Battle Arena Toshinden (OVA) Review

Plot: Uhhh, there’s some tournament called the Toshin tournament, but that doesn’t matter because we never see the tournament over the course of the show. This anime is also based off of a video game of the same name that I’ve never played, but I hope to God at least the fans of the game find some meaning behind this show.

A man named Eiji was apparently the last tournament’s winnerm and his brother, Sho, has turned bad, apparently, and has betrayed his family so Eiji’s on a mission to find him…..apparently.

But there’s also some lady named Uranus who dresses like Lady Gaga’s lobotomized twin. She’s evil and runs some evil organization called….The Organization. Eiji along with a bunch of other characters who are never adequately explored fight The Organization.

Breakdown: THEM anime reviews has, at least at one point, labeled this the worst anime they’ve ever seen. Ouch. Now, I’ve disagreed with THEM before and at this point I’ve seen my fair share of crap. Do I share the same sentiment?

……Uhh, I wouldn’t say ‘worst’ but it’s pretty damn low on the list. It’s bottom 10 at least. This anime is confusing as hell to me. I really, truly hate when shows, anime or otherwise, expect that you should know the full backstory behind something, especially when the backstory is explained in an entirely different medium. I’ve never played Battle Arena Toshinden, yet this anime not only acts like you should know full well the backstory to this whole mess of an OVA, but it also assumes you know every character and what their story is too.

When they actually do bless you with some information, it’s just thrown at you like a rock of exposition. Characters are constantly showing up, especially at the ending where the big clusterfuck of cameos happens. I had no idea who 98% of those people were when they showed up and the ones I did recognize I still knew nothing about. Oh yeah, the old man with Wolverine claws, dominatrix love-interest chick. ♪ And the rest….are here on Gilligan’s Isssllllleeee!

Not like they even did anything either. They were simply meant to fight the lacky no-name no-face enemy characters to give the main guys a chance to go after the characters who actually somewhat matter. Eiji, one of the main characters, actually said “We don’t have time to deal with those pawns!” Yeah, great, thanks for telling me there’s no reason give a crap about what they’re doing.

I didn’t even really get to know the main character that well. He’s a master martial artist and a nice guy…..that’s…about…it.

Another character who literally shows up just to create a plot point is Ellis. She’s a cutesy knife thrower in the circus who was also a participant in the tournament that I’m told happened. She appears in the final minutes of episode one and is in a coma dying from poison five minutes into episode two.

I don’t care about this person. If anything, she annoys me. I don’t care about her dad (It was also an exposition rock that a fighter named Gaia was her dad) And oh she’s voiced by Lisa Ortiz….

Let’s address Uranus, hm? Well, first of all we don’t see her do anything. She’s one of those behind-the-scenes villains who talks big then runs off when she’s confronted face to face. Oh and…she grew wings out of nowhere.

By the way, can someone please explain to me what the hell this is?

It looks she fell in the shower, got wrapped up in the shower curtain, curtain rod and all, walked to the mirror and said, “….Hm…that’s fine. Time to go to work.”

And look at the front!

Her dress has no top! What was that listed as in the item description? “Side-Boob-Displaying Uncomfortable Dress from Hell”? That has got to be one of the dumbest clothing designs I’ve ever seen in anything.

Oh well, she has to look better when she’s prepared for battle, right?

Wow….more practical but still ugly as all hell. That does not look liked she’d be able to move, though, considering the way the shoulder guards are designed. Also, all that armor, looking clunky as a robot made of washing machines, and the two areas they don’t cover are the head and the boobs. Oh well, at least she has boob socks – the strongest of all female armor.

I am thoroughly unimpressed with everything. Thank you.

Our only two actual villains in this movie who do things are Sho and a man-machine (because ‘android’ or ‘cyborg’ are just too complicated) named Chaos. Sho’s obviously the big brother who joined the bad ranks for whatever reason but still wants to fight his brother in an honorable match. Chaos is just a crazy guy wielding a sickle. He has a grudge against Gaia for beating him a while back and that’s about it.

From what story I could piece together, there is nothing here. It’s filled with so many cliches and suffers from such a lack of originality that it’s just sad. Being cliché doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker. You just have to be creative with the cliches…and they’re not. I could not care about anything in this OVA. Not the story. Not the characters. Nothing.

This isn’t even really good for action. The action scenes, while not being particularly boring, weren’t particularly interesting either. Their moves are so uninspired that I honestly would never be able to tell them apart if they were done one after another.

They all have regular weapons from your traditional sword, to a buster-sword-thing, to whips (of course the dominatrix character gets a whip….a PINK whip.) to big billy clubs (wielded by a female character who seems to be roller-derby-ish…..and they’re, of course, pink….They also look like giant Nerf toys.) to the aforementioned Wolverine claws. They also have the never-explained ability to use energy-powers, but none of these moves are memorable either.

Oh and did I mention that the ending basically resolves nothing? They manage to get the antidote for Ellis by defeating Chaos. The reason they couldn’t defeat him before was because he was turned into a man-machine. Every time he fought one of the main guys, he’d get data on their fighting styles and predict their moves. How was he beaten? Eiji shrugged him off and said to just fight using each other’s moves so Chaos couldn’t predict it.

Eiji: “You’re a fool for thinking we’d just do the same moves over and over.” You know what? That is a great point and a gigantic flaw in this multi-billion dollar experiment to make man-machine fighters. Way to go, Uranus, you dumb stupidly dressed sack of idiot.

Uranus gets away, the real Sho shows up (don’t ask) yet disappears as soon as he came to just say “Yeah I blew up all the stuff you had. Just wanted to end this BS. Bye!” Uranus escapes due to her unexplained sudden growth of wings (even though I don’t see how she really did escape unless there was a series of holes leading straight up out of the building), the good guys survive the explosion complete with walking out of the flames without even attempting to walk at a brisk pace because bad-ass.

Oh and at the very end, some guy, I guess, according to the Youtube comments, his name is Vermillion, comes out, Eiji smiles, unsheathes his sword, slashes once and reveals the title screen before the end credits start.

Bite. Me.

Look, if you want to release an OVA that is purely meant as an advertisement for a game or a manga or whatever – be my guest. There are plenty of times when that can work, but you have to do it well. You can’t expect that your audience knows all of this crap that may or may not be explained in the video games, and it’s really bad practice to do that because chances are the video game will become dated and phased out due to people ditching their old consoles for new ones, but the OVA will stick around for future viewings and people will be like insanely confused.

I guess the Youtube commenters must’ve been fans of the game because I just kept seeing “this is a good anime” and the like. However, seeing as how many people were also bringing up how this OVA is such a blast from the past, I’m going to either believe they have nostalgia goggles glued on or this OVA really is a lot better when you know of the game. However, I believe even if I knew of all of that stuff that this would still be awful.

Art and Animation: The art is terrible. It’s exaggerated fighting anime style, but it’s still really bad. I don’t know if I’d say it’s some of the worst I’ve seen, but it’s still awful. I will commend them for actually animating the action instead of just resorting to still screens, but the animation as a whole is pretty damn bad.

Voice acting: English Dub. Ranges from ‘okay’ to ‘Wow, they really hired this guy?’ Most of the characters lean on the side of okay, but characters like the Duke were just laughably bad.

Music: The music wasn’t that bad but like everything else it wasn’t memorable.

Bottomline: Unless you’ve played the old Battle Arena Toshinden games and can find some value in this OVA, there’s no point whatsoever in watching this. It’s confusing, poorly paced, extremely poorly written in terms of both story and dialogue, gives you no reason to care about anything and there’s not even good mindless fight scenes to enjoy. And I do have to reiterate – there’s no ‘battle arena’ in Battle Arena Toshinden. There WAS one. You just missed it.

Additional Information and Notes: Battle Arena Toshinden is based on a series of video games for the Playstation (1-3 and Vita) Game Boy and Sega Saturn. There hasn’t been an incarnation of the series since 2009, and even then it was released under an entirely different name with no connection to the previous storyline.

The OVA was produced by Animate Film and JC Staff. It was directed by Masami Obari, who also directed pretty much every Fatal Fury anime, Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer and uh…*cough*….some hentai titles.

It was co-written by Masaharu Amiya (episode one) who also did minor work on Ai Yori Aoshi, Beyblade, Karin, Inuyasha and….Yosuga no Sora.

Episode two was written by Haruo Takayama, and either the dude is too ashamed of this work to display it anywhere he’s listed or the Wiki doesn’t have accurate information. The only Haruo Takayama I can find did the screenplay for both of the Turn A Gundam movies and wrote the script for Jungle do Ikou’s OAV. Nothing anywhere about Battle Arena Toshinden.

The OVA was originally licensed under the now defunct Central Park Media, then known as US Manga Corps. Their licenses were distributed to many other media companies, but it’s unclear who owns the license to Battle Arena Toshinden now, if anyone owns it at all.

Episodes: 2

Year: 1996

Recommended Audience: Plenty of violence, but nothing gets incredibly gory. One nude shot, of course of a woman, of course the dominatrix lady, some sexual-ish content, no swearing. 12+


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Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective | Episode 10: Love-Love Rhapsody Sub/Dub Comparison

STDGKEP10SCREEN1

Plot: TP Lady sets her sights on Love-Love and sets a trap in medieval Baghdad to capture her.

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They add a circular ‘droplet’ kind of transition when Petra has her fantasy.

I don’t understand TP Lady/Petra Fina’s idea here. Love-Love/Getalong only makes people set aside their differences and get along. She doesn’t make them fall in love.

The original fantasy doesn’t show any reluctance on the Masked Man’s part, making Love-Love’s interference seem strange. In the dub, they have the Masked Man say that he’s not sure they’re ready for marriage, which is what prompts Petra to use Getalong. It makes more sense in the dub – kudos for once, Saban – but, again, Getalong doesn’t do that….Also, it’s kinda silly to say you might not be ready for marriage when you’re already at the church and wearing a tuxedo. Maybe I should just chalk up the nonsensicalness to it being TP Lady’s/Petra Fina’s fantasy….

Love-Love’s name plate is removed.

Subbed: STDGKEP10SCREEN2

Dubbed: STDGKEP10SCREEN3

Another droplet transition after the fantasy ends.

It VERY briefly cuts to black when Petra is hit by the soccer ball. I’m going to assume that’s just a problem on the copy, because there’s no way that censored the hit.

Title Change: Love-Love Rhapsody is changed to Go Getalong.

They move a shot of the kids from after TP Lady speaks to them to right before then because the dub removed the title card, which originally appeared between when TP Lady got hit and when she started talking to the kids.

Okay….what…the hell….was that phone conversation? TP Lady called the Time Bureau to tell them, in a childish kind of voice, that she had found a monster….in medieval Baghdad? …What….just….what? Wouldn’t they ask how she’s calling them from medieval Baghdad?

Surprisingly, the exact same conversation happens in the dub. Is this just a joke that does not land very well or what’s happening here?

They changed another establishing shot to one in the evening.

In the original, Toki-G mutters “Ms. Jinguuji” in his sleep. In the dub, he doesn’t mutter anything.

They, again, add in Flint grabbing the time card and the kids rushing to the Time Cycle in between when the card is ejected and when they’re leaving. In the dub, Dr. Goodman also adds in that Baghdad was part of the Ottoman empire at the time period they’re visiting (This never matters, but educational nonetheless). Also, they specify that they’re going to Baghdad in 1539. In the original, they just say they’re going to medieval Baghdad.

Saban adds a shot of the kids coming out of the time stream in the dub.

