Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 03 (Sub) Entei: Lord of the Unknown (Crystal) Tower

Rating: 8/10

Plot: A Pokemon researcher named Shurri has been looking for the elusive Pokemon Uknown for years. When he finally finds clues to their existence, he is suddenly taken by the Unown and trapped in another dimension. He leaves behind his beloved daughter Mii, who also summons the Unown through tiles that her father found during his research. In her grief of losing her father and her mother not being around for reasons never made clear, the Uknown decide to make her wishes a reality, giving her essentially her own reality to do whatever she pleases. It’s up to Satoshi and the others to free her from this false reality and stop the Unknown from causing more trouble.

Breakdown: See, that’s a much better movie poster. Entei looks BITCHIN’, Mii’s set in an awesome shot (doesn’t happen in the movie, but still looks good), Satoshi is admittedly placed awkwardly again, but nothing major, and the only character I don’t find a lot of point in having on the poster is Rin, but I don’t mind. I do kinda mind Chikorita being that big on the poster when Fushigidane’s so small, seeing as how they both had equal screen time I believe, but again, nothing major.

I don’t expect to be writing too much for this alternative review given that movie 03 seems to be 4Kids’ best dubbing effort to date. The Bulbagarden comparison really doesn’t note much in terms of changes barring some scene shifts that actually make sense and some of 4Kids’ lame dialogue insertions and changes. However, for completion’s sake, let’s see my take on how different the subbed version is.

Beginning to Title Screen

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The original makes no tiny implication that the Unknown/Unown took Mii/Molly’s mother and that’s why he’s so intent on finding them. He just says he’s been looking for them for a long time.

Name changes of Mii to Molly and Sully Snowden (or Shurri Snowdon. I don’t really know. Every Wiki I find lists it as the first one, but it’s conflicting with other sources) to Spencer Hale (which, if his name really is Sully Snowden, didn’t need to be changed. Though I do admit it sounds like Shurri. They can technically be interchangable but eh.) Along with his assistant, John, being changed to Schuyler…..Yes…his original name was John. One of the English-est English names ever to English in England, yet 4Kids still decided to replace that with Schuyler….wow.

Title screen to Halfway Mark

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More name change notes in Lisa actually being Rin.

The theme from the original is pretty good. Definitely gets you amped up for action.

Misty said that Greenfield was a place that she always wanted to go to when she was a little kid. Apparently, in the original, Kasumi says that it was voted as being the number one place that girls want to go to. Silly boys and their lack of appreciating landscapes.

Because of this, Takeshi says there must be tons of beautiful girls there to see the sites. Brock does say the same thing in the dub, but the only reason he assumes that there are beautiful girls there is because Lisa said everything’s beautiful in Greenfield, thus the girls must be too.

Am I the only one who thinks the crystal looks kinda pretty? I mean, the mentions of it being ugly aren’t in the original, but I think it’s kinda pretty, especially with the giant flower-like structure at the bottom.

There’s no mention of Mii’s mom in the news cast, so I have no clue where the original mentions any indication of her mom leaving.

Hanako sounds way happier to see Satoshi at first than Delia did.

We get a little more backstory on Hanako and Shurri as Satoshi actually recalls that he supposedly helped Hanako a lot with her homework and that he visited quite frequently after he moved away. If anything, this just makes their situation even more confusing because, again, these characters are never seen nor spoken of after this movie.

Rin’s a lot less abrasive than Lisa.

Oh…Takeshi kinda hits on Mii too. How nice.

Also, I guess I should note that Takeshi only says that Mii’s dream Pokemon are stronger than he thought. Not that they’re stronger than real ones.

Halfway Mark to End

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So Kasumi introduces herself as ‘the prettiest girl in the world’, which is pretty damn egotistical if you ask me.

And no, you still don’t get to see the continuation of Kasumi and Mii’s battle. Maybe it was too much to animate under water.

Satoshi says while he and Lizardon are fighting Entei that if things keep going this way, Mii will be alone forever. Ash only repeated that they have to get Molly out of there. The original actually makes the fact that Mii gasped in surprise and then was hugged by Hanako make more sense. While it can make sense in the dub, perhaps being surprised at how much these strangers care for her, it makes more sense in the original. I know this kinda seems like I’m reaching for things to note, but it does hold weight.

Likewise, Takeshi only points out that Mii’s a great trainer because Gomazou/Phanpy’s Rollout was great…..then again, if her dream Pokemon really are stronger than the originals or even just unrealistically strong either way, that’s nothing really to compliment her on. If anything, the fight between Mokoko/Flaaffy and Zubat was more impressive strategically.

I mention this because, in the dub, this is where 4Kids shoehorns in the whole ‘A big part of battling is knowing when to stop.’ line……And I have to note that the dub, while being cheesy and a frightening feeling of Deja Vu to the first movie, at least it makes more sense to praise her for that instead of the power of her fake Pokemon.

Okido actually tells Satoshi to go after the Unknown and stop them, not to run out of the mansion to avoid being trapped there forever. While the dub, again, is understandable, the original makes more sense because if they don’t stop the Unknown, who knows how much land they’ll encase in crystal.

Mii never once calls Entei, well, Entei when she’s cheering him on….And dammit, yes, the dub actually may make more sense again. Molly calling Entei by his Pokemon name indicates that she finally realized that this was indeed simply a world of illusion and Entei wasn’t really her father despite the fact that she still deeply cared for him. Then again, her still viewing Entei as a mirror of her father and continuing to call him ‘papa’ despite knowing the truth can also be a big moment too. Hm.

As expected, neither version explains what the hell the Unknown are about, why they were doing all of this etc. meaning this movie shares the same issue as the dub.

It’s funny how many movies take place at night and have the very ending take place in the morning.

End Credits

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The comparison stated that the scene switch, notably changing Shurri’s reappearance to directly after the Unknown disappear instead of at the beginning of the ending credits was made to ensure audiences that Molly didn’t end up alone in the end if they didn’t bother to watch the end credits. And I have to say….I like 4Kids’ placement better. There’s nothing particularly wrong with showing him coming back in the end credits, it’s perfectly fine, but it does make more sense in a way to have him show up as the final part of the montage where all of the illusions go away.

Oh and yes, we made it from start to finish without any mention as to where the hell Mii’s mom was. Not a damn one. She just pops up in the end credits. Okay, that’s not entirely true. When Shurri disappears, they say that Mii is all alone now, indicating that her mother must’ve left for good or disappeared too, but there’s nothing beyond that.

Give 4Kids credit, at least they gave slight hints for a reasoning behind her absence. This version gives us zilch. A Wiki page I found said only that she ‘left’, whatever that really means and where they got that information is beyond me. I assume it meant that Shurri was so obsessed with finding the Unknown for some reason that she left out of frustration, but there’s no indication that he’s obsessed at all, just that Unknown is the Pokemon he’s been researching for a while.

And if she did leave because of that, 1) Why not take Mii with her or at least visit her frequently? 2) That’s a pretty bitch move. 3) Why would she just happily come back in the end like nothing happened? 4) Why wouldn’t she come back for her once Shurri was gone? 5) Why did her butler and John act as if she was an orphan now?

If she like left on a trip or something, I guess that’s plausible, but then why would Mii be confused as to what her real mom looks like? Why would she be alone on many occasions? Seriously, if she were on a trip or something or even divorced from Shurri, she’d still likely takeover custody of Mii or immediately come back for her in the event that something happened to Shurri unless she’s just a major bitchwaffle.

I’ll just go ahead and say my take on it is either to flesh out the theory about her disappearing because of the Unknown (Also, I love how the English version of Unknown is just a misspelled version.) or they should’ve killed her off. I get it, they wanted Mii to have a really happy ending to her story, but it just seems so forced to throw her mother in there with no indication as to where she’s been this whole time. Even though the dub does subtly hint as to her story, it even seems forced there.

The point is, while I’m happy that they’re all together again, it just raises an untold amount of questions that will never be answered and seems pointless other than to give Mii two parents to make her as happy as possible, which, considering that Kasumi seems to have no parents, Takeshi basically lived without either parent and had to stand in as a dad for his family until both spontaneously came back, and Satoshi may as well have a single mom, seems a bit insulting to those without both parents.

As for the ending song, The Day a Rainbow was Born by Kumiko Mori, it’s very nice and beautifully sung.

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Now for my final verdict. As much as I like to dance the night away on 4Kids’ grave, I have to be fair and mature; I need to suck up my pride and say what needs to be said.

…..Yes, the 4Kids dub was probably as close to perfection as they’ve ever gotten in dubbing anything, at least until this point. Barring the average 4Kids-isms like being too obvious with certain bits of dialogue, changing basically all of Team Rocket’s dialogue and changing the music, they did a great job on the dubbed version. Only a line or two was lame, the music was fantastic and many of the changes had actual reasons behind them that were either understandable or actually beneficial.

In fact…..Oh God, this is gonna hurt……

I…..

……..Like……urgh…..th–…..the….

………..

………………….

………………………

I LIKED THE 4KIDS VERSION BETTER!!

Okay, it’s not a huge revelation considering how much I gushed about it and given how I actually praise 4Kids several times in this review, but god I just feel so dirty saying positive things about 4Kids’ productions. I feel like, maybe, 4Kids isn’t entirely responsible for the quality of the movies, though. It just seems like sometimes they’re pressured into not being assmuffins by either Warner Bros., Miramax or some other third party. Even if that’s true, it just shows that 4Kids CAN do dubs perfectly fine, they just choose not to because screw you.

The original still has better voices and better acting of course, but I fell in love with the dub a long time ago and I can’t deny that it just does some things better. This doesn’t make it a better version. If anything, I think it’s pretty evenly balanced between the two. I just prefer the dub better.

You happy, 4Kids? Enjoy your moment of victory for there will be seldom if any other occasions for such a thing.

I feel like I need a bath now.

Next up is movie 04, Pokemon 4Ever (oy) and its accompanying short, Pikachu’s Peekaboo. And I think this will be a fairly long one….

Recommended Audience: Same as the dub.

I”s Pure Review

Rating: 4/10

Plot: Seto Ichitaka has been in love with a girl named Iori for a long time, but he could never get up the nerve to tell her how he feels. This six episode OVA follows Seto and Iori through various trials in their relationship. Will Seto ever get his dream girl?

Breakdown: Well, let’s just get this out of the way, this OVA is based on an H-game. Okay? Okay. That being said, there’s no sex….so there’s that.

I realize that this OVA proceeds another OVA called From I’s, but I’ve yet to see that. It doesn’t seem like this OVA is really a sequel or a situation where you need to do homework, so I’m taking this at face value.
The relationship toggles between a crush and borderline stalkery. Seto is very much stalkery and creepy in his adoration of Iori. He truly does love her, yes, but he’s creepy. He’s also a bit of a jerk and this gets progressively worse as the episodes go on. Want an example? Okay. He finds out that his childhood friend Itsuki’s house has gone up in flames and Itsuki’s gone missing, but he decides that he wants to stay on his date with Iori instead of seeing if she’s not a smoldering pile of side character.

The plot is also fairly Three’s Company-ish and predictable. For example, Teratani, Seto’s best friend and cool guy/pervert, gives Seto a picture of a naked girl that’s digitally manipulated to have Iori’s face on it. Instead of ripping it up, he accepts it and guess what happens. She finds it. Oh and finding out that he had it (In his schoolbook, no less) made her quite perturbed.

Episode five is just damn annoying. It introduces us to Iori’s manager, some chick whose name I’ve forgotten, and the instant, and I mean instant, that you see her you know she’s a Yayoi-esque villain. She’s a bitch and she only wants Seto to stay away from her star. I should point out that they’re not even dating at this point – she just wants Iori to have no friends whatsoever, I guess.

Iori’s not much better. She’s one of those characters who never sees what’s blatantly obvious (even when, at one point, it is made as obvious as humanly possible) She’s not very likable after a few episodes. She’s not hatable, really, but there’s not much to like about her.

SUPER SPOILER ALERT. MOVE ON TO BOTTOM LINE TO AVOID SPOILERS. THANK YOU.

In the final episode Seto decides to actually listen to the manager and coldly break up with Iori to save her career that was never in any danger. Seto has a brief moment of slight scariness in saying that he’ll always love her from afar as his face is mostly in shadow….okay….*shudders*…

I guess their other friend or Teratani’s brother randomly finds a website called The Marionette King and all it says on it is that he’ll take Iori’s soul. This freaks Seto right the hell out even though celebrities (she is vaguely one at this point) always get vague threats and whatnot especially over the Internet. He decides he’ll be her secret bodyguard. And by ‘secret bodyguard’ I mean ‘stalker’. He starts training himself through martial arts books and camps out in front of her studio in a hoodie with a pair of binoculars watching Iori all day…..I checked, this isn’t a horror anime.

The Marionette King actually does show up. I won’t explain who he is, but his appearance and motive make no sense. He should be targeting Seto, not Iori. He gets the jump on Seto and slams his head into the wall. They fight some more and Seto knocks him off of the roof where Iori’s bodyguards grab him after he spouts psycho nonsense. Seto then plops onto the roof in a small puddle of blood from his head wound.

Cut to the hospital, Seto is in a coma and the doctors can’t figure out why. Ya know, I’m not Dr. House or anything, but I think it might have something to do with the severe concussion he got from his head slamming into the wall.

They say his life will be in danger if he doesn’t wake up soon, so Teratani and his friends decide to go see Iori at the big important play she’s putting on. They beg Iori to go with them, explaining everything that happened because of her manager, that Seto still loves her with all of his heart and that he really needs her right now. Yayoi (She’s given no real name that I know of and she’s basically the same as her, so I’m calling her Yayoi.) gives the same stupid grin she’s been giving since her debut and basically shoos them away even after hearing that someone’s life is in danger.

What’s even worse is that after she hears that Seto got hurt while trying to protect Iori from the psycho, she smiles and says her bodyguards were the ones who caught the guy, so his efforts were pointless. Which they weren’t. They never would’ve known about the Marionette King if Seto hadn’t gone after him. Though I do have to say that Seto got friggin lucky. All that was said on that webpage was that he’d take Iori’s soul. He didn’t specify a time or a place, yet he seemed to know exactly when and where he’d strike. He also targeted the first creepy-looking guy that he saw and got lucky there too.

Iori actually doesn’t go with them despite their pleas and hearing that the man she loves and risked his life for hers is dying because of her. Wow. That was actually unexpected. Unexpected and ungodly horrible.

Later, back at the hospital, Iori calls the hospital and decides to talk to Seto that way. Apparently her reasoning was that she didn’t want to disappoint the people in the play or the audience by leaving.

Boy, way to have your priorities straight. Your loved one is in a coma, dying, for trying to protect you from a psychopath and you can’t even ditch a play to see him? Who cares about the people at the play?! Don’t you have an understudy? That’ll be a great story to tell your kids. “Mommy, tell us again about how you ditched Daddy for a stupid play as he was dying after saving your life.”

