SSBS – Dinosaur King Episode 3: Tanks a Lot!

SSBS - DK EP3

Plot: A saichania card is awoken in a museum in London and the Alpha Team and the D-Team scramble to claim it. Meanwhile, Rex becomes very frustrated with Ace, who keeps causing trouble.

Breakdown: I wonder if a piece of Veronica Taylor’s soul broke off into the abyss when she found out she was pegged for another show that makes her prattle off painful pun titles in voiceover. Hm.

This series continues to infuriate me, but it’s one of those things where I’m more pissed about the accumulating smaller details than the overall big picture.

For example, again, we are destroying valuable artifacts for no reason. First, the guards at the museum for some reason have no qualms with smashing dinosaur bones and displays just to apprehend some yahoos with shopping boxes wandering around, especially when the museum seems to technically still be open since Dr. Taylor is meeting with the curator.

Second, there are so many stupid moments. For example, Chomp finds a triceratops display and nuzzles it, which is actually insanely sad. Max points out that he probably misses his family, but without even a second of pause he goes on to say that they’re his family now and they’ll have lots of adventures together.

Real tactful timing, Max. Imagine doing that in any other similar situation. ‘It’s okay recently orphaned child, we’re your family now.’

What’s even stupider is they’re looking for the saichania, Max and Chomp find it but Max doesn’t realize it’s real even though it’s clearly moving, breathing and blinking. He doesn’t even give it a second look or touch it before turning his back and being silent for just long enough for the saichania to walk away, like a goddamned ninja, and then Max suddenly decides to also leave without looking back.

Dr. Taylor has a moment of stupid too. He asks what would lure out a saichania, and he thinks about the fact that they live near water, which is something….most animals do since all living beings need water. If you don’t live near a fresh water source…..you…die.

Zoe briefly raises her voice at Paras when she starts eating a plant and immediately after she sees Paras’ sad face she says now she knows how Ace feels. Why do you know how Ace feels? Wouldn’t this be more how Rex feels? You don’t know what that plant is. You could’ve been saving your dino’s life. Hardly akin to yelling at her for ruining a valuable book.

Later, she explains what she learned from that millisecond of ‘experience’ with the dinos, which is really as obvious as the nose on your face. They’re trying to be helpful, don’t yell at them – if you do, it hurts their feelings. Oh wow, you mean yelling at a living being and treating them like crap will make them feel bad? Golly, what a revelation. Sure am glad I’m two years old so this lesson is not painfully basic.

And how did she learn that from yelling at Paras for eating a plant? How was that helping?

Also, that doesn’t address the issue that Ace is being really hyper and destructive and Rex can’t figure out why or what to do about it. In fact, that’s never really addressed at all.

Thirdly, the saichania’s walk cycle is animated like it has a full diaper. I have no clue how a real saichania moves, but I am almost certain it doesn’t barely move its legs while shuffling around. That doesn’t really have much to do with anything, but the CGI just really bothers me still.

Fourth, the way the saichania is lured out is with a bunch of vegetables. Wanna know why? Remember how I said earlier that Dr. Taylor said saichanias like to live near water? Well, he jumped from that to hippos, because hippos also live near water. So he gathered up hippo food.

Now, saichanias were herbivores, but that’s not the point. He’s a goddamn paleontologist. He should be able to deduce luring out an herbivore with plants immediately instead of going “Saichania’s lived near water…what else lives near water?….err….HIPPOS!…So saichanias must be exactly like hippos. Hippos eat plants! So I should lure out the saichania with plants!” It’s a good think no carnivores or insectivores live near water.

Fifth, Zoe gets her first solo battle today, and it consists of immediately calling for help.

But Paras gets into gear!

Then immediately calls for help too. Because that’s one of Paras’ special abilities. Not lying. It can heal. And it can call for help. You certainly do belong to a female protagonist in a shounen show.

Then Max and Chomp show up and defeat Spiny easily. Yay.

As for the main plot of the episode, it’s one of the most predictable and boring plots I’ve seen in many moons.

Rex is a bit peeved at Ace for being all rowdy and getting mud on his nice book, which he then licked “clean.” The plot is resolved by Ace saving Rex’s life because that’s always how understandings are made between two characters.

The…..end.

Alright, there’s a tiny bit more to that. Rex had to understand that Ace was trying to help when he licked the book, but Zoe already pointed that out before the opening theme song, even, so I guess Rex is a crappy listener. Also, this wasn’t a time to shine for Ace because he loses against Terry.

