My Poke-Pinions #41, 42 and 169 | The ‘bat Line

Zubat

Name: Zubat’s name is obviously derived from the word ‘bat’ but it’s also taken as a pun since it originates from the onomatopoeia for the sound of an edged tool forcefully piercing something, ‘zubatto’ since it’s a vampire bat. As you can guess, it has the same name in English as Japanese.

I like Zubat’s name just fine. It’s fitting, memorable and snappy.

Fun Fact: In France, it’s called Nosferapti, based off of Nosferatu and ‘pi’ for petit. That is one of the coolest names I’ve ever heard. Remind me if I ever have kids, I’m totally naming one Nosferapti.

Design: Zubat is a bat……*lip smack* Yup.

Okay, maybe I’m not giving Zubat enough credit. I do think Zubat is really cute. I actually am a fan of bats, and this one is pretty adorable. It has a nice blue and purple color scheme, cute little ears, and enough creepiness in the fact that it has no eyes and a perpetually open fanged mouth to at least be a little intimidating.

What I never liked about it, though, are its weird ‘tails.’ Never understood what the purpose was for those tails either practically or as a design choice. I honestly didn’t even know they were tails until I read the Wiki for this analysis. I honestly always thought they were really skinny legs with no feet.

Sprite-wise, I literally have nothing to say about any Gen’s sprites. They’re all decent enough. The animations are sometimes a little spastic, but none I really feel like pointing out.

The only one that might be worth noting is Gen II, which, for some reason, made Zubat’s sprites all insanely dark. I know they’re mostly found in caves, but they’re WAY too dark. It’s hard to make out details on them.

Shiny:

Most people hate shiny Zubat because of the ick green, and I agree, but in other Gens the sprite is more of a lime green, which I’m more receptive to.

I’m not receptive of the yellow/beige they chose for the insides of the ears and wings, though. Gen II had those areas be more of a pink-ish color, which I’m not that happy about either, but it looks better than yellow/beige.

Dex Entries and Backstory: It’s a bat.

Sorry, I won’t do it again.

Really, there’s nothing in the Dex entries that don’t apply to your average bat except that sunlight burns them/causes them to become unhealthy, because vampire lore. I was actually pretty surprised to learn this because, in all my years playing the games and watching the anime, I’ve never heard of this being a thing. Apparently, captured and trained Zubats are somehow more resilient to sunlight and don’t get burned or sick. *shrug*

Zubat’s design was based off of—do I honestly need to keep typing that sentence? Its Poison typing is either based off of the anticoagulant found in bat saliva, which I find hard to believe because anticoagulants are not poison, or its based off of the fact that bats coming carry diseases such as rabies, which is a bit more believable. The whole poison/venom thing has become more common in vampire media. In fact, a manga I’m currently reading, Higanjima, has vampires with venom that instantly completely paralyzes their victims upon a single bite. It also lulls the victim into a state of pure ecstasy.

Well that was a short entry. Only one page….Hmmm….I need something to fill time.

Here, let me grab a Zubat meme real quick.

There we go.

Golbat

Name: Golbat is supposedly derived from the word “gollop” which is another word for ‘gulp’ which is supposed to be in reference to gulping blood because vampire bat. It could also be short for golden-capped fruit bat, which looks nothing like Golbat and is a fruit bat anyway, not a vampire bat.

Honestly, I don’t believe either of these theories. I have never heard the world ‘gollop’ in my life. If the gulping thing was the main inspiration, why not just name it Gulbat? They sound almost identical.

I like Golbat just fine as a name, but I prefer Zubat.

Fun Fact: In France, it’s called Nosferalto, which is also incredibly awesome. The alto part means ‘high’ which I think is in reference to Golbat’s flying abilities.

Design: I think Golbat’s design is the perfect combination of ‘typical bat’ and ‘creepy. I mean, look at this thing. It’s just a bat with a HUGE mouth, but that’s all it really needs to come off as creepy. It’s gaping, never closing, black abyss of a mouth.

I don’t much care for its feet is all I can say in the negatives. They seem like they’re an afterthought, but they don’t bother me nearly as much as Zubat’s tail feet.

Sprite-Wise, YES! I finally get to talk about one of my favorite sets of weird-ass Gen I sprites!

Look at it!

Look at it!

And, of course, the cous de gras, the weirdo Gen I king,

Bask in the glory that is funhouse mirror Golbat with a frickin’ TONGUE. Just when you think the black abyss mouth was the creepiest they could pull off with Golbat’s mouth they give you this nightmare. It makes total sense that he has a tongue, and I’m…..a little certain it probably does have one even though we can’t see it, but GOD. It’s like it swallowed a Lickitung. It’s so messed up and cool, I love it.

Other than that, I have the same notes about Golbat’s sprites as I did with Zubat’s. They’re all fine, Gen II is still way too dark, though, and sometimes the animations are a bit too erratic, but they’re all fine.

Shiny:

Golbat’s shiny has the same problem as Zubat’s shiny only a lot worse because they don’t improve the color with time. It has this weird olive-green and bubblegum/peach color scheme that is putrid. I know I said I liked Zubat’s shiny a tiny bit better with the pink over that weird beige, but this shade just looks awful.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Golbat’s Dex entries are only a little bit more interesting than Zubat’s, this time focusing more on the vampire angle. Golbat targets humans and Pokemon, and it never stops draining blood from its victims, even if it gets too heavy to fly. Moon’s Dex entry goes even further with this and points out that Golbat will quickly become food for other Pokemon if it allows itself to get this heavy (Jeez, these entries are dark.) It also sometimes shares the blood that it’s already gathered, which, what the fuck and HOW?! Does it throw it up? Is there some Golbat bucket hidden in its mouth? Its sharp fangs can puncture any type of skin, except those of Steel-type Pokemon. Attempting to bite Steel-types has caused Golbat to lose their fangs occasionally.

Two other interesting notes are 1) I changes its blood type to that of the victim when drinking blood…which, cool, but why? And 2) even though I noted its little weird legs, it’s apparently very good at walking. So good, in fact, that it can stalk prey silently on land as well as in the air.

Design-wise, it has the exact same information listed as Zubat.

Crobat

Name: Out of all of the ‘bat line, I like Crobat’s name the best. It’s either a merging of ‘bat’ with the word ‘cross’, referencing the way its four wings cross over each other, or it’s derived from the word ‘acrobat’ which is alluding to its skills flying through the air. Both explanations of this name are much better than the explanations we get for Zubat and Golbat. Also, it reminds me of crows, which adds to the creepy factor.

Fun Fact: In France, it’s called Nostenfer, which I like the least out of all of the French ‘bat line names. It just doesn’t flow nearly as well. You almost have to stutter through it. The ‘enfer’ part means ‘Hell’ which is fitting but also not because Crobat’s not nearly intimidating enough to earn that dark name.

Design: Just gonna get this out of the way, because I know how much people tend to love Crobat, but I’ll be honest…..I like Golbat better. Golbat kinda gives off a creepier vibe while still being cute, but Crobat is just like an angry bat. Don’t get me wrong, I love Crobat too. I really, really love the fact that it has four wings that intersect each other when flapping, and the differences in my preference levels isn’t that much, but I still find myself preferring Golbat.

Sprite-wise, not much to note. The flying animations are, again, a bit sporadic sometimes, but it’s nothing that bad. Only one that is noteworthy is Crystal, whose flying animation looks awful. It looks so much more like it’s trying to wave ‘hi’ with both wings than it is trying to fly.

Shiny:

So, everyone has a beef with baby poop-colored Zubat and Golbat, eh? May I ask why I haven’t seen more people complain about this flesh-colored abomination?

Granted this specific shade of pink was only around for Gen III, every other Gen is like a bubblegum pink, but WHY? Why did this happen? And why is it paired up with the classic baby-poop green for the wings?

At least the bubblegum pink does work kinda better, but if I were a shiny Crobat I’d be embarrassed as shit.

Crobat….the final evo of the vampiric ‘bat line. Stalking its prey swiftly and silently…..drinking the blood of any poor creature that crosses its path……IS NOW AVAILABLE IN COTTON CANDY, ROSE, AND BALLET SLIPPER PINK!

Dex Entries and Backstory: Crobat’s Dex entries skew away from the vampire motif for the most part and tend to focus more on its impressive speed and stealth. Its hind legs actually evolved into the second set of wings, making it faster and more agile, but greatly hindered its ability to travel on land.

It can fly super fast and extremely quietly, so much so that most people don’t even notice them going by. Supposedly, you won’t even realize you’ve been fed on until it’s too late. If it has been flying for long periods, it will switch which pair of wings it uses to fly around so it can rest the other pair.

Kinda disappointing pool of info, to be honest.

May I ask I one thing, though? Why does a Pokemon based on bats and vampires evolve through, of all things, friendship?

Design-wise, it’s mostly the same as Zubat and Golbat with two additions. The first is suggesting that the second pair of wings is based on the fact that a bat’s wings are connected by their patagium, which connects all of their limbs into their wings. The increased speed is theorized to be based on the Mexican free-tailed bat, which is noted as being able to reach the fastest horizontal flight speed of any animal.

I don’t really have anything to discuss there. It’s pretty straight-forward.

Next time, it’s the….Uh….I don’t really know what to call this line. They don’t really have a naming scheme. Maybe the Weed/Flower line because two are the Weed Pokemon and two are the Flower Pokemon?…..Oddish, Gloom, Vileplume and Bellossom are up next.

The Ridiculous Mess that is BALDR FORCE EXE Resolution (Episodes 3 and 4 of 4)

Episode 3:

BALDREP3SCREEN2

Toru realizes that Ayane is Yuya’s killer. I’m not even going to bother sarcastically explaining the logical stuff that should be happening right now. Toru just up and charges at her, knocking Akira out of her grasp and beating the everloving crap out of her, yelling how she’ll pay for killing Yuya.

…Okay, I’m not going to argue about some cosmic balancing sheet and what does and doesn’t constitute as proper punishment for what she’s done, if she even deserves one,….but dude….she just got raped and violated in a multitude of horrific ways by a psychopath minutes ago and is having an emotional breakdown. You really think now of all times is the perfect opportunity to exact revenge and nearly bludgeon her to death? Just….really? You’re an awful protagonist. Probably one of the worst I’ve ever seen. I don’t even want to call you a protagonist. You’re an awful person period.

Toru’s stopped before he can kill Ayane by Ren who randomly appears in front of him. Before she can really talk with him, VSS soldiers appear and start placing all of Flak under house arrest. Ayane is placed under actual arrest because apparently she had been leaking information to ‘the enemy’….Which I guess means hackers, but why would she do that? She hates hackers with a passion. I’d imagine it was some information exchange to help her in her revenge plot, but she never displayed signs of having inside information. Even if she did, this is still never explained.

Toru goes out to some random tree and thinks about the pendant that Yuya used to wear that he now wears as a memento…..Was Toru in love with Yuya? There’s nothing really indicating their sexuality, but the way it’s set up, it really seems like Toru had a thing for Yuya. Doesn’t impact the plot much, if at all, but it’s something to ponder.

Tsukina shows up wanting to take Toru somewhere. On the ride, she cuddles up close to him and tells him that she has always loved him and she just wanted to tell him that. Not like Toru looked like he reciprocated her feelings anyway. Despite the fact that you can predict something like this would happen since, of course, she’s his old friend and token girl of his original group, thus, by storytelling law, she must be a romantic interest for the lead, there’s really no indication that either of them had romantic feelings for the other. They hardly shared any screentime. This is never brought up again and goes nowhere so….I dunno. They just wanted to check off that trope?

He finds out that she’s taking him to VSS to speak with her superiors. When he arrives, Tachibana states that she knows he’s been hanging around a mysterious girl in The Wired that they call ‘Envy’ who apparently is connected to the big blackness that instantly makes people’s heads explode with one glance that they call ‘Leviathan’…..Boy, you guys are really pulling all the stops for original names, aren’t you? The Wired, Envy, Steppen Wolf, simulacrums, and now Leviathan?

Anyhoo, they’re surprised that Envy/Ren appeared to Toru and even more surprised that nothing happened to him because of it. So they decide he’d be the perfect bait to lure out Ren. However, he refuses and is soon knocked out by Tsukina.

They decide, if he won’t cooperate, that they’ll make him cooperate by implanting a mind control chip in his brain just like Tsukina.

At this point I should mention that Toru’s been having on-again off-again flashbacks to him as a child playing in a room with a younger Ren as well as other flashbacks of running from some government facility and witnessing weird experiments. He has more of them here, but they don’t build on much.

He wakes up from his flashback/dream to see that Akira and Fei Dao have decided to rescue him from VSS. Tachibana is surveying the damage when she notices the serial number on Toru’s brain chip – 0813.

Back at Fei Dao headquarters, they actually seem like they want to portray Fei Dao as a bunch of resistance hackers or something since it’s like a small underground community complete with little kids. However, considering that they seem to enjoy hacking into Flak for no reason and have no problem killing people to reach their goals (they just killed at least two people in VSS to rescue Toru), and have a sadistic murderer/rapist on their team, yeah no….but nice-ish try I think maybenotreally. Also, what resistance would it be anyway? Flak’s not an oppressive dictatorship – they combat hackers in The Wired.

Toru is introduced to Quon, the leader of Fei Dao, and he’s properly introduced to Lian, a girl who is basically the leader of the Fei Dao in terms of hacking. Quon wonders if Toru remembers him because he lived with him at the VSS testing facility for years.

Here’s where we get the explanation behind Toru’s flashbacks.

BALDREP3SCREEN

Toru was an orphan, I guess, along with his sister, Ren. This turn of events is why her name is odd to me. Toru’s last name is Souma while Ren’s is Mizusaka. Did she just make up that last name for some reason or is there a reason why these siblings have different last names?

Toru and Ren got lost in the forest or something and stumbled upon the VSS building. Apparently the people at the facility kidnapped them and used them, along with many other children, as experiments for a new enhancing brain chip (also, they really can’t come up with any other word for this besides ‘brain chip’?) Many experiments ended up in failure, and many children died as a result. In order to cover their tracks even further, they killed the children who had failed in the experiments but hadn’t died.

Quon, despite being the head researcher behind this entire thing, decided he couldn’t take this anymore and tried to save some of the remaining children from VSS including Toru, Lian, Genha and some others. Toru doesn’t remember any of this because, ironically, he was chosen for an experiment that would bolster his memory if successful, but it failed and left him with amnesia and a damaged brain chip.

Soon after, he starts having clearer flashbacks of Ren…flashbacks that are really cheesy and annoying. Basically the cliché shtick of young loli-girl who can’t do anything on her own and is super shy being protected by her big brother who vows that they’ll always be together when that’s obviously not true. He also remembers that Ren had a big music box thing that she always carried around with her that was a gift from their parents. I know this because they outright say it was a gift from their parents. Why Toru didn’t get one is beyond me.

Toru asks if Quon knows where Ren’s physical body is. He passes on the sad news that he wasn’t able to rescue her from VSS. She was killed due to her experiment failing shortly before Quon decided to rescue the kids from the facility.

Toru doesn’t believe his claims because he’s seen her in The Wired and vows to find Ren’s physical body and bring her back to the real world.

Cut to him going to The Wired and reuniting with Ren and….You know, I just can’t emotionally connect with this. Ren is really annoying, Toru’s just an awful person, and we were quite literally given our only reason for having an emotional connection to this character a minute and a half ago. In fact, and I know Toru had amnesia all this time, but it’s like the anime suddenly said “Yeah, this Yuya thing’s not working for me. Scrap the whole thing and now make him super determined to save his sister instead.”

And that really is what happened. The obsessed Yuya revenge thing is all but completely thrown away and now Toru’s shifted his obsession with bringing his sister back even though Quon said he saw her die.

Toru calls Bachelor, who has been watching this whole time…..creepy, and asks if he’ll help them find Ren’s real body. Bachelor says he won’t do it for free, and Toru offers to work for him if Bachelor helps. Bachelor agrees and they head to the VSS information mainframe to find Ren’s file. After getting through some automatic security detail, they eventually find her file (it’s the only file that has a picture on it, so that was convenient.) but there’s no information on where her real body is.

Bachelor shows up at Fei Dao headquarters after they log out and says they have to go to the old VSS research facility to get anymore information.

As they’re exploring the facility we learn that Bachelor was a research subject too….Wait, as what? A baby? These experiments seem to have occurred like eight-ish years ago and Bachelor is only like 10 at most. I guess his experiment was on his intelligence? I don’t know. I still don’t know what Lian’s experiment was, or Genha’s for that matter. In fact, Genha being one of the experiments really seems like a tacked on way to explain why he’s crazy. Not like it matters since you don’t empathize with him in the slightest.

Toru looks inside one of the sleeping pod things and they discover (dun dun dunnnn) Ren’s body. What a twis–….No, that’s not really a twist either. Quon said he saw her die, and it was a huge long shot that she was alive. Yes, it’s sad that we got visual confirmation that her physical body was dead, but there was little to no hope that she was alive anyway.

He takes the music box, but Bachelor is suddenly shot through the shoulder by VSS soldiers lead by Tachibana. Youmeanshewasabadguywhaaaaa?