Originally, Mite nearly mentioned Dyna’s name and Tokio caught it for a second. In the dub, he does no such thing, but Tony recognizes his voice for a second.

Dyna and Mite originally introduce themselves. In the dub, they introduce each other.

What the frick? They, for some reason, mirror flipped the shot of Putera telling Love-Love he did a good job? For what possible reason?

What’s ever weirder is there’s an identical shot a few shots later and it’s left alone. What the?

They remove the second time Love-Love uses her power and the subsequent effects scene as well as TP Lady saying she needs to get Love-Love quickly because she doesn’t think she can take much more of this.

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Tokio just said to get TP Lady and the others. In the dub, he tells Getalong to use her love beam.

Putera originally points out that the effects of Love-Love’s beam are getting shorter each time she uses it. In the dub, Pterry says ‘There’s about as much love in this room as a piranha in a goldfish bowl.’

After TP Lady’s ship is crashed into the house, Putera asks the kids if they’re okay. Sora responds that she thought she was going to die, and Tokio says that was a reckless thing to do. In the dub, for some reason, Pterry tells the kids to get along, Sarah says “So this is what love is like.” and Tony says the most obvious addition to this sequence of dialogue “Love hurts, doesn’t it?” I have no idea why they changed this because it doesn’t make any sense. The only way these jokes would work is if Getalong made the ship crash into the house, but she didn’t – TP Lady did.

Sora doesn’t suggest running like Sarah does.

In the original, all Genshi says is that he’s hungry (and yes, they’re doing that shtick again) In the dub, he says he wants macaroni.

Dyna and Mite originally suggest boiling or frying Genshi when he’s captured. In the dub, they sarcastically suggest being his friend or offering a spot of tea. Technically, I think the dub works a little better because they’re mocking what happened earlier.

I concede on this one as there’s just no way they could have added this in English and had it make any sense. When TP lady is squeezing Genshi over and over in the robot, she says “Oshikura manju! Anko-juu!” Oshikura manju is a game kids play in Japan, usually on cold days in order to stay warm. A group of kids will link their arms and form a circle with their backs to the inside of the circle. When prompted, the group all pushes into each other with their backs chanting “Oshikura Manju osarete nakuna.” The game can simply be played as a means of warming up, meaning no one technically wins or loses, or a large circle can be drawn on the floor and the object becomes to push people out of the circle until only one remains.

Anko-juu is short for anko manju, which is a type of cake filled with red bean paste.

I don’t really see what the original was going for. People aren’t squished in the Oshikura manju game, but I guess they’re acting like Genshi is an anko manju and they’re trying to….squish the paste out of him? Ew.

In the dub, they change this to “What’s the matter, Flint? Cat got your lung? Oops, I mean ‘tongue’!” While I think it would’ve been funnier if they left out the correction part, this was a very suitable and fairly funny replacement line for the original joke. I actually prefer it to the original because, like I said, it doesn’t make much sense to me.

The net wasn’t electromagnetic or anything like it is in the dub. They even added electric sound effects. Guys, it’s a net….they’re tangled in a net…..You don’t need to add anything more complicated to that to explain why they’re trapped….It’s a net….It’s what nets do.

Pterry: “Flint! I’ve got the Time Cycle programmed to produce a time shifter!” That makes it sound like the Time Cycle is making a time shifter, not transporting one.

TP Lady originally points out that Talun’s only power is to enter into storybooks, so she’s not concerned. In the dub, she just gloats about her robot’s teeth. Gotta say, she had a good point. What exactly could Talun do here?

Tokio’s an asshole to Love-Love in the original. He yells to Sora that all space-time monsters can transform, so either Love-Love has that ability too or she’s a useless space-time monster. In the dub, he only says that they have no other choice but for Getalong to transform otherwise Petra will win. The really sad part about this is that Love-Love doesn’t transform in this episode, nor does she in the entire series.

I don’t really know why TP Lady even still wants Love-Love. Not to also be an asshole to Love-Love, but they’ve proven that her abilities last only a few minutes at most and they get weaker the more times she uses it in succession. The Masked Man won’t fall for TP Lady forever with Love-Love’s powers.

Tokio tearfully tells Love-Love to stop attacking the robot. In the dub, he emotionlessly (yet still with tears in his eyes) just explains what’s going on right now.

They insert a shot of Sora yelling to Genshi right before he mutters his line. Also, Genshi originally muttered Love-Love’s name. In the dub, he says “Ugh, who turned out the lights?”

The next attack, Genshi tells Love-Love to stop attacking. In the dub, he says “That looks like Getalong.” I only keep mentioning these slight changes because they keep draining the emotion out of this sequence for no reason.

Originally, the TP trio talks about how they messed up. In the dub, Petra asks if they have a warranty on the robot, Mite says not in medieval times and Dyno says the nearest repair shop is 1000 years from now.

I will give credit – Tokio apologized for the ‘useless’ comment.

Sora offers to make Genshi some food when they get home. In the dub, she says they should order some pizza.

More external shots of the bureau are changed for some reason. They don’t change the time of day, so I dunno.

And Saban just went full 4Kids by replacing the Japanese text in Tokio’s journal with scribbles.

Subbed: STDGKEP10SCREEN9

Dubbed: STDGKEP10SCREEN10

In the original, Love-Love just ‘sings’ a song with the only lyrics being ‘Love-Love’ because that’s all she can say. In the dub, Getalong sings about getting along to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb.

They add an establishing shot of the outside of the Land of Time before showing Toki-G wake up….He’s been knocked out all this time? Dude needs an ambulance.

Tokio says to himself that maybe Love-Love’s not hiding anything (implying he’s overestimating Love-Love’s abilities.) In the dub, Tony wonders if Getalong has some sort of secret power.

They change a couple of shots at the very end to just different angles of Love-Love and Toki-G (as well as adding another establishing shot of the Land of Time.)

Even more is added after that – They repeat the shot of Getalong singing and have Tony ask her to stop because he wants to write in his journal to help him become a Time Detective some day. Finally, we end on the same old evening shot of the Time Bureau.

————————————

I thought I’d be disappointed with this episode, but it was one of the stronger stories of the series so far. The main issue I thought I’d have with the story was that Love-Love would be given focus but wouldn’t transform into her super form. While it would be nice to see Love-Love’s super form, this episode was all about how she doesn’t need to change herself in order to prove her worth as a teammate. Love-Love doing her damnedest to fight the robot was touching and very sad. A little lame of a resolution, but I’ll forgive it. I can totally believe Dyna and Mite were too incompetent to secure the bolts well enough to withstand Love-Love’s assault, though it was moreso the robot continuously swatting her away that loosened them I think.

HOWEVER, I don’t think I can forgive the fact that, in the end, Genshi defeated the giant robot and TP Lady without ever getting any food. I thought Talun went into the book to get Genshi some food, but he and Putera never came out. Genshi was just freed because the robot’s arm came off, Ototan used Fighting Spirit, and somehow Genshi had the strength to pull off the attack….Meaning, he could’ve won this entire time and Love-Love didn’t need to nearly kill herself to save Genshi.

I also assumed I’d be disappointed by the lack of both a historical figure and a new space-time monster. I would’ve liked to have seen both, but the humorous parts plus the emotional battle were enough to make up for it.

Next time, in 20th century America, Genshi and the others meet Nekketsu – a space-time monster that can turn anything into a ball. Fitting, as he stumbles upon none other than Babe Ruth.


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My Poke-Pinions #029-034 The Nido Line

Nidoran ♀ and Nidoran ♂

Name: I’m gonna let the Wiki take a walk for a second.

“Nidoran♀ may be derived from needle. It may also come from cnidocyte, a type of venomous cell responsible for the stings delivered by stinging animals, most notably jellyfish. Alternatively, it may be based on ni (two) or 二度 nido (two times/two degrees) referring to the two distinct evolutionary lines with similar names and traits. Also, the Japanese word ran is translated as orchid in English. Orchids are flowers that can be purple or blue, these being the same colors as the male and female evolutionary forms of Nidoran, respectively.” That’s uh…a lot to process.

Personally, I was never really able to gauge any origins of Nidoran’s name before, but these theories are interesting, particularly the note about cnidocytes. ‘Nido’ meaning ‘two times/degrees’ also makes sense, but it seems weird to point this out considering that they’re two different evolutionary lines that are separated by gender when nearly any line could technically do that. It’s just that the Nido line happens to look more different based on gender than most lines, and they’re named differently based on those gender differences.

For instance, Nidorina ends with an A, which is typical of feminine names, and Nidorino ends with an O which is more typical of masculine names. Then there’s the obvious with Nidoking and Nidoqueen. What I’m trying to say is, technically, they didn’t have to make these lines entirely separate. They could have just given them a gender neutral name scheme and kept up the gender icons like with Nidoran at the start. It’s like they really wanted them to be separate lines because they look quite a bit different and have some small differences as a result, so they might have incorporated that into the name.

I mean, technically, we do that with regular animals too. We say bulls and cows, stallions and mares, roosters and hens, goose and gander etc. But they’re still the same species. Bucks and does are still deer. Lionesses are still lions. Drakes are still ducks. Separating the line like that just makes it seem like they are legitimately different species, which they aren’t, as far as I can tell. They are treated as different lines, but, when bred with a Pokemon that is not a Nidoran male, the egg of a female Nidoran still has a chance of hatching into a male Nidoran. In my opinion, in a real world context, they wouldn’t be treated as a separate species entirely.

Anyhoo, the orchid thing….I mean, I guess that works? But that’s really flimsy if you ask me. That would fit better if Nidoran were a Grass type or had anything to do with flowers.

After looking up more information on orchids, they are prominent symbols of love and fertility, which is an explanation that I think works better than ‘orchids can be the same colors as the Pokemon.’

I never really much liked or disliked the name Nidoran. It’s a perfectly fine name and it’s memorable enough. However, I was always slightly annoyed at how you had to specify the gender whenever you were talking about it, so their names typically come out as literally ‘Nidoran female’ and ‘Nidoran male.’ And whenever typing it out, you had to copy the gender symbol from somewhere. If you’re going to give different names to the rest of the line, why not do the same for the base evos? Also, for this sake, I’m going to refer to them as NF and NM throughout this post.

Designs: I’ve always thought both Nidorans had a very cute and unique design. NF gives off a lot of hamster vibes, which is very cute, and I love her little single front tooth. I also absolutely adore the color choices too.

NM is also very cute. I love that he has bigger rabbit-like ears and a more….kinda baby-dinosaur-esque style to it. I also think it’s interesting how they basically swapped the traditional gender colors. NF is blue while NM is pink. It’s also a very nice shade of pink. A bit of a light fuchsia-ish kinda color.

NF Sprites

R/B’s sprite looks a little off because the head is too smooth. They didn’t add the head horn until later, it seems.

Everything about average until Crystal where it gets an adorable little animation like its whiskers are twitching after sniffing the air.

Gen III’s really cute, but the animation for Emerald is a bit too twitchy.

Gen IV is also good, but, again, the animation for HG/SS is just twitchy and strange.

I REALLY don’t like the sprite for Gen V based purely on the fact that the animation makes it look like it’s hyperventilating.

Everything else is okay.

NM Sprites

What the hell is up with NM in R/B/G? Its eyes look way too big.

And what highlighter did they color in Yellow’s sprite with?

Gold is basically what R/B/G should have looked like.

Silver is incredibly adorable. Very bunny-esque

I hate Crystal’s animation, though, because it just looks like the animation was poorly done. It just doesn’t look right.

Gen III’s looking good. I like that cool pouncing animation they gave it in Emerald.

