward. They have small noses when seen from the front, but when you look at them from the side, no noses. Their ears are also friggin’ huge. Barring that, however, the art is pretty good and the animation is very well done.
Music: The ending theme was nice, the OP was forgettable. Nothing much to say about the BGM.
Voice Acting: English – Everyone was great in their roles, even whiny Yuri. I will say I was distracted by Rachel Lillis, the voice of Misty from Pokemon, playing Miyu. Veronica Taylor, Ash and May from Pokemon, also plays their teacher, Megumi, but I honestly didn’t catch on that that was her. Miyu was sporting Misty’s voice clearly, however. I really only note this because I found it funny that Rachel Lillis, who plays Misty, was playing in an anime with a character named Kasumi. Kasumi is Misty’s Japanese name.
Bottomline: At four episodes, it’s definitely worth a watch, but Yuri was seriously pushing it with her whining and crying. It does end with a lot of questions left unanswered and even has an actual cliffhanger that basically forces you to read the manga.
Additional Information and Notes: Alien Nine was based on a manga written by Hitoshi Tamizawa, though he doesn’t seem to have anything to do with this OVA. The OVA itself was directed by Yasuhiro Irie, director of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Code:Breaker, and Jiro Fujimoto who directed some episodes of Wagnaria!!3, Samurai 7, Kaze no Stigma and The Familiar of Zero. It was written by Murai Sadayuki, who also wrote the screenplay for Steamboy, the script for Perfect Blue and even some episodes of Cowboy Bebop.
Alien Nine was produced by JC Staff, and is currently licensed in the US by Central Park Media.
Recommended Audience: Some dark themes, blood, blood and gore on the alien’s side (meaning pea-soup green gore and blood) a little nudity, but you don’t see anything, technically. It is full frontal, but they do the Sailor moon thing with it. No nips, no naughty bits. No sex, some swearing here and there, but no f-bombs. 14+
Plot: The town has been taken over by star fever. Usagi and her friends all want to be stars just like their idol, Mikan. However, Jadeite sees this as his perfect opportunity to use these star-struck people for their energy. He concocts a plan to turn everyone into the stars they’ve always dreamed about while stealing their energy. Can Sailor Moon dash everyone’s hopes and dreams to save the day?
The Japanese text on the pink sidebar on the poster in the beginning is removed (Even though the Japanese text next to it isn’t….weird.) This is made even weirder since the text magically reappears as Naru/Molly runs by. After Molly runs by, the text turns to English words that I can’t make out. Confusing? Yeah.
Also, despite occurring in the same scene, they have one of the dub’s transitions after Molly hits Serena only to show Molly running off after the transition.
The text is again removed when Umino is showing off the same poster. In fact, they zoom in on the shot (it was further away so it showed both the poster and Umino in the original) so that they can reuse the edited shot from before.
The story about Umino’s poster is somewhat changed in the dub. In the original, he states he just ordered a bunch of the same poster from the Internet. In the dub, he says he won only one copy through a contest in the Saffron fanclub that he joined.
Name change: Mikan is changed to Saffron.
In the original, Umino states that she’s been in eight commercials and is only 17. He also states that her annual income is 2 million yen. In the dub, the other information isn’t given and we’re told she actually makes 5 million US dollars a year. Seeing as how 2 mil yen is roughly 19-20k US dollars, I’d say DiC rounded up and up and up and up and up….Unless those figures were drastically different in the 90’s which is completely possible, but my way’s funnier.
A shot of Umino’s screen is removed.
Usagi says she wonders how many shortcakes she could buy with that money. Serena wonders if Saffron needs an assistant.
The girls then discuss that Mikan was discovered by a talent scout as she simply walked down the street one day. Then they badmouth the scouts for not seeing and discovering them for all of their talent. In the dub, they just talk about what they’d do if they had a slightly larger salary than that of a minimum wage burger slinger at McDonalds—I mean the 5 million dollars.
After, Umino states that the scouts are doing their jobs because Mikan was found and they weren’t so the girls get mad at him. In the dub, he just says “In my opinion, one of you has the potential to be a real star” so the girls get mad at him and ask him to spit it out.
They cut out a shot of a big banner on the TV station where Mikan’s signing autographs supposedly because the entire banner’s in Japanese, but the sign on the front of the building is in big ol’ Japanese characters so sense made=zero.
They edit out a shot of Jadeite putting his hands in his pockets and walking away from the autograph signing. They also edit in a scene of Queen Beryl just doing the typical villain schtick (Use the energy to take over the world Muahahaha) after that.
In the original, Naru says that they sing to storm the entertainment industry. Usagi believes this to be storming them like attacking, so she gets a tennis racket. In the dub, they change this to Serena suggesting that they be tennis stars instead of singers. I don’t get why this was changed. It’s an easily translatable joke……though it is a stupid joke.
Right before Naru and Usagi sing, Luna thinks to herself that Usagi knows that they don’t have time for this. In the dub, Luna thinks to herself “Don’t tell me she’s going to sing.”
This next one’s gonna hurt. As Molly turns on the radio in the dub, it’s painfully obvious that they added in awful music notes animated onto the foreground. I guess this was to ensure the audience that indeed music was playing. Saved by the Bell had better graphics….
There’s also a crescent moon symbol in with the music notes…
It should also be noted, oddly, that the song being played on the original is the Sailor Moon Theme song instrumental. The dub is some awful remix of the Sailor Moon theme song done with a xylophone and the beat track from an old keyboard I think.
