AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 10: The Approaching Beautiful Teacher’s Secret Mask/Manga Chapter 7

(Normally I would custom-make a header image, but this chapter title card was way too cool.)

This is our first instance of a plot revolving around Honda in the anime (and…pretty much ever, manga-wise) and the only instance of Miho existing in the manga. Why she was specifically chosen to be main girl character #2 in the anime is beyond me, but just be thankful she’s not in the 2000 anime.

I suppose it might have simply been because she is really the only other female student that is ever given even a modicum of focus in the manga, which is pathetic to say the least. Usually, the main girl in a group of mostly guys in an anime will have one or two girls who are barely-there side friends just to prove that the girl doesn’t only hang out with guys or something. But nope. Manga!Anzu’s in a sausage fest.

Jonouchi brings Honda to Yugi to help him with a problem – Honda is love sick for a girl named Miho, whom he’s nicknamed Ribbon-chan because she wears a ribbon (the amount of cleverness is high.) He needs advice on a gift to get her attention. Honda doesn’t want Yugi’s help at first and is quite rude and threatening to him about it, even strangling him a few times. However, Yugi, being a precious cupcake, decides to help him anyway. And, again, being Yugi, they go to his grandpa’s game shop to find a present.

Sugoroku hears his plight and grabs a blank puzzle, citing it as the gift he used to woo Yugi’s grandma. It’s weird, I never once thought about Sugoroku’s wife before. I wonder why they never bother talking about her….then again this show really doesn’t like explaining where anyone’s parents are or who they are, so it’s probably asking too much to think they’d include information on grandparents. Though, oddly, the one person on Yugi’s family tree that we do get the most info on is Sugoroku.

Anyhoo, the blank puzzle is used for messages. You write a love note on the puzzle and break it into pieces. Your loved one will complete the puzzle, see the message and, if all goes well, return your feelings. It’s a bit convoluted, especially if the person doesn’t want to do the puzzle or doesn’t return the confessor’s feelings, but it is fairly romantic.

Honda gets Yugi to write the note for him, which takes him all night, and they put the puzzle in Miho’s desk.

You might be wondering why I haven’t so much as mentioned episode ten yet. That’s because the adaptation of this episode had to be drastically changed since Honda and Miho’s dynamic is so different in the anime, and she’s an actual main character there. They could have had an episode like this where Honda decides to confess his love for Miho through a puzzle. It’s not that difficult to change up a few things and make that plotline work.

Maybe if he was actually shot down he’d stop being such a pathetic doofus around her. But why bother trying to think about how you could adapt the story properly and maybe even develop Honda’s character a little when you can pretty much just cheat in a manner we’ll talk about shortly.

The next scene in the manga is basically adapted just fine, though. Chouno-sensei is an incredibly beautiful teacher at their school, fawned over by many of the boys, but she’s also an incredibly strict devil woman. In the anime, she merely takes some girl’s charm off of her bag since it was against the rules, but in the manga she’s known as The Expelling Witch, having expelled 15 students in six months. She’s also very egotistical and wears gobs of makeup. In the anime, she’s so strict that she is trying to coerce (Read: seduce) the vice-principal into banning all personal items from school and increasing penalties for rule breakers.

Can I take the time to point out that the show is trying to torment my eyes again? What the hell is Chouno wearing? For someone who supposedly puts so much time and effort into their appearance, she chose a butt-ugly skirt suit.

The main plot starts here in the anime, and it’s pretty much the same plot as the Honda/Miho plot from the manga with the main difference being that the one with the crush is a completely new girl named Mayumi, who has hair that matches Chouno’s gross green skirt suit, yay. She likes Jonouchi and wants to confess to him. Anzu and Miho recruit Yugi to help her confess to Jonouchi, and he suggests going to the game shop where they get the same type of message puzzle.

There is a small running gag in the anime where, whenever someone asks what Jonouchi would like for a gift, they respond by saying he likes lewd videos. I thought that was pretty funny.