Gen IV is also good, but, again, the animation for HG/SS is just twitchy and weird.

Gen V’s animation is cute, but just bordering on moving its ears so much that it might be trying to emulate Dumbo.

Everything else is fine.

Shinies: Nidoran’s shinies are interesting because they’re palette swapped between the two subsets. NF’s shiny is pinkish purple while NM’s is blue. It’s a simple idea, but it works very well because both Pokemon look great in their counterpart’s colors.

Cries/Voices: Both of the Nidos have very similar voices. It’s basically just cute mumbling. NM’s voice might be a tiny bit deeper, but that’s about it. I think their voices work relatively well for them. They’re pretty cute.

NF’s game cry is pretty cute, but generic, and NM’s is a little more annoying because, for some reason, they gave it a higher-pitched screech-ish cry. I don’t think it fits as well.

Dex Entries and Backstories:

NF

A lot of the discussion on both Nidos is about their horns and their poisonous properties. In fact, that’s really all there is to say about the female version. NF is more docile than the male version, but they will attack with their poisonous barbs if threatened. Their horns are smaller than the male’s, and their horns are more rounded, but they do have a better sense of smell than the males.

In terms of design, Nidoran (Both male and female) takes a lot of inspiration from various rodents such as hamsters and porcupines, with some obvious inspirations from venomous mammals like shrews and platypuses, but the Wiki notes that they seem most similar to hyraxes, which I’ve never heard of before. Despite looking like they belong to the rodent family, they’re apparently more closely related to elephants and manatees, due to their features such as “toenails, excellent hearing, sensitive pads on their feet, small tusks, good memory, higher brain functions compared with other similar mammals, and the shape of some of their bones.” as well as other anatomical similarities.

NM

Like the female Nidoran, much of the focus in the Dex entries is on NM’s horns and poison. Its horns are larger than the female’s, and it tends to be more aggressive. While I thought that the aspect of having a better sense of smell made up for its smaller horns in comparison to the male’s, apparently NM has more benefits anyway because it’s heavily implied that it has much better hearing than the female…

Nidorina and Nidorino

Names: Nidorina and Nidorino both have fine names, and they’re suitable off-shoots of Nidoran. Like I mentioned before, their names are derived from simply indicating genders via the A for female and O for male rule that some languages use.

Designs: Nidorina has a cute design. She’s obviously bigger and tougher than NF, but there’s still a feminine quality to it. The shade of blue that they chose is pretty nice as well.

I’ve always really liked Nidorino’s design. It’s big and burly while still being a little cute. Definitely looks like he could impale the hell out of anything he sets his sights on. Really like the fuchsia-esque purple/pink color they have going on.

Nidorina Sprites

What…the hell….is up with Gen I? Why does Nidorina look like a pig? Why does R/B make it look like she’s presenting her ass to someone? What is this?

Gen II looks pretty good, although the animation on Crystal is questionable because it just looks like she’s saying “Shoo! Shoo! Go on, git!”

Gen III is good, but DEAR GOD the animation in Emerald is ridiculously doofy. It literally looks like she’s going “Durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”

Gen IV is an improvement as it’s a little more dynamic, but HG/SS’s animation is a very typical bounce.

Gen V is fine, but, again, I can’t get into the animation. It looks like she’s either clapping slowly or trying to grab something.

Everything else is okay.

Nidorino Sprites

Nidorino definitely made off well when it came to the Gen I sprites. He looks pretty damn nice and accurate to how we know of him today. I especially like Yellow’s sprite because it has such an attitude.

Gen II’s pretty good and intimidating, but Crystal’s animation looks odd. It kinda looks like he’s patting the spot next to him to call someone over to sit.

Gen III’s alright. The animation on Emerald is nice since it makes it look like it’s both approaching you and jumping.

Gen IV is a little weird just because I don’t know why his leg is sticking out like that.

The animation for HG/SS makes it look like he’s barking.

Gen V is….okay, but he’s bouncing so much that looks like he’s hyperventilating.

Usually I find Gens VI and VII to be alright, but this time they fumbled and made Nidorino look doofy. His eyes are too small and the saturation of his coloring is low, making him look sickly.

Shinies: Like with Nidoran, the shinies of Nidorina and Nidorino are just palette swapped versions of each other. Although, I should note that Nidorina is clearly more pink than Nidorino (he’s more of a pinkish-purple) and Nidorino is clearly a deeper more stark blue, almost bordering into a light purple shade in some versions.

For some reason, Gens VI and VII for Nidorino come out looking gray to me, though.

Both shinies are REALLY nice. I especially love Nidorino’s. Besides the gray-ish hues of the new Gens, every other version looks really cool.

Cry/Voice: Nirorina’s voice is a bit too high-pitched and close to NF’s. Nidorino’s voice is excellent, though I feel like it’s probably a stock roaring sound from some animal.

The exact opposite problem occurs in the games. Nidorina’s cry is made more low-pitched and suitable for her evolved state, but Nidorino’s is made high-pitched and not very intimidating at all.

Dex Entries and Backstories:

Nirorina

Nidorina is very gentle and motherly. Her horns obviously aren’t as developed and large as her male counterpart’s. When in battle, she will either present her barbs more prominently or choose to bite and scratch. For some weird reason, the Dex entries are very focused on the fact that Nidorina will chew up her food and spit it out for her young. She also uses ultrasonic waves emitted from her mouth as a means of defense if she feels she or her young are being threatened, though, oddly enough, while many Dex entries state that, Nidorina cannot learn Supersonic or any type of sonic attack in any Gen.

Sword mentions that it’s hypothesized that Nidorina’s horn is smaller than Nidorino’s in order to prevent her young from being poked…..is it just me or is that silly? There are many Pokemon with dangerous designs and they’re not altered for the sake of protecting their children from being hurt.

In terms of design, Nidorina is reportedly based on porcupines, rabbits, mice and/or hamsters, which….yeah okay, but are we still going to ignore the clear dinosaur vibe?

Nidorino

Unlike the more docile Nidorina, Nidorino is notoriously aggressive and will attack perceived enemies almost immediately with the venomous horn on his head. The venom’s potency will change depending on his adrenaline level at the time of attack. The horn in question is harder than diamonds, and it uses the horn to ram into boulders in search of a Moon Stone. Nidorino also use their large ears to listen for hostile presences and will react immediately if it hears anything.

Nidorino has the same design lineup as Nidorina, but the rhino has also been added as inspiration due to his aggressive and independent nature. Not sure why rhinos wouldn’t also fit with Nidorina, considering the rhinoceros was also listed as being inspiration for the name.

Nidoqueen and Nidoking

Names: Very fitting for the end of this evo line to be named King and Queen. I like the names Nidoking and Nidoqueen. They’re my favorite names of the bunch.

Designs: Nidoking has been and will always be one of the most notable powerhouse designs of Gen I. It’s an awesome final stage for the line, and it’s incredibly intimidating and cool. No Pokemon can make pink look as kickass as Nidoking.

Nidoqueen is also pretty cool, and I love that shade of blue, it’s perfect for her, but, admittedly, she doesn’t really have as cool of a design as Nidoking. It retains its femininity and gains a very motherly appearance (somewhat akin to Kangaskhan) while still being tough and intimidating.

……….Nidoqueen has boobs. I couldn’t not point that out. Oh they’re “Plates” uh huh, sure yeah, Wiki. They’re boobs. They’re very clearly boobs. Armored boobs are still boobs.

Nidoqueen Sprites

Gen I looks really good……except Green.

What the hell even is that? It looks like a knockoff plushie of a Nidoqueen.

Gen II, I’m not too fond of Gold because the teeth make it look a little doofy.

Not too fond of Silver either because she looks like she’s calling me over to flirt.

Or maybe flipping me off?

I do like Crystal because, for some reason, the animation reminds me of musical theater.

Gen III is pretty good. I like the roaring animation in Emerald. It’s very fierce.

Gen IV is okay. The animation for HG/SS is also roaring, but I don’t like it as much as Emerald’s.

I really love the animation on Gen V because it looks so natural and real.

The other gens are just okay.

Nidoking Sprites

Gen I’s looks pretty good. LOVE the angle on Yellow.

WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH GREEN!? I was going to make the same plushie joke as I did with Nidoqueen, but that doesn’t fit here. What is that monstrosity!? It’s like a sleep paralysis demon.

Gen II is really good, too. The poses are great, and so is the animation for Crystal even if it’s less intimidating than Nidoqueen’s. I do have to ask why his coloring is so dark in this gen. He’s just straight-up purple.

Gen III is good. The animation for Emerald is quite frightening.

Gen IV is good. Love the dynamic posing. Simple but effective animation on HG/SS.

Gen V, in a static sense, is good, but the animation just makes it look like its out of breath. I think the design was changed just ever so slightly to be a tiny bit slimmer, and I think it works out very well.

Gens VI and VII are fine, but I feel like the color’s a bit washed out and Nidoking’s face looks a tiny bit derpy.

Shinies:

Nidoking has one of the most awesome shinies in the game. Again, it’s a palette swap with the female counterpart, but I love the shade of blue they chose this time. It is a little bright, but it looks great on him. Reminds me of blue raspberry.

…….On the OPPOSITE end of the spectrum, you have whatever this used barf bag is supposed to be.

What happened? Why did they break the tradition of having the shiny version be a palette swap with the counterpart? Why choose, of all colors, that disgusting baby poop green color?

Cry/Voice: I was suspicious about Nidorino having a stock animal sound effect, but I am almost certain Nidoqueen is using one, and I’ve always been definitely sure Nidoking is using one because his roar is one of those roars you hear everywhere for dinosaurs and bears. It fits, but it’s hard to not make that connection.

In terms of the games, Nidoqueen has an extremely suitable cry. It’s lower pitched and gentle – very motherly.

Nidoking’s is like a screech, and while it is better than Nidorino’s, it’s still too high pitched to be truly suitable in my opinion.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Not in a Dex entry, but I had to mention this first.

“Although its female counterpart, Nidoqueen, cannot be bred, Nidoking [and Nidorino] can.”

Look….it’s already insanely stupid and creepy that this species that is basically designed from the ground up to complement each other from a breeding standpoint can’t breed with each other unless they’re the equivalent of children, but what is the sense behind making Nidoqueen unable to breed at all, even with Ditto? This isn’t some gender inequality tangent I’m going on – though that aspect is BS too – I mean the main focus of Nidoqueen…..IS BEING A MOM.

They have developed smaller horns and thicker skin for the sake of protecting their children. The venom in their horns will not excrete when their young is being carried on their backs. They will basically turn themselves into a makeshift wall for the entrance to their den if they’re trying to keep threats away from their children. The Dex literally says they’re at their strongest when they’re protecting their young. What young?! They can’t have young if they can’t breed!

The same thing applies to Nidorina, so unless she evolved while her babies were still young, a good chunk of her Dex entries make as little sense as Nidoqueen’s!

Oh, yeah and, fun fact – The NF line is literally the only evolutionary line that loses the ability to breed upon evolution.

Who the hell was in charge of managing the breeding system in the games, and why hasn’t this glaring issue with this line ever been fixed?

It’s especially weird when we get to the other side of the coin and see that Nidoking’s entries are mostly just talking about how out of control, violent and powerful Nidoking is.

“It uses its powerful tail in battle to smash, constrict, then break the prey’s bones.”

“Its steel-like hide adds to its powerful tackle. Its horns are so hard, they can pierce a diamond.”

“If it binds an enemy, it can snap the victim’s spine quite easily.”

“Once it goes on a rampage, there is no stopping it.”

