AVAHS – My Gym Partner’s a Monkey: Have Yourself a Joyful Little Animas Review

Plot: Animas has come, but Adam can’t participate because he’s a human and the holiday is all about following your animal instincts.

Breakdown: Like Brandy and Mr. Whiskers, My Gym Partner’s a Monkey is a show I was aware of and gave a chance when it aired, but I just couldn’t get into. My reasoning for this one was that it was just…..stupid. The concept is silly, which is obviously fine for a goofy cartoon. Adam is a human who gets sent to an animal school simply because his last name is Lyon and they misspelled it when they signed him up for school. The aforementioned monkey gym partner is Jake who is basically what you’d expect a sentient monkey to be. Hijinks ensue, and that’s about it. But what they do with it just tends to be stupid silly.

This episode is no exception. Aminas is obviously a play on Christmas, but it’s made stupid. Animas is all about following your animal instincts. As long as you’re an animal, you can understand what to do. But Adam is a human so he doesn’t get what you’re supposed to do, which is stuff like wearing periwinkle (and getting hit in the head with a coconut three times if you don’t) and being able to read something that isn’t written down.

This mostly just results in him feeling left out and frustrated. However, when it comes time to decorate the Animas rock, he accidentally ruins the holiday for everyone. All of the animals need to find the rock using their instincts and decorate it, otherwise Animas will be canceled for some reason. Since Adam doesn’t have the instincts to find it, Animas is ruined.

Adam decides to go back to human school since he doesn’t belong in animal school, but he’s still bummed about losing his friends back in the animal school. After sucking down a glob of wasabi from an Asian stereotype, who I can’t decide if it’s even offensive because it’s like they’re trying really hard to go overboard with the stereotype so as to make it overtly obvious so that’s the joke but the show’s not funny enough to pull it off so it’s just confusing and uncomfortable, Adam’s sinuses clear (he had been suffering from bad allergies) and he’s able to smell the Animas rock, which reeks because everyone ‘decorates’ it by pissing on it. Adam does the same and Animas is saved.

Everyone learned the true meaning of Animas, which is….I have no goddamn clue. Mr. Gills, who is a teacher and goldfish, drives home the message that the meaning of Animas is to be with your friends no matter if you ruin their holiday or not (which is kinda dumb in context because it’s hard to want to be around people who keep acting like you wrecked their favorite time of year. It’d be different if they were accepting of Adam’s inability to use animal instincts and just have him celebrate like everyone else, but they didn’t. They just kept telling him to do something he couldn’t do and acting like he was a weirdo for not knowing anything about Animas.)

Adam also said it’s about following your instincts, no matter if you’re human or animal, which….I dunno, is that meant to be a ‘follow your heart’ kinda deal?

Is there even a message in this special? It doesn’t need one, but it kinda needs something because the humor and story don’t hold it up very well. There’s a subplot with Coach Gills going through a bunch of Christmas special parodies so she can rediscover the true meaning of Animas because she’s a grinch. Despite a couple of humorous moments here, they also don’t do much with the parodies.

Finally, Adam has a couple of moments where he does like….poetry? as he tries to express how much his inability to belong at the animal school bums him out. It’s okay, but it’s also just not funny.

In the end, I really can’t recommend this as a Christmas special because….well…it’s not one, and I can’t recommend it as a neat episode of an old series because, well, I don’t find it to be one. It’s passable at best and gross/unfunny at worst. I don’t even like the theme song at all. That’s not unique to this special, but I just remembered how much I don’t like the theme song and couldn’t find anywhere else to put that not so here ya go.


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AVAHS – Robot Chicken: Freshly Baked – The Robot Chicken Santa Claus Pot Cookie Freak Out Special Edition Review

AVAHS - RC

Plot: A begrudged Santa accidentally downs some pot cookies and has an existential crisis.

Breakdown: Holy shit, Robot Chicken’s still on the air? Wow.

I used to enjoy Robot Chicken quite a bit, even if some of their sketches go a little too far if you ask me. It was always one of the more consistently funny adult animation shows, and even though its actual status has yet to be confirmed (it’s been in renewal/cancellation limbo for over a year) I’m pretty glad to see it’s lasted the test of time. I’ve just been so out of the loop with Adult Swim’s western animation block that I haven’t kept up with the show in years.