In the original, the girls make up the lyrics. In the dub we have a weird meta moment as they sing the actual Sailor Moon theme song……So what is this? I’m assuming Sailor Moon is somewhat known in Japan by this point, but she’s got a theme song already?
Sailor Venus doesn’t even have her own theme song and she’s been known way longer in Japan.
I give Luna a pass for changing her inner monologue because Serena’s VA singing? No thank you.
As Naru and Usagi are fighting, Luna just stares. In the dub, Luna thinks “And they say catfights are bad!” You know like catfights by comparison…actual cats….Yeah, I think they were going for a pun and failed.
They replace a shot of Usagi’s bunny door sign that says “Don’t come in” with another shot of the boombox. Also, there’s no poorly made music notes coming from the speakers so I am currently trying to figure out if there is indeed music being played. I’m running various tests right now and should have results by 2023.
In the original, Naru coaxes Umino into crossdressing to pair with her as a singing duo (Because males can’t sing with females I guess) by saying that Usagi would like him if he got real-world experience or some weird explanation like that. In the dub, she coaxes him into it by saying he’ll be world-famous. Also, instead of gushing about Usagi, he gushes about being famous and even starts reciting a speech he made to accept an award.
They edit out the shot of Mikan’s flowers presumably because there’s Japanese writing on the wrapping.
They make the scene where the monster changes into Mikan/Saffron even more sinister by adding MORE SHADOWS AROUND HER FACE! AHHHH!! God, DiC, put a warning on your show before you make edits like that. Children watch this show for God’s sake.
There’s this big-ass giant banner behind Monster-Mikan as she makes her speech. DiC, surprisingly left it alone. I guess because they couldn’t viably edit around it and painting over the text would cost too much money.
I guess I should mention at this point that Cinderella is a common theme in this episode. Everyone wants to be the next Cinderella, same with Naru and Usagi. In fact this contest or whatever that Monster-Mikan’s holding is called the Cinderella Caravan. In the dub, there’s no mention of this. Just fame and being like Saffron. I dunno why; Cinderella’s a common American story too.
Now there’s an untranslatable pun in the scene with the talent show. The comedy duo at the beginning make a joke about asking for two loaves of bread at the bakery, but they gave her strawberry patterned panties instead that she holds up. In Japan, the word for bread is pan and panties are pantsu. When she asked for two loaves of bread (pan) they gave her pantsu because two pan. Yeah, it’s awful even in Japanese, but the dub is even worse.
In the dub, the joke is why do elephants wear green sneakers? So that they can sneak around in the grass. Not only does that make no sense, it’s not funny in the least. Though, I guess that is the point; that a bunch of untalented people keep winning the contest. Also, they edit out where one of the girls holds up said panties and just repeat the footage to make her talk longer. However, since she moves her eyebrows when she does this, it makes the footage jump several times.
Oddly enough, they don’t edit out the Japanese on the hand stamp. The symbol means “pass” in Japanese. Though maybe they thought no one would realize it’s Japanese.
Another untranslatable pun emerges in the classroom. One of the girls asks, what do you get if you take away a vultures (Hagetaka) feathers (ge) You get Hadaka, which means naked. In the dub, the girls just say they’ll do knock-knock jokes now, but don’t actually say one. Guess the writers were lazy.
They edit out the shots of Naru’s autographs because Japanese.
In the original, Usagi, shockingly enough, says that they have to start class soon, but the other kids say that they don’t have time for class since the entertainment industry requires so much work….well, if that’s the case why did they even show up at school at all? In the dub, she just asks Naru if she won the contest and the other girls just said they basically all did and that fame’s gone to Molly’s head.
After the other kids threw the streamers, one hits Umino in the face and Umino tells the other kids that it would be bad if a star’s face got damaged and then Usagi thinks to herself that something is wrong. The dub cuts out to transition right before and I mean milliseconds before the impact of the streamer. The footage just stops and we get the transition. It’s so awkward.
They also cut out a shot of Umino and Naru singing. Also, Umino’s no longer dressed in drag so I guess he can dress normally now that the contest is over? What the friggety fuckwits was the point in all that?
They also cut out the singing in the background entirely, but they keep in the shot of the end of the show….what the hell were they watching in the dub? Just Molly and Melvin standing on stage doing nothing?
They edit out where even more people appear on stage with Naru and Umino. I dunno.
Front of the Shan Shan Plaza is covered in Japanese text so they edit out the shot of it.
When we see shots of Umino, Naru and those two terrible joke girls as well as the cop, we’re supposed to see that the stamps they got on their hands are glowing I guess to show that their energy is ripe for the taking. Edited out in the dub….they kept the stamps but got rid of the glowing…..I do not understand….Oh and Umino’s crossdressing again….I really don’t get it. There are plenty of guys there. Why did he need to crossdress?
A front shot of Jadeite receiving the energy that has been shown tons of times and is recycled footage was edited out of the dub for some reason.
I guess at this point I should also mention that the subbed version has now started singing the actual Sailor Moon theme song too so I’m doubly confused.
Get a load of those bathroom signs….High heels for the ladies and a top hat for the men. How sexist. Now I can’t wear a top hat without being a crossdresser. My Thursdays are completely ruined now!
Couple questions about the ending….A discoball shatters above your head and that didn’t at least give you several cuts? So, Mikan was just laying in a tub, naked, for the past few days?
Also, in the original as everyone’s snapping out of it, one of the joke girls asks the other when did they start speaking in a kansai dialect. (I don’t know much about dialects in Japan to be honest, but I’m guessing this accent was put on to sound more like a comedian or entertainer or something?) In the dub they just say that they never want to hear another knock-knock joke again even though they never said one to begin with at least that we heard so the joke is lost.