As for the saichania, despite Dr. Taylor luring it out, the Alpha Team manages to snag it and they also get away with some important tablet. So, congrats, guys. You caused a bunch of damage to a museum and failed in both of your objectives. But hey, at least that minor tiff between Rex and Ace is over. Thank god. You can slow down now, pulse.

Overall, this episode is not good. I guess it’s not as infuriating as the previous episode, at least they didn’t flippantly destroy as many historical artifacts, but it’s, ultimately, very boring. That conflict was really lame, and the resolution might as well have come from the mouth of Dora the Explorer it was so preschool level.

Also, I can’t prove this, but given the animation, I really think Ace pooped on Rex’s book originally. If he had muddy feet, he would have been getting mud all over the room and on Rex’s bed as he was running around. Instead he popped a squat and suddenly left footprints. 4Kids would obviously change this, and I feel like that’s for the better. Afterall, if I’m right, then that means this entire plot is literally built….on crap.

It’s definitely more understandable that Rex would be upset, but it’s also a lot more gross, especially considering Ace licked it clean….

Rating: 4/10

Next episode….

….Previous Episode


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SSBS – Dinosaur King Episode 2: Battle at the Pyramids

ssbs - Dinosaur King Episode 2

Plot: Rex’s father discovers more Dino Cards. While waiting for them to arrive, a spinosaurus emerges in Egypt. Since Max is the only one with a stone and a dino, he’s is the only one able to transport himself to Egypt through use of the Dino-Holder. However, the Alpha gang has their sights set on the spinosaurus as well. Did Max and Chomp bite off more than they can chew?

Breakdown: I apologize for that pun, and this episode is pretty boring. Second episodes are usually just about establishing excess stuff that they weren’t able to establish in the first episode. The other two team members need dinos, we need to establish more things about the universe, and the Alpha gangs needs a bit more firepower to stay on even ground with the D-Team. Most of the episode is either recapping stuff we already knew, talking about nothing or quickly spewing out exposition.

All you really need to know is now Rex has a carnisaurous named Ace and the power of wind, and Zoe has a parasaurolophus, which is way too hard to pronounce and spell, named Paras and the power of nature. Zoe’s move card is also a healing ability. So yay, more female characters relegated to being support/healers! Whoo.

The Alpha Gang also caught the spinosaurus to make their numbers a bit more even, and Dr. Z fabricated a move card for the T-rex.

…..Oh and the D-Team is also massively stupid and uncaring. First, Max doesn’t notice nor care that Rex and Zoe didn’t teleport to Egypt alongside him. They could be dead for all he knew, but he doesn’t even bat an eyelash.

Second, they’re specifically fighting in the ruins of ancient Egypt because the setting makes for a better battle. And just in case you’re wondering, yes, they do flatout destroy some of the monuments. Specifically, they beheaded the sphinx and they put a massive dent in one of the pyramids. The kids don’t notice nor do they care.

Third, after they’ve destroyed parts of what made Egypt so magnificent and fascinating to begin with, they decide, after the battle, that they’ll stay in Egypt for a week and see the sights…..the thoroughly destroyed sights. Oh and Dr. Taylor and Reese also don’t care that they both destroyed some of the most beloved ancient artifacts in the world (They’re goddamn paleontologists) and are taking an unsupervised week-long trip in Egypt on the fly.

Idiots.

Even if they’re poorly CGI’d representations of the monuments, it’s really hard to root for the protagonists when they flippantly destroy some of the coolest remaining parts of ancient Egypt. They don’t even properly react when it happened. They just throw dinosaurs into them and then YAY we win!

Rating: 3/10

Next episode…..

…Previous Episode

Final Notes: Can someone tell the writers so stop trying to hard when it comes to Dr. Taylor? They are going to ridiculous lengths to make him seem like a wacky off-the-cuff character.

SSBS – Dinosaur King Episode 1: Prehistory in the Making

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Plot: The time of dinosaurs was seemingly over until Max and his friends found a little dinosaur inside of a rock that fell from the sky. With the power of an accompanying card, the dinosaur can both be recalled back into the stone and grow into a huge and powerful dinosaur. These dinosaurs aren’t around for no reason, however. With a threat looming over the horizon, they’ll need the dinosaur’s help to save the world.

Breakdown: Okay, time to go over my history with Dinosaur King.

……..I don’t have one. 😀

I vaguely remember this being on TV, never watched it and never saw or heard much of it. But it’s a shounen card game ish anime so here I am.