Oh and get this, she even said that after this play that she’d quit acting. If you’re gonna give it up anyway, why not leave the damn play!?

And before you can say “Don’t you wake up, you damn bastard. That’s way too cliche, way too overdone, way too corny, way too lame” he wakes up after hearing Iori’s voice on the phone. I was seriously rooting for him to either not wake up or flatline right there just to slap Iori in the face for not going to him personally.

END OF SPOILERS

The main couple’s okay, but they’re not very likable, I was never rooting for them (I liked him with Itsuki. And it would’ve been much more interesting if we started out with SetoxIori but moved to SetoxItsuki. It would also be more realistic and not computer-chair-gnawingly cliche.)

The plot’s very convoluted and stupid at times, and in other times it’s a chore to sit through.

Art:
The art and animation are a high point for the series. It’s all very clean and fluid. The art is also very nice to look at, but nothing very awe inspiring.

Music: The music was decent. The OP was okay and the BG music was alright.

Voice acting: Japanese Version: The voice acting was fairly well done. I had no real complaints.

Bottomline: Like there are turn-your-brain-off action movies, this is a turn-your-brain-off romance/drama series. However, even then, it’s nothing to write home about. Also, I still feel uneasy about how stalker-y he is sometimes, and that ending is just rrrrghhhhh.

Additional Information and Notes: I”s Pure is the sequel to From I”s. It was based on a manga written by Masakazu Katsura, who has also written Zetman, DNA2 and the Video Girl series. It was directed by Mamoru Kanbe, who has also directed numerous episodes of Cardcaptor Sakura and Elfen Lied. It was produced by Studio Pierrot.

Episodes: 6

Year: 2005 – 2006

Recommended Audience: There’s some sexual themes, but no one even kisses. Some fanservice, one sexual assault scene, no swearing, no gore or anything. 13+

 

Digimon Adventure 01 Sub/Dub Comparison Episode 8

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Plot: After discovering that they’re truly on an island with no escape, the kids meet Ogremon, a Digimon known as being a brute, and Leomon who is supposedly to be a kindhearted and gentle leader Digimon teaming up to kill them. Devimon, the evil Digimon behind the black gears, discovers that the kids are too powerful together and concocts a plan to separate them. After escaping from Leomon and Ogremon, the kids discover a mansion in the woods and enjoy their sudden stroke of luck despite the fears of a trap because everyone, especially the Digimon, are completely exhausted. However, their fears were realized when it proves to be nothing but a trap of Devimon’s making.

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Title Screen: DIGIMONSDCEP8SCREEN1

Title Change: The Messenger of Darkness; Devimon! Is changed to Evil Shows His Face.

While Digimon has a lot of jokes and dialogue where there is none in the original, I’ll note this one because there’s a mistake made in the dubbing. At the very start of the episode, there’s no dialogue until they see Jyou on the cliff. In the dub, Joe says this place would be a lot better with a bus system and Matt agrees, but believes they’re at the end of the line.

The reason this is a mistake is because the only people in Matt’s group right now are Izzy, Mimi, TK and himself. Joe, Tai and Sora are at the cliff. So there’s no way for Joe to have been saying that to Matt while he was climbing up the cliff. That just seems so sloppy considering how obvious it is that Joe is not with the group right now. They could’ve made Matt or Mimi say the line about the bus and have Izzy or Matt respond.

Jyou just yells ‘What do we do now?!’ while Joe complains that he never wanted to go to summer camp and instead wanted to go to summer school.

The narrator, as usual, does the Digimon index screens for Leomon and Ogremon. In the dub, since none of the kids are around, Leomon does Ogremon’s screen and vice versa.

Leomon: “The black gears are turning perfectly peaceful innocent Digimon into monsters!” Uhh….maybe you should’ve come up with a different term….Digimon…Digital MONSTERS. Just sayin’.

Attack Name Change: Ogremon’s fist attack is called Haouken (Fist of the Supreme King).

Attack Name Change: Leomon’s fist attack is called Juuouken (Fist of the Beast King). I never heard Ogremon’s translated attack name in the dub I don’t believe, but the dub commonly calls Leomon’s its translated attack name.

Also, in the original, the two actually call out their attacks when they first fight. In the dub, they just grunt.

Attack Name Change: Death Claw is changed to Touch of Evil.

This line was kinda cool. Devimon originally tells Leomon to accept his ‘baptism of evil’. In the dub, he just says he’ll now obey Devimon’s every command.

Also, I like Devimon’s original voice a lot better. His original voice is eerily calm and even while his dubbed voice is typically evil villain gravelly yelling.

Matt: “No question, man. You are the dude of doodles!”……What does that even mean?

Mimi originally asks why things had to turn out like this. In the dub, she said she just realizes that her gloves don’t match her dress….Yup, that’s Mimi for ya.

Likewise, Palmon only says ‘Mimi’ after this line. In the dub, Palmon says, seriously mind you, ‘How sad.’

You know, I really like how the kids and Digimon still have trust in Digimon that they’ve known to be good, friendly and trustworthy in the past, but this has been nearly every episode. Unimon, Monzaemon, Meramon, Andromon; they should really take the sudden appearance of a supposedly friendly and kind Digimon as a red flag at this point.

Why is Matt specifically telling Joe to not slow down in the dub? He’s at the front of the group. If anything, he should be telling that to Tai considering he’s last and he just went back for a bit to try to get his dumb map.

Takeru asks if Ogremon is another supposedly kind Digimon, but Patamon and Gomamon state that he’s actually a bad guy either way. In the dub, this is replaced by jokes about Ogremon wanting to eat them.

Attack Name Change: Hone Konbou (Bone Club) is changed to Pummel Whack. However, Ogremon doesn’t say it here in the dub. Instead he just grunts again.

Attack Name Change: Shishi Omaru (or Shishiou-maru, depending on the source) (Lion King Sword…Simba? :0) Is changed to Beast Sword, even though, again, he doesn’t say it here in the dub he just grunts.

So is the rule just that if a Digimon Digivolves once, no matter the circumstance, they can easily perform it again later?

Devimon originally just says that dealing with six of them together is troublesome. In the dub, he says they’ve ‘learned the secret of teamwork’ which is an eyeroll worthy line if I’ve ever heard one, says that dealing with them all together is more difficult that he realized then asks himself why Patamon hasn’t Digivolved.

Jyou points out the rockslide that occurs while Joe calls it an avalanche. Joe, rocks for rockslide, snow for avalanche. Okay?

Mimi originally says she sick of this. In the dub, she says she needs a facial.

Guess Sora’s back to calling Biyomon, Biyo, which still sounds wrong to me.

Dub Gabumon: “Do you think that avalanche knocked them both off the cliff?” It’s a rockslide. The originals keep getting it right, what’s wrong with you guys?

Jyou originally cheers at the fact that Ogremon and Leomon probably died from falling off the cliff. In the dub, he just explains how flying monsters, even ones without wings can be possible in this world because anything seems like it’s possible.

I actually prefer the dub because, while I understand that they were attacked by him, Gabumon and Patamon both said that Leomon was supposed to be a very kindhearted and gentle leader type of Digimon. The fact that he attacked them and paired up with his mortal enemy are huge indications that he’s being controlled like the other nice Digimon have been with the black gears. Yet instead of mourning the death of a good Digimon, they cheer for it.

Tai: “It’s that avalanche.” ROCK—Oh forget it.

The explanation of how the rock-avalanche occurred is basically the same, but Koushiro originally surmises that the destruction of the path may have caused instability in the rocks above whereas dub Izzy just says stress fractures in rock just eventually occur.

Jyou originally hopes there are other humans in the mansion whereas Joe hopes for a hot tub but not one that is too hot.

Yamato’s originally the one trying to stop Jyou from barging into the building. In the dub, Tai’s trying to stop both of them.

You can’t hear Jyou and Yamato talking in the original as Tai and Agumon are talking about whether or not the mansion was on the map over the shot. In the dub, their conversation is broken by Matt telling Joe to open the door, but Joe doesn’t want to go in without knocking.

I love Jyou/Joe’s flawless logic. ‘But guys there can’t be any bad Digimon in a building that has paintings of angels! That’s, like, against the law or something!’

Tentomon says being able to eat delicious food like that must be a sin (Wait, they know what sin is but not angels?) In the dub, Mimi is speaking on this shot saying that they have awful table manners.

I love the song cue in the original after Jyou starts eating.

The kids mostly just say they’ll eat as we zoom out of the mansion and fast forward to the night. In the dub, Mimi says something about lobster and a matre ‘d and TK says something about eating pizza that has peanut butter and pickle toppings…..What is with these kids and gross food choices?

Yamato tells Taichi not to jump into the bathtub while Tai says it’s been so long since they’ve had an actual bath. In the dub, Matt tells Tai not get his hair wet and Tai says he thought some bird made a nest on his head.

Immediately after, Koushiro says it’s amazing that the place also had a bathtub (it’s a mansion…it’s harder to believe it wouldn’t have a bathtub) and that he can feel the tension draining from him. Tentomon then offers electricity to Koushiro….for some reason, and he politely declines. In the dub, Izzy says warm water is great for removing soil and dead epidermis because Izzy can’t turn it off for a few minutes, and Tentomon says when he gets dirty, he just sheds his skin, but Izzy says that would be difficult for him.

Ah, we have a scene deletion!

In the original, Yamato says he can’t forgive guys who are so shy in an all-men’s bath. Taichi agrees so they jump out of the bath, while naked, and try to grab Jyou’s towel from him. This scene is basically kept the same, but the shot of Yamato and Taichi and their bare asses as well as trying to get Jyou’s towel from him are removed.

Since this is removed, the arguing over getting Jyou’s towel is also removed from the shot of Gabumon outside of the bath. Instead, Tentomon asks where Gabumon is and Patamon says he’ll get in eventually but he’s too shy to take off his fur. I’d say that’s even more understandable in the original if Tai and Yamato might possibly take his fur off by force. 0-o

Visuals: DIGIMONSDCEP8SCREEN3

Wow, another scene deletion!…Only reason I get excited over these is because dialogue edits are sometimes a pain…

Anyway, after the girls discover Gomamon in the girls’ bath, Palmon throws him over to the boys’ side where he lands on Jyou’s head and we see a shot of them both on the ground with Jyou also now naked. All of this is kept the same, but the shot of them on the ground and also Jyou’s naked ass are removed.

Visuals: DIGIMONSDCEP8SCREEN4

Most of the dialogue when they find the beds is passable, but Mimi says that having all of the beds in one room makes it feel like summer camp. Jyou then pipes up asking what she means because they were supposed to be at summer camp anyway, but then he trails off at the group’s sad faces because he reminded them of home. In the dub, Joe complains about all the crap they dealt with outside like hiking and starving, which I guess reminds everyone that they’re far from home.

I guess I can forgive this one because it’s more blatant potty (literally) humor, but when Agumon’s on the toilet he talks about how he can’t poop despite the fact that he ate so much. Taichi wants to leave because he’s taking so long, so Agumon tries his hardest to go and just ends up farting a lot which causes Ogremon to flee the stall that he was hiding in due to the stench. In the dub, it’s kinda the same but they mostly talk about how Agumon was afraid to go to the bathroom by himself and any real mention of what he’s doing is reduced to ‘I don’t even want to talk about it.’ The reason Ogremon eventually flees the stall is I guess because Agumon’s insulting him instead of farting.

Leomon keeps repeating that he needs to kill the chosen children in the original. In the dub, he keeps repeating that he cannot disobey Devimon.

Taichi asks about the fact that there is supposedly way more to the Digital World beyond File Island. Devimon says it doesn’t matter because the spot in which they stand will be their graves. In the dub, Devimon says they’re the Digidestined sent to save the Digital World from his destruction and Tai says they were just kids at summer camp sent there by random.

Huh, another scene deletion I guess for violence. Leomon pushes Agumon out of the way and slams Taichi by his neck up against the wall. In the dub, this shot is removed.

Visuals:

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The featured images for this blog entry are going to make people uncomfortable, aren’t they?

Agumon doesn’t explain that the evil from Leomon was purged by the Digivice in the original as it’s pretty damn obvious. Also, the dub proclaims that a black gear was driven from Leomon when no gear was present nor was it actually the cause of the mind control. It was Devimon’s own hand.

Next episode, the kids are now separated on different islands made up of the old File Island. Tai and Yamato end up on frozen wastelands and have to battle ice based Digimon to continue their journey and reunite with the others.

Pokemon Episode 29 Analysis: The Punchy Pokemon

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen1

Cotd (s): Anthony – A Fighting Pokemon trainer who aims to train Pokemon for the Fighting Pokemon tournament the P-1 Grand Prix. Anthony’s got tunnel vision for the tournament and neglects spending time with his family because of it, but he’s still a kind person with a good heart.

Reappear?: No

Pokemon: Anthony has a Hitmonchan as his main Pokemon. He spends much of his time training it, and Hitmonchan has become a very formidable fighter because of it.

Technically, after this episode, Anthony also becomes the owner of Ash’s Primeape. According to the original dialogue, this is not a ‘see you some other time’ situation. He legit handed Primeape over to him.

Rebecca – Anthony’s daughter, Rebecca is devastated that her father spends all of his time training for the P1 Grand Prix instead of spending time at home with his family. She is so set on getting him home that she asks Ash, Misty and Brock to defeat her father in order to get him to give up his dream.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: None.

Departures: Ash’s Primeape.

Final Farewell: I might as well vent here to spare the rest of the analysis some ranting. You might be going ‘wha? Primeape’s leaving already? Wasn’t he just captured like three episodes ago?’ Yes, yes he was. According to my unconfirmed sources (IE word of mouth I heard years ago), supposedly the writers of the show realized that Ash was in a bit of a capture slump, having not captured any Pokemon since Krabby way back when. They also realized that Ash had a free space in his party that had yet to be filled since Butterfree’s departure. So they decided to have him capture a Primeape.

However, the writers allegedly didn’t know what to do with it after that, even though giving Ash a Pokemon he cannot control is a good standing plot point. I guess they wanted that honor to go to Chameleon/izard, though. Since they didn’t know what else to do with Primeape, they cut their losses and booted him soon after capture, which means A) they failed in their goal to get Ash more Pokemon, B) he’s now back to his confusing five Pokemon party despite having a Pokemon back with Oak that he could have with him and C) my intense hatred for giving Ash good Pokemon then chucking them away or giving them to Oak to rot until a tournament comes up starts here.

Primeape had tons of raw power and he even had personality, which makes this even worse. Did it have any goals in life? From what I saw in his only episode outside of this one, no. Perhaps just to screw around and have fun, which is fine. Primeape had potential but they just swept him under the rug never to be brought up again for reasons that I’ll bring up later as being nonsensical.

Farewell, Primeape. You deserved better.

Plot: As Ash, Misty and Brock travel to their next destination, they find what they believe is a wild Hitmonchan in the path. Ash decides that he wants to capture it, so he starts teaching Pikachu some boxing moves.