Well, what the hell happened here? In the Sailor Says segment they leave in the shot of Umino getting hit by the streamer…. There is no such thing as consistency.
Gym Leader: Erika – Erika is a very polite and kind individual (er, well, she’s meant to be) who values empathy with her Pokemon above all else. She specializes in Grass Pokemon and has a particular connection with her Gloom, a Pokemon most people cannot stand due to its terrible smell. Erika also owns a perfume shop and treasures the beautiful scents and feelings that perfume provides. While she is a very gentle and loving person, she cannot stand ignorant people who badmouth perfume.
Pokemon – She has numerous Grass Pokemon kicking around her Gym, but in this battle she uses a Weepinbell, a Tangela and a Gloom, who is her most prized Pokemon and is in fact the source of her secret ingredient for her perfumes.
Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive in the massive Celadon City. As they gaze in awe at the skyscrapers, Misty and Brock are suddenly captivated by the aroma of perfume. The scent leads Brock to a perfume shop where he gawks at the girls at the counter. Ash wants to get going to the Gym when he notices that Misty and Pikachu are actually in the store trying out various types of perfume.
She’s about to buy some when Ash bursts in and tells her not to buy it because ‘Perfume is a waste of money, and it stinks!’ The store manager comes in and states that she resents Ash’s remark. She asks if Ash is insinuating that she overcharges her customers for poor-quality perfume. Ash tries to save face by saying that all perfume is a waste of money, because ‘all it does is turn guys into zombies.’ like Brock.
She gets increasingly angry as Ash continues to speak badly of perfume and she kicks him out of the store. Ash doesn’t really care, though, since he’s off to the Gym.
When he arrives at the Gym, he’s shocked to find that the girls at the door won’t let him in since they don’t let anyone in who badmouths perfume given that they manufacture the perfume in that very Gym. Ash begs and pleads to challenge the Gym Leader, but they still refuse.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket breaks into the Gym to steal the secret perfume formula. While they’re searching for it, they stumble upon a sleeping Gloom. After James accidentally wakes it up, he attacks it with Koffing’s Poison Gas. Shockingly, not only is Gloom unaffected, it actually sucks up the gas with no problem.
In retaliation, Gloom sets off a cloud of its terrible stench, causing Team Rocket to nearlyfaint and giving the guards at the Gym the opportunity to knock them out and kick them out. They tie Team Rocket up in a tree, and Ash comes upon them.
They decide to coerce him into cutting them down from the tree by saying they can get him into the Gym. Desperate for another badge, Ash accepts. Their big plan? To dress Ash up as a girl, pretend to be named Ashley and pretend he likes perfume so he can get through the door and challenge Erika.
Posing as Ash(ley)’s parents, Team Rocket enrolls Ash in the Gym’s Pokemon training classes. As Ash gets ready to infiltrate the Gym to challenge Erika, Team Rocket excuses themselves so they can steal the formula. In retaliation for stamping a big X on her face, Jessie also has Meowth plant a bomb in the building.
The class starts, showing the Gym’s Pokemon getting exercised and cleaned up while Erika reads them all a sad story about an Omanyte. Ash(ley) is introduced to the group and he’s shocked when he notices that Erika is also the manager of the perfume store. Misty, Brock and Pikachu are also at the class, which makes him increasingly concerned that he’ll be found out.
Misty asks Erika why the seemingly always stinky Gloom smells perfectly fine while hanging out with them in the Gym. Erika explains that Gloom does indeed have a terrible smell, but only when it feels threatened or scared. If you show Gloom that its safe and that you want to be its friend, it will smell fine. Misty asks how she knows this and Erika explains how she and gloom met.
When Erika was a small child, she went off on her own and was suddenly cornered by a Grimer. Gloom was passing by, and she asked it for help. Gloom somehow sensed how scared Erika was and used its terrible smell to send the Grimer away and save Erika. Ever since that day, she and Gloom have been close friends. Her relationship with Gloom even inspired her to become a Grass Pokemon trainer and open her Gym.
Misty wishes that Ash was around to hear the story and Ash accidentally outs himself by saying he did hear it. He tries to save face, but Pikachu tries to cuddle him, realizing who he is. Ash tells him to back off, which prompts Pikachu to shock him, revealing his true identity. Ash admits what he did and challenges Erika to a Pokemon battle, which Erika accepts.
Ash chooses Bulbasaur at first while Erika uses a Tangela. Bulbasaur uses Vine Whip to wrap up Tangela, but Erika commands it to use Constrict to coil up Bulbasaur’s vines and reel him in. She then commands Tangela to use Stun Spore, which paralyzes Bulbasaur and leaves him unable to battle.
Ash considers using Primeape, but decides against it when he remembers how crazy and violent it was. Instead, Ash uses Charmander. In response, Erika sends out Weepinbell.
Weepinbell uses Razor Leaf, but Charmander burns all of the leaves with a Flamethrower and KOs Weepinbell with a Skull Bash.
Erika uses her trump card, Gloom, and it easily knocks out Charmander with its stench. Ash struggles to figure out what Pokemon to use next since he doesn’t believe any of his Pokemon can withstand that smell. However, Pikachu steps up to the plate and volunteers to go.
Their battle is interrupted by Team Rocket who now have the secret formula in their possession and have come to gloat. Their visit is cut short when they accidentally set the bomb too close to where they are and blast themselves off.
A massive fire breaks out in the Gym and everyone tries to gather the Pokemon and evacuate. Outside, everyone tries to put out the flames with hoses, Water Pokemon and Brock’s Geodude.