Believe it or not, even though they didn’t really have to change this plot so much, the anime’s arrangement makes more sense. At least it’s canon that Jonouchi likes games. Who’s to say Miho would like the puzzle or even try to complete it? This would make the most sense if Yugi was the recipient, but no one his age ever seems to have an actual crush on him – and that includes Anzu….

In the anime, Mayumi is the one who writes on the puzzle, not Yugi. I guess this makes more sense because she barely knows Yugi.

In the manga, we only hear about Chouno’s marriage interview when she’s discussing it with the vice principal. She says he didn’t deserve her and walks away.

In the anime, we actually see her marriage interview, and she mostly seems to use it to fish for compliments on her appearance. A little boy is playing around the area where they’re having their interview and accidentally runs into her. Chouno knocks the boy down and chastises him for dirtying her kimono, calling him a brat. He runs off crying, and Chouno laments on how terribly kids are brought up these days. Then her date dumps her after the spectacle – understandably so.

The thing about this change is that it’s not just adding the marriage interview, it’s also changing her character a tiny bit. In the manga, she’s a pure cold-hearted bitch who is toying with men and punishing them for no reason.

In the anime, while she’s still just a bitch, they inadvertently make her a little sympathetic. Fishing for compliments makes her seem like she has severe self-esteem issues, and having her be the one who got dumped leaves the door open for sympathy.

The conversation later when the vice principal asks her how her date went is kept the same as the one at the start of the manga chapter, but it’s made different because they showed the interview. Likewise, the following scene where she smashes the bathroom mirror and goes off about how she was planning on dumping the guy anyway and that she only uses marriage interviews to toy with men is also kept the same, but they add in a slight bit of her being extra insulted because the guy dumped her.

In the manga, for all we know, she did just toy with the guy and dumped his ass like old mop water so she could relish in his humiliation. But in the anime we know she was dumped, and nothing in inner monologue suggested she was going to dump him, though she was obviously just using him for an ego boost. Now it just seems like she’s embarrassed and she’s trying to make excuses to save face….hehe, save face…That joke will sense a bit later.

Bear in mind that I’m not saying anything the anime is adding is making her someone to root for or feel sorry for, especially when you consider the later events, but they did add a slight bit more depth to her character by making subtle changes. It’s not big change or anything, but it’s better than just making her fully two-dimensional.

In the manga, Chouno, being pissed off, decides to calm herself by springing a surprise inspection on the class. She wants them to empty their bags and their desks and will be thoroughly punished if she finds anything out of line. Funnily enough, when she’s listing off items that are against the rules, she mentions condoms – and they’re the most prominently displayed word in the text. I never thought I’d ever see the word ‘condoms’ in anything Yu-Gi-Oh related, but here I am.

To make this even funnier, she thinks this with such a creepy look on her face, and she’s yelling it.

Miho brings out the present and Chouno takes it away, shocking everyone and embarrassing Miho.

In the anime, Chouno just tells them to get out their textbooks. Jonouchi finds the present on accident while trying to get his book.

In both versions, Chouno rips the wrapping paper off of the gift and starts slowly trying to humiliate Miho/Jonouchi by putting the puzzle together and revealing the message.

In the manga, Yugi and Jonouchi stand up and try to claim the puzzle as their own to prevent Honda from being embarrassed or getting punished. Touched by their gesture, Honda decides to take the rap anyway and admits that it was his message and puzzle. Chouno can’t know for certain which boy is actually telling the truth, so she decides to complete the puzzle to see who signed it. She’s very close to revealing the name when Yami emerges and turns the puzzle into a Shadow Game.

In the anime, Anzu decides to take the heat for it, believing she can merely tell Jonouchi it was a prank. She’s told to go to the advisor’s office later, where she debates with Chouno on the ethical nature of the strict rules that she loves to enforce, particularly those of ‘distractions’ like a harmless puzzle or a part-time job. She tells Chouno that she believes many other students are on her side about this issue, so Chouno tells her to prove it by gathering the signatures of other students.