Pikachu fails miserably but manages to get one punch in on Hitmonchan. Hitmonchan’s trainer, a man named Anthony, appears and chastises Hitmonchan for letting its guard down. He tells him to return to the match, and Hitmonchan easily defeats Pikachu in a hail of punches.

Anthony’s daughter, Rebecca appears and begs her father to come back home. However, he states he won’t come back home until he’s become the champion of the local Fighting Pokemon tournament, the P1 Grand Prix. Rebecca enlists the help of Brock and his Geodude as well as Ash and his uncontrollable Primeape to enter the tournament and defeat his father in order to get him to ‘come to his senses’ give up his dream and come home.

Team Rocket also decides to enter the tournament in hopes of getting the championship belt, selling it and using the money for themselves. Since they don’t have a Fighting Pokemon, they tie up a man named Giant and steal his Hitmonlee.

Everything goes well in the tournament, for the most part. Brock is forced to forfeit on his first match out, but Primeape is doing well in his matches, especially once Ash earns his trust by diving for him when he is thrown from the ring.

In their match against Anthony and his Hitmonchan, Team Rocket cheats by gluing Hitmonchan’s foot to the floor of the ring, leaving it mostly defenseless against Hitmonlee’s barrage of kicks. Rebecca tries to protect Hitmonchan by jumping into the ring, but before she is also hit by a kick, Anthony steps in and takes the blow. Realizing the importance of his family and the futility of the match, Anthony forfeits.

The final match is Ash and Primeape against a revealed Team Rocket and Hitmonlee. They, again, try to cheat with an electro-shock device and bomb to take out Primeape, but Pikachu secretly thwarts their plans and Primeape wins legitimately. Pikachu gives Team Rocket the bomb back and sends them blasting off.

Anthony offers to take Primeape in and train him to be a true P1 champion and Ash agrees. He wishes the best in Primeape’s future training and bids him farewell.

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– Misty: “This must be one of those Fighting Pokemon I’ve heard about!” You’ve…heard about? First of all, Misty, you’re a former Gym Leader. I find it hard to believe that you never once came across a Fighting Pokemon while holding that title, especially since there are Water Pokemon, Poliwrath in Gen 1 anyway, that double as Fighting types.

Second….Mankey and Primeape are both Fighting Pokemon and you’ve seen them. That line would be better suited for Ash, but even then are Fighting types so rare that even Ash would say something like that?

– Why exactly is Ash trying to convince Pikachu to duke it out with Hitmonchan? Any idiot can see what a terrible idea that is. He has no training in hand to hand combat, Hitmonchan is obviously way more trained in it and is its friggin’ type for crying out loud, he has the power of electricity to allow him to more easily take him down and, oh yeah, Pikachu’s arms and paws are so small I’m surprised those gloves are staying on him.

If you really wanted to see a boxing match between two Pokemon maybe…oh I dunno, use your FIGHTING POKEMON. I know Ash can’t control him, but nothing else about this scene makes sense so why not?

– Narrator: “Well, everything’s been going pretty well. Misty caught Psyduck” “Caught” is being a bit generous.

“and Brock got Vulpix.” “Borrowed” would also be more fitting here.

“But Ash hasn’t captured any new Pokemon recently.” He literally caught Primeape one episode before Misty caught Psyduck and Brock got Vulpix. Being the main trainer of the group, he should be more focused on capturing, but he’s gone much longer without captures without anyone batting an eye and now the narrator’s getting on his case?

“He might be getting a little worried. But now he’ll try his luck with Hitmonchan.” Another case of the oddities starting off an episode with determination to catch a Pokemon and increase his capture rate only to not capture any Pokemon this episode and end up releasing one he has.

– “The Punchy Pokemon” is such a lazy title I could cry. It’s not even purely lazy. It’s silly too, especially for a departure episode. Why not call it “We’re too lazy to properly integrate you into the plot so, bye Primeape!” or simply “Fuck off, Primeape!”

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo in the title when it has the word in it? I’m going to keep bringing this up just because now I’m pathetically curious as to when this ends.

– I’ll actually forgive the stupid setup for Boxer!Pikachu because the actual fight is one of the funniest and most adorable scenes in Pokemon.

– I don’t understand anything about the Rocket Punch Ash taught Pikachu. He launches the boxing gloves off of his paws but then, somehow, only one of them is flying, Pikachu has the other glove back on his other paw and he’s still got the right flying glove on his paw, propelling him through the air with it.

And what about the Pikachu left behind? He wasn’t shrouded in smoke to make the illusion like he vanished. He was still there when the gloves were sent flying. I’m just imagining that, after the gloves are launched, it’s like a Benny Hill sketch with Pikachu scampering around trying to catch the left glove, getting it, then quickly running to catch up to the other glove while the smoke is still trailing to conceal him getting it back on. They really couldn’t have animated it to seem like Pikachu’s launching himself from the getgo?

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……Wait….why did Ash have Pikachu-sized boxing gloves anyway?…..Ones with rockets in them…..Ash, I think Team Rocket’s stalking is getting to you more than we think.

– I always wonder about Pokemon that ‘wear clothes’ so to speak. Is Hitmonchan wearing gloves or are those its actual hands?….Is it wearing a dress or is its torso just really weird?

– Rebecca’s plan kinda sucks. Shouldn’t she be more bent on getting him the championship than defeating him? He says straight out mere lines before she asks this favor of the group that he won’t come home until he’s a P1 Grand Prix champion. Enlisting people solely for the purpose of defeating him is just going to make him want to train even harder for another year.

He’ll ‘come to his senses’ after defeat? Sure some people take losses so hard that they give up entirely, but with a guy like that the alternative is much more likely. Plus, she finds it much better that he fail in one of his main life goals instead of being there with him to help him succeed. I get that she’s lonely, but she’s being just as selfish as he is.

Now that I really think about it….this whole plan is entirely unnecessary. Either way, he’s coming home, right? At least by Rebecca’s logic. Today’s the day of the tournament. He’ll either win, prompting him to go home, or lose to someone else, prompting him to supposedly give up and go home. There is no third option. Why are Ash and Brock even needed?

– Brock: “Ash, don’t you have a Fighting Pokemon we could use?”

Ash: “Errr, what are you talkin’ about?” Ash forgot he has Primeape….Has he even been let out of the Pokeball since his capture? Is he dying in there?

– Brock, just because Geodude has fists and biceps it doesn’t mean it’s a Fighting type.

– Also, yeah, Ash has a Primeape that he can’t control and has never once bothered trying to train to the point where he’s forgotten he even has it. Brock’s Pokemon is one that is actually weak to Fighting types. Neither has had any formal training in Pokemon Boxing. These are the absolute best people to recruit to defeat Rebecca’s father, the guy who has been doing nothing but training for years for this very tournament with one of the best Fighting Pokemon you can get.

– Behold! One of the rare occasions Team Rocket actually succeeds in stealing a Pokemon!

– Why do so many people in the audience look horribly concerned as the tournament starts? They’re barely making introductions and everyone’s all mortified.

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Also, props to the kid holding up the blank banner. I’m sure someone will feel like they’re being cheered on….or heckled….or something.

– Why are they seemingly acting like Brock and Ash are a team in this tournament? The introduce them together when “Giant” and Anthony were introduced on their own is all….

– Team Rocket has a crapton of disguises on hand and they can’t add anything to Giant’s clothes to cover themselves up more? For crying out loud, Jessie’s uniform is still very visible under the collar and they didn’t even make an effort to cover up her hair.

– Continuing the amazingly cliché tradition of fixing any and all trust issues/behavioral problems by having him self-sacrifice himself, even just a little, to save the Pokemon in question.

– Misty: “It seems like everything changed when Ash dove to save Primeape. That’s when Primeape started to trust Ash.” Now channeling Captain Obvious-Brock is Misty. And, really guys, the audience is well aware of how lazy this flash in the pan character development is, no need to point it out by giving a detailed account of it.

– Why is Hitmonlee listening to Team Rocket? Surely it knows they’re not Giant, his actual owner.

– It’s a little bit on the ironic side that Anthony is telling Brock that real men know when to admit defeat. Remember way back in Pewter City? Brock is the one who both knew when to quit in order to stop himself from severely hurting Pikachu AND he basically gave Ash the gym badge on the factor of him stopping himself from hurting Brock’s Onix.

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There’s nothing to dislike about this screenshot.

– Anthony: “Time to face facts; you could lose today and win tomorrow!” Another testament as to why Rebecca’s plan is doomed to….I guess succeed….In a completely unnecessary way.

– The audience just keeps looking like they’re either saddened by what they’re watching or they don’t want to be there. What is the art department thinking?

– Anthony never realized that in order to get Hitmonchan out of the ring he’d have to unglue its foot from the floor?….And…ya know….call for the officials to come and investigate? Then have a rematch or disqualify Team Rocket?….No?….Just give up and ignore that that is the exact sequence of events that would happen in any realistic scenario? Okay.

– Also, three times in one episode, forced character/relationship development brought on through self-sacrifice.

– Oh look, Team Rocket’s revealing themselves to Ash and Co. Now Ash will alert the officials and get them disqualified for not being the contestant in question, they’ll get arrested for kidnapping and Pokemon theft and Ash will win by default. Realistic scenario.~~~~

I do love the failed motto due to James’ giving out from carrying Jessie.

– Oh look, they’ve revealed it to everyone….and not a single person seems to give a shit or point it out.

– Shocking Primeape I can understand, because you can mask that without anyone noticing what’s actually going on, but why trigger an explosion too? They’ll just call off the match or declare it a draw if Primeape ends up getting KO’d due to a random explosion that Hitmonlee obviously didn’t cause.

– Primeape suddenly learned Seismic Toss? I guess that’s alright, but how did Ash know it knew that out of the blue?

– FFS, even when the tournament is done and they’ve declared a winner, the audience is still stuck on ‘Wtf am I even watching?’ mode. Is there a gas leak in here?….and is the gas leak a fast-acting depressant?

– Why is Misty screaming ‘We did it!’? You didn’t do a damn thing outside of watch and cheer.

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While we’re on the topic, Brock, why are you up there cheering too? Primeape’s not your Pokemon and you didn’t do anything to help. Are you seriously (unfairly) teamed up with Ash here like the intros implied?

– This is the line that always kinda irked me about the reasons behind Primeape staying behind.

Anthony: “I promise to turn it into a true P1 champion!” It already IS a true P1 champion. An amazing one, considering it’s had no formal training in either regular battles or boxing-type fighting and yet won every match fairly easily. How much more of a P1 champion can it become? They should’ve said that they’d try to win more tournaments like this and make it the best Fighting Pokemon out there or something. This reason just seems poorly handled.

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This episode was….kinda boring and stupid. The setup didn’t make any sense. It was resolved at breakneck speed. There’s not enough given to either the Primeape or the Anthony story. You don’t even sympathize much with Rebecca because we barely know anything about her besides her father is hardly ever home and she misses him. Also, she sucks at making plans. There are a bunch of logistic problems that shouldn’t fly even in Pokemon. The action wasn’t that impressive. The departure of Primeape is frustrating and poorly written, especially if my intel on the reasons behind his leaving are true.

About the most interesting thing here is the Pokemon Boxing, but really they don’t do anything with the concept. They should be more about actual boxing or martial arts moves or something, but they’re no different from Pokemon battles, just exclusively with Fighting Pokemon. Ash was doing more actual boxing when he was teaching Pikachu than anyone else was over the course of this episode.

I’m still a little irked at the loss of one of Ash’s few evolved and powerful Pokemon. But hey at least I can relax now. It’s not like he’ll be getting another evolved and powerful Pokemon that he’ll shove under the rug for stupid reasons any time soon, right?

So, uh, what’s next on the docket?

Pokemon ep 29 preview

……..….….…..Pbbbbbttttt…..I give up.

Shounen Step-By-Step: Yu Yu Hakusho Episode 1

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Plot: Yusuke Urameshi is a punk. He frequently skips class, doesn’t try in school, gets into street fights all the time and has run-ins with basically every type of authority figure that exists. His home life is no better with a drunk lazy mom who seems to pay him no mind at all while loafing about the house. He does have friends, the model student Keiko and the fellow street punk Kuwabara, but they seem to have just as poor of a view on Yusuke as everyone else does.

One day, Yusuke sacrifices his life to save the life of a little boy by pushing him out of the way of a speeding car and getting hit in the process. Yusuke appears near his body as a ghost and is quickly greeted by a flying girl on a boat oar named Botan. She is a shinigami or grim reaper, but she’s not greeting Yusuke to take him to the afterlife, she’s there to give him one more chance to live. See, he was not set to die that day and no one in the other world believed Yusuke would ever risk his life to save a child, one that would’ve, ironically, not have died or even been hit anyway. So, Yusuke is getting a second chance to live due to the error.

Yusuke, however, is not sure he wants to return to his life since he believes everyone dislikes him and everything seems to dump more crap on him. In an effort to get him to see the true value of his life, Botan gives him some time to think about the decision.

In the meantime, Yusuke visits his wake and sees how utterly devastated most of the guests are from his mother to Keiko and even to Kuwabara and one of his teachers. He even sees the grief of the mother of the little boy he saved.

After visiting his wake and taking everything into consideration, Yusuke meets with Botan again to agree to her offer, and Botan starts setting everything up to bring him back to life.

Breakdown: This has been my favorite pilot episode to an anime for a long long time. It is just so wonderfully written, so heartbreaking and so gripping that you can’t help but care for each character, even Yusuke, deeply from the get-go.

It’s also a shining example of how English dubs can really be just fantastic. There’s so much passion and emotion put into their line-reads here that it is just one of my favorite dub jobs ever.

The only negative I really have about it is the fact that two of Yusuke’s teachers really seem like they’re over the top. I mean, one has a character design that just screams ‘weasel’, the other looks like a serial killer and they’re both such complete assholes that they’re at Yusuke’s wake being thankful that he’s dead and even making jokes about how he probably died on accident while trying to steal the boy’s lunch money.

While Kuwabara makes the most impacting scene here, you really have to appreciate the subtleties of Yusuke’s mom’s short scene. She’s just sitting on the floor not saying a word or even showing any real emotion for much of the scenes, almost like she really didn’t care, and then suddenly she just says Yusuke’s name and bursts into sobs. Even the short scene with the little boy and his mother was very well done. It reflected the kid’s inability to really process the death of Yusuke and the gravity that the entire situation had on the mother. She’s both incredibly happy that her boy is alive yet devastated that another kid had to die to save him.

I will say that, while this is just an amazing opening episode, they don’t delve at all into the actual plot of the entire series yet, that being Yusuke eventually becoming a spirit detective and this show becoming essentially a tournament fighter.

The main characters were all very well-established from the start, the atmosphere was great and this really does seem like a pretty original story.

The art basks in that lovely 90’sness that makes me smile and while the animation isn’t amazing it’s still pretty damn nice for its time, the music is wonderful and the OP and ED for this season stay very near and dear to my heart.