Erika runs by in a panic, worried that Gloom never made it out of the building. Ash goes into the Gym to retrieve Gloom, but is deterred by the frightened Pokemon’s horrible smell. Ash has no choice but to hold his breath and brave the stench to get Gloom out, but is surprised to find the air to be clear of the smell when he gasps for a breath. He suddenly remembers Erika’s words about the smell vanishing if Gloom feels safe and friendly towards you. With a smile, Ash grabs Gloom and runs out the door.
Later, when the fire is extinguished, Erika gives Ash a Rainbow Badge in gratitude of him saving her Gloom. Ash admires his new badge, but asks what Erika will do now that Team Rocket has her secret perfume formula. Erika laughs and said they didn’t steal the formula; they only stole an ingredient of her perfume – essence of Gloom.
As we cut to Team Rocket, they open the bottle to enjoy their new perfume only to be disgusted at the odor within the bottle.
With his new badge in hand, Ash and his friends set off to the next Gym.
– Oh great, our first actual official pun title. Whoopee.
– Just a side-note/backstory thing before I get started: This episode is one my most remembered since it was one of a handful of episodes that I got on VHS when I was a kid. I also had the episode with Primeape, but I guess I didn’t much care for that episode as a kid either because I don’t remember watching that episode much.
Since there was a good chunk of time in my childhood when I was obsessed with Pokemon, but it was only on either incredibly early in the morning (before it started airing on Kids WB. And by early I mean around 5:00/30 AM. I had to pester my dad to wake me up when he woke up to go to work so I could watch it) or only on weekends (when it finally aired on Kids WB) I basically watched my VHS episodes over and over to sate my Pokemon cravings. As such, this episode became ingrained in my memory. I could probably recite the entirety of the script in my sleep.
However, looking back on it, I can definitely feel a rant storm a brewin’
– They’re still using the Pokemon logo when they include the word “Pokemon” in the title? Wow, that is going on way longer than I thought it did.
– I understand that Erika’s ‘spell out perfume with positive words’ rant is a dub-only thing, but uh, 4Kids, U for Urbane? You really think any kid knows what urbane means? Also, Erika, I can do the same thing in reverse to make your pathetic ‘point’ moot. P for Putrid, E for Ew, R for Repulsive, F for Foolish, U for Ugly, M for Mundane and E for Egregious. That spells…!
Your move, Erika.
– I know Ash is, for lack of a better term, a typical ten-year-old boy (Thinks perfume is stupid, doesn’t get romance, fashion is dumb, makeovers are pointless etc.) but where exactly is this rabid anti-perfume stuff coming from? Disliking that Misty is buying perfume is a different level from yelling at her to not purchase it then going on a rant about why it’s awful.
And he hates it because it turns guys into zombies? Brock’s always a skirt-chasing zombie, and that’s his only example. Besides, I’ve never seen any guy gush over a woman’s perfume. Most guys I know don’t really care for perfume. They might say it smells nice on a woman they’re interested in, but never have I ever seen a guy, besides girl-crazy Brock, go zombified because he smells perfume or value a woman higher due to her perfume. It really seems like this hatred was written in for the sake of getting Ash thrown out, banned and then starting up the plot.
It also seems out of character for a woman as gentle, kind and polite as Erika to go berserk about someone disliking perfume to the point where she’ll not only refuse to battle him, but she’ll ban him from her store and her Gym. This is especially weird since she’s all about empathy. A person such as Erika would try to see Ash’s side or at least respect his opinion, despite disagreeing with it. But no – she immaturely gets in his face about it, even pointing her finger in his face while she lectures him on the value of perfume, then tells him to leave while her employees literally kick him out.
– So, instead of calling the cops and having Team Rocket arrested, the girls at the Gym stamp X’s on their faces, tie them up and hang them from a tree in the middle of nowhere…..I know the cops in the Pokemon world aren’t known for their effectiveness, but you’re basically damning Team Rocket to a slow death here.
– Retroactively, Ash doesn’t really need to crossdress and act like a girl/completely different person to get into this Gym if there are supposedly at least two additional Gyms in Kanto besides the typical eight, as seen in Gary’s badge collection. I know these Gyms are never given names or Gym Leaders and probably aren’t canon, but if there are more Gyms than the typical eight, he can just get another badge there to get his required eight badges instead of jumping through hoops for an unreasonable perfume fanatic.
– While we’re on the subject, why is Ash pretending he’s enrolling in Pokemon Training classes? Enrolling in those classes won’t get him a challenge, it will just….enroll him in training classes. Why not say (s)he’s a trainer who’d like to challenge Erika for a badge? It’s like they made this whole class thing up so Ash would get to listen to Erika’s story about her Gloom and appreciate her more.
– What the hell? It’s actually a prerequisite to like perfume before you’re accepted into the classes?
Girl: “Do you like perfume?”
Ash(ley): “Oh, yes!”
Girl: “Well, then, I’m sure you’ll be accepted!”
Being mad at Ash for being an anti-perfume asshole to the point of banning him from the store and Gym is bad enough, but only allowing confirmed pro-perfume people into your Gym/classes is downright obsessive. How does this conversation sometimes go?
Girl: “Do you like perfume?”
Trainer: “Uhm, not really, I guess.”
Girl: “Well, you can go fuck yourself then. Have a nice day!”
– Team Rocket, especially in the early days, definitely have their moments of insane evil. Jessie basically wants to commit a terrorist act (planting a huge bomb in the Gym; Which not only proves to be enough to destroy the place but also puts the lives of many people and Pokemon, Grass types no less, at risk) because they stamped an X on her face.