As for this Christmas special, which is the ninth Christmas special the series has aired, it was pretty damn funny. Of course, there were some jokes that I thought went a bit far (let’s just say the elf song has a really dark suggestion for making their jobs easier.) but overall it was enjoyable and did have its own darker brand of Christmas spirit in there. I laughed out loud several times and had a good time.

If you’re looking for a more adult-oriented Christmas special for some holiday chuckles, this one is a good choice, and at 11 minutes, it’s a quick watch too.


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AVAHS – Ed, Edd and Eddy: Fa-La-La-La-Ed Review

AVAHS - EEE FLLLE

Plot: Eddy concocts a scheme to take everyone’s money on Piggy Bank Day, but Ed counters his scheme with some Christmas cheer!……In July.

Breakdown: You guys remember that insanely short-lived Christmas in July block on Cartoon network where they would just play a bunch of Christmas specials in July? Well this…..

….Was not one of them….somehow.

I saw someone comment on this episode saying it was made for the block, but when I looked at the scheduling for the block (all four years that it ran – inconsistently even) the only Ed, Edd and Eddy entry that appeared was their other Christmas special, Jingle, Jingle, Jangle.

Yup. A Christmas special literally set in July and Cartoon Network never used it for their Christmas in July block.

As for the episode itself, it’s pretty okay. It’s got some decent jokes in there, and it managed to be a fairly good Christmas special. It can work both around the holidays and in summer because it has a nice holiday story in there while also kinda fulfilling a longing many people have when they’re at that harrowing middlepoint to Christmas. It’s been six months since Christmas so you barely have any leftover Christmas cheer, but you’re so far away from the next one that it seems like forever until it comes.

Ed proves that it doesn’t matter what time of year it is – you can always spread some Christmas cheer by giving to others.

Eddy didn’t learn any big lesson in the end, which is fine because who expects him to? Kinda wish Double-D got one of the jawbreakers in the end, though.


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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Mighty Magiswords

Plot: Warriors for hire, the clumsy sibling team of Vambre and Prohyas, trek out on quests as they collect magiswords – powerful swords of an endless array of shapes, sizes and powers.

Breakdown: I hate that this disappointed me as much as it did.

I had heard a decent amount of good chatter about this show before I finally gave it a watch, and….I just….I didn’t enjoy myself.

My first impression of Mighty Magiswords is that it’s one of those shows that tries too hard, and, as a result, it ends up just basically being a lot of noise. All of the characters are loud and have overly exaggerated mannerisms. Normally, I wouldn’t have much of an issue with that, these are cartoons afterall, but everything goes at such a breakneck pace that you can’t really absorb the jokes when they come along. Some of the jokes hit with me, but everything else was like driveby comedy.

I honestly had such difficulty following along properly that I couldn’t even absorb the main characters names, which is especially odd because the theme song is one of those ‘explain the plot’ songs. I had to look at the Wiki to get their names jotted down. At least I remembered enough to make a suitable plot synopsis.

The hook of the magiswords is interesting, and I can see where the concept would make for a lot of comedy, but I can also see this shtick getting old fast. Basically, magiswords are a grab bag of pretty much any power they can think of from completely useless, like tomatoes and bacon powers, to somewhat good like making your arms super muscular.

The main characters seemingly already have a plethora of these swords that they can wield whenever they please, though it’s impossible to know exactly which ones they have. There was one battle in this episode, and they were whipping out magiswords with chewed bubblegum powers, laser pointers and even frog missiles.

In some ways, this show is kinda reminiscent of old, old, OLD cartoons where they’d pretty much just pull the world and everything in it out of their asses while they do kooky shit and bounce around, but in many others it reminds me of some irritating modern shows, like The Mighty B!, and that’s not a good thing.

Maybe I’m just an old curmudgeon who can’t find a taste for these mile-a-minute insane shows that rely heavily on randomness and yelling for their comedy, but this one just didn’t hit with me.

