SSBS – Beyblade Episode 4: The Qualifier Begins

Plot: The Regional Qualifiers are underway and people are already dropping like flies. The dialogue is a bit weird, though, because both the announcers and the Chief make it sound like Kai is personally beating all of these kids in the qualifiers, but the animation makes it clear that they’re just mass Beyblade battles against whole groups of combatants with about ten people per group.

One of the announcers, Brad Best and AJ Topper, actually brings up an issue I have with this format, and that’s, once enough Beyblades fall, won’t the losing blades kinda get in the way of the remaining competitors? Apparently, once enough blades fall, they stop the match, clean them out, then restart. Why not just do smaller groups in the first place?

One thing I’ve always thought was a lot of fun about Beyblade was the tournament format where the audience basically follows the action as if they were watching a real Beyblade tournament. We get cheesy (and sometimes very funny) announcers, overlay graphics, everything outside of sponsorship plugs.

Back to the action, Max manages to win his qualifier, and now Kenny is up next in block C. He manages to do pretty well, even if the animation continues to show off how much of a non-sport this actually is because the bladers just stand around doing nothing while their blades either get knocked out or destroyed or they wait for the other competitors to fall.

Somehow, someway no one noticed that Kai has been in this block the whole time even though they were just talking about him incessantly when he wasn’t actually there and they keep bringing up that Kai is the reigning champion trying to defend his title.

And since Kai is in the Chief’s block, you can bet any hope you might have had for our bespectacled pal to actually get a win are now nonexistent. You can also clearly tell how ridiculously stacked battles are against blades that don’t have bit beasts in them because Kai’s blade is clearly changing direction sharply and aiming specifically for other blades.

Tyson: “Wait a minute, I bet Kenny and Dizzi have something up their sleeves. King Kai’s gonna lose his crown.” It’s really nice of Tyson to have such faith in Kenny and Dizzi, but I couldn’t help but be DBZ distracted when he called him King Kai….

Kenny is now the last one standing against Kai, and…..I gotta call out Kenny on his Beyblade. The Chief’s Beyblade is an odd duck. He uses a green blade called Jumping Base (Or Einstein in the original version). It’s a Beyblade…on a spring.

Okay, please bear with me because I am far from a physics major, but…isn’t this design bullshit?

They don’t really explain what they’re going for with this Beyblade, but just from looking at it, it doesn’t look like it could stay spinning for more than a second or two let alone be the last blade standing in a mass battle against Kai.

First things first, the whole blade is spinning, not just the top. That means that the little point at the end of the spring is the main point of contact and what is allowing the blade to spin.

Springs work by storing kinetic energy when they’re compressed. However, when compressed, the little bit on the end would obviously get force imposed on it as well. Since that bit is spinning, that means it’s generating friction on the surface it’s spinning on. That friction is gradually slowing the blade until the energy runs out. The force of the spring’s compression and eventual expulsion of energy would cause so much friction that I don’t think the blade wouldn’t be able to survive one bounce.

Not to mention that bouncing springs are kinda hard to control, and a wok/BeyStadium is probably one of the worst smooth environments you can find to control a bouncing spring. If you’ve ever used a pogo stick, imagine trying to use one in a half-pipe. And that’s with the spring wrapped around a pole, giving it stability and a rider being able to control a multitude of variables. This is just a free spring, allowing it to flail back and forth, with no one having any control over it.

Speaking of flailing, it might be able to take a hit pretty well, considering it has good ‘shocks’ so to speak, but the energy from a hit would just send it flailing, probably knocking itself into the wok blade first, which would drastically slow down the spin if it didn’t just fall over anyway.

You’d have to call in some sort of Beyblade Mythbusters to really debunk this, I’m just doing off-the-cuff research, but as far as I can tell, this Beyblade shouldn’t be functioning in the least, and the idea that Kenny, of all people, is using this goofy-ass design, and that it was Dizzi’s idea, is insane.

Sometimes lack of animation is too funny depending on the dialogue. “I can’t look!” Tyson says while making absolutely no effort to close or cover his eyes or look away.

“OoOhh! Kai’s attack is going to totally destroy that young man!” Says Mr. Dickenson as he doesn’t move, is smiling and posed in such a way that he might as well be feeding bread to pigeons in the park.

After taking a ridiculous amount of time for Dranzer to reach Jumping Base with its attack, Kai talks some smack and then defeats Kenny with no issue. (Kenny said he needed a lucky bounce to withstand the attack, but what was he hoping for? Jumping over Dranzer? He’d just attack again. This blade is really stupid.)

Golly, who could have predicted this?

Wanting to avenge Kenny….I guess, Tyson runs out into the arena, but he, Mr. Dickenson and Kenny are amazed that Dranzer is continuing to spin with no signs of stopping. According to Kenny, this should be impossible. Right. Right….THAT’S impossible. But your Tigger-esque Beyblade is somehow not.

Tyson is about to take Kai on, but Kenny stops him, telling him he lost fair and square. He merely underestimated Kai, and challenging him now will just get him kicked out. Tyson backs off, Kai throws more smacktalk and walks away.

It’s a little weird that Kenny underestimated Kai. He’s usually the one who errs on the side of caution the most, and he had no confidence in himself when he went out there in the first place.

Next up, group D starts – Tyson’s turn. And who else was to be his main opponents for this qualifier than Carlos and a bunch of other Blade Sharks? Tyson and the sharks manage to make it to the second part of their round, which introduces them to a new BeyStadium, an obstacle dish, which is just a sneak peak at the many, many, many ridiculous BeyStadiums they’ll come out with over time. It’s basically just as it sounds – it’s a dish with obstacles in it.

May I ask, however, why Tyson’s group gets this dish in their second half, but Kai and Kenny’s wok was extremely normal?

AJ: “It’s going to take more than skill to maneuver around those obstacles.” It’s going to take luck, because that’s all the control you’re supposed to have over your Beyblades once they’re launched. You can’t steer them. This will most likely be the last time I bring this up, because I have a feeling we’re now entering ‘Somehow we can control the Beyblades with our minds and commands and no one will question why this is or how this works’ territory.

The Blade Sharks obviously gang up on Tyson, and somehow, even without Bit Beasts, the three Blade Sharks I didn’t care to the learn the names of just so happen to not only be able to control their Beyblades telepathically, I guess, but their Beyblades can also generate electricity when they’re close together. I know I just said I’d refrain from mentioning stuff like this, but they don’t have Bit Beasts to sort of explain this away, so I was a little confused.

Tyson manages to maneuver away from them, and in a twist, Carlos picks off his teammates one by one (Though you only actually see him take out the purple haired one on-screen). Now’s as good a time as any to say that the three other Sharks have terrible voice acting. Nothing else to add there, I just don’t think we see them again after this and I wanted to get that out.

Anyway, Carlos tells the three of them to get lost because he’s flying solo now. It’s just him and Tyson now. They’re entering into a third round, which I find strange. Kai and Kenny were only in a second round, not third, and considering Tyson’s blade was still spinning when Carlos’ crapped out, I’d saying this is Tyson’s win, but whatever.

Tyson: “It’s a game and it has rules – rules you follow!” Yeah…..and in none of those rules does it say you can’t take out your teammates when it’s a free for all brawl with only one victor moving on to the tournament. They’re treating it like this is some terrible thing to do, and it is shitty, but they would’ve had to have fought each other at some point, Carlos just sped up the process.

Carlos: “I’d say you’re just jealous!” Trust me here. Amazing line delivery. All the effort of a sleeping infant.

Also, jealous of what? Again, Tyson would’ve won that match if they didn’t call for a third round here.

Tyson: “Better watch it, Carlos, cuz the rules are out the window!” 45 seconds prior to this you were literally looking down on Carlos, proclaiming that he knew nothing of Beyblade because it has rules that need to be followed. Now you’re saying ‘Ah, well, fuck the rules then!’? Come on, Tyson. Be better than that.

Carlos: “All my life, I’ve wanted to taste victory on my own. Now you’re the appetizer. *licks lips*” Uh, you’ve never won a match on your own? That is extremely incorrect. You alone were known around Tyson’s town as a bully who went around destroying or stealing other blades….on his own. Yeah, you were a member of the Blade Sharks, but they weren’t there helping you gang up on other kids.

Also, really could’ve done without the overly evil and gross lip licking.