Apparently, she is just now finding out that Toru was an experiment, even though, considering how interested she was in Ren’s case, it seems unlikely that she never picked up on the fact that Ren had a brother named Toru – especially considering that his brain chip’s serial number is just one number higher than Ren’s.

Tachibana explains that she didn’t kill Ren. Ren’s experiment was to test the effects of spending extended periods of time in The Wired. Eventually, Ren’s consciousness was broken from her physical body and she became trapped in The Wired. I guess her physical body just died on its own soon after. That doesn’t really make any sense. That’s like saying a coma and death are the same thing. An entity soon developed from Ren’s consciousness – the Leviathan. How? Why? What is it really?

Also, how has Ren been aging if she’s been in The Wired for years? Has she been programming aging into her virtual body?

Tachibana takes Ren’s existence in The Wired as proof that humans can shed their physical forms and become immortal beings in The Wire—*sigh* A villain who wants immortality now too? Could you guys spare some creativity for five seconds, please?

Soon after, they hear Ren’s voice as she’s been listening this whole time through the computers in the facility. She starts freaking out because she just learned that she was dead in the real world and has no way of returning nor can she stay with her brother. She starts blowing up the place…because the facility had…bombs everywhere? I don’t know. Movie logic. Anything with wires can blow up.

Toru’s frozen in shock and sadness and we fade out on Ren’s music box.

Episode 4:

BALDREP4SCREEN

Our finale starts off with Toru sitting in shock and grief at the events that have unfolded around him, but Bachelor knows that they have to get out of there as soon as possible because either the explosions or VSS will kill them both. He tries to move Toru on his own…..oh and his bullet wound and blood stain magically disappear and never reappears. That’s some grade-A consistency.

He eventually does get Toru out and back to the car, but the car is self-driving and is quickly taken over by Ren. She causes the car to crash, but Bachelor and Toru are unharmed.

We then see that Ren’s Leviathan is completely taking over everything in The Wired, which is causing chaos and destruction in the real world.

The Fei Dao group is watching Leviathan consume everything and everyone in The Wired, and Genha, being so ridiculously evil, purposely kicks Akira into the blackness while laughing evilly. He actually seems really happy that Leviathan is consuming The Wired. We get it. He’s evil. Either give him a mustache to twirl or shut up about it.

Thus we are introduced to another big inconsistency/plot hole. Earlier, and several times, they have stated that merely looking at the Leviathan or coming into contact with it causes instant death via head explosion – hence the head explosions in the very first scene of the series. Yet, despite the fact that the Leviathan is consuming everything in The Wired, including people, no one’s dying. Their physical bodies are merely going into comas while whispering Ren’s words. The VSS soldiers manning the firewalls are dying, but no one else. How and why did this change? Why is it only targeting specific people? Did they not want to commit to such a huge body count? Did they think it would make Ren look bad despite the fact that she can’t control Leviathan? That seems like a pretty big issue to overlook, especially considering that Leviathan is a lot stronger than it was in the first scene.

I get that she’d definitely, even just subconsciously, want the VSS soldiers dead for obvious reasons, but why does it seem like the Leviathan is more reasonable and merciful now that it’s entirely out of control? How did this series actually manage to LOWER the stakes?

BALDREP4SCREEN2

Lian picks up Bachelor and Toru on her motorcycle as we see more chaos and destruction in the real world around them. Bachelor says they should go to Flak headquarters as they’re likely one of the few places still with access to The Wired in safe areas. He believes that he can take down Leviathan, but has no clue what will happen to Ren’s consciousness if they go through with it.

They get to Flak headquarters and Bachelor uses the data he gathered from VSS to formulate a plan. The experiments had self-destruct viruses implanted in their matrices to control them if they ever got out of hand. He plans to trigger the self-destruct sequence in Leviathan by creating a virus and using Lian’s matrix pattern or whatever, which is similar to Ren’s, to trick Ren’s matrix into accepting the virus. Even the final solution is just finding a way to implant a virus into the big technobaddie. They‘re really determined to bring nothing new to the table.

While this is seen as a brilliant plan, Toru still wonders what will happen to Ren. Before Bachelor can answer, if he even has an answer, the higher ups in Flak burst in and break up the party. The leader of Flak, the slimy idiot one I’ve yet to mention, not the one who usually monitors the group, is outraged that they’re using their reserve resources in such an emergency without permission. The good leader guy says they’re working to defeat Leviathan but the slimy guy says he’s received a request from VSS to capture Leviathan alive and he’s shutting down any effort to kill it. There’s no real reason why he’s going along with this, he’s just a stupid idiot who has the hots for Tachibana. But don’t worry, good guy leader dude punches him out and the plan’s back on! That sure was a nice waste of time.

Before they head off, good leader dude gives Toru the key to Ayane’s cell and tells him to let her out in order to have her help them fight. He doesn’t want to, but does anyway. Ayane just sits in silence and he angrily throws the key towards her as he leaves. Gee, I wonder if she’ll show up in the last second to save Toru from some threat to ‘redeem’ her character.

Toru and the others head into The Wired to start their mission. Bachelor puts the virus program into Toru’s pendant, and upon activation it will become a knife.

They start their mission to get through to Leviathan’s core, but they run into VSS soldiers who are protecting it. So, of course, the throwaway characters have to ‘hold them off’ until Toru can infect Leviathan. I should also mention that Toru kills several of the VSS soldiers before heading off. Hy.Po.Crite.

Toru makes his way through to Leviathan’s core, but is stopped by Genha who has merged with the Leviathan to make some weird mutated Genha monster thing. No idea why or how, but there he is.

BALDREP4SCREEN3
How is it possible that he somehow looks LESS evil now?

He also calls Toru ‘Big Brother’ so….I have no idea what’s going on with these people. Does he mean literally, is he mocking Ren, or do they just take their group of experiments as siblings? Bachelor never refers to him as ‘brother.’

Genha does his evil psycho bit and fights with Toru. He grabs him and tries to fuse the Leviathan with Toru, but—what’s that? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a predictable hero moment! Ayane charges in to save Toru and since we’re nearing the end, we’ll see what purpose the rape scene had.

Spoiler alert: there was none.

…..Yeah, nothing was affected whatsoever in the character or story because of the rape scene. One could say it made Ayane more determined to take Genha down, but that’s really flimsy. The scene where she charges after Genha here and the one where she does the same in episode two are essentially identical barring the environments. She was already insanely driven to kill Genha because he killed her brother. There was no way to make her noticeably more determined to take down Genha than she already was. What would be the point anyway? Is the murder of a loved one not enough justification? Was this just a really sleazy way of making the audience more invested in this revenge plot? Because wow.

You could also say that it was to illustrate how evil Genha is, but we had a pretty damn good idea. That is literally his entire character – evil dude. It’s not like his mannerisms alone aren’t as subtle as a flaming brick to the groin. Dude kicked Akira into the abyss earlier just for funsies. He’s hardly Mr. Rogers. You could’ve flashed back to Yuusuke being killed and showed how viciously he was murdered or how much joy Genha got from it. Hell, we never actually see Yuusuke’s death. That would’ve been a fitting scene to show. And if you needed some spare runtime, I know of a drawn out rape scene that could’ve been removed.

In conclusion, the rape scene was gratuitous, pointless and awful for sake of awful. You fail on so many levels it’s actually impressive, BALDR FORCE EXE Resolution.

Also, there’s no resolution to the thing with Yuya either, at least in terms of him and Ayane. She never even once talks about it. Toru doesn’t make any effort to talk to her about it besides yelling how she’s a murderer who will pay for what she’s done while beating her in the head.

So.

There’s no resolution.

To the initial conflict.

Of BALDR FORCE EXE Resolution.

Toru doesn’t want to take help from her, but he has no choice so he runs off to infect Leviathan while Ayane fights Genha.

Toru’s really close to the core, but Tsukina starts holding him back. He tries to wiggle free, but the blackness attacks him.

Meanwhile, back with Ayane and Genha, Genha has a ridiculous upper hand and even slices a couple of Ayane’s simulacrum’s limbs off. Genha tries to get her to merge with the Leviathan, but she manages to get the strength to lift her gun and shoot Genha a bunch of times. You’d think getting rid of the gun would be a priority for him. Hell, when he first fought her he took away her simulacrum entirely.

As Genha dies and she falls away, she cries as she says “I’m sorry.” I…cannot make heads or tails of why she said this. Is she apologizing to Genha? Why? That’s the one guy she’s wanted to kill more than anything else. He killed her brother, tortured and raped her. Is she apologizing to Yuusuke? Why? She just avenged him.

Toru’s stuck in a hallucination caused by the Leviathan where he’s back with Steppen Wolf and even Ren’s still alive. The first hallucination takes place in their old hacker hang out but quickly cuts to the beach where we see a panning shot of Ren in a bikini. Wow, you’re one sick puppy, Toru. Ren points out his pendant and asks if she can wear it, but being reminded of the pendant makes Toru remember that it was a memento of Yuya when he died.

This causes the hallucination to shift to some room filled with gears. Visions of his old friends appear, and they, especially Yuya, prompt him to fight off the hallucination. Yuya tells him that he needs to move on and do what he needs to do. He’s dead, Ren’s dead and there’s no way for them to return, but Toru is still alive and he has a chance to live his life and have a future yadda yadda.

The pendant turns into a knife, and Halu-Yuya walks behind them, holds Toru’s knife hand and stabs it into him, causing him to wake up. He finds himself in front of the core—wait where did Tsukina go? She was holding him before the Leviathan attacked.

He approaches the core and it’s just a big ball thing with a giant red “this is the weak spot” bubble on the front. Inside the red bubble is Ren who soon mutates the front of the core to look like a giant Ren. As it approaches Toru, he hallucinates again. This time he’s alone with Ren in some weird dark warehouse. He walks towards Ren and it’s like they edited out the rest of the shot of him walking because it fades from him taking a few steps to him being right in front of her. This was probably intentional, but it looked really strange.

As they’re having their sweet little moment, Ren bites off Toru’s fingers…..well, owwwww. Her face mutates further as some kind of monster and bites off Toru’s leg and bites into his shoulder.

BALDREP4SCREEN4

In The Wired…wait, how does hallucinating while in The Wired work?….Hm. Continuing, in The Wired, his simulacrum keeps getting attacked in the various places that his hallucination keeps getting bit, but it’s really just a bunch of tentacles wrapping around his limbs.

He manages to grab his pendant, which turns into the knife, and stabs Ren through the chest/stabs Leviathan through the weak spot.

As the virus takes effect, we cut back to the same flower field where he first reunited with Ren. She’s telling Toru not to worry because she’s no longer lonely. She’s happy now and can finally move on. She disappears and the end credits run, but that’s not quite the end. We have an under-credits epilogue.

Tachibana is rummaging through her stuff in disbelief that Leviathan was destroyed, but she claims she can make another with the information on some disk….which raises just a whole ton of questions, but I think I’ll spare you and my brain that particularly session of mental gymnastics. Quon corners her in her office with a gun. Tachibana reaches for her own gun, but Quon shoots her before she can grab it and crushes the disk.

The rest of the epilogue’s kinda blah. We see that the city is still shrouded in smoke, but the news crews are still broadcasting. Apparently there was no massive loss of life, just a massive loss of data….oh and all that horrific damage to the city that apparently isn’t worth reporting. However, the cause is being reported as an experiment gone awry by VSS and Tachibana, which, yeah. I sincerely doubt the government wouldn’t try to cover that up, though. When’s the last time the government fucked up so breathtakingly royally and they were all ‘Yeah, that was totally our bad, guys. We accept full responsibility. Here’s exactly what went wrong and who did it.”?

We see more flowers on Yuusuke’s grave and Ayane in a wheelchair leaving the cemetery. I guess when she got her simulacrum’s limbs ripped off, it caused a similar effect to her physical body? I will never understand the exact connection between a person’s physical body and their virtual presence in The Wired. How did so many of those people survive the Leviathan’s attack with little to no side-effects but Ayane ended up paralyzed?

Really great ending to her story, by the way. Her brother is viciously murdered, she’s horrendously raped by the murderer, nearly beaten to death by Toru, and then she heroically saves him and winds up disabled because of it. But she totally deserved all of it because she killed a perceived terrorist while he was trying to steal highly confidential military information after they warned people that doing so may result in lethal force being used, which is a given anyway if you ask me. Top notch writing right there. How has this not won awards?

Tsukina is working at “WeDonald’s” (Personally I’ve always been fond of Inuyasha’s WacDonald’s), Akira’s apparently a computer repairman now, Bachelor…eats ice cream, comic relief lech guy gets promoted….for some reason….He did nothing notable, I really don’t know why that happened. Toru fondly remembers Ren in the flower field and we end.

Art: The art is just okay and some instances are fairly bad. The animation is the same way, although there are some moments where the animation is really janky (like ‘I can see which parts of this character will move because others are seemingly part of the background’ bad spots) The simulacrums and some other aspects in The Wired are CGI and it’s fairly unimpressive CGI. I’d say it’s bad, but not horrible. It just clashes quite a bit with everything else.

Music: The OP is great and the ED is pretty good. The BG music is fairly forgettable.

Voice Acting: Mm, not some of your best work Funimation. The voice acting is in no way bad. Ren got on my nerves a lot, but everyone else was good. As much as I hate to admit this, Genha probably had the best voice acting. He really went all in. The dialogue was a bit hokey sometimes, but I’m not sure how much I can fault Funimation for that.

Bottomline: The initial plot is basically dropped entirely halfway through in lieu of a completely different plot. Toru does say he’ll deal with Ayane later when she fights Genha, but we never see what he does. Kinda hard to root for him if he does end up doing anything to her. Like, whoo yeah, Toru, you go get that……paralyzed rape survivor…You can do it, champ.

Genha is one of the most ridiculous villains I’ve ever seen. There’s a horrific borderline hentai-level rape scene included for no reason. Much of the story is either riddled in plot holes or just makes no sense. What does make sense in this story is usually quite unoriginal and cliché without any style or substance to make up for it. The characters are uninteresting with many of them feeling like token archetypes. Toru is not a strong enough main character to carry this show. In fact, he’s just an awful person/character entirely. At his absolute best, he’s bland. At his absolute worst, he’s unlikable and someone you can’t root for or sympathize with much at all.

I really feel like this is one of those ‘Good ideas, terrible execution’ deals (Hahaha, execution. EXE. Ahaha computer joke.) There are a couple interesting ideas when you weed away the negativity, and I love the largely exaggerated views of hacker gangs, those are always fun, but this show just didn’t pull it off in any way. It’s sloppy, there’s no fun or heart in it, and it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. There are much better similar shows out there that you could be watching.

Additional Information and Notes: BALDR FORCE EXE Resolution was based on the 2D action shooter/eroge (what a surprise) game, Baldr Force. The name of the OVA was changed to simply Baldr Force EXE (I never learned what that title even means, by the way. The Wiki is no help in that department either.) when Funimation dubbed it. It was directed by Takashi Yamazaki, produced by Satelight and it is currently licensed in North America by Funimation.

Also, apparently, this OVA series was listed in book “500 Essential Anime Movies” written by Helen McCarthy citing it as “The story is simple, but has plenty of well crafted CGI action.” Going to have to agree to disagree there, Ms. McCarthy. Also, what exactly constitutes as ‘essential’ here? Because that description doesn’t make it sound very essential.

Year: 2006-2007

Episodes: 4

Recommended Audience: Definitely not for kids. There’s no swearing is about the least I can say. People’s heads explode, many people get killed though many deaths occur in The Wired, there’s a graphic rape scene, other scenes of gore, nudity in the credits. 17+


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

The Ridiculous Mess that is BALDR FORCE EXE Resolution (Episodes 1 and 2 of 4)

Plot: A virtual world called The Wired (…..Someone watched Serial Experiments Lain.) is so big that it’s basically taken over the physical world as well. A small hacker group in The Wired called Steppen Wolf consisting of their leader Yuya, our main character Toru, the screw-off Akira and the token girl Tsukina, is about to break up. As one final hurrah, they decide to do a harmless hack into one of The Wired’s top military units, Flak. However, Flak takes it as a cyber-terrorist attempt and launches a huge assault on the group.

Since people are so strongly connected to their physical bodies in their virtual ones, Yuya ends up dying at the hands of one of the Flak soldiers while Toru, Tsukina and Akira are arrested. Toru is given the option to use his hacking skills as a Flak soldier to avoid jail time. He takes the offer purely to find out which Flak soldier killed Yuya and exact revenge. However, there’s a much larger, confusing and poorly paced story behind it all…..Most of which not even involving this plot.

Breakdown: I….don’t know what happened to this show. This series is like watching a car drive down hill when you can clearly see a big oil slick about halfway down. The driver’s not paying attention, you don’t notice it until it’s too late and then you can’t help but watch the car spin out of control, crash into a light pole and burst into flames.

This is one of those shows that needs the ol’ episode by episode breakdown treatment, and since it’s only four episodes I feel I can do without eating up too much of your time. Nice and easy down the hill, let’s talk about episode one.