As Anzu prepares to do that exact thing, Chouno lies to the other teachers acting as if Anzu is a threatening troublemaker who is looking to appeal all the rules in the school.

Anzu starts putting up posters and gathering signatures. She admits that doing this is both for the sake of the students’ happiness and for allowing her to work her part-time jobs without worrying about getting caught.

Apparently, Chouno was able to convince the other teachers of Anzu’s misdeeds, especially with her posters up everywhere, so they start harassing her. Her posters get vandalized, and she starts getting unfairly targeted by her teachers in class. Despite this, Anzu keeps trying her best, though apparently she has zero signatures? I thought Jonouchi was going to sign it, and wouldn’t Miho, Yugi and Mayumi sign it immediately? Maybe Honda wouldn’t because he’s all about school rules, even if he doesn’t support Chouno’s behavior, but he’s pretty loyal to his friends. Surely he’d do it if Miho asked him, anyway.

Miho explains that there’s a rumor going around school that anyone who has signed has been targeted by Chouno and her fellow teacher cronies, which either isn’t true because she has no signatures or isn’t true because it hasn’t happened, as Anzu attests.

Anyway, pre-soft-reboot Yu-Gi-Oh being what it is, of course Anzu and Yugi get bullied. Three assholes mock her and take her sign-up sheets. They push Yugi to the ground and tear up her papers. Jonouchi comes over to confront the guys, one of them ironically calling him a rule-breaker. Jonouchi, unable to stomach this abuse to his friends, tackles the guy to the ground and punches him to face.

Obviously, this a big no-no, so Chouno brings them all to the advisor office for punishment. Anzu tries to take the full blame again, and Chouno threatens her with expulsion. She releases them all, explaining that the staff will decide Anzu’s fate tomorrow. She brings the three assholes into the room for their ‘punishment’ next.

They all leave, barring Yugi, who listens in at the door. Not surprisingly, Chouno was the one pulling the strings behind the three assholes. In exchange for expunging their records, they were told to harass Anzu and Yugi and get them to break the rules.

Shocked at this revelation, Yugi triggers Yami’s emergence.

Shadow Game

So, here’s the deal. In the manga, the Shadow Game really isn’t a Shadow Game so much as Yami utilizing the power of the Puzzle to warp Chouno’s face into a crumbling jigsaw puzzle (Though, oddly, we never get to see her ‘ugly’ face) and never allowing her to complete the puzzle to find out the confessor’s name. Chouno runs off in terror and uh….that’s it. The end. Of the Shadow Game anyway. Chouno is never seen again, either.

In the anime, Yami confronts Chouno in the hall and offers to play a game. If he wins, Anzu and her friends don’t get any punishment. If he loses, he’ll keep quiet about her using the students to further her own twisted plans, and he’ll willing be her pawn. She accepts.

Yami throws two mirrors up into the air. Each falls on their respective sides of the table and shatter into pieces, which was a really sick move. Yami always knows how to do these games in style. Whomever puts the mirror back together first wins. However, there’s a catch. They each have to be wearing blindfolds.

Chouno accepts, and the game starts. Before they actually get into it, however, Yami offers Chouno a pair of gloves to keep her from getting cut.

They start putting the mirror back together, but of course Chouno just takes the blindfold off because she knows Yami won’t see her. As they work, Yami reveals that this is actually a Shadow Game – if she cheats, there will be dire consequences. Chouno doesn’t think anything of it, but keeps up her blindness act as they continue to work. He’s halfway done, but she only has one more piece. She completes the puzzle, but Yami knows she has cheated.

He calls her out on her misdeeds and starts her penalty game. Her face turns into a crumbling puzzle, and beneath the pieces lies an old ugly sagging face. Chouno runs off in horror, but that’s, surprisingly, not the full end for her. Later, we see that she’s still preoccupied with her looks and vehemently supports stern rule enforcement, but now, whenever she goes too far with it, she hallucinates her face start cracking away and excuses herself. Apparently, she’s even caking on more makeup than usual because she’s trying to cover the cracks and it won’t stick.

