Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) The Looney Tunes Show

Plot: Bugs and Daffy are roommates living a generally normal life in the suburbs. Daffy desperately wants to win something for once, so he signs him and Bugs up for a show called Besties, where best friends test their knowledge of each other.

Breakdown: Who doesn’t love Looney Tunes? Arguably second to Disney’s Mickey Mouse and friends, Bugs, Daffy and the rest of the Looney Tunes are some of the most world-renowned, beloved and funny characters (they definitely beat Disney in humor) we’ve come to know in the past decades. They’ve had some amazingly funny and memorable adventures, catchphrases, animation, voice acting and they continue to live on in various forms to this day.

That’s not to say Looney Tunes hasn’t had its hiccups when it comes to the quality of their shows and movies. Space Jam, Loonatics Unleashed and Baby Looney Tunes come to mind in that regard.

Well……*hiccup*

The Looney Tunes show definitely caused some conflict when it was first released. A good chunk of people liked the change of scenery and style and even some of the character traits. I definitely remember people arguing back and forth about whether Lola’s reimagining was for the better or worse.

Warning – Rambling that doesn’t have much to do with the episode at hand. Skip down to the blue mark to reenter episode discussion.

While Lola doesn’t show up in this episode, I do know what her character was turned into through clips and wiki research. Lola was not an original character in the short films we know and love. She was specifically made for the half-live-action half-cartoon movie, Space Jam, in order to increase the female demographic.

Even back then, Lola’s character was a source of debate because while some people saw her as a welcome female addition to the Looney Tunes crew, one with an attitude and knew how to play basketball no less, many others saw her as furry bait. She is obviously designed to be as sexually alluring as possible, in both design and her behavior, to all of the other male characters, yes, including the live-action humans, and she even has bunny boobs. She was also seemingly created just to give Bugs a love interest for the movie. She is even knocked into the cliché ‘damsel in distress’ role to give Bugs the even more cliché self-sacrifice scene so they can fall in love.

My opinion? I found Lola entertaining as a kid, but nowadays I just find her character to be a little insulting. If her character is meant to be made for the female viewers on both the basis of being a female character and giving her an attitude of female empowerment, they didn’t do a good job to me. She is eye candy to the core (which is creepy. I mean, give Jessica Rabbit a pass, she’s at least designed as a human.), the fact that she’s described as ‘tomboyish’ is nearly laughable, and making her shut down anyone who calls her ‘doll’ is not enough to warrant that sense of empowerment to me (who even says that anymore?), especially when the cliché gender stereotype roles are still handed to her.

In the Looney Tunes Show, Lola is completely changed from sexpot to ditzy Bugs-obsessed talk-a-mile-a-minute idiot. And, surprise, that is in no way better.

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I had caught this show a bit on TV a few times when it was airing and….I was never impressed enough to watch more than about five minutes. It was just….not funny. Which, for Looney Tunes, is a damn crime.

But I’m a reasonable person and part of this series is giving shows at least a shot to prove their worth. Maybe even prove my passing glances wrong and give me something to binge watch.

And they blew it.

Let me be fair off the bat here. I technically only watched half the episode because this is one of those shows that cuts the episode in half to create two separate stories. I just didn’t watch the second one because I was nearly offended with how not funny or interesting this one was.

First of all, while we’re on the subject of character changes, what the hell happened to Daffy? I know very well that Daffy is not the brightest marker in the Crayola factory, but he is ungodly dumb in this episode. Like Patrick from Spongebob should tutor him kind of dumb. It’s a good thing he doesn’t wear clothes, because I don’t think he’d be able to master the ability to dress himself levels of dumb.

It was actually annoying how dumb he was.

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Now, onto B–…..What’s that you say? Why did I randomly put a stock picture of Speedy Gonzales up?

Well, because the show basically did the same thing. Speedy comes out of nowhere, being stuck to Daffy’s hand vac as he tries to grab ahold of some food that rolled under the fridge (you may go ‘ew’ now) They basically point out that he’s there….and he leaves, never to be seen again the whole episode.

I wasn’t aware that Speedy was the kind of character that warranted a random splash cameo for the sake of fanservice. In fact, weren’t they trying to get rid of him at a point because they thought he was offensive to Mexicans?

Anyhoo, Bugs is left relatively alone, but he’s lost his spunk. He’s way too much on the side of laid-back sarcasm dispenser with none of the pep and energy his character is known to have.

The plot is what really riled me up. I was angry the instant the plot established itself. This is so unbelievable cliché I want to cry. They’ve been doing this stupid ‘game show where the characters have to know facts about another character’ plot line since The Newlywed Game came out. I’m surprised this isn’t a listed TV trope by now. They even name the host Chuck Berost…..which….I think is meant to be a joke, given that the original host of The Newlywed Game was Chuck Barris…..but I don’t get it….Berost…Barris….???

Not only is this a ridiculously cliché plot line to start from, but it’s also incredibly predictable, especially given Daffy’s idiocy. He’s so stupid, he even ruins Bugs’ correct answers because Daffy has an answer that sounds ‘cooler’. It’s obvious Bugs will have an idea that will get them through a good chunk of the game, but then Daffy will screw it up at the very end because he’s sans brain and they’ll lose. And look, that’s what happened.

The only joke that worked for me even a little in this episode was where they’re doing a ‘parody’ of Superman’s Origins. Don’t ask me why they’re doing this. It doesn’t matter. Bugs is acting as baby Kal el and his ‘father’ Jor el says he’ll say “What’s up doc?” indiscriminately, whether there’s a doctor present or not. Yup. And outside of the piece of kryptonite being a crystal carrot, that is the ONLY joke in that whole parody and the only only joke that really works for me during this whole episode. A joke that isn’t even all that funny…..a joke they ruin by having Daffy bring it up at the end of the episode.