Episode 1:

While in The Wired a bunch of soldiers from VSS track something while in their virtual mechas called simulacrums. A massive blackness soon appears and starts attacking the soldiers. Almost instantly,their heads start exploding. People in The Wired are so strongly connected to their physical bodies that pretty much anything they experience in their virtual bodies, including death, carries over to their physical ones.

After that, we cut to our main character Toru Sohma…..I would say that’s a Fruits Basket sorta-reference but that’s a reach if I ever saw one. He’s pretty darn forgettable. Especially for the main protagonist. He’s actually kinda grating. We know he’s a nice guy, but he’s really rude and abrasive.

Toru flashes back to Yuya proclaiming that he’s splitting up their hacker group, Steppen Wolf, for some reason, I forget, and that they’re going to have one last hurrah by hacking Flak, the military’s security detail of The Wired. However, they get caught and are assumed to be cyber-terrorists. In response to the perceived threat, Flak starts attacking. One of them kills Yuya by killing his virtual body in the simulacrum.

Toru is obsessed with catching Yuya’s killer, even though he doesn’t know the killer’s identity. All he knows is what their simulacrum looks like. Flak likes Toru’s hacking talents so they offer him a deal – he can avoid prison time for his work as a hacker if he can put his skills to good use as a Flak soldier. Toru agrees, but not really because he wants to avoid jail time – he wants to track down Yuya’s killer from the inside and exact vengeance. The catch is that he doesn’t know what the killer looks like. They were in their simulacrum at the time, so he only knows them by their simulacrum’s appearance.

It’s understandable that he’d be angry about his good friend’s death and would want revenge, it’s only human nature, but given that we know the situation….it creates a very gray area.

Was it right for the Flak soldier to kill Yuya? Well, it’s hard to say. They could’ve restrained him, or found another way, but considering how real The Wired is and how much of an impact it can have on the real world and knowing what I now know about the killer, I can see why they’d do it.

Yuya and the others were trying to hack into a huge military security mainframe – just for kicks, mind you. I can’t say they didn’t know the risks. The soldiers could’ve handled it better, but they were probably just following orders against what was perceived as cyber-terrorists, which given the conditions of this world, are basically the same as real-life terrorists. It’s like a bunch of punks trying to break into the Pentagon to steal classified documents while carrying automatic rifles and wearing full body armor and one of them gets killed because duh. Doesn’t mean it’s not tragic, but what did they honestly expect would happen?

Toru joins up, and of course he’s not following any orders from the second he walks in the door and their leader is perfectly fine with this because Toru’s just following his own path or whatever. He meets his teammates Glasses Girl, Pervy Dude and Whore. Say hi and bye because they never impact the plot so I’ll probably never really mention them again.

He also meets the stoic Ayane who kinda matters.

A hacker group called Fei Dao soon strikes, and Toru finds this to be the perfect opportunity to see which Flak soldier has Yuya’s killer’s simulacrum. They enter The Wired to fight off the threat, and Toru quickly becomes upset because he can’t find the right simulacrum. But no time for that, battle is commencing. While the others fight around him, Toru is shocked that people are actually dying around hi—Wait, he really didn’t know that you could die in The Wired and that Flak has sent out death threats to people who threaten national security through The Wired before Yuya was killed? I call BS. No way a hacker of all things never knew that. I refuse to believe that never made the news, wasn’t common hacker knowledge, or was never an Internet rumor or something.

He sucks at what he’s doing because he’s not trained in combat and he’s too preoccupied trying to find Yuya’s killer, so the others have to save him. When he finally decides to pay attention he….kills a hacker…..Wow….you’re a hypocrite. There’s no getting around that. Who the hell can sympathize with him now?

Ayane’s also looking for someone during battle (two revenge plots, really?) but has no luck as Fei Dao retreats.

Later, we see that Flak and another group of military security in The Wired, the aforementioned VSS, are preparing to merge their forces because….Flak is incompetent? But they won the last battle. Oh whatever. They’re lead by Tachibana, who totally won’t turn out to be evil. Promise.

They meet their new VSS teammates, and Toru is shocked to see Tsukina has, I guess, also joined in a deal to avoid prison by joining VSS.

You may be wondering what the difference is between Flak and the VSS.

Well….

Their reunion is short lived, however, because she’s actually super excited and stuff about being in VSS and working with Toru again, but Toru can’t believe she’d make light of the situation, even if that is the healthiest way to approach it, really. I mean, yeah, she should be sad that Yuya died, but I don’t see why she’d bring that up right there. Also, why not make light of it besides that? Not like revenge will bring back Yuya. Not like stating such a thing in front of the group of people that contains said killer would be smart. Why not enjoy the fact that you avoided prison and got a fairly good deal doing something that you basically enjoy? She has even more reason to be happy considering her team isn’t the one with the Yuya murderer on it. He leaves the room to go into The Wired because he likes The Wired a lot more than the real world.

In The Wired, he meets a strange loli-character (complete with giant pink ribbon!) in a field who calls him ‘brother’. Dun Dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnn.

Episode 2:

Nothing much is built on the ending scene of episode one. We are eventually introduced to some faceless hacker kid named Bachelor (Weird name. Especially for a kid. Even if that’s just a username.) who is hacking Flak to communicate with Toru in the cafeteria. We learn really nothing about him except he’s an old acquaintance of Toru’s and Steppen Wolf and that he’s apparently a super awesome hacker way above their skill level. He doesn’t appreciate that Toru’s working for Flak now.

Later, a training session shows how well the VSS and Flak teams work together on a mission. Toru runs off before his cue because it’s established that he just doesn’t follow rules, and this is allowed by his superiors because it’s been established that they’re stupid.

Toru gets in a snag because he left too early and then wonders where his backup is because he’s an idiot. However, the VSS team, including Tsukina, soon start attacking the Flak soldiers during the simulation and I guess this is just brushed off as unclear orders……What? Unclear orders? How stupid do you have to be to think that a teamwork exercise means ‘shoot the unholy crap out of the people you’re trying to team up with’? Especially considering that, even if it’s just a training simulation, they’re still in The Wired and they can all still DIE. Not even the Flak leader is upset at this, he just brushes it off because it’s a training exercise.

It’s made fairly clear at this point that VSS is controlling Tsukina, and probably the other VSS soldiers, through mind control.

Later, Toru is having fond memories back in The Wired in this flower field that he seems to frequent when he sees the loli-girl from before again. She brings him to a virtual amusement park where they have a great time enjoying a typical romantic comedy date thing. The day ends as they enjoy some drinks, but an alarm pops up stating that they’ve spent too much time in The Wired and they need to log out to avoid overtaxing their physical bodies. The girl, named Ren Mizusaka, her name is something I’ll need to ponder later, doesn’t want him to go, but he says he’ll visit whenever he has time.

Cut to a mausoleum where Ayane is bringing her deceased brother, Yuusuke, some flowers.

Fei Dao attacks again, but Toru can’t go off to battle due to the fact that he’s already spent most of the day in The Wired. This time they’re attacking with stronger force, which means I now have the brain-bleeding ‘honor’ of introducing you to the most ridiculous over-the-top bad guy ever; Genha.

Look at him.

Look at his stupid face.

He’s actually going “Ooowaggghhh” during this shot. I’m not kidding.

Genha is a crazy psychopath with a pointed tongue and fangs, because subtly is for losers, who loves nothing more than viciously killing and torturing people while laughing maniacally. I wish I could say there’s more to his character, but nope. They just basically decided that they’d make the most annoying almost comically ridiculous psychopathic villain ever. He has no story, no nothing. He is specifically designed to be as despicable as the realms of human understanding will allow.

So of course he’s killing Flak soldiers left and right, and wouldn’t ya know it? Genha is the guy who Ayane was looking for. Genha killed her brother who was another Flak soldier and she’s out for revenge. Well, surely this stoic, cold blooded, silent warrior type would calmly approach the situation and reasonably find some way to take him dow—Or she can charge at him head first with no backup while screaming wildly. That works too.

Genha and Fei Dao jam their communications so their supervising units can’t see them and they can’t see what’s around them. Well, surely this calls for calmly contemplating a new plan to see or detect the enem—Or you can shoot wildly in every direction while screaming and possibly hurting or killing your allies in the process. That works too.

Surprisingly, this doesn’t work and Genha drags Ayane without her simulacrum into a private server of his own creation..…

………Where he viciously and graphically rapes her.

………Okay, look, makers of any storytelling medium ever, it is possible to do rape scenes ‘correctly’ as long as it actually impacts the plot or character in a way that isn’t completely stupid or pointless. Even scenes like this that are as graphic as you can get without getting into hentai territory can be utilized in a manner that is not gratuitous. Tread lightly, however, for failure to do so may make it look like you just threw it in there to be disgusting, perverted horrible assholes who use rape for shock value.

Guess which route this series took.

I should mention how downright disturbing this rape scene is – and before anyone chimes in, yes this is actual rape despite taking place in The Wired. They’re so connected to their virtual bodies in The Wired that they feel everything that goes on while logged in, and they can and do die in there in there all the time. Before this went down, we saw about three Flak soldiers getting viciously murdered both in The Wired and out through their heads exploding, stabs in the neck and gunfire. However, that’s not what makes this rape scene particularly horrifying.

While raping her, Genha is physically merging his virtual form with hers (literally) in various ways which is obviously causing her intense pain in the real world and looks downright grotesque and vile. Without getting too graphic myself, an example would be when he first starts molesting her he’s wrapping his hands around her stomach and chest under her skin. And later when he’s groping her breasts, he forces his hands to fuse with them and into her chest.

Toru realizes that she’s going through something really horrific, but they can’t find her on any server. While they look for her, Toru decides to go save her himself.

They eventually find where she is, and Toru rushes to help her. Meanwhile, one of Genha’s associates comes to protect Genha. Why? I don’t know. Later we’re meant to sympathize with these guys, but I don’t see how anyone could like anyone who knows what kind of guy Genha is and just let him do whatever he pleases. Vicious murder, torture, rape. It’s all good, isn’t it, you pricks? I would’ve just let him get caught by Flak and die.

Toru arrives to save Ayane but is shocked to find that the guy protecting Genha and working with Fei Dao is his other old Steppen Wolf buddy, Akira. Why? Because, hell, I don’t know. I guess we just needed one Steppen Wolf member in literally every group in this damn show. They’re only there to give him emotional connection to each group as they really don’t do much plot-wise. Even in terms of them being old friends with him, there’s seriously not much there. Also, does that mean Akira’s a fugitive? Fei Dao’s certainly no military group that could’ve offered him immunity.

Ayane is having an emotional breakdown and calls her simulacrum back up even though Genha stated she shouldn’t have been able to do that on his private server, which is how she was trapped in the first place, but okay. She goes insane with rage and start strangling Akira’s simulacrum. And, wouldn’t ya know it, hers is the same simulacrum that killed Yuya!

What a twist! If I cared, this might impact me in some way!

….And hey that also makes no sense! Toru and Ayane have fought side by side at least a couple of times by now. Unless her simulacrum randomly changed between then and now, this makes no sense.

This isn’t even a good twist when you think about it. It had already been established that the killer was a Flak soldier. Despite being introduced to four Flak members, only three of them actually enter The Wired, so Glasses Girl is already out because she’s a supervisor person. And boy, I wonder which one of the soldiers left could be the killer? The comic relief lech, the comic relief floozy or the stoic, cold lady bent on fighting and nothing else? Hmmmmm.

Not like Ayane and Toru had become good friends or anything, either. She was mostly ambivalent to his existence, same with him.

————————————–

Well, that was the first half of this mess. Considering what we’ve already been through, the second half can only be better, right?

Part 2 (Episodes 3 and 4) Coming soon!


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 9: Explosion! Yo-Yo Ultimate Technique/Manga Chapters 48-49 (Notes on 11-12)

Plot: Jonouchi is showing off his awesome yoyo skills, but he’s halted when a boy named Nezumi rains on his parade. He hates yoyos because a group of thugs with yoyos attacked him the previous day. Jonouchi and Yugi declare that they’ll help him get revenge on the yoyo-ing thugs, but quickly find out that it’s a trap laid by Jonouchi’s old comrade turned enemy, Hirutani.

He wants Jonouchi back on his side, and he’s willing to do anything to achieve his goals, including trying to kill Yugi.

Breakdown: In typical fashion, anything involving Miho is 100% anime exclusive. This week, she expresses interest in the yoyo, but Honda tells her not to do it because he’s afraid she’ll…get hurt and die?

However, Honda is actually in the first scene where Jonouchi is messing around with his yoyo. Like always, manga-wise, though, he’s just kinda there. In the anime, he catches Jonouchi’s yoyo to make him stop. In the manga, Nezumi made him stop by yelling at him and explaining his story.

Nezumi doesn’t seem to exist in Season Zero, unless he’s that guy who gets attacked in the cold open, but he doesn’t look a thing like he does in the manga if it is meant to be him.

Let me get this out of the way, yes, the concept of this story is super goofy even for Yu-Gi-Oh. The concept of a yoyo gang is about as silly as the bicycle gang in Pokemon, but at least they were plausible, especially since they were on a stretch of road that was meant only for bikes. A gang that mainly uses yoyos as a weapon? I mean, yeah they’d hurt if they hit you, but they’re certainly not the most efficient weapons in existence – most notably because, once they hit their target they usually stop spinning, meaning you have to manually yank them back and manually wind the string back up to throw it again.

Can someone please explain to me why they live in a world where elementary school students are whipping out switchblades and uzis but one of the most feared near adult age gangs in town wields a bunch of yoyos?

Since Nezumi doesn’t exist in this version, the reason Jonouchi wants to go out to challenge the yoyo gang is because they’ve just been harassing people in general and he wants to put a stop to it. I kinda don’t mind this change because Nezumi gets away at the end of this arc in the manga and ultimately vanishes entirely. It’s clear that he was a willing participant in this, not threatened or blackmailed into luring them down there, so it’s a little disappointing that he never got comeuppance.

A very short scene of Yugi at home worrying about Jonouchi is not present in the manga.

From this point until the commercial break, pretty much everything is adapted from chapters 11-12, which I covered in the review of that arc. If you haven’t already, please go read that review. Not a ton is changed between versions, but it’s still a good idea to read that and check back here afterward.

This is still technically in regards to chapters 11-12, but Honda interrogates one of the Rintama gang members outside of the bar before going in. That’s not present in the anime. Additionally, when Yugi and the gang entered the bar, they found the gang member that hit Yugi on the ground, but Jonouchi is nowhere to be found. Fearing the worst, they all split up, but Yugi finds Jonouchi by asking the Puzzle to help him.

In the anime, they ask the bartender what’s up. He tells them that, if the gang is not at the bar, they’re likely either in a fight on the streets or in the warehouses, since that seems to be their base. The bartender notices that they’re Domino High students and tells them to avoid the Rintama gang because they recently coerced a Domino High student into joining them.

Yugi proclaims, out loud, that the bartender must be talking about Jonouchi and that he really was forced into joining back up with the gang.

Then possibly one of the stupidest things they ever could have done happens. Honda lies to the girls…again…and says Jonouchi is probably just hanging out with old friends. Miho happily agrees and says he’ll probably be back in school tomorrow. Anzu also agrees and says he’ll be back to swing around his silly yoyo like he was before. Then they leave.

……Are Anzu and Miho braindead? Are they deaf? They’ve been right next to Honda and Yugi during this whole conversation. They just heard the bartender say that the gang coerced a Domino High student to join them and Yugi proclaiming Jonouchi was forced into being a gang member….but Honda brushes it off like he’s just hanging around with old buddies and Miho and Anzu are like ‘Oh phew, that’s a relief. Let’s go home!’

Even if they, for reason, ate up this excuse without question, are they also forgetting that they saw Jonouchi being entirely complacent with the gang beating up some poor guy, the fact that Jonouchi said he didn’t know Yugi and the others and that he both said and did nothing when one of the gang punched Yugi in the face? You’re either ignoring or forgetting ALL of that and are just expecting him to be at school tomorrow like nothing happened? What the hell is wrong with you two?

The only reason I can see for them doing this is that they wanted the girls out of the picture so they could head to the warehouses and get Jonouchi back, but it was entirely unnecessary. What was wrong with the manga version where they split up to find Jonouchi and Yugi manages to find them with the Puzzle? If you need Honda to be there in the anime, just have them split up in teams of two and tell them to not engage with Hirutani and the gang without getting the others first, as they did in the manga.

This scene just serves to make Anzu and Miho look like oblivious idiots and all for the purpose of ‘gurlz kant b envolvd n sumthing soooo danguriss!!’ Even though they have been involved in a multitude of dangerous things, so this just seems pointless even in canon.

When Honda and Yugi arrive at the warehouse, they try to convince Jonouchi to come with them, explaining that they know he was forced to join the gang, but Jonouchi stands firm against their claim and says he’s with them by choice and is sick of his life adhering to rules and pretending to be their friend.

Honda presents the band to Jonouchi, pleading with him to remember their friendship. Jonouchi drops the band on the floor, steps on it and punches Honda in the stomach.