This was a great way to start off this awesome show, and I definitely look forward to going over this series again.

Next episode: Yusuke is brought to the spirit world to meet Koenma, ruler of the spirit world, in order to get him started on the task that he will need to complete in order to be brought back to life.

Episode One-Derland: Bartender

Plot: A secluded warm bar called Eden Hall welcomes its guests with a mysterious bartender they call The Glass of the Gods, known for remembering a customer’s orders from years ago. He uses his keen observations, insight and gentleness to help customer’s through their problems.

Breakdown: We all know the bartender trope, for lack of a better term. Bartenders are kind and friendly people who offer solutions to problems or just an ear to listen to your problems while pouring you a nice drink. Well, what if there was a show about that?

I don’t think Bartender is the greatest candidate for Episode-Oneland since it seems pretty episodic to me at first glance, but the main gist of the whole thing is indeed the Bartender. Ryuu Sasakura, is one of the best bartenders in the world and seems to be the only bartender at Eden Hall. He makes spot-on observations and analyses on completely minor things like Detective Conan and makes perfect drinks to sate the worries of the customer. And yeah, in this episode anyway, the customer’s problems were seemingly solved just by making the guy a really nice drink.

The customer is a man who has been contracted out to renovate a hotel bar. However, he despises bars and especially has a poor view of bartenders as pretentious people with no real skills and even refers to them by the ‘slur’ of ‘barten’. Despite this, he seems to have a vast knowledge of drinks and liqueur as a whole. He enters Eden Hall through chance and has a complete 180 on his opinion of bars and bartenders after meeting and getting a custom drink from Sasakura.

That’s the whole story. No I’m not kidding.

Also, the reason behind this man’s hatred of bars and bartenders is kinda….dumb. When he was a college student, he went to his first bar. Like you do. Well, he chose one of them fancy-ish bars and went alone, so he’s already making all sorts of mistakes for a first-time run. He feels really uncomfortable right as he enters the door, noting the door’s heaviness as feeling like the bar is actively trying to keep people out. He’s appalled at the high cost of a bowl of nuts and feels like an outsider for not being there on a recommendation.

He orders a beer and feels like a cheap-ass for doing so, so he orders a whiskey in order to feel more proper, all the while believing everyone in the room is either silently judging him or laughing at him. He reaches for his wallet and finds that it fell out of a gigantic hole in his pocket that I can’t believe he’s just now noticing, and then believes everyone in the bar is staring at him, laughing at him, judging him and whatnot. The bartender then gently touches his hand and tells him that they can settle the bill some other time.

So, yeah, he hates bars and bartenders because he’s a paranoid schizophrenic and had a slightly embarrassing experience with a bartender who was actually really nice about the whole situation.

This show puts a lot of focus on the….for lack of a better term ‘psychology’ behind drinks and bars. Drinks are highlighted and explored, we’re told when a drink is appropriate for certain situations and we even get a recipe at the end. More importantly, though, as Sasakura explains, why you drink what and when and when you’d be better suited for what drink over another depends on both you as a person and your current state of mind. A drink can be a soothing experience, a getaway, something fun, nostalgic etc. Most of all, the bartender’s job is to create an openness and gentleness to the patron’s experience, creating a safe and warm atmosphere for everyone who wants a place to go just to feel like they belong or want a hideaway.

The art is alright for the characters themselves and not much animation is needed here, but a lot of detail and animation focus is put on drink preparation and presentation, which is pretty damn nice. Plus, the environments are nicely detailed. The direction is also fairly stylized and pleasantly arranged.

The music is pretty reminiscent of lounge music to a degree. I enjoyed it.

While the story is definitely….different and, admittedly, a little on the odd side, I will say that I never lost interest and I did feel relaxed through the whole thing, which may be one of the main points of this anime; to emulate the bar experience.

So I will give this a;

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If anything, it’s a short and relaxing series and really makes you wish more bars were like Eden Hall.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch Bar Rescue and completely ruin everything I’ve felt during this watching experience.

Pokemon Extravaganza – Movie 03 (Dub): The Spell of the Unown

Rating: 8/10

Plot: A little girl named Molly has mysteriously lost both of her parents. In her grief, she starts writing their names together with tiles that her father collected that are somehow connected to the mysterious Pokemon, Unown. As her tears fall on the tiles, they magically summon a group of Unown into her house (Because tears are magic, haven’t you learned anything from these movies?!) and grant her any wish that she desires.

Her first wish? To have her father back.

An Entei appears as a creation of the Unown since Molly and her father previously joked about him being like Entei and he tasks himself with doing everything in his power to make her happy including kidnapping Ash’s mom to complete their family. As Ash and the others go to save his mom, Molly becomes more comfortable with her newfound abilities and gives them a run for their money. Can anything truly beat the power of the Unown?

Breakdown: Pokemon movie 03; my favorite Pokemon movie ever.

I love this movie. Not just as a Pokemon movie, but just as a movie period. It has a touching story, a great legendary, exciting moments, great music, Charizard returns to be a badass, and practically everything has a point! Also, the fate of the world isn’t on the line for a change. Not to say it’s perfect, it’s not obviously, but I still believe it’s the best out of all of the Pokemon movies I’ve ever seen by far. Well, let’s get started so I can eventually have nothing really to look forward to in terms of the Pokemon movies….except maybe Heroes and possibly the Lucario movie but meh.

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Our movie starts out overlooking a mansion where a little girl named Molly Hale is being read to by her father Spencer Hale. Her father as well as Entei are voiced by Dan Green. Mandatory cheering session everyone!

And damn I want that Ponyta rocking horse. I don’t care if I’d look like an idiot riding it, I want that.

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He’s explaining legendary Pokemon through a book filled with pictures of said Pokemon. They talk about Unown and it’s gently hinted at that Molly’s mom was taken by the Unown. According to sources online, that is the canon explanation in the dub.

However, they don’t really explain what happened to her mother very well in the dub. In fact, they don’t explain at all, making the whole situation confusing.

They eventually start talking about Entei, one of the legendary beasts. Molly really likes Entei and believes her father is like him because he’s big and strong while also being really nice. They play make-believe Entei for a bit and have a bunch of fun even riding the Ponyta rocking horse. Lucky bastards.

However, their fun is interrupted by a video call by Spencer’s associate, Schuyler. Look, I hate to be an ass, but naming your kid Skylar is already pretentious enough without spelling it like that.

He says they’ve found a temple with signs of Unown in it and he should come to the site right away. Spencer agrees, tucks Molly into bed and bids her goodbye while telling her that he loves her and to keep him close in her dreams.

Well, he’s a goner.

Seriously, even if I hadn’t seen the movie before, a picture-perfect scene of family togetherness like that can only result in his instant disappearance or death. It’s just a given.

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As the scene pans out, we see a picture of Spencer and Molly with Delia and a younger Ash implying that they are pretty good friends with the two….I have no clue why this picture is in Molly’s room. Keeping that picture on her desk next to a picture of her family must mean that it means a lot to her, but she doesn’t recognize Ash or Delia at all later. Spencer was pretty good friends with Delia, but I doubt Ash and Molly were good enough friends to do that.

Also, there’s only a two year gap between Molly and Ash according to the wiki. Must be quite the growth spurt between 8 and 10 in the Pokemon world because I assumed she was like 6. In addition, if they’re so close why do we never see these characters again ever? Alright, I’m just confusing myself. Let’s move on.

Spencer arrives at the dig site and it is indeed a pristine Unown temple. Spencer finds some tiles with Unown markings on them, which triggers the presence of the Unown who promptly kidnap him.

This is another thing that bothers me. In the dub, the explanation for Molly’s mom’s disappearance and supposedly Spencer’s fixation on the Unown is that she went missing while investigating the Unown too (Again, this is based on outside sources and largely assumptions as the movie doesn’t explain practically anything of her mother). Why do the Unown keep taking people? And if they do just randomly take people who touch their tiles, why did Molly get fairy godmother treatment instead? Sure, they were basically holding her in their dream world, but she wished to be there.

Schuyler and their butler or whoever that is tell Molly the bad news and Molly actually tries to investigate what happened to her dad by looking through his laptop….shouldn’t the police have that? Oh right, cops in the Pokemon world. They’re sure helpful. They’re probably collaborating with the Gotham Police department on the case of how to continue to get other people to do their jobs for them. How long has it been since he disappeared? Because it seems like they just up and stopped looking for him the night after it happened.

She spots pictures of the Unown on his computer and drops the priceless ancient artifact on the floor to play blocks with the also priceless Unown tiles. She spells out ‘Papa’ ‘Mama’ and ‘Me’ with the tiles in Scrabble fashion and this prompts the floating Alphabits to appear.

It’s at this point where I really feel compelled to mention that the CGI for the Unown is just blech. Every other instance of CGI is pretty damn nice looking, but it’s like they didn’t put as much effort into the Unown. They look like Gamecube graphics….which might make sense considering when this was made and what company owns the system….

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“Come play Pokemon Colosseum with us, Molly.”

They start turning everything to crystal because…I really don’t understand what the Unown do at all. I guess they’re allowed to be confusing because that’s their namesake and whatnot, but if there’s one general problem about this whole movie it’s that the Unown don’t make much sense in what they’re doing or why.

Remembering her father’s words on the legendary Pokemon and looking at the picture book on the page with Entei, she strongly wishes that her father would return. A dream Entei appears to grant her wish. I really love Entei. It’s one of my favorite legendaries. Just seems like a really cool and majestic lion.

The entire mansion is soon covered in crystal and we get our title screen. It’s really nicely done, but I should note something. 4Kids decided to add a little plate at the bottom of Spell of the Unown that says ‘Entei’ in Unown letters. That’s fine and dandy and it is kinda neat that they spelled it in Unown letters, but…I guess…Why? I know I said Entei seems like the more prominent legendary (Unown aren’t even legendary, technically) in the movie, but he’s still not part of the given English title.

Hey, including the short, it’s been nearly a half hour. Isn’t it about time we got Dumbash and friends? Yes! We see Ash, Misty and Brock continuing on to Theyreallyneverspecifiywherethey’regoinginanyofthemoviesland.

Narrator: “As they travel into unknown territory.” HAHA! I get it! Unknown and Unown! It’s funny!

Ash and the others run into another trainer, Lisa voiced by Lisa Ortiz. I’m actually more bothered by the fact that they specifically named this chick Lisa when she’s voiced by Lisa Ortiz than I am by the fact that she’s voiced by Lisa Ortiz.

I do like her hat, though.

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She challenges Ash to a battle, he accepts and we get our movie theme song version of Pokemon Johto. I really like this theme and the battle is set very well to the music.

Ash calls out Totodile while Lisa calls out a Granbull, but Granbull gets beaten by one Water Gun. Also, Ash and Totodile do an almost cheesy high-five in sunlight shot.

Next up, Ash calls on, *sigh*, Chikorita, who obviously snuggles Ash before battling while Lisa calls out a Girafarig. After a bit of battling, Girafarig defeats it with a Psybeam.

Ash calls out his Noctowl while Lisa uses her own little partner Pokemon, Aipom, but it seems like Aipom doesn’t have those almighty partner Pokemon deus ex machina powers like Pikachu because he gets beaten with one tackle.

Lisa calls out Butterfree while Ash calls out Bulbasaur and he easily gets beaten with a Sleep Powder and Gust combo. Wow, it’s not a good day to be a Grass type apparently.

Cyndaquil’s up next and he’s up against a Mankey. Hehe, hey Mankey, steal Ash’s hat!

The match goes to Cyndaquil with a shot of Flamethrower. If there’s one thing that kinda bothers me about these theme song battles it’s that, because they have to fit in the time frame of 2-3 minutes, all of the matches are incredibly short and almost unrealistically won. Doesn’t help that they’re commonly 6v6 battles either.

Uh oh. It’s a tie. I wonder if Messiahchu can win! Messiahchu is matched up fairly badly as Lisa’s final Pokemon is the doofy Quagsire. Pfft. Considering Pikachu’s beaten Onix, Golem, Rhydon, Nosepass and all sorts of other Ground types with irritatingly little issue, I can’t see this–

*one failed Thundershock later*

Alright, I’m confused on so many levels.

Pikachu tries to physically battle instead, to no real avail, until it launches itself off of a nearby swingset and headbutts Quagsire in really funny shot. Here’s the deal. The Wiki says this match ended in a draw (which, if that’s true, is a rarity.) but this last shot is set up like Pikachu won because it stood standing, albeit wobbly, longer than Quagsire did. Ash is cheering in the end, so it just seems like they’re implying that he won.

They have lunch together and Misty states that their match was the fifth battle Ash has had this week. Wow, five battles in a week!? That’s almost like training and work!

Misty asks where the nearest Pokemon center is and Lisa replies that there’s one in a nearby town called Greenfield. Misty’s super excited to go to Greenfield since it’s supposed to be incredibly beautiful, but when they arrive they find that the entire town is covered in the Unown’s crystal. Also, there’s a sloppy zoom-in during this scene…and Team Rocket’s here.

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Cut to a news crew who is talking about the phenomenon and they also mention that Spencer’s wife did indeed disappear, but we move away from the TV before we can hear how or where. It was supposedly two years ago, though. We see Delia watching the news and when she hears that Spencer’s house is in the midst of it, she rushes to the fridge and peels off a bunch of papers to reveal the same picture that Molly has in her room.

Hm. Molly keeps that picture framed in her room on her desk, Delia keeps the picture pinned on the fridge under Chinese restaurant menus, grocery lists and likely a big sign that says ‘REMIND ASH TO WEAR CLEAN UNDERWEAR EVERYDAY’. That’s a contrast right there.

We cut to Professor Oak who is also watching the news with Blandy and he talks about how Spencer was his best student. Supposedly Delia was also his student according to some online sources, which is how Spencer and Delia were friends, but seeing as how her knowledge on the Pokemon world is extremely limited and she seems like an airhead, I can’t imagine she was a good student. I don’t know what she was studying for. Did she want to be a researcher?

Also, we get this screenshot littered with Engrish which I’m not sure I can blame 4Kids for.

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…Dammit, I have to peak at the subbed version.

Nope it’s the original’s fault. You win this round, 4Kids. But, trust me, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to mock you in the future. Still, what happened there, TPC? There’s really no reason to put that text into English. I know they’re wary of using Japanese at this point and people can’t read Poke-ese, but if you felt the need to make that snippet English, at least pay for a proofreader.

Delia arrives and asks Oak if he’s seen the news. He says yes and that he’s planning to go to the scene to investigate. Delia says she’s going too because she’s worried about Molly. Here’s hoping Oak actually does investigate some stuff and be useful instead of just spouting science babble that makes no impact to the plot.

They arrive at the scene and meet up with Ash and the others. I love how blasé Delia is about first seeing Ash. I think the ten-year-old kid that you only see like once or twice a year warrants more than an ‘oh hi honey’ when you randomly bump into him.