See, the question Daffy screws up is ‘what is Bugs’ catchphrase?’ and he gets it wrong. When he learns what it really is, he says ‘we don’t even know any doctors!’

The last thing I have to address is the art style, which I’m….mostly okay with. Everyone’s character designs are mostly left alone, but the heads are obviously bigger and the colors are more saturated.

The animation is pretty good, though I do see various animation errors here and there. It’s smooth, but sometimes slides into ‘someone’s screwing with Flash again’ territory. Also, the animation doesn’t seem to have that elasticity that Looney Tunes is known for.

I will give them props for somewhat keeping the original theme, but this one’s a bit too heavy on the brass for me, which is surprising because the original is nearly entirely brass. It’s just that they add in a lot of jazzy trumpet interludes that are way too loud and intrusive to me.

Final Verdict:

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Nothing clicks in this show for me. The writing, the characters, nothing. I feel like, if the Looney Tunes name wasn’t on this show, it wouldn’t last more than a few episodes….and hell, this show only lasted two seasons with the branding on it. The Looney Tunes show is just not looney.

Episode One-Derland: Bartender

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I will give this a;

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

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

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons): Slugterra

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Plot: Will Shane is a respected man of justice in the world of Slugterra – a world miles beneath the surface where people battle using slugs with various powers. While combating the evil Dr. Blakk, he is met with Blakk’s newest creation – corrupted slugs. One of them opens up an interdimensional void that sucks Will up, but not before he sends his faithful slug, Burpy to the surface world to notify his teenage son, Eli, of his fate. After Eli learns of his father’s fall, he follows the instructions on a letter he left behind to finally go to Slugterra and earn his rightful place as a shane, if he wishes it and only when he turns 15.

On his 15th birthday, Eli heads down to Slugterra and follows his father’s directions to find a place to live, a mode of transportation and some starter gear. However, he’s aggravated when he learns that Slugterra has been taken over by thugs in the years of the shane’s absence. Since Eli has no formal training and only one slug, he is quickly tossed aside when he tries to enforce law and order.

In order to help him out, a seeming burglar of his father’s hideout, Pronto, tells him to earn respect and training by winning a local tournament. Eli is pumped to finally start fighting, but since he’s just starting out can he even win a qualifier?

Breakdown: Okay, I really need to start paying more attention to Disney XD because they seem to get way better shows that whatever they sling on cable.

Slugterra didn’t look like much to me when I first glanced at it, but I was surprisingly intrigued by this show….they shoot animals out of guns at each other and they transform in mid-air into awesome monsters! Out of context, that’s seemingly a hair below animal abuse, but it’s actually really cool!

In just our starter episode, part one no less, we are introduced to all sorts of interesting slugs, creatures and characters that get you amped up to see more.

I even enjoyed the cel-shaded CGI animation and art, and that’s very rare for me because I have a really hard time enjoying CGI cartoons.

I do have some bones to pick, though.

First, the pacing is kinda break-neck. We go from Will’s battle to his fall to Eli learning of his fall to him being 15 and going to Slugterra in just a handful of minutes. I think we could’ve made this a bit smoother considering this is indeed a part one.

Second, Eli’s response to his dad ‘falling’ (IE Dying) is uh…less than emotional. I swear, he looks sad for about a second then gets pumped when he learns of the letter his dad left, instructing him on how to start his shane training and how to get to Slugterra. It’s really offputting. The families of soldiers and law enforcement officers are also prepared for something bad to happen to their loved ones, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have an expected emotional response to it happening. Especially when Will seemed like a single dad.

This lack of emotional response is even more offputting when he gets to Slugterra and has the gall to complain about the vehicle his dad left him. Gee thanks dead dad for leaving me full instructions on how to get to this awesome fantasy world and leaving me a place to live, new clothes, a blaster, a powerful slug etc etc. But this vehicle’s a hunk of junk. Pft.

It’s somehow even worse when it’s revealed that the vehicle in the hideout wasn’t even the one he was talking about and Eli’s real ride is super cool. You don’t deserve a cool ride when you’re a spoiled brat.

Third, for seemingly being the hotshot of the tournament, Shockwire’s battle with Eli was kinda lame. If it’s so well know that his slugs can misfire when they’re overworked, surely this crowd favorite would know about it and not shoot off his slugs willy-nilly. And after one hit by Burpy he surrenders? Come on, dude.

I do commend Eli for asking which of Shockwire’s slugs wanted to go with him instead of just taking one. That shows a level of respect for both the slugs and the world that no one seems to have.

Finally, I hate to say it, but the overall plot is cliché city. From the dead dad to the upstart son to the evil bad guy of badness who is named, of all damn things, Dr. Blakk, and the corruption that puts the world at risk. I’ve seen more creativity on the nutritional value chart on my multivitamins.

Overall, however, this is a very fun and engrossing show that I will be glad to continue. Sadly, this show seems to be in limbo because no new episodes have been made since October 2016.

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I hope to God this show didn’t get canceled on some horrible incident involving a small child, a gun and literal slugs. I don’t know what would happen in the solution to that equation, but I imagine something terrible….and slimy.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Huntik: Secrets and Seekers

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Break your spine today, Sophie?

Plot: In a University in Venice, Italy, a college student named Lok and his friend, Sophie, accidentally find Lok’s long-lost father’s journal and an amulet in one of his old artifacts. Before they even even begin to look into it, a group of people in black suits burst into his house and attack him with strange powers. They’re after the journal, but Lok travels all over Venice to ensure its safety.