The next day, Honda and Yugi head to Rintama High. Honda challenges Hirutani to a fight – if he wins, Jonouchi goes free. Hirutani agrees and whips out his yoyo….his yoyo with retractable spikes…. Ya know, between this episode’s gimmick and the last episode with the fully realistic adult woman marionette being controlled by a dude behind a curtain with two pieces of wood, I’m really just finding my footing in the marvelous insanity of this series. I’m not kidding, it’s a hilariously fun ride when it’s not being miserable.

By the way, Hirutani doesn’t even have his own yoyo in the manga.

Honda gets felled rather quickly, and when Hirutani throws his yoyo for a final blow, Yugi steps in the way. His Puzzle deflects the yoyo back at Hirutani, cutting his face.

Hirutani is not happy about this, so he ties up Yugi in the warehouse and has his goons relentlessly wail on Yugi. In the manga, both Jonouchi and Yugi (With Nezumi) had entered the warehouse and when Yugi got jumped they literally hung him by his Puzzle. Jonouchi had to concede to Hirutani or else Yugi would die.

Jonouchi enters the warehouse and tells Yugi once more that he shouldn’t keep pursuing him. With a flick of his yoyo (….That sounded dirty) he seemingly tries to attack Yugi, but ends up hitting one of the guys who was beating him up instead. Jonouchi challenges Hirutani for going back on their deal. He said if Jonouchi joined their gang, he’d leave his friends alone, but now that he’s broken that promise, Jonouchi wants to take Hirutani down.

The other gang members surround Jonouchi with their yoyos, which is also what happens in the manga. I assume all of their yoyos are metal and not plastic, so they’d definitely hurt being hit by them, but in each version Hirutani’s acting like it’d be absolute torture to walk through the hail of yoyos. Yeah, it’d hurt, but again, once they’d hit their target, they’d fall. And, really, how insulting would that be to their friendship? “Yeah, I love ya, Yug, but I ain’t getting smacked with a few yoyos to save yer life. Deuces!”

Admittedly, it is extremely sweet when, in both versions, Jonouchi braves the yoyo storm and tries to protect Yugi, but you really have to focus on the fact that he’s being nearly beaten to death and ignoring the fact that the weapon of choice is a bunch of yoyos. The manga is more dramatic and sweet, in my opinion, though.

In the manga, Jonouchi saves Yugi by giving him a boost and allowing the Puzzle’s rope to gain enough slack to be removed from the hook. Jonouchi then asks to borrow the Puzzle and spins it in front of the yoyos, getting the strings tangled up with the Puzzle and stopping their assault. He then takes their yoyo strings and hooks them up to the hanging hook, lifting them up in the air by their fingers, which is insanely dangerous, but also quite easy to get out of.

In the anime, Hirutani tries to shoot his spiked yoyo at Jonouchi, which gives Jonouchi the opening he needs to throw his own yoyo, deflecting Hirutani’s yoyo and….somehow…Jonouchi’s yoyo slices the rope and frees Yugi.

Sooo….is Jonouchi’s yoyo super sharp or is this just stupid?

Once Yugi is freed, Jonouchi is knocked down by a swift strike to the back of his head via one of the bigger gang members. This finally prompts Yugi to transform into Yami. Jesus, Yami, what took you so long? It took him the same amount of time to transform in the manga, but still, why did it take so long?

In both the anime and the manga, the other gang members chase after Yami, who has escaped to the roof. Yami reveals that he also, for some reason, has a yoyo, and he has some rad skillz with it.

Shadow Game (Kinda)

Yami challenges the thugs to a game. Whoever is the last one on the roof wins. Yami runs from the gang, simply grazing the roof with his yoyo as he runs around and dodging the strikes of the gang, who are also frequently hitting the roof when they miss Yami. They corner Yami on the roof and proclaim that they’ve won. However, Yami turns the table on them and directs their attention to the roof below their feet. It’s rusted and old metal, easily punctured with a yoyo, but it will soon crumble beneath their weight. Yami is supported on the corner beam of the warehouse, but the thugs aren’t so lucky and fall through the roof.

This game is exactly the same as it is in the manga….and yes, it’s just as silly. I mean, if the roof were THAT weak, they never should have been able to stand on it in the first place, let alone run around like it’s a basketball court.

Meanwhile, Jonouchi challenges Hirutani to a fist fight. Jonouchi is getting the better of Hirutani, but he plays dirty and throws BROKEN GLASS INTO JONOUCHI’S EYES. Geez. You’d think that would leave Jonouchi with lasting vision problems and maybe even blindness, but nope. He’s temporarily blinded but perfectly fine by the end of the chapter/episode…

In the manga, after Jonouchi struck Hirutani, causing him to hang from the ledge, Jonouchi was just fine. However, in the anime, he also falls for some reason. Honda saves him by throwing him the band, which he used to hang from the hook and return to the ledge. That sure was necessary.

In both versions, Jonouchi uses ‘Walk the dog’ (Or Jonouchi’s version “Let the Dog Out.”) on Hirutani’s fingers, causing him to fall. By the way, in Season Zero, you can clearly see that Jonouchi’s yoyo has ‘Made in USE’ written on it. Quality products always come from the United States of ‘Erica. (In the manga, it says ‘Made in the USA’)

In the manga, Jonouchi reunites with Yugi and proclaims that he’ll kick Nezumi’s ass if he ever sees him again and that’s the end of the chapter. In the anime, he thanks Honda for saving his life and Yugi happily returns affirming that Jonouchi would never change like that.

Meanwhile, back in school, Jonouchi tries his variant on ‘Around the World’ again, but this time he does it so fast that the wind causes Anzu and Miho’s skirts to fly up. They get pissed and Jonouchi runs off. The end.

—————————————-

Well, that was a bit complicated to compare, but as a whole….The manga does both stories better than the anime’s combination of the two. It’s to be expected. They’re not only merging four chapters but two stories into one episode, but it’s not just that. The little changes that they made that didn’t need to happen just made the story worse off, if you ask me.

That scene with Anzu and Miho is still irking me, and, overall, I feel like Honda’s presence was poorly written in this entire episode. It’s like they’re having Honda and Yugi struggle for the spot of Jonouchi’s best friend but no one will point out that Yugi’s obviously winning. It’s like they adapted the manga chapter pretty well and then the anime writers wrote on the script ‘Oh yeah, and Honda’s there too.’

The backstory they made for Jonouchi and Honda was just stupid. He passed off a band to Jonouchi in a track meet, which he was meant to do, Jonouchi won and they’ve been buddies ever since?….But they also don’t seem to be all that close? In the anime, Honda may fight people if need be, but he’s not a fellow ex-bully like Jonouchi. He’s a rule-abiding, strict goodie-two-shoes. The only thing we really know about Honda’s past is that he aimed to be class president but didn’t get the role.Those two would never hang out pre-Jonouchi’s attitude change, but yeah, I totally believe that pink track band is a huge emotional symbol of their friendship.

In the manga, it makes more sense because Honda is an ex-thug like Jonouchi and hung around with him because he liked picking fights. He’s still a superfluous character, if you ask me, but his story makes more sense. In neither story does Honda play a big role outside of explaining Jonouchi’s family situation, for the most part, and Jonouchi’s past with Hirutani, and that’s all he really needs to do.

Instead, he’s jammed in here like broken glass in Jonouchi’s non-blind eyes. Reading the manga alongside watching the anime really makes that moment when Honda saves Jonouchi stick out like a sore thumb as something that felt like it was tacked on. Did he even need that band? Wouldn’t it have been easier and more realistic to just grab the hook itself? How did he have time to both catch it and loop it on the hook without having time to just grab the hook? Would it even support his weight? How did Honda even throw it up that high? It’s a frickin’ band of fabric.

In addition, the more emotional moments were better in the manga, and I liked that it was moreso a great moment for Jonouchi and Yugi’s friendship instead of having Honda butt his nose into it. Like I said before, Honda can exist and Jonouchi can have more than Yugi as a friend, but Honda doesn’t have any purpose being as prominent as a character as he is in the anime.

I know this tirade seems contradictory given my statement in the review of chapters 11-12 where I praise them for giving Manga!Honda more story to work with, but that’s mostly because his presence so far in the manga has been to be set dressing. It’s nice to see him get a bit of an actual role in their dynamic, but as I’ve pointed out here, he doesn’t need to be anymore prominent than that. If Hanasaki, an objectively much better character, has to be dumped almost entirely, Honda can be mostly in the background too. Either that or give him more independence and agency as a character. Stop making him entirely reliant on those around him.

The yoyos make this whole story rather goofy, of course. I do think yo-yos are a fun weapon idea, and I’ve seen before in Yu Yu Hakusho and HunterxHunter, but there they were enhanced/created with supernatural abilities, not bought at Target in a three-pack for $9.99. They really easily could have just adapted the first story and been all the better off for it. It’s a much more dramatic story, and it’s pretty much the one they adapted outside of all the yoyo stuff and the psuedo-shadow game.

Or, here’s a thought, maybe try keeping both stories. Hirutani’s return, barring the silly yoyos, was well done. We needed a reprise for this storyline where Jonouchi actually comes out on top over his former comrade. The first story provided the backbone and the last story provided the payoff. It’s not like they don’t have filler episodes they can lose to squeeze it in there.

Another thing I didn’t care for was the way Jonouchi acted. In the manga, he has to struggle to restrain himself when Yugi is punched. He doesn’t even make it more than 10-15 minutes before he punches the guy who did it. That punch was more than enough to break their deal, and Jonouchi knew that.

In the anime, Yugi gets punched by the same gang member and he deals with it, even though that should have broken their deal. He socks Honda in the stomach, sending him to the ground and thinks nothing of it, which makes no sense. I get that he’s trying to convince them that he’s bad and to leave him alone, but he’s trying to save his friends from getting hurt and here he is punching one of them.

Next time….

Final Notes: Hirutani never once makes an appearance in the 2000 anime, nor is he referenced, but he does make an appearance in one of the video games. And when I found this out, I was kinda floored.

Hirutani is in the Dungeon Dice Monsters video game for the Game Boy Advance, only his name in that version, in the American release, is Diesel Kane. I love the Dungeon Dice Monsters video game, and I actually remembered that dude. It’s really cool that he’s not just some generic thug made for the game, but I wish they had explored this dynamic more in the actual game. All I remember and all the Wiki says is that the guy has a vendetta against Jonouchi, but you never find out what it is.

All of his gang members, both from the taser story and the yoyo story, are also in the game but they’re never given names.

Coincidentally, Nezumi also exists in the DDM game……..And his name is changed to…..Nibbles. Look, I get that both names are a reference to West Side Story, but that name is just as silly as a gang using yoyos as weapons.

Apparently, a ton of manga-exclusive characters are in DDM with funny names. For example, the escaped convict from the Burger World story is Jackpot, the old bald guy who owned the store Mokuba stole a Capsule Monsters machine from is Egger Baldwin, Kokurano (fortune-telling character we’ll meet later) is named Fortuno,Kujirada is named Beluga (Get it?! Because whale! He’s fat!….Again!) Sozoji is named Fender Shrill, and Hanasaki is named Lint Greendale…….LINT. His name is LINT! Hasn’t this kid been through enough without naming him Lint?

….Also, Yugi’s mother’s in DDM, which I didn’t remember at all. She doesn’t get a goofy name, but she is merely called ‘Yugi’s Mother.’ Like, guys, I assume she has a real name. At the very least, she’s Mrs. Muto…..


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 20: The Hell Professor vs. Hell Girl Review

HGTVEP20SCREEN1

Plot: Tsugumi, now an adult, finds herself the target of a Hell Girl client. Who is targeting her and why? Will she avoid the fate that comes with that dreaded string pull, or will her life be spared from the depths of hell?

Breakdown: There’s a lot to unpack with this one.

First of all, let us officially welcome back our girl, Tsugumi.

Second of all, let’s mourn the fact that Hajime seems to be basically officially gone now. Tsugumi talks about him like he’s dead, the professor dude never seeks to contact Hajime himself, and Tsugumi goes on about how she’s tired of being alone. Still don’t know what happened to him or, more to the point, why the writers chose to dust him and completely gloss over it. He was a major character all throughout season one. You can’t just do him dirty like that.

Third of all, hip hip hooray, it’s the first time in quite a while that Yuzuki has had so much screentime.

Fourth of all, pbbbtttt, she’s still not doing anything. You’d think she’d have more impact in what is, by far, the most interesting and plot-centric episode of the season so far…..but nope.

Yuzuki is basically a living bad reaction channel on Youtube. Most of the time she says nothing and the rest of the time she’s giving meaningless responses that are neither entertaining nor insightful. She’s also being kinda annoying in that same way Hajime used to be annoying, but worse. She acts like the Hell Team are terrible people who don’t think about the consequences of their actions in sending people to hell.

Tsugumi is much more interesting than Yuzuki in this episode. She can still see and sense things related to Hell Girl, which is how she knew she was a Hell Girl target without anyone telling her. She alludes to a vague past ‘sin’ that she is guilty of. She’s, for some reason, completely resigned to her fate as a victim of Hell Correspondence. In fact, she’s pretty much welcoming it, seeing it as a fitting fate for her. You can also interpret it as her longing to see Hajime again, if the theories of him being in hell are accurate.

Despite the fact that she avoided her previous ‘fate’ she is very firm in the idea that no one can avoid their fates, thus Yuzuki is destined to be the new Hell Girl no matter what. But, this just in,

Finally, we have some interesting theories involving Hell Correspondence brought to you by the client of the week, Shogo Mizorogi.

Mizorogi is a famous and incredibly skilled mathematician who has been researching Hell Girl for years. When he was a child, his mother sent his abusive father to hell. A couple years later, his mother also vanished, seemingly being another Hell Girl target.

He became fascinated by the concept of hell when his formula, the Mizorogi Constant, revealed that other worlds, including hell, do indeed exist absolutely. The book that Hajime wrote on Hell Girl greatly helped his research on the subject. In order to get more information, he wanted to lure in Tsugumi and the Hell Team, so he created some sort of weird generator that creates a force field which repels the powers of the Hell Team (though Ai is instantly able to destroy it.) and input Tsugumi’s name into the service.

Wanyuudo brings up the obvious issue of, if Mizorogi has no grudge against Tsugumi, how was he able to even access the Hell Correspondence website, let alone get a request through?

Somehow, Mizorogi created false hatred through hypnotherapy. This may seem silly, but he’s actually highlighting an issue that has plagued the series in various ways. Sometimes, Hell Correspondence seems easily manipulated. Usually, no one manipulates it on purpose, but many times people have ridiculous reasons for their grudges, are mistaken about their grudge, target the wrong person or there’s a general misunderstanding. In other words, Hell Correspondence requires hatred, but the hatred doesn’t have to be objectively ‘valid.’

Out of this revelation Mizorogi came to a striking conclusion – hell is actually a fabricated system created by weak humans who resort to ‘curses’ to solve their problems. The ‘ultimate irrationality’ created to be separate from the morals and ethics of mortal society.

In order to prove this, he strapped Tsugumi to what I can only describe as a crucification device and hung her over his fancy machine with intents on sending her to hell and analyzing the data from her being transported. He has a specific trigger phrase which will end his hypnotic hatred after the string is pulled.

Suddenly, before he can pull the string, Ai says his trigger phrase, which is her signature ‘Would you like to die this once?’ At first, you kinda think Ai saved Tsugumi on purpose. Nope.

Out of nowhere, Mizorogi’s assistant, Kikyou, reveals himself with a Yamawaro doll. He pulled the string, targeting Mizorogi, which is what prompted Ai to say her catchphrase.

You may be wondering why he did that. Well, along with revealing Kikyou in the shadows, we’re also shown a large group of children alongside him. Kikyou reveals that Mizorogi was suffering from his research. His Constant was originally intended to help produce unmanned military weaponry, which was appealing to governments because it greatly reduced loss of life. Still, he was helping create weapons that would kill plenty of innocent people.

Mizorogi instantly labels himself a hypocrite because here he is criticizing Hell Correspondence for being an irrational system born of the weak willed and kills innocent people when he’s actively contributing to war, which in itself is irrational and kills millions of innocent people all the time.

To help offset his guilt and suffering, he adopted a whole slue of battlefield orphans. They all held grudges against Mizorogi for helping to create weapons that likely killed their parents, and Kikyou, feeling sympathetic to the children, contacted Hell Correspondence and targeted Mizorogi in their stead. All of the children grouped up to support Kikyou when he pulled the string.

Mizorogi disappears, Tsugumi is safe and sound, Kikyou will raise the children and everyone goes home.

Oh yeah, if you were wondering why and how Yuzuki was there for any of it when she wasn’t ‘invited’ so to speak, she sensed Tsugumi was the target, somehow knew to go to Mizorogi’s mansion, and then, like I said, she just kinda watched and complained the whole time.

This episode was indeed very interesting and definitely one of the best of the season so far. The ending kinda came out of nowhere and really requires a few rewatches of that final scene to understand what is even going on, but it’s still good.

I like that Tsugumi is back in the fray, even though she’s become very depressed and despondent. #JusticeForHajime though.