“One swing of its mighty tail can snap a telephone pole as if it were a matchstick.”

Hardly one getting a tie for Father’s Day.

The one and only Dex entry that has anything to say about it being anything other than a destructive Pokemon who loves to fly off the handle at anything he perceives to be a threat is in Gen VIII when Sword says “When it goes on a rampage, it’s impossible to control. But in the presence of a Nidoqueen it’s lived with for a long time, Nidoking calms down.” Nothing about them being protective of their young or family.

So this one is allowed to breed, with a Ditto anyway, and mother of the year recipient, Nidoqueen, cannot have children at all.

……..Hm…..Wait a second….what if she adopts the kids that Nidoking has with Ditto? Is their line just meant to screw over Nidoqueen/rina so Nidoking/rino can stick his diamond hard horn into sentient flubber? Is Ditto a deadbeat mom? Are they a threesome? Why are you letting my train of thought keep going down this road? Please stop me.

In terms of designs, Nidoqueen and Nidoking have the same inspirations as their pre-evos, but gorillas have been added to the mix this time around – I suppose for the big arms.

Also, don’t buy my ‘Nidoqueen has boobs’ thing? Even the Wiki says her armor plates resemble a two-piece bikini.

…..I honestly wouldn’t agree with that because, what, is it a bikini that doesn’t connect up front and has giant granny panties as a bottom? But, yes….Nido-Boobs.

Next time, we’ll shoot for the moon and tackle the Cle line!


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Ojamajo Doremi/Magical Doremi | Episode 6: A Liar’s First Friendship Sub/Dub Comparison

OJAMAJODOREMIEP6SCREEN1

Plot: The girls’ classmate, Nobuko, is a notorious liar. Doremi and Hazuki know this, but since Aiko is new, she’s unaware and falls for her lies. One lie goes over the line and enrages Aiko. Can Nobuko find it within herself to be honest for a change and make amends?

—————————————

Both the pre-theme song cold open with a kid detective, later known as Nobuo, facing off against who will be revealed as the Bone Bone Army and the pre-title-card open with Doremi flying to get to school on time are removed.

Doremi says if she uses magic she’ll never be late to school anymore. Since they cut out her flying to get to school faster, they changed this to her saying she’s thinking of using magic to cheat on her math test tomorrow.

Hazuki responds by saying “What if someone sees you?” which makes Doremi freak out because she hadn’t thought of that. In the dub, Reanne responds by saying the test is actually today, which makes Dorie freak out because she hasn’t studied. I don’t get the dub because, if she was intending on using magic to cheat anyway, why does it matter when the test is or whether she studied or not?

Name Change: Nobuko Yokokawa is changed to Belinda Higgins.

Dorie: “You’ll believe anything, Ray.” Uhm….her name’s Reanne…..Is Ray a common shortening of Reanne?

Nobuko said the boys thought her hair was pretty. In the dub, she says they said she was totally cute and that one of them was thinking of asking her to the dance.

Text removal (The same text is also removed from Doremi’s book):

Subbed:

Dubbed:

More text removed from the note. They also added “Patina” to the corner, so I don’t know why they didn’t just translate the entire text and write it in.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The idol Doremi was taking about was Norihiro. In the dub, he’s Randall. Also, she was talking about the look on his face not a backflip he did.

Likewise, the group Norihiro is from is called The Wonderfuls. In the dub, they’re the Three of Hearts. Dub has a better name, honestly.

Aiko likes Yutaka. In the dub, she likes Jefferson.

Hazuki likes Yukio. In the dub, she likes Chazz.

Nobuko says the girls are naive about The Wonderfuls and then goes on to explain bad “facts” about them to prove it.

– Norihiro is a cheapskate

– Yutaka has a mother complex

– Yukio sews in his spare time (and that’s a bad thing….because?)

In the dub, Belinda acts like she know more about the group than they do.

– Randall is a vegetarian

– Jefferson speaks French

– Chazz is a crybaby

Nobuko just says she’s a relative of Yutaka. In the dub, she claims Jefferson is her first cousin.

What is up with this shot of Aiko? She’s missing a pupil….

Hmm, I feel like this episode is meant to be a double moral. Nobuko needs to learn not to lie and Aiko needs to learn it’s not nice to use people and claim they’re your friends when you’re just using them to get stuff you want….

Hazuki tells Mirabelle that Nobuko lied when she said she knew Mizuki, who is a famous manga artist. Doremi also says she lied about knowing the president of the United States. In the dub, Reanne says Belinda lied and said her dog knew how to read the newspaper. The second lie is kinda kept because Dorie claims Belinda said the president of the United States used to be her babysitter.

Doremi says her mom loves Nobuko’s adventure stories. Hazuki says she loves Nobuko’s story of the wounded man. In the dub, Dorie says she loves Belinda’s story about the grizzly bear and Reanne says she loved the story of the carrot soup.

Doremi corrects Hazuki and says it was the story of the drunk man. In the dub, I guess as a really weird way of avoiding this mention of drunkenness, they claim the story of the carrot soup was one she told at lunch and they flash back to it. They remove a shot of a confused Aiko as a result, but it will be replaced after the flashback is over. I’m also pretty certain they loop the shot to make it last longer there.

The “flashback” to the carrot soup story is actually just the next scene playing out only it has that white flashback filter.

They remove a shot of Aiko reacting to the story Nobuko is telling some kid in their class.

In the story, Nobuko is talking about her grandfather. Belinda is talking about her great-grandfather.

I have no idea how this ever happened, but the rest of the story is left entirely alone. The only reason I say that is because, even though it’s obviously a lie, it implies that Nobuko’s/Belinda’s granddad married and had sex with a living carrot.

No.

No, I won’t give you context.

It won’t help, and it’s funnier this way.

The rest of the scene is cut off.

The text on the board was original Japanese writing. In the dub, it was changed to math equations.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

4Kids – ruiner of jokes that are perfectly translatable. Nobuko collapses to the floor claiming she’s dizzy. Her classmate, Reika, irritatingly glares at her saying to not claim that when she’s clenching her stomach. In the dub, Belinda claims she has cramps and her classmate, who doesn’t get a dub name, tells her to not be a drama queen.

Another joke gone, though this time I understand. Nobuko claims stomachaches are caused by the DNA in your stomach, and that DNA stands for “Doushitemo Nontonaku Atarui” which I guess translates to “always causing trouble somehow.” I don’t really see how 4Kids could have worked with this, so I’ll give them a pass here. Instead, they just say Belinda gets stomach cramps if she’s exposed to too much chalk dust.

Aiko tells Nobuko that she doesn’t need to hurry in getting the autograph. In the dub, she asks if Belinda will call or send an email to get it.

Nobuko claims her mom works at a TV station. In the dub, it’s a record label.

Okay, okay, okay……They’ve doing a decent-ish job at making Nobuko out to be a harmless liar. She makes up crazy stories and once you realize she’s a total liar you just accept her antics and enjoy her stories, even if they’re kinda mean sometimes….

BUT

Aiko tells Nobuko that her mom’s gone (her parents are divorced, but she just says “My mom’s gone.”) and Nobuko’s response is to lie and say her dad probably died while adventuring…..That’s….just….a dick move. Even if you’re a kid, you have to understand that feigning empathy for a loved one’s death by lying and claiming your loved one also died is just a terrible thing to do. You’re essentially joking about their situation and/or using it to gain sympathy for yourself.

They turn it around later because Aiko encourages her to not give up hope that her dad’s still alive, so Nobuko tells Aiko to cheer up too…Yeah, Aiko, cheer up. You implied that your mother is dead and this serial liar just compared your situation to a ridiculous lie about her dad being lost in the jungle, possibly dead. Chin up, ol’ chap. This is one time 4Kids actually has a hand over the original because they make it clear that her parents are divorced. They don’t imply that her mom is dead. It’s still shitty to try and bond with someone over having an absent/missing parent when your parents are both fine, but at least it’s a tiny bit better in the dub.

Nobuko claimed her dad was a famous adventurer researching the Angkor ruins. Belinda claimed her dad was a scientist researching something about deadly rabbits.

Her dad went to Cambodia in the original whereas he went to Brazil in the dub. That’s uh….quite the locale change, there, 4Kids. Changed the country, continent AND hemisphere. Being extra today, are we?

There’s no mention of Nobuko’s father’s real occupation in the original. They just say he was at Parent’s Day. In the dub, they claim he’s an insurance salesman that they met at Belinda’s birthday party last month.

Mirabelle: “ARGH I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS! She’d rather climb a tree and lie to you than stay on the ground and tell you the truth!” …..Wha…I mean, yeah, she obviously loves telling lies more than telling the truth but I don’t understand the tree part.

In the original, Aiko just yells that she thought Nobuko knew the difference between a good lie and a bad lie.

Aiko starts getting super angry when she hears the girls start praising Nobuko’s acting skills. In the dub, Reanne says “No offense, but whoever heard of a deadly rabbit?”

I dunno, this rabbit kills me all the time.

Dorie: “We told you that Belinda’s a Be-liar.” *sigh*

Also, in either version, they should be a bit annoyed in defense of their friend because, even if lies are to be expected of someone, lying about a parent being missing and possibly dead as a response to a friend telling you their mother is “gone” or their parents are divorced is still a dick move.

Name Change: Ms. Yuki is changed to Ms. Shannon.

Books:

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Oh my god, they actually replaced the text in Nubuko’s book instead of just erasing it all. AND they bothered to have the writing look like a child’s handwriting. Good work, 4Kids.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The kid detective in Nobuko’s book is called Nobuo Takekawa. In the dub, he’s Slim Higgins.

In the original, Nobuo says if there are lost kittens in the north, he’ll find them, and if there are gangsters in the south he’ll beat them up. In the dub, Slim says he knows the secrets of the underworld and he has pledged to fight evil.

The Bone Bone Army is changed to the Bone Brothers.

The words on the bombs and the sign are removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The professor was originally named after Hazuki. In the dub, he’s Professor Rayner. They still make the connection that the characters are meant to be the same based sole on the fact that Rayner….I dunno. Starts with an R? The only other connections the two characters have are being smart and having glasses. Like I said, her name is REanee, not Rayanne or some other iteration. It would’ve made a lot more sense to just name the guy Professor Griffith as that’s Reanne’s last name.

Nobuko doesn’t do anything with Aiko’s name when she uses it for her character. In the dub, her name is Mira Bell, which is a lot more clever than what they did with Reanne.

I do have to ask why Aiko’s the only one who looks exactly the same as her character. Nobuko was genderflipped and got a detective-y outfit. Hazuki looks like a balding old scientist man. But outside of getting a hat and jacket Aiko looks no different.

Oh and Doremi is the dog, which I thought was very funny. In the original, her name is kept, but in the dub they change it to ‘Roary’ or ‘Rory.’

I get that this is a story written by a kid, but Aiko’s introduction was seemingly her first meeting with Nobuo. Why would she proclaim that they’re best friends at the end? I get that it’s a throwback to Aiko saying they were best friends in real life, but it’s still kinda weird. In the dub, they actually fix this by having Mira tell Slim to call her by her first name since they’re friends NOW. Stop making me praise 4Kids, please.

I love how they recognized their own characters immediately, even if they were drastically changed, but it took them until they were done reading the story to realize Nobuo was Nobuko/Belinda Higgins was Slim Higgins. It’s even weirder in the dub because most of their names were barely the same.

They omit a the first few clips of the flashbacks, showing Aiko proclaiming she and Nobuko are best friends now.