Our story starts off with ugly images of dinosaurs and a meteor hitting the earth and killing them all before we see our main character, Max, waking up, indicating that the images were merely a dream brought on by his dinosaur book.

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Max is voiced by Veronica Taylor doing absolutely nothing to differentiate her voice from her Ash voice, making this really distracting.

He sees a light in the sky that crashes into the nearby mountains and is excited at the idea that it’s a meteor. He wakes up his friend, predictably named Rex, to go investigate and we get our theme song that has all the markings of a 4Kids theme song. Dumb lyrics? Check. Catchy? Check. Rapping? Major check.

Also, this theme song gives us a sneak peak at the disgusting CGI that is in this show. I really mean it. On its own, it’s pretty okay, but meshed with the traditional 2D style of the anime it’s atrocious.

Max, Rex and his other friend Zoe, who make up something called the D-Team, go to investigate. Max, by the by, has a visor with big horns on it because dinosaur. Also, these horns light up for some reason. They see a bunch of damaged trees and Max thinks the meteor must be in a tree that has a big hole in it.

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Max finds some weird rock in the tree with a lightning bolt on it, so he must’ve found Pikachu. Rex find another stone with a symbol for wind on it while Zoe finds a third stone with a symbol for grass.

Max presses a button on the rock, causing them all to glow for a minute. After the glowing subsides, Max finds another item in the tree that contains two…..trading cards…..Okay. I’ve seen dumber things in shounen shows. Bakugan rings a particular bell in that regard. The cards have equally clashing artworks of triceratops on them, and he notices that the symbols of the backs of the cards match the symbol on the stone. He basically scans the cards with the stone and summons a triceratops.

They freak out for a bit, and Max does something that puts the triceratops back in its card. He decides to scan the card again….because why not I guess, and he summons a chibi-ceratops that he later names Chomp because he bites everything.

Cut to a bunch of dinosaurs fighting in an arena, we’re introduced to who I suppose is our villain – Dr. Z. He wants to be king of the dinosaurs and if he is our villain you can already tell that he’s really no threat. He has a bumbling sidekick and he’s constant comic relief.

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rawr

A T-Rex breaks through the house and starts chasing Dr. Z before it’s turned into a chibi-T-Rex by some little girl named Laura.

A stereotypical German maid woman named Helga storms into the scene scolding everyone and telling them their dinner’s ready, and we’re made aware that Dr. Z is apparently in love with Helga.

Stoic guy with blue hair #24234C named Seth arrives and the story of these people is laid out very blatantly in a few lines of dialogue – they have a time machine, they’re stuck, their time machine’s broken and when the time machine broke Dr. Z lost his collection of dinosaur cards and they were scattered across the world.

Dr. Z uses a device that alerts him to the location of one of the cards and they prepare to leave before the commercial.

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Back with Max and the others, they explain their situation to Max’s dad who happens to be a dinosaur expert. He’s perfectly fine with the dinosaur thing and is actually really excited about the discovery, but wants to keep it a secret for safety’s sake. Max’s mom comes in and they convince her that Chomp is just a really odd dog who followed Max home. She believes them because….she’s dumb, and lets Chomp live at their house as long as Max takes care of him.

Dr. Z sends his minions, who call themselves Alpha Gang, off to capture the dinosaurs while Max’s dad and Zoe’s older sister, Reese, do research on the stones.

We get a really convoluted and silly theory as to how these stones and cards work. Max’s dad, Spike Taylor (of course), theorizes that the dinosaurs’ consciousnesses were sealed within the stones right before dinosaurs went extinct. Someone outfitted the stones with microchips that somehow have the ability to turn the dinosaurs into cards. When activated, the cards turn back into dinosaurs and for some reason when they’re scanned again they turn into chibi dinosaurs. When scanned a third time they return to card form.

Back with Max and the others, the Alpha Gang arrives and attacks with their T-Rex….Terry (of course…again)

Spike arrives and tries to capture Terry with a net and obviously fails. Terry keeps trying to get at Chomp and Max. Chomp tries to fight back, but obviously the little guy is no threat to a giant T-Rex in chibi state.

Spike throws Max some fancy device and, get this, it works just like the stone only easier. Apparently in the time frame of a few hours, Spike managed to understand fully how the stones, chips and cards worked, managed to replicate the technology on his own and make the process easier, designed and produced the device…..Not only that, but he also managed to write a manual for it that is like 5000 pages.

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Right. Sure. Then again, I feel really stupid nitpicking that considering this is a show where actual dinosaurs are kept in trading cards and summoned with rocks.