I also liked that all of the Hell Team, even Ai, seem to have retained a soft spot for Tsugumi. They’d still do their jobs if Mizorogi pulled the string, of course, but they all show a great deal of concern for her and desperately don’t want to ferry her to hell. I thought that was pretty sweet.

I’m pretty sure nothing will come of the theories presented in this episode, but they’re definitely points to ponder.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Yu-Gi-Oh GX Episode 4: A Quintuple Combination! VWXYZ | Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: It’s the monthly exams, and advancement to the next rank is possible for our boys in red if they do well enough. In an effort to get rid of Judai (again…) Cronos snakes the new shipment of rare cards that just came in for the sake of giving them to Jun so he can make him face off against Judai in his practical test and wipe him out. However, Judai’s not going down so easily.

————————————-

The original doesn’t say that the ship has been fighting off attack subs or anything since they left. They just said they need to protect that case at all costs…..Wow, with several battleships and helicopters, that briefcase must hold something incredibly valuable and not something silly.

Oh they’re rare Duel Monsters cards….yeah, that’s worth tens maybe hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment and manpower to secure during a journey. Then again, Kaiba owns this place, so I can’t be too surprised that he’d burn this much money for cards.

Also, the captain says to prepare for landing not to speed up. Hope you like crashing, dub.

While I’m shocked that they left in Shou praying to Osiris for help, they leave out the reason why he has Monster Reborn cards everywhere. He’s being symbolic because passing the monthly exam and possibly advancing him to Ra Yellow will be like resurrecting him from the dead. Also, Shou doesn’t imply that not passing this test will leave him in Osiris Red forever like Syrus does.

Speaking of the test, why exactly are they having an advancement test so soon? I can’t imagine much real time has gone by in the series. They only just enrolled.

They remove a sweatdrop from Hayato as Shou leaves.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Judai just keeps repeating that he’s late whereas Jaden says that Chumley made him a five course breakfast presumably to make him miss the test. This was slightly poked at during a dub line insertion where Chumley said he’d go to plan B, however, this plan doesn’t make sense to me. If he’s partaking in the exam too (which he shows no indication of doing over the course of the rest of the episode, in fact I’d be hard pressed to say that he ever leaves the dorm), cooking him all of that food and supposedly eating with him would make him just as late as Jaden.

The lady recognizes Judai as a duelist and points out that he’ll be late since he has a test today. He replies by saying it’s no matter because he can’t ignore an old lady in trouble. In the dub, the lady believes Jaden’s from the auto club and Jaden says to not let the red jacket fool her because he’s just a person doing a good deed……Wait, red jacket? What does that have to do with an auto club? Am I missing something?

Daitokuji says nothing while Banner points out that they have 45 minutes left in the test.

As Shou sleeps, he keeps saying “Big bro, sorry.” in his sleep I guess because he feels guilty for leaving instead of ensuring that Judai got up even though he did try several times. Judai walks up to him and whipser-yells “Unforgivable!” Shou wakes up and Judai says that studying to the bone has no point if he’s just going to sleep through the test.

In the dub, Syrus keeps saying stuff about dueling in his sleep. Jaden walks up and says he didn’t know this was an oral exam. Syrus wakes up and Jaden says maybe Syrus should focus more on sleep instead of staying up all night hold Slifer seances…..Oh, we’re passing that off as a séance and not prayer? I honestly don’t know how to respond to that because saying that’s skirting religion sounds incredibly dumb when he was praying to a poster of a Duel Monster.

Also, how did Jaden know he was doing that at all? He was asleep that entire time.

I don’t get it. If this exam is an advancement exam, why are the Obelisk Blues there? They can’t increase in rank anymore besides seniority or graduating. Is it just mandatory testing for them?

Asuka thinks to herself that Judai’s a half hour late and that shows lack of respect/concern over the importance of the written exam. Alexis thinks to herself that Jaden’s 15 minutes late and he better hurry if he wants any chance at finishing.

Daichi’s inner monologue is roughly the same, but he also states that it’s weird how Judai has such poor studying skills and manner in the classroom yet he’s still such a skillful duelist. The dub basically says that his lack of studying skills and poor classroom manner are keeping him from being a great duelist.

They cut out a shot of an Osiris Red as he asks himself how a guy like Judai could beat Cronos.

Judai says that the practical test is what really matters, not the written exam, while Jaden says if there were a test in melodrama, Syrus would get an A. This seems so dumb to me. Why even have the written part if it can be offset at all times by practical duels? Judai/Jaden gets crappy grades and is a crappy student and he fails constantly in his written schoolwork, yet because he’s good in duels he constantly skates by, even supposedly being the closest one to advancement in Osiris Red since he beat Chronos in the entrance exams despite getting abysmal marks on the written portion of that too. I know practical skills do count for a lot, but you can’t make the written parts practically moot in exchange.

I find it funny, in a weird way, that the only students piling on top of each other and going crazy for the shipment of rare cards are the boys. I don’t even see any girls in the room.

The Group of Students Pounding the Door (dub): *robotically* “Guards! Guards! Guards!”

………….WHAT THE UNHOLY HELL WAS THAT!? Why were they talking like that?! What were they repeating “guards” in unison!? Why weren’t they raising their voices?! What the hell did I just witness?!

In the original, the students just ask what’s going on….

The envelope originally said ‘Sold’ in Kanji whereas the dub envelope is predictably blank.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The girl at the counter looks mad when Judai runs up to them because he calls her ‘old lady’ (maybe mistaking her for the lady from earlier) before correcting himself and saying ‘miss’. In the dub, Jaden does call her ‘counter girl’ which could be kinda offensive I guess, but it really just looks like she’s bitchy for no reason.

“SP-Pack” is removed from the booster pack.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Judai looks sad during the conversation about the booster pack because Shou accidentally calls Judai a mutual enemy, which is from his conversation with Hayato earlier. In the dub, he looks sad because Syrus implicates that without the booster pack Jaden may fail….I don’t see why. Jaden’s beat Crowler, I think he can beat other Slifer Reds…

Finishing off that conversation, Judai just tells Shou to take the deck so that they can use the time they have until the practical exam to perfect their decks together. In the dub, he says he may fail sometimes but he never fails.

The old lady, Tome, introduces herself properly to Judai and Shou while she doesn’t do that yet in the dub and instead calls Jaden ‘Auto-club’ while telling him that she owns the card shop.

Syrus: “How do you know her, Jay?”

Jaden: “Uhh, I think it was the carburetor.”

What the? That doesn’t answer his question at all.

You’re seriously telling me no one in the school recognized Crowler? I know he had on a hat and coat as a disguise, but he wasn’t changing his voice in the slightest and you could still see his long trademark blonde hair.

Jun’s friends don’t clamor over Chronos’ ‘style’ with having a bunch of cards in his coat like the dub does.

Jun points out that it’s Chronos and includes that ‘it’s the guy who got beat by Judai’. In the dub, he says ‘You look better all covered up.’ Yeah, make fun of your teachers. That’ll get you ahead.

Daichi originally thinks to himself that if Judai wins they’ll be in the same dorm and it seems incredible that a first year rose up so quickly. In the dub, he thinks the duel is a trap and only a fool would accept.

They insert shots of the characters talking to extend the scene.

Judai calls Jun ‘Manjoume’ while Jun corrects him and says ‘Manjoume-SAN’. This can’t be mirrored in the dub, really, so Chazz just says ‘Bring it!’

I guess the whole thing of calling Winged Kuriboh ‘partner/aibou’ like Yami and Yugi used to do is never going to be included like it really never was in Yu-Gi-Oh either.

The duel is one turn in (just Judai/Jaden making a play) and all he did was summon Elemental Hero Clayman and we get those overly dramatic splitscreens with other characters gasping. *Gasp* “He made a very basic first move with an otherwise unimpressive monster! My heart can’t handle this excitement!” I think they just wanted to pretend it was a really epic move or something since we were cutting to commercial, but come on, that’s just unreasonably lame.

Eyecatches:

A zoom in on Daichi as he’s talking and a far away shot of the duel is removed.

A kinda far shot of Jun talking is removed.

Jun has already explained the other special ability (Switching one of Judai’s creatures into attack mode) but this time we get the splitscreen on Shou and the shot of Shou is him reacting to the fact that Clayman has such low attack and is now in attack mode. In the dub, since they removed the shot of Chazz talking, he had no time to explain the card before the splitscreen. Instead, the splitscreen basically interrupts Chazz and Syrus just wishes his turn would end already before Chazz finally explains.

VW-Tiger Missile is changed to Heat-Seeker Blitz, which actually sounds better.

Chronos clamors over Jun’s skills while Crowler basically says Jaden’s not as impressive as everyone thought.

Shou says playing in defense mode isn’t like Judai. This line is omitted in the dub and we just cut straight to Bastion explaining that this could be all he can do right now. I should mention that Syrus also says that it’s not fair, and I would fault this on 4Kids since that’s not the same line Shou had (he just said ‘B-but’ there) but Shou has also had a slight habit of saying certain legit moves weren’t fair and even said so earlier when Jun showcased the abilities of Frontline Base.

Asuka thinks to herself that this can’t be all Judai can do right now. In contrast, Alexis says the duel is a complete mismatch and asks ‘How can he duel when he doesn’t know what he’s fighting?’ What does that line even mean? Cards are played in concealed manners (face down) all the time. It’s hardly a newly conceived tactic. Plus he only has one card face down right now.

Unless she’s talking about the fact that Chazz seems to have plenty of new cards in which case boo-friggety-hoo. Like anyone really shows their opponents their entire decks before dueling. Jaden also has new cards and has fought Chazz before so I can’t make heads or tails about what she means by this.

They cut a shot of Chronos gushing over the battle and how Judai will lose soon.

Another mention of ‘Manjoume’ ‘Manjoume-SAN’ is omitted.

Eh…this next one is a change, but technically it’s hard to call it wrong. A Hero Emerges allows the opponent to select a card from the opponent’s hand to summon at random if it’s a monster. Jun chose the card on the far left while Chazz chose the far right. The shot of Judai grabbing the card is kept the same. The thing is, neither version indicates which perspective is supposed to be used here; Jun’s or Judai’s. The original chooses Judai’s (Judai’s left) while the dub chooses Chazz’s (Chazz’s right) yet both can be correct. I’m still going to fault 4Kids here though because they have the original script and there’s really no need to change the line since it can make sense from both angles.

Another one I’m uncertain about noting, but here goes. Judai says he trusts his deck, and as long as he has monsters willing to fight by his side in his deck, he’ll never stop fighting. In the dub, Jaden says he’s not done because he has all sorts of ‘vicious monsters’ waiting to get at Chazz. The original instills loyalty and trust in his monsters and his deck as a whole while the dub is just macho “I’m gonna kick your ass with my scary monsters!” stuff.

Well, this is weird. Before, the SP-Pack text was the only text removed from the booster pack. The logo was left alone. In the dubbed flashback, the logo and text are both removed now. Guess they got digital paint happy.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Not TOO happy, though, because before the little white oval where ‘SP-Pack’ was written was also removed, but this time it’s not. Consistency is fun.

The dub omits mentioning that Winged Kuriboh can reduce an opponent’s attack to zero with its special ability with his V-Z’s own special ability (I really hate cards that have a laundry list of special abilities. It’s understandable when the card is insanely difficult to summon, but seeing as how cards that are insanely difficult to summon constantly get miraculously summoned in this franchise, it’s hard to not get annoyed by it.)

Judai: “Our life points are the same at 1000 now. Wouldn’t it be funny if I drew a monster that had 1000 or more attack points right now?”

Jun: “What kind of crap are you spewing!? As if it’d be that easy!”

….It’d be pretty damn easy, really. It’s like…one of the easiest things ever if you have a well-balanced deck. It’s definitely a lot more believable than achieving the crap you’ve done in the span of two turns, Jun. This also isn’t present in the dub, it’s just Jaden gloating more or less.

Love the stock crowd gasp sound effects, 4Kids. You’re really amping up the quality.

I love how the other duels on the arena already concluded and absolutely no one was interested in watching them.

Samejima says the trust in Judai’s deck, the loyalty to his cards and his passionate dueling soul are the reasons that Judai is being promoted to Ra Yellow. In the dub, Shepherd just says that a Slifer Red has never fought an Obelisk Blue in the tests and showing great courage to not only take the challenge but also to win is inspiring, thus he’s being promoted. But, again, he beat a PROFESSOR in Obelisk Blue for his entrance exam but was booted to Slifer. Why is beating a student of Obelisk Blue so much more impressive?

Both versions, nice CGI confetti. Hey, did none of the other duelists advance? Is this like a one spot kinda deal? Because, if it’s not, then that means the other duelists got no confetti for their advancement. Nice.

Hayato talks about how insane it is that an Osiris Red advanced so quickly whereas Chumley is talking about making an ad for a new roommate and tells Syrus to make him a grilled cheese.

Judai talks about how he loves red more than the other colors for the reasons mentioned in episode two. In the dub, he talks about how much better yellow seems compared to red, but it’s nothing without Syrus. I should also mention that Jaden says ‘Congrats on passing your practical exam’ which means, yes, we completely skipped over Shou’s duel.

Judai says, in response to Shou’s emotional outburst, that this must be ‘passion red’. Jaden says it’s a good thing red doesn’t stain as bad as yellow……..wait, what? Tears don’t stain, do they? Also, even if they did, why would the stain be more apparent on yellow than red? Unless tears were red colored or—oh nevermind.

Next up, the group heads to a forbidden dorm to face a shadow duelist.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Yu-Gi-Oh! Episode 13: Trap of the Metamorph Pot! Flame Swordsman in Danger | Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Bakura, suddenly appearing from nowhere, challenges Yugi to a duel using his friends’ favorite cards shuffled into his deck. He accepts, but not before Bakura reveals something shocking – he has his own Millennium Item – the Millennium Ring. He uses its powers to separate the group’s souls from their bodies and inject them into their favorite cards.

What’s more is that Bakura is not really Bakura. He’s an evil spirit inhabiting Bakura’s Millennium Ring who forcibly takes over Bakura’s body whenever he pleases in order to collect the Millennium Items for himself. He believed he could easily steal the Puzzle if he removed Yugi’s soul, but he was wrong. Yami takes over Yugi’s body after Yugi’s soul vanishes and vows to win back his friends’ souls during a Shadow Game.

———————————————

Honda is actually a gun buff in the original series, which explains why his favorite card is the Cyber Commander. However, I’m shocked they let Tristan actually have a gun. He’s a CYBER Commander, so it’s probably a laser gun or something, but still. Maybe 4Kids was still in that weird phase where they would allow guns on screen but only under certain circumstances, like with Pokemon.

Tristan: “According to this tombstone, I’M DEAD!“ First a gun now a reference to death? Walking on the wild side today, eh 4Kids?

Also, the tombstone is edited to show Tristan’s name instead of Honda’s.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

When a duelist suffers a loss of life points in this shadow game, they suffer physical pain. When Jonouchi beats Bakura’s White Magical Hat, Bakura clutches his chest and groans in pain. In the dub, he suffers no pain and only scowls.

Regular Yugi doesn’t have any inner monologue running during the duel because his soul is supposed to be in the deck. Only Yami is in Yugi’s body during the duel. In the dub, Yugi’s talking in his head like nothing is different.

Fairly minor, but in the original, Yugi and Yami have been keeping the spirit a secret from the group. Yugi knows that there’s a spirit in the Puzzle in the Japanese version. In the dub, he just says he doesn’t really know about the spirit, but that he feels a voice calling out to him when he duels sometimes. Nice try, Yugi. Trying to cover up your cheating ways.

Yugi: “Wait a minute, Joey, I was just played so I have to move.” Just because you summon a monster doesn’t mean they’re obligated to move at all during that turn. Any monster currently on the field, unless otherwise restricted by magic, traps or effects, can act. This is true even in Duelist Kingdom. Yugi really, seriously should’ve known that….In addition, Bakura also had a face-down magic or trap card out, so it would’ve been really dangerous to attack right then….No wonder Yugi always needs to use Yami. He sucks at this.

The Just Desserts card is way overpowered in this season. Since the duelists only have 2000 LP each, you could easily end a duel in a few turns if your opponent has four monsters out.

Yugi attacks a face down monster AGAIN just because Joey said Yami was cooler than him.

Not only does 4Kids get the card information wrong on T’ea’s card when she activates her effect (I think they used the template for the Dark Magician) but they also made the card upside down…Which is weird, because they had it the right way when she started to glow….It was still the wrong CARD, but it was at least facing the right way.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Also, uhm….Huh?….The Magician of Faith’s card effect activates when it’s flipped face-up. She may have come out of hiding, but her card was never flipped face up/put in attack mode. Unless Yami did this without announcing his move.

In the original, Bakura said the merchant also sold his father a Duel Monsters card. In the dub, Bakura just says the merchant said the Millennium Item had something to do with the game.

——————————-

I like this duel arc. Seeing the group as Duel Monsters is a lot of fun even if their lives are on the line because of it. Isn’t it so coincidental that all of the group’s favorite cards have human traits? Yami Bakura was always the best enemy in Yu-Gi-Oh to me, even if I feel really bad for poor Bakura. I don’t know why he was destined to have such an awful Millennium item when he’s so kind.

