Reopening the Theater of Darkness | Yami Shibai Season 8 Review

Plot: Season 8 of the horror anthology series, Yami Shibai.

Breakdown: Yami Shibai’s crew took one Halloween off last year to work on a spin-off anthology series called Ninja Collection, but since that bombed and no one remembers it even exists, they came back early this year to give us more horror anthology goodness.

And it was fine.

Like all of the seasons prior, I’ll give a masterlist of my reviews on each episode. However, since I have abandoned numbered rating systems, I’ll just give my brief thoughts on each episode like normal and draw a conclusion.

Episode 1: Dropped Handkerchief – Silly hook attached to a lame and cliche premise. Decent ambiance, though.

Episode 2: Death Day – Much better, and pretty unique. Was both creepy and genuinely scary at the end.

Episode 3: Don’t Look Back – The base concept itself is rather frightening to me, but this episode is very cliché and a giant mess in regards to its own rules and logic.

Episode 4: Bean-Throwing – Quite possibly one of the worst episodes of Yami Shibai based purely on the editing/composition. It’s torture. It’s a shame because the story is fairly unique – not scary, but unique.

Episode 5: The Sound of Laughter – Got me a little in hindsight, but not in a scary way. More of an ‘oh, that’s clever’ way.

Episode 6: Catch of the Day – The only unsettling part of this stupid episode was the pained sounds of a baby crying, but that has no real bearing on the story.

Episode 7: Issun Boshi – Really unique premise and rather interesting manifestation of feelings of jealousy and vengeance, but also really silly.

Episode 8: Viewing – Another fairly unique story held down by its weak premise. I still can’t get over how anyone who has ever been a student before would believe a trio of teens would randomly get the day off of school and then they decide to go anyway, uniform and all, for a…joke?

Episode 9: Antlion Pit – Out of all of the season eight episodes, this one is probably the most memorable to me. Outside of being a cautionary tale of something that many people don’t really have much control over, there isn’t much in the ways of scares here, but I did enjoy it quite a bit.

Episode 10: Footprints in the Snow – Best episode of season eight in all categories, from art to scares to uniqueness to ambiance, BUT it’s also incredibly depressing.

Episode 11: Curse – I really liked this one, but I wish the ending was different. Kinda ruins everything they were going for with the curse.

Episode 12: String Telephone – Really sloppy art, really sloppy premise, bad execution, but if told differently, it’d make for a fine campfire ghost story.

Episode 13: Sleeptalking – Season eight’s finale is just okay. I do find the premise to be a little scary, but they didn’t set up the twist well enough, if at all.

I was pretty underwhelmed by season eight, but outside of getting really frustrated with Bean-Throwing, nothing left too bad a taste in my mouth. There are plenty of spurts of creativity here, but it’s like they have a bucket of good ideas and half-ass the execution most of the time. A few of the entries were legitimately really good, but I yearn for more. I didn’t sacrifice last Halloween just for a few good Yami Shibai episodes in return.

Sad to say, but I think the days of the bookends with the narrator being anything more than typical bookends ever again are long over. I still enjoy them, especially the ending theme sequences, but I wish more effort would be put into making even a slight linear storyline again. You don’t even have to make a big deal out of it. Just make it a cool Easter egg or something.

Onto season nine!


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 8 Episodes 11, 12 and 13 (SEASON FINALE) Review

Episode 11: Curse

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Plot: A teenager boy accidentally breaks a Jizo statue and everyone starts gossiping that he’ll soon wind up getting cursed.

Breakdown: I really liked this entry because it was a pretty good twist on the old “accidentally broke some sacred artifact and got cursed” story. The boy in this story doesn’t believe in curses at all, but he starts getting annoyed by everyone around him whispering and waiting for him to get cursed. At first, it’s just a general annoyance, but he starts seeing a strange man in a suit telling him to hurry up and get cursed already..

Soon, he starts hearing everyone around him waiting with smiles for him to get cursed and urging him to get cursed. Eventually, it’s all he sees and hears until the ending in which he falls down a flight of stairs and seemingly dies. The head of the Jizo statue rolls up next to him and starts cracking and glowing. The kid had indeed been cursed, but not in the way you’d expect.

The growing paranoia and the insensitivity of the people whispering around him made for a better scary experience than the typical bouts of bad luck or suddenly seeing ghosts experiences that most ‘cursed’ characters wind up with.

If I had one big criticism, it’d be that I think the story would have worked better if the guy went crazy and stayed that way instead of him going nuts for one day and then randomly dying. It just seems pointless to torment him for one day and then end it by killing him. There’d be a lot of irony/poetic justice, at least from the spirit’s perspective, in letting him be locked in a world where he never gets cursed, but everyone around him is eager for him to get cursed and thinks and says nothing but that around him.

Episode 12: String Telephone

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Plot: A man’s young daughter brings home a string telephone she made at school and wants to talk to him with it. However, they’re not the only people on the line.

Breakdown: This one has the makings of a decent campfire story, but execution is fairly sloppy.

First of all, the art is really messy. It’s like everything was hastily drawn with a ballpoint pen.

Second of all, I have no idea how things snowballed as badly as they did in the end. He went from going a little nuts at hearing this voice on the phone to suddenly having a time lapse where his wife and daughter leave him and his house fills with garbage because he’s going insane because of this string telephone that…I guess he can’t just throw away?

And then the ghost gets him? The end?

The voice on the phone seems to be of a woman with whom he was cheating on his wife. But I don’t know if she’s dead. The guy never says she’s dead, but she has to be if that’s her ghost on the other line, right?

Why would this lady wait until his daughter made a string phone before trying to contact him? He has a cell phone. Does that not work as well?

I guess, in the end, this was just a cautionary tale about cheating? Because if you do….and your daughter makes a string phone….your life will be ruined and you’ll die in a closet?

Like I said, the bare bones of the story works well enough as a campfire ghost story, it’s everything that was added as extra material that muddies the water too much.

Episode 13: Sleeptalking

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Plot: A college student becomes aware of his odd sleepwalking and sleeptalking habits where he frantically searches throughout his room for something.

Breakdown: Eh….Pbbbt.

Fairly lackluster season finale, if you ask me. It is kinda scary to think that you’re doing or saying strange things in your sleep without realizing it, and continuing to do the same weird actions over and over every night would be kinda creepy, but this story just didn’t have much to it.

After spending a fun night with his old childhood friend, a college student becomes aware of the fact that he wakes up every night searching his room for something. In order to figure out what’s happening, he films himself one night to watch video footage of it happening. He turns his room upside down searching for something when he finally finds what or, more to the point, who was missing.

I needed a third party to explain the ending to me, but apparently, and without any context clues beforehand, he and the childhood friend from before actually had a third best friend who went missing. The college student was searching for that friend in his sleep. The friend shows up, off screen, and says he found him, but now he’s missing and the third friend will search for him, implying that the third remaining friend will sleepwalk/talk as well until the day he vanishes and they’re all reunited in whatever purgatory world they’re vanishing off to.

I guess that’s kinda clever, but I wish it had been more properly set up is all.

And that was the final episode of season eight of Yami Shibai! My full review will be up soon, and then we’ll move on to season nine!


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 8 Episodes 9 and 10 Review

Episode 9: Antlion Pit

Plot: A prominent office worker goes missing out of the blue. Her rival starts to become completely wiped out, exhausted from her workload but unable to find the time to get any rest. In her weariness, a desert appears before her on her way to work with a strange antlion pit in the center.

Breakdown: This one wasn’t scary, but it was depressing and had layers to it.