Meanwhile, at the end of the manga, Honda formally confesses to Miho and gets shot down. However, Yugi points out that his friendship with Jonouchi and Honda has grown as a result of their ordeal.

At the end of the anime, Chouno’s plans seemingly fall apart, but it’s very unclear if Anzu got her wish to lighten up the rule on part-time jobs. Jonouchi asks Anzu what was up with the puzzle message, and like she claimed she’d do earlier, she just says it was a prank and he brushes it off. Miho tells Anzu it’s all okay because, get this, during this whole fiasco, Mayumi fell for an upperclassman and confessed to HIM, so they’re dating now.

……Mayumi, you were barely a character…but FUCK OFF. Anzu, Yugi and Jonouchi went through all of this bullshit because of you, and not only do you not help Anzu with her goal, but in the two days this was all going down you just decide you don’t like Jonouchi anymore, fall for someone else, confess to them and start dating them? What a bitch. The only reason they wrote this in is because they didn’t want this character to return and they were too lazy to write a proper resolution to that plotline.

———————————-

The anime definitely has the edge over the manga in pretty much every respect this time. In both scenarios, there’s a one-off character I couldn’t care less about (Though Mayumi is more of a bitch than Manga!Miho. At least she let Honda down gently), but the story is much more fleshed out in the anime version.

By the end, even though they added a layer or two to Chouno’s character, she was still extremely hateable. That guy who dumped her might as well be named Neo because he dodged a bullet.

I like how they showed that, even though she technically escaped the Shadow Game illusion, she’s still trapped seemingly forever, and it’s forcing her to keep changing her ways. It makes me think that this might be the case for everyone else, though considering Manga!Kaiba and Mokuba, probably not.

Having Anzu take the stage with this story was also a lot better than focusing on Honda. She’s a more interesting character, she already has a bone to pick with Chouno in regards to the rules being a hindrance on her, and I felt really bad for her when she was being harassed.

They obviously greatly improved on the manga’s shadow game, which wasn’t even really a game. And, like I mentioned, despite the punishment being the same between versions, we never see the ‘ugly’ face everyone, including Chouno, hallucinated at the end. Considering how scary this art can be when it’s just trying to be normal, they could have had a field day trying to make a purposefully ugly face, but they couldn’t be bothered.

The game itself was really cool. Yami even broke the mirrors in a cool way and put on his uniform in that badass manner where he uses his jacket as basically a cape. The broken mirrors also had symbolism in reflecting her ugly insides and being a sendup to her breaking the mirror earlier.

It’s subtle, but there are some cute little hints of Yugi’s crush on Anzu peppered throughout the episode. This was a good way to keep the theme of romance throughout, even if it was just slightly. However, it does bother me a little because, even in the soft-rebooted series, Anzu is definitely more romantically attracted to Yami than Yugi, if she even has an iota of feelings for Yugi at all. It’s just sad. The only reason they’d ever get together is if she waited about ten years when Yugi magically becomes a carbon copy of Yami, as far as we were able to tell from that one shot in GX anyway.

That’d be an uncomfortable situation. Imagine them in bed and her being like ‘Can I call you Yami or Atem?’

Overall, a decent story on the manga side and a pretty good episode on the anime side.

Winner: Anime

Next time, Miho and Yugi enter the world of Capsule Monsters.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shadow Game (Kinda)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next time….