In the original, the last clip in the flashback is a closeup of the paper Nobuko was writing on with the line “Ain’t we best friends?” highlighted. In the dub, they completely omit this I guess because they didn’t keep the part about throwing back to the best friends line in Nobuko’s story.

Instead of showing them transforming one by one, the dub mashes all of their transformations together, using slightly different clips. Pointless change, but I have no problem with it. Considering all of their transformation sequences are exactly the same, unlike most magical girl shows, the original seems repetitive while the dub is quick and concise.

Dub Spell Change for Aiko:

Hair for hair,

Limb for limb

Turn me into detective Slim!

That’s actually not bad—Urgh….Praising 4Kids too much…..Urgghh….My soul can’t handle it.

Dub Spell Change for Doremi:

I wish that I could change this story

But for now I’ll be….

…The little dog, Rory.

That one’s really good. It’s clever and captures the same reluctance and unhappiness Doremi had – URGH! My soul! I’m going to have do an emergency SDC for an episode of One Piece if this praise doesn’t stop.

Dub Spell Change for Hazuki:

Give me a mustache and a giant brainer.

I can turn into Dr. Rainer!

Okay, phew. That one sucked. I feel a little better.

Give me a….giant brainer? I feel like that’s a euphemism, and I’m very uncomfortable.

No one was suggesting that Aiko lost her mind, like they do in the dub. They just say she’s very angry. Why would the dub change it to her being ‘crazy’?

You know who’s really crazy?…The girl who is strangely accepting of having a conversation with three real-life versions of characters she made up in a notebook that she doesn’t let anyone read.

Originally, Nobuko only bids goodbye to Nobuo. In the dub, she says goodbye to all of them, which is a little better and more respectful than the original.

So the lie wasn’t even for the sake of giving Aiko someone to empathize with so she’d feel better about her situation, even though they kinda make it seem like that was the intention – it was so she’d think they were more alike and they could develop a friendship over that. I’m trying really hard to not pick apart this plot because she’s just a kid and kids do this kind of stuff, they need to learn, but it’s just so messed up. Thank god Doremi and Hazuki cleared up this lie immediately. Imagine if she kept that up and then, suddenly, her dad appeared and Nobuko had to explain herself.

The cover of Nobuko’s book is changed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Nobuko rejects Doremi’s suggestion that Doremi the dog is actually a princess under a spell, but she adds that the dog character has powers like the ability to run super fast and understand human speech. In the dub, she accepts Dorie’s interpretation of Rory but adds that she can do all sorts of dog tricks.

—————————————————–

I may have gone a bit overboard with the nitpicking regarding the lie Nobuko told, but I did really enjoy this episode. It was cute and pretty funny. Chronic liar characters are really hard to make likable, and I think they did a pretty good job with Nobuko/Belinda. She’s a little annoying, particularly in the dub, but not that bad. And, from all I’ve read, she’s not a one-off character, so it won’t feel like it was a waste to have her character be one longing for friendship only to vanish into the ether after one episode.

I think the use of magic in this episode was creative, and I can give the realism regarding Nobuko/Belinda’s reaction a pass because, again, this is a young child. I think she should be old enough to be questioning this more, but eh.

The episode had a really good moral regarding lying and even properly establishing that some lies can be put to good use by simply making them fictional stories, but, sadly, they never brought up the fact that Aiko using Nobuko’s connections for her own benefit and making a ‘friendship’ out of that wasn’t right either. I truly believe they’re friends now, but their first interaction was her becoming best friends with Nobuko just because she promised to get Aiko an autograph.

My pride is swallowed for today – 4Kids did a decent job dubbing this episode. Still had to run myself ragged getting screencaps, but content-wise it wasn’t that bad. The changes they made were the norm for them, Japanese text and whatnot, and I am damn near baffled at how many changes they made that I actually liked or even preferred over the original.

The one change that gave me pause was the weird flashback thing. Why bother making that a flashback? I don’t get it.

Next episode, the girls have an important witch test coming up, but Doremi has to watch her little sister, Pop.


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon | Episode 15: Farewell Under the Lunar Eclipse Review

Plot: Flashing back to 18 years ago, we learn what really happened when the half-demon princesses were born to separate them from their parents.

Breakdown: I realize I’m very far behind, and I even wanted to do another lightning round batch review to catch up, but I had way too much to say about this one so I opted against it.

So this is the episode we’ve all been waiting for. The big backstory episode explaining what the hell has been going on.

I’m already on my Word processor writing about how confused I am…..when I’m not even to the opening theme song. Come take a 20 minute walk with me. I feel the path is going to be rocky.

This episode, as I expected from the next episode preview, is fully a flashback. Hosenki II has finished creating a black pearl after being loaned the green rainbow pearl and Izayoi’s rouge by Riku. This allowed him to create a new black pearl in four years when it usually takes 100.

Also, this confirms that Riku’s definitely not human, but what exactly he is, I don’t know either.

Hosenki goes to Kaede’s village to give Inuyasha the black pearl, but not before asking him to demonstrate his father’s ability – the Adamant Barrage. The instant he asked Inuyasha to do this I knew Inuyasha would destroy something with it and Kagome would get pissed at him. Lo and behold, he did. He destroyed their house…..Ya know, Inuyasha may not be joining Mensa anytime soon, but I refuse to believe he’d be THAT reckless and stupid. Especially considering, from where I stand, there’s no reason that wouldn’t have hurt/killed Kagome. She was standing in their doorway.

Cue Sit Boy.

The double standard of domestic abuse sure never gets old.

Hosenki tells Inuyasha and Kagome that the black pearls are actually Izayoi’s tears? And that they were turned into pearls after her death? And one of them was the black pearl in Inuyasha’s eye – the one that houses his father’s grave? What? How does that make sense? Why was anyone keeping her tears or turning them into pearls? What purpose would that possibly have? She’s human. There can’t be any mystical powers behind her tears. Where did he get one of Izayoi’s tears four years ago? She’s been dead for 20 years.

Apparently, he needed Izayoi’s rouge because he needed her deep sorrow in order to complete the pearl…..Why is her sorrow held in her rouge and why her TEARS aren’t ample enough sources of her own sorrow – I dunno.

But hey let’s turn a page in the Big Book of How Not to Write Inuyasha.

This is post-series Inuyasha. He’s matured quite a bit. He’s loved. He’s lost. He’s grieved. He’s found love again. He’s saved the world numerous times. He’s found a new family. He’s ‘married’ now….I assume. Later, it’s confirmed that Kagome’s already pregnant at this point (which means he almost just hurt/killed his unborn child with that stunt too, nice. So much for the ol’ overprotective expecting father). He may still and always be the reckless hothead we’ve come to know and love, but he’s not an asshole.

So why, pray tell, when Kagome’s like ‘Isn’t it great Inuyasha? We have two keepsakes of your mother now.’ he’s all ‘Why the hell would I need those things anymore?’ That, by the way, is word-for-word what he said.

Even when Inuyasha trusted no one and pretty much hated humans he still kept his mother’s rouge near and dear to his heart, so much so that he gave it to Kikyo as a gift that she, in turn, treasured (we’ll get to that elephant in the room in a second.) Why would he act like such an ass about these keepsakes now?

And yes I get it, Inuyasha’s still not good at showing his feelings, Kagome even says as much, but being reserved about your feelings isn’t the same as basically saying these keepsakes of his mother are garbage to him and he finds no point in keeping them. He even scoffs at the idea of bringing the items to his father’s grave out of respect.

Instead, he shoves the new black pearl into his eye, which, as Hosenki points out, means he won’t be able to retrieve it except in times of great need. Can he just keep an infinite amount of black pearls in his eye or does he need to pay for an inventory upgrade at some point?

Kagome insists that they keep the rouge, though. Inuyasha told Hosenki that he was surprised he managed to ‘find’ it and we get a brief flashback to Inuyasha giving the rouge to Kikyo. Yeah. In case you missed the late edit I made to my review of episode five, I suddenly remembered that Inuyasha didn’t just give the rouge to Kikyo. Naraku broke the rouge into teeny pieces right in front of Kikyo when he attacked her. So not only do we have to believe that the rouge was kept by….someone for the past 50 some-odd years for some reason, but also that it magically reassembled itself.

A little while later, Rin is giving birth to Towa and Setsuna. Judging from how old the twins and Hisui look right now, I’d say we’re only a few years out from the end of The Final Act, where Rin was 11, according to the Wiki. She’s 29 now….and her kids are 14……Meaning she’s 15 at this point.

Okay, we kinda can’t avoid this now….this is just squicky. Especially considering that it’s very possible she was 14 when she conceived…..

I figured she would’ve been at least a few years older, which still would’ve been squicky but not AS bad. As much as I suck at math I can determine that 14 year old + 200+ year old (at least) = eughgh.

I do have to be kind of fair and point out that this is still the Feudal Era – times were different. Like I said before, I really don’t want to research this too much because I’d prefer not having a bunch of questions of this nature in my search history, but it wasn’t terribly uncommon for adult men to have relationships with very young girls and boys back in those days. Hell, all across the world girls were getting married off when they were like nine to men who were 30+. The average marriage age back in feudal Japan was still 16, but from all I’ve read it wasn’t really viewed as a very official act back then (which might explain why there was no hoopdeedoo around Sango and Miroku and Inuyasha and Kagome getting married.) Feel free to correct me on any of this by the way.

So….on a social level, back then, this is probably viewed as being just fine.

…….HOW

EV

ER

I must point out that it’s not like Inuyasha is a series that strives for period realism. Sure, they have some historical figures pop up, and they’re probably fine in the realm of keeping the wardrobe, architecture and whatnot accurate, but that’s where the buck stops because our main character is part dog. He uses a sword that defies the laws of physics and has more forms than Frieza. He was in love with a clay zombie. His wife is a reincarnation of aforementioned clay zombie, and she can move freely between two set yet somehow simultaneously moving points in time via a well. She had a magic jewel stuck in her stomach because somehow the jewel burned with Kikyo’s body and somehow was lost to existence for 500 years before randomly reemerging. They were friends with a tiny transforming fox demon who used toys as weapons and could turn into a balloon. They flew around on a magic fire cat. One of them had a black hole in his hand. That same guy is friends with a giant tanuki. They spent a decade trying to track down and kill a half-spider demon who honestly should’ve been half-cockroach he was that difficult to kill. Said spider-dude split himself off into numerous other people with completely unrelated powers – one of which was a woman who controlled wind and flew from place to place on a giant feather, another was a small emotionless albino child who had a magic mirror and another was a creepy baby with a ball. They collected approximately 70 billion jewel shards to finally complete the world’s most annoying MacGuffin, and the grand finale to stop all of the fuss surrounding the thing was to have the jewel literally be wished away.

Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable to ask the writers, who live in modern times, to maybe tack on another few years to Rin’s age to make this not so icky, even if it’s, inevitably, going to be a little icky considering their circumstances.

Literally nothing else would have to change. Even if Towa and Setsuna ended up being a little younger than Moroha, it’d be fine. Hell, technically, you wouldn’t even have to do that. If it really is difficult for half-demons to reproduce, you can just say Kagome took a long time to get pregnant. That’s basically what they’re already saying anyway considering Kagome’s only now getting pregnant and she’s been married to Inuyasha for a few years. They don’t really have any reliable birth control in this era. Unless it took them THAT long to do the marriage dance, which, considering it took them until the very end of the series to kiss canonically……yeah, that might track.