The art is alright, though there’s not a lot to make it stand out much. I do like that they made Vambre at least a little curvy and stocky instead of being overly stick-ified, but that’s really all the notably positive stuff I have to say in the realm of the art and animation.

I didn’t even really notice the music too much. That was another thing that just kinda got swept up in the rushing waters of this show.

Final Verdict:

Continue no

I can see how some people might like this series, and maybe I’m just missing something, though I’m certainly not the first person to have these criticisms. As far as I can see, it’s just not my cup of tea.


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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Craig of the Creek

Plot: The Creek is an amazing place where kids from all over the neighborhood gather to explore, have fun and stake their claims. Craig, along with his friends Kelsey and JP, spend their days adventuring in the Creek while Craig works to create a full map of this utopia for kids.

Breakdown: You know what we’re really lacking in today’s animation world? Shows where normal kids just have fun being normal kids. Granted, yes, this show has an exaggerated view on kid life, at least where the Creek is concerned, but it’s grounded, humble and has a very real feeling to it.

That’s not meant to be a sleight on any show with fantastical elements. I absolutely adore shows with fantasy, superheroes, magic etc. But sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and relax with a show that is more rooted in reality. The only other show I can think of off the top of my head that has a similar realistic setting is The Loud House, and I haven’t watched much of that show.

Craig of the Creek has an air about it that’s very similar to Recess. The area they frequent is ruled by kids in various manners with each kid serving a different role or being a part of a specific group within the area. The imagination involved in both creating this world and in the kids who bring it to life is fantastic and very entertaining.

Even though, again, this is exaggerated, it’s not to the point of being terribly unrealistic.

Take this episode, for example. Craig is a cartographer of sorts. He wants to draw a full map of the Creek. There’s a spot on the map that hasn’t been explored, and he and his friends want to explore it to be legendary adventurers in the Creek. However, the area is a small spot located in a massive field of poison ivy. So they treat it like this epic adventure by getting suited up from head to toe in makeshift hazmat suits and even set up a tether with a fishing line to find their way back.

Something starts attacking them from the ivy, but it’s not a monster, it’s a kid who is immune to poison ivy. He has a big family and can’t get any privacy, so he uses his immunity to poison ivy to create a small sanctuary in the clearing of the poison ivy field where he has placed a trampoline. Craig, sympathizing with his plight, considering he has a similar situation, marks the spot as dangerous and warns everyone to stay out.

Being respectful of this kid’s sanctuary and privacy means much more to him than being a famous explorer in the Creek. And even his friends go along with this with no argument.

We even get a very nice and beautiful moment after this happens when they return home.

This show has all of the markings to hit all of the right buttons in regards to characters, story, comedy and even heartfelt moments. Plus, it’s definitely appealing to child and adult audiences alike. Not only do they not talk down to the kids, but this series is basically a nostalgia bomb for adults, especially if you lived in a small town.

They introduce the characters and establish the world very well. They have the dynamic of the three main characters solid right from the start. I particularly loved Kelsey. She is definitely my favorite character so far.

Final Verdict:

Continue Yes

Craig of the Creek has a very strong start, and it has a very refreshing concept that really brings me back. I can’t want for more adventures at the Creek.


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Episode One-Derland: Demashitaa! Powerpuff Girls Z

Plot: Professor Utonium manages to stabilize the mysterious Chemical X with the help of his son, Ken. The new and more powerful compound is called Chemical Z. During an impending weather crisis, they use the chemical to clear up the skies, but accidentally create numerous beams of Z rays which hit Momoko, Miyako and Kaoru, turning them into the magical girls Hyper Blossom, Rolling Bubbles and Powered Buttercup. They also hit a nearby monkey, turning him into the villain Mojo Jojo.

Breakdown: Even though Japan doesn’t do it to us nearly as much as we do it to them, they have remade American cartoons into Japanese anime. One of the more notable examples is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but also Lilo and Stitch, Transformers and even properties like Supernatural, Batman and Iron Man have been turned into anime.

Out of all of the shows to get the anime treatment, you could definitely make the argument that Powerpuff Girls is the most obvious target. They already sport big anime-ish eyes, fighting giant monsters is their forte, and they’re basically magical girls without the lengthy transformation sequences and accessories.