Obviously this device was created so quickly so that they could get the toy line out faster….

Max saves Chomp by recalling him back to card form with the device and then he scans the card into the device triggering a transformation sequence for Chomp into his regular dinosaur form. Considering they did this a few times already without this transformation sequence, I find this to be even more pointless than usual transformation sequences. Additionally, this sequence is segued by a little screen on the device so I’m left wondering if Spike actually programmed this sequence into it….

Zoe: “Another dinosaur!”

Spike: “Where did this one come from?”

What? You mean Chomp? Zoe and Rex have seen him transform three times now. Spike has seen him transform. They know that those cards call a triceratops. They can’t be confused about Terry either because they’ve been well aware of him since he appeared. What the hell are you people confused about?

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Terry and Chomp battle and for some reason the background is mostly changed to CGI while they’re battling. I would say this is welcome, but now that I’ve gotten used to the ugly clashing with traditional animation, this looks even uglier somehow.

Chomp’s losing because, well duh, and Max starts panicking. The device starts glowing red as Chomp gets more damaged because I don’t know and the other card that Max found pops out of it. He scans that card and it….gives him lightning powers? What the fuck does a triceratops have to do with lightning? Why does this card give him lightning powers? Why? All sorts of why?

Chomp beats Terry and sends him flying off, which prompts him to turn back to card form. Chomp, now exhausted, also turns back into card form, but is turned back to chibi-Chomp by Max.

Defeated, the Alpha Gang shows up and introduces themselves; Ursula, Zander and Ed. They’re basically Team Rocket, and it’s especially obvious with Ursula. Not only are her personality and mannerisms very reminiscent of Jessie, but she’s also voiced by Rachel Lillis. Eric Stuart also voices Dr. Z, and I will give him credit for increasing his range because I totally didn’t recognize him.

The Alpha Gang runs off and we get a bit more explanation about the device, called a Dino-Holder. It not only acts as the stone but it also translates the dinosaur’s thoughts into words. Sure why not? Also, yay, that means we’re going to hear these dinosaurs talking. Whoo.

Spike gives custom-made Dino-Holders to Zoe and Rex too, despite the fact that they don’t have cards yet, and they start glowing their respective colors as they hear the voices of dinosaurs coming from the devices begging for help. And that’s the end of episode one.

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This show is incredibly stupid so far. I mean, I never expect logic or non-stupid much from shounen gaming anime. I really don’t. But, man, you need to suspend all kinds of disbelief for this show. The premise is so convoluted and just gets more convoluted the more you think about it.

I know this is episode one, but I already have all sorts of questions that I can’t see answered anytime soon, like why do the dinosaurs need chibi forms? Why does Dr. Z want to be king of the dinosaurs? Why did he choose trading cards, rocks and chibi dinos to achieve this? How did Spike manage to do all that with the Dino-Holder in such a small amount of time? What is the point of giving the dinosaurs elemental powers? You really need to buff goddamn DINOSAURS? What’s the logic with the selected elements anyway? Why does a triceratops get lightning? How are these powers contained in cards? Why are these powers contained in cards? Just why on a lot of things.

Also, I really can’t get over how much this seems like a meld between Pokemon and Digimon (Season three in particular) just with dinosaurs.

None of the characters stand out from the archetypes. Max is the leader, headstrong and curious, never gives up and really cares about his friends. Rex didn’t get much exploration but he seems like the responsible one. Zoe is the girl. Alpha Gang is Team Rocket, Dr. Z is the bumbling evil scientist, Seth is the stoic competent villain and Spike is the bumbling good guy scientist.

The art for the CGI is very dated and it clashes so horribly with the traditional animation that it’s very distracting. If you were distracted by how much the CGI clashed with the regular animation in Duel Masters, you’ll be crying at this, especially considering that the CGI and traditional animation in that show were usually kept separate and hardly ever shared the screen. Here, it’s constantly in the same frame.

The traditional art is fine and the colors pop. Some of the designs are kinda cool, even if Zoe and Rex’s necklaces are kinda distracting. The animation is typical shounen gaming anime fare – just okay.

The OP is catchy, even if ‘Make your move’ kinda seems weird to put in the lyrics if this isn’t a legit game. The BG music is completely forgettable.

All in all, I’m really not impressed with this first episode, and I can really understand why this show didn’t take off. Hopefully it will get better from here.

Rating: 3/10

Next Episode, our “heroes” destroy ancient Egyptian monuments.