Moving on, it’s the night of a lunar eclipse, and Riku comes to meet Kagome and tell her about the Grim Comet. Once every 500 years, the Grim Comet passes by earth. Fragments of the comet break off and threaten the lives of the people in its path. 500 years ago, Inutaisho and Kirinmaru worked together to destroy the fragments that were falling. Now the comet is a mere seven days out and Inutaisho is dead while Kirinmaru has fallen into a deep slumber for some reason.

Kagome proclaims that Inuyasha will definitely help in his father’s stead, but wonders how they can awaken Kirinmaru. Riku explains that awakening Kirinmaru is a bad idea. He hates humans and detests half-demons. If he awakens, chances are he’ll murder Inuyasha, Sesshomaru’s children and even Kagome’s unborn child. The only way to stop the comet fragments is by getting Inuyasha and Sesshomaru to do it together.

……..Wait, the comet comes by once every 500 years?…Modern era times are 500 years off…..which….means………Uhhh are we all dead now? Or is this another thing that just doesn’t exist in modern times because reasons?

Sesshomaru’s listening to his children being born from a couple miles away….why he’s not actually there providing Rin with support, I don’t know. Can’t lose that stoicism that made the fanbase swoon, I suppose.

Zero drops by and basically just taunts him, threatens him and his family vaguely concerning Kirinmaru and tells him about the comet. After she leaves, Sesshomaru goes to see Rin and his new twin children.

Consensus on whether it’s weird for Rin to still call Sesshomaru ‘Lord Sesshomaru.’? Zero even said they’re married now too.

Sesshomaru just comes in and swoops the twins away, not even commenting on Rin or their new children. So just to recap – the first instances we see of these two as a couple are him listening to her give birth from far away and not reacting and him snatching up his newborn kids and making off with them with barely a sentence in response as to what he’s doing with them and no words to Rin whatsoever.

You guys are definitely going to have to do better than that. I mean, anyone who’s watched the original series knows how much they care for each other, but that’s on a, and I hate to go here, but it has to be said, a father-daughter level. Romance is a different level. The levels should never connect, but here we are. Any emotion in this scene, what little there is, is quite shallow considering it’s not only void of any romantic or tender moments between Rin and Sesshomaru but also between the two of them and their daughters. Rin names them and that’s it.

Kagome asks what he’s doing, and he simply says it’s the rites of courage and cowardice. Kagome asks if it has anything to do with Kirinmaru, but he just leaves without saying anything more. Rin tearfully whispers that she has faith in Sesshomaru. Jaken hands Kagome a paper explaining when and where Sesshomaru will face the comet fragment. He can do it on his own, but he’s giving Inuyasha the information just in case.

As Sesshomaru heads off, he’s confronted by Joka. Remember her? The Ka demon that you stopped caring about almost immediately? Who was then killed off almost immediately? She’s been tasked by Zero to take/kill the half-demon twins, but Sesshomaru just swats her away and easily cuts her arms off, revealing that she was using two rainbow pearls in her arms – the silver and gold pearls.

He mentions that the rainbow pearls are Zero’s tears…….???????

Sesshomaru takes the pearls and flies off. He leaves the twins at the sacred tree, giving them each one of the rainbow pearls that are implanted into their eyes—wait, is that seriously the origin of their rainbow pearls? Just that Joka literally came the fuck out of nowhere, had them, Sesshomaru swiped them more easily than a credit card and then sticks them in the eyes of his daughters? Okie dokie. Guess it’s about as disappointing as the origin of Moroha’s red rainbow pearl.

Jaken tasks himself with caring for the twins until they can take care of themselves. He also explains that he’ll bring Rin there soon enough. Wait, what? He’s raising the kids in Rin’s stead….but he’s also going to bring Rin there?

In order to have a safe place to raise them, Jaken puts up a powerful barrier all around a half-mile-ish radius from the sacred tree. Neither Joka nor Zero can sense the twins now, so they’re kinda stuck.

Cut ahead to the set meeting time and place for Inuyasha and Sesshomaru to take down the fragment. It’s at Sesshomaru’s mother’s place for some reason (even though she isn’t there). They take care of the fragment, which was a demon….comet….fragment I guess?, in less than a minute, and then they just leave.

Phew.

Nail. Biter.

…..What purpose did that whole comet thing have to do with the plot, by the way? Feels like it was a big pointless waste of time. It affected nothing.

Cut to Kirinmaru’s….Pirate ship…house?…..Cool? He is awoken by Zero who shares the news of Sesshomaru and Inuyasha’s half/quarter demon children. It was prophesied by the Shikon jewel….somehow, that a being neither human nor demon who could transcend time would be Kirinmaru’s downfall, which, logically, even pointed out by Zero, would mean MOROHA’S the one he has to watch out for…..but apparently this series wants to focus on the twins.

I know the one who actually transcends time is Towa, but that’s not even her doing – it’s the power of the silver rainbow pearl.

Anyhoo, Sesshomaru comes in and acts as if he’s going to help Kirinmaru kill Inuyasha (and I guess the kids?) Also, we’ve time skipped a bit because now Moroha’s born. We’re at the exact scene where Moroha’s dreams were shown in an earlier episode. Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru face off against Kagome and Inuyasha, Kagome gives Moroha the rouge and sends her off with Hachi, why Hachi’s there I don’t know, but we now get more than we did then.

Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru attack Inuyasha. However, to Kirinmaru’s surprise, Sesshomaru rushes ahead and sticks his fingers in Inuyasha’s eye, grabbing the black pearl. He uses the pearl’s power to suck Inuyasha and Kagome into the world within the pearl. Kirinmaru is surprised Sesshomaru helped them….dude, you’re thick as a milkshake made of cement. Of course he helped Inuyasha and Kagome – he’s allied with them now. He has taken a human as a bride. He has two half-demon children he’s clearly protecting. If he really wanted Inuyasha dead, he’d have done it long ago, especially considering Miroku no longer has his wind tunnel and there are times where Inuyasha loses his demon powers entirely.

He’s definitely nowhere near as intelligent and conniving as Naraku if he fell for such an easy ploy as that. Combine that with how he seems to be manipulated by Zero and….I sense a lot of suckage on the horizon with this dude. I hope Zero’s the real villain because wow. Riku might be the villain, but I dunno. He’s been very morally gray.

Now you’d think Sesshomaru would be in deep shit for that. Afterall, he just betrayed and tricked the big bad Kirinmaru and kept him from killing those filthy half/quarter demons he hates so much.

….Nope.

Kirinmaru just kinda brushes it off. Jaken says they’ll need Inuyasha’s Meido Zangetsuha some day for whatever reasons and Kirinmaru’s all ‘Lol whatever.’ and then he walks off with Sesshomaru.

We see that Moroha was given to some new character in Koga’s wolf demon tribe to care for her, which is cool. I was wondering where Koga was and it makes sense that she would’ve been raised with them given how she acts. In hindsight, it’s kinda funny. One day, Inuyasha will have to deal with the fact that Koga, of all people, was one of the people who helped raised his daughter (I think?) I would pay to see his expression when that news drops on his head.

Using the dream-gazing thingy, Zero is able to see where Towa and Setsuna are, so she plots to burn down the forest where they reside. Sesshomaru, knowing he can’t refuse or else he’d show his hand, seemingly complies and walks off.

You know the rest.

Then we cut back to present/Feudal era time where Riku is breaking the fourth wall as he’s been the one telling us the story. That wasn’t really necessary, but okay.

And, uh, that was it.

I am thoroughly underwhelmed.

I really hate that I keep saying that about this series, but it’s true.

Like I said in the last episode’s review, I wasn’t really expecting much from this episode. They’ve dropped the ball with so much that I had little to no faith they’d pull off something impressive with this backstory – and they didn’t.

At least I didn’t get mad at it, but it also left me awash in a sea of ‘Meh.’ which, oftentimes, is quite worse.

It’s just a lot of…things….happening. But none of them are particularly interesting things. The things that SHOULD be interesting like Towa and Setsuna’s births as well as Moroha’s birth were flat and unemotional – we didn’t even get to see Moroha’s birth. She just appears. Sesshomaru being an ice queen about his kids I expected but I kinda wanted to see Inuyasha being sentimental about his kid. Instead we get him nearly murdering his pregnant wife just because he wants to show off and can’t aim in a reasonable direction and him being an ass about his mother’s heirlooms.

Considering the lack of emotional connection and caring between the girls and their parents is already an existing and glaring problem even before the girls have ever met their parents, the fact that there’s little shown on the opposite side of the fence is a really heavy blow. Inuyasha used to be nearly melodramatic. What happened to the emotion in this series?

In terms of action, that was even worse. The comet thing was poorly explained (why did no one mention it was filled with smoky demons. WHY is it filled with smoky demons? How did they get in there? Are there SPACE DEMONS!? That’s way more interesting than anything ever presented in this entire franchise.) and they did the job so easily I’m not convinced in the slightest that only Inutaisho or his kids could have destroyed it. There was no tension whatsoever in that scene. It was literally two shots – one to slice the rock and the other to defeat the smoky space demon. It’s always a little cool to see Sesshomaru and Inuyasha working together, but that’s about it. Like I said, the entire comet subplot seemed like a massive waste of time, especially in a backstory episode for god’s sake.

Looks cool, though.

The “battle” between Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru vs. Inuyasha wasn’t even a battle, hence the sarcastic quotation marks. Not only did no blows actually get traded, but I knew from the instant Sesshomaru walked into Kirinmaru’s lair that he was playing Kirinmaru. There’s no reason he’d go through all that trouble to protect his family just up and decide to kill Inuyasha for no reason.

It’s cool that Sesshomaru helped them out, as rough as his plan may have been, but the fact that Kirinmaru didn’t do anything to Sesshomaru after the fact is just lame. He didn’t attack him or threaten him, he didn’t even try to take the pearl– he just shrugged and they walked off together.

The one interesting hanging thread in this entire episode is where Inuyasha and Kagome actually are. Jaken acted like they were sent to Inutaisho’s grave, but there are two problems with that; 1) They spent way too much time focusing on the second black pearl at the start of the episode and making it a point that Inuyasha put it in his eye that I can’t imagine that wasn’t a setup for a switcheroo. 2) If they were in Inutaisho’s gravesite, then they should be able to leave whenever they please. They’ve done it before.

I wonder if Inuyasha and Kagome came up with a plan about this with Sesshomaru before he went to meet Kirinmaru. I can’t imagine they did because I’d assume they’d send Moroha off to safety before Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru faced off with them.

This episode also did clear up Sesshomaru’s intentions a bit, which is good. It’s tough love, really tough, but he means well. I still don’t entirely get what he’s doing, and I feel like, if he wanted to, he could kill Kirinmaru – especially if he teamed up with Inuyasha. We already know his Perils are jokes. He just doesn’t give off that impressive of a vibe. He’s a doof in a mask. Oh by the way, Naraku called, he wants his ‘using an animal head as a mask’ shtick back. Plus, he hasn’t even really done jack shit over the course of the series so far. In fact, the one thing he was actually shown doing was HEROIC. He helped Inutaisho destroy the comet fragment 500 years ago, saving countless lives.

Some things are obviously still missing from the backstory like how Rin became comatose within the Tree of Ages, what Sesshomaru’s grand plan is, what happened to Setsuna after the fire, how and when Setsuna came into contact with the Dream Butterfly, how she got her boa, how she ended up being trained by the demon slayers, why she said that thing about a rite of courage and cowardice when Sesshomaru said that mere moments after she was born, why Kirinmaru hasn’t just slaughtered these kids himself yet considering he now knows where they are, and, just for good measure, where the hell Shippo is. He is not here. Did the writers forget he existed? We saw him in episode one, right? Where did he go? I’m not letting this go. There’s no reason he hasn’t so much as made a brief cameo, especially in a flashback episode.