Saki’s rival goes missing, but she doesn’t think all too much about it since she has her own workload to worry about. She’s at the top of her game in the office, but her work is basically killing her. She goes home at extremely late hours only to go home to sleep for a short while before heading back to work.

While out walking, she sees a desert spring up out of nowhere. In the sand is an antlion pit. For those unfamiliar, antlion larvae create traps in the sand to capture and eat ants. The pit is dug in a cone shape, causing any ants that stumble into it to fall and be unable to climb the sloped sand back up, eventually falling to their doom in the center. This one, however, is a massive antlion pit big enough to nab humans.

Voices from within the pit try to coax her in by reminding her of how tired she is and how difficult it is for her to keep up with work. She nearly falls in, but manages to escape. When things only get worse at work and she gets even more rundown, she starts to give up on her life, which causes the pit to call to her again. This time, it’s successful and we’re shown that her rival also fell prey to the pit.

Later, Saki’s boss also thinks to himself about how much work he has to get done and how tired he is, leading him to the same desert. This time we see a line of people, first in near silhouette, emulating the appearance of a line of ants, all basically waiting to get into the pit and talking about how much work they have to do and how tired they are.

I think what they did here with the imagery is pretty clever. Indeed a lot of people basically just work themselves to the bone and/or live for work and don’t have much of a life otherwise, robbing them from truly living and essentially making them worker ants, if you will. Working too hard for too long will eventually lead to your demise.

I really like this episode. It’s not the most creative of all imagery considering comparing office workers to ants is not uncommon, but I like the additional imagery of the antlion pit and having the pit basically call out to you by drawing out your most negative feelings about your current work situation.

It’s very easy to find yourself working so hard that all you really want is to rest and you’ll take any opportunity to do so. And, sadly, sometimes you do find yourself going so far as to give up entirely. When you work yourself to the bone and wind up feeling like you’re not even really achieving anything, it can drain every bit of energy out of you. Someone in the comments said this was a particularly clever commentary on Japanese workforces, but, honestly, it applies just fine to American workforces and probably many, many others.

So, moral of the story, don’t work too hard……which….okay, is a good moral….but it’s not really a luxury for many people to not work this hard, which just leads me back around to the note about this story being depressing.

Episode 10: Footprints in the Snow

Plot: A pair of siblings are out in the woods building a snowman, but they’re not alone.

Breakdown: Best episode of season eight so far. It’s pretty scary, leaves just enough to the imagination and is fairly well-paced, but it’s also pretty depressing. I liked that they used footprints as both a lure to get a new victim to follow them and to trap them where they wanted them by making their own footprints disappear.

There hasn’t really been much differentiation in the art styles between episodes like normal, but this one is noticeably different, taking on a more water-colored art style. I like it.

Like I said, the only negative side to this story was that it was depressing. These poor kids were just having fun building a snowman and then that happens….


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 8 Episodes 7 and 8 Review

Episode 7: Issun Boshi

Plot: Niimi used to be best friends with Miyama before he started dating a girl Niimi had a crush on. Miyama shares the tale of Issun Boshi – a creature that grants one wish to anyone who catches it. Consumed by jealousy, Niimi attempts to capture the creature, but things don’t turn out as planned.

Breakdown: This one was…..unique.

At face value, it’s a pretty goofy story, especially after Niimi accidentally steps on Issun Boshi. It gets damn near cartoony when Issun Boshi pops up in Niimi’s body and beats him up from the inside.

However, if you think about it a bit more, this story is a pretty good supernatural take on being consumed with jealousy or revenge. This is never a tale where the moral is ‘be careful what you wish for’ because Niimi never technically catches Issun Boshi nor is he offered a wish. He accidentally squishes him, which causes Issun Boshi to infiltrate his body and torment him as punishment. The only way he’ll let up is if he kills Miyama for spreading the story of Issun Boshi, causing people to chase him, and Nanako, his crush, for laughing at the legend.

I actually kinda like it, but I don’t much care for the slight implication that Niimi might have schizophrenia, and that’s the reason why he’s hearing voices and getting violent. If true, it’s perpetuating negative stereotypes about schizophrenia.

Episode 8: Viewing

Plot: A high school student gets notified by her teacher to not come to school the next day because the school will be shut down for a special viewing. Deciding to go anyway with her friends as a joke, she finds herself locked in a nightmare as she enters school grounds.

Breakdown: This episode is fine, but it’s also built on an insanely weak premise. What teenager thinks “Oh we get the day off school tomorrow? Hey, ya know what would be funny? If we went to school anyway for no reason and to do nothing. Let’s also wear our school uniforms in case anyone catches us.” Like, what? I know some kids do loiter in their school in the off-hours, but why would that be the first thing you’d think to do when told you have a sudden day off from school?

It’s not like the school is empty either. The teacher specifically said it was closed for a special viewing, meaning there would be some people there.

As for what went down when she actually did go to the school….it’s very confusing. She gets there and sees the classrooms filled with students who shouldn’t be there. Suddenly, the ‘viewing’ starts, and everyone puts their hands to their eyes and screams while a bunch of students drag a coffin through the halls. When the screaming stops, the girl opens her eyes to see that everyone now has empty eye sockets. The coffin opens and reveals Chie’s body and the Chie we’ve been seeing disappears, implying that she’s dead I guess.

So the moral of the story is if your teacher tells you to not go to school, you have to do everything in your power to resist going to school anyway. I know how much you kids love school, but if you go to it during off-hours you’ll die, so don’t do it.


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 8 Episodes 5 and 6 Review

Episode 5: The Sound of Laughter

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Plot: A teenage boy is studying for his entrance exams when he starts hearing the sound of an old lady laughing wherever he goes.

Breakdown: This episode was funny, but I could see how it could be kinda spooky for a split second at the end.

The entire episode, I felt like laughing with the old lady, whom we never see by the way. And at the end, when the laughter spreads like laughing gas to the teen’s parents and they just can’t stop laughing no matter what, I was starting to laugh out loud.

Then you realize, ooh it’s spooky because the laughter spread to you. Clever, if you can get it to work, which it did for me, but that novelty wears off very quickly.

I still don’t understand what is up with this old lady. Why is she laughing and tormenting this family? What’s her story?

Episode 6: Catch of the Day

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Plot: A man brings home an odd fish after going fishing with a friend and starts acting very odd.

Breakdown: This episode was really stupid.

Guy caught a ‘fish’ that we never see, and he starts acting all weird because of it. In the middle of the night, his wife catches him cutting up the creature, which is…kinda blur censored or something? It’s clearly still alive and wailing like a baby as he chops it up. This made me very concerned that the ‘fish’ he ‘caught’ was actually a baby he kidnapped, which is why he desperately didn’t want his wife to see it…..

But nope.

It’s just a sea creature of some sort that makes the men turn into….I dunno, something after they eat it. The final shot is of the wife trying to pull off a blanket from her sleeping husband, implying he had turned into a monster, but they cut away before we see it. I guess it is slightly creative, but it’s definitely not scary and not all that interesting.


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 8 Episodes 3 and 4 Review

Episode 3: Don’t Look Back

Plot: A young man finds himself lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood with a sign that says ‘From this point forward, don’t look back.’

Breakdown: This episode has the same cliché vibes as the first episode, even though it’s not quite as bad. However, like the first episode, there is also a problem in how the gimmick works.

In this episode, the obvious gimmick is that you can’t look back when you’re walking in this place or else you’ll disappear. The main character meets a young woman who also stumbled into this place. She used to be traveling with her boyfriend, but he looked back when he heard voices and vanished instantly. She has gone crazy desperately trying to not look back no matter what, and she’s trying to save the main character from suffering the same fate as her boyfriend.