Next time, the Shadow Game ends. Can Yami keep his friends out of the graveyard until the last life point depletes?


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapter 24 Review (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

Hey guys, who remembers that short Yu-Gi-Oh! Spin-off thinger – Capsule Monsters? I sure do!….Kinda!…I remember it existing. I remember watching some of it and being rather bored.

Fun fact: The Capsule Monsters anime, despite being based on an actual game in this old-ass version of the manga (No idea if it’s played the same way, though), wasn’t something the original anime creators wanted to make. In fact, the series never released in Japan.

Also, apparently, according to the Fandom Wiki anyway (I really question whether this is true), despite never once airing in Japan, there is a Japanese version of it. Why they dubbed it and never released it is beyond me.

Who was actually behind this spin-off no one asked for, no one paid much attention to and amounted to nothing but basically being a money sink? Why, who else but the donut bakers themselves, 4Kids?

Yup, 4Kids, for some inexplicable reason, ‘commissioned, produced and editedCapsule Monsters when Yu-Gi-Oh’s original run was reaching its final season. They also did the kinda skeevy thing of re-editing the series into a movie (Two movies, I guess, technically?) and treating it like it was a new movie based on the series. Because that’s never sketchy or annoying, especially when you’re dealing with something aimed towards kids.

At least they released the movie for free for one day on their website for some reason so some people could be made aware that it wasn’t new content….No idea why they did that, but they did.

I really have to review Capsule Monsters at some point, but back to the topic at hand….Uh…well, more Capsule Monsters.

I brought up the anime because, even when that aired, I didn’t really understand how the game was played nor did I feel very compelled to learn because the anime, to my recollection, was quite boring.

Capsule Monsters, otherwise known as Capsule Monster Chess/Capmon in the manga (sometimes) is Mokuba’s niche game in the manga. I could’ve sworn he was also a player of the game in the anime. I would have bet a substantial amount of money on that….but he’s not. Mokuba not only isn’t an avid Capsule Monster player in the Capsule Monsters anime – he’s not even in the anime. Poor Mokuba. Were you too busy being kidnapped to be in the anime?

What of the first depiction of Capsule Monsters in the manga? Let’s find out.

——————————————-

The manga actually explains fairly well how this version of the game is played. Capsule Monsters are dispensed in gashapon machines, which I just learned are supposed to be called ‘blind boxes’ in America, but I have never once heard that ever. They’re also called ‘gacha’ machines, and if you play pretty much any MMO or mobile game in existence, that word awakens something visceral in you.

Yugi explains how the game is played, for the most part. The capsules all have one number between one and five on them – this indicates their attack power. Within the capsules are….the uh…well, the monsters, of course. Each player unleashes five monsters onto an 8×8 game board, of which there are 50 different types. This game area mimics the planet of ganastar….I’m not sure why that matters, but okay.

All of the monsters stay within the capsules when they’re setting the game up, so each side starts the game mostly blind to the monsters the opponent is playing, outside of their attack strength. Monsters all have their own ranges, types of attacks and effects, so strategy comes into play when moving the pieces and battling the monsters. Whoever destroys all of the opponent’s monsters wins.

Yugi’s in line to get some capsules when, in typical Yu-Gi-Oh manga fashion, he comes across an asshole. This asshole kid cuts in front of him in line then says Yugi’s too old to play the game, being in high school. This game is equated to chess and yet it’s aimed squarely at middle school and younger?

He lets Yugi get his capsules eventually, though, but Yugi’s money gets lost in the machine. He, strangely, loses his shit and starts swearing at the machine, shaking it violently. Bit of an OOC moment for him. I know he’s passionate about games, but he’s never one to have a temper like that. The old man who owns the candy store that the machines are in starts screaming at him.

Suddenly, Mokuba Kaiba makes his debut appearance, looking just as frightening and creepy as you’d expect in this manga’s art. Apparently he’s such a Capsule Monsters baller that the other kids go silent in his presence. Like Seto is a champion in Duel Monsters, Mokuba is a champion in Capsule Monsters.

So, did you guys forget that you’re reading Yu-Gi-Oh’s early manga days? You did? Oh, let me remind you by showing you this scene where Mokuba, the small child, orders these small child children of the kid nature to attack Yugi. They have a taser………..a switchblade……………..And….I’m not kidding…..A fucking Uzi.

What kind of world does this manga take place in?! Not even the chapter with an actual murderer involved a fucking UZI.

Mokuba wants to fight for his big brother’s honor, so he’s kidnapping Yugi and taking the candy shop’s gashapon machine (After throwing the owner a stack of money to pay for it.)

They bring Yugi to their secret base, which is just a warehouse, so they can play. Beforehand, though, Mokuba’s little goons try to intimidate him some more, saying stuff like he’s wimpy and they’ll burn down his house. Ya know, typical schoolyard stuff.

They cross the line when they try to touch Yugi’s Puzzle, however, because, under threat of smashing it and trying to grab it from him, Yugi instantly shifts to Yami, who flips his shit and screams at them to let go of his Puzzle.

The goons are shocked at this change, but, surprisingly, Mokuba’s not because apparently Seto told him about Yugi’s ability to transform. *shrug*

Mokuba says he stole the gashapon machine to make the capsule picks completely blind so he wouldn’t have an unfair advantage using his own capsules…..then he reveals in inner monologue that he rigged the machine, paid off the candy shop owner from before Yugi even got there and rigged the machine to give him the better capsules anyway, so….I don’t know why he even bothered trying to act like this was fair.

Also, again with making the Kaibas cheaters. Granted, in the 2000 anime, the one and only time you see Mokuba duel, against Yugi, he cheats by trying to steal some of Yugi’s star chips in the middle of the duel, but that was in desperation to keep Kaiba Corp from being sold to Pegasus.

Yugi’s capsules result in attack strengths of 1-1-1-2-4 while Mokuba’s are 4-4-5-5-5….I think anyone with a single brain cell could have deduced that Mokuba rigged the machine just on this result alone without him immediately telling us, but okay.

Before they start, Mokuba lays a bet down. Now, you’d imagine that, considering he’s playing for his older brother’s honor, his wager would be something like Yugi would have to kiss Kaiba’s feet or give him all of his Duel Monster cards or something, right?

……His wager is, if he wins, he’ll CUT OFF ONE OF YUGI’S FINGERS! He’s even holding a folding knife as he says it. What the hell is wrong with this manga?!

Yugi says, if he wins, Mokuba will suffer a penalty game.

Anyway, as expected, even though they laid out the rules at the beginning, much like with the part with Duel Monsters, they just pretty much do whatever without explaining anything. Like, what determines which piece moves how far and when? Why do formations matter all that much if you can move freely? If attack level is all that matters in battles, then doesn’t that mean the match can be decided before they even get on the board? If monsters have effects or abilities, like duel monster cards, where is this information held? In some sort of book or something? Because there’s no text on the capsules or in them.

Yami gets pummeled, only managing to kill one of Mokuba’s creatures on a stalemated attack, so he had to sacrifice his most powerful creature for that.

He’s down to his last monster, and it seems all is lost until, luck of all lucks, Yugi reveals that he was luring all of Mokuba’s monsters into a diagonal line, and his last monster, which is level one, just so happens to have the ability to literally insta-kill any monster with its attack, even if it’s level five. And it shoots this ability in a diagonal pattern, meaning all of Mokuba’s monsters are defeated in one shot.

If you think this situation stinks at all, it’s because Yugi totally pulled this win out of his ass.

Mokuba may be a cheat, but he’s still a Capsule Monsters champion. And even if he cheated in those championships (We don’t know that, but he cheated here and it’s suggested that Seto cheated in his championships, so it’s not a far cry to say Mokuba did too) he definitely knows the game well enough to play the part. He’s making observations about strategy and formation as if he’s a veteran, so he has to be pretty skilled. All of the monsters get revealed at the start of the game, meaning he had to know what that monster was and what ability it had, so he should have been very careful to not do anything dumb like line up literally all of his monsters in a perfect diagonal line right in front of him.

How does this low-level creature have such an awesome ability anyway? If it’s a simple straight diagonal line of insta-kill damage, he could kill a monster from the other side of the board if he aimed carefully. And it insta-kills even the strongest monsters, too?

Granted, they did set this up visually. As you’ll note in the first shot of the game board when they’re done setting up, the bird thing that has this ability is off on its own, further back than his other four creatures, which were meant to cut off Mokuba’s creatures on the way there and set up this line.

The problem is, though, he gambled a hell of a lot here. I know the Heart of the Cards thing has basically become a meme by now, but come on – this isn’t even Duel Monsters. Is there a Heart of the Capsules? The luck in play here is insane. What if Mokuba caught on to his game and avoided the diagonal line? What if he sent one monster off to approach from directly ahead or off to either side? Or what if he spread out his monsters even a tiny bit more? If he didn’t get all of those monsters in one shot, he definitely would have lost. And Yami never once seemed the slightest bit concerned that his plan wouldn’t work. He was sporting a cocky smirk the whole time like his plan was foolproof when it was about as airtight as a moth’s nylon stocking.

I feel like this is the anime version (Season Zero) of the duel with Seto where Seto just pulled a sudden ‘It’s a draw lol’ card out of nowhere at the last minute, right as he was about to lose.

Anyhoo, Yami sentences Mokuba to a penalty game, which is being trapped in an illusion of being sealed in a Capsule Monster capsule (and it has a level one mark on it – nice shade, Yami.) But before it’s closed, Mokuba teases that this isn’t over. Seto is setting up for his revenge against Yugi with something called Death T.

Also, this chapter ends with a pretty cool illustration of a little dice game you can play to try and beat Kaiba. I might try it for myself sometime. It’s a neat little addition.

——————————

So, uh, this chapter was pretty messed up, wouldn’t ya say? Uzis and switchblades and threatening to cut off people’s fingers – all brought to you by elementary school students. Fun fun.

The story is alright. I still think that ending was complete bullshit, but it’s not like this series is a stranger to bullshit wins. Mokuba’s a friggin’ psychopath in this version, and I can’t really tell if I love that or hate it. In the 2000 anime, he’s kinda Seto’s morality pet more or less, but, on his own, he’s really not all that interesting. He’s basically Tristan just with more of a purpose (behind the scenes anyway) and 10000% more kidnappings. He’s a nice little kid with a good sense of justice and very strong loyalty to Seto, and he’s very forgiving, but he’s just not that interesting.

Can I even say this version of Mokuba is more interesting, though? Because he’s just a nutcase. There’s nothing likable about this future mob boss besides his desire to avenge his brother’s honor, and that’s kinda watered down by the fact that he doesn’t even try to face Yugi/Yami properly before cheating. The little prick cheated before he even MET Yugi.

I actually like the concept of Capsule Monsters here, even if I’m still kinda confused about it. I hope it becomes a little clearer when we revisit the game later (at least in Season Zero. We might revisit it again in the manga, I’m not sure. The manga and anime will stray away from each other quite a bit in the future.) I’m not holding my breath, though because even the Wiki page for it says some concepts are just flatout poorly explained, like abilities.

I thought I remembered Capsule Monster toys being a thing when I was younger and turns out I was right. It was very shortlived, obviously, and didn’t get a lot of distribution in stores, but apparently they pushed it enough for me to remember it being in my local Walmart for probably a month before it faded in obscurity.

Also, it seems like this version of the game is played differently from both the manga and anime versions.

Not only that, but apparently there was a video game version of Capsule Monsters made for the Playstation in 1998 called Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule: Breed and Battle that was only released in Japan. Golly, a video game released in 1998 where you collect monsters in small balls and raise them to help them evolve into stronger monsters that you will use to battle other monsters. How did that not immediately take off?

To my surprise, there was another video game that came out in 2004 based on Capsule Monsters for the PS2 titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum. I had followed the Yu-Gi-Oh video games pretty well when I was a kid, but I didn’t have much money to buy many of them, and I never once remembered seeing this game in stores. Maybe I did – the box art is just the slightest bit familiar – but, again, they didn’t seem to push this game very well. I remember them pushing the Dungeon Dice Monsters game, and I bought that, but the Capsule Monsters game is a blur at best.

Also, it’s weird that they spelled ‘coliseum’ like that, isn’t it? You don’t typically see it spelled that way. It’s usually spelled ‘Colosseum.’ Ya know….like, uh, hm what’s a good example?…..Uhm….Oh, how about Pokemon Colosseum….the game that was also released in 2004?

I’m just poking fun at the Pokemon connection, really, because Capsule Monsters does seem like a fun game and honestly isn’t a ripoff of Pokemon, given the board game aspect and chess-like strategies. I just think it doesn’t do a good job of explaining how different it is out the gate. You hear ‘capsule monsters’ and see that the blurb is just ‘collect, raise and battle monsters in small balls’ and you can’t help but think ‘Pokemon rip-off.’

And, to be completely fair….the concept name of Pokemon was literally Capsule Monsters, so they’re kinda asking for it.

I think if it had taken off more I would’ve definitely gotten into it. Maybe not so much because I was spending enough money on Yu-Gi-Oh cards without buying packs of small toys that probably cost even more. It just seems like, no matter how much they tried, they couldn’t get this game off the ground. They really hit their stride with Yu-Gi-Oh/Duel Monsters, but I think you could still make something great with Capsule Monsters. It’s a shame, really. Seems like a missed opportunity. Maybe the timing wasn’t right or something.

Final Notes: This episode is only extremely lightly referenced in episode 11, and that’s because the Capsule Monsters game played there is basically a mirror of the one played here. Literally everything else is different, including there being a different opponent.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

My AniManga Clash-ish Thoughts on Angelic Layer

I haven’t watched Angelic Layer in quite a long time, but it still holds a place in my heart. It’s a rare shouJO gaming anime that had likable characters, a fun game to focus on and a decent story. It had its problems, but none of them were so severe that it badly damaged my perception of the series.

When I started reading the manga of Angelic Layer, I really thought I wouldn’t even wind up writing one of these posts because, frankly, there wasn’t much to talk about. The anime and manga, as far as I can remember anyway, were pretty well matched for several volumes. There wasn’t much in regards to changes to the story or characters, so what was there to say other than ‘Yeah, they’re pretty much the same.’?

But then I got to the ending.

And here I am.

Before I get to the ending, I would like to discuss some things regarding earlier parts of the anime and manga. As far as I remember, the anime had a more gradual buildup to Misaki eventually becoming the ‘Miracle Rookie.’ There was more in regards to her playing Angelic Layer with other people before she was flung into tournament play. In the manga, she has one match before she’s entered into the regional tournament.

Because of this, her ‘Miracle Rookie’ status irks me a bit more than it did in the anime. She is about as rookie as a rookie can be before she’s entering a major tournament – and she winds up winning that tournament. Then it’s immediately followed by the national tournament, which she doesn’t technically win, even though she does in the anime.

I say she doesn’t technically win the tournament in the manga because, even though she lost in the finals to Athena, the very last scene is the crowd cheering on her tournament win? (The announcer says ‘Here is the winner of our tournament!’ when she walks out.) She’s wearing a royal cape thing and crown at the end of the tournament – Hikaru (her Angel) even gets the same outfit. The epilogue has people calling her the Angelic Layer Champion, too. I don’t get it. Was Athena like a set champion to try and defeat once she won the main tournament? Like how there’s a league champion to defeat once you defeat the Elite Four? I dunno.

Either way, she somehow managed to make her way to the finals at least despite being almost completely new to the game when she started out in the tournament bracket as a whole.

She does practice a lot and studies frequently in between matches and tournaments, and it’s not like her record is flawless, she does lose a couple times, but so many of her matches are Hikaru struggling → Misaki struggling → Can’t give up! → Oh I figured out how to win against this highly-experienced veteran. → One-hit defeat. (And by that I mean the only hit that actually does damage. A lot of the time her hits will connect but do nothing.)

Many of her victories are one-hit wins, even though her Angel is built mostly for speed and is very light. There’s no reason why she should have such powerhouse hits that they either cause impressive ring-outs or deplete an Angel’s full health bar in one go. This is especially frustrating considering that Hikaru takes so much damage during these battles yet she always manages to keep hanging on, despite the fact that, again, she’s not built for defense – she’s built for speed.

Even when they make a huge multi-volume long deal out of Hikaru’s mystery weakness to build tension, it’s not that significant or interesting when revealed (Hikaru’s really light……We already knew that, and it’s been mentioned numerous times over the course of the series. She’s a small model built for speed. Of course her weight means she both can’t land moves as powerful as others, and she, by default, has a disadvantage against heavier models.) and it’s resolved rather quickly and easily.

Coincidentally, her weakness is revealed on a field that gives Hikaru the advantage. They were on a beach layer, so she had Hikaru grab her opponent and dive into the ocean. Since Hikaru is light, she could swim, I guess, even though it’s never established that Angels are buoyant, and her opponent, being heavy, just sank.