– Girl: *while wiping droll off of Gloom’s mouth* “Remember, a pretty Pokemon is a strong Pokemon!” Wow, you guys really are shallow ditzes aren’t you?
– I need to address several issues with this ‘Pokemon training class.’ First of all, what the hell are they even doing? One of the staff members is exercising a group of Grass Pokemon, which is technically training, but there aren’t ‘students’ watching or partaking in it.
Another employee is cleaning Gloom’s face which might be a lesson on keeping your Pokemon neat and tidy, but she also makes the stupid statement above, which is a fairly bad lesson to be teaching Pokemon trainers. (How did my Pokemon lose? It’s so pretty!) And, again, no ‘students’ are watching or helping.
Erika is telling a story to a group of her employees, Misty, Brock and Pikachu and that’s it. There are absolutely no other students besides Brock and Misty. I assume Misty and Brock have enrolled as students but there’s no reason given as to why they did such a thing. Brock may have done it because he gets to be surrounded by pretty girls for a few hours, but why Misty?
Furthermore, why the hell are they having irrelevant storytime with this one ten-year-old, another teenager and a group of her own employees who are all either in their mid-teens or twenties? What does this have to do with Pokemon training? Did they accidentally sign up for Pokemon daycare?
– Erika and Gloom’s backstory is all fine and dandy, but the logistics don’t really add up. Little girl Erika went into what looks like a dark, broken down abandoned house all by herself? Why? It’s understandable that there’s a Grimer there since that’s a typical area where Grimer might hang out, but why is it attacking her?
It’s much less understandable as to why Gloom’s there. It might be part Poison type, but it’s mainly a Grass type. There’s no reason for it to just be wandering aimlessly in this building.
– This line always pissed me off.
Erika: “I accept your challenge! It’s my duty under the league rules!” IT IS, IS IT?! Hoo boy, it sure is a good thing you haven’t been denying his attempts to challenge you this whole episode! And if it’s true that you have to like perfume before you’re allowed entry into the Gym, it sounds like you deny quite a few challenges, Erika.
– It bothers me how arrogant Erika is when she lets out a new Pokemon. Every time, she says ‘This ought to be easy!’ Even when Ash lets out Charmander, which is a big threat just on the type advantage alone.
– Yay! Tangela! Whoo! Call your agent and get more use in the series, please. You’re almost as ignored as the Paras line.
– Uh, Erika….what is Tangela doing? I don’t know if you know this, but Constrict isn’t a move that makes you spin in circles. That doesn’t even make sense.
– Ah, Ash thinking about using a powerful Pokemon (Primeape) only to decide against it because he can’t control it and never trained it. This is annoying, but remember everyone, this is totally the last time it happens.
– While we’re on the subject, remember what I mentioned in the last analysis about not getting used to Primeape?
Wiki – “This episode marks the only appearance of Ash’s Primeape between its capture and departure episodes, although merely in a flashback.” You may repeatedly bash your head against your desk now.
– What exactly leads Erika to believe that Ash has no empathy with his Pokemon? Except maybe that one line where he refuses to take her offer of a Paralyze Heal for Bulbasaur just because he wants to do things for himself.
– Also, more ego.
Erika: “Without it, you’ll never be a great Pokemon trainer like me!” I honestly don’t remember Erika being this obnoxious, but holy hell she’s an ego-driven, pretentious crazy person.
– Erika: “Now I’m going to give you a lesson in empathy! Gloom, go!” Yes, here’s a lesson in empathy. A putrid stench. I’m starting to wonder if you know what empathy means, Erika.
– Now she’s laughing at Ash for losing. She is a lot different from her game counterpart, isn’t she?
– Actually, Ash, Pidgeotto would be a fantastic choice to combat Gloom. Not only is Grass weak to Flying, but who better to air out a stinky Gym than a Flying Pokemon who can stay above the smell and blow it away with Gust? But oh yeah, keep giving Pikachu all the shots and completely forget Pidgeotto, you little welp.
– Girl: *during the fire and trying to round up the Pokemon* “We’ve gotta catch ‘em all!” No! No, 4Kids, no! Bad 4Kids. Bad!
– Alright, fine; the shot of Pikachu trying to put out the fire with a watering can is adorable.
– So the fire department never showed up? What assholes! You’re about as useless as the police in the Pokemon world.
– Now, in typical pity badge fashion, let’s go over the reasons why him getting one for the Rainbow Badge is stupid.
1) Ash only got the pity badge because he braved a burning building to save Gloom and he managed to show Gloom that he was friendly and could keep it safe. It was very brave and nice of Ash to do that, but that shouldn’t earn him the badge. Partly because of principle and mostly because of reason two….
2) Ash is right; it’s kinda his fault that ever happened to begin with. He was stupid enough to free Team Rocket and fall for their little scheme when, logically, Team Rocket wouldn’t bother keeping up their side of the bargain if he cut them down any other time. The only reason they’d help him is if they had ulterior motives, which Ash should’ve been able to figure it out because the only reason they were up in that tree was because the girls at the Gym found them trying to steal something and kicked them out. Even if they didn’t tell him the reason, it’s not hard to deduce considering who they are and the fact that they had those trademark red Xs on their faces.
You could say they would’ve sneaked in anyway, but there’s no denying that Ash facilitated it here. If Ash were more intelligent and more mature, he’d suck up his pride and apologize to Erika and the girls about what he said and he’d probably be let in.