Thing is, this place is also a purgatory of sorts. She states she’s been walking for so many days that she’s lost track, implying that no matter how much you walk you can’t escape from this place….so…why not look back? Sounds like you’re screwed either way.

This place also doesn’t follow its own rules. She says you can’t look back or else you’ll vanish, but then she also says she’s looked back several times, but she doesn’t explain what happened when she did. There’s just a closeup shot of a rock on the ground as she says it.

When you do look back and vanish, you’re just transported to the same location only a lot foggier and with ghosts hanging out in the windows of the houses. You’re still stuck in a loop either way. It’s never established that the ghosts will do anything to you, and it still seems like it’s pointless to not look back. If you’re trapped forever, you’re trapped forever.

Tell you the truth, the non-ghost neighborhood is really almost as bad. The ghosts are still technically in that area trying to trick travelers into looking behind them. They pretend to be your loved ones or kind strangers and they never leave you alone. The only difference is that you can’t see them. All the while, you try desperately to not look back and keep walking forward, knowing you’re not actually getting anywhere.

This story is actually pretty frightening to me, but, honestly, the ‘don’t look back’ stuff doesn’t have anything to do with it. The concept of just wandering into to some unknown area and being trapped forever without even realizing it seems like hell to me.

Episode 4: Bean-Throwing

Plot: A little boy is concerned that her mother has befriended a demon and is desperate to drive him out of their home.

Breakdown: Jeeezzzzz that episode was a nightmare to sit through…..Not because it was scary, though.

This episode was a total mess because of the dialogue. The little boy, Youta, is narrating throughout each second of this episode, but there is also regular dialogue going throughout the episode as well in the background. So, if you speak Japanese, you have to focus a lot to get both tracks of dialogue or stop and rewatch sections to focus on one track at a time. And if you don’t understand Japanese, you have to constantly pause the video to understand what’s being said in both tracks.

It totally took me out of whatever scary experience I would have had watching this episode.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Youta’s narration goes at a mile a minute because the episodes are so short. It’s like he chugged a case of Redbull before recording. So you not only have to pay attention to two tracks of dialogue most of the time, but you also have to keep pausing even more frequently just to read what Youta’s saying.

Once you manage to trudge through all of that, you find yourself with a fairly unique story, but also one that’s not that scary. Youta’s family used to be fairly happy, but things changed when his father suddenly left. He started hearing his mother having secret conversations at night with a shadowy figure that had red eyes. After having a weird existential crisis that seems way too heavy for his age, Youta felt like he had to get rid of the demon to protect his mother, but he didn’t know how to do it.

His school has a tradition every year of bean-throwing. People are meant to throw beans at demons once a year to keep them and the misfortune they bring away for a year. Why beans have this power, I don’t know.

Youta keeps a bag of beans from the event. That night, he sneaks to his mother’s room when she’s speaking with the demon, telling him she believes Youta’s starting to figure out their secret. He bursts in, breaking the light, and blindly throws beans everywhere to ensure the demon is gone.

When he’s done, he manages to find a light and turns it on. Both his mother and the demon are gone. He rubs his head and feels something odd. The end.

From what I gather, Youta and his parents must have been demons? That’s the only reason why his mother would have also vanished after the bean pelting. I think his father was either killed by a demon or could no longer maintain a non-demonic image anymore and had to stay hidden from Youta until he was old enough to know about his heritage.

I believe at the end Youta is feeling horns developing on his head?

This is interesting and all, but it’s not really scary. It’s mostly just sad because Youta, I guess, killed or banished his parents and now he has to grow up as a demon child without anyone to help him? Or is the talk about needing to do the bean throwing every year seemingly pointless because it means the demons return and indicate that his parents will be back next year?

I don’t know. And quite frankly I don’t want to keep analyzing this episode to figure out anymore. Even in the comments section people were like “I need a mangekyo sharingan to follow this episode.” This episode needed to be at least a couple minutes longer and have more breaks in the narration to not be so sloppy. It is ridiculous.


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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 8 Episodes 1 and 2 Review

Episode 1: Dropped Handkerchief

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Plot: Four teenagers go to an abandoned house in the middle of the night as a test of courage…..What could possibly go wrong?

Breakdown: Welcome one and all to 2021’s Animating Halloween! Yami Shibai is finally back after….*snicker* ghosting us last year, and they made up for the lack of season last year with two seasons premiering this year. Season nine is wrapping up right now, and we’ll be going over that this year as well to also make up for the lack of Yami Shibai in Animating Halloween last year.

I’m really excited…..buuuuuttttt…..

This episode was kinda lame, if you couldn’t tell from the plot alone. It’s so ridiculously cliché. It’s so disappointing that this is what we have to start out with. I mean, come on, four teenagers go to an abandoned house at night as a test of courage? Plus, the house has spooOOooooky backstory to it in that people just vanish when they’re in the house and the last residents were a family that also suddenly vanished?

Granted, the story itself has decent ambiance, but the only non-cliche hook is the aspect of the handkerchief, and that’s just boring in my opinion.

They very briefly show a shot of a drawing the kid from the missing family made where it depicts him playing the handkerchief game with what I assume is his family? The handkerchief game is almost exactly like Duck Duck Goose. A person who is ‘it’ walks behind a circle of people. They drop a handkerchief behind one of them, declaring them ‘it’ and that person has to pick up the handkerchief, chase the tagger and try to catch or kiss (?) them before they’re able to make a full lap around the circle and take the tagged person’s spot.

The teenagers all happen to sit in a circle when they visit the kid’s room, since that’s supposedly the most haunted room in the house. They want to party there, but one of them notices a handkerchief behind another person that wasn’t there before. The lights suddenly go out, and when they come back on the person who was nearest the handkerchief is shown to have vanished. The same repeats until everyone’s gone.

It happens so quickly that I just don’t see the point in even playing this game. It would be interesting if they showed one of them winning the game and escaping the house, but none of them can even try. The best that happens is one of them realizes the handkerchief is connected to the disappearances and throws it after they pick it up, but they still die. Even if you realized the game in time, there’s no one to chase or catch so how would you even win?

We have a new intro, this time being the narrator presenting his kamishibai show to a bunch of ghosts populating a dark foggy street. The ending has a new song, which is pretty darn good. The animation accompanying is has a girl made out of pencil scribbles running down a live-action street passing some fellow scribble people until she reaches the Yami Shibai narrator. It’s possible some of these people are references to the stories but I can’t be certain.

Episode 2: Death Day

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Plot: The Kunitake family has a tradition of always gathering in the family home and spending the day together on the anniversary of their mother’s death. It seems like an innocent enough tradition to Sachiko, who has recently married into the family, until she realizes that maybe the mother is celebrating this day as well.

Breakdown: Alright, this is more like it! A more original premise, pretty spooky ambiance and a genuinely surprising and scary twist at the end.

I am very thankful that they didn’t show what the ghost looked like in the end because that would have ruined the entire twist and the looming fear over what was in the room with them. Not sure why Sachiko could see the ghost when no one else could, but that’s an easily hand-waved detail.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. Wish this one had been the first episode of the season, but what can ya do?


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Animating Halloween 2021 Update

Hello visitors of this little ol’ blog. Hope you’re all staying healthy and happy.

October is just around the corner, which means Animating Halloween is coming up real soon. With that, I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is Yami Shibai has released two new seasons since the last Animating Halloween, which is AWESOME because I really thought Yami Shibai was over and done with. The tradition continues!