I dunno, guys. My interest in this series is tanking faster than a tank of gas in a tank as it drives around a tanker truck filled with tiny toy tanks. There’s a reason I haven’t gotten around to reviewing this in so long. Dread was a part of it, but I just found myself failing to care enough to press ‘play.’ It’s gotten to a point where it’s hard for me to care about what they wrote for the original Inuyasha crew because it’s just so boring and badly written, and that’s a big problem.

I am several episodes behind, though. Someone tell me they’ve already arrived at greener pastures.

Next time, we get Moroha’s backstory with her old master from the wolf demon tribe. I actually DO care about this, but, again, I’m not expecting much. The way they treat Moroha by default is crappy, despite her being the best new character, but at least it sounds like we’ll learn why Moroha’s in debt.


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One Piece (4Kids) | Episode 5: Terror and a Mysterious Power! Pirate Captain Buggy the Clown! Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Nami runs into Luffy while running away from Buggy’s pirates and pretends that he’s her boss so that she can get away while they’re distracted by him. However, much to Nami’s surprise, Luffy easily defeats the pirates. While Nami treats him to some food, Luffy asks her to be his navigator, but she refuses when she finds out that he’s a pirate. However, she seemingly changes her mind and agrees to be his navigator if he agrees to see Buggy with her first. Luffy agrees, but she betrays him and pretends that she’s handing over her boss and the map to the Grand Line to be on Buggy’s team as a ruse to get both the map and Buggy’s treasure. However, when she’s told to kill Luffy as a sign of loyalty to Buggy, she finds herself trapped in a moral dilemma.

—————————-

Title Change: Terror and a Mysterious Power! Pirate Captain Buggy the Clown! Is changed to The Circus Comes to Town.

Title Card Change:

Subbed:

Dubbed:

I love how the 4Kids version really does act like it’s possible that Luffy died from that fall. Right. That’d certainly be a funny way to end the series. “I’m gonna be king of the pirates! -SPLAT- The end!”

Luffy’s punch to one of the pirates is edited out.

They edit out Luffy’s Gum Gum Pistol hitting the other two pirates in the face.

The words ‘Drinker Pub’ are edited off of a sign.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

In the original, there’s a bit of pun where Buggy’s pirate tells him that they left the key in the lock. Tsukeppanshi means “left in” but Buggy mistakes it for tsukeppana which means “Fake Nose.” In the dub, the pirate says “Only the robber knows…” and Buggy mistakes that for “Rubber nose” I don’t know what the pirate was going to say there. Only the robber knows….where the map she stole is? But you gotta give 4Kids credit for trying to put that pun in there.

However, they kinda screw it up later in the scene. Buggy flips out and yells at the pirate insinuating that his nose is big and red and looks fake. The pirate in the dub says “It’s a mistake!” in regards to hearing him incorrectly, but Buggy says “So now it looks like a steak?!” Well, steaks ARE red, but they’re not usually round and ball-like. I’ll leave your points where they are but that was kinda weak, 4Kids.

The original has Buggy ask the pirate what he does to traitors, and the pirate says he flashily kills them. In the dub, this is replaced by the pirate begging for his life.

In the original, Nami likes money and mikan, which are Japanese citrus fruit. In the dub, she likes money and tangerines…..They’re different. It counts.

And nooooooowwwwwwwww….the moment some of you have probably been waiting for maybe….Yet another of the most infamous One Piece edits! One of Captain Buggy’s pirates, the one who announces that Nami has arrived, was originally black. 4Kids, sensing that this may cause some racial backlash, decided to solidify that this would cause racial backlash by digitally painting the black guy into a white guy.

No….no, I am not kidding. I wish I was, but I’m not. I think a rep for 4Kids said that having a black pirate lackey could somehow be construed as racist so they turned him white (Don’t quote me on that, but I distinctly remember being told that). This in turn made them actually seem racist when they more than likely wouldn’t have had they left it alone. If they had left it alone and gotten criticism for it, which is unlikely, but still, they could have just blamed the original show creators. But this is 4Kids. The day they leave something alone is the day riceballs aren’t donuts.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Originally, Luffy asks why he’s in a cage. In the dub, he tells Nami to forget about being on his crew.

A scene of one of the pirates chugging a barrel of booze is edited out as is most of the scene with the party which includes some guy with like eight small casks of booze in his mouth. Also, a bottle on Nami’s table is edited away. What little scene there is is edited to make the beer look like orange juice, but I was too busy looking at that one pirate near Nami. Originally, he had a sword in his mouth and was balancing a bottle on it. In the dub, he’s got a balloon animal balloon in his mouth. Why? I dunno.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Extras:

Yup yup. The drink they have is grapefruit punch in the dub…..Guh, I hate grapefruit juice. Whoever named grapefruits should be jailed for besmirching the good name of the delicious grape.

Dub Nami: “At this rate, they’ll all pass out from acid indigestion and then their treasure will be mine.”…This….I can’t even…..First of all, who passes out from acid indigestion? You’d need immediate medical attention if that was true. Second, who the hell thinks that? Third, this line is made even more stupid because the original says nothing about waiting for them to pass out. You’d think the original was waiting for them to get so drunk that they all pass out so that she can get the map, but nope. She just thinks she’ll bide her time until she can swipe the map again and get Buggy’s treasure while she’s at it.

Oops, 4Kids didn’t notice that the black/white guy from before was in this shot. Whoopsiediddledaisydoo.

They replay that scene with the guy chugging those small casks and 4Kids doesn’t edit out this one….*shrug*

At this point I should mention that there are tons of occasions where Buggy has this weird Yami-Marik type filter on his voice in the dub. No type of filter is used in the original.

Buggy’s Buggy Bombs got changed to Buggy Balls. -giggle-innuendo-giggle-

And the black guy’s changed back to white again.

A bottle on the floor gets edited away after Buggy launches his Buggy Bomb.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The panning shot of the pirates is shortened.

The scene where Nami’s deciding whether or not to light the cannon has also been shortened.

Originally, the sound cuts out all but Nami and Luffy speaking to each other. This is shown as we see the pirates cheering, but don’t hear them. Luffy tells Nami that she shouldn’t go up against pirates if she doesn’t have the determination. Nami says “What? Determination to kill people without hesitation?” And Luffy says “No. The determination to put your life on the line.”

In the dub, the sound is unaffected, and Luffy tells Nami that, because she’s shaking while considering attacking him, she really doesn’t hate pirates as much as she says. Nami responds by saying “I don’t hate pirates because I’m not willing to blast one like it’s no big deal?” Luffy responds by saying if she feels so strongly that she has to put everything on the line.

The scene where the pirate is about the light the fuse is sped up.

After Nami hits the pirate with her staff, we see him pop up in a goofy manner with a pink mark on his face. This is edited out of the dub, which is weird because you’d think they’d be glad to leave in a shot where it shows that the pirate is relatively okay.

The scene where Nami uses her hands to extinguish the fuse is shortened.

In the dub, Zolo, who just showed up literally a few seconds ago says, “Nami, are you hurt?” How do you know her name? You never met her.

A shot of Buggy twirling his knives and him licking his knife are edited out.

Even though the silhouette of Buggy getting cut up was left in (Was floored by that), any shot showing Buggy cut up is edited out, until after we hear Nami and Luffy talk, then they put it back in….I dunno what’s going on there.

When Zoro gets stabbed, we see the blade protruding from his abdomen, blood seeping through his sash, a backshot of his wound and the blade being removed. All of this is edited out/painted away.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Extras:

Originally, Nami says she didn’t believe devil fruits were real. In the dub, Nami asks what kind of cursed fruit he ate, even though he just outright said the name directly before she asked that.

For more awkwardness, originally Luffy said “A splitting man?! He’s some kind of monster!” Then we comically see a text box with an arrow pointing to Luffy saying “Rubberman” In the dub, the dialogue is kept basically the same, but the text box is edited away. Also, they keep the length of that scene exactly the same, so we’re left awkwardly waiting for the next shot when there was supposed to be a joke there. Really, 4Kids? Was it too difficult to merely white out the text in the box and replace it with “Rubberman”? Or at the very least trim the shot so we’re not sitting there awkwardly like some laugh track is missing?

Subbed:

Dubbed:

In the original, we see Luffy caught the knife Buggy shot at him with his teeth. He then says while laughing and breaking the blade with his teeth “I’m gonna kick your ass!” In the dub, they just reverse the scene of Luffy getting hit with the blade so it looks like the blade bounced off of him or he somehow shot it from his body, I dunno. Were they worried kids were going to try and catch knives with their mouths?

……Mmmmm……Errrr…..well….yeah, okay, I guess I can see some kids doing that. You get a pass there, 4Kids.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

And, I know they can’t say ‘ass’, but Luffy saying “I’m gonna clobber you!” just seems lame. Reminds me of the swear edits in the Cartoon Network airing of Yu Yu Hakusho

They add in a shot of Nami and Zoro and the pirates after Luffy shoots the knife back so he can have his dialogue.

The scene where Luffy just smiles in response to Nami asking how he’s gonna escape is shortened blah blah.

Any subsequent shot of the blood stain on Zolo’s shirt is edited away in the dub. So we’re supposed to think he’s wounded when there’s no blood, rip or….wound….well, okay.

———————————–

This episode was a good introduction to Buggy. It definitely establishes that while he may be a clown with silly quirks, he is a bastard who will do the most terrible things as long as it benefits him. Luffy and Zolo got some great kick-ass moments and we end on a pretty good cliffhanger too.

Dub-wise, it’s certainly not getting any better. I mean, we don’t have hammer guns in this episode, and the knife-catching scene edit was understandable, though annoying due to loss of kickassery, but man, the whitewashing. That’s another league for them.

Next episode, Luffy has to find some way to escape certain death.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 14: The Street Corner of Bitterness Review

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Plot: Yuzuki now possesses the ability to sense people who are going to contact Hell Correspondence soon. The next client is a girl named Hidemi who accidentally garnered a bad reputation after being photographed with a delinquent in the city. She plans on sending the person who spread the photo of her to hell for ruining her life.

Breakdown: (Note: I somehow overlooked posting this episode’s review in the proper order, but it was just brought to my attention today, so better late than never. Sorry about that. Enjoy! :))

…..*lip smack* This is what we’re starting the second half of the season off with, eh?

Okie dokie.

First of all, Yuzuki is basically now all but cemented as being a less interesting fusion of Tsugumi and Hajime. At least she’s actively trying to stop people from using the service now, but she’s bad at it. She’s also bad at seeming like she’s emotionally invested in anything. At the end of the episode, she’s overwhelmed with the amount of people she’s sensing will contact Hell Girl and is clutching her head trying to get the bell sounds to stop, but I don’t really believe her response. She’s acting way too unemotional about it. Even when she was begging Ai to bring Akie back she was just barely emoting.

Also, side note, apparently Yuzuki’s friends haven’t been bothered all that much by Akie disappearing. I understand that because even I forgot for a little while.

Second of all, this story is a massive mess from start to finish.

Hidemi was in the city for a test, she spent too much time at her friends’ house and ended up missing the last train home. She also broke her cell phone. Unlike most people who would visit various shops, or even stop people on this busy street in this highly populated city, and ask if she can use their phone to call her parents or even the friends she was visiting, she decides the best course of action would be to spend some money at the arcade trying to get a stuffed cat, then sit on the sidewalk and fall asleep…

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It’s implied that she was worried about getting caught by the cops because she was young and out late at night, but is anyone really going to press charges against this kid for missing the train? Also, if she’s worried the cops might hassle her, why did she choose, of all places, the middle of the sidewalk to sit down and even fall asleep?