Molly sees Ash and Delia hugging on the news because that’s really vital to put on the air right? Town turning to crystal? Bo-ring. Turn the camera to the people who have nothing to do with this occurrence hugging! The ratings will go through the roof!

Molly looks at her pictures and tells Entei that she wants a Mama too. Entei says he’ll grant her wish and we cut back to Ash and the others who are…eating lunch? How many lunches do you people need?

Delia and Ash talk about how Spencer used to live in Pallet Town before he went off to be a Pokemon researcher and moved to Greenfield. They visited once two years ago which is where the picture of them came from. I find it hilarious that Oak taught Spencer yet he lives in a small research facility in Pallet Town and Spencer goes off to live in a huge mansion in the most beautiful town in Johto shortly after he becomes a researcher.

Ash says he somewhat remembers them, which I actually think contradicts a later line where he tells Molly that they used to play together all the time when they were little. That’s also in contradiction to saying they only visited once.

Entei comes down from the mansion and hypnotizes Delia into being Molly’s Mama.

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“I do not have a son named Ash…Huh, suddenly I feel like all my dreams have come true.”

He kidnaps her and Pikachu tries to stop him, but to no avail. Wow, Pikachu’s sucking today.

Ash also tries to pursue Entei, but Brock stops him because he thinks it’s too dangerous.

I’m a little confused again. The Unown had no trouble making Molly an Entei Papa, why did he need to kidnap Delia to make her a mother? All she asked for was a mother – and in both of the pictures her real mother is there, so why not make a fake version of her real mother…In Pokemon form, I guess? He also could’ve made a fake Delia.

Explnation: Unown – we don’t need a reason to do stuff.

I’m also a little confused as to Molly’s delusions. It’s somewhat understandable that she believes that her dad came back to her in the form of an Entei, but she believes her mom is Delia? Is this part of the Unown’s powers or is she just going  ?

A hypnotized Delia has accepted Molly as her child and now they’re all a big happy family. After a quick scene explaining things we already know back at the lab, we cut to the Charicific Valley where we see Liza watching the news report of Delia’s abduction with Charla (Huh, I’m just now realizing that’s another character voiced by Lisa Ortiz that has basically the exact same name.). Outside the window, Ash’s Charizard watches the report and looks up into the sky.

Cut back to Greenfield where it’s now nighttime, and someone with a bulldozer is trying to plow through the crystal fields. However, Molly won’t stand for that and demands that they leave them alone. Her declaration causes the Unown to become more powerful and they knock the bulldozer away and cover it with even stronger crystals.

Back at the lab, we get more stuff we already know until Oak gets an Email from Molly which contains a video file warning them to stay away from the mansion and leave them alone.

Cut back to the mansion where we see Molly riding around her room on Entei who actually looks like he’s smiling. I have to say this is a really adorable yet also very sad scene. It’s cute because of what they’re doing, but it’s also sad because she’s trying to mirror what she did with her actual father and seeing it from a third-person perspective just showcases the sad state of the delusion she’s in.

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Ash is fed up with waiting and decides to run off to the mansion on his own, but Misty and Brock soon follow behind. Lisa also stops them to give them her Pokegear so that he can communicate with Professor Oak while he’s there. And now Lisa can leave because she’s served her only functions of battling Ash for the opener and giving him the Pokegear. Is this our first sighting of Pokegear in the series? Since Ash doesn’t know what it is, I’ll guess it is.

They go through the unaffected stream to get to the mansion….since no one ever thought to do that before now. I have no clue why this crystal stuff doesn’t affect water.

Explanation: Unown – We don’t like water. We’re part cat I guess.

And we cut to Team Rocket following them in their balloon. They believe since Ash and the others are going into the mansion, there must be valuable Pokemon in there….Well, okay. I’m not going to expect Team Rocket to think of anything beyond food, digging holes, building insane contraptions and valuable Pokemon. They also have some fairly humorous banter involving how Meowth hears the word ‘wading’.

Entei spots them and blasts them out of the sky, but they surprisingly don’t really blast off, they just sorta fall and crash into the crystal and end up in some weird part of the mansion.

Entei doesn’t notice when people are just walking up the least protected part of the mansion?

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Molly and Delia are watching the news as Entei returns and we see that Ash is using Bulbasaur and Chikorita’s vine whip to climb up the stream into the mansion. Delia watches but isn’t really reacting since she’s under the Unown’s power until Ash suddenly slips. Delia suddenly snaps out of her trace state and freaks out that Ash is doing something so dangerous. Molly asks why she’s upset but Delia just decides to pretend that everything’s alright.

Ash and the others make their way through the mansion when Oak calls on the Pokegear. He’s upset that he left suddenly and without telling him, but decides to help him find his mother either way. He relays more information about the Unown and how apparently they can read the thoughts and dreams of people and create their own realities, which they seem to have been doing for Molly…..Still doesn’t explain why they kidnapped Spencer and his wife, but whatever. Maybe they dreamed to be kidnapped.

Ash tries to break through a crystal structure with Cyndaquil’s Flamethrower, but they soon realize that it just closes up instantly. One of them, surprisingly, decides to be smart and they come up with the plan of using Cyndaquil and Vulpix to burn a big hole in the crystal then using Staryu and Totodile’s Water Gun to keep it open. It works and they make it through.

That’s another reason I really like this movie. Many of the Pokemon, even ones from Misty and Brock, are actually getting plenty of stuff to do instead of just making slight cameos in the opening or just being let out for no reason like in the first movie. And what they’re doing is actually needed and makes sense.

As they make their way upstairs, the Unown change the reality again and make the staircase into a bunch of floating panels that lead into a room that looks like a beautiful meadow.

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Cut back to Team Rocket where they discover the room with the Unown but nothing really happens.

James: “I haven’t seen this many strange letters since the last time I placed a personal ad.” Haha! Team Rocket’s actually getting some good lines today.

Molly’s still watching the news (yeah kid you have a pet Entei and an entire alternate reality that you have complete control over all to yourself, but watch the news for five hours. That’s much more interesting.) and she believes that Ash and the others are in the mansion. Entei asks if she wants him to send them away, but Molly, knowing that Ash is a Pokemon trainer, decides that she wants to battle them instead.

She dreams of being a trainer and Entei disappears with a fake version-ish-maybe-her-consciousness-I-dunno of Molly who says that maybe she’s not old enough for Pokemon. Entei tells her to believe that she is and she magically transforms into a teenager. The minimum for being a Pokemon trainer is supposed to be ten years old, but sure why not?

Teenage Molly confronts Ash and the others for a battle, but Ash just wants to know where his mom is. They realize that the teenager is actually Molly and Ash decides to accept her challenge, but Brock decides to battle in his place so they can find Ash’s mom while he staves her off.

Molly dreams up a battle field and they begin their battle. Brock uses Zubat while Molly uses a dream Flaafy. Brock gets the upperhand with Confusion, but Zubat gets felled by a Thundershock.

Next up, Brock uses his Vulpix and Molly calls out a dream Teddiursa.

Brock: “Figures a cute Pokemon trainer would have a cute Pokemon.” GAH! Brock! She’s still eight years old, you sick bastard!

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They’re pretty even for a bit, but Teddiursa wins by I guess a Fury Swipes or Tackle, it’s hard to tell. Technically this match should be over since they’re only dealing in one-on-one matches with no previous Pokemon continuing on into the next matches, meaning Brock already lost, but they keep going anyway.

Brock: “Guess if I want any chance at beating you, I better really start to rock and roll. *releases Onix*” Hehehe, get it? Because Onix is made of rocks? Hahaha! LAUGH!

Brock: “And using Onix is just how I like to rock and roll.” YES. We understood your pun. Thank. You. Brock.

Molly calls out her dream Phanpy who Rollouts towards Onix and flings it across the battle field. I’ll just take these physics books and burn them.

Misty and Ash make it up into Molly’s next reality, a beach covered in red flowers.

Dream Molly appears, indicating that Brock lost. Molly asks which one of them wants to challenge her next and Misty steps up to the challenge declaring that she used to be the gym leader of Cerulean City. Molly then realizes that you don’t have to be an adult to be a gym leader so she turns herself into a ten year old for some reason. I guess there really is a growth spurt between eight and ten because now she’s just as tall as Misty, basically.

Misty tells Ash to go on ahead to find his mom. He agrees and runs off while Misty stays to battle. She says she’ll only use Water Pokemon since she’s a Water Pokemon trainer and Molly agrees that she’ll do the same. She then takes the water from the dream ocean and floods the whole floor for the battle, but since it’s a dream world they can breathe and even talk under the water. This is a really cool part of the movie. I’d love to see more themed battle arenas like this outside of gyms, but this whole ‘breathing underwater’ thing is obviously a one-shot.

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Molly calls out a dream Kingdra while Misty calls out GOLDEEN!? GOLDEEN’S IN A BATTLE! QUICK, SOMEONE TAKE A PICTURE!

Despite its efforts, Goldeen loses from a Headbutt. Because why would anything good happen to Goldeen?

Team Rocket pops up again, breaking the fourth wall by Meowth asking if they’re going to get a bigger part in the next movie. Your part in the last movie was bigger than most of the regular side characters – quit whining.

Misty calls out Staryu while Molly calls out a dream Mantine. It catches Staryu in a Whirlpool, but Misty cancels it out by having Staryu use Rapid Spin. They then have a battle of Take Downs vs. Tackles and we cut back to Ash who finally finds his mom in Molly’s room.

Delia: “I’d like to know where you got such a reckless streak.”

Ash: “Well, I guess I got it from you.”

Considering we have no clue who Ash’s dad is, that probably is the only explanation. Also, considering Delia went off in a helicopter though a natural disaster on the off-chance Ash was in the midst of it all, yeah, that’s probably likely.

Ash gets Delia up to speed on what’s going on and Delia wakes Molly up. She tells her the truth about how she’s not really Molly’s mother and that she’s really Ash’s mother. She’s shocked at this, which still is confusing to me. Maybe it’s possible that she confused Delia with her real mom since they’re in the pictures together, but that would indicate that she doesn’t remember what her real mom looks like. She’s only been gone for two years, so I’m not sure how plausible that is.

Anyway, Delia and Ash try to get Molly to leave with them, but Molly doesn’t want to go. She freaks out, which causes the Unown to go crazy as well. They create huge spikes of crystal all around Molly’s room and separate Ash and Delia. Entei returns to see what’s going on, and Molly alerts him to the fact that Ash is taking Delia away.

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“You can’t possibly be my mother’s child. You don’t have random lightning bolt shaped lines on your face.”

While trying to get his mom out, another huge spike separates Ash and Delia completely while Entei confronts Ash.

Sooooo….I’m guessing Misty lost? That was all we got for her battle? One and a half matches? We never even saw the outcome of Mantine vs. Staryu. I mean, since Molly’s dream Pokemon are so unreasonably strong, she was probably doomed to lose anyway, but I still would’ve liked to have seen the full battle. Especially when you’re in such a cool battle environment as that. How disappointing. 😦

That actually means that Poliwhirl and Psyduck, Misty’s most-seen Pokemon outside of Togepi, don’t get seen in this movie. Weird.

Ash challenges Entei to a battle and uses Totodile, but it’s quickly defeated by Entei’s weird purple energy ball attack things.

Next up, Ash uses Cyndaquil. Yes, use a base evo Fire starter to beat a Fire legendary. That won’t fail miserably or anything.

After that fails miserably, Ash makes Molly upset by vehemently stating that Entei is just an illusion. Due to her outburst, the Unown create even more spikes and Entei charges at Ash. Pikachu tries to fight off Entei, but ultimately doesn’t do more than just just stave off its attacks and run. Entei gets in one good shot and blasts Ash and Pikachu out through the wall, sending them to a fifty story fall.

Well, they’re dead.

Except.

Could it be?!

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Yes! It’s Charizard to save them in the completely unrealistic and insanely convenient nick of time. Awh but we forgive him mostly because that was awesome and everyone loves Charizard. Plus this means Entei vs. Charizard. Hell yes.

Charizard and Entei fight for a bit and nearly knock Ash out of the gaping hole in the wall again.

Well, he’s dead.

Except.

Could it be!?

Yes! It’s Misty, Brock and Team Rocket making a human chain to save the day. Congratulations Team Rocket, that is the only thing you’ve done this entire movie. Seriously, all they’ve done is walk around.

They also mention that the reason that they saved Ash was because if anything ever happened to him they’d be out of show business. While this is yet another instance of breaking the fourth wall, I can’t say they don’t have a point. If the creators of Pokemon ever decided to ditch Ash in lieu of someone else, I can bet you anything Team Rocket wouldn’t be there. Their whole schtick relies on Ash and Pikachu. Unless Ash handed off Pikachu to someone else, they’d be out of a job TV-wise.

Through all the examples of friends and family, Ash tries to convince Molly to come with them, even offering the chance to have real Pokemon. However, Molly still won’t believe them and freaks out again, prompting Entei to go on the offensive.

They have a really awesome battle, probably one of if not the coolest and best choreographed ones I’ve seen in Pokemon to date. That coupled with the really good cinematography makes this look amazing.

Entei eventually knocks Ash and Charizard out of this sky and pins Charizard’s neck with intent to kill him with an energy blast…..Damn. Things just got real….or imaginary. I’m not sure anymore!

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Molly steps forward and tells him to stop, which he immediately does. Molly runs up and hugs Entei while pleading for him to stop the fighting. Entei looks gently at Molly and removes his foot from Charizard’s neck.

Brock and the others then praise Molly for her wise choice.

Brock: “A big part of battling, is knowing when to stop.” We interrupt this movie for deja vu from the first movie.

And now back to our feature presentation.

Misty tells Molly that she could easily be a gym leader in the future if she truly wanted to, and they try to convince her to go with them including one more cheesy line from Brock about friendship being real.

She’s still not sure, but Delia extends her hand to Molly and says that her papa would want her to go with them. Molly slowly walks towards Delia, grabs her hand and quietly wishes for everything to be real once more.

The crystals start to go away in response to Molly’s wish, and Entei starts to walk away as well. Molly asks where he’s going and Entei responds that he was created to be her father and make her happy in the reality made by the Unown. If she’d rather be in the outside world, he can’t stay with her.

Suddenly, the crystal starts reappearing in droves and surrounds them with spikes. Entei makes them a path to the exit with his energy blasts and the group tries to make their escape.

Back at the Pokemon center lab thing, Oak tells Ash and the others that the Unown have generated so much psychic energy in granting all of Molly’s wishes that they can no longer control it. If Ash and the others don’t get away from the crystal soon, they’ll be trapped in the Unown’s reality forever.

They continue to escape, but we see that all of Greenfield is being covered in the crystal as well. The only way to stop it is by stopping the Unown.

They find the Unown and you will never, ever guess what Ash decides to do when he gets there. Multiple choice time!

Does he:

A) Develop a sophisticated plan of draining the Unown of their power.