So, it’s also not a surprise that Japan opted to fully turn the girls into magical girls with lengthy transformation sequences and accessories.

They also seem like they’re manipulating American audiences by slapping the ‘Z’ onto it because, wow, what’s one of the most popular anime in the west? Dragon Ball Z.

Back when this series first came out, I didn’t hear a lot about it. I heard some things, but it was mostly in the realm of ‘…..Why?’ Still, when it came to actual opinions, I didn’t hear much. I was a big fan of the original Powerpuff Girls, but I never had much of a desire to see what the anime version was like.

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Fast forward over ten years later, and now I’ve finally decided to sit down and watch it as well as research the current reviews on it.

To say the ratings are all over the board would be an understatement.

IMDB is caught between extremely low ratings and extremely high ratings. And it’s not just hardcore fans who are in the low zone. Several people stated they hated the original series and found this series to be an insult to it.

MyAnimeList is better but also worse because their reviews are all over the place with some extremely low, some very high and some middleground, but it seems like the middleground ones disliked it more than their ratings would indicate, and one wouldn’t get off the comparisons to Sailor Moon.

I found a full-on hate post on Amino and even then they gave it a 4/10 before telling the reader to never watch it ever. Just….what?

There was one thing that was driving me to give this show a fair shot.

It has….

To be better….

Than this….

I mean, people are calling (D)PPGZ stupid, annoying and hollow, but PPG2016 is basically the epitome of stupid, annoying and hollow.

For sake of fairness, I’m not going to harp too much on the differences between the shows. I’m going to try and take it at face value as much as I can…..And then I’ll harp on the differences because I can’t not. But at least I’ll give you warning so you can skip it if you want.

Non-Comparison

This show is dumb and hollow. It’s not nearly as annoying as many reviewers made it out to be. It is a little, but not that bad. I’m mostly in the dumb and hollow camp.

I’m not expecting deep or intelligent stories from magical girl shows to begin with, but this is insulting my intelligence and suspending my disbelief way too much.

The episode is separated into two eleven minute long stories, like the original show. The first half is about the girls fighting Mojo Jojo after he kidnaps some kindergartners for the sake of stealing their candy to power his newest mech.

Why does this machine run on candy? Dunno.

Why is he kidnapping and taking candy from children instead of just robbing a candy store? Dunno.

The girls make an excuse to leave school, transform and fly to the location where they have a lame battle. The battle is particularly lame because Bubbles—excuse me, Miyako, has bubbles be her main attack, yet they are obviously no different from regular bubbles. We don’t have any way to know what the bubbles do when they actually work, so showing us that these inert bubbles are just acting like bubbles really makes it seem like they’re ordinary bubbles and Miyako’s an idiot for trying to fight with them.

Also, Butterc—I mean Kaoru keeps making baseball references when her weapon’s a hammer….

After a few minutes, the girls run low on power. Because god forbid the POWERpuff Girls have a decent enough supply of power to last longer than five minutes in a very mild battle. You’d think this would require them to charge up their powers somehow, but all it takes is randomly stopping the battle for a trip to the ice cream store to get them back to full strength.

PPGZ2

They take down Mojo and the day is saved.

The second half is the origin story of the girls, which you’d think would be first but whatever. One day, Professor Utonium was trying to stabilize the mysterious Chemical X to no avail. His son, Ken, and robot dog, Poochi, accidentally knocked a pastry into the Chemical X vat and it stabilized it, turning it into Chemical Z, because screw Y.

Suddenly, and seemingly unrelated to this, the climate suddenly shifts drastically. New Townsville is thrown into a blizzard within seconds. Icebergs are forming in the bay and penguins are overrunning the city. This climate shift is not just happening here, but around the world.

In an effort to stop it, Ken uses Chemical Z in conjunction with a laser gun to shoot the sky and end the weather troubles. None of what I just said makes sense in the slightest.

And it starts making even less sense when three beams of light and numerous beams of….darkness? Shoot from where Ken shot the sky.