The bad news is things are kinda hectic right now. I’m moving soon-ish (numerous variables are keeping that up in the air. It’s kinda frustrating.) and I still have to do a bunch of stuff in preparation of that. Plus I have other personal things to handle. Animating Halloween is still on for sure, but posting once a day as I usually do during October may not work for me right now. To not rob you of Animating Halloween goodness, I will do a rollover AH day into November for each day I miss in October.

I know my posting habits aren’t spot-on either way, but I wanted to at least give you guys a heads up this year. I love doing these month-long review specials and it always makes me disappointed when I don’t manage to complete it, both for you guys and myself. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and I want you guys to be able to celebrate alongside me. 🙂

Finally, if you have anything you’d like to see me review for Animating Halloween, feel free to make suggestions. As a reminder, I will review anything as long as it’s mostly animated or is a graphic novel/manga of some sort and, of course, related to either Halloween or horror.

Have a Happy and SpooOooooOOOOoooookkkkyyyy Halloween, everyone! And thank you all for reading! 🧡

Pokemon Episode 63 Analysis: The Battle for the Badge

Pokemon Ep 63 Screen 1

CotD(s): None.

Character Returns: Both Gary and Giovanni are present. The only reason I feel like mentioning them now even though they pop up quasi-frequently throughout the series is because this is the first time either has ever been given extended focus without having the actual focus be either Team Rocket or Ash and co.

Badge Episode: Viridian City

Gym Leader: Giovanni – Leader of Team Rocket, Giovanni also acts as the Viridian City Gym Leader for some reason somehow. However, due to plot, Ash never actually battles or even meets Giovanni in this episode. Gary battles him, but loses to Mewtwo. Officially, Giovanni specializes in Ground Type Pokemon, but he tends to just use whatever.

Reappears?: He appears about as much throughout the rest of the series as he does in this region, which is hardly at all but he still exists. As long as Team Rocket is around, which will probably be until the end of the series, Giovanni will always be their boss, most likely.

Pokemon: Most notably, Giovanni has his trademark Persian by his side at all times. He’s never seen battling with it, however. Giovanni is shown using a Golem, Kingler (Possibly two or even three Kingler considering we also see one in a cage in the basement. He could possibly have a second Golem as well by that logic.) and Mewtwo, though he only has Mewtwo temporarily. He also gives Jessie and James a Machamp and a Rhydon, and has a Cloyster in the basement.

Interim Gym Leaders: Jessie, James and Meowth. No intro needed.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock have arrived in Viridian City to obtain Ash’s eighth and final Gym badge. Once he wins this match, he’ll have enough badges to enter the Indigo League conference.

However, just as he’s about to enter the Gym, Gary pulls up to taunt his rival. Ash is shocked to learn that Gary has actually obtained TEN badges and is just challenging the Viridian Gym Leader for kicks. Since no more than one Trainer is allowed in a Gym during a challenge, Ash is forced to wait outside while Gary battles.

After being spooked by Togepi, Ash accidentally throws the baby Pokemon into the mouth of a nearby Fearow, who flies off with him. Togepi manages to escape Fearow’s clutches, but Team Rocket spots him and decide to capture him to give to their boss.

Meanwhile, Gary’s battle with the Viridian Gym Leader, who turns out to be Team Rocket’s leader, Giovanni, begins. Gary starts with Nidoking while Giovanni starts with Golem, which is instantly KO’d by Nidoking’s Tackle attack.

Next, Giovanni chooses Kingler. Gary opts to switch out his Nidoking for his Arcanine. It dodges a Crabhammer and follows up with a Take Down, Fire Spin and Fire Blast, which defeat Kingler.

Gary’s victories are making him so bored and inflating his ego so much that he actually tells Giovanni that he should just end the match because there’s no way he can beat him. With a smirk, Giovanni wagers otherwise. He unveils his strongest Pokemon, a mysterious creature clad in armor that is not listed in the Pokedex, and tells Gary that he can use multiple Pokemon against it, if he wishes. Arcanine is thrown psychically by the creature with ease. Starting to panic, Gary sends out both Arcanine and Nidoking against it, but both are instantly stopped in their tracks by the Pokemon’s powerful psychic abilities.

In no time at all, Gary is handily defeated.

Afterward, Team Rocket presents their newly captured Togepi to Giovanni, but he’s thoroughly unimpressed and deems it and Jessie, James and Meowth as completely useless. He’s suddenly called away on an emergency, so he leaves the trio in charge of the Gym and gives them three of his Pokemon to help guard the place.

Meanwhile, Misty and the others continue their search for Togepi. They suddenly hear him chirping from behind the doors of the Gym, so they forcibly open them. Misty and Togepi happily reunite, but they’re quickly shocked by what they find beyond the doorway – Gary and his cheerleaders are unconscious on the floor.

Ash and the others rush to them. Gary wakes up and explains that they encountered an unbeatable ‘evil’ Pokemon, much to Ash’s shock and confusion.

To make matters even more confusing, Team Rocket emerges from under the arena to deliver the good news to Ash – they’re now the Viridian City Gym Leaders, and Ash must beat them in order to get his final badge – the Earth Badge.

Ash agrees to the match, but this whole situation is very suspicious.

The match is three on three. Jessie releases all three of Giovanni’s Pokemon – a Machamp, a Kingler and a Rhydon.

Ash sends out Squirtle first. Jessie chooses Machamp, who easily defeats Squirtle with a Karate Chop. When Squirtle takes the hit, Ash is struck with a jolt of electricity. They rigged the arena to give the Trainer just as much pain as the Pokemon whenever they get hit.

Ash sends out Bulbasaur next while Jessie chooses Kingler. With one Bubble attack, Bulbasaur seems down for the count. Like last time, Ash is struck with another jolt of electricity. He’s weakened, but he continues.

He sends out his final Pokemon, Pidgeotto, to attack Rhydon. Much to her surprise, Jessie is shocked like Ash. James wired her side of the arena too, not believing they’d lose. Meowth tries to trigger the bomb on Ash’s side instead, but Gary stops him.

Fed up, Jessie sends out Arbok and Weezing to battle as well, which is a violation of the terms they set for the Gym match. Realizing their rule-breaking opens him up to breaking the rules as well, Ash sends out Pikachu. With one Thundershock, Pikachu takes out the entire group of Pokemon.

Ash demands his Earth Badge, but Jessie won’t hand it over. Togepi wanders over to the remote Meowth dropped and hits both of the buttons, blowing up both sides of the arena and sending Team Rocket blasting off. Jessie drops the Earth Badge in the process, but Ash recovers it. He has finally earned his eighth and final badge, allowing him entrance into the Indigo League conference.

The kids escape as the building starts to collapse. Gary has gained a bit more respect for Ash as a Trainer, but he still believes no one will ever be able to beat the mysterious Pokemon that defeated him.

Ash, Misty and Brock head off, but they soon realize they have no clue where the Indigo League conference is even held. They decide to visit Pallet Town to ask Professor Oak about it. Ash is one more step closer to trying his luck at winning the Pokemon League.

———————————

-…..*huff* Let’s get this over with.

“Golly, Twix, you sure seem perturbed. Shouldn’t you be excited? It’s the final Indigo League badge episode afterall!”

I should be, Unnamed Disembodied Voice I’m Using for the Sake of a Segway into an Explanation. But I remember this episode. I remember how foolish it was to have hopes and ‘expectations.’ This was the eighth and final Indigo League badge episode, and what do we get?

This.

You remember Pokemon Red and Blue? How you had so many encounters with Team Rocket the entire game and they all lead up to you facing off against the leader, Giovanni, for your eighth and final badge? How satisfying it was to take him down and end all of Team Rocket? No, he wasn’t the biggest challenge in the world, but he was a challenge and a threat. He was the big bad of the game.