Along the way, he gets imbued with similarly strange powers from the amulet he found, and he finds some sense of security with a man named Dante, who helps save him from the people in suits. He reveals that the suited people are from an evil group known only as The Organization. They utilize ancient powers and summon powerful titans from their amulets for nefarious purposes. Those who possess these powers are known as Seekers, and there is a benevolent group of seekers known as The Huntik Foundation, who aim to take down The Organization.

While Lok quickly wants nothing more to do with the situation, Dante reveals that he already is a part of it since the amulet synced with him, making him a Seeker. The Organization returns for another face-off, this time with more firepower. Will they be able to make it out in one piece?

Breakdown: This show has awesome music.

The instant I heard the opener, I was sold….but maybe I was a bit cheap because there’s not much going on in the originality department here.

Missing dad? Check.

Main Character suddenly dragged into a huge conflict with mysterious powers and monsters? Check.

Obvious love interest? Check.

Being so vague about your enemy that they’re literally bad guys in black with a non-descript name? Check.

Suddenly saved by mysterious guy with uber powers and luxurious hair? Check.

It’s not the most cliché thing in the world…..but it’s up there. Being fair, they put plenty of action in there to hold your attention, but nothing about the story really grabbed it.

Just to get these minor annoyances out of the way, here are some minor annoyances.

– Lok seriously didn’t know what an amulet was. Not what THE amulet was – what AN amulet was…..he’s a college student.

– Bad guys are after the journal, journal falls into water, stops Lok from going into water, make no effort to go into the completely calm canal water to retrieve journal. Don’t even stick around long enough to see him surface. Good job.

– Sophie was reaching for a precious and delicate artifact left behind from your father, is having no real issues reaching it or getting it down, yet you act like she’s about to be hit by invisible falling debris and tackle her, ensuring that the artifact breaks. Good job, Lok. Though, being fair, it’s rude as hell to get all grabby on what is clearly a delicate ancient statue.

– How did Lok’s dad get that stuff in that statue anyway?

– Sophie describes Lok as a nerd and he can even complete a full crossword puzzle in less than two minutes, but he’s super lazy in school, never bothered to open his textbooks out of their plastic wrapping and needs to copy Sophie’s notes.

– They were too lazy to animate him completing the crossword. It was an actual plotpoint, but they skipped it through black fades. They animated a completely pointless Indiana Jones dream sequence, but not him completing a crossword. They even have to have a little note on screen that says ‘Less than two minutes later’

That out of the way, the art and animation is Italian. That about sums it up.

Alright, I’m not being fair. Sorry Italy. But, really, can someone point me to some Italian animation that doesn’t look like it was given the budget of a bucket of nails? I feel like I’m unfairly building a bad view of it just because I keep coming across shows like these.

The art itself is alright. Passable enough. It’s the animation and lip-syncing that make me gnash my teeth. This series was produced by Rainbow s.r.l., the same people who brought us Winx Club. It’s done in that same style, but to the best of my knowledge, the quality is much worse. That might be the fault of their co-producer, Big Bocca Productions, but damned if I can find a single word of that company that isn’t ‘They helped produce Huntik.’

Huntik’s level and type of animation problems can only be summed up in one way – It’s exactly the same as those old religious cartoons from the 90s and early 00s. I can’t describe it any better than that. I was almost expecting this to be produced by a company that made some of those shows and specials, it was just that similar.

As for the lip-syncing, I have no clue how they produced this they way they did, but whatever system they used to work between America and Italy to fuse the animation with the voices did not work. Keep in mind, this show was not originally voiced in Italian. There is no language gap to jump, excusing the poor syncing. As a fan of anime, I would be more than glad to turn a blind eye to that (mostly).

I assume Big Bocca Productions is the American company who did the scripts and voice work. Rainbow did the animation and designs. Rainbow has the responsibility of matching their animations to the script and voice work, so I guess I have to mark off Rainbow for this.

The voice acting as a whole is just alright. We have some actual voice actors here such as Yuri Lowenthal, Marc Thompson and even Maddie Blaustein. They’re not putting their all into it, but they’re not really phoning it in. The sound mixing and editing is sometimes terrible, though. There will be instances of characters accidentally talking over each other and sometimes the music drowns out the voices.

Marc, however, is doing a terrible job as Cherit, the little talking bat-creature thing. Just imagine one of your parents putting on a high-pitched witch-like voice when they would read to you at bed time, and that’s basically what he’s doing.

Final verdict:

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Just barely eeked out ‘undecided’, mostly because A) music is still awesome, B) it intrigued me enough to at least plug on for now. Maybe it has more to offer to set it apart from the crowd. At the very least, I might get to see some laughably terrible stuff.

…….But seriously, he had no idea what an amulet was.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Robotomy

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Plot: In a world populated by only robots, life happens. Some of its kinda funny.

Breakdown: This show seems a lot like it’s trying to be an all-robot Futurama. Starring Patton Oswalt and other people, I’m sure, this series was Cartoon Network’s attempt to make slightly more mature programming bordering between their regular shows and Adult Swim.

It did not succeed. This series stands as Cartoon Network’s shortest original series with merely ten episodes under its access panel.

While I can’t say the show has gigantic flaws, it really is forgettable, and, like I said, it’s just an all-robot version of Futurama to me, in terms of the tone of humor.

And the humor really isn’t that great. A lot of it is the typical stuff you’d expect of a robot show, while other jokes are trying to make new stuff based on their robotic environment. The latter is hit or miss, and the hits are like first base at most. It never made me laugh or break out a smile, but it made me do that internal ‘hm that was kinda funny’ thing.

The two main characters, Thrasher and Blastus, who may as well be interchangeable because, while they seem to be going for a goofy impulsive guy and straightman dynamic, they’re basically the same character. Damned if I can tell you which one is which, to be honest. The skinny one is the one voiced by Patton Oswalt, though.