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

————————————-

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

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

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

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

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

They remove a sweatdrop from Hayato as Shou leaves.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subbed:

Dubbed:

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

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

Subbed:

Dubbed:

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

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

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

Syrus: “How do you know her, Jay?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eyecatches:

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

A kinda far shot of Jun talking is removed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subbed:

Dubbed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

———————————————

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

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

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

Subbed:

Dubbed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Subbed:

Dubbed:

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

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

——————————-

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——————————

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 22: The Holy Dragon Descends

Plot: Aichi’s match with Gouki is heating up, and it’s closer than anyone ever expected. With the Regional hanging in the balance, Aichi can’t afford to make any mistakes. Gouki’s Granblue deck is giving Aichi more than a run for his money, but with Aichi’s newfound confidence guiding the way it could lead him to the win Q4 so desperately needs to move on to Nationals.

Breakdown: No.

Nooooooooooooo.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Why? Why are they doing this?

Why?

Why god?

Why……are they starting Heart of the Cards supernatural bullshit now?

Let me get this out of the way – this was a GREAT match, and definitely a step up from the start we saw in episode 21, don’t get me wrong. It was neck and neck, it was exciting and there wasn’t a lot of overly dramatic BS. I’m also perfectly fine with Aichi winning. Yes, it’s a bit of a stretch for Mr. Newbie over there to beat a champion so soon, but the match was just close enough for me to not scoff at it. Plus, the plot does need to advance, so squeaking them into Nationals is fine with me.

I will tell you two things I scoff at, though –

1) Aichi’s win was, as I mentioned, Heart of the Cards bullshit. And when I say “Heart of the Cards bullshit” I mean he hit all of the beats so well I’d swear he was auditioning to be a drummer.

First and foremost, he, not kidding, heard a card from his deck calling out to him.

Said deck also glowed.

Then we flashback to a scene I honestly don’t remember occurring where Aichi and Kamui were fiddling with his deck with some cards from a booster pack. Kamui told him to not put this Grade 3 dragon into his deck right away because it was too complicated for him right now, but then Aichi, again, heard the card calling out to him, said card also glowed, and he felt he had to put it into his deck.

Second, lo and behold, of course exactly when he needed the card he drew it immediately and knew how to use it FLAWLESSLY and doing so earned him the win.

And no, the glowy stuff wasn’t just in Aichi’s head. Kai clearly took notice of what was happening. There was even some glowy ball that flew by his head.

I pretty much knew something like this was coming, given the way the OP looks, but….I didn’t want it to come, ya know? I liked staying in the more grounded reality of it just being a regular ol’ card game. I could even swallow the super-realistic hologram stuff, but no, we’re definitely delving into supernatural stuff now…Maybe it will at least not be super-dramatic ‘ahh, win this card game to save the world’ crap, but only time will tell.

2) *Misaki gets her medal for the championship*

Misaki: “Thank you.”

No. No ‘thank you.’ You give that back right now. You don’t deserve it. You did less than nothing. You weren’t even around for most of the tournament, and when it was finally your turn you passed the buck to Aichi for no reason. I mean, granted, doing so probably won them the tournament………..which is EVEN WORSE.

Oh well. We have the Nationals to look forward to. Maybe she’ll do a fraction of something there. And Nagisa and Morikawa were a little more tolerable this episode because most of the focus was put on the match. Even though, if I can give my finger one more wag, they balked out of the marriage arrangement between Kamui and Nagisa. She seemingly accepted the deal, in that she’d lay off of Kamui if Aichi beat her brother, but she didn’t. She basically wordplayed her way out saying she wouldn’t force Kamui to be her husband, but she would definitely be his wife and they’d get married immediately. Although Goki suggests waiting until after the Nationals are over. Yay?

Someone look back and see if that was her exact wording when making this deal, because I think it’s more BS.

Overall, I did like this episode quite a bit, but that Heart of the Cards moment kinda sucker punched me. Great match, but that left a bad taste in my mouth.

Next time, the gang returns to Card Shop PSY to see Team Ultra-Rare, but a mysterious red-haired stranger appears.


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SSBS – Beyblade Episode 4: The Qualifier Begins

Plot: The Regional Qualifiers are underway and people are already dropping like flies. The dialogue is a bit weird, though, because both the announcers and the Chief make it sound like Kai is personally beating all of these kids in the qualifiers, but the animation makes it clear that they’re just mass Beyblade battles against whole groups of combatants with about ten people per group.