She’s awoken by aforementioned delinquent, Kinya, and he offers to take her back to the convenience store in which he works where the only other person there is a guy who looks just as skeevy if not moreso as Kinya does.

She finally has the opportunity to call home, though….and chooses not to….because she sees this as an adventure or something. Let me make it clear that Hidemi is very much a shy and proper young woman. Nothing about her even suggests that she has hidden desires to be any sort of rebel or anything. She comes off as the kind of girl who would find not putting the chip clip back on the reduced salt kettle chip bag as an act of rebellion. I’m not saying she can’t just be really good at concealing this part of her, but I am saying that it is strange. Not to mention the fact that it’s a dickish thing to do to stay out in a strange city all night and neglect to call your parents. Even if you want to have some neat little convenience store adventure, they’re still probably worried sick and it’s rude to not at least tell them that you’ll be okay on your own until the trains start back up.

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She spends the night there, and Kinya walks her to the train station in the morning, which is where she gets her picture taken by someone off-screen. It’s in the morning, not at night, and it’s not like there’s any implication that she’s romantically with him or that she’s a prostitute or anything. She’s literally just walking next to him and talking.

The photo spreads and ‘ruins’ her life, which I don’t get. Do people really have nothing better to do than gossip about a photo that looks about as incriminating as a picture of her jaywalking? And that’s all they’re doing by the way – gossiping. No one’s treating her differently outside of whispering around her. Yet that’s somehow enough for her to wish whoever spread the picture to be sent to hell.

The only way it gets worse is through more stupidity.

Kinya was a punk, but he was legitimately nice to Hidemi because some old guy in an alleyway was nice to him and told him that being nice was good or whatever.

It seemed like Kinya might actually be turning into a decent guy, but then, after the commercial break, Kinya’s suddenly viciously beating the old guy in the alleyway because he believes he’s secretly super rich. His reason for thinking this? The old guy wears a big coat when it’s really hot out….so he’s…hiding…money in it something, I dunno. Why he suddenly starting thinking this I also don’t know.

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He gets arrested for the assault, but he also acts like he’s proud of it. He wants to be a big shot and getting arrested by the police will only increase his prestige. He even plans on bragging to the cops about everything else he’s done….This guy is a major league moron.

Yuzuki had convinced Hidemi to go with her to see Kinya in order to help clear her name and improve her reputation, but they both witness his spectacle as he gets arrested. She flips out because he’ll probably be featured in the papers (doubt it) and people will connect him back to the photo. Fair enough in that respect, I guess. She immediately contacts Hell Correspondence on Kinya.

Kinya….Oh geez…*sigh*….Kinya escapes police custody, obtains a gun and takes Yuzuki hostage. No I’m not kidding. No, I also have no idea how those events transpired.

The point is, Hidemi sees him do this. Kinya doesn’t even recognize her until Yuzuki mentions her name, so she pulls the string.

The hell torture is okay. Everyone’s giant-ish and intimidating Kinya. Ai is massive, like kaiju-sized. It’s playing off of the fact that he said he wanted to be a big shot, but now he’s little. Haha.

As he’s ferried away, he laments being nice to Hidemi, but, uh, dude, do you really think letting some lost girl take shelter in a convenience store you don’t even own, feeding her stale bread and then walking her to a train station is properly weighted against beating a poor old homeless dude in an alley, escaping the police, popping off some shots and taking a teenage girl hostage?

Yuzuki waits for Hidemi and, here’s where I get REALLY confused. A girl with completely different hair both in style and color, a much more revealing sense of fashion, tons of jewelry, makeup and a tattoo suddenly bursts in and…that’s Hidemi. She has the little stuffed cat she wanted earlier and the curse mark on her chest, so that’s proof it’s her.

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Why does she suddenly look like this, especially since there’s no implied time skip of any kind after the hell torture? How do you go from “Oh dear, my life is ruined because I was photographed talking to a punk.” to “I’m going to change my appearance so drastically that the gossiping people from before will basically feel justified in believing I was a girl of loose morals, and more rumors will spread about me and ruin my life some more! Ya know, the reason I was miserable enough to call Hell Girl to begin with! I love being smart!” not just in general but in minutes/hours? I almost wanted to believe it was days later, but Yuzuki’s wearing the exact same clothes between when she’s taken hostage by Kinya and when we see the new Hidemi. I don’t get it.

Time issues aside, again, maybe she was just really, really good at concealing a desire to be a more rebellious girl, but they didn’t do a good job of making this connection with the audience outside of one line which could easily just imply a desire for a little more independence not that she suddenly wants to completely change herself both inside and out. Kinya’s character turn was a little more understandable because we knew he was a punk at the start, even though he was on the receiving end of the violence there, but even then he was nearly as bad in his car crash of a personality shift.

Finally, Ai’s back to being Ai fully, which is good, even if I feel bad she has to return to this job at all. They brought back the classic scene of her preparing to take someone to hell, including…her grandma….Yup. Grandma’s back. Where did she go and why is she back? No idea. She’s just here again. Somehow. I like Grandma and everything, but I never once understood her character.

Ai’s trying to teach Yuzuki about the futility of trying to save Hell Girl clients, which is more poking at Tsugumi and Hajime. I know this is for the sake of training her to be a new Hell Girl, but I am so far from caring about that plot element. She better have some gem of a backstory otherwise I’ll just feel like her entire story was a wash.

Overall, this episode was confusing and blah and I really hope things actually pick up soon, especially when it comes to Yuzuki.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 16: The Trap of Temptation Review

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Plot: Naowa is seen as a creepy man by his colleagues because he spends a lot of his free time playing with a local little girl named Kayo. He has no ill intentions, he just legitimately loves kids. Still, he has a shadow hanging over his head and a familiar curse mark emblazoned on his chest. He has already used Hell Correspondence, but who did he send to hell and why?

Breakdown: This episode left me feeling so conflicted.

The start is fairly unique because we’re focusing on someone who has already pulled the string. That doesn’t happen very often.

Even though this particular story is also pretty unique, I found that the events were somehow quite predictable. A new woman named Yuki joins the factory in which Naowa works and she becomes focused on him very quickly. My mind immediately shifted to ‘She has some relation to the person Naowa sent to hell and wants revenge.’ And lo and behold that’s exactly what happened.

What I didn’t expect was that Nakajima, the man Naowa sent to hell, was just like Naowa with one big difference – he actually was a pedophile. He didn’t do anything directly to Kayo, but he did take a bunch of pictures of her, clearly trying to get upskirt shots, and even kept them in an album. He told Naowa that he wouldn’t do anything to Kayo, though such a claim is obviously not to be trusted, and he blackmailed Naowa by saying, if he told anyone about what he was doing, he’d tell everyone that Naowa is just like him. Considering everyone already thinks he’s creepy, that threat definitely has weight to it.

Worried for Kayo’s safety, Naowa sent Nakajima to hell.

We learn all of this because Naowa is telling Yuki that they shouldn’t be together in a romantic sense because he’s bound for hell and won’t be able to find any happiness in the end. He also shows proof that Nakajima was a pedo by showing her the album of pictures he found at Nakajima’s apartment, which gave me quite a bit of pause.

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Why….did he keep that? Why didn’t he burn it or something? Even if he took it for the sake of evidence, which is dumb because there’s no way to prove it was Nakajima’s, he didn’t intend on having Nakajima arrested, and, at this point, has already sent him to hell. If anyone found that album, he’d be buried in so much shit he’d drown in it. Anyone finding it is bad enough, but he’s willingly showing this album to Yuki. While I know why she believes it’s Nakajima’s in hindsight, she has no reason to believe Naowa that the album was Nakajima’s.

He had absolutely no reason to keep that unless it was for his own sick purposes.

Onto Yuki, she is the proper client today. She was high school sweethearts with Nakajima (called it) and knew about his “other interests” but loved him anyway. When he suddenly went missing, she decided to investigate his disappearance for herself since the police wouldn’t help. She got hired at the factory in which Nakajima and Naowa both worked, and, knowing Naowa was close with Nakajima, decided to get close to him for information. When Naowa told her what he did, she called Hell Girl and pulled the string.

And now it’s time for a….

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Okay, technically it was a premonition Yuzuki was having the whole time as she watched Naowa pull the string, but same difference. I guess Ai was trying to convince her that cycles of revenge are constant and inevitable, which is weird because I thought she had learned that wasn’t true at the end of the second season, but whatever. Yuzuki still wants to try to stop all that from happening, though, so Ai releases her from being frozen in place or whatever was happening there and allows her to chase after Naowa after witnessing him pull the string. The episode ends with Yuzuki trying to find Naowa.

I thought this would be a clever ending because it would be ambiguous on whether or not she succeeded in stopping it, but they ruin it by having Yuki’s candle appear at the end, confirming that Yuzuki didn’t stop it and Naowa was sent to hell anyway. So…..that twist was more pointless than a circle.

Obviously, we have to discuss the uncomfortable aspect of this entire episode. Now, I understand that there’s a stigma about single adults having pretty much any contact with children unless it’s their job or something, and this is especially true of single adult men. Some adults do genuinely like kids and want to spend time with them even if they’re not related to them or don’t have a job in childcare or anything. And that’s perfectly fine. Naowa has proven….besides the ‘keeping the album’ thing…..that he doesn’t have any harmful thoughts or intentions towards Kayo or any other child. Naowa is a perfectly fine main character that you can connect with…..Again, barring the album thing.

That being said, it’s also completely understandable why so many people find him to be creepy. Naowa keeps to himself a lot, doesn’t have really any interests, seems uninterested in dating, and spends an inordinate amount of time playing with Kayo. Every day after work he spends hours playing with her and no other kids. Her parents are never around (except once at the start of the episode I think her mom appears and apologizes to Naowa for something. Maybe him spending time with Kayo because she works a lot or something? She seems perfectly cool with him spending so much time with Kayo.) and she’s never with other children.

The way the Hell Team addresses this, albeit briefly, is strange. Hone Onna points out that it’s obviously weird for a grown man to be playing with little girls, and Wanyuudou responds “Even though, in the past, looking with such eyes was weirder.” What does that mean? Are his eyes strange or is he saying watching little girls was seen as weirder than playing with them back in his time? I don’t even know if there’s an argument to be had there. Then Yamawaro says “That’s called ‘eras’, right?”

I dunno. Maybe? Things do drastically change between eras, even when it comes to perceptions of social appropriateness. Even just a few decades can make behaviors that weren’t initially unacceptable in acceptable and vice versa.

Plus, it makes the situation and stigma even worse when you introduce a character who, on the surface, is basically identical to Naowa…..only he IS a pedo. I was starting to feel a tiny bit bad for side-eyeing Naowa so much when he legitimately cared for Kayo, but then justification for those feelings entered the mix when they basically confirmed that the not-innocent version of this type of person is very much valid and probably more common.

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And then there’s Yuki…….*sigh* I usually feel compassion for clients, but this time, no. Her boyfriend was a pedophile, she knew this and didn’t care. Join him in hell. Just go. You’re just as guilty as he is.

In the end, I still don’t know how I feel about this episode. I guess it’s simply middle-of-the-road. It doesn’t do anything outlandish or terrible enough to make me angry at it, which, considering the subject matter, you’d think it would, nor does it do anything particularly noteworthy or interesting to make it actually good – we don’t even get Nakajima’s hell torture. It’s just okay.


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