To fit the demographic, this series takes place in a robot high school, which, sadly, just shoves a lot of tropes down this series’ throat, like social media, wanting to be popular, embarrassing yourself in front of your crush etc. It also basically makes this a neutered Futurama clone.

The story of this episode is everyone is joining a social media site called Frienemy. When Thrasher and Blastus join up in hopes of getting popular, they find that they have no friend requests. They send in a complaint to the website itself who offers to be their friend. They accept, but find that Frienemy, who takes the physical form of a giant floating spiky head, is incredibly clingy and possessive. They can’t escape him, so they destroy him by having thousands of robots poke him, which doesn’t make any sense because why would the website, the being that encompasses and creates the poking, be negatively affected by a lot of poking? And if Blastus and Thrasher aren’t popular in the least, how did they instantly convince so many people to poke him?

As an intro, it does a decent enough job of introducing us to their world and the characters, even if the main two are entirely interchangeable. But it doesn’t do a great job of making me want to watch more. I don’t think this series deserved a pitiful ten episode run, but it’s certainly not a very good show.

The art and animation are pretty good with some nice style here and there, but it’s not incredibly creative.

The music is meh. The opening is repetitive and forgettable while the BG music is just forgettable.

Final Verdict:

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It’s a very short series with very short episodes, and it was just entertaining enough to make me feel compelled to tell people to at least give it a shot. I, personally, won’t continue, but I can see how someone else might find this funnier than I do.

Recommended Audience: Despite their drive to hook in a teen audience, there’s not much in regards to anything that mature. One of the robots gets their innards exposed like guts, but they’re robots, so that’s basically censored. Uhhh…..I honestly can’t think of anything. E for everyone, but aimed at teens I guess.

Episode One-Derland: Cosmic Baton Girl Comet-San

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Plot: Comet is the princess of Harmonica star-world of the Triangle Nebula; one of three star-worlds, the other two being Castanet and Tambourine. In order to secure the future of their worlds, the kingdoms hope to bring Comet together with the prince of Tambourine star-world. However, on the day of the dance party in which they were supposed to meet, the prince runs away.

Comet’s parents send her on a mission to earth, where they believe he is heading, to find the prince, even in spite of not knowing his name or what he looks like. Comet, intrigued by the concept of an adventure on earth, a planet on which her mother had various adventures, agrees, but soon finds herself unable to do much without money and suffering from the culture gap. To top it all off, she is having no luck so far in finding the prince even with her companion, a small dog creature named Rababou who is able to detect the ‘twinkle’ she’s meant to be guided by.

She meets two kind twins, a boy named Tsuyoshi and a girl named Nene, who find her to be a troubled girl and decide to lend their assistance to her. In her most desperate hour, homeless, penniless and hungry, Nene and Tsuyoshi lead their mother to Comet who inquires about her situation.

Breakdown: Yay, magical girl anime! But it’s not really traditional magical girl. It’s moreso just a girl with magical powers and nifty cutesy outfits.

This episode did a good job of introducing us to Comet as well as the main plot and world they live in, but the episode as a whole feels a little hollow.

Comet is pretty par for the course so far. She’s a rebel in not really being interested in her princessly duties and is more enamored with the concept of adventure and exploring as well as possibly falling in love. She seems to have a good attitude, but she’s still a little naive, both with and without culture gaps.

The whole ‘star-world’ thing is pretty plain so far too. It’s basically every other royalty set up just with star-worlds and nebulas in place of countries. I don’t know why these places are named after musical instruments, either.

The fish out of water story is nothing to write home about. She plays on a playground at a kindergarten because she doesn’t know any better. She tries to get food without money. She mimics an American’s weird and rude sounding Japanese (by the by, this guy is like 30 and was taking a picture of her as she woke up in the park…..) and she believes she can sleep anywhere.

The only part of this that really works is when she realizes that she doesn’t really always have the open line of communication with her parents that she thought she had. They gave her some sort of ball that is meant to log her happy memories on her adventure, and they told her whenever she felt scared or alone to look to the stars as they’d always be able to see her. But as she’s stuck homeless out in the rain without much food, she looks to the sky to see nothing but clouds. Her mother actually gets a signal on her little ball thing that conveys troubled feelings by Comet, but she decides not to act on it since the signal seems minor and she wants Comet to learn about the twinkle of light that is always visible on earth, hope, which is when Nene and Tsuyoshi’s mom shows up.

But, I gotta say….that’s a pretty bitch move, Comet’s mom. Actually, this whole journey is a bitch move. They send her to earth instead of sending somewhere else or going themselves because they hope that Comet traveling across the galaxy for a boy she’s never met in order to drag him back home will make him fall in love with her.

That’s all fine and dandy because they don’t force her to go, she goes on her own volition when she remembers her mother recalling her adventures on earth, including falling in love. But they didn’t even bother giving her any money or telling her anything about earth in order to fit in. They just gave her regular clothes, taught her a few words of Japanese, which is weird considering she’s speaking Japanese the whole time, so when she switches to ‘I’m just now learning Japanese’ mode it becomes confusing, and sent her on her way.

Granted, yes, she has magic powers that can do….pbbbbbtttttt…..anything? There is never any explanation about what her powers are or what they do. They do stuff like create rocket boots and make her one dumpling to eat so far. All I got is that she has a finite amount of star power considering that she says she was saving it up. What star power is and how you accumulate it, I don’t know. But since it seems like she’s low on star power near the end for some reason, all she can do is make a dumpling to eat.

Nene and Tsuyoshi are very kind kids, but their manner of speech is a little annoying. They tend to repeat the other’s words and speak in third person.