They start the match, and Tyson shows he’s not messing around. Dragoon quickly vanishes before everyone’s eyes. Carlos is thrown for a loop, and Tyson uses this opportunity to knock his blade out of the arena…..well…that was underwhelming. The second round lasted much longer and, in my opinion, was better because it had Tyson using the field to his advantage to get away from the Sharks. Here….he somehow made Dragoon vanish and he just, boop, knocked him out of the ring…and broke his blade apart. (Also, Kenny explains that, somehow, Dragoon is now so fast that it’s invisible to the human eye. I would roll my eyes a little harder at that, but, again, that’s just the tip of the goofy ice berg.)

As Carlos collapses on the ground in defeat and mutters due an animation problem, I assume, Tyson is declared the winner and moves on to the tournament.

Tyson’s a good sport, though, and hands Carlos the pieces of his Beyblade.

Tyson: “Wicked battle, man.” Carlos’ blade did nothing. That battle was one-sided and terribly boring. Also, it was really weak as a chance to either redeem Carlos or turn him into this big threat. Maybe this is just a measuring stick match since Carlos thrashed Tyson once before and still gave him a bit of a run for his money on the rematch, so him completely spanking him now is a sign of how much he’s grown, but it’s still disappointing.

Bottomline: Qualifier rounds of shounen gaming anime tend to be mostly entertaining filler. You know the main characters (barring Kenny, because he’s the tech guy not a Beyblader, really) are going to advance, and the enemies this time around are rematches with people Tyson’s already beaten before.

The whole episode was building up to Tyson’s match, but all of the gameplay I saw there was rather boring. Like I said, the group match against all of the Sharks was more entertaining than his battle with Carlos, which was so short and uneventful it was almost a joke.

I was a little bit more preoccupied with Kenny’s match vs. Kai, because, well….that Beyblade, man. That bouncing little kangaroo Beyblade. That is some marvel of physics. And by ‘marvel’ I mean ‘marvelously insane.’ How did Kenny even make it as far as he did with that defy-er of all things logic Beyblade? Did he just bounce in place and managed to not get hit by anyone? Did he somehow manage to bounce above everyone when they tried to hit him? The more I think about it, the more confused I become.

This episode as a whole maxes out at ‘okay’ and I’m being a little generous there.

Last note, but this episode had noticeably worse animation than usual. Like…bad bad. I understand that the budget is typically reserved for bigger episodes and qualifiers basically are filler episodes, but wow. Some of those shots were beautifully bad.

Next Episode….

….Previous Episode


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My Poke-Pinions #037-038 Vulpix and Ninetales

Vulpix

Name: I absolutely love Vulpix’s name. It’s adorable, but also striking and somewhat intimidating. It’s meant to be a mixture of the word vulpes, which is Latin for fox, and six, due to its six tails.

Alolan Vulpix is known by the nickname Keokeo, which is based on the Hawaiian word for white, ke’oke’o. I really like this nickname. It’s very fitting, snappy and cute.

Its original Japanese name is Rokon, which is a mixture of roku, the Japanese word for six, and one of several theories for the second syllable – kon for grudge, due to the curse involved in its evolution, kon kon, which is the Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound foxes make, konro, which means gas stove (I think that one’s stretching too far.) and ko, which is a variant reading of the word kitsune, the Japanese word for fox.

Truth be told, I never much cared for the name Rokon. It’s fine. It’s kinda cute and rolls off the tongue, but it just doesn’t fit this Pokemon.

Fun Fact: Vulpix’s French name is Goupix, and that word is way too fun to say.

Design:

Foxes are one of my absolute favorite animals, and Vulpix is one of my absolute favorite Pokemon. It is one of the most adorable designs to this day, and it doesn’t try too hard to make it cutesy. It has such a sweet wittle face, pwetty eyes, curly tails and hair, wittle paws, and just the perfect shades of brown and burnt orange. How can you not love this adorable ball of everything good in life?

Alolan Vulpix

Alolan designs tend to be hit and miss, and Alolan Vulpix is a home run. I adore the shift to white and ice blue, it’s extremely adorable still, the slight change to its hair isn’t overboard, and they changed it just enough to be a true change to form and not just a recolor.

I don’t like Alolan Vulpix more than regular Vulpix, but it’s a close call.

Sprite-Wise, Gen I looks a teeny bit weird just because Vulpix’s eyes are so tiny. I think they were trying for a more realistic fox look, and while it’s cute and works alright, it’s so much better with bigger eyes.

Gen II looks nice. I love the little blink and tail wag animation they added in Crystal.

Gen II’s cute, although the animation for Emerald is slight spastic.

Gen IV…..can fuck off, quite frankly. Look, I love Vulpix. Truly. With every little bit of my heart. But I do not….ever….want to see Vulpix presenting its ass to me. I just don’t.

HG/SS is a more proper pose, but the animation is just a very simple growl.

Gen V is fine, but, like others, its constant animation makes it look like it’s hyperventilating.

Gen VI and VII are cute.

Shiny:

I…..want the name….of the evil person who decided it would be a good idea to turn my beautiful Vulpix….into…..into THIS.

This is an affront to poor Vulpix. Bright neon slightly green yellow?! Washed out orange?! Some sort of weird washed out pea soup green for the brown areas and the eyes?! What did Vulpix ever do to you?!

It’s weird. Usually Gen I shinies are nothing to write home about. They’re typically either the worst in the set or they’re just blah, but Vulpix’s Gen I shiny version is actually the best one, in my opinion. It’s like a mixture of gold and bronze. It’s quite beautiful.

In Gens VI and VII, it’s like they realized how fugly the previous shinies have been, so they changed it up. Now it looks like someone put a dull lime green filter very lightly over Vulpix. While it technically looks better, it’s still ugly. Vulpix deserves better.

As for Shiny Alolan Vulpix, well, what’s there to say about that?

…..I’m serious, what’s there to say? Because I honestly, legitimately cannot tell the difference between the two. Maybe….the inside of the ears….are darker?

This is probably in the top ten worst offenders of ‘Wait, that’s shiny?’

Dex Entries and Backstory: Vulpix is born with only one (white, for some reason) tail which then splits off into six after some time. Also look at a baby Vulpix!

You can’t tell the white tail color differentiation, but it’s so cute!

Also, there’s this weird note, “The tails grow hot as it approaches evolution.” How can it be close to evolution if it requires a stone to evolve?

Vulpix can not only produce flames – it also has an eternal flame burning within its body – like the Char line’s flame only less sucky. When it’s too hot outside, they will expel some of the flames in order to cool off. They can manipulate these flames to mimic will-o’-the-wisps, which trick its prey and local humans.

Most of the Dex entries just point out the tail splitting thing and mention that it’s beautiful, cute and cuddly – can’t argue with facts. Some of them also mention that it will fake injury in order to escape from powerful enemies and that, without brushing, its fur will tangle….because….that last one was useful information. I mean, it technically is useful information because tangled hair can be a huge issues for animals, but it’s not typically something you’d think you’d see in a PokeDex.

In terms of design, Vulpix and Ninetales are very obviously based off of foxes, but more specifically the well-known Japanese legend of the kyubi no kitsune or the nine-tailed fox. According to legend, the kitsune grow many tails over the course of their lives and develop supernatural powers the older they get. When they reach an advanced age, they can start to take on spirit forms

The Alolan Vulpix became as such due to living in the snowy mountain areas of the Alola region. They move in small packs called skulks, which is the actual name for a group of foxes, and they’re typically lead by a Ninetales. Alolan Vulpix exhales air as cold as -58°F and typically freezes its prey and threats with its breath. Shield mentions that, if you look at some of its hair through a microscope, you can actually watch ice particles form, which is really cool.

Ninetales

Name: I love Ninetales’ name. It’s elegant, fitting and a clever play on words by using the word ‘tales’ instead of the obvious ‘tails’ to reference the more mysterious mythical background of the Pokemon. The Wiki page also surmises that it could be based on the cat o’ nine tails whip, but I don’t buy that, really.

Its Japanese name is Kyukon, which I think fits a bit better than Rokon purely in regards to sound. Kyu is the Japanese word for nine, and the kon part is explained in Vulpix’s name section.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Feunard, which sounds really funny to me. It is mixing the French words feu (fire), renard (fox) and neuf (nine) so it makes perfect sense, but the word itself seems silly.

In German, it’s Vulnona, which makes me think Ninetales owns a classy bar downtown for some reason. Again, it makes perfect sense as it’s vulpes mixed with nona, meaning nine, but I can’t help but think that.