I was so excited when I first watched the series to finally get to Giovanni. After being robbed of pretty much anything Team Rocket related (outside of Jessie and James, who quickly became jokes after about the third episode) I was stoked to finally have a full confrontation with the shadowy man himself – the guy who makes Jessie, James, Meowth, and even Butch and Cassidy shake in their boots. The guy they’ve been teasing this whole time as being a big deal with all the darkness and voice filters and stereotypical cat stroking whenever he’s seen – which is rarely. The guy who had all the means to be a huge challenge for Ash to overcome in his final badge match. And considering we’re fresh off the heels of a two-parter badge episode, and that was the second of two two-parter badge episodes so far in this region, surely the final badge episode had to be a two or three-parter, right? It’s gonna be awesome, right?

Oh young Twix. You stupid naive girl in a Reptar t-shirt.

No. What we got was half an episode’s worth of a commercial for the first Pokemon movie, a quarter of an episode chasing Togepi, and quarter of an episode’s worth of disappointing battle…..with Team Rocket….

And, no I don’t mean Giovanni.

I mean Jessie and James.

Pokemon Ep 63 Screen 2

The same dolts that Ash has defeated over 60 times already.

The same dolts who couldn’t win a Pokemon battle if they were battling Pokemon plushies with a full team of Moltres.

The same dolts who are so bad at their jobs that one of the biggest mysteries of Pokemon is why Giovanni hasn’t fired them a hundred times over by now.

People kept saying it was okay because they were using Giovanni’s Pokemon, but it’s not. They’re still Jessie and James. They’ll still fuck it up. Which they do. They fuck it up so breathtakingly badly that I’m almost impressed with their newfound level of stupidity.

The Trainer Box shock trap? Who cares? Ash gets shocked by Pikachu so much in a comedic fashion that this never even registers as a real threat. And he’s feeling all of the pain his Pokemon feels, which gets really messed up the more you think about it. Ooh it’s so impressive that Ash is taking all of this pain and bravely continuing on. His Pokemon do that all the time. And I must point out that one of the attacks he ‘bravely endures’…..is a Bubble…hitting a Grass Pokemon.

They completely drained every semblance of coolness and tension from the final badge episode all because Giovanni had to leave for some reason.

Don’t get me wrong – it is pretty cool to see so much of the normal anime dedicated to tying into the movies, which is something they very, very rarely ever did, and the confrontation between Gary and Giovanni/Mewtwo was pretty cool and a great tease for the movie, but they should have made this an entirely separate episode. Have it be a special teaser episode for the movie and then move on to the eighth badge episode. Have Giovanni return after Mewtwo left and have him be incredibly pissed that his experiment escaped. That way the battle with Ash will be tension-filled AND frightening. Imagine Giovanni agreeing to the battle with Ash purely because he wants to let off some steam by pummeling his Pokemon into the Ground.

Get it? Ground? He specializes in Ground-type Pokemon.

Pokemon Ep 63 Screen 3

But nope. Instead, we cram all the movie stuff into the final badge episode and, if you never see the first movie, none of that shit ever matters. It’s a big tease into nothing. It’s like when you’re reading a comic, something really interesting pops up and then you see that dreaded text box that says something like “to know what the hell all this is about, check out ComicName #164!” It’s one of the reasons why I don’t actually mind all that much that anime movies tend to exist in their own continuity most of the time. They can definitely be considered canon, but the TV series aren’t obligated to bring them up or weave their stories into the main storyline.

And lest we forget that almost as much time is dedicated to the pointless bullshit with the Togepi chase sequence.

I wouldn’t even be upset about the time wasted if they had made this a two or three-parter, but it’s not. It’s a one-parter, and it’s barely that.

I’m not even really angry – I’m just disappointed. Because that’s what I felt when I was a kid as I watched this episode for the first time. Just a big pile of disappointment sitting on my kidneys. What makes this worse is that this is one of the episodes I first watched on VHS because I missed it on the regular airing.

Whenever I rewatch Pokemon, I get to this episode and I don’t get angry. I just think “*sigh* Let’s just get this over with.” because I don’t want to think about what a massive missed opportunity this episode is any more.

If you got bored of my blathering and want to hear an interesting story about the production and release of this episode in regards to the Pokemon Shock incident, see Dogasu’s comparison found here.

And now, let’s move on with the episode.

– Ash: “I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since we were here.”

I never much paid attention to this line, but apparently a lot of people did, taking this as more or less confirmation that a year has gone by and even linking it to the idea that each League/Generation Ash goes through counts as one year. Well, as you probably read on the Dogasu comparison, this is a dub-exclusive line.

The timeline is always super vague with this show, so they only had Satoshi say it’s been a long time since he was here. We pretty much just have to accept the fact that 20+ years worth of Pokemon stuff has gone on in less than a year and Ash is perpetually ten years old and somehow keeps getting designed to look younger and younger with each new art style.

– Misty: “Hm, well the Pokemon Center’s up and running again.” I’m surprised they actually brought that back up.

Brock: “Look, Ash! The Viridian Gym!”

Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. You’re telling me he spent nearly all of his time at the Viridian City Pokemon Center when he was here last and yet he didn’t realize the Gym was practically next door? I mean, yeah, there’s no sign, but it’s a giant building with stone pillars and Roman guards at the door. Wasn’t he at least curious as to what this place was?

– Ash: “I know I can do it. I’m on a hot streak!” Hot streak how? Just because you won your last badge match?…..After losing the first time?

Fire is shown in Ash’s eyes as he says this, and then we cut to Pikachu and Togepi enjoying a fire in front of him. I get the joke, and it’s funny, but why the heck did Pikachu decide to start a campfire in the middle of the road? It’s not even like it’s cold outside.

Misty: “Ugh, why did you do that Pikachu?” Are you ruining the joke by pointing out how ludicrous that was?

– This is followed up by an equally funny joke where Ash and Pikachu do that sparkly dreamy ‘run into each other’s arms’ thing after Ash proclaims that he can do anything with Pikachu by his side.

– I know Gary’s just teasing Ash, but why would he think Ash quit Pokemon Training? He literally just saw him four episodes ago, and he got his Volcano Badge there.

– Now we have to give proper focus to Gary’s insane assortment of badges – not just in the fact that he somehow has ten badges, and is aiming for his eleventh, but also that only three of the badges seem like they’re from known Kanto Gyms. He has the Boulder Badge, a Cascade Badge and the Rainbow Badge. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s also possible that he got a Volcano Badge after Ash since one of the badges looks very similar, but it’s not the exact same so maybe it’s not meant to be the Volcano Badge.

Pokemon Ep 63 Screen 4

I’d think all badges from a Gym need to look identical to prevent counterfeits. Is there a black market for badges? Because I can totally see people just grinding at a Gym for badges so they can sell them to lazy Trainers. Do Gyms even allow you to have rematches if you won already?

I’m getting off-topic.

I can totally understand that there might be other Gyms in Kanto for the sake of making official Gyms more accessible to Trainers who may live far out in the country or whatever, but why is it that Gary doesn’t have the traditional set if it seems like he was following Ash’s route for the most part? He bumped into him way too often for him to not be roughly following the same path. Ash always went to the nearest Pokemon Gym when he was out adventuring. Why wouldn’t Gary do the same?

For that matter, why hasn’t Gary gotten his Earth Badge yet? In the games, the Gym was closed down when you first visited Viridian City, which is why you had to skip it and move on to the next town. In the anime, they never say such a thing. The only reason Ash never goes to that Gym is because he didn’t know there was a Gym there.