The beams of light are all about to hit three small children, and the girls, Momoko (Blossom) Miyako (Bubbles) and Kaoru (Buttercup) all separately sacrifice themselves to save the kids because lazy writing. As a result, they get hit with the beams and instantly go through the transformation process. Speaking of which, they seem like they skipped the transformations in the dub because my copy is raw Japanese with an English track and the track goes back to Japanese for the transformation sequences.

PPGZ3

It is a rather entertaining transformation sequence in regards to music, but the actions during the scene are kinda boring. They just kinda dance to pad out the time. Kaoru’s is the most interesting because she also does punches and stuff.

Also, they each get weapons based on the toys the kid they were saving was playing with at the time of the beam striking them. Momoko gets a yo-yo, Miyako gets a bubble wand and Kaoru gets a comically large hammer.

Momoko, or as her transformed state is called, Hyper Blossom, is the only one to get battle spotlight in this episode and gets further unnecessary spotlight later, including a bunch of still shots behind the Professor and Ken as they talk about all of the girls. All three of their screens eventual shift to just Momoko and 95% of the end theme showcases Momoko, because why not shove that goddamn ‘leader gets all the focus’ magical girl trope down our collective throats? That never gets old.

The beams of darkness are only shown hitting one being, a monkey named Mojo Jojo. He gains a helmet and giant cape as well as intelligence and the ability to talk and fly out of this deal. If I can’t question the magical girl items, I can’t question this either.

We actually get a kinda funny scene where Mojo and Momoko realize that Mojo’s evil, followed by another hollow and lame battle with Momoko flicking her yo-yo at him. She does eventually beat him and the day is saved. Miyako and Kaoru just go about their days elsewhere because we couldn’t be arsed to give them anything to do.

PPGZ4

Also, Kaoru the tomboy is super upset about her outfit including a skirt. Seriously, she brings it up twice in the two times we see her after she gets her powers…

Before I get to the comparison stuff, this episode both succeeds and fails as a first episode. We see the girls in ‘action’, sure, get a…slight idea of the world they live in, but it’s a piss-poor introduction to nearly all of the characters outside of maybe the Mayor, Miss Bellum and Mojo.

We don’t even learn the names of the girls in this episode. I had to look both their actual and superhero names up on the Wiki. Ken, the Mayor, Bellum and the Professor just call them ‘The Girls’ all the time. They don’t have a single actual conversation in the entire episode, and we barely learn anything about them.

Not to mention that both stories are just kinda stupid. A mech that runs on candy? Mojo kidnaps kindergartners and puts them in a giant bird cage to get the candy? The girls stop what they’re doing to give the kids autographs? Mojo asks for an autograph?

The climate changes drastically all over the world in mere seconds, somehow spawns icebergs in seconds and somehow calls a flood of penguins to invade the city and somehow a laser created by a liquid Chemical Z shot into the sky in one city clears up all of the weather phenomenon over the world and it also gives good powers to three girls and evil powers to other beings?

Now onto the bread and butter of this review, the comparisons with the original. To be fair, I’ll mark whether or not the change actually matters to the quality of the show.

Comparison with the Original PPG

– The girls are teenagers now, not kindergartners.

– Matters? No.

You can age up the girls, fine, but it does cause some oddities like, they still keep in the line about saving the world before bed time. I’m sorry, what teenagers have a bed time? A curfew, yeah, but bed time? And if you do have a bed time as a teen, why would you advertise that?

– The girls are magical girls now, I guess, not mutant superheroes made from Sugar, Spice, Everything Nice and Chemical X.

– Matters? Not really.

As unique as the cartoon’s origin story was, this is a perfectly fine origin story for the girls, even if it is lazy and something that’s already been used (Tokyo Mew Mew vibes, anyone?) My problem is with the ridiculousness of Chemical Z.

Chemical X was a mysterious compound and no one knew what it really did, not even Professor Utonium. It made Mojo smart and was the key component to making the girls. But Chemical Z seems like it’s a deus ex machina in liquid form. It can be used as laser….fuel, it instantly clears up almost supernatural worldwide weather phenomenon, it grants girls magical girl powers, creates themed weapons, accessories and clothes for them and grants other beings evil bad guy power.