Being completely fair, I never got angry at this happening. I just kinda started rolling my eyes after a while and found myself not really immersed in the matches because I came to expect that Misaki would win, which, in itself, is a big problem because Misaki’s supposed to be the underdog. Her motivation is all about proving how small, seemingly weak-looking people can face their toughest challenges and come out on top. She does that, but she does it too easily. I greatly admire her passion for the game and her love of Angels, but she’s just too good too quickly to truly be relatable to anyone in the real world who would sympathize with her.

Moving onto the ending changes, we have two significant alterations to discuss – the first being Misaki’s relationship with her mother/ her mother as a whole, and the endgame romantic relationships.

Starting with Misaki and her mom, Shuko, the story still remains about 50% the same. In both the anime and manga, Misaki doesn’t even really remember her mom much. She left Misaki in the care of her grandparents when she was five years old. Turns out, her mother holds a high position in the company that developed Angelic Layer and is the Deus of Athena – the strongest Angel in the league and the Angel that Misaki saw in a commercial that got her interested in the game in the first place.

That’s where the similarities end. In the anime, the reason Shuko abandoned her daughter was because she had a neurological disease that confined her to a wheelchair. She decided to dedicate all of her spare time to researching a cure/treatment with Icchan, which incidentally lead to them developing Angelic Layer. She was so ashamed of her condition that she couldn’t bear to imagine what Misaki might think of her as she grew older, so she left her in the care of her grandparents. She had hoped that, one day, when she was better, she would reunite with her daughter. Until then, she’d cut off all communication with Misaki and keep tabs on her from the shadows.

After a bit of a dark tonal shift upon their reunion during the national tournament, Misaki and Shuko air out their feelings and work things out before their final match, which Misaki manages to win….even if it is pretty much one of the most asspull-ish wins I’ve ever seen in anime.

In the manga, the reason Shuko abandoned her daughter…….

….is almost insultingly dumb.

Something you should know about me before I go on – I have severe social anxiety disorder and general problems with anxiety. So believe me when I discuss the stupidity of Shuko’s manga backstory.

According to any info page on her character, Shuko has severe social anxiety disorder. However, it’s not actually social anxiety disorder. The manga never once uses the term. She can be out and about and live her life with little issue. She’s seen talking to Icchan and Ojirou numerous times, and, from how they talk about her, it seems she’s regularly socialized with them for years. She’s a famous Deus who participates in many tournaments, and numerous people seem to know her personally.

I’m not saying all of these factors means she absolutely doesn’t have some degree of social anxiety – you can live a fairly ‘normal’ life externally but be suffering significantly internally – but I am saying that, considering how she can cope with her anxiety enough to do all of these things, there’s no reason why she can’t cope with it enough to be with her child.

“So, why isn’t she?” you ask?

Shuko’s problem in particular is being around people she loves. The more she loves someone, the more anxious she gets, to the point where she has ‘panic attacks.’ She loved Misaki too much to be around her without freaking out all the time, so she just flatout abandoned her child at the age of five with, I guess, no intentions on ever returning.

That….is not….how anxiety works…..like even a little. Does the feeling of love make you flustered and nervous? Oh yeah, definitely. It makes everyone feel that way. In people with anxiety, it’s worse, of course, but 1) that’s usually just in regards to romantic love and new relationships and 2) if the anxiety really only comes when you’re in the presence of someone you love, the odds of the core issue being social anxiety disorder are very, very slim. That is either a symptom of some other disorder or it’s just not a thing.

One of the few things that helps alleviate anxiety is having loved ones around. They make you more comfortable, they help pick you up when you’re spiraling and they work with you to help you through the tough times. Why would a loved one make you so ridiculously anxious? Unless it’s a situation where you love them but they’re very abusive or something, but this isn’t the case here.

Lest we forget, she has a freakin’ child. She used to have a freakin’ husband. Which means she has dated, fallen in love, gotten married, had sex, gone through pregnancy, birthed a child and raised it for five years all without noping out of there because of her anxiety. They even briefly mention that her condition must’ve made life for her husband really difficult. Yet, for some reason, when Misaki turned five, she suddenly decided she couldn’t take it anymore.

You could argue that her husband dying (I think he died anyway) was the crux of her abandoning Misaki, but you’d think that one fewer loved one around would make it easier for her to deal with her love-based anxiety. Plus, her husband is never mentioned as a correlating issue here. He was only slightly mentioned at the beginning of the manga.

The most angering part of this whole plotline is that it’s all simply brushed away. After their match, Misaki chases after Shuko to reveal that she knew she was her mother since the match started. And, unlike in the anime where there’s a pretty dramatic exchange of words, their reunion in the manga is more or less comedic. Her anxiety is treated comically (Less ‘realistic panic attacks’ and more ‘cartoony turning red and chibi with little dot eyes.’) Misaki has absolutely no axe to grind with her mother, which is just ridiculous and practically makes a joke out of this whole situation – even more than it already was. In the absolute end, they simply suggest that Shuko try living with Misaki and Shoko (Shuko’s sister/Misaki’s aunt whom she’s been staying with after moving to Tokyo) and Shuko agrees.

In the epilogue, Shuko’s still very much flustered around Misaki, but they work through it by having Shoko basically tell Shuko to chill out and they live happily ever after…..Yup, that’s it. No reason whatsoever why Shuko couldn’t have been doing this from the very beginning. She’s literally just giving a single iota of effort to deal with it and it’s fine now.

Actually, let me be completely fair. Before the epilogue, Shoko mentions that playing Angelic Layer with Misaki more might help because Shuko is more comfortable while playing the game, but that’s it. Granted, there is a lot of value in having an activity that helps reduce the feelings of anxiety – art and games help me quite a bit – but that just feels so cheap and corny to act like Angelic Layer will cure her eventually and that its existence basically saved their relationship. And I mean that literally. Shoko tells Shuko that they should thank the person who made Angelic Layer when she brings up them playing more to get accustomed to each other.

Speaking of Shoko, does Shuko not love her sister enough to panic around her? She’s having a conversation with her normally, albeit with a blush on her face.

I never thought Angelic Layer would make me feel like I was too harsh on the mom from Aishiteruze Baby. At least in that situation it was a traumatic event and fear of becoming an abuser that caused her to leave. At least she tried to reach out to her daughter while she was gone. At least she attempted to better herself. At least she came back for Yuzuyu a year later. Shuko? She just bounced the instant things started getting difficult. She didn’t seek therapy, she didn’t ask for help from family, she didn’t send Misaki letters or try to communicate with her for over seven years, and she lived a fairly normal life after the fact, even becoming the top player of a game in the meantime.

She’s never held accountable for what she did. Misaki forgives her without a thought, Shoko welcomes her with open arms, and she gets to live a happy life with her child even after doing something so terrible to her for such a pitiful reason. Seven years of fully abandoning her daughter wiped away with nary a stain left behind.

Her story may not be perfect in the anime, but having a debilitating disease that leaves you in a wheelchair and being so distraught over your condition that you feel too ashamed to face your daughter anymore is much more understandable than ‘I can’t be your mom anymore, Misaki. Being around you makes me 😳.’ It’s still not enough to warrant never communicating with her for seven years, but it’s better.

They even work in the Angelic Layer aspect better in the anime by saying Shuko helped create it when she was trying to develop a treatment method (or means of helping her walk. I forget.) with Icchan. She naturally became a master at it because she was using it as a means of medical research. In the manga, she’s just an employee at the company that makes the game and, I guess, played it so much that she became a master at it. So much time spent pointlessly playing a game that could have been spent with your daughter and/or in therapy.

I know how much of a struggle it is for anyone with mental health problems to seek therapy, and it’s particularly a problem when you have social anxiety disorder (for obvious reasons. There’s a joke that’s like ‘There was a group therapy session for people with social anxiety, but no one showed up.’) but I’m convinced she doesn’t have social anxiety disorder. She has ‘flustered female anime character’ syndrome. There’s no reason whatsoever that Shuko hasn’t reunited with her daughter by now. There was barely a reason to abandon her in the first place, but there is definitely no reason why she’s left her daughter without so much as a note for over seven years.

In the anime, Shuko is held accountable for her actions, even if she is also forgiven by Misaki. In the manga, no one’s ever mad at her for what she did. Misaki never so much as makes a frown at her. Not only is that very frustrating, but it’s such a disappointing payoff for this whole running plot.

Onto more lighthearted fare, it’s time to talk about the romantic relationships.

In the anime, they tease Kotarou and Misaki getting together for a long while. If we’re gender-flipping the typical shounen formula, Kotarou would take the role of the token girl/love interest. He does know quite a bit about the game, but he doesn’t play it and mostly sits on the sidelines cheering on Misaki. Outside of the arena, he helps her by giving her advice and teaching her about fighting via his karate moves.

Tamayo is Kotarou’s childhood friend who is rather loud, physical and teasing. She loves hugging Misaki and play-flirting with her, and she loves tormenting Kotarou with wrestling moves. As the series goes on, it’s clear that Tamayo has a crush on Kotarou. However, he’s too enamored by Misaki to notice. Plus, by his own admission, he never saw Tamayo as a woman before. Once she makes her feelings clear, things between the two get pretty awkward, but he eventually warms up to the idea of dating her, which they, presumably, do at the end.

Not a romance for the ages or anything, but I did like this pairing. It was nice to skew away from the predictable route of having him end up with Misaki, even if their chemistry was good, and I thought this pseudo-love triangle worked very well. It feels a bit one-sided for my liking, I thought they would make a very good couple over time.

As for Misaki, she ended up with Ojirou, who is Icchan’s step-brother and a very highly-ranked Deus. He adores Angelic Layer and has a strong personal connection with the game, just like Misaki. He’s clearly enamored with her over the series, flirts with her numerous times, and, once they meet in the arena, it seems like the feeling is mutual. By the end of the series, it’s also implied that they start dating.

In the manga, neither of these pairings happen.

Instead, the pairing that you’d expect to happen, Misaki and Kotarou, wind up together (canonically, as it’s established in an epilogue that they start dating officially) and….for some reason, despite never sharing a single line of dialogue or having anything even remotely in common, Tamayo ends up dating Ojirou (again, canonically).

I have no qualms with Misaki and Kotarou ending up together. It’s predictable, sure, but their chemistry is fine and they set up the relationship well.

I am kinda bummed that Tamayo and Kotarou didn’t even get touched upon, but what can ya do?

As for Tamayo and Ojirou……just…HUH?! That pairing had no lead up whatsoever. I don’t even think they properly met. Where the hell did this come from? Their personalities could not be any more different, which wouldn’t be a big problem if we saw them interacting and understood how their dynamic worked, but nope. The epilogue just slaps us with ‘Lol ya, they’re dating now.’ I guess they did share in making Misaki flustered by guessing what her underwear looked like, but 1) that’s dumb as a basis for a relationship, and 2) They never did that together. Again, I don’t think they ever even met before. Ojirou clearly had a crush on Misaki in the manga as well. He never once acknowledges Tamayo.

What’s even more confusing is, somehow, they’ve been dating LONGER than Misaki and Kotarou. The epilogue takes place a year after the end of the national tournament, and Misaki explains in narration that Tamayo and Ojirou have been dating for a month while Misaki and Kotarou have been dating for a week.

Keep in mind, Misaki and Kotarou were practically unofficially dating when the tournaments were going on. How did this all happen? Misaki and Ojirou made much more sense, even if they didn’t have quite as much buildup as Misaki and Kotarou. It feels like a complete afterthought to put Tamayo and Ojirou together.

———————————-

At the end of the day, the anime beats the manga handily.

Reading the manga highlighted the problems with the series as a whole more than the anime did. There’s not really a lot to be gained from either watching or reading this outside of ‘believe in yourself’ and ‘being small/short doesn’t mean you can’t be strong.’ The Miracle Rookie stuff also gets very repetitive, as does everyone constantly focusing on and praising Misaki.

Gaming anime typically don’t have to have deep storylines or messages, but that’s usually because the fun action of the game makes up for that, and fun action in gaming is so difficult to capture in manga panels, especially when the art isn’t that impressive. There were numerous instances where I honestly couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. I still have no clue how Misaki won her second to last match of the nationals. She was struggling, she couldn’t figure out how to win, everyone was worried she’d lose and then, fwoop, she won somehow.

I still really like the concept of Angelic Layer, but, quite frankly, reading the manga just made me yearn to watch the anime again just so I could see the concept done better. Not only do action/sports/gaming anime already have a leg up because they can show action in a more engaging manner, but the anime simply did a better job telling this story. The anime felt like it had more freedom above all else. There was better pacing in regards to Misaki’s development as a Deus, and everything involving Misaki’s mom made much more sense and was far more emotionally impacting that what the manga came out with. The romantic stuff I can give or take, but in my opinion they even did much better in that regard.

If Angelic Layer’s plot interests you, I fully recommend the anime. I had a lot of fun with it back when I first watched it, and I think anyone with an interest in gaming anime will have fun with it too. I still wish we had gotten a spin-off or sequel or something, and I’m forever sad Angelic Layer as a game doesn’t exist….

I can also recommend the manga, but not as enthusiastically. If nothing else, it’s a relaxing little gaming title that never has the ol’ cliché of ‘The fate of the world rests on my ability to play a children’s game!’. It’s nothing deep or introspective, you won’t tear up or yell at your screen, but if the premise sounds at all interesting it will likely entertain you for a while.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Pokemon Episode 62 Analysis: Clefairy Tales

CotD(s): Oswald – He’s not Seymour the Scientist ™.

Reappear?: No. Also, he’s not Seymour the Scientist ™.

Pokemon: None.

……And he’s still not Seymour the Scientist ™.

Plot: As Jigglypuff happily wanders along singing its song (and putting passersby to sleep, of course) it’s suddenly bonked on the head by a teapot that seemingly fell from a crashing spaceship. It investigates further to find it is indeed a spaceship – filled with…Clefairy?

Meanwhile, Ash, Misty and Brock stop by a local city for some ice cream as their continue their journey to Viridian City. As they enjoy their treats, a Clefairy suddenly appears, but quickly runs off. Misty gives chase, intent on capturing it, and Ash and Brock chase after her to stop them from getting separated. Their unsupervised bags (and ice cream) are snatched by an unseen thief.

Some time later, the trio returns to their table to find their bags and ice cream are gone. They head to the police station to report the crime to Officer Jenny, but they’ll have to wait in line behind dozens of other people who have had random items stolen, much to the confusion of both the police and the victims.

A strange man named Oswald offers a theory – Aliens. While Misty thinks it’s ridiculous, Oswald is able to convince the group of the alien culprits by showing them a picture of an alien space craft. The chef states that he saw that ship on the outskirts of town three days ago, which is when the thefts started.

Alongside Oswald, who is somehow tracking the ‘aliens’ with some sort of device, Ash, Misty and Brock go searching for the ship in order to get their bags back. They, shockingly, seem to find it as a spaceship descends from the sky right in front of them. Two ‘aliens’ emerge, kidnap Pikachu and leave. Turns out, it was Team Rocket using a fake ship hung by a crane on a building above. Pikachu has been placed in a glass case to protect them from his electricity.

Back on the ground, Ash uses Pidgeotto to cut the cable and send the ship crashing down.

As the group and Team Rocket face off, they’re suddenly approached by the same Clefairy from earlier. Jigglypuff also shows up out of nowhere. Before anyone can make heads or tails of what’s going on, Clefairy makes off with the still-imprisoned Pikachu. Team Rocket tries to chase it, but they’re stopped by Clefairy’s Light Screen.

Ash and the others take chase next, but Clefairy escapes down an alleyway. When they arrive at the alley, they find that Clefairy has disappeared. Jigglypuff points out that the sewer is the only way Clefairy could have escaped. They all hop down in the manhole and wind up in a cave.

Much to their surprise, the Clefairy has built a new rocket and spaceship using the items that they’ve stolen around town. They spot the Clefairy who stole Pikachu bringing him into the ship, intending on using him as a power source for the ship.

A countdown to the launch commences. Brock runs off to inform Officer Jenny while Ash, Misty and Oswald infiltrate the ship to rescue Pikachu. When they find him, they’re met with a slue of Clefairy who vehemently guard Pikachu. Jigglypuff walks in and challenges the whole lot of them, shockingly Pounding and Double-Slapping them all into submission.

Jigglypuff enters the control room where the Clefairy who stole its microphone is sitting in wait. The two have yet another slap-down until they’re interrupted by Oswald. He plays with the control panel and accidentally breaks off the ‘joystick’ which turns out to be Jigglypuff’s missing microphone. Jigglypuff immediately snatches the microphone and starts singing over the PA system, causing everyone to fall asleep. As usual, Jigglypuff huffs, draws on their faces and leaves.

When the launch begins, Pikachu is prompted to use a powerful electric attack, powering up the ship enough to take off. The rocket shoots through the launch tunnel and pops up under the road in the city above. Using the street as a runway and a building as a ramp, the spaceship launches into the sky.

Pikachu’s electricity breaks him out of the pod, and Ash and Misty wake up just in time to grab their backpacks and escape. However, they’re much too high up to jump out of the ship. They have one chance – jump down onto a nearby skyscraper as they fly by it. With the help of Bulbasaur, they’re able to land on the skyscraper safely.