– Jeez, look at how huge the guards are compared to Ash. They’re giants.

Pokemon Ep 63 Screen 5

– Guard: “Only one Trainer allowed in the Gym at a time, kid.” They didn’t check if any of Gary’s cheerleaders were Trainers.

– Ash: “I have to do something fast or else Gary is going to get way ahead of me.”

Misty: “Uh, reality check, Ash. Gary’s been way ahead of you since the beginning.”

Damn, Misty. I thought you specialized in water not fire.

How can he even say, with a straight face, that Gary’s ‘going’ to get way ahead of him? He literally just showed him that he has three more badges than Ash. Every time Ash catches a Pokemon, he’s reminded that Gary has caught ten times as many as he has.

– Ash: *not looking* *Togepi bops him on the head because he’s sad* “Thank you. You’re the only one who always stands by me no matter what. Oh Pikachu!” More favoritism. Because he certainly can’t rely on his other Pokemon to always stand beside him no matter what. No sirree. Isn’t that right Snow Way Out?

– Ash was so spooked by Togepi that he threw him high enough to bounce off of a flagpole and into a Fearow’s mouth….Wow, Ash….Just wow.

– Misty: “Why did you do that to my Togepi!?”

Ash: “Misty it was an EGGcident!”

– I know I said that I liked the confrontation between Gary and Giovanni, but I really only meant that in terms of when Mewtwo finally shows up, because, prior to that, this match is absolutely pathetic.

Gary starts with Nidoking, and Giovanni chooses Golem. They both opt to use Tackle, and Golem is ONE-HIT KO’D………BY A TACKLE.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Then Giovanni chooses Kingler, who uses Crabhammer, which is a bit better, especially considering they show it smashing the stone floor, but then Gary switches to Arcanine, whom I do love, but why did he even switch out in the first place? Nidoking’s a fine match against Kingler, and Arcanine’s a FIRE type. I’d expect Ash to make a move that nonsensical, not Gary. He attacks with a Take Down, which is fine, but then follows up with a Fire Spin? And then a Fire Blast? And that defeats Kingler.

– Why exactly does Gary need to use a Pokedex on a Kingler? His Krabby should be a Kingler by now, and even if it’s not he’d certainly have done the research on Krabby to know it’s evolutionary line. Gary makes such a big deal later about not using the Pokedex whenever he sees a Pokemon like Ash does and yet here he is using it when, by all means, he shouldn’t have to.

– The perspective in this shot…

Pokemon Ep 63 Screen 6

Why is Arcanine so small?

– Why is Gary so confused as to how his Arcanine got psychically thrown across the ring? Surely he has faced Psychic Pokemon by now, and surely he knows that Confusion is basically Poke-speak for Telekinesis.

I was going to say surely he had faced Sabrina, but according to his weird-ass assortment of badges, he never fought her.

– I love how immediately after Giovanni gets pissed at them for being half-wits, Giovanni leaves Jessie, James and Meowth in charge of his Gym. Does he not have literally anyone else working in this place that is capable of being a Gym Leader? No other Rocket grunts?

– What exactly happened after Giovanni defeated Gary? He had Mewtwo psychically knock out Gary and his cheerleaders? For what purpose? They had to have been out for like an hour. That’s pretty serious.

– Gary: “This Pokemon’s not just powerful – it’s evil.” How is Mewtwo, based from Gary’s interaction with it, any different from any other Rocket Pokemon? When called to attack others, it will, usually. I do believe some Pokemon are evil, despite what the show may insist, because it’s just unrealistic for them to all be good at heart. If some Pokemon are jerks, some have to be evil. What I don’t get here is why Gary believes Mewtwo is evil just because it attacked them when Giovanni probably called for it to attack them. Giovanni’s the evil one.

– Cheerleader: “I can’t believe Gary lost.” *they all start bawling*

Misty: “Why are you making such a big deal about one lost battle?! If I cried like that every time Ash lost a battle, I’d be waterlogged.” Damn, Misty. You’re being really vicious to Ash today.

– I’ve also been a little annoyed how it’s never explained how and why Giovanni became a Gym Leader in either the games or the anime. Pokemon Origins implies that he was a Gym Leader first and later started Team Rocket and kept the Gym as a cover, but that was never in the games.

– Misty: “You mean this Gym is controlled by Team Rocket?”

Brock: “Why would they want a Gym?”

Jessie: “Oh, you little dweebs couldn’t understand the complex schemes of Team Rocket.”

Ash: “Oh yeah? Try us!”

James: “They’re for us to know and for you to find out….” *to Jessie* “What are they?”

Jessie: “Huh?…..Those plans are classified information.”

Meowth: “She don’t know ‘em either.”

So….basically “We never thought of anything clever or interesting to write as a reason, so we’re going to joke about how there isn’t one.”

– Gary didn’t battle in a Trainer’s box. Why are there suddenly Trainer’s boxes in here? Did….did James install the Trainer’s boxes themselves as well? Jeez, that’s a lot of work for such a short amount of time.

– 16 Minutes…..

It takes 16 GODDAMN MINUTES of a 22 minute long episode (including credits) Before the ‘Battle for the Badge’ actually starts.

– One of the Pokemon Jessie uses is Giovanni’s Kingler, which was defeated earlier, which must mean it’s really tired right now. Unless it’s a different Kingler, but is his pool of Pokemon so shallow that he has duplicates? I was really confused because he has a Kingler on him, but there’s a Kingler in a cage in the basement where he keeps Mewtwo, and he gave Jessie one. No matter, really, because even if he does have two or even three he’d obviously keep his best Kingler on him, which means the others have to be weaker, which is a problem when we already saw his best one be easily defeated.

– This Gym makes no sense. The Trainer’s boxes are rigged to have the Trainers shocked whenever their Pokemon receive damage, meaning they ‘feel all of the pain the Pokemon feels’ but how do they detect any of that? The Pokemon aren’t connected to anything to gauge such a thing.

Pokemon Ep 63 Screen 7

– Also, dammit, Ash, CALL THE COPS! Not only is Team Rocket running this Gym, but they’re physically assaulting you and they (well, Giovanni/Mewtwo technically, but still) knocked out Gary and the girls. Gary is proof that there are other Gyms to get badges from – it’s not worth this trouble.

– The fact that Ash’s Bulbasaur basically gets taken out with one hit of a Bubble attack by a Kingler when Gary handily defeated it with a Pokemon that had a type DISadvantage is so depressing.

– You can argue that Squirtle and Bulbasaur merely got hit, not defeated, but Ash and Jessie both switch out Pokemon when the hits land, so it’s clear they’re making off like it’s a defeat.

– Ya know how I said Team Rocket would inevitably fuck it up? Well, here comes the fuck up.

Jessie: “James, why did you set it up to give shocks on both sides? Ugh, turn it off, turn it off!!”

James: “I didn’t think it would matter. It didn’t occur to me that we could lose.”

You….*sigh*

How long do you think it takes to set this system up? Quite a long time, right? (Which begs the question how they had the time to do that between Giovanni appointing them Gym Leaders and now. Also, they had to have been doing all of that construction with Gary and the girls unconscious on the floor…..) And it’s probably a pain in the ass. James went through all of that work to set up the shocking device on Jessie’s side in addition to Ash’s side just because whoopsee he didn’t think they’d lose or I guess they’d never even get hit once. And they have no way of just turning it off, whether purely on their side or entirely…….That is so monumentally stupid I think it shaved years off my life.