B) Want to have a Pokemon battle with them to see if he can defeat them and stop them from getting out of control.

C) Create a way to contain the Unown’s psychic powers through the use of thoughtful ingenuity

or

D) Charge headfirst into the cluster of Unown like a braindead antelope.

If you answered D, you obviously know our little Dumbash very well.

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I mean, what the hell? Is this becoming a movie staple or something? First he does this to Mewtwo in the first movie, then he does it to a cage that can restrain a legendary in the second and now this. Ash, sweetie, you are not a Pokemon. And even if you were, your Tackle attack sucks!

He hits a psychic barrier because he’s a dimwit, and then he calls on Charizard to try to blast through it. He seems to succeed, but ends up getting blown back by the psychic energy. Pikachu, in an effort to not suck for once in this entire movie, tries to do the same. He also enjoys a degree of success for a bit but gets blown back. What’s wrong with you today, Messiahchu? Did they nerf you in the movie patch? He and Charizard then try to blast the barrier together, but still fail.

Entei returns with roar (awesome) and starts blasting the crystal away. He jumps down and tells Molly that he was happy to be her father for the time that he was able to be, and the last thing that he can do for her is help her get out of the Unown’s reality. Molly asks how he can do it and Entei responds that he was created from her dreams and if she believes in him there’s nothing he can’t do.

This may sound corny, and it is, but this is actually a rare occasion where “you just gotta belieeeeevvvveee” actually makes a lot of sense. Entei’s right. He was created from the Unown’s power to grant Molly wishes. This entire reality was made to sate Molly’s wishes. If Molly believes in Entei, wishes he had the power to beat the Unown, then it’s perfectly logical that the wish would be granted and he’d actually be able to overpower them.

Molly gives Entei some encouragement, acknowledging him as Entei and not as her father. After some struggling, he shoots off a different blue and might I add pretty energy blast into the cluster of Unown, stopping them immediately.

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The secret’s in the flavor crystals.

Entei bids his farewell to Molly and damn, this movie still tugs at my heartstrings. I’m gonna miss you too, Entei. 😦

As he disappears, so do the Unown and all of the crystal that has covered the mansion and Greenfield. We also see Spencer being returned to the temple. Still don’t know why they took him to begin with. Guess the explanation will always be. *sunglasses* Unknown.

 

The group gazes in awe at the beauty of Greenfield and Professor Oak and the others arrive to meet them. As they greet each other, Molly sees a cloud in the shape of Entei in the sky and dammit movie, stop it! I’m going to cry!

Our last scene is Team Rocket basically stating that they’re stuck in the mansion because there’s too many police outside and after some blah blah, they bid everyone goodbye by saying Team Rocket’s fading out again…..Which, they shouldn’t be doing directly out that window because the cops will see them.

And we start our credits, but unlike the other movies, the end credits actually continue the story a little bit. We see Molly and her father reuniting at the mansion, Ash and the others bidding goodbye to Charizard (for now anyway.) and then the group saying goodbye to Lisa. We do get our regular miscellaneous shots of fields and the group traveling. We also see Oak and Tracey at the lab, Delia and Mr. Mime at home…Wait, it was more vital to see them saying goodbye to Lisa than his mom? That’s just rude.

We cut back to the mansion where Molly is playing around with a real Teddiursa that I guess she might own when Spencer comes out to meet her and he’s not alone. He brings out Molly’s mother and it stands that this whole mother thing is the most confusing thing about this movie.

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I’ve read that the dub explanation, as I stated, was her disappearing from the powers of the Unown since she was also researching them, but they couldn’t have been the same Unown from that temple or else she would’ve been released where Spencer was. Is she emotionally scarred from being in Unown purgatory for over two years?

Keep in mind, I didn’t get any of this from watching the movie even for this review. All they ever stated was her mother went missing and it was extremely slightly hinted upon that Unown may have had something to do with it. If I never looked it up, I never would’ve guessed that was the reason. In fact, when I first saw this movie, the best I could assume was that her mother was either on a long trip or randomly missing and suddenly found. Her mother could’ve been completely omitted from the movie and I never would’ve cared or questioned it.

In terms of ending themes, this is the first time that we only get one lyrical song for our ending, Innosense’s To Know the Unknown and I really love this song. I have it on my iPod, I sing along to it. It’s really nice. The only other song is gentle piano music that I think is Molly’s theme or something, and that is really nice as well. It’s very calming.

Bottomline: I do have my problems with this movie, but they’re not really important, and I stand by my statement in saying that this is my favorite Pokemon movie ever. It may be one of my favorite movies period. The art is crisper, the animation is better while some shots may still be shaky, the CGI is actually really great barring the Unown, the cinematography and battle choreography was great, the backgrounds are lovely and Ash is really tolerable in this movie too. He actually thinks for a change, has good ideas and all he really wants is his mother back. Okay, he’s insanely stupid once, but he’s Ash, he has a stupid quota to fill.

Misty and Brock actually not only get stuff to do but they get to friggin’ battle. I think that’s the first time in any movie that they’ve actually battled. Granted, you only saw half of Misty’s cool underwater battle, which is kinda a ripoff, but still. Hell, Delia even gets plenty to do, though I do find it weird that we never saw a scene with her and Spencer considering they were supposed to be such good friends.

The only ones who really did nothing this entire movie was Team Rocket. You could bring up that scene with the human chain rescue, but come on, they weren’t all needed to pull Ash back up. He’s a spindly ten year old boy not the Blob. Misty and Brock probably would’ve sufficed on their own.

Molly is also a very likable character. She’s a believable little kid without being whiny or bratty and you really feel bad about her situation even if she’s inadvertently causing chaos. I wish we had gotten to see more of her and Spencer in the series, but I guess they’re doomed to the fate of 99.8% of CotD’s.

Entei is one of my favorite legendaries and Dan Green just did a fantastic job voicing him. The relationship between Entei and Molly is also very believable, cute and sad at the same time. You can really tell that Entei truly loved Molly and Molly truly loved him even if he wasn’t her real father.

I’ll be a grouch here and doubt that they ever made another movie as good as this one. Granted, I’ve only seen movies 1-7, but they’d be really hard pressed to impress me anymore than they did with this movie.

Recommended Audience: It’s Pokemon. It’s 4Kids. It’s not Scarface.

Bamboo Blade Review

Rating: 8.5/10

Plot: The Moroe High Kendo Team is in seriously bad shape. They have very few members and their instructor seems more motivated by food and money than actually helping improve his team. However, after building up a decent team of both newbies and experienced kendo fighters for the club in order to fight another school on the basis of a bet between their instructor and his old senpai, both he and the team get rared up and ready to fight harder, get stronger, celebrate the victories and deal with the losses.

Breakdown: Bamboo Blade isn’t your typical sports anime, and I say that for two reasons; 1 – it’s about kendo and 2 – the team being focused on is mostly girls. Boys really have the market cornered when it comes to sports anime.

I have to say, this show got me really interested in wanting to learn kendo. Too bad there’s no place within a reasonable distance of me to learn at.

It’s difficult for me to really analyze the story. It encompasses about one full year of the team’s various trials and tribulations. It’s a realistic look at what a team actually goes through instead of being one of those predictable sports anime, shows or movies where the underdog constantly wins because that’s the rules of sports shows.

In fact, the team is in three different tournaments in the entirety of the series and they don’t really put that much emphasis on them. I mean, yeah they’re pumped about them but they don’t showcase many matches, they don’t put a huge weight on the outcome and it’s clear that the entire tournament is really about one match or two. That’s both…disappointing and refreshing at the same time. I say disappointing because, in sports anime, it really is supposed to be a big event to have a tournament. Hell, even Pokemon gives their tournaments a few episodes at least, but in Bamboo Blade, the tournaments are always over within one episode.

Let’s talk about the characters.

Tamaki or Tama is an extremely shy (and by that I mean I had to keep my computer’s volume on high just to understand her most of the time) tiny freshman girl who also happens to be a prodigy at kendo. She was taught kendo since the day she was old enough to properly hold a shinai by her father, a well known and respected kendo instructor who runs his own dojo at their house. After showcasing her skills with a sword…..well, okay, broom, Kirino is itching to have Tama join their team, but Tama states that she views kendo as more of a chore instead of an enjoyable activity and declines.

Later, she finds out that the kendo club is being terrorized by two bullies who are the main reason why the kendo club has lost so many members. In defense of the members of the club, she beats the bullies in a match and officially joins the club.

Tama’s a very nice character and another welcome change from the loud and egotistical main characters that usually spawn up in sports anime. She’s also essentially our main focus in the show…..however, you may notice that I used a word that I really hate to use in sports and gaming anime…..’prodigy’.

Yeah, Tama’s a kendo prodigy who can’t be touched by anyone on their team, not even their instructor. She easily takes down people twice her size and age with ease and everyone is always amazed by her skills and speed. And yes, it does get annoying after a certain point because it essentially devolves into the messiah trope. Everything always rides on Tama’s shoulders and it really seems like, a lot of time, it’s up to the others to merely keep the team’s head above water while Tama ensures their win.

Tama’s not without weakness. Like I said, she’s incredibly shy to a fault. She’s quick to get flustered in situations that she doesn’t know how to deal with, as long as it’s not kendo. But when it does come to kendo she’s nearly untouchable.

I say nearly untouchable because her biggest weakness in kendo is when anyone takes the high stance, an advanced stance that Tama’s deceased mother usually took when fighting. When people take this stance against her, she always tenses up and becomes extremely distracted. However, due to the fact that this stance is for advanced fighters, hardly anyone uses it against her.

Characters like that almost always have to succumb to the other trope of the ‘fallen hero’. Eventually Tama loses a match, and because she’s such a prodigy who has never once lost a match, she is utterly shattered by this revelation that she can indeed lose to the point where she actually resigns from the team.

It’s basically like Yugi’s first loss in YGO only without the catatonic state and having a loved one’s soul on the line.

I mean, I’ve never been nearly so good at something that I’ve never lost at it, so maybe I just can’t relate, but when you’re on a team of people who frequently lose and still manage to get back up every time and learn from it, what kind of message is that sending them to quit after your very first loss EVER? Hell, her first loss coincides exactly with another character, Miya-Miya, also basically quitting kendo because she also lost in the same tournament Tama did, but the reason she quit was because she had never once WON in kendo even after training her ass off for months.

Tama is a really good character and despite the messiah-ism, she is very enjoyable to watch while fighting. To be fair, she actually had a fairly good reason for being as affected by that loss as she was. She still viewed kendo as a chore with her ultimate goal being to do nothing but win, and it didn’t help that her team was constantly shoving it in her face that she was a shoe-in and would definitely win no matter what. When she finally lost, she also lost that sense of purpose and had to decide whether she still viewed kendo as a chore or if she now truly enjoyed it.

Tama has a strong sense of righteousness and justice, which is part of what drives her to join the kendo team to begin with. This is due to the fact that Tama’s actually quite the big anime geek, most notably with a Power Rangers (or more to the point, Super Sentai) -type series called Blade Bravers. Tama’s soft-spoken and generally passive attitude can easily be felled when Blade Bravers or anime is involved, She’s especially inspired by the leader of the Blade Bravers, the Red Braver, whom she bases much of her personal philosophy on.

Her one true rival over the course of the series is actually someone who idolized a character named Shinaider, a villain and I guess anti-hero in Blade Bravers.

Ishida is the team’s instructor and, at first, he really comes off as a lazy and somewhat flippant kendo instructor. He leaves most of the team’s activities to the team captain, Kirino, in the beginning and really only becomes inspired to actually make something of his team after gathering more members for a match between his girls’ team and that of his old senpai, Ishibashi, on the basis of a bet.

Ishida lives paycheck to paycheck and is constantly scrounging together money, even from his students, to barely be able to eat. Thus the bet is that Ishibashi will take him out to a sushi dinner if he wins and Ishibashi gets the trophy Ishida won from their last kendo tournament if he loses. Ishida doesn’t give a crap about the trophy, he just wants the sushi.

However, he eventually matures and grows to deeply care about his team and wishes nothing more for them than to grow and get stronger while also having as much fun as possible.

Kirino is the team captain and has been called the heart of the team by Ishida. Kirino is by far the most enthusiastic and optimistic of the team and she basically stood as the team’s sole member before recruiting the others.

Kirino is always the first to cheer on her teammates and she does it loudly and proudly. She is also not one to ever discount or look down upon fellow team members, no matter their skill level or even their attitude. She seems like a really great person to have as a friend. Kirino’s biggest weakness is the fact that she overextends herself to please others and always puts on a smiling face no matter how much she’s going through.

Yuji is one of very few male members of the team and he’s a very handsome lawn ornament—I mean character! Yeah that…Look as much as I like Yuji as a character, he’s very nice, well spoken, knowledgeable in kendo etc…..he doesn’t do much…He’s just kinda there. He gives pep talks to characters, usually Tama, but as a team member, he doesn’t do much.

See, since the focus is mostly on the girls’ team, this means that almost all of the male team’s activities are non-existent. Yuji usually spars with the only other active male member of the club, that he actually recruited, Danjuro or Donny and really that’s about the only person you even see him fighting at all. It’s a shame too because Yuji seems to be almost as passionate and knowledgeable at kendo as Tama. He was on his junior high team and was part of the dojo that Tama’s father runs. It’s also implied that Yuji and Tama have a bit of a thing going together, but the hints that are there are fairly subtle and they’re both clueless about the opposite sex.

It’s even worse considering that he doesn’t even really grow or change at all over the series. Donny at least shows that he’s getting better and has clear weaknesses that need to be addressed (his height allowing for easy head strikes) while also showcasing his actual strengths. With Yuji, there’s nothing. Again, he’s just kinda there.

Danjuro or Donny as he’s nicknamed in the English dub, is a very short and weird looking little guy who is full of enthusiasm and on some occasions himself. He’s recruited by Yuji after Ishida informs him that they need more members, though his membership is basically moot since, as I said, the boys’ team really does nothing.

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Donny’s a very laid back and kind individual as well as being Yuji’s best friend, but he’s mostly preoccupied with his girlfriend, Miya-Miya, who most people can’t believe he’s dating due to their stark contrast in physical appearance. They’re usually being incredibly lovey-duvey with each other. It’s somewhat weird in the first few episodes, but their relationship actually grows and becomes very sweet over time……even if Miya-Miya initially liked Donny because he reminded her of her old pet pangolin….

Speaking of Miyako or Miya-Miya, she was arguably the most complex character and a really surprising one at that. When she first showed up, she really seemed like she’d be an annoying ditz who only cared about her boyfriend and nothing else, but she evolves quite a bit and there is definitely more to her than meets the eye.

Miya-Miya is actually a very angry, dark and violent individual to the point where she’s almost a bully to some people, especially Azuma. When not talking to or being looked at by Donny, she presents a visible dark aura that freaks out nearly everyone. She’s recruited by Donny and initially finds kendo boring, but the darker side of her loves the fact that she gets to fight. She is the greenest member of the team alongside Donny, but whereas Donny (supposedly) grows so much to the point that Yuji says he might surpass him by the time they graduate, Miya-Miya struggles quite a bit and never once wins a match over the course of the series until the very end.