Ash and Misty watch the spaceship fly off over the horizon, bidding the Clefairy farewell as they head towards their destination……Little do they know that the Clefairy’s ship cannot make the journey and crash lands at a campsite several miles away. The Clefairy (and Oswald) emerge from the ship and once again begin stealing things to make repairs.

Later, Ash, Misty and Brock meet back up with Officer Jenny and the victims of the thefts. Everyone somehow recovered their stolen items and they express their gratitude to the three before they head off once more towards Viridian City and Ash’s eighth, and final, Gym Badge.

—————————————————-

– Before I even got to the title screen, I remembered why I didn’t like this episode. It is just a cornucopia of stupid and confusion.

– Also, it’s a friggin’ crime, a CRIME I say, that Seymour the Scientist ™ is not in this episode.

– I absolutely hate that the ice cream place they stop at is called ‘Soft Cream.’ That’s just eugh no.

– I know that I tend to not give Ash some slack in areas when he should because he is a kid, but even at ten years old he shouldn’t be double-fisting ice cream cones, getting it all over his face (even on his nose and under his eyes) and slurping it like a thirsty dog. Apparently Delia was too busy teaching her son proper underwear changing habits and never got around to teaching him manners.

– Why does the ice cream box say ‘Lucky’ on the side?

– This perspective is really, really weird. It makes Clefairy look only a few inches tall.

– Misty: “I can’t let this one get away!” Is my memory garbo or did Misty ever try to catch a Clefairy before? I don’t remember her trying it in Clefairy and the Moon Stone.

– Not a single one of them thought to grab their bags before leaving the table? All of their money, clothes, food, emergency supplies etc. are in those bags. Why are they even chasing her anyway? Do they want to fight her for Clefairy’s capture rights or are they worried she’ll never find her way back? She’s not a dog, guys.

– Now THIS perspective is weird. It makes it look like the table and chairs are teeny tiny.

– Ash: *crying* “I never got to taste the chocolate!” Yes, you did. You had chocolate ice cream on your face, you liar. Unless you somehow got chocolate ice cream on your face without tasting it, which is sad and impressive at the same time.

Also, while they definitely should report their bags being stolen, depending on how long they were gone, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume their ice cream cones were just cleaned up by the busboys.

– Chef: “I turned my back and my pot disappeared! My chicken too!” Okay…..So….Why are you still holding the ladle and whisk? What were you making that involved a whisk and a ladle at the same time, for that matter?…..Are you seriously going to the COPS for a stolen chicken and pot?

– Mother: “My baby’s favorite bottle was stolen!” *baby starts crying* Yes, and instead of going to the store to buy another, I decided to stand in this ridiculously long line for however long until I could report this crime to the cops, who will inevitably do nothing because it’s a frickin’ baby bottle.

– Baseball Player: “My lucky bat is gone, and now I’ll never hit another home run.” Again, the cops would do nothing about this.

– Man: “The buttons on my coat are gone!” Are you friggin’ kidding me?

– Woman: “Someone stole the candles off my birthday cake.” You people are insane.

– Kid: “What about my bike horn!?” They stole the horn but not the bike?

– Brock: “I mean, who’d want to steal somebody’s bike horn or the buttons from a coat or the candles off a birthday cake?”

Oswald: “Aliens!”

….

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to discount low-calorie no-sugar knock-off Seymour the Scientist™ – Oswald. And I’m not kidding – they have Oswald do Seymour’s over the top shtick and make him obsessed with Clefairy. The major differences are Seymour was awesome and entertaining and this guy is an annoying kook. Perfect opportunity to bring Seymour back, but nope. Bastards.

– Ash: “How do these guys find us?…..” *snort* Alright, that was pretty funny.

– How and why is there such a clear picture of the Clefairys’ space craft in that book? How long have these things been toting that ship around earth? Also, the chef saw this thing, seemingly on the ground, and didn’t do anything?

– I love how Officer Jenny is doing absolutely nothing about Oswald viciously shaking the chef and shouting at him for information on the space craft. Meanwhile, Ash, the ten-year-old boy, has to stop him. She’s certainly a crime fighter for the ages….

– This is a town where the citizens will rush to the police station (instead of doing what most normal people would do and call) for incredibly minor ‘crimes’ and will actually believe a nutjob who claims aliens stole the items. Then the cops will have a trio of children follow the nutjob, alone, and investigate the crashed space craft, also alone, while following a blinky doodad.……Ash, Misty, Brock….call your folks, have them send new stuff, and walk away.

– Speaking of which, what even is that stupid gadget? What is it actually detecting? Because as far as I see it just goes off randomly, even detecting Misty and Jigglypuff as ‘aliens.’

– Misty: “I don’t understand why we have to be part of this stupid spaceman search party.” Misty, the also ten-year-old, is the only one with sense here.

– Fun Fact: The ‘alien language’ Jessie and James are speaking when they kidnap Pikachu is ‘Nomekop’ or ‘Pokemon’ spelled backwards. No clue whose idea that was, but it’s pretty clever and works well because the word does sound odd yet still like a real language.

– I am willing to give a pass to them for being too in shock of the ‘aliens’ that they accidentally let them make off with Pikachu, but I will not give them one for being too blind to not see the cable attached to the ‘space ship’ and the giant crane on the building overhead. Granted, because they wanted to fool the audience too, this wasn’t visible to us until they were already leaving (the cable on top isn’t even visible in a wide shot – that one was flatout cheating.) but surely the characters should have noticed. At least Misty, the skeptic, should have.

– Ash: “Hey, that’s a crane.” Very good, Ash. Hindsight and post-Pika-napping is 20/20.

– Hey, Ash, Pikachu was in that ship you just made crash probably 50 feet into the pavement below….Oh, also, the frickin’ thing was in a GLASS case, which means he’s probably filleted ‘chu right now. Good job.

– Oswald: “You mean they’re not aliens?” Oswald, goddammit.

– Oswald may be an idiot, but Misty should at least apologize for breaking his dumb useless scanner.

– Oswald: “It took me weeks to assemble that scanner! What will I do if I can’t find the comic book I ordered it from!?” I at least appreciate that the show recognize what a doof Oswald is, and it’s funny that his scanner came from a comic book ad…..but….it took him weeks to assemble it? It’s a little gizmo the size of a cell phone. Why wouldn’t it be sold already assembled? And even if they were that cheap, how much assembly could that thing need? Did you need to solder all of the electronics and everything? What the heck?

– So this little Clefairy had the time and strength to put down Pikachu, remove the manhole cover, grab Pikachu, head down the sewer and (mostly) replace the manhole cover (with Pikachu still in its hands) all before Ash and co., who were like three seconds behind, caught up?

– Okay, it’s crazy for Jigglypuff to just jump down this manhole, especially when Brock said they can’t even see the bottom, but it’s the balloon Pokemon. It will probably be alright. However, it’d be ultra dumb if the humans, who are not small pink sentient balloon animals, jumped down this hole that almost certainly leads to either a quick death or horrible life-changing injuries. Good thing that would never happen, right?

Right guys?

…..Rig–

So, Ash and the others jump down after Jigglypuff.

Because they’re all just….so dumb.

So….

Unreasonably….

Dumb.

Again, even ten-year-olds should know that this is insanely dangerous. Not to mention the fact that this can be mimicked by their younger audience. Yeah, kids. If you see an open manhole, hop right in! You’ll find a spaceship and Clefairy and you certainly won’t wind up in a wheelchair, coma or dead because you fell however far onto solid concrete!

-What the hell is happening here?

Did they find a portal to purgatory?

– Okay, I’m not a sewer expert or anything, but 1) Pretty sure you wouldn’t end up falling through a series of pipes if you fell down a manhole. Again, you’d probably just crash into the concrete below and die. 2) Even if you did, I doubt you’d be able to survive the hit into the pipe as you fell, and they smack into the pipes hard several times. 3) Why would the sewer empty out into a random cave? 4) Why would the random cave they wind up in have no water at the end? There’s no water in any of this equation. It’s a real sewer line, we see the various pipes. Unless the Clefairy built this sewer system themselves, this is somehow a sewer system without water or, ya know, sewage.

– Misty: *seconds after landing in the cave* “Pikachu’s gone. Let’s go.” Nice, Misty. Also, why would you be brave enough to dive into an open, dark manhole but you don’t have the balls to weather being in a random cave to find Pikachu?

Ash: “Very funny.” Was she joking? That didn’t come across.

– *sigh* And now the cous de gras of stupidness…..the Clefairy’s new spaceship. I’m working under the assumption that everything down in this cave was built by the Clefairy and not the theory that, somehow, the Clefairy found and abandoned by working secret rocket launching facility made by humans because that somehow makes less sense to me.

So……all of this…the spaceship, the rocket, the extendable and movable staircase, the launchpad, the giant countdown thinger that descends from the ceiling, everything…….was built….using the most random garbage they could get their little pink fingers on. Baby bottle….pot….chicken….baseball bat…bike horn….birthday candles…..coat buttons….We’re also later shown a golf club, a tennis racket, a radio and a ball. How is ANY of this helping them build ALL OF THIS? I would understand if they were stealing stuff like arc welders, scrap metal, fuel etc. but ice cream? Whatever the hell is in Ash, Misty and Brock’s backpacks?…..Oh yeah, holy crap, Misty, you just got all your Pokemon stolen again. Your bag safety practices have not improved at all since the Farfetch’d episode, young lady.

This plot is probably the most nonsensical in the series so far, and it pretty much just expects to be brushed off with ‘They’re aliens, so they can make whatever with whatever.’

I am perfectly willing to accept that maybe the spaceship itself wasn’t made from junk. But it’s clearly repaired by it, and the rocket still had to have been built from the ground up by junk.

– Brock: “I’ll go tell Officer Jenny.” How? You got here via a sewage pipe that you can’t climb, and considering how long the ride took, I can bet you’re fairly far away. Is there an exit I’m not seeing?

– They have a gear system working with a soccer ball as one of the cogs, spinning on the missing pot….How is that staying there? Either something is piercing it, meaning it would be deflated, or it’s purely friction, which shouldn’t keep it there indefinitely, especially once the ship starts moving. I love how they show a few things here and there to ‘prove’ that they are indeed using the stolen garbage, but you can’t explain away the other 99.99% of the stuff around here. Like the glass power pod thing they’re storing Pikachu in. What is that made from? How did it get made?

– Oh god, the animation on Ash and the others when they run in after seeing Pikachu. This is definitely a budget episode.

– Where did all the Clefairy randomly pop in from? There’s only one entrance to the room and they kinda appeared in front of the pod.

– There is clearly power being fed into this ship somehow. Machines are running and the lights are on. Not to mention, they have tons of power if they can use that huge stadium-level countdown indicator outside. They have to have some substantial source of electricity. Why is Pikachu so vital?

– Before I rewatched this, I thought the Clefairy and Jigglypuff stuff was the worst part of the episode, but now I realize it’s actually the saving grace because their fight is hilarious. Don’t think we need to add fancy attack labels to what is essentially a bitchslap fight, but still entertaining.

– And then Jigglypuff’s curbstomping the other Clefairy because it wants its microphone back is just the icing on the cake.

– Oswald: “I wonder what this joystick does. *breaks it* Oops. I broke it.” Oswald, goddammit.

– I love that Jigglypuff immediately starts singing when it gets its microphone back.

– Ash: *hearing Jigglypuff’s song* “What’s that?”

– Misty: “It’s Jigglypuff’s song!”

Ash: “That’s a song I always get tired of.” And yet you never remember it.

– Jigglypuff sure has gotten lazy with its face scribbles. It used to actually doodle funny pictures. Now it’s just random black squiggles.

– It’s very cute that they used a little plastic hammer to boop Pikachu on the nose to make him attack.

– The Clefairy also built a tunnel system and tracks for the rocket to travel through, somehow broke up the road in secret and turned a massive section of the road into a panel that could be remotely turned into a ramp for the rocket to use. All with garbage.

– Also, all the stolen stuff just falls from the rocket as it’s leaving the hanger. I’m sure it was so vital….or maybe it was vital and the Clefairy are just shoddy mechanics.

– Chef: “Now I can cook my chicken!” You’re a professional chef who only owns one pot? Also, your stolen chicken didn’t fall out. Guess you have to buy a new one….or, if it did fall out off-screen….uh….you’re gonna cook that now?….Ew.

– All of the streets in this massive city are surprisingly void of literally any cars.

– Their runway leads straight for a massive building that, conveniently, has sloped sides.

Also, I know cartoon logic is in play here, but

….screw you.

– Why would they have it set up so that the rocket separates from the spaceship before it’s even cleared the buildings?

– I find it funny that, for a change, Team Rocket is actually blasting off in a rocket.

….It’s at least funny until that thing kills dozens of people because it not only doesn’t have a parachute, but it’s the middle of a densely populated city with no way to control it.

– They’re doing the questioning for me here in regards to Pikachu breaking itself free, but it actually kinda makes the situation worse.

Ash: “I wonder how it cracked open.”

Misty: “Pikachu’s electric attack must’ve been too much for it.”

Ash: “Like when a balloon pops because there’s too much air inside.”

Mmph.

I’m not expecting ten-year-olds with no education to know how this would happen….especially because it probably wouldn’t.

Glass can shatter because of electricity, but, considering the situation, it’s unlikely it would have happened in this circumstance. The speed and heat of a sudden BOLT of lightning, plus the shockwave of the thunder, can shatter glass. However, in the case of Pikachu, he was delivering an even stream of electricity for about a minute. This application of electricity should have heated and melted the glass, at most, not broken it.

Also, it should be noted that Pikachu’s supposed maximum amperage is 1000, while the average lightning bolt is around 30,000 amps.

Ash is right in that air pressure can break glass, but that’s not what they’re implying here. They’re making the claim that Pikachu was just too powerful for the glass to handle, which I sincerely doubt. Even if air pressure was a factor here, I doubt that pod is air tight (unless they wanted to murder Pikachu) like a balloon would be.

I’m no scientist, again, researching as I go, so if you think this is feasible then comment below. I’m actually very interested in this.

– So their bags were just….sitting there….in the same room Pikachu was being held?….Nothing missing from them? Surely, out of all the stuff the Clefairy stole, their backpacks had to have had things that they could have used in the ship.They found uses for a microphone and a soccer ball but nothing in the backpacks?

Why, it’s almost like the missing backpacks were just a flimsy plot device….and, really, that’s what they were because not only did the Clefairy not use anything in the backpacks, but how many times has Ash and co. just stumbled upon the problem of the week and just volunteered to help? The episode could have easily started with them walking down the street and wondering why there’s a huge crowd outside the police station and then they help the investigation.

– Bulbasaur landing on Ash was very cute.

– I commend the Clefairy for being able to make even a slightly working spaceship out of random crap, but it’s hard to be impressed when the thing keeps crashing and then they steal more crap to make another. How many times have they done this?

– It’s pretty dumb of those people to run from Oswald when he’s clearly wearing a cardboard box, a pot and a desk lamp. He’s also speaking clear English and has visible human hands and feet.

– Officer Jenny: “On behalf of everyone, I’d like to say ‘Thank you.’”

Ash: “Thanks!”

No, Ash, SHE wanted to say thanks, silly.

– Ash: “We’re glad you got everything back.” What the….what…..what the…..wha…..How is that even remotely possible?! Some stuff fell from the ship, sure, but if the ship was made entirely from random stolen crap then surely a good chunk of it has to be gone for good. You can’t tie up that bow, Pokemon. It’s impossible.

– I love how absolutely no one is concerned about Oswald.

——————————————

Well, that certainly was an episode.

It’s a massive overload of stupid, even for this show, but it never made me really angry or anything. Mostly, I just feel like my intelligence was insulted. Even for kids, this is some insane stretching they’re doing here. You could say it’s…..astronomical. 😀

…..Yeah, I’m sorry.

Also, it’s kinda weird that this group of Clefairy is a super-smart group of seemingly legit aliens when the last ones we saw just lived like normal Pokemon with the implications of being extraterrestrial.

Don’t even talk to me about Oswald. He’s not making my blood boil or anything, but he is one of more annoying CotDs we’ve had, and he took up Seymour the Scientist’s ™ role and that’s just blasphemy.

Even the art and animation were low grade today.

The one saving grace of this episode, like I mentioned, was the Jigglypuff vs. Clefairy stuff…and even that got a little old by the time the main Clefairy showed up.

This episode wasn’t terrible to sit through, but it definitely did not deserve to be the lead up to the final (Indigo) badge episode.

Speaking of which, holy crap, guys, next time we cover the final (Indigo) badge episode! It’s also the first and only time (that I know of anyway. Much later movies might do this more. I’m not as familiar.) where the movies have interjected with the main series.

That’s right! We’ve got Viridian City! We’ve got Earth Badge! We’ve got Gio-frickin’-vanni! We’ve got Gary in a Gym match! We’ve got MEWTWO, bitches!

And…..and………we have one of the most wasted badge episodes, let alone final badge episodes, to ever grace Pokemon because they spent too much time and energy tying into the movie that they didn’t bother making a good story for the main plot of the series. We’ve got a lot to go over, folks.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com