Design:

I stand firm in my opinion that Ninetales is a contender for most beautiful Pokemon. I can’t find a single flaw with this Pokemon’s design. Cute face, beautiful colors, striking eyes, pretty flowy tails – it’s just amazing. ♥

Alolan Ninetales

Much in the same vein as Alolan Vulpix, I absolutely love Alolan Ninetales, but not more than the original design. I like Alolan Ninetales more than Alolan Vulpix just because I think it’s more elegant than it is poofy. It comes off like the spirit of a glacier or a snowstorm more than just a different version of an existing Pokemon.

Sprite-Wise, R/B looks a little weird in much the same way Vulpix looked off. Its eyes are too small, but it’s also holding its paw in a weird way.

Green is better, and I love that pose, but the tails are way too short and the hair on the top of its head is shaped upwards Vegeta-style, which is strange.

Crystal is a bit overly yellow, like it’s more lemon than cream, but I do enjoy the subtle animations on the tails and the mouth.

I like the static pose for Gen III, but the shaky animation for Emerald is no bueno.

The head position for the sprite on D/P seems really weird, something they appear to have noticed and fixed for Platinum.

The static pose for HG/SS is okay, but the animation is overly simplistic. Why is it ‘barking’?

I like the animation and pose for Gen V, but the mouth is a little bit too wide, like it’s grinning too hard.

Gen VI and onward look really good, though. The first of the sprites to really come off as powerful and elegant.

Shiny:

Shiny Ninetales is 100000000000x better than Shiny Vulpix. It’s baffling how polar opposite these two shinies are. Whereas Shiny Vulpix is gross yellows and greens, Shiny Ninetales is beautiful silver and blue. I don’t think this color scheme would have worked well for Vulpix, but it would’ve been so much better than the puke they gave us.

Even Shiny Alolan Ninetales looks much better. Granted, it kinda loses some of its ice motif by heading more for a purplish gray than glacial blue and white, but I like to think more along the lines of a cloudy sky on a snowy day. And, hey, at least I can tell the difference between regular Alolan Ninetales and the Shiny version.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Ninetales is an extremely interesting and simultaneously confusing Pokemon. It is intelligent enough to understand human speech, which….I dunno, is neat, but also a weird thing to note because it seems like most Pokemon can understand human speech just not speak it themselves. The point is that Ninetales are extremely intelligent and vengeful.

Supposedly, this intelligence and mystical power was created when nine saints merged into one, but that’s…..huh? Were they vengeful saints? Why did they merge together? How did they merge together? How did they form an evolved Pokemon? Why take the form of a fox? Another Dex entry says the spirits of nine saints were reincarnated as Ninetales, but since when do numerous spirits combine when reincarnating? It’s really interesting, I just wish there was more information available to help clear up the hows and whys.

They can hypnotize others with their beautiful flames and can even control minds if someone looks into its red eyes. Depending on the source, or I guess your own interpretation, Ninetales either curses you if you mistreat it and/or you get instantly cursed if you grab one of its tails – the curse in question could also last for 1000 years, but considering most living beings don’t live nearly that long it seems strange to make that assumption (how would you even know?).

Ninetales can live upwards of 1000 years using the power stored in each of its nine tails. Each tail is supposed to have a unique power, but no source lists suggestions on what each individual power might be nor if it varies from Pokemon to Pokemon.

Alolan Ninetales was originally mistaken for a mountain/snow deity before they distinguished it as a variant of normal Ninetales. Locals now believe a deity lives in the mountains with Ninetales and they choose to not enter that territory out of fear. Ninetales itself seems to be a force to be reckoned with because they not only have zero tolerance for people damaging nature, but they will freeze their enemies stiff in an instant.

They guide lost travelers back down the mountain, and here’s something funny from Shield “The reason it guides people all the way down to the mountain’s base is that it wants them to hurry up and leave.” Pbbbtttt. “I’m not actually rescuing you. I just want you to leave faster.”

Ya know, I adore Ninetales, I truly do, but reading up on its lore really shines a light on the fact that it’s a bit of a dick. They can be really friendly and sweet Pokemon, but it does not come off as nice in any of its listed information…..Would definitely still get one if they existed, though. No doubt.

Alolan Ninetales was based on the arctic fox, which sports white fur to blend in with the snowy terrain. Its lore indicates it might be loosely based on Poli’ahu, a Hawaiian goddess of snow which resides in Mauna Kea – the tallest mountain (and dormant volcano) in the world if measured from the seafloor. While Poli’ahu is not a fox of any kind, she is noted as being the most beautiful of the already beautiful four goddesses, which definitely relates back to Ninetales, and it seems extremely fitting that she resides on a snowcapped dormant volcano considering Ninetales can either be Ice or Fire.

It’s also theorized that Alolan Ninetales could be based on tulikettu, a mythical ‘firefox’ of Finnish legend that creates or is made of the Northern Lights but also, obviously, controls fires.

—————————

And that was our beloved Vulpix and Ninetales. Love to love them to bits and pieces, and they are extremely interesting Pokemon, but there are some details here and there that are not exempt from criticism. I’m still salty about Vulpix’s shiny. Poor Vulpix. Ninetales fares a lot better, but there’s no denying that its Dex entries and backstory don’t paint it in a particularly pleasant light. I need a real life version of both of them, though. Right now.

Next up, get puffed, get tuff and get buff – we’re going after the ‘iggy’uff line…….I might need to workshop that name….


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SSBS – Yu Yu Hakusho Episode 6 | The Three Demons! Hiei, Kurama, Goki

Plot: Yusuke’s back proper now, and he’s got his first big case as a spirit detective. Three demons have stolen three incredibly powerful artifacts from the vault of Koenma’s father, King Yama. Yusuke is tasked with hunting them down, bringing them to justice and retrieving the artifacts before the thieves do anything malicious with them.

Breakdown: Ah, we’re finally into the nitty gritty. Yusuke’s officially a spirit detective now, and he’s got his first case. Not to mention, it’s the case that will lead us to two other main characters, Hiei and Kurama, who happen to be two of the aforementioned thieves.

We also get our first detective item in the Spirit Filtering Spectacles, known in the dub as the Psychic Spyglass, which allows the user to see through things such as walls, clothes etc.

Sadly, this is the first and last time we see this item, like so many other detective items, because, like I said before, it’s pretty much a gimmick they completely dropped not too long into the series.

As for Yusuke’s first enemy, Goki, he’s pretty much forgettable. I get that we needed someone who was a typical run of the mill type criminal for Yusuke to cut his teeth on before he moved onto bigger game, but he really is just forgettable. I remember him being a part of Hiei and Kurama’s short-lived thief crew and I remembered the item he stole, but I couldn’t remember his name or what kind of powers he had, and I just barely remembered his base character design. His full demon state, or I guess I should say ogre state, is also very, very boringly typical. Just a big muscular red dude with horns and big teeth.

I commend Yusuke for actually agreeing to this role. At first, he’s kinda blasé about it and wants to do his own thing, but he accepts that, in return for getting his life back, he owes it to Koenma and Botan to do this job. He’s ‘earning his keep’ as he puts it.

The first half of the episode really isn’t about the case, however, it’s about Yusuke’s return to school. Everyone is scared to death of him, whether it be because they’re just afraid of Yusuke by default or they’re terrified about the fact that he rose from the dead.

Mr. Iwamoto is also not happy about his return – so much so that he tries to have him expelled by framing him for various thefts. He even punches Yusuke in the face when he refuses to confess! God, I really hate Iwamoto….Oh well, at least he’s also a dumbass who keeps the stolen items in his frickin’ pocket as he’s interrogating Yusuke.

Speaking of idiots, let’s talk about Koenma for a minute. Yusuke has a one week time limit on retrieving these items, but not because the three thieves are planning something major that will go down in one week – it’s because Koenma’s dad, King Yama, is coming back from vacation in a week. If he sees the items are missing, he’ll go ballistic – supposedly raining havoc and destruction all over earth until he gets them back.

And the reason the items went missing, even though Koenma was specifically told to ensure the vault was properly protected….was just that Koenma didn’t guard it well enough because he just didn’t think anyone would try to break in…..

But that’s not all. Yusuke wants to teach Iwamoto a lesson for framing him and trying to get him expelled. Koenma points out that it’s in poor taste to attack a teacher after he was set free, but Yusuke is like ‘well, I can’t just let him go!’ So Koenma teaches him his trademark attack, the Spirit Gun, to attack him invisibly. At this point, the blast is no stronger than a really good punch, so that should be revenge enough. It is indeed a good shot of revenge since it flattens him out on the ground in an instant.