There’s someone else I feel I should bring up named Meteo. She’s the princess of Castanet star-world. Even though she has barely two lines in this episode, from the next episode preview and her short screen time here, it seems like she’ll be the antagonist, at least for a short while, sabotaging Comet’s pursuit of the prince in hopes of getting him for herself, so there will be legit conflict in the future. Also, I assume her name’s derived from the word meteor.

The one thing that kinda drags the whole show down is that the series doesn’t really give a legit reason to care about Comet’s mission. We never see the prince, they have no connection, the Triangle nebula’s not in danger of war or anything should the Tambourine and Harmonica star-worlds not unite, at least from all I know, so why is the mission so important?

Art and animation wise, it’s pretty average magical girl fare. Simplistic designs with a lot of girly additions and pastel colors. Comet’s hair is kinda weird, but I love what they did with her star hair clip. They styled the hair that it’s holding up into the star’s tail to make a comet. I thought that was neat.

Music-wise……eh. It’s average bordering on bad. It’s very poppy and girly and absolutely none of it is memorable.

In the voice acting department, Japanese, everyone was pretty good in their roles with the bearded guy whose name escapes me doing a particularly good job. However, Comet’s mom sounds downright terrible. Her voice is just so weird and low pitched that it kinda put me off.

Final verdict:

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Despite these gripes, it’s a magical girl anime. I can’t resist. It’s not really that bad of an opening episode, but there’s not really a whole lot to leave you thirsty for more. Shoujo Step-By-Step, here I come.

Recommended Audience: Beheadings, graphic sex scenes, swearing like a sailor—….if you think I’m serious, please seek help. E for everyone.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons): 6Teen

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Plot: Jen, Nikki, Jude, Jonesy and Wyatt all made a pact to get jobs at the mall over the summer so they can hang out. So far, Jen’s the only one with a job at a juice stand called The Big Squeeze. She’s aiming for a new job at the sports equipment store, The Penalty Box, but the others fumble through their job interviews at the other outlets. As they try again, Jen, now hired at The Penalty Box, trains a spoiled rich ditzy girl named Caitlyn to take over her job at the juice stand in order to pay off her insane credit card bill after her father flipped out over the expenses.

Breakdown: I’ve been a bit harsh on 6Teen in the past. I’ve referenced it in a bad light. I’ve mocked it. It was just here and there, but I did it. The reason I feel particularly guilty about that, even if I didn’t do it a lot, is because I never once saw a full episode of the series. I had seen the theme song and about one minute of one episode. Plus, other people poked fun at it, so I shoved my foot on that bandwagon. I don’t like making fun of things that I’ve never seen or experienced, and I did that with 6Teen. I’m sorry 6Teen.

That being said, I have now given a full episode a go and…..some of my mockings were justified, but I think there’s more to this show than meets the eye. It’s not laugh out loud funny, but it made me smile a bit. It is filled with a bunch of annoying teenagerisms, but it’s also relatable.

As a first episode, this does a good job at establishing the personalities of the main characters, even if I was at a loss for most of their names for nearly the whole episode. I managed to remember Jen, Caitlyn and Jonesy but when it came to the other three I had to look it up on the Wiki, which is kinda sad because the theme song flashes their names twice. In my defense, it goes by very fast and they’re accompanied by silhouettes.

All of the characters have memorable character designs at least, and I actually recognized Nikki from the one little clip I watched many moons ago.

They fit well as a group of friends, with all of them being typical teenagers, none of which seemingly the popular type. Caitlyn’s the only exception, but that’s the point of her character. She’s about as exaggerated as they come in regards to ditzy rich popular girl tropes.

She doesn’t understand that credit cards have limits, believes that employees hire people to do their jobs for them and bought a brand new Vespa because her old one had a flat tire and didn’t realize that such a problem could be repaired. When she gets a job to repay her father, she’s effectively disowned by her equally self-absorbed materialistic friend, Trisha, just because of her doofy uniform. She becomes friends with the main group shortly after and they accept her just fine, even if they obviously poke fun at her obliviousness to the real world.

The art style has always bothered me a bit. It’s an odd craggy style with no lineart where everyone looks like they’re animated slightly like those paper dolls you made in art class with the little hinge clips. They’re very toothy, their expressions are always a little off, and it made me think that this show was based off of a series of binder and other school supply logo artwork.

The tone and situations are very relatable for the teen crowd. Hanging out at the mall with your friends, trying to get a job, experiencing the somewhat ridiculous nature of job interviews, learning that friends sometimes only care about you for how you make them look etc. I particularly enjoyed the job interview segment. That was the highlight of the episode by far.

This show is praised for the fact that it actually has slightly more mature dialogue and situations than most other shows aimed at teens and tweens. For example, Wyatt makes an innuendo joke by saying ‘Grind Me’ when everyone’s saying where they applied for a job. He’s talking about a coffee shop.

Then they show two teenagers who are making out in the sloppiest way I’ve ever seen animated. Flopping tongues, drool everywhere, it was blech. According to some reviewers, they also make other pokes at sex, discuss aspects of sexuality such as erections and say some ‘swears’ like ‘ass’ and ‘boobs’.

I haven’t seen any further than the ‘grind me’ joke and the makeout session, but if they do then I gotta applaud them for that too, as long as it’s done right.

One of the bigger problems I see for this show, however, is its target demographic. I think the target audience is very small. At most, it’s probably 13 to 15. Any younger and they probably won’t be able to relate nor will they be old enough to watch some of subject matter. Any older and you’ll just be mostly lost because many older teens don’t want to watch cartoons, unless they’re particularly raunchy or aimed specifically to adults. And I gotta tell ya, the art was not helping there either. The bright pastel colors and highly, for lack of a better term, cartoony style really don’t make you think this series is meant for upper teen audiences. Ironically, it doesn’t make you think anyone who is 16 will watch 6Teen.