She has two big weaknesses; 1 – The fact that her anger and that she loves to hit people seriously gets in the way of her moves. She fights very aggressively and while this can sometimes work to intimidate fighters, it also results in very sloppy swings, attacks and footwork, allowing her opponents to easily find openings for attack. Sometimes, this anger even causes her to make possibly dangerous moves. For example, she’s the first to showcase a throat strike, which is considered the most dangerous legal move in kendo that only advanced fighters are supposed to employ.

2 – She has a stalker from her old school named Reimi who freaks her out so much just at a glance that she quickly loses concentration and ends up losing. She does eventually get much better both in attitude and skill, and I’m always up for an underdog story.

Saya is Kirino’s best friend and the only other lasting member of the kendo club besides Kirino and the bullies, Iwada and Toyama, before the others join. However, Saya’s initial participation in the club was widely unreliable because of how consumed she gets by wanting to create a wonderful song or great story.

She always finds failures in these areas, which commonly devastates her to the point where her friends treat her outbursts of depression and even suicidal remarks with flippant responses. Saya doesn’t really change much over the course of the series either, but she is a very close friend to Kirino and is always the first to realize when something is wrong with her.

Azuma is the final member of the team to join in order to make a full five member kendo team to be official in tournaments. It takes her half the series to actually become a character with only very brief appearances beforehand. There’s sadly not much to say about Azuma. Both the ED and the OP make her look pretty bad as I had assumed that she was going to be one of those incredibly annoying characters whose only schtick is constantly falling over, but she’s actually fairly bland.

She’s a talented kendo practitioner who ended up quitting kendo when she reached high school. Despite her hard work, constant studying and dedication to her schoolwork, her grades continuously falter because she’s so scatterbrained and makes little mistakes that end up costing her greatly. Since her parents believed kendo was only distracting her more and making her worse, she promised to give up kendo to improve her grades. However, it was noted that she is actually incredibly focused and calculating when she is fighting, and she was convinced by the team to hone these skills to actually help her grades. Along the way Kirino and Donny, who are actually some of the best students at the school, help improve her with her schoolwork. However, this plotline is never brought up again after she joins so we just have to assume it worked.

Azuma is somewhat of a doormat, and she’s the target of some abuse by Miya-Miya. However, despite this, Azuma actually becomes somewhat of Miya-Miya’s own personal kendo teacher, especially after Miya-Miya finds a drive to train much harder in order to beat an American opponent (who obviously has a bitchy attitude, snotty manner of speaking, red hair, huge lips and huge boobs) named Carrie who also has a crush on Donny because he reminds her of her pet armadillo.

Can I just say it’s insanely weird to want to pursue a relationship with someone on the basis that they remind you of an animal?

There are various side characters, mostly opposing kendo teams, who get varying degrees of spotlight. Most of these characters are funny and likable, but they didn’t get enough spotlight in my opinion. I would’ve liked to have seen a sequel to get a rematch against most of the people we saw them fight.

In terms of learning about the sport, you do learn a fair degree about the footwork, stances, terms, strikes and strategies involved in kendo, and I really enjoyed learning about the sport as it’s always been one to intrigue me after seeing it showcased in several forms of media.

This show handles both the drama and the comedy extremely well. None of the drama was unbelievable or seemed like it was thrown in to hook audiences. Some of the situations seemed a bit hokey like the tournament involving a serious cheater (and by serious I mean she injures people before the match to either make them quit before the match even starts or to humiliate them and make them suffer during the match if they decide to fight anyway) but it’s nothing too drastic.

Art: The art was very sharp, bright and appealing. It mixed a shoujo-like style with more realistic very well. The animation was also very fluid and clean with nary a hiccup or odd scene in sight.

Music: I really loved the music, OP, ED and BG for the series. It’s somewhat generic, but it adds its own flare to make it more unique. Although, I’d like to know what ‘I’m calling the star rise’ means….I will say that one of the sentimental pieces of BG music was starting to get irritating. Considering that there’s one to five tender moments in nearly every episode, it starts to get grating, but only towards the very end.

Voice acting: English – Funimation provides superb quality yet again. The English dub was excellent, maybe one of their best works I’ve seen so far. Only thing I’d note is that Tama is just too quiet sometimes.

Bottomline: This is a very enjoyable sports anime with plenty to enjoy in terms of characters, story, comedy, drama and of course kendo. Even if you don’t like sports anime or kendo, this is still a good watch just for the characters, comedy and the actually believable storyline.

Recommended Audience: This show is basically as clean as you could possibly get. Even the episode that states ‘first public bath’ shows no nudity (in fact, I’d call foul on that title because they completely skip the bath scene entirely). There’s no real swearing, no sex, no blood, no gore. The absolute worse thing that happens is one of the characters injures their ankle, and even that’s just a bad sprain. E FOR EVERYONE!

Cardcaptor Sakura Episode 8 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Card(s) of the day:

Thunder – A dangerous card with the power of lightning, Thunder’s main weakness is Shadow.

Plot: A new boy transfers into Sakura’s school/class named Syaoran Li and he seems to have some vendetta against Sakura from the moment he lays eyes on her. When he reveals himself to be from a family that has a strong connection to the clow cards and demands the cards that she has in her possession, things get all the more complicated. The situation is made even worse when the Thunder card appears and Syaoran shows up during battle. Will Syaoran prove to be a problem or a useful ally?

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Nitpick? The tower in Sakura’s dream is Tokyo tower. In the dub, they just call it ‘a tower’.

In the original, Kero tells Sakura that because she has magical powers now that the dream she’s been having could be a foretelling dream and that she might meet the boy in Chinese clothes very soon. In the dub, Kero basically tells her that she needs to find the clow cards….in a very confusing way. I dunno what they were going for there.

A panning shot of the outside of the house is removed, but the actual shot of the house is kept.

Hey who wants another girly pop song? Me either, let’s move on.

In the original, Toya tells Sakura that she was slow getting out of the house because she ate too much breakfast. In the dub, he says she’s late because she spends all her time in her room talking to herself.

Two shots of Yukito are removed. One from so far away that you can barely see him and another shot of him under the tree.

Tori harps on Sakura talking to herself/her toys, unlike the sub which mocks her for making noises ‘like a monster’ while having a bad dream.

In the original, Yukito’s foretelling dream was that he’d have roasted fish for breakfast, which he did, and was so amazed by it that he had six extra bowls of rice. That’s too Japanese, so let’s make it French toast!

Hey now, I believe we’ve had quite enough of Yukito in this episode. In the original, Tomoyo tells Sakura that she’s in a good mood today and Sakura tells him it’s because she spent the ride over to school with Yukito. In addition, he gave her another candy just like the one from the first episode. We then see a shot of him throwing the candy to her as he rides away. Then Tomoyo says that he always has food on him. In the dub, we have a completely pointless conversation talking about Madison’s new digital camcorder and all the features on it. The candy, the flashback and any mention in the slightest of Julian is no more.

Visuals:

A shot of the teacher catching a glance to Rika, one of Sakura’s friends, and then coughing as she smiles at him is cut out.

Name…change/mispronunciation? Syaoran Li is changed to Li/Lee Showron. I had to look it up to see if they were just outright mispronouncing it or if they actually changed it and that is the correct spelling for the dub; Showron.

Well, this is just a dumb paint edit. In the original, the teacher writes Syaoran’s name on the chalkboard. Nelvana digitally paints this away, but it’s incredibly obvious that the teacher was just writing something on the board. Is it invisible chalk, Nelvana, or did you forget how to write?

Subbed: CCSSDCEP8SCREEN5

Dubbed: CCSSDCEP8SCREEN6

A scene of the middle of class with Sakura trembling in worry from Syaoran is edited out.

Visuals: CCSSDCEP8SCREEN7

A scene where Syaoran stops Sakura in the stairway to bring her outside to talk to her is edited out, which makes the sudden jarring transition to them talking in private…sudden and jarring.

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The chant to use the Chinese compass is too long to explain exactly what was changed, but it was changed somewhat. Much in the same way Sakura’s chants get changed. Also, they removed all of the glowing Chinese text from the scene which makes it, dunanana SUPER BORING. Also, I’m gonna say this is a moment where they’re kinda missing the forest for the trees. That compass could not be more covered in Chinese markings, yet they HAD to paint away the glowing Chinese characters from this scene.

Subbed: CCSSDCEP8SCREEN9

Dubbed: CCSSDCEP8SCREEN10

In the original, Sakura tells Syaoran that Kero doesn’t have the power to become his true form anymore. Syaoran tells her that Keroberos uses the symbol for ‘sun’ in his name, meaning that the powers of Fire and Earth will restore his abilities. However, Sakura tells him that she doesn’t have those.

Later, she explains that she’s been collecting the cards since April and he mocks her for not having collected them all yet….To be honest, he has a point. She’s not so much ‘looking’ for clow cards so much as dealing with them when they appear.

Toya originally states that the stance Syaoran’s taking is one he’s unfamiliar with. Then he theorizes that it’s a form of Chinese Martial arts. In the dub, he just threatens Li.

Originally, Yuki mentioned he had Nikuman as well as pizza bread and curry bread. In the dub, there’s no mention of what the food is. They show shots of it, though, so I guess kids are just supposed to think they’re bread or something.

They cut out a shot of a blush appearing on Syaoran’s face before he runs off.

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A scene of Sakura with a cartoony confused face wondering what just happened is also edited out.

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Semi-long scene time; in the original, Rika parts ways with Tomoyo and Sakura, then Sakura points out that her house isn’t in that direction. Tomoyo says Rika’s off to buy a gift for someone that she likes and apparently this guy is older than her. She then tells Sakura that she should take that kind of initiative with her crush.

This is edited out because yet another instance of a girl having a crush on an older guy. I realize this is ‘worse’ seeing as how the guy in question is her teacher and has to be like at least mid-20’s early 30’s instead of Yukito’s likely 15-16 years old, but it can’t be uncommon. I can’t say I’ve been in that situation myself. 99% of my teachers were female and the only two male teachers I had were not exactly crush worthy, but I imagine it happens all the time. Also, isn’t a fairly common sitcom plotline where the young boys have a crush on their super hot substitute teacher or something? Unless the teacher felt the same way, in which case, edit away, Nelvana!

Visuals:

In the original, Sakura says she’s tried to call Kero to talk about Li as he’s usually in a good mood when he first gets up, but he’s probably asleep. He won’t answer the phone and he’s known to not wake up for anything until he’s ready to wake up. In the dub, they make a joke out of this. They have Sakura say that Kero’s probably planning their next move now, but then we cut to him sleeping by the phone.

In the original, Kero states that Syaoran Li is likely a member of the Li clan, which is stemmed from the creator of the clow cards, Clow Reed. He was born of a Chinese mother and British father, thus the clow cards are somewhat of a mix between western and eastern magics. This is apparent in the fact that the magic circles on the cards contain both English and Chinese characters. (This bit is shown when the clow circle is shown behind Sakura.) Reed’s mother was part of the Li clan, so, in a way, Syaoran’s probably a very distant relative of Clow Reed.

In the dub, Kero basically repeats the same dumb catchphrase “Expect the unexpected” and says to forget about silly schoolyard rumbles and that the real thing to focus on is collecting the clow cards. This entire episode Kero’s being nothing but a broken record about collecting the clow cards. It’s freakin’ annoying. The circle appears behind Sakura in the dub simply because they’re discussing the clow cards, and the possibility that Li’s a descendant of Clow Reed isn’t brought up until the end of the conversation. None of the stuff about him being born of a British Father and a Chinese mother as well as the stuff about the magic being a mix between Chinese and English characteristics is kept.

They cut out a line exchange where Sakura asks why the outfit of the day has a cat theme and Tomoyo says because it’s cute, switching it to just talking about the lightning-resistant material it’s made out of.

Another small line about the compass being left to Clow Reed’s mother, thus it being a family heirloom is removed.

During one of the shots when Kero’s getting angry, he says that he’s been in Western Japan long enough to know that he can forgive being called an idiot, but not a moron. This is changed to just telling the two to stop arguing.

Dub Sakura: “Shadow! Release and Dispel! Return to your power confined!” Uh, Sakura, you’re catching Thunder not Shadow…you already caught that card remember?

Well, this is weird, the Shadow and Thunder cards are digitally manipulated to look more painted, I suppose. Forgive the crappy quality here.

Subbed: CCSSDCEP8SCREEN17

Dubbed: CCSSDCEP8SCREEN18

Leave it to Kero! Kero’s Corner:

Because of a line change in Kero’s corner, a certain shot makes no sense. In the original, Kero states that the cat ears on Sakura’s costume for that week were cute, but then we see a shot of Kero’s ear and he says ‘not as cute as mine, huh?’ In the dub, he’s basically jabbering about high tech whatnot and no explanation as to why there’s a shot of him in there is given.

Next episode, Sword’s debut. A shopping trip to get some broaches leads Sakura’s friend Rika to the Sword card disguised as a broach. It takes over her mind and wreaks havoc. Will Sakura have to fight her friend to seal Sword?

Pokemon Episode 28 Analysis: Pokemon Fashion Flash

Pokemon Episode 28 title

CotD: Suzy – One of the brightest rising stars in the breeding world, Suzy believes in nurturing a Pokemon’s inner beauty above all else. Brock is her biggest fan and aspires to be her pupil. Suzy loaned Brock her beloved Vulpix, which, in turn, became his most precious Pokemon.

Reappear?: Yes. After over 100 episodes and well into the Johto saga, Brock finally comes across Suzy again.

Pokemon: Suzy’s not a Pokemon trainer, but she has a seemingly high level Vulpix that is her best friend. Vulpix does not take kindly to strangers picking it up, but is a very kinda, well-behaved and gentle Pokemon.

Captures?: Not technically a capture, but went on for so long that it may as well have been, Suzy loans Vulpix to Brock for a while. Vulpix becomes Brock’s trademark Pokemon for several years until he finally returns it in Johto.

Plot: Brock has taken Misty and Ash down a street in Celadon City called Scissor Street or Breeder’s Lane. It is an area chock-full with everything a breeder could ever want or need. It’s saturated in breeder salons and supply stores and breeders from all over go there to stay up to date on the latest trends and fashions.

One of the newest hot spots for Pokemon fashion is Salon Roquet. While many people are flocking to their doors, including Misty, their fashions are less than well-received by Ash, Brock and many of the Pokemon getting the makeovers since they’re being overloaded with baubles, bows, weird hair designs, clothes and gaudy add-ons.

Turns out, Team Rocket is behind the business, looking to make themselves rich off of this venture.

Brock finds the shop he’s been looking for – a rather modest salon run by a beautiful woman named Suzy, who is a very talented and acclaimed breeder. While Misty gazes in awe at Suzy’s Vulpix, Brock fumbles over himself trying to introduce himself to her. He shocks everyone when he suddenly asks Suzy if she’ll take him on as her pupil.