You may be wondering why this is a problem.

Well, teaching Yusuke the Spirit Gun right now isn’t a problem, and it’s only kinda problematic that he taught him the move in order to strike his teacher, since he deserved it and all – it’s that, after he already shot one off, Koenma tells him he can only use it once a day….He tells him that right before he Yusuke sets off to find and confront the thieves.

Koenma let him waste his best and, pretty much, only decent weapon against demons and other monsters just because he was pissed off and too childish to let it go or at least wait until later to get his revenge. Hell, he could’ve told him about the Spirit Gun and the one-shot-a-day limit immediately and then told him to wait until after the case to shoot Iwamoto. The jackass isn’t going anywhere.

Overall, a bit more of a building block episode, but a good one. Yusuke’s first official case is a really big one, but there are three culprits to deal with one at a time to better split it up and let him grow more gradually at he faces each opponent. Goki may be small potatoes and forgettable, but like I said he basically had to be as such in order to give Yusuke a training-wheels-esque enemy.

Next time, one of my favorite episodes!…And not just because it’s the proper debut of KURAMMMAAAAAAAA!!….I’ve always loved Kurama a lot…He’s my favorite character….And I may have had a big crush on him back in the day…..


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AniManga Clash! Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 2

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Chapter 9: The Momentary Resurrection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 10: Forbidden Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 11-12 A Broken Friendship/Demonic Hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 17: The Golden Awakening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winner: Anime


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Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapters 22-23 (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

This is another story I’m sorry didn’t make it into Season Zero. It’s weird because this a two parter, so it easily could’ve been adapted into the show without needing to write anything new, but I guess they just didn’t like the story enough.

Hanasaki, the timid kid from chapter three, makes a reappearance. He is a huge fan of the American comic book hero, Zombire – which is literally a fusion of a zombie and a vampire. His father makes sure to get him some cool Zombire merch, like masks, model kits etc. every time he returns from a business trip from America.

His father feels bad for not being around much, especially considering Hanasaki has rather poor health and has spent a lot of time in the hospital. Hanasaki doesn’t have a lot of friends or self-confidence, so his father is happy whenever he can put a smile on his face by getting him Zombire stuff. He’s especially happy that Hanasaki has found some new friends in Yugi and the gang.

(Can I just point out how crazy rude it is to unbox something you find in someone’s room? Let alone if it’s a model kit and choosing to assemble it right there just because you assume the person doesn’t have the time to do it. Even if he didn’t just want to collect it and preserve the box, he still would have wanted to have the fun of putting it together himself. For god’s sake, Jonouchi. Get a clue.)

However, his father’s a bit of an idiot. A well-meaning idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.

To help boost Hanasaki’s confidence, he pretends to be a stranger getting attacked by some goons in the middle of the night. Hanasaki rushes out in his new Zombire costume that his father just bought him and ‘defeats’ the goons with ease.

This plan works wonderfully as Hanasaki pretty much believes he can do anything now. However, I really, really, really need to point out how misguided this plan is.

It’s great that his dad wants to boost his confidence. It’s great that he wants to give him a chance to be a hero like Zombire. But making your scrawny, physically weak, child who has a history of health problems believe he can easily beat up thugs twice his size, especially when he has a hero complex, is not the smartest thing in the world. He may gain confidence, but he may also gain overconfidence and a desire to continue challenging huge people who would wipe their asses with his mangled remains.

What’s even worse is that, 1) These jerks aren’t people Hanasaki’s dad knows well or is friends with – they’re just random thugs he found on the street and 2) when Hanasaki’s dad pays them off, they ask for Hanasaki’s full name and WHERE HE GOES TO SCHOOL so they can supposedly do this again…..And he just gives them that information. There’s a difference between being misguided and being an idiot. I know the 90s were a different time in regards to child safety, but this is too much even for then.

Predictably, the goons arrive at their school and they threaten Yugi, knowing he’s a friend of Hanasaki, so Hanasaki can come in to save him. They run off, and Hanasaki is once again emboldened by his heroism. However, the real reason they did that was so they’d know Hanasaki’s face too, since he was masked the first time they saw him….doesn’t really make a difference because knowing his face doesn’t mean you know where he lives, but either way, they find out where he lives, throw a rock through his window claiming they’ve kidnapped Yugi and to come face them if he ever wants to see him again.

Hanasaki dons his Zombire costume and heads out to save his friend.

Meanwhile, Yugi is getting into Zombire model kits thanks to Hanasaki, but he’s run out of spray paint and can’t color his newest creation. Since all the shops are closed, he runs to Hanasaki’s house to borrow some paint. However, all he finds is his father in a panic, holding the note the goons left for Hanasaki. They call him up and tell him they’ve got Hanasaki and are holding him hostage for 500,000 yen, which is about 4500 USD. If he doesn’t pay, they’ll hurt Hanasaki. And even though they haven’t given his father enough time to do anything, they’re still beating up Hanasaki and even spraying spray paint into his eyes. Yikes…

Yugi, who soon becomes Yami, rushes off to save him, vehement in saving the friend who was only trying to protect him in the first place. Hanasaki’s father is close behind and retrieves Hanasaki while Yugi takes care of the goons.

Before we head on to the Shadow Game portion, let me point out one final bit of idiocy in Hanasaki’s dad. He tells Hanasaki that they should just…go home. *lip smack* First of all, you’re just gonna leave poor Yugi alone with three thugs who have knives? Real nice. Why aren’t you helping him or calling the cops? Yugi’s a kid too. What are you thinking? Second, your child has been beaten and had spray paint shot directly into his eyes. Maybe take him to a hospital first? You’re a terrible parent.

Shadow Game

It’s honestly not much of a game. The thugs chase Yami around as he draws lines on the ground with spray paint. Eventually, they realize he was drawing a maze around them and a discarded cigarette is set to ignite it. As the lines burst into flames, the thugs run away into the water of the dam.

That’s it. That’s all. They don’t even actually go through the maze, they just run away.

Hanasaki refuses to go home, sheds his Zombire mask and heads off to help Yugi fight the goons. He doesn’t get to actually do anything, but the fact that he rushed in either way proved to himself and his father that he doesn’t need some silly costume or some fake super strength to be a hero – he had it in him all along.

This is a pretty sweet couple of chapters. I really liked Hanasaki when we first met him in chapter three, so I’m glad we got more time with him and got to explore his character more. I really wish he was made into more of a regular character, to be honest. He’s very likable, brave and sweet. I think he’d make a great addition to the group – especially in this series loaded with jerks around every corner. The ending explaining that he had the heart of a hero and plenty of courage all along was predictable, but not as much as you’d might think. I was more worried they’d do worse damage to him than they did, just because so many people in this manga are ridiculously evil.

This plot is interesting, even if the choices made by the father are just stupid sometimes. It’s also weird that he decides to do this confidence boost plot thing right as he learns Hanasaki has a group of friends. Isn’t his confidence the highest it’s ever been right now?

Though I do have to say….isn’t he a tad old to be believing he’s randomly acquiring super powers? He’s meant to be the same age as Yugi and the others, which is at least 16, right? Yet he’s leaning into the make-believe so much it’s almost delusional.

The Shadow Game is boring too, but that’s not really the point. The point is, Hanasaki has found a strength within himself that has nothing to do with Zombire, and he has a big heart that allows him to fight for his friends no matter what, even if the enemy outnumbers him and are twice his size. That’s just as good, if not better, as any comic book hero.


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Episode One-Derland | Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Plot: The future is uncertain – whether for good or bad. But one thing is certain – Mirai hates pretty much everything, by her own admission. She’s annoyed by school, her parents, her little brother, Yuuki, and believes nothing good ever happens. The world can fall apart for all she cares. But what happens when the world literally falls apart around her head when a massive 8.0 earthquakes destroys everything around her?

Breakdown: (Note: Cards on the table, this article is actually kinda old. I finished Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 quite a while ago now (Full review will come sometime down the line). Still wanted to post this, though, in case anyone was interested. Thanks for reading~)

Hmmm……..how is it possible that I don’t hate the main character? She is one of the grumpiest most temperamental teens I’ve seen in fiction in a long time. But at the same time, she shows a likable side, and it’s not like this behavior is abnormal. She’s a teenage girl who finds herself unhappy with life. And every time she tries to get invested in something, it gets ruined in some way, but in minor ways – ways that are minor inconveniences to most people, but, to a hair-trigger teen, would seem like they’ve just destroyed everything.