One of the announcers, Brad Best and AJ Topper, actually brings up an issue I have with this format, and that’s, once enough Beyblades fall, won’t the losing blades kinda get in the way of the remaining competitors? Apparently, once enough blades fall, they stop the match, clean them out, then restart. Why not just do smaller groups in the first place?

One thing I’ve always thought was a lot of fun about Beyblade was the tournament format where the audience basically follows the action as if they were watching a real Beyblade tournament. We get cheesy (and sometimes very funny) announcers, overlay graphics, everything outside of sponsorship plugs.

Back to the action, Max manages to win his qualifier, and now Kenny is up next in block C. He manages to do pretty well, even if the animation continues to show off how much of a non-sport this actually is because the bladers just stand around doing nothing while their blades either get knocked out or destroyed or they wait for the other competitors to fall.

Somehow, someway no one noticed that Kai has been in this block the whole time even though they were just talking about him incessantly when he wasn’t actually there and they keep bringing up that Kai is the reigning champion trying to defend his title.

And since Kai is in the Chief’s block, you can bet any hope you might have had for our bespectacled pal to actually get a win are now nonexistent. You can also clearly tell how ridiculously stacked battles are against blades that don’t have bit beasts in them because Kai’s blade is clearly changing direction sharply and aiming specifically for other blades.

Tyson: “Wait a minute, I bet Kenny and Dizzi have something up their sleeves. King Kai’s gonna lose his crown.” It’s really nice of Tyson to have such faith in Kenny and Dizzi, but I couldn’t help but be DBZ distracted when he called him King Kai….

Kenny is now the last one standing against Kai, and…..I gotta call out Kenny on his Beyblade. The Chief’s Beyblade is an odd duck. He uses a green blade called Jumping Base (Or Einstein in the original version). It’s a Beyblade…on a spring.

Okay, please bear with me because I am far from a physics major, but…isn’t this design bullshit?

They don’t really explain what they’re going for with this Beyblade, but just from looking at it, it doesn’t look like it could stay spinning for more than a second or two let alone be the last blade standing in a mass battle against Kai.

First things first, the whole blade is spinning, not just the top. That means that the little point at the end of the spring is the main point of contact and what is allowing the blade to spin.

Springs work by storing kinetic energy when they’re compressed. However, when compressed, the little bit on the end would obviously get force imposed on it as well. Since that bit is spinning, that means it’s generating friction on the surface it’s spinning on. That friction is gradually slowing the blade until the energy runs out. The force of the spring’s compression and eventual expulsion of energy would cause so much friction that I don’t think the blade wouldn’t be able to survive one bounce.

Not to mention that bouncing springs are kinda hard to control, and a wok/BeyStadium is probably one of the worst smooth environments you can find to control a bouncing spring. If you’ve ever used a pogo stick, imagine trying to use one in a half-pipe. And that’s with the spring wrapped around a pole, giving it stability and a rider being able to control a multitude of variables. This is just a free spring, allowing it to flail back and forth, with no one having any control over it.

Speaking of flailing, it might be able to take a hit pretty well, considering it has good ‘shocks’ so to speak, but the energy from a hit would just send it flailing, probably knocking itself into the wok blade first, which would drastically slow down the spin if it didn’t just fall over anyway.

You’d have to call in some sort of Beyblade Mythbusters to really debunk this, I’m just doing off-the-cuff research, but as far as I can tell, this Beyblade shouldn’t be functioning in the least, and the idea that Kenny, of all people, is using this goofy-ass design, and that it was Dizzi’s idea, is insane.

Sometimes lack of animation is too funny depending on the dialogue. “I can’t look!” Tyson says while making absolutely no effort to close or cover his eyes or look away.