Suzy is forced to decline his request since she’s far too busy with breeding to take on pupils, but commends him greatly for developing Pokemon food that her Vulpis will eat since it usually won’t eat any food not prepared by her.

They start discussing the newest fashion trends and Suzy states that she doesn’t like how the focus is now on improving a Pokemon’s outer beauty more than their inner beauty. She believes a Pokemon’s true strength comes from inside and that a breeder is meant to bring out that inner beauty, not focus on superfluous fashions. Misty disagrees and states that some Pokemon would probably like to get dressed up, but Ash argues with her stating that those fashions are stupid and it’s what’s inside that matters most.

Misty becomes enraged and decides to go to salon to makeover her Psyduck.

In order to combat the more vain views of Salon Roquet, Brock comes up with the idea of Suzy doing a public lecture on the benefits and techniques of Pokemon care, specifically massage. It’s a huge hit and people flock to her salon, even draining the customers at Salon Roquet.

Misty stands as their lone customer and Team Rocket takes this opportunity to kidnap her and grill her for info on how to steal Pikachu. She believes Psyduck has abandoned her, but it’s actually gone to Suzy’s salon in a panic to get Ash’s help.

When Ash and the others arrive, Team Rocket reveals that they were using the salon as a cover for a plan where they’d steal any rare Pokemon that came into the shop, though they never actually did that. They offer Misty in exchange for Pikachu, but he won’t hand him over. Team Rocket starts the battle by sending out their dressed up Ekans and Koffing. Ash sends out Pikachu, fully charged from being massaged at Suzy’s salon, and Brock sends out Geodude.

Geodude uses Seismic Toss on Ekans, but it saves itself by coiling up and rolling into Pikachu. Pikachu is able to also save itself and Thundershocks Ekans and Koffing. However, the attack is ineffective as they spin around in circles to avoid the electricity.

Koffing uses Sludge on both Geodude and Pikachu, blinding them. As they’re about to finish them off, Koffing and Ekans both fall over due to the clunkiness of their costumes.

As Meowth joins up, they try once again to finish it, but Suzy and Vulpix intervene. In an effort to teach them the true beauty within a Pokemon instead of focusing on their appearance, she commands Vulpix to use Fire Spin and blasts them off.

Brock explains to the audience that outer beauty masks a Pokemon’s inner strength, which is what truly needs to be nurtured, causing them to shed the various clothes, accessories and makeup of their Pokemon.

Later, Suzy explains that she realized she still has much to learn in the world of breeding, no matter how many awards she’s gotten for it. She decides to close down her shop and go on a journey to learn more. Impressed by Brock’s attitude and skills, she decides to let Brock raise Vulpix for a while. Brock happily accepts and they part ways.

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– As you can guess, this was another episode I had on VHS and it was probably the episode that got the most mileage because 1) Brock’s being hilariously adork-able in this episode and 2) FREAKIN’ VULPIX, PEOPLE! WHOO! Vulpix was and still remains as one of my favorite Pokemon of all time. Fire types are my favorite Pokemon type, foxes are my favorite animal, and it’s Vulpix! It’s so cute my brain short circuits when it’s on screen.

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo when they say ‘Pokemon’ in the titles? Geez how long does this go on for? It’s way surpassing my original estimation.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen1
A healthy dose of brief AAML for the nostalgic old people like me.

– There are some weird disconnects in this episode, in my opinion. First, it’s always been weird to me in the first place that raising and caring for Pokemon has been known as Pokemon breeding. I mean….supposedly having a pure lineage is important in judging real-life animals such as dogs and horses, even if there’s evidence to suggest that pure-breeds actually have more physical problems than mutts, but that has nothing to do with Pokemon breeding.

The one thing that never seems to be brought up when talking about breeding is…well…breeding. It’s mostly developing Pokemon diets and health programs to keep them in the best condition that they can possibly be while also sometimes learning and giving medical care and grooming. I just feel like they should’ve given it a much more fitting name like….Pokemon…Health…Person….Okay, that’s awful. But still, there has to be a more fitting name for this practice than ‘breeder’.

Second, grooming seems to be a very small aspect of Pokemon breeding, and fashion seems to be no real part of it. It’s all about focusing on a Pokemon’s physical, mental and emotional health as well as their happiness. I know that this is the point of this episode, but there’s nothing technically wrong with what Team Rocket is doing here. If people like to dress up their Pokemon, as long as it’s not harming them or making them unhappy, then have at it.

Their biggest mistake here is putting their business under the cloak of breeding superiority. If they had just staked a claim as being Pokemon fashionistas or something, Team Rocket would actually have a legitimately successful business that Ash and the others wouldn’t have to take down in a ‘breeding’s not about goofy fashions’ debate.

– I don’t understand how James even performed any ‘hairstyling’ on a Dodrio….it’s a bird….it has feathers

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen2

– I do like the visual gag about James and Jessie having roses taped to their back.

– I will never tire of that scene where Brock slams his head on the table trying to thank Vulpix for eating his food.

– Ash: “I don’t like it either. It’s pretty stupid to waste your time showing off.” Because you never show off, right, Ash? You humble bumblebee, you.

– Also is anyone else getting deja vu? This whole ‘inside vs. outside’ debate seems an awful lot like the ‘perfume vs. anti-perfume’ argument they had merely two episodes prior. In fact, given Gloom’s mini-lesson, it is the exact same moral.

– This whole debate loses a bit of its spark when you consider that Suzy’s business is not in danger at all. She said herself that she’s incredibly busy with breeding, so this new trend can’t be affecting her customer base very much. Why would it anyway? Team Rocket is just putting makeup and baubles on Pokemon. They still need somewhere to go for Pokemon nutrition, massage, etc.

– Substance with style is just giving a lecture on Pokemon care and a demonstration of a Pokemon massage? And it’s so popular that Team Rocket’s shop is empty because of it. Certainly if Breeder’s Lane is filled with breeders, they probably know all this stuff, right?

– It was very important for Ash to learn this lesson on Pokemon massage. I’m sure he’ll utilize it in the imaginary future where Ash retains things he’s learned.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen3
A ticklish Pikachu is an adorable Pikachu.

– I actually like it when Team Rocket gets excited and passionate about jobs that aren’t criminal. Sure, these designs and fashions are gaudy and ridiculous, but they have their moments where they’re legitimately happy making an honest buck. I kinda wish they’d just quit Team Rocket and do that.

– On first glance, before she gets that crap on her face, Misty actually doesn’t look that bad in Team Rocket’s makeover. I’d lose the clips in her bangs and some of the added baubles, but she actually looks fairly decent.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen4

Also, another note of deja vu, Team Rocket making over a member of Ash and Co. seeing as how they did that same thing two episodes ago.

– Team Rocket was wearing their uniforms under their clothes?….why?

– This episode really does have some great comedic moments.

– Suzy: “Beauty research? Can’t you understand that it’s the beauty inside that counts? Each Pokemon is beautiful, we just have to help the Pokemon discover it.”

First of all….they were talking about Misty, not Pokemon.

Second, they never said what’s inside doesn’t count or that it wasn’t most important, even if that is what they think.

Third, beauty research is a thing, even if what they’re doing here is just flatout g-rated ‘torture’.

Fourth, the fashion and beauty industry is also still a thing. I also don’t put much stock in fancy hairstyles, clothes, jewelry and baubles, I’m more of a wash, dry and go type of girl, but I can see the allure in wanting to spiffy yourself up. There’s nothing wrong with it, unless it’s causing some form of harm to you or others.

Again, Team Rocket would’ve been much better off if they stayed away from the breeding label, but they kinda backed themselves into a corner anyway with tying a ten year old girl to a chair and ‘torturing’ her for info…in the lobby of their shop….with their glass doors and giant window….and the door wide open.

– Okay, so Team Rocket wasn’t really being completely legitimate here. Their salon was a front for criminal activities….but their plan was insanely stupid. They were basically planning on luring trainers to the salon, being legit for the most part, and, if or when a person with a rare Pokemon showed up, they would distract the trainer and steal it…..that’s it…..Uh, I do believe the trainer would wonder where the hell their Pokemon was after a while. Would you just steal one Pokemon and then close up shop and book it to avoid the trainer calling the cops?

And there were plenty of good Pokemon ripe for the stealing coming into this place. Two Squirtle, a Bulbasaur (starters are technically rare), Dodrio and even a Raichu, the evolved form of the Pokemon they keep drooling after, yet not a one stolen. This has to be the first time Team Rocket’s plans have failed because they were seemingly too lazy to go through with the main step of it.

– Ekans and Koffing are doing surprisingly well in this match…..Are they really claiming this is because of the costumes? Because that’s kinda dumb. I just don’t see any other reason for this sudden surge in skill.

Also, if they had the ability to dodge/refract electricity by spinning in circles why have they never done it before or done it since?

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen5
Aww, Geodude’s hugging Ekans.

– Remember what I said about Team Rocket sometimes going surprisingly dark?

Jessie: “We’ll give Vulpix a makeover when we get rid of its tails!” Team Rocket wants to amputate Vulpix’s tails…..Holy. Shit.

– I agree with Misty, why the hell are you allowing her to get caught up in the Fire Spin, Suzy?….Is…it because she was interested in the Pokemon makeover and found merit in outer beauty, so the writers decided to punish her? Seriously? Geez, guys, there’s no gray area with you is there?

– Brock: “Did you see that? A cute exterior hides inner strength. That’s the Pokemon’s true personality!”

Okay, Brock, let’s play another game of ‘overanalyze a stupid thing said to overemphasize the incredibly obvious moral of the episode, which, ironically, screws up the whole moral.’

First of all, “A cute exterior hides inner strength”? What? Are you saying cute people and Pokemon are, by default, hiding their inner strength and beauty just because they happen to match society’s views on physical beauty? Like anyone who is attractive doesn’t show or have a real personality? What kind of stupid idea is that? Beautiful people and Pokemon can be assholes just as much as they can have wonderful personalities and the same goes for traditionally ugly or unappealing people and Pokemon.

Or is he saying that trying to change outer appearances with fashion and makeup is wrong because you’re hiding your ‘true’ self from the world? I guess that one might make a bit more sense, but just because you put on something physical does not hide what’s inside, at least not as long as you don’t change your personality when you dress up.

Second, Brock, did your opinions drastically change since Pokemon Scent-Sation? If you want to get technical, perfume is also something people use to make themselves seem more appealing. It’s not something visible, but it is a physical item people use to cover up their natural smell in lieu of something ‘prettier’. Hell, in Erika’s little ‘P-E-R-F-U-M-E’ rant, she specifically says the P is for pretty.

Third, now that I’m thinking about it, how ironic is it that Brock of all people is saying focusing on outer beauty isn’t important when he drools after every pretty girl he sees? Has he ever gone after a girl who was traditionally unattractive?

Fourth, he’s referring to Vulpix taking down Team Rocket with Fire Spin as he says this…..which basically makes the whole moral extremely confused. Yes, outer beauty is unimportant and cuteness masks a Pokemon’s true inner strength…..he says referring to one of the cutest Pokemon in existence that is world-renowned for its beauty, including Pokedex entries that specifically refer to its tails as beautiful and gorgeous, and evolves into something that is arguably even more beautiful and elegant?

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 6

Finally, what the hell does focusing on personality have to do with using Fire Spin? Your Pokemon can have the best personality in the world and still have crappy attacks. Just like you can dress up your Pokemon and they can still do well in battle, like Ekans and Koffing just demonstrated, despite the fall. That has to do with training. Unless you’re saying Suzy massaged her Vulpix into level 42. In which case, screw the dangerous battles. Just prepare for the Pokemon league with a massage marathon.

If you wanted this message to fly at all, you should’ve used a Pokemon that is not usually noted for its cuteness or beauty. Try this episode with a Muk or a Paras or a…Gloom maybe. And make the ‘inner strength’ point of note a triumph of self-confidence instead of a Pokemon attack.

– While I disagree with Misty getting Fire Spun, she deserved it after the fact for yelling at Psyduck for seemingly running away and not helping her when he immediately and, without command, went for help. She’s known Psyduck all of a day and has only insulted the poor thing the whole time, yet it still rushed to her rescue without question. What a bitch.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 7

– Suzy: “and Brock I was very impressed with how you handled your Pokemon in a crisis like that.”

Like….what? He called out Geodude, commanded a Seismic Toss, it technically failed and then Geodude was disabled with Sludge blinding it for the rest of the match.

– Suzy: “I want you to continue your journey too, Brock. From now on, we’re rivals.” There are rivals in Pokemon breeding? Is that like being a competitive veterinarian?

– I don’t really see why Suzy has seen enough of Brock’s skills as a breeder to believe he’s competent enough to care for her beloved Vulpix, especially, as she stated, better than she could. Also, she’s known Brock all of a few hours, if that, yet she trusts him enough to give over her Vulpix?

– How did Brock capture Vulpix in his empty Pokeball when it’s still technically owned by Suzy? Couldn’t Suzy have just handed over Vulpix’s Pokeball to Brock?

– So now Suzy has no Pokemon to practice her breeding skills on. I’m sure that will be real helpful to your quest to improve your skills, Suzy. Actually, this wouldn’t be a huge issue if she was staying at her salon, but she’s closing up shop and going on a journey, so pbt.

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I couldn’t not include this shot.

– James: “Now we need a total makeover – so no one we ripped off will recognize us!” Uh, who’d you rip-off? You offered a service, you provided what was expected, they paid the price you advertised….They’re not entitled to refunds just because ‘doy we realized it’s what’s inside that counts!’

———————————-

I still love this episode, but I will admit I noticed quite a few more glaring flaws in the plot and lesson than I did when I was younger. I’m surprised I actually got ranty near the end. I feel like, given Pokemon Scent-Sation, they should’ve went a different route with this whole episode in regards to the moral because 1) it just does not fit well with Vulpix being the focal point, 2) they seem to demonize outer beauty, natural or otherwise, in their efforts to emphasize inner strength, and 3) they go even further with the ‘outer beauty is bad’ stuff by making the fashion trends as gaudy and ugly as humanly possible.

Gloom, on the other hand, was a Pokemon who, by all intents and purposes, was as unappealing as possible. It’s not really physically cute, it even drools, and it’s noted for its horrible stench. It’s evo is smack between a Pokemon that is pretty cute and a Pokemon who is a little cute and a little beautiful. Yet it’s noted for its great personality in saving Erika and keeping its stench in check around those it trusts. There’s also something poetic about a notably perpetually stinky Pokemon creating wonderful perfumes from its own extract.

I do like Suzy as a character quite a bit, and the comedy in this episode is spot-on, but I can’t help but say the quality is very tarnished by how poorly conceived this episode was as a whole.

Well, maybe next episode will be more relaxing and fun. What is next anyway?

Next episode

..Dammit!