For instance, she wants to buy a cute ribbon for her mom for her birthday but someone else grabs it. Even when they try to give it back to her, she just pouts about it and has a fit after. She gets into driving a little robot thing, which I assume will be reincorporated later since it was specifically designed for recovery missions in disaster zones, but someone gets all irritated at how long she’s taking, so she pouts and walks off.

There was one time where I think she was just being stupid. Her mom buys cake FOR HER OWN BIRTHDAY because I guess everyone else just forgets. She doesn’t want any cake for herself since she’s on a diet, and her mom has to go to work too, so she leaves it to everyone else, but Mirai gets all pissy because…..the cake is in wedges and isn’t round.

She actually complains to her mom about that. And then later she mocks her mom behind her back about this “Who doesn’t know birthday cakes are round?” Like, how entitled are you when you’re complaining to your mom and your friends about the SHAPE of your MOM’S birthday cake that SHE BOUGHT HERSELF. Bear in mind, she only bought this cake for them, too, considering she wasn’t going to have any.

Her family as a whole is very realistic as well. Her father is a bit of an indifferent ass. He doesn’t really give any thought to Mirai telling him that it’s his wife’s birthday. He steps on a bunch of chips on the floor left out by either Yuuki or Mirai and he really doesn’t do anything about it besides complain a little. When their mom comes home and instantly starts warming up dinner, he starts to complain about how late it is and puts the blame of his whining on the kids who hadn’t even talked about dinner up until that point.

Their mom is pretty likable. She gives Mirai chores and responsibilities, actions which are, of course, viewed through the lens of a teenager as proof of her being a relentless slave driver, and she works a lot, but she obviously cares about her family a great deal. She never seems like she’s unreasonable to me, even if she does lose her temper once.

Finally, there’s Yuuki, who is just a sweetheart. He loves all of his family, is really polite, kind and generally happy. Even when Mirai is being a complete bitch to him, he still tries to keep his head up and even cheer her up.

Back to Mirai, she’s having a bit of an existential crisis in that she has an assignment over summer break about where she sees herself in ten years, and she really doesn’t know. She has no direction and no interests besides her cell phone, which is quite typical of a teenager. Just when all of her troubles start to bubble over, the earthquake starts.

The scene with the earthquake was extremely well done, but it came so late in the episode that we didn’t get the absolute full scope of the damage, which is a fine decision as I’m certain we’ll see plenty of it later.

As an intro episode, it does a great job establishing the characters and the main conflict for the entire series. I can imagine the beats the show will take, but I won’t be so presumptuous as to assume everything will be predictable.

The art is kinda simple, though I do think the way the smiles are drawn is adorable. And the animation is extremely fluid. It really looks great.

As for the music, it’s alright. I didn’t have a strong reaction to the opening theme, but I really enjoyed the ED, and the BGM was pretty good.

Final Verdict:

Continue Yes

I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series. I’ve heard really good things about it, and it has a pretty unique premise, so I think I’m in for a good experience.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels Episode 18: Special Radio Review

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Plot: Chiriko is a big fan of a popular local radio show called The Midnight Silence. She sends in letters to the show frequently, which are sometimes read on air by the dreamy host Jotarou. She’s become one of the most featured fans under the nickname Chi-Chan, and she’s even become popular at school for her status on the show. However, the “truth” behind the show may not be to everyone’s liking.

Breakdown:

Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t Say it. Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t Say it.

This episode was stuuuuu—-

Stop! No!  ~Positive vibes~

This episode….rrrgh….was…….SO DUM–

Come on, you can do this. Deep breath.

This episode has a severe problem with being good.

In that it’s not.

Well…..baby steps, I guess.

I know I’ve brought this up before, but you know how, in the first season, it was difficult to sympathize with Hajime’s crusade to stop the use of Hell Correspondence because he kept finding cases where it either seemed incredibly justified or the person in question pulled the string at a moment where it saved their lives?

This case should have been in season one because it’s just the type of pointless abuse of the system that Hajime was looking for.

Okay, ‘abuse’ is a strong word, but to say the client today had a ridiculous reason for contacting Hell Girl is an understatement.

Before we cover that, though, I have a question – are radio shows still that popular? At least with teenagers. I feel like I’m watching an old school early 90s anime. Every person in Chiriko’s class (especially the girls) either currently are or quickly become huge fans of this radio show where it’s literally just some guy who sounds attractive saying really cheesy stuff to make the girls all swoon. He reads fanmail on the air, and Chiriko becomes very popular suddenly because she’s one of the most frequently read writers to the show under the pseudonym ‘Chi-Chan.’

Not only do all these girls own a boombox, but they’re all entranced every night listening to this dude and doing nothing else but staring at the stereo.

HGTVEP18SCREEN2

This series was made in 2008-9, so it’s not that recent, but still. Maybe radio’s popularity has stayed stronger in Japan or maybe I’m out of the loop with anything popular. I dunno. Just seemed strange to me.

Anyhoo, as I said, Chiriko, or Chi-Chan, is a big fan of this radio show, hosted by the swoony Jotarou. Every time he reads a letter on air, he sends the writer a bell as a gift. Chiriko has collected several of these bells and lovingly wears them on a bracelet.

After she’s ousted and made popular as Chi-Chan, she meets another fan of the show, Kaname. She’s had more fan letters read by Jotarou than Chi-Chan has, going under the moniker of ‘Frog Princess.’ They become fast friends, and Kaname suggests that they both head down to the radio station to thank Jotarou for everything he’s done for them.

When they arrive, they manage to bump into Jotarou’s co-host, Yume. Turns out, Kaname is also a big fan of Yume because she’s such a great scriptwriter. (Yeah….One of the segments of the show had Yume asking what behaviors Jotarou likes in a girl. He was scripted to respond with “I like a girl who dries her hair after a shower and one that uses shampoo.” I get that, like boy band songs, when the intention is to woo a bunch of teenage girls you have to be vague and act like whomever is being addressed could possibly be any girl who is listening, but this is so bad I legit can’t tell if it’s a joke. High quality writing, Yume.) Kaname is an aspiring scenario writer, and she dreams of working on a radio show some day. Both Kaname and Yume enjoy a pleasant exchange, but Chiriko is in a state of shock……because she never realized the show was scripted.

That, my dear friends, is the motivation for the client this week.

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No, I’m not kidding. Chiriko contacts Hell Girl that very night and pulls the string the next day as she’s walking into school with Kaname. She sends Kaname to hell purely because she revealed that Jotarou’s show was scripted.

I am currently in the process of trying to be less harsh on the stuff I’m reviewing – try to be more positive – but COME. ON. What IS this?

Let me be clear – Kaname is completely innocent in this. She didn’t reveal that the show was scripted just to be an ass to Chiriko. She legitimately loved the writing on the show and thought Chiriko knew it was scripted. She never once appeared like she had malicious intent in her actions. Not even Yume was being condescending or cruel with her words. In fact, she gave a copy of the newest script to Kaname and encouraged her in regards to her dream of becoming a scenario writer. She was perfectly pleasant when she could’ve easily been a typical famous snob.

After Kaname is sent to hell, Chiriko enters a complete delusion that the show’s not scripted and essentially goes bananas. Her bracelet is now absolutely loaded with bells, and she loving hugs her radio when she’s listening to the program.

There was never, not once, ever any indication that this girl was this obsessed with Jotarou or this show. Not to the point of sending someone to hell over it, and not to the point of going coo-coo for Coco Puffs once she finds out it’s scripted. She was a big fan, sure, but nothing ever indicated that she was anything more than that. I wouldn’t even call her a super fan or anything of the like. She also definitely had a crush on Jotarou (whose face is never shown, by the way) as well, but, again, nothing ever indicated that she was obsessed with him or even in love with the guy.

Everything in this episode was so normal that most of the runtime didn’t even feel like a Hell Girl episode. In fact, if Ai and the others didn’t pop up a few times over the course of this episode, I’d probably forget it even was a Hell Girl episode until the very end.

Speaking of Ai and the others, they were acting strangely in this episode. Ai seemed like she was actually interested in the show and Kikuri was making Yamawaro write in a bunch of letters to the show so she could get featured.*shrug*

HGTVEP18SCREEN4

Back to the topic at hand, I was thinking maybe Jotarou would turn out to be a jerk, or Chiriko would be superficial and Jotarou would turn out to be unattractive, or Kaname would send Chiriko to hell for impeding on her status as the most-read fan letter writer of the show, but no. Granted, those motivations are silly too, but they’re both better than this.