If you’re an adult who still enjoys the animated world, you may enjoy some of the episodes for a nostalgic feel, but the jury’s out on whether the comedy and storylines have enough substance to make you want to go back and watch the rest of this series.

Final Verdict:

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I enjoyed the episode enough to give it a few more episodes, but, like I said, I’m still on the fence about whether or not this seems worth pursuing for the entirety of the series. I never was one for SOL teen shows, except maybe Lizzie McGuire. If I watched a teen show, it usually had to involve super powers of some kind. Maybe this show will change my mind over time.

Recommended Audience: There’s one innuendo joke that I don’t think kids would get and there’s one tongue-tastic makeout scene. 10+

Episode One-Derland: Magi-Nation

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Plot: The forces of good and evil clashed in the moonlands over 3000 years ago. A shadow magi named Agram battled a noble magi named Eidon. In an effort to save the world, Eidon sealed Agram away in the Core Glyph, summoned by the Book of Elders. Peace fell over the land for thousands of years until Agram made his presence known again with his goons in tow.

Edyn, a young magi, believes herself to be the prophesied ‘final dreamer’; the only one who can read the Book of Elders and seal away Agram again to save the world. However, despite the fact that she can read the book, she finds that the book leads her to finding a boy from our world named Tony. He is summoned into the moonlands by Orwin, the elder of the land, and finds himself able to summon a dream creature of his own with a ring his grandfather gave him. Together, Edyn, Tony and a shadow stalker named Strag team up to beat Agram’s toadies. As they leave, they find that the Book of Elders reacts to all three of them, indicating that they’re all final dreamers.

Breakdown: Mmmmmmmmpbbbbbttttttmeeeehhhhhhhhhh….That about sums it up.

This show is basically every fantasy cliché in existence wrapped up into one and peppered with a Pokemon-ish/Digimon-ish system. It’s like they were using ad-libs fantasy edition. Did any of that plot synopsis, outside of maybe the dream creature thing, even remotely interest you? From the battle of good and evil, the ‘chosen one’ crap, destiny, fish out of water, ancient mystic book, hero from legend blah blah blah.

I had to actually look up the Wiki page for this episode because I was constantly forgetting names and details. Even when I was writing, I kept forgetting.

Now, that’s not to say this show is that bad. I had no problem sitting down and watching it. It wasn’t a chore. However, if you gauge a show with how entertaining and original it is, then it’s pretty bad.

Despite the cliché as hell story and overall plot mixed with elements that bring nothing new to the table, the characters are alright and no one got on my nerves…….but no one stood out either. Edyn’s kinda headstrong, though she has an odd penchant for panic attacks that seem to vanish by the second act. Strag is a spiritual stoic ‘knight’ kinda guy who seems to love being outdoors. And finally Tony is a pretty, athletic and generic boy who probably gets better powers meant to be the one the kids in the audience can pretend they are.

Agram is about as cut and paste as you can possibly get, and not even Orwin or Eidon brought attention to themselves. Everyone is exactly as you’d expect them to be. Hell, Agram’s goons? They’re a bickering goblin creature and a troll-like creature.

As a first episode, this is a mixed bag. It does an alright job of explaining the backstory and some technical aspects of the world they live in, but it doesn’t explain much about magic or dream creatures.

Each magi can summon dream creatures from a dream plane, and I suppose each dream creature….is something the magi imagined up? I don’t know. All I know is that they’re various creatures, who all talk, that get summoned by rocks and returned back into the rocks when they’re too weak to continue. The rock aspect is the Pokemon thing, the talking partner aspect is the Digimon thing. And hell, if I want to go even further with that, if the dream creatures really are imagined by the magi, they kinda ripped of Takato from Digimon Tamers.

That being said, the dream creatures are the only interesting part of this series, which makes sense because this entire series was based on a TCG. We have to have the only marketable part of the series be somewhere near good. The character designs and abilities are somewhat interesting, even if some of them seem kinda lame like merely tackling or body slamming people or rip-offy, like Ugger’s roots seem a bit much like Vine Whip in Pokemon.

While magi can summon various dream creatures, each magi has their primary one; Ugger is Edyn’s, Freep is Strag’s and Furok is Tony’s.

I haven’t played the TCG, I haven’t played the video games, and I’m not going to make assumptions about them, but this first episode is just weak. I really hope there’s a lot more meat to this show because as it stands it’s about as generic as you can get. I will admit I liked how they hinted that Edyn and Strag were also final dreamers by showing Edyn reading the book and Strag reading it through his moon sense, but that’s about it. I also believe the dream creature battles will get more creative and interesting, but I just could not care enough to go on. I waded through this episode really trying to get my hooks into something but nothing would grab my eye balls.

The art is simplistic but not bad, same for the animation. Sadly, the music is also just middle of the road.

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Recommended Audience: The worst thing that happens is that Furok gets slashed on the nose by a clawed creature. However, there’s no wound and he only musses his fur…….4Kids’ Pokemon is edging you out in violent material. That’s not good. E for everyone.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Martin Mystery

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Plot: Ego-driven paranormal maniac, Martin, his hot-headed slightly skeptic step-sister, Diana, and Java the Caveman work for a secret organization called The Center, where they combat supernatural forces. Martin, Diana and Java are sent on their latest mission to France where several children have mysteriously gone missing, leaving being an odd goo behind as the only clue. Martin deduces that the boogeyman is really behind this, kidnapping all naughty children and leaving them for eternity in his bog. Can the boogeyman be stopped?

Breakdown: Annoying main characters? Check.

Trying desperately to shove over-the-top anime style comedy into our faces whenever possible? Check.

Bad animation? Check.

Expressions that don’t match what’s being said half the time? Check.

Lack of sound effects at noticeable points? Check.

A bunch of teenagers working for a secret organization where there are odd entrances everywhere? Check.