Also, Rhydon getting hit by Pidgeotto twice, despite them clearly winning against Squirtle and Bulbasaur with one hit, is enough to make Jessie flip out and start cheating, thereby allowing Ash to cheat, sealing their fate and blasting them off again *ding* Screw this whole battle.

– Rhydon’s getting shocked by Pikachu even though it’s a Ground-type……Need I remind everyone this is the second time they’ve made that mistake with this exact same Pokemon. Ultra screw this whole battle.

– FFS, Giovanni’s Pokemon are such wimps they actually RUN AWAY COWERING after Pikachu shocks them – EVEN RHYDON. Infinity screw this whole battle.

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– Technically, Pikachu just won this whole battle by one-hit KOing five Pokemon at once (Only Rhydon had taken damage so far, by Pidgeotto) – three of which were Giovanni’s Pokemon.

– Gary gets a way better story in this episode. He gets to fight Mewtwo, he gets his ass handed to him, which helps him learn some humility, and he gains a better respect for Ash. All the more reason this should have been a lone episode about him instead of having it also be Ash’s final badge episode.

Ash doesn’t learn anything or grow here. He just battles.

– Wait a minute. So they were not only stupid enough to put the shock system in Jessie’s Trainer box, but they also took the time and effort to RIG IT WITH EXPLOSIVES?!

– Both sides of the arena blew up, but Ash and the others are just fine?

– That explosion was powerful enough to LEVEL THE WHOLE BUILDING?! But also somehow weak enough to leave Ash and the others untouched? What the hell!?….Also, this is the second time Team Rocket has blown up a building in Viridian City. You’d think blowing up his friggin’ Gym would be enough for Giovanni to finally fire these two, but of course not….

– Misty: “But where is the Pokemon League?” How the hell does a former Gym Leader not know that?

Brock: “I’m sure Professor Oak could tell us all about it.” You don’t know either, Brock!?

– I love the song, but the fact that the Pikachu’s Jukebox of this episode is (Double Trouble) Team Rocket’s Song feels insulting.

——————————————

Well, that’s that. That’s the sloppy mess that is the Battle for the Badge. I’ve already said my piece, and I don’t really have anything else to add. I’ll just cap it off by acknowledging my disappointment in the completely lost opportunity one more time.

Knowing how the Indigo League ends, it’s almost like this was foreshadowing of how the entire region would wind up being disappointing. But that Charizard-shaped problem will be addressed later….and compounded by other things on the table that need to be discussed.

Next time, Mr. Mime’s debut. I don’t remember disliking this episode, which was another I had on VHS, but I also don’t remember much about it besides Mr. Mime making a huge box out of Reflect panels…


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SSBS – Megaman NT Warrior | Episode 5: Robotic Fish Gone Wild Review

SSBS - Megaman NT Warrior Ep5 Screen7

Plot: Lan, Yai, Maylu and Dex are recruited by the tech-hating/fish-lovin’ Maysa to get out and do physical activities instead of staying inside playing with their NetNavis all day. When WWW causes more havoc in the city by unleashing all of the fish from a robotic aquarium, the kids will have to utilize what they’ve learned about fish by Maysa to fight them.

Breakdown: Today’s episode starts with Maysa, the fish salesman, bursting into the kids’ fancy treehouse base as they fight their NetNavis. Maysa hates technology and NetNavis, so he demands that the kids do as he did as a kid and go out and play.

Now you may be wondering why they’re listening to a man none of them are related to and has no actual authority over them.

Well…

Dex: “Tell me. Why are we doing this, Lan?”

Lan: “Don’t make Maysa mad. Otherwise, he’ll throw fish at me again.”

Pretty sure you can have him arrested for that. Or just….go home?

Maysa makes them all run, even though they all cheat by using rollerblades, skateboards and scooters. Then he makes them do push-ups, climb a tree 100 times, swim 100 laps, then he hits tons of baseballs at the kids, demanding they try to catch them, which is beyond unsafe. They’re literally weathering a hail of baseballs being shot at them at like 40mph.

I’m sorry. I thought you just wanted them to go outside and play. Why are you training them like they’re soldiers heading off to war tomorrow?

As this all goes on, WWW gathers for their next big chaotic plan – letting all of the robotic fish at a local robo-fish aquarium out and cause chaos in the streets. I actually think the idea of a robo-fish aquarium is pretty cool. Designing fish that look and move exactly like the fish they’re emulating while also avoiding capturing and potentially harming real fish is awesome, although I can imagine it’s not the same thing as actually seeing the real fish. Robots are really cool, I love them a lot, but I don’t think robots would be able to adequately replace the experience of seeing the real thing.

WWW creates a bunch of jellyfish virus things, which turn the floor of a virtual space all wavy and watery, and they let out all of the fish.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Letting all of these robo-fish out would probably do nothing, right? Because they’re…ya know….fish? That can’t travel on land.

Well, these robo-fish can FLY……….for some reason. They just float around in the air like it’s water somehow. They were in water in the aquarium so I have no idea why these robo-fish are all designed to float in the air. There’s no need for such a function.

SSBS - Megaman NT Warrior Ep5 Screen5

As the kids finally rest after being run like dogs, Maysa takes the opportunity to teach the kids some ‘fun fish facts’ which means the info being conveyed here is bound to be brought back up when they fight the robo-fish.

The first fish fact is that red sea bream have different colors depending on if they’re wild or farm-raised. Wild sea bream will be lighter/brighter red, and farm-raised sea bream will be darker because they’re raised in more shallow water, causing them to get sun burned.

Now, believe it or not, in some conditions, including being in shallow clear water, fish can get sun burned. However, this is not the cause of the farm-raised red sea bream’s darker color (the reason for that is unknown) and sunburning actually causes the skin of fish to turn whitish in color, not red. In fact, when fish get so much sun exposure that they end up sun burned, it’s a pretty horrific deal.

Most fish have a naturally occurring substance in their body called gadusol, which gives them great protection from UV rays, but it’s not foolproof. Just like with regular sunscreen, if the exposure is extreme enough and long enough, they’ll wind up getting burned.

The sunburns of fish involve the development of terrible sores which leave muscle tissue and cartilage exposed. Fish can suffer from kidney damage and even die if their sunburns get severe enough.

Dex: “No kidding! That’s pretty cool!” A fish having a perpetual sunburn is cool, Dex?

Maylu: “Yeah, I never knew that!” I’m sure you knowledge pool of red sea bream was so deep, too, Maylu….

Next, he explains that longfin tuna or albacore are called as such because of their long pectoral fins. This is correct.

Lan complains about how boring all of this is and asks Megaman if he can get him out of this, but Megaman refuses and says the fish facts might prove helpful. In any other situation, no….none of this information would be helpful or necessary in the slightest, but because of the obvious set up, we know they’ll reincorporate these “facts” in the final battle.

Maysa then states that jellyfish are 90% water, which is also a little inaccurate. They’re more like 95% water.

The robo-fish arrive, and Lan and Yai jack in Megaman and Glide to the location to figure out what’s going on before running away from the attacking fish.

Maysa slices a goddamn robo-bluefin tuna right down the middle with a normal filet knife, which…yeah okay.

SSBS - Megaman NT Warrior Ep5 Screen2

Maysa: “That bluefin tuna weighed 350 pounds!” First of all, it was a robot not a real bluefin tuna. Second, even if it was a real bluefin, how can you tell the weight by merely looking at it? Finally, adult bluefin tuna weigh between 500-550 pounds, so why are you acting like this one, if it is the weight you claim, is some giant? As a robot, it should actually weigh more than a natural one would.

Megaman and Glide reach the aquarium’s server and discover the new watery area inhabited by Sharkman.