Chiriko’s a teenager. She has to be aware that most things in media are scripted and fake. How many shows go completely off the cuff? Even if she didn’t know, why does the show being fake have to impact her views on Jotarou? Maybe he actually is a really charming, handsome and romantic guy in real life. Just because he’s fed lines to say doesn’t mean he’s not still someone she can admire.

Why target Kaname, for that matter? Shouldn’t she be more upset with Yume for helping create this illusion or Jotarou himself for seemingly being a liar? Why target Kaname just for accidentally revealing the truth to her? She also pulled the string immediately after making sure Kaname didn’t tell any of the other girls about the fact that the show was scripted, like she’s protecting them or something. Chiriko, I doubt all of the girls in school are as naive as you. Heck, Kaname didn’t just know the show was scripted – she knew Yume was the writer. It’s not like they’re keeping it a secret.

Now Kaname’s in hell and Chiriko’s bound for hell all for what? Nothing. There have been some really silly and ridiculous reasons to send people to hell in this show, but this one might just top them all.

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Oh and Yuzuki? She’s here. She’s just watching from the background until the very end where she’s seen running up to Chiriko seconds after she had already pulled the string and then we later see her flopping over onto her desk in exasperation as she listens to a staticy radio with Ai looming behind her.

I kinda wanted to yell when she did this. She’s acting like she’s exhausted from all this Hell Girl business when she literally did nothing – again. She had a vision and jogged for a few seconds.

Sorry I kinda failed in my quest to be a little more positive today, but sometimes you can’t avoid biting into a bad apple.

Oh well, maybe next episode will be a bit better.


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Space-Time Detective Genshi-kun/Flint the Time Detective | Episode 11: Get Fired Up! Nekketsu Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Genshi, Sora and Tokio head to America in 1906 where the Space-Time monster, Nekketsu, has befriended an 11-year-old George Herman Ruth, known later as the legendary baseball player, Babe Ruth.

—————————————

They add in a stock shot of Ms. Jinguji talking between when the kids enter the building and when they pan across the room.

Name Change: Nekketsu is changed to Batterball

The original doesn’t state that Nekketsu has the power to instill people with great athletic prowess like the dub does. All he does is control any type of ball and create balls.

There’s no excuse for this change. In the original, Genshi hears “batter” and mistakes it for the word “butter” and gets excited. In the dub, he hears clearly but thinks they’re talking about batter for pancakes. Granted, the joke here isn’t better or worse than the one in the original, but there was no reason to change it.

Title Change: Get Fired Up! Nekketsu is changed to Batterball

The original just says they’re heading to 20th century America. In the dub, they specifically say 1906. I don’t know why the dub is consistently more accurate on the year than the original is, but give Saban their props. When the original keeps saying (#)th century, it’s way too vague. Technically, this episode was made in the 20th century, for crying out loud, and 1906 is just barely on the cusp of the 20th century.

As usual, the dub chooses to show the kids getting on Ridon up on the second floor and descending down to the transport bay while the original hasn’t shown that in a while.

Nekketsu’s name plate is removed.

Subbed: STDGKEP11SCREEN2

Dubbed: STDGKEP11SCREEN3

Originally, George asks Genshi if he’s okay. In the dub, they make him an idiot by making him ask if Flint’s an asteroid.

Apparently, Saban transformed the shoes of those bullies who were kicking Batterball into clown shoes because they add horn honking sound effects whenever they stomp on Batterball.

I think this has happened enough now to add this note.

Entire Series Edit: In the original, the Space-Time Monsters can’t talk. They just say their names or make random sounds, like Pokemon. In the dub, they can seemingly all speak English fluently.

In the original, Genshi introduces himself as a friend and then proceeds to dance around while singing his ‘Friends’ song. In the dub, Flint says he’s there to protect George and Batterball. George asks what a small kid like him can do, and Flint just…..dances to the chanting from the theme song for some reason.

George wonders if Genshi even understands what he’s talking about. In the dub, he says Flint probably takes a lot of vitamins. Fun fact: vitamins were discovered by Casimir Funk who coined the term “vitamins” (originally ‘vitamines’) in 1912, a full six years after this episode takes place. I honestly just checked that for the hell of it, thinking vitamins were way older and this joke worked, but nope.

Sora tries to remind Genshi that playing baseball is not what they came here to do. In the dub, Sarah says giving Flint a mitt will keep the ball out of his mouth….??

Tokio then says it’s not fair for Genshi to catch and that he should have a shot at bat…….Dude, he literally just caught ONE ball. George literally batted ONCE. You’re saying that arrangement is unfair? In the dub, Tony suggests letting Flint take a few swings while they look for a mitt. That’s better, admittedly, but George has a mitt. We just saw it a second ago.

Putera says that’s not what Sora was talking about, and Sora laments that even Tokio’s not focused on work anymore. In the dub, Pterry says he bets Flint can hit and Sarah says she hopes Flint doesn’t mistake the bat for a French fry. Ahahahah, and all, but they do realize that Flint’s a caveman…..bats are basically just thinner clubs.

What’s with these baseballs, by the way? They have no stitching. Were actual baseballs really expensive back then or did the animators just not put them on for some reason?

Sooooooooooooooo…..Tokio’s all like ‘This isn’t fair!’ when Genshi is made the catcher ONCE, but Genshi using his stone hammer as a baseball bat, that’s perfectly fine?

Dub!George: “No way he’s going to hit my curve.” I know jack shit about baseball and even I can tell that pitch wasn’t a curveball. It just kinda swayed back and forth.

Yes, George did cheat by using Nekketsu/Batterball, but, again, it’s also cheating that Genshi/Flint used his massive stone hammer when batting….

Pterry: “Boys will be boys.” I friggin’ hate that saying.

Getalong: “But why?”

Sarah: “Why? Because I think boys are ridiculous and juvenile.” Ah the common casual sexism in children. One of many things in the ‘Problematic yet generally overlooked’ bucket.

……..Also, Sarah, that does not answer Getalong’s question at all.

Sora originally said that she doesn’t understand why boys get so heated over stuff like this, which is still sexist but not nearly to the extent Sarah was being.

I love how TP Lady/Petra Fina, Dyno/Dyna and Mite are all super happy with themselves for pulling off their plan of grabbing Nekketsu/Batterball while everyone was distracted, even pointing out that that was, specifically, their plan……when…ya know….they could’ve just made off with Nekketsu scot-free if they just left the kids to their personal squabbles instead of drawing attention to the fact that they were stealing the Space-Time Monster/Time Shifter….

The Masked Man originally suggests making doubles with him in real life. In the dub, he tells Petra that her serve is almost as beautiful as she is.

Oh god, the original actually plays the ‘Wahh wahh’ horn when TP Lady gives in to the taunting and agrees to the game when she said the taunting wouldn’t work. Give the dub credit, they didn’t mirror that music cue….

Putera and Love-Love originally pretend they’re the announcers for the game. In the dub, Pterry explains that, per the rules of the game, Petra’s team pitches first since they’re the visiting team (aren’t they all technically visiting, though? Barring George.)

Honestly, this IS is a stupid idea considering TP Lady has control over Nekketsu…the Space-Time monster who controls balls….Spoiler alert, but the only way they win is through convenient stupidity.

They flip the shot of Tokio hopping around to get the ball and repeat it after Petra starts running.

When the scene returns to normal play, they also flip the shot of Sora running after the ball for some reason.

It’s really weird that George is blaming Genshi/Flint for getting hit with the ball. It’s obvious Nekketsu did that.

They mirror the shot of Flint running through the wall, I guess to make it not as obvious that they reused that shot in the original……Who the hell keeps putting random walls on the field?

Still running commentary, Putera asks Love-Love about her opinions on the game. Since Love-Love can’t talk, she just mutters her name over and over. In the dub, Pterry asks Getalong what they should do. Getalong says “Who cares? It’s just a game of baseball.” Uh….yeah….it’s a game of baseball where the lives of one of your fellow Time Shifters hangs on the outcome…..Pterry points this out, but but since when is Getalong such a jerk?

Right before showing George getting emotional, they insert a shot of Pterry talking into the camera to Petra Fina, for some reason, apologizing for Flint and Tony’s catch……???

Sora says it feels like everyone’s been best friends for a long time. Sarah tells the others that they have a game to play.

Alright, if just using Oto-tan as a bat isn’t against the rules, surely using Fighting Spirit when at bat is. Again, TP Lady’s team is cheating too, so it doesn’t matter, but I’m still a little hungup on Tokio’s comment from earlier.