PPGZ5

One could argue that making living beings out of some miscellaneous items and the chemical is just as bad, but that part of the story was based on the old saying that little girls are made of sugar, spice and everything nice. Just like when the Rowdyruff Boys were made, it was using the alternate saying for boys of snips, snails and puppy dog tails.

Also, the main origin behind the girls was that Townsville was a shady crap hole and Utonium wanted to create the perfect little girl to improve it. Thus creating the Powerpuff Girls….on accident, but nonetheless created them.

The fact that their creation wasn’t really…necessary and was entirely an accident is kinda boring. In fact, in a Static Shock Boom Baby kind of way, the girls wouldn’t be necessary at all if the Z rays didn’t also create bad guys…..

– Professor Utonium is no longer their adoptive father. Also, he has a son named Ken who is his lab assistant and a pet robot dog named Poochi who was also hit by the Z rays, somehow granting him the ability to talk even though I don’t know why this chemical…laser would be able to rewrite programming…He’s also granted the ability to call the girls.

– Matters? YES.

Ken is completely superfluous and so is Poochi. Removing Utonium as the girls’ father figure takes away a massive part of the story and nearly insults his original character development. Utonium was literally thrown into fatherhood upon creating the girls but did the best he could to love, raise, protect and teach them proper. Watch The Powerpuff Girls movie or several Utonium-centered episodes and you’ll feel a really strong familial connection.

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Also, just because I can’t find anywhere else to mention this, Ken, you don’t say ‘Bottom’s up’ when handing someone food. The adage is for drinking. The bottom of the glass goes up when you take a drink. I don’t care if it’s in a glass, you don’t drink ice cream unless it’s melted. Bottom’s up would make a huge mess on the floor. /dumb rant

Utonium never even speaks with the girls this entire episode.

He is still a father, but dammit it all if he doesn’t act like it.

What makes things even worse is that Ken seems like he’s made out to be more competent than Utonium. The professor is meant to be an extremely smart and skilled scientist. So you robbed him of one major character element and downgraded the other. Wonderful.

– In addition to that, the girls aren’t even sisters anymore.

– Matters? YES.

Why would you destroy their familial dynamic even more by making them seemingly total strangers until they unite as superheroes? Even when they’re together, I don’t feel like they’re good friends.

– They’re also not called Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. They’re called Momoko, Miyako and Kaoru.

– Matters? No.

The name thing is bothersome because I don’t understand the need, but it’s not vital to the plot. Plus, they do technically retain their names when transformed because they’re changed to Hyper Blossom, Rolling Bubbles and Powered Buttercup…..and yes, I do think those extra titles make these names stupid.

Particularly ‘Powered Buttercup’ Not only is that too on-the-nose, but what are you going to say ‘She’s the Powerpuff Girl Powered Buttercup’? That sounds redundant as hell.

– The girls keep their super hero identities a secret.

– Matters? Not really, but it adds a layer of common magical girl stupidity to the story.

PPGZ67

Like many magical girl series, the girls keep their identities a secret, but don’t wear masks when they transform. Their appearances aren’t changed enough when they transform to warrant the belief that other people wouldn’t recognize them. I can’t say how much awkwardness or doofy plots this causes, but I can bet it’s quite a bit.

In the original, the girls are known heroes throughout the entire series. In fact, their kindergarten has a Powerpuff hotline right in their classroom. It removes the awkward and sometimes annoying element of trying to keep their identities and powers a secret while also adding a layer of complication in their lives that was more interesting to explore.

– Mojo Jojo still talks fast and stuffs his speech, in the dub anyway, but it comes off more like bad dubbing instead of a character quirk.

– Matters? Not really, but lessens the comedy of his character.

– The girls are almost pathetically weak in regards to stamina. Mojo’s already basically a parody of himself here, but the girls just swing around their weapons, sometimes hurting themselves more than they’re hurting Mojo, for a few minutes and they start running out of energy.

– Matters? Yes.

The original had such a good balance of action and comedy. If you want to focus more on the comedy, fine, but if the action’s so minute and lame, why even bother?