“OoOhh! Kai’s attack is going to totally destroy that young man!” Says Mr. Dickenson as he doesn’t move, is smiling and posed in such a way that he might as well be feeding bread to pigeons in the park.

After taking a ridiculous amount of time for Dranzer to reach Jumping Base with its attack, Kai talks some smack and then defeats Kenny with no issue. (Kenny said he needed a lucky bounce to withstand the attack, but what was he hoping for? Jumping over Dranzer? He’d just attack again. This blade is really stupid.)

Golly, who could have predicted this?

Wanting to avenge Kenny….I guess, Tyson runs out into the arena, but he, Mr. Dickenson and Kenny are amazed that Dranzer is continuing to spin with no signs of stopping. According to Kenny, this should be impossible. Right. Right….THAT’S impossible. But your Tigger-esque Beyblade is somehow not.

Tyson is about to take Kai on, but Kenny stops him, telling him he lost fair and square. He merely underestimated Kai, and challenging him now will just get him kicked out. Tyson backs off, Kai throws more smacktalk and walks away.

It’s a little weird that Kenny underestimated Kai. He’s usually the one who errs on the side of caution the most, and he had no confidence in himself when he went out there in the first place.

Next up, group D starts – Tyson’s turn. And who else was to be his main opponents for this qualifier than Carlos and a bunch of other Blade Sharks? Tyson and the sharks manage to make it to the second part of their round, which introduces them to a new BeyStadium, an obstacle dish, which is just a sneak peak at the many, many, many ridiculous BeyStadiums they’ll come out with over time. It’s basically just as it sounds – it’s a dish with obstacles in it.

May I ask, however, why Tyson’s group gets this dish in their second half, but Kai and Kenny’s wok was extremely normal?

AJ: “It’s going to take more than skill to maneuver around those obstacles.” It’s going to take luck, because that’s all the control you’re supposed to have over your Beyblades once they’re launched. You can’t steer them. This will most likely be the last time I bring this up, because I have a feeling we’re now entering ‘Somehow we can control the Beyblades with our minds and commands and no one will question why this is or how this works’ territory.

The Blade Sharks obviously gang up on Tyson, and somehow, even without Bit Beasts, the three Blade Sharks I didn’t care to the learn the names of just so happen to not only be able to control their Beyblades telepathically, I guess, but their Beyblades can also generate electricity when they’re close together. I know I just said I’d refrain from mentioning stuff like this, but they don’t have Bit Beasts to sort of explain this away, so I was a little confused.

Tyson manages to maneuver away from them, and in a twist, Carlos picks off his teammates one by one (Though you only actually see him take out the purple haired one on-screen). Now’s as good a time as any to say that the three other Sharks have terrible voice acting. Nothing else to add there, I just don’t think we see them again after this and I wanted to get that out.

Anyway, Carlos tells the three of them to get lost because he’s flying solo now. It’s just him and Tyson now. They’re entering into a third round, which I find strange. Kai and Kenny were only in a second round, not third, and considering Tyson’s blade was still spinning when Carlos’ crapped out, I’d saying this is Tyson’s win, but whatever.

Tyson: “It’s a game and it has rules – rules you follow!” Yeah…..and in none of those rules does it say you can’t take out your teammates when it’s a free for all brawl with only one victor moving on to the tournament. They’re treating it like this is some terrible thing to do, and it is shitty, but they would’ve had to have fought each other at some point, Carlos just sped up the process.

Carlos: “I’d say you’re just jealous!” Trust me here. Amazing line delivery. All the effort of a sleeping infant.

Also, jealous of what? Again, Tyson would’ve won that match if they didn’t call for a third round here.

Tyson: “Better watch it, Carlos, cuz the rules are out the window!” 45 seconds prior to this you were literally looking down on Carlos, proclaiming that he knew nothing of Beyblade because it has rules that need to be followed. Now you’re saying ‘Ah, well, fuck the rules then!’? Come on, Tyson. Be better than that.