Name Change: Reiketsu is changed to Batterball-con

Name plate removed.

Subbed: STDGKEP11SCREEN4

Dubbed: STDGKEP11SCREEN5

Reiketsu seems to only be able to say “Unbelievable” and grumbles in English. In the dub, he can still speak full fluent English.

They repeat a shot of Batterball-Con juggling Flint and Rocky before George yells at him.

Wow, George sounds way too old when he says “Batterball, put ‘em down!”

They repeat the closer shot of Flint and Rocky being juggled before Petra laughs.

Merlock: “Hello, Pretty Sarah.” Hello, Creepy Merlock.

Did….did Kyoichiro’s legs seriously give out from under him and cause him to roll down the hill?…..Why? Because…he was flustered by Sora? What?

They change the shot of Flint talking to George to a repeat shot of him talking from a few seconds before.

They insert the shot they cut in order to place that repeat shot in there to right after George starts to rear up for his hit. Such purposeful edits today.

TP Lady angrily lamented that she’d never be able to make doubles with the Masked Man now. In the dub, she comments that they won by being nice and she hates nice more than anything.

They extend the scene of Petra, Dyno and Mite leaving by showing them in the time stream and showing Petra yanking on Dyno and Mite’s heads.

They remove a short scene with Toki-G explaining everything. Old Timer says the same dialogue in narration, though.

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Another instance of a day shot being swapped for a sunset shot. This makes even less sense because the shot immediately following this one takes place outside where it’s clearly day again….

The original more or less implies that Nekketsu is depressed because he had to leave George. In the dub, they claim it’s because he hasn’t been able to play baseball since he arrived in the 25th century.

In the original, since I guess we didn’t have enough story to fill the full 20 minutes, they add a new segment called Toki-G’s Space-Time Monster Course where Toki-G explains the specifics on some of the Space-Time monsters discovered so far. In the dub, they make up an entirely new segment that’s not so much a proper segment (Where Sarah would be acting as a host speaking directly to us) and instead cuts to a scene where Sarah is updating her ‘Flint File’ which hasn’t been mentioned until now, and she basically does the exact same thing, only she goes over more Time Shifters and forms than Toki-G did.

The segment also continues on with Tony telling Sarah to come along since they’re taking Batterball to a baseball game. She refuses because they have too much homework. They fight, just like in the episode from which these clips are taken, but at the very last second they makeup and say they’ll do what the other wants.

————————————–

So that was……an episode.

What a dreadfully boring episode, to be honest. I might be slightly biased because I already find baseball to be a snorefest (although, fun fact, I wrote a paper on Babe Ruth when I was in middle school. I had to dress up like a baseball paper to deliver it too. Don’t remember why, but there it is.) but, seriously, there is NOTHING to this episode besides the gimmick of baseball. NOTHING. It’s the same song and dance we’ve seen nearly a dozen times already without any substance to it.

At least they didn’t pull a Rodin and imply that Babe Ruth got his athletic ability from a Space-Time monster, but outside of hitting Baseball!Genshi, George didn’t do anything of note. He hit one good home run, which Genshi caught in his teeth after jumping up about six stories, and then he cheated after he took a turn pitching by using Nekketsu to manipulate the ball so he could make an impossible catch. George didn’t come off as an unlikable kid, but he wasn’t that likable and did nothing impressive. The ‘emotional’ parts also felt very shoehorned in. He was pretty boring.

Nekketsu is also a weird Space-Time monster. He controls…..balls? He turns things into balls?….Wow? Impressive? Not to mention that Nekketsu’s voice is very odd. It’s too deep.

Granted, Reiketsu’s a little better. Wielding four spiked clubs and being able to shoot nearly endless amounts of baseballs at high speeds is pretty intimidating. Truth be told, I’ve always wanted to try a batting cage but I’ve always been worried the machine would go nuts and shoot balls at me. Silly, yes, but leave me alone.

To make matters more boring, we don’t get a new good transformation of one of the Space-Time monsters today. They don’t even call for backup in this episode.

At least Genshi didn’t get hungry in this episode, but that’s not much consolation.

I didn’t even get to really research anything today, and that just overcooks my noodles.

All I got to research today was vitamins.

VITAMINS.

Based entirely on an off-handed remark.

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VITAMINS!

….Moving on….

Next episode seems a bit strange….We’re introduced to a Space-Time monster called Ammon, who is hanging out with…..Dracula….so….either he’s hanging around a fictional character and acting as if he’s a historical figure…..OR…..we’re going to be focusing on Vlad the Impaler, the actual inspiration behind Dracula…..who was one of the most cruel mass murderers in history…..Uh huh….I get that there’s a lot of ‘Well, Vlad had a point’ in regards to his leadership and rule, but dude was still bathing in the blood of tens of thousands of people. So, uh, I dunno where this episode will lead us, but we’ll have to wait and find out.


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Pokemon Extravaganza | Movie 10 (Sub) Dialga Vs. Palkia: The Rise of Darkrai Review

Plot: Satoshi, Hikari and Takeshi arrive in Alamos Town – the location of Hikari’s next contest. Along the way, they meet the balloonist/musician, Alice, and her childhood friend, Tonio, who studies energy abnormalities. As they get a tour of the local gardens, they meet Darkrai, a powerful Pokemon who induces nightmares. He seems to be terrorizing the area, but they don’t know what he wants.

Little do they know that a fierce battle between two deity Pokemon, the master of space, Palkia, and the master of time, Dialga, has started in a dimensional rift. When these two massive powers clash, it’s only a matter of time before reality as they know it starts to fall apart.

Breakdown: Gauging from Dogasu’s Backpack entry for this movie, it seems it got away mostly unscathed, so I might not have much to talk about today, but, nevertheless, let’s see how the original Japanese version of Rise of Darkrai hits with me.

20 Minute Mark

The opening is less epic than I’d expect from a tenth anniversary movie opener, but it’s pretty good.

And, get this, they actually decided to use most of the animation for the opener in the dub opening. While they didn’t maintain the cracking animation for the initial title, opting instead to use a flash and jumping transition, the pink and blue time/space stream is kept intact. The final title card is obviously changed too, though.

Oddly, I prefer the title card that the dub created over what the original movie had because not only is the title itself better (The ‘Dialga vs. Palkia’ part makes this seem like a wrestling match) but that was a kick-ass font, color and animation they had for that title card. This one’s alright, but it seems cheesy, especially that gigantic VS.

Also, I’d like to support Dogasu’s claim that there’s a black screen after the title card instead of showing Pikachu’s shadow as it’s also on my copy. I checked some clips of it online just to make sure and it’s still in those versions too. I assume that was an error caused by the edited opening sequence and they just never bothered to fix it.

Brock’s ‘Little Blue Book of Babes’ is originally his ‘Lover Ranking Book’ That’s creepier, but less demeaning than the dub’s.

The ‘ten times ten’ thing is, strangely, in the original…..It’s not a good line, guys. I don’t know if you guys think it’s a joke or a clever nod to the tenth anniversary or whatever, but it’s not a good line. Satoshi is not the type of person to hear a number and instantly start wondering about mathematical equations to achieve said number.

One of the things that is always changed between versions is the theme song. In this version, we get Together 2007. It’s a fine song but it’s terribly generic in terms of nearly everything. Not to mention that, while the song is really Pokemon-ified, it fluctuates back and forth between making sense and being gibberish.

The leaf whistle sounds the same in the original. I was hoping it’d sound better….Seriously, why would you have a part of the movie be a song so beautiful and calming that it can instantly quell fighting between Pokemon, yet have it sound like a song you’d hear coming out of a Otamatone?

40 Minute Mark

Hey, what do you want to see more than anything over a beautiful shot of fireworks over the Space-Time Towers at night?…..Bunyatto/Purugly’s butt!? You got it!

I gotta say, while I wasn’t a fan of Darkrai’s dub voice….his Japanese voice isn’t much better.

Oh dear. I have to apologize to TPCI now because they were just mirroring the same lame cover name system the original had. Musashi calls herself Musashina, Kojiro calls himself Jikoro and Nyasu calls himself Nyasugo….

Man, I want a Crescent Feather necklace….

Hour Mark

This might just be the subs, but the scene with the illusion Beadaru/Bibarel makes more sense now. Musashi says ‘A super rare Pokemon!?’ Kojiro says ‘I’m not sure about that!’ and Baron says ‘It’s an illusion!’ Goes to show how much even minor line changes can make an entire exchange seem goofy.