– The girls stop to eat ice cream to help regain energy (I guess?) while forgetting about and leaving a bunch of kindergartners in a cage…..

– Matters? Yes.

They seem like uncaring jackasses to do such a thing, not heroes.

– They have to be reminded to save someone who just got kidnapped…

– Matters? Yes, for the same reason I just gave. Heroes don’t do that….

– The girls have major personality changes. Momoko/Blossom is still the leader, but she’s no longer a serious, stern leader or a nerd. In fact, she implies that she pretends stuff ate her homework to get out of doing it. She’s boy-crazy, ditzy and basically unrecognizable from what she originally was.

Bubbles is still bubbly and positive, but she’s way into fashion and is ditzier than she was in the original.

Buttercup is a skateboard-riding baseball cap-wearing tomboy who detests wearing skirts.

– Matters? Yes, but mostly in regards to Blossom.

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I can’t even gauge this enough because we barely get to see their personalities over the course of two half-episodes, but Blossom definitely fares the worst here.

While Bubbles’ being preoccupied with fashion makes me roll my eyes and Buttercup’s incessant irritation at wearing a skirt makes me…irritated (and, as tomboyish as Buttercup was originally, her main outfit was a dress…..) Blossom is basically gutted from a stern serious leader with high levels of intelligence to basically your typical ‘Homework? Ugh’ magical girl protagonist, maybe worse.

It’s also irksome that all three of the girls were either gawking at groups of others or had people gawking at them when we first meet them in their origin story. Blossom was drooling over the guys in the various sports teams running by, tons of boys were fawning over Bubbles and tons of girls were gawking at Buttercup. Yup, they’re all super cute and popular and amazing and blah.

– There’s barely a narrator anymore and barely an ‘and once again the day is saved’ segue.

– Matters? No.

As sad as it is to lose those transitions and endings because the narrator was practically a character himself, it doesn’t affect the quality. To its credit, they do try to squeeze some form of it in the middle and a small line by the narrator at the end, but it’s so unsatisfactory for fans that they might as well not even try.

Also, that line about bed time makes it worse.

Final Verdict:

750spsl

It’s a lame and overly silly magical girl show with not enough comedy to back it up. There was one funny moment with Mojo, but that was it. The overall plot is dumb, the individual stories are dumb, the battles are lame and it just feels like a hollow show.

I’m not against adaptations changing things as long as the changes are for the better, but all of these changes are either superfluous or for the worse.

Fans of the show might enjoy it a bit just because it’s more PPG….technically, and it IS better than PPG2016. Then again, me setting my toes on fire is better than PPG2016.

Also, I will say that the soundtrack for the show is fantastic, especially during the transformation sequences, so if you’re a fan of anime OSTs, maybe check that out.

Animating Halloween: The Amazing World of Gumball – Halloween

AHTAWOGH

Plot: Gumball, Darwin and Anais head to the cemetery to meet Carrie for a ghost party at a haunted house.

Breakdown: You know what sucks? Watching an episode of Gumball with headphones on. Jesus Christ, does everyone do their best to have their voices squeak whenever possible? It’s like every character has an old shopping cart lodged in their throats.

I still have a bit of an odd relationship with Gumball, but I think I’m warming up to it a little. While the characters are still largely irritating, I found this episode to be fun. It’s a bit of a step away from your usual Halloween fare, in a good way, though I really think this special suffers from the eleven minute restriction.

Like I’ve already mentioned before, it’s very difficult to make one of these specials be worth it if they don’t at least get the full 22 minutes of a complete episode. The party didn’t get to be as funny as it could’ve been and neither did Gumball and Darwin messing around as ghosts all because they tried to do so much in so little time.

And just to get this out of the way, Gumball and Darwin kill themselves in this episode. I don’t care how they subvert it or sugarcoat it, they turned into ghosts and left bodies behind – they died.

Despite all that, they still had several moments that made me crack a smile, but none that made me laugh. I kinda like the humor Gumball has sometimes, like when they’re more deadpan or when they tried to control the T-rex, but it’s overall style has a lot of difficulty staying with me through the whole episode and I still can’t bring myself to like the characters. I liked Carrie a lot, but that’s about it.