Instead, he freed a group of criminals who try to steal his Pikachu every week and believed their stupid plan that didn’t even need to involve them. There’s no reason why Ash couldn’t have gone into the Gym alone in his disguise. He didn’t think it odd that his character needed parents to walk her into the building? Which is all they did. They didn’t even sign him/her up like they said they would. He signed himself up.
3) Ash definitely would’ve lost that match, I don’t care what Pikachu ‘said’ to him. He might’ve had a good chance with Pidgeotto, but Ash’s mantra is always ‘Fuck Pidgeotto! Go pop Team Rocket’s balloon!’ Ash himself said Pikachu is trying to battle even though he knows he’ll probably lose. Pikachu just says he’s sure he’ll win without us ever finding out why Pikachu is so confident of that.
4) Pikachu is an especially stupid choice against Gloom because not only are Electric Types not very effective against Grass types, but we’re well aware that Pikachu has a super sensitive nose. He’d be out of the match just breathing in the leftover fumes.
– Notice how Ash has gotten progressively less resistant to these pity badges? When Brock gave him one, he was really reluctant to get it. When Misty’s sisters did it, he was more easily swayed. When Sabrina did it, he only mildly questioned it as he was walking away from the Gym and admiring the new badge. With Erika, he just asks what he’s getting the badge for, Erika says he earned it and Ash is all “Look at my new badge!” I can’t wait until Cinnabar Island, I tell ya what.
I still hold a nostalgic love of this episode, but giving another look for this review really showcases what a hot mess it is both in the grand scheme and in the little details. In addition to everything I already covered, they also never revisit the perfume angle. They have the whole first half be about appreciating perfume and having Ash being a rabid anti-perfume advocate and then nearly everything perfume related is dropped in the second half. I don’t even care much for the perfume plot because, in my opinion, both sides were being ridiculously immature and stupid, especially over perfume of all things, but if you’re going to spend that much time on it, why not continue it in the second half?
This plot might make a little more sense if the episode started out with Ash mocking or disliking Gloom based on its disgusting smell (perhaps it could’ve been the mascot for the perfume shop), and her relationship to her Gloom made her so insulted that she banned him from the shop and the Gym. Sure, it’s a bit OOC, but no more than he’s being here. That way, the moral at the end, which they outright say is not judging a Pokemon by its smell, would be more fitting. He was never judging Gloom for its smell – he was just understandably put off by the stink as a whole. Looking back, that Aesop might actually be trying to apply itself to Ash’s dislike of perfume, but since the perfume is never addressed in the second half, I sincerely doubt it.
I used to find Erika to be just fine as a character and a trainer, but looking closer at her just shows her to be egotistical, perfume-crazy and just as immature as Ash. I’m convinced that Brock liking her perfume (and her) is the only reason she doesn’t post a ‘No boys allowed’ sign outside.
The battle is fine, but mostly unimpressive for a Gym match. Tangela’s win was half because of a move that isn’t performed properly for the sake of plot convenience. Charmander’s win was predictable and a little boring, and, like I mentioned, with Ash not using Pidgeotto, there’s no way he would’ve legit won against Gloom’s stank. If there is, they never bother to tell anyone, and I can’t think of any way it would’ve been possible without pulling something out of Messiahchu’s ass.
It’s yet another pity badge, which is already major points off, and the only really good point standing is Ash’s heroics during the fire. However, that scene would’ve meant more if he had more interaction with Gloom in the first half.
Next episode, Hypno’s Naptime! It’s time to get….confusing and weird….
Plot: The time of dinosaurs was seemingly over until Max and his friends found a little dinosaur inside of a rock that fell from the sky. With the power of an accompanying card, the dinosaur can both be recalled back into the stone and grow into a huge and powerful dinosaur. These dinosaurs aren’t around for no reason, however. With a threat looming over the horizon, they’ll need the dinosaur’s help to take them down.
Okay, time to go over my history with Dinosaur King.
……..I don’t have one. 😀
I vaguely remember this being on TV, never watched it and never saw or heard much of it. But it’s a shounen card game ish anime so here I am.
Our story starts off with ugly images of Dinosaurs and a meteor hitting the earth and killing them all before we see our main character, Max, waking up, indicating that the images were merely a dream brought on by his dinosaur book.
Max is voiced by Veronica Taylor doing absolutely nothing to differentiate her voice from her Ash voice, making this really distracting.
He sees a light in the sky that crashes into the nearby mountains and is excited at the idea that it’s a meteor. He wakes up his friend, predictably named Rex, to go investigate and we get our theme song that has all the marks of a 4Kids theme song. Dumb lyrics? Check. Catchy? Check. Rapping? Major check.
Also, this theme song gives us a sneak peak at the disgusting CGI that is in this show. I really mean it. On its own, it’s pretty okay, but meshed with the traditional 2D style of the anime it’s atrocious.
Max, Rex and his other friend Zoe, who make up something called the D-Team, go to investigate. Max, by the by, has a visor with big horns on it because dinosaur. Also, these horns light up for some reason. They see a bunch of damaged trees and Max thinks the meteor must be in a tree that has a big hole in it.
Max finds some weird rock in the tree with a lightning bolt on it, so he must’ve found Pikachu. Rex find another stone with a symbol for wind on it while Zoe finds a third stone with a symbol for grass.
Max presses some button on the rock, causing them all to glow for a minute. After the glowing subsides, Max finds another item in the tree that contains two…..trading cards…..Okay. I’ve seen dumber things in shounen shows. Bakugan rings a particular bell in that regard. The cards have equally clashing artworks of triceratops on them, and he notices that the symbols of the backs of the cards match the symbol on the stone. He basically scans the cards with the stone and summons a triceratops.