Untold amounts of things that make no sense? Check.

We truly have something made from Marathon Media and Image Entertainment – the same companies who produced Totally Spies! Also known as “we don’t know how to get out of this formula” inc.

I remember Martin Mystery being advertised quite a bit when I was a kid. And I definitely remember them advertising the crossover that Martin Mystery did with Totally Spies! However, I never once sat down and watched a single frame of it. I dunno, it just never caught my attention.

Now that I’ve given it a shot, I’m quite glad it never caught my attention.

To get this out of the way, this show is harmless and less annoying than Totally Spies!, but that’s basically saying ‘Drink this! It’s not as disgusting as urine!’ The subject matter is also more interesting than Totally Spies! with paranormal monsters instead of ridiculous spy villains. Still, this show is basically using the template for Totally spies! just aiming it more towards boys.

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The first episode starts off with Martin, Diana and Java at school (Java acts as the lunch worker. No idea how or why) Martin makes an idiot out of himself trying to hit on some girls when he has pudding in his teeth and then he spills some of his food on Diana sparking the running side-plot of this episode. She claims Martin is such a slob that he can’t stay clean for 24 hours. They make a bet on that statement, and the loser has to give Java a foot massage.

They go through a “SECRET” door in the fridge of the cafeteria to the home base, The Center. This is so obvious it’s ridiculous. Yeah, Totally Spies! had the girls be swept away from wherever they were, which was unrealistic, but at least they were usually transported so quickly that no one would be able to notice. Martin yells to use the door in the fridge, points at it as he’s yelling, they slowly open the door wide, the doorway friggin’ glows and they take their sweet time walking through it. Anyone could walk in there at any time. Even if the doorway had some cloaking device or something, plenty of kids just saw the lunch guy, Martin and Diana disappear through a fridge.

They get briefed from female version of Jerry named MOM, who gets them up to speed on the plot and they head off. After some detective work and another kidnapping, they decide to set a trap for the boogeyman. What is this ingenious trap, you may ask?

Using innocent children as bait, with their parents oddly easily obtained consent even though they’re aware of the situation, they hope to manhandle the boogeyman into submission or capture him in a net. Did I also mention this boogeyman can create portals and can turn into a multitude of maggots? (alright, points given for creativity)

Martin, Diana and Java follow the boogeyman through his portal and are thrown into the boogeyman’s bog. While Diana and Java land in the water, Martin lands on land. I know what you’re thinking (or maybe not – you probably forgot about this dumb plotline already). “Hey, that means he lost the bet, right?” You’d think, but no. And, also no, he didn’t use some gadget (he has them because of course he does) to save him or some clever idea to avoid it. He just lands in it. On his back. Then he proclaims that he ended up being completely clean after that.

Uh, yeah Martin….no. Just no. You’re in a bog. A swamp. A marsh. A quagmire. They are wet areas no matter if you’re in the water or out. They’re muddy, they’re gooey, they’re swampy. They’re swamps. There’s no way you land flat on your back in a bog and not get dirty. I don’t care how dry that piece of land could possibly be, you’d still get dirty. I could land flat on my back in my front yard after a drought and still get dirty.

What’s worse is later he falls in the bog again, this time on his front, and they’re still making off like it’s fine because it’s land. Dirt is dirty. What is so hard to understand about that?

They find the kids in the bog and manage to escape the boogeyman’s world. But they still have to figure out how to beat the boogeyman for good. That requires replacing the final page of a book about the boogeyman that they took from the library that the first girl was taken from. Java and Martin combat the boogeyman and Diana suddenly arrives with the final page from they-forgot-to-write-that-part-land. She reveals that the ending states that the kids return the boogeyman to his book, and that’s how he’s defeated.

After sealing the boogeyman away, it’s revealed that, during the whole hoopla, Martin somehow got a tiny yellow stain of unidentified stuff on his shirt, making him lose the bet.

Guys, you had an out. Just have Martin just some of the gook from the book on his shirt before he locked the book. Or have him be all dusty after he caused two clouds of dust from the mountain of books he landed on during the fight (That happened and there was no mention of the bet. Yeah it seems stupid to mention such a thing during a battle but A) no one in these series ever cares if what they say is appropriate for the situation and B) this was a guy who refused to follow the boogeyman through his portal earlier in the episode because he was afraid he’d get the gunk on him. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen)

MOM shows up and congratulates them while Martin arrogantly takes all the credit. These surprisingly British locals from this French town also thank them and the stain suddenly falls from Martin’s shirt. Seems the stain was a small piece of paper from the library, so he didn’t lose the bet afterall, making Diana the Java masseuse. The end.

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As a first episode, it does fine. They introduce the characters and the world they live in perfectly fine. The main story is alright, and I do like how they portrayed the boogeyman, but he’s defeated and worked around very easily. The side plot served no purpose whatsoever and Martin should’ve lost it at least three times if anyone pays attention or uses basic logic. In the end, it’s the fact that the show itself is stupid and one of many of basically the same show from Marathon and Image that really hurts it.

I don’t like Martin much at all. He is one of so many of that dumb as hell trope ego-tiscal main lead who has nearly everything go his way or he somehow makes everything come out on top for him if he does suffer a setback. Usually these characters have some form of redemption in that they truly care about the victims or their duties but, no. Martin loves the supernatural, he loves investigating it and seems to be perfectly willing to put the mission and lives at risk if something petty that might chip his ego is in the way. He seems to do this job to see supernatural things and be proven as right all the time.

Diana is flatout annoying with how much she bickers with Martin. And her main character schtick makes no sense. She’s basically a skeptic, which is illogical since she works for an organization that is specifically designed to combat paranormal threats. She’s voiced by Kelli Sheridan, but she’s yelling so much that I don’t care.