Nice to know that in addition to Mojumbo/Tangrowth being the worst Pokemon ever that its Japanese voice is equally horrible.

While we’re on the subject, Lucky/Chansey’s Japanese voice is also doofy.

End

No notes until the credits where the only change is the predictable replacement of the credits music. The original has a fully English song called Going Where the Lost Ones Go. I believe this is the first time that they’ve replaced a fully English song, but, as the comparison states, I imagine it was for licensing rights issues or something.

Shockingly, I prefer the dub’s I Will Remember You to this song. This song just sounds like a million other duets. It’s very bland.

———————————

This movie fared very well, and most of my notes are superfluous. The dub only really hiccuped in some lines that made some things either confusing or make no sense, but they weren’t really important things. And that’s kinda made up for with the songs since the lyrical songs in the original movie are incredibly weak in my opinion. Great score, bad lyrical songs. Only mar in that area for the dub is the intrusive rap song they had for no reason.

Recommended Audience: Let’s parrot the drab ‘cartoon violence’. 5+


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My Poke-Pinions: (175) 35 and 36 – The Clef Line

Note: From now on, I’ll be omitting the section on the cries/voices. It’s just a hassle for something that doesn’t really matter or affect my opinion on the Pokemon that much. Plus, in the anime, the voices change so it’s even more pointless. Thank you for understanding.

Cleffa

Name: Cleffa’s name is cute, but kinda lazy. It’s just a shortening of Clefairy/Clefable. Cleffa is meant to be the word ‘clef’ as in the musical note, and a shortening of the word ‘fairy.’

Its original Japanese name is Py, which is also cute but just a little bit weird since I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be pronounced “pee.”…..

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Melo, as a shortened version of melodie (melody), and I think that it’s a really cute name.

Design: Cleffa’s pretty cute, but I think its ears come off a bit too much like weird thick horns. Admittedly, out of the entire Clef line, Cleffa’s my least favorite.

Sprite-wise, I don’t really have much to say on any Gen. Given the very limited range of motion and the teeny-tiny face of Cleffa, nearly every sprite looks exactly the same. The one exception being Silver, with bigger eyes and one of its ‘hands’ going up to its mouth. It’s almost criminal how cute that looks.

The animation in Emerald is very erratic.

The one for HG/SS is adorable.

And the one for Gen V looks too robotic, like I’d see it in a Pokemon amusement park.

Shiny:

Keeping in tradition with the entire Clef line, Cleffa’s shiny sports a lighter pink on the pink parts and lime green where the brown used to be.

This color scheme works just as well with Cleffa as it does the rest of the line. The lighter pink gives off a bubblegum-like vibe, and the green feels like a nod to its supposed alien origins.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Cleffa absolutely adore stars, are star-shaped and commonly hang around sites of craters made by meteors, leading people to believe that they originally came to earth on a shooting star. They love to dance on nights with meteor showers, and they’re more frequently found during these times. It’s said that those who witness a Cleffa dancing under shooting stars will have good fortune. Once they’re done dancing, when the shower stops and the sun rises, they quench their thirst with the morning dew.

They’re also noted as loving Minior because they resemble meteors.

In terms of their design, Cleffa, and basically the entire Clef line, are based on fairies and pixies. Cleffa in particular is based on star shapes. While I think this fits more with Clefairy and, most of all, Clefable, Cleffa’s design is also said to be based on the legend of the Moon Rabbit since they have long ears and evolve to their final forms with the Moon Stone. Not….entirely sure how much stock I put into that idea, but I guess it fits.

Clefairy

Name: Clefairy’s (Clef and fairy) name has the same origins as Cleffa’s. It’s a very cute and fitting name.

In the original Japanese version, its name is Pippi. I never much cared for that name, and I care for it even less now because my grandma has an evil psycho cat named Pippi, so no thank you.

Fun Fact: The prototype name for Clefairy was Aria, which is beautiful.

Also, in France, it’s known as Melofee, which is adorable and equally as fitting as Clefairy if you ask me.

I think they were going a bit hard with the music theme even though music is a very minor aspect of these Pokemon.

Design: Clefairy is, unsurprisingly, very cute. I can never decide if I like the wings or not. I like that it has wings, because it’s a fairy, but they’re a little too fleshy to be cute. In my opinion, though, overall….it’s a little…too cute. Ya know? All the curls and the pink and the fairy wings. I like it, don’t get me wrong, and I’d take a plushie of it no problem, but it’s just a little overkill to me. My girly side only goes so far.

It’s quite possible that Clefairy was made to be so ridiculously cute because, another fun fact, Clefairy was originally meant to be the mascot for Pokemon. In fact, Ash was meant to get a Clefairy as his first Pokemon in the anime, but they changed it to Pikachu in the last minute to better mirror the manga.

Imagine how different the Pokemon franchise and fandom would be if he started with a Clefairy. Would it have even lasted as long as it has? I joke about the almighty power and influence of Messiahchu, but his relationship with Ash is such a memorable staple in pop culture, even outside of anime fans, that it’s hard to imagine if Pokemon would have enjoyed nearly as much success as it has without them.

Sprite-Wise, I don’t really have much to note in any Gen. They’re all varying degrees of cute. If I had to pick out any as my favorite, I’d say Gen V has the best version because the animation is the arm movements for Metronome, and I thought that was really clever and cute.

Shiny:

Pretty much have the same opinion of shiny Clefairy as I did of shiny Cleffa.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Clefairy tends to be very peaceful and friendly, yet very shy. They are extremely adorable and highly sought after as pets, but they’re very rare and commonly targeted by thieves. Like with Cleffa being more common on nights of meteor showers, Clefairy are more commonly found on nights with full moons. Actually, it seems like Cleffa and Clefairy share a lot of Dex info – only replace ‘shooting stars’ and ‘meteor showers’ with ‘full moons.’ The only real difference is that Clefairy also has wings that collect moonlight and allow them to float when enough moonlight has been stored.

The design notes are also the same as Cleffa.

Clefable

Name: Clefable (Clef and fable) has a rather nice name. In fact, out of all of them, I’d say this one’s my favorite. A bit more mature and dignified than the more cutesy Cleffa and Clefairy. Still fits in with the fairy theme and actually adds a bit to their mysterious nature.

In the original Japanese, it’s called, simply enough, “Pixy” which actually reminds me more of Pixy Stix than pixies…..and now I want Pixy Stix.

Fun Fact: Its prototype name was Ariala, which is supposed to be building upon Aria, but kinda doesn’t work because Ariala doesn’t have anything to do with music. In fact, the best I can deduce about Ariala (that being a real name) is that, apparently, in Germany, it means “A beautiful, funny and gorgeous yet strong and independent person.” I guess that can apply to Clefable, but I doubt that’s what they were going for.

….Maybe they were adding a ‘la’ like singing to Aria?

Design: Clefable is cute enough. It’s not that much different than Clefairy. It’s bigger, has longer arms/legs and has bigger/spikier wings.

….Basically, if you want Clefairy, but smaller and not as cute, get a Cleffa. If you want a Clefairy, but bigger and not as cute, get a Clefable. That is really all there is to say about the designs in this line when you get down to it. I never thought Cleffa added much to the line, and I feel like Clefable was mostly pointless too, but I didn’t really care that it existed.

Sprite-Wise, it’s also keeping in line with the others. Lots of sprites that are cute, but mostly not noteworthy. The only one I think merits even a little mention is Crystal and that’s just because its animation makes it look like it’s in some sort of cutesy army.

Shiny:

Third verse, same as the first.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Somehow, they made the final evo of this line have the most boring entries of the bunch. Almost all of them are either echoing information from Clefairy or talking about how it has really big ears with really sensitive hearing and loves quiet.

The only other interesting fact listed is, if a couple sees a pair of Clefable skipping it’s said that they’ll have a happy marriage, which is neat and in line with the Clefairy and Cleffa facts about them being good luck, but….what are the odds of not only seeing a pair of Clefable, noted as being insanely rare, skipping along but also that two people sees them at the same time and those two people are a couple?

—————————–

And that was the Clef line. A fine set of Pokemon, but disappointingly kinda boring to talk about. The most interesting topic was behind the scenes stuff involving Clefairy near-missing being the Pokemon mascot. It’s strange, considering that Clefairy are made out to be alien Pokemon but they just don’t have a lot of information on what they might actually entail.

……………………………BUT WHO CARES?!

GUESS WHO’S NEXT!

IT’S VULPIX AND NINETALES!

Prepare to endure me being obnoxious about how incredibly adorable they are.


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