They freak out for a bit, and Max does something that puts the triceratops back in its card. He decides to scan the card again….because why not I guess, and he summons a chibi-ceratops that he later names Chomp because he bites everything.
Cut to a bunch of dinosaurs fighting in an arena, we’re introduced to who I suppose is our villain; Dr. Z. He wants to be king of the dinosaurs and if he is our villain you can already tell that he’s really no threat. He has a bumbling sidekick and he’s constant comic relief.
A T-Rex breaks through the house and starts chasing Dr. Z before it’s turned into a chibi-T-Rex by some little girl named Laura.
A stereotypical German maid woman named Helga storms into the scene scolding everyone and telling them their dinner’s ready, and we’re made aware that Dr. Z is apparently in love with Helga.
Stoic guy with blue hair #24234C named Seth arrives and the story of these people is laid out very blatantly in a few lines of dialogue: they have a time machine, they’re stuck, their time machine’s broken and when the time machine broke Dr. Z lost his collection of dinosaur cards and they were scattered across the world.
Dr. Z uses a device that alerts him to the location of one of the cards and they prepare to leave before the commercial.
Back with Max and the others, they explain their situation to Max’s dad who happens to be a dinosaur expert. He’s perfectly fine with the dinosaur thing and is actually really excited about the discovery, but wants to keep it a secret for safety’s sake. Max’s mom comes in and they convince her that Chomp is actually just a really odd dog who followed Max home. She believes them because….she’s dumb, and lets Chomp live at their house as long as Max takes care of him.
Dr. Z sends his minions, who call themselves Alpha Gang, off to capture the dinosaurs while Max’s dad and Zoe’s older sister, Reese, do research on the stones.
We get a really convoluted and silly theory as to how these stones and cards work. Max’s dad, Spike Taylor (of course), theorizes that the dinosaurs’ consciousnesses were sealed within the stones right before dinosaurs went extinct. Someone outfitted the stones with microchips that somehow have the ability to turn the dinosaurs into cards. When activated, the cards turn back into dinosaurs and for some reason when they’re scanned again they turn into chibi dinosaurs. When scanned a third time they return to card form.
Back with Max and the others, the Alpha Gang arrives and attacks with their T-Rex….Terry (of course…again)
Spike arrives and tries to capture Terry with a net and obviously fails. Terry keeps trying to get at Chomp and Max. Chomp tries to fight back, but obviously the little guy is no threat to a giant T-Rex in chibi state.
Spike throws Max some fancy device and, get this, it works just like the stone only easier. Yeah apparently in the time frame of a few hours, Spike managed to understand fully how the stones, chips and cards worked, managed to replicate the technology on his own and make the process easier, designed and produced the device…..Not only that, but he also managed to write a manual for it that is like 5000 pages.
Right. Sure. Then again, I feel really stupid nitpicking that considering this is a show where actual dinosaurs are kept in trading cards and summoned with rocks.
Obviously this device was created so quickly so that they could get the toy line out faster….
Max saves Chomp by recalling him back to card form with the device and then he scans the card into the device triggering a transformation sequence for Chomp into his regular dinosaur form. Considering they did this a few times already without this transformation sequence, I find this to be even more pointless than usual transformation sequences. Additionally, this sequence is segued by a little screen on the device so I’m left wondering if Spike actually programmed this sequence into it….
Zoe: “Another dinosaur!”
Spike: “Where did this one come from?”
What? You mean Chomp? Zoe and Rex have seen him transform three times now. Spike has seen him transform. They know that those cards call a triceratops. They can’t be confused about Terry either because they’ve been well aware of him since he appeared. What the hell are you people confused about?
Terry and Chomp battle and for some reason the background is mostly changed to CGI while they’re battling. I would say this is welcome, but now that I’ve gotten used to the ugly clashing with traditional animation, this looks even uglier somehow.
Chomp’s losing because, well duh, and Max starts panicking. The device starts glowing red as Chomp gets more damaged because I don’t know and the other card that Max found pops out of it. He scans that card and it….gives him lightning powers? What the fuck does a triceratops have to do with lightning? Why does this card give him lightning powers? Why? All sorts of why?
Chomp beats Terry and sends him flying off, which prompts him to turn back to card form. Chomp, now exhausted, also turns back into card form, but is turned back to chibi-Chomp by Max.
Defeated, the Alpha Gang shows up and introduces themselves; Ursula, Zander and Ed. They’re basically Team Rocket and it’s especially obvious with Ursula. Not only are her personality and mannerisms very reminiscent of Jessie, but she’s also voiced by Rachel Lillis. Eric Stuart also voices Dr. Z, and I will give him credit for increasing his range because I totally didn’t recognize him.
The Alpha Gang runs off and we get a bit more explanation about the device, called a Dino-Holder. It not only acts as the stone but it also translates the dinosaur’s thoughts into words. Sure why not? Also, yay, that means we’re going to hear these dinosaurs talking. Whoo.
Spike gives custom-made Dino-Holders to Zoe and Rex too, despite the fact that they don’t have cards yet, and they start glowing their respective colors as they hear the voices of dinosaurs coming from the devices begging for help. And that’s the end of episode one.
Bottomline: This show is incredibly stupid so far. I mean, I never expect logic or non-stupid much from shounen gaming anime. I really don’t. But, man, you need to suspend all kinds of disbelief for this show. The premise is so convoluted and just gets more convoluted the more you think about it.