All in all, a fairly fun Halloween special but nothing really…’special.’

Animating Halloween: Unikitty – Scary Tales

AHUST

Plot: Unikitty and her friends tells scary stories on Halloween while trying to scare the seemingly unscareable Richard.

Breakdown: I’ll be frank – I barely know a thing about Unikitty besides it’s a show made by Lego and it’s based on the character from The Lego Movie.

No one’s ever really encouraged me to go and watch it. I haven’t heard really bad things about it, but I also haven’t heard anything all that great either.

That being said, this was a pretty enjoyable Halloween special. While the overarching storyline is cliché and the individual stories aren’t all that memorable, the little moments and jokes they had throughout the episode were usually pretty entertaining and funny.

I liked the handful of nods they gave to classic horror movies like Friday the Thirteenth and Scream. They also had two characters dress up like Pac-Man and a ghost, and I thought that was cool. Not sure how many kids today would get it, but still.

The show kinda goes at a breakneck speed for me, but it has fun with itself. I’d watch some more episodes if I caught it on TV.

Animating Halloween: The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy – Billy and Mandy’s Jacked-Up Halloween

AHTGAOBAM

Plot: Grim tells Billy and Mandy the story of an old prankster named Jack who was killed for his annoying pranks back in medieval times. Jack stole his scythe when Grim tried to take him to the afterlife, and in order to get it back, he granted him eternal life, only after Grim sliced his head off, though.

Now using a pumpkin as a head, Jack is forever known as Jack-O-Lantern and he continues to pull pranks on Halloween. Until, that is, he meets up with Billy who is using Grim’s scythe for his grim reaper outfit. When he gets the scythe from him, he decides to call an army of spirits to bring eternal night and Halloween to the land.

Breakdown: I’ll be honest, I never got too invested in Billy and Mandy. I always gave it major props for going dark places that most cartoons of the age would never go, and still don’t, but I just never found it all that great. I’d watch it on occasion, but it was never something I needed to watch.

You’d think if there was one time The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy would shine, it would be in a Halloween special….but…not really.

This episode’s just kinda boring. The story’s boring, the villain’s definitely boring, and the climax was pretty predictable, especially considering we watched Mandy set up all those pranks. Gee, I wonder if they’ll all get tripped.

Even if it is Irwin who trips them, we still know exactly what’s going to happen. It’s a bit sad that the funniest part of this whole special is the slapstick of the pranks, but I’m 99% certain that was the infectious laughter because every other character was laughing – even then, I didn’t laugh, but I felt like it a bit.

Also, the threat isn’t that major. Eternal night and Halloween?….I guess that’s bad. As someone who’s a Halloween junkie, bring on the latter, but I guess the former would suck.

Beheading Grim is supposed to have more weight because anything beheaded with his scythe is permanently beheaded, bypassing Grim’s ability to remove his head whenever he feels like it, but….still….who cares? Can’t he keep it attached to his body with tape or something? You can’t kill him – he’s death.

Poor Irwin, too. It’s a bit annoying that he keeps trying to kiss Mandy, and the recurring joke of him putting on non-scary costumes in search of a scary one is tiresome, but the poor kid had all that crap happen to him and he only gets a whoopie cushion to the face as a thank you.

Like I mentioned, I will give this episode props for its darker moments. Jack is legit murdered, and all because he was annoying with his pranks. Not sure why the queen’s guards would stick an ax in his back instead of beheading him, but whatever. Grim legit beheaded Jack. And, in the end, Jack is sent to hell. Yup. Actual hell.

If there ever is a message in Billy and Mandy, this one’s kinda weird. They make off like pranks are awesome and fun, but Jack was friggin’ murdered for playing pranks. And this wasn’t just an unreasonable queen getting pissed at him – the villagers played a prank on the queen posing as Jack and then she killed him in retaliation.

All in all, I wasn’t entertained by this special all that much, which is a shame because, as I said before, Halloween should be one time where Billy and Mandy goes all out and pulls no punches. While it has some moments, this is….fairly lame.