Under the water lies the viral jellyfish. Megaman’s outnumbered and can’t do much without a Battle Chip, but Lan is too busy running from the robo-fish, specifically a shark, to upload one. Suddenly, Maysa has an idea. He tells everyone to stop running and stand really still. They do so, and the shark just floats on by.

According to Maysa, sharks are attracted by activity, so if you stop moving they’ll just avoid you.

No….that’s not right.

It’s true that movement has been known to prompt some shark attacks, but for the most part people typically get attacked by sharks for looking too similar to seals (in silhouette) and hanging around bait fish, which is why a lot of shark attacks happen while people are sitting on surfboards or lying on boogie boards. Attacks commonly do happen when a person is basically still, just hanging out in the water.

However, most importantly, sharks don’t hunt humans. There are instances where sharks will attack completely unprovoked, but they almost always try to avoid people. The odds of a shark chasing down a group of people like this is slim.

Not to mention that he’s acting as if movement is either the trigger for the predatory sense and removing it will make them docile or that they have some sort of t-rex-esque ‘their vision is based on movement’ thing, which is also very wrong both for sharks and t-rexes.

The most damning thing about this whole scene is, even if what he said was true, he’s assuming the robo-shark will work exactly like a real shark and not pursue them anymore when they stand still. That might make some sense, but still be very risky, considering they do seem to be designed to emulate the fish as much as possible….except, ya know…..the flying thing. If they were truly designed with as much tech as possible to emulate their respective fish perfectly, there’s no way they’d be floating in the air right now. In fact, there’s no way they’d be functional because they wouldn’t be able to breathe outside of water.

Lan: “And here I thought fish facts were stupid!” His fish “facts” are kinda stupid, Lan, so…yeah.

Maysa: “Having a PhD in fishology finally paid off!” This is likely a joke, I think anyway, but the study of fish is ichthyology.

The shark comes back and chases them all again because Maysa was being so loud. I thought it was movement, not sound, that attracts them, Maysa.

Back in the virtual space, Megaman continues to have difficulties fighting off the jellyfish because the water is slowing down his response systems. Megaman jumps out of the water and back to land again to escape the jellyfish. However, he’s not safe. The jellyfish all merge to create one giant jellyfish virus and float out of the water.

SSBS - Megaman NT Warrior Ep5 Screen3

In the real world, Lan and the others are cornered in an alleyway by the shark, and despite the loud yelling being what attracted the shark before, supposedly, Lan and Dex keep yelling because Lan is frustrated that he needs to leave to jack in and help Megaman but he’s trapped.

Seeing how much Lan cares for Megaman, Maysa offers to be a decoy for the shark so Lan can escape and help Megaman. Ya know, if the shark really does act like a shark, maybe try punching it in the gills or nose a few times and poke its eyes.

Despite their concerns, Maysa runs off, the shark follows and the kids head to the robot aquarium to make a direct link to the server. When they arrive, they’re confronted by a kickass robo-squid. The squid actually looks bigger than the aquarium so where the heck was this thing stored?

Lan knows he doesn’t have time to hesitate, though, so he just maneuvers his way under the squid’s tentacles and enters the robot aquarium.

He connects to the mainframe and uses his Cyber Sword Battle Chip. Megaman slashes up the jellyfish, but it quickly repairs the damage and even grows larger.

So, uh, Glide….you wanna, uh,…..do anything at some point? Glide has literally just stood in one spot this entire time. Why is he even here?

The jellyfish creates a tidal wave that crashes over Megaman and Glide. Lan only has two Battle Chips left – neither of which can help him in this situation. Suddenly, something whizzes by Lan’s face. On the wall next to him, he sees a metal fish skeleton embedded in the wall with a new Battle Chip hanging from it – the Electro Sword. Points to whomever saw electricity being the key to beating the 95% water jellyfish virus the instant they mentioned that fact. Fewer points if you knew that mostly because of Pokemon.

Maysa totally threw that, by the way. There’s no one else it could possibly be.

Also, this isn’t technically Lan learning any lesson. If he saw a new Battle Chip being gifted to him specifically and none of his other Battle Chips were useful, of course he’d use it to try and beat the jellyfish.

Despite being able to easily hit the jellyfish before, it’s too fast for the electrified Megaman to hit now….for some reason. Sharkman comes up and attacks the jellyfish…..oh….Sharkman is Maysa’s NetNavi isn’t he? I bet you anything he is.

This feels a lot like Coach Mountain from Medabots who acted like he vehemently hated Medabots and wanted his students to stop spending time with them, but then it’s revealed that he has his own Medabot and actually participates in Robattles and he’s a big hypocrite.

Megaman has his opening to strike, so he does, electrifying the jellyfish and deleting it.

Glide: “Well done, Megaman! Excellently executed!” Yes, and you did a great job being a useless tin can, Glide. Seriously, why was Glide even here? I swear he never moved a muscle.

Sharkman introduces himself to Megaman, claiming he wanted to do this on his own but Megaman’s help was welcome. Despite acting like an enemy, he asserts himself as an ally before taking his leave.

SSBS - Megaman NT Warrior Ep5 Screen4

Megaman: “Sharkman? I thought he was just a legend.” Really? What’s so special about him?

Lan reunites with the others, giving full credit on his win to Maysa for teaching him about jellyfish. He looks at the fish skeleton thing in his hands and wonders where it came from. I wonder that too because Maysa is nowhere near Lan. Even if Maysa had someone else give Lan that Battle Chip, who could it have been and how? Lan was in a tiny cramped control room and no one else was around.

Cut to Maysa who is standing on top of a tower with the robo-shark impaled on the top pole. What the frick? What happened there? I want to see that battle not Pikachu vs. Tentacruel.

SSBS - Megaman NT Warrior Ep5 Screen6

Also, despite them not fully revealing it in this episode, I totally called it, Sharkman was Maysa’s NetNavi. Reading up a bit more on him, I guess he’s not the same hypocrite that Coach Mountain was and his seemingly anti-NetNavi ways are more of a cover, but if that’s true why did he get so worked up about physically training Lan and the others? Shouldn’t he be happy that they’re spending so much time battling their NetNavis?

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Even though it was kinda cool to see the robot fish, particularly the squid, and Sharkman’s really cool-looking, the episode as a whole was just dumb and pointless. The fish “facts” they learned weren’t actual facts most of the time, the ones that were facts were inaccurate on the details, and the aspect of robo-fish escaping an aquarium and flying all over town tormenting people is just silly. Not as silly as having the main conflict of an episode being getting a little girl to the potty so she can go tinkle in time, but still.

If I seemed nitpicky about the fish facts it’s only because the episode as a whole relied on them. If you’re going to center an episode about fish facts, then maybe check to see if the fish facts are actual facts. It annoys me so much when kids shows act like they’re being educational but they’re really being half-assed about actually teaching anything. Granted, it’s not like this information would ever be useful in real life, but you should still give an effort to actually teach kids something. Teaching is pointless if the information isn’t accurate.

The stuff about the shark might actually be kinda dangerous. The odds of a kid coming into contact with a shark are extremely low, but if they learned from this show they’d think their best course of action during an attack would be to keep very still and quiet, which may very well get them killed.

I still don’t understand why we dedicated so much time to having the kids do all of that physical training. It never benefited them. It was a huge waste of time. The episode should have been Maysa pestering them to learn about fish for whatever reason the entire time. It is good to teach kids that they should put their devices down every once in a while and go out to get some sunshine and exercise, but if you’re going to make that seem like hellish work with no payoff then you’re giving off mixed signals.

Next time, apparently the next episode is one they skipped and instead we’re getting one about hypnosis and MagicMan.


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