I know this is episode one, but I already have all sorts of questions that I can’t see answered anytime soon, like why do the dinosaurs need chibi forms? Why does Dr. Z want to be king of the dinosaurs? Why did he choose trading cards, rocks and chibi dinos to achieve this? How did Spike manage to do all that with the Dino-Holder in such a small amount of time? What is the point of giving the dinosaurs elemental powers? You really need to buff goddamn DINOSAURS? What’s the logic with the selected elements anyway? Why does a triceratops get lightning? How are these powers contained in cards? Why are these powers contained in cards? Just why on a lot of things.
Also, I really can’t get over how much this seems like a meld between Pokemon and Digimon (Season three in particular) just with Dinosaurs.
None of the characters stand out from the archetypes. Max is the leader, headstrong and curious, never gives up and really cares about his friends. Rex didn’t get much exploration but he seems like the responsible one. Zoe is the girl. Alpha Gang is Team Rocket, Dr. Z is the bumbling evil scientist, Seth is the stoic competent villain and Spike is the bumbling good guy scientist.
The art for the CGI is very dated and it clashes so horribly with the traditional animation that it’s very distracting. If you were distracted by how much the CGI clashed with the regular animation in Duel Masters, you’ll be crying at this, especially considering that the CGI and traditional animation in that show were usually kept separately and hardly ever shared the screen. Here, it’s constantly in the same frame.
The traditional art is fine and the colors pop. Some of the designs are kinda cool, even if Zoe and Rex’s necklaces are kinda distracting. The animation is typical shounen gaming anime fare; just okay.
The OP is catchy, even if ‘Make your move’ kinda seems weird to put in the lyrics if this isn’t a legit game. The BG music is completely forgettable.
All in all I’m really not impressed with this first episode, and I can really understand why this show didn’t take off. Hopefully it will get better from here.
Plot: Uzume is a former card tournament champion who has recently entered middle school. On the train to school one day, she feels her bag being jossled, but is surprised to find nothing missing. Instead, she finds someone has actually placed a weird card reader in her bag. At school, she panics since she believes someone is after her, and she hears a voice asking to sign an entry form in order to gain the voice’s assistance against the threat. She agrees, and a girl named Sasara emerges. Sasara is a fantasista doll; a virtual being with various powers based on equipment. She, as well as the equipment, are kept in cards until they’re called upon by their master; and Uzume is now Sasara’s master.
Uzume gets attacked by a fellow student who also has a fantasista doll and is apparently after one of the cards in her possession. Once Sasara is properly equipped, she manages to defeat her. Later, Sasara introduces to the other fantasista dolls in Uzume’s possession; Madeleine, Katia, Shimeji and Akari. She agrees to help protect them and be a proper master, even if she has a lot to learn about what that really means. Uzume suddenly gets a call from a strange man with a monocle and a suit, named Lord Rafflesia, who gives her a bunch of flowers and reveals he was the one who gave her the dolls. He wants her to become a card master and ‘become that which is like a dream’.
Breakdown: I’m going to describe this show the best way that I can. It’s a monster battling, gaming, magical girl anime. There. That sums it up.
I can’t really make good heads or tails of this as an intro. Uzume is a former card champion, but of what card game we’re never told. Someone mentions a game called Magic: To Gather, which might either be a translation error or a direct reference to Magic: The Gathering. Either way, we’re not really told what game she used to play nor how to play it.
As for her personality, she’s nice enough and a little on the dense side, but she’s also pretty whiny and a bit of a fraidy cat. Seriously, she ran screaming and hid only to take lengthy orders, which amount to a contract, with a strange voice in her head that promises to protect her is because she heard a noise while changing in the locker room and felt someone pat her back. Instead of turning around to see who it was after maybe having a brief freakout, she instead just bolts through the school without looking back and hides in the closet.
Sasara is a bit rough, but seems to mean well enough.
We learn absolutely nothing about her enemy nor her fantasista doll, and we also don’t really learn any real character traits of the other four dolls outside of their clear stereotyped personality traits such as big boobed responsible one, loli and goth loli.
Plus, Lord Rafflesia could not be more Tuxedo Mask-ish. Not only does he have the same mannerisms, flowery speech and pose of Tuxedo Mask, but he also uses flowers quite a bit and practically has Tuxedo Mask’s theme song. Listen to it and call me crazy.
We kinda learn how the battles with the fantasista dolls work. You summon a doll from a card and modify them by equipping them with fashionable outfits that grant them various powers. For instance, the enemy fantasista doll used shuriken while Sasara’s gave her powerful fencing abilities.
When a doll is defeated, you get a card from them that gives the card master various powers. For instance, Uzume’s won card was a repair card which, conveniently, allowed her to fix everything the dolls broke during their battle.
I will admit, having a group of people fight for you instead of a bunch of monsters is interesting, even if the fanservice-y outfits being the equipment is a little meh. Plus, I’m a sucker for both magical girl anime and gaming anime, so this is basically designed to force me into watching it.
I pretty much enjoyed the first episode, but I will admit it did somewhat of a sloppy job setting up the plot and ‘game’.
Art and animation-wise, it’s very generic shoujo style art, though it is pretty detailed. The animation is pretty good as well.
Music wise, this was a weak spot for me. The OP and ED are as generic as they come and the BG music was completely unmemorable.
This will probably be a short shoujo step-by-step given the subject matter, but it seems like it’s worth a look-see if you want a girlier gaming anime or a magical girl show with a gaming slant.
Recommended Audience: The girls default outfits don’t leave much to the imagination and there’s a couple panty shots. There’s a tiny bit of blood, but it’s just a scratch. 6+