Java is a caveman. He talks like a caveman and is strong. I have no clue how or why they’re partnered with a caveman, but there he is.

All in all:

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If you hate or dislike Totally Spies, you probably won’t like this much better. It’s loud, obnoxious, there’s not much effort put into the story, there’s even less put into the little details of continuity, logistics and plotholes, and it gets to a point where it all melds together into white noise for me. I may subject myself to an off-the-cuff Cartoon Step-By-Step or some singular review, but for now this is being dropped to my ‘no’ bin.

Recommended Audience: Kids might find the concept of the boogeyman here to be kinda scary maybe. Other than that, nothing. 5+

Episode One-Derland – One Outs

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Plot: Kojima is an all-star professional cleanup batter who has won many awards for his achievements in baseball. However, one achievement still alludes him; a championship victory. In an effort to make this year the year that they finally win a championship, Kojima has brought his team to an off-season baseball camp in order to pinpoint their problem areas and address them. When his pitcher, Nakane, injures his finger in practice, he and another member of the team go out to find a replacement pitcher to help Kojima and the team practice. They find no luck on the streets but a woman leads them away to a batting cage where a bunch of guys are playing a game called One Outs. In this game, bystanders bet on either the pitcher or the batter. The pitcher wins if he manages to strike out the batter or if their hits land within the infield. The batter wins if they manage to hit one ball in the outfield or further.

Nakane makes a few minor bets for a few rounds, resulting in what he believes to be 4000 yen, slightly less than $40 USD. However, he fails to realize that the bets are in American dollars, meaning that he owes $4000. Believing that he can beat the pitcher, Toua, that has been up for the entirety of their betting string, Nakane bets that his debts be erased if he can beat him. However, Toua wishes to up the stakes of their bet from $4000 to $40,000. Nakane accepts, but under the pressure of such a high financial stake and realizing that there’s more to Toua’s skills that meets the eye, fails. They give them everything they have in their pockets, including credit cards, and are forced to leave with the remaining debt over their heads.

The next night, Kojima arrives at the One Outs game to call Toua out in order to erase the remaining debt. However, Toua again wishes to make the bet more interesting since Kojima’s such a professional player. This time the bet is $400,000. Kojima accepts and the game begins……

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Breakdown: I hate baseball. And this isn’t just the typical moanings of someone who doesn’t like sports entirely. I like hockey and soccer and I’m pretty okay with watching football and even basketball, but baseball is just horrible to me. There are no redeeming aspects of it in my eyes. It’s boring on top of boring slathered in boring and goes on for so long you have to think some of the players believe they’re stuck in baseball purgatory. You could not pay me to sit through a game of baseball unless I’m allowed to sleep through the whole thing.

With that out of the way, the baseball aspect of this first episode really is the most trying for me. Especially considering that I didn’t get half of the terms. Luckily, fansubbers are awesome and add notes for that crap. ~~kisses2fansubbers~~

Other than that, though, it’s an interesting enough sports anime. Our main character is incredibly passionate about baseball to the point where he even states that it’s sacred to him. And you can definitely tell that even those who don’t outwardly appear as passionate about the game as Kojima are still immersed in it fully……I can’t relate, but I still understand. It’s so weird how I can relate to and understand a show where the main focus is a game based on poetry that I’ve never heard of or played better than one based on America’s past time…

Toua is interesting. He’s a bit too good to the point that it worries me. By all means, the characters point out how weak his pitches are yet no one can get a damn hit off of him. Plus he’s one of those quiet yet obviously cocky types that irk you the wrong way.

Nakane’s a moron. He means well in trying to find a replacement pitcher, but putting all those bets down on the batter because ‘he has to win eventually’ and not clarifying if the bets were in Yen or dollars when a lot of the players at the game are seemingly American? Come on. Also, he’s not really dumb for taking on Toua despite seeing him win all those times since he states that he was a cleanup batter on his high school team, but he’s still a pitcher, meaning his batting game has to be rusty, and he’s seen how good Toua is.

There’s another character with glasses whose name escapes me and I can’t find listed anywhere who basically tries to reel in Nakane and makes hindsight observations. He was fine, but I guess he’s not going to be very prominent in the future.

One thing that bothered me a bit was the narrator. He’s one of those busybody narrators who cuts into the story to tell us stuff about the story like backstory, primary goals of the plot, what’s going on in a montage, recapping stuff we just saw etc. Guys, it’s show don’t tell. Even if it’s not one of the characters doing this, it’s really friggin’ annoying. He pops up all the time and won’t shut up. It really breaks up the flow of the episode.

The story is not all that great so far. Big time star is training to win a championship and needs a replacement player with an incredible one found just around the corner mixed with a plot where characters are swindled out of money and need the main character to clean up their mess (well, I guess he is the cleanup batter.) The only seriously interesting part is wondering whether Kojima can beat Toua but since the episode ends before the game even starts, the rug gets pulled out from under you there.

The art and animation, done by Madhouse, are….okay. Most of the character art is good, if not somewhat ugly. Toua’s hair is cool, but his eyes are freaky and his body is almost grotesquely detailed and skinny. That part in the OP where you see him nearly naked is more worrying than attractive. Why he’s nearly naked in the opening, I do not know. I’m almost certain you usually wear clothes in baseball.

The animation is alright, but I don’t believe it’s some of Madhouse’s better works.

The music is fantastic, with part notes to the awesome OP done by Pay Money to my Pain.

Overall,

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This was nearly an ‘undecided’ but I think the characters could be strong enough to support this show even in spite of the baseball snoozefest, and despite not liking baseball I do have a soft spot for sports anime.

Recommended Audience: Toua is nearly naked in the opening. That’s pretty much it. E for everyone?