Carlos: “All my life, I’ve wanted to taste victory on my own. Now you’re the appetizer. *licks lips*” Uh, you’ve never won a match on your own? That is extremely incorrect. You alone were known around Tyson’s town as a bully who went around destroying or stealing other blades….on his own. Yeah, you were a member of the Blade Sharks, but they weren’t there helping you gang up on other kids.

Also, really could’ve done without the overly evil and gross lip licking.

They start the match, and Tyson shows he’s not messing around. Dragoon quickly vanishes before everyone’s eyes. Carlos is thrown for a loop, and Tyson uses this opportunity to knock his blade out of the arena…..well…that was underwhelming. The second round lasted much longer and, in my opinion, was better because it had Tyson using the field to his advantage to get away from the Sharks. Here….he somehow made Dragoon vanish and he just, boop, knocked him out of the ring…and broke his blade apart. (Also, Kenny explains that, somehow, Dragoon is now so fast that it’s invisible to the human eye. I would roll my eyes a little harder at that, but, again, that’s just the tip of the goofy ice berg.)

As Carlos collapses on the ground in defeat and mutters due an animation problem, I assume, Tyson is declared the winner and moves on to the tournament.

Tyson’s a good sport, though, and hands Carlos the pieces of his Beyblade.

Tyson: “Wicked battle, man.” Carlos’ blade did nothing. That battle was one-sided and terribly boring. Also, it was really weak as a chance to either redeem Carlos or turn him into this big threat. Maybe this is just a measuring stick match since Carlos thrashed Tyson once before and still gave him a bit of a run for his money on the rematch, so him completely spanking him now is a sign of how much he’s grown, but it’s still disappointing.

Bottomline: Qualifier rounds of shounen gaming anime tend to be mostly entertaining filler. You know the main characters (barring Kenny, because he’s the tech guy not a Beyblader, really) are going to advance, and the enemies this time around are rematches with people Tyson’s already beaten before.

The whole episode was building up to Tyson’s match, but all of the gameplay I saw there was rather boring. Like I said, the group match against all of the Sharks was more entertaining than his battle with Carlos, which was so short and uneventful it was almost a joke.

I was a little bit more preoccupied with Kenny’s match vs. Kai, because, well….that Beyblade, man. That bouncing little kangaroo Beyblade. That is some marvel of physics. And by ‘marvel’ I mean ‘marvelously insane.’ How did Kenny even make it as far as he did with that defy-er of all things logic Beyblade? Did he just bounce in place and managed to not get hit by anyone? Did he somehow manage to bounce above everyone when they tried to hit him? The more I think about it, the more confused I become.

This episode as a whole maxes out at ‘okay’ and I’m being a little generous there.

Last note, but this episode had noticeably worse animation than usual. Like…bad bad. I understand that the budget is typically reserved for bigger episodes and qualifiers basically are filler episodes, but wow. Some of those shots were beautifully bad.

Next Episode….

….Previous Episode


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SSBS | Bakugan Episode 4: Dan and Drago

Plot: After throwing Drago into the river, Dan confronts his classmate, Ryo, who is very knowledgeable about Bakugan, yet has never played it. Despite Ryo being very courteous and bashful, Dan becomes infuriated at him when one of his classmates states that Ryo’s so knowledgeable on Bakugan that he might even be able to beat Dan in a Brawl.

Nearly having his laptop broken by Dan’s outburst, Ryo is approached by Masquerade who recruits him, claiming he could be the best Brawler around with his knowledge, and his strategies should be respected. Without Drago by his side and facing a super-strategic first-timer with a Doom Card on his side, can Dan manage to win?

Breakdown: *Deep breath* Okay, Bakugan. I am a reasonable person. Maybe you’re just struggling to get through this first handful of episodes. I get that. So, let’s put the water under the bridge, the exact same place you threw Drago, and try to move on.

Ahem.

Today’s episode starts with a really sloppily edited and written scene with Dan’s friend guilt-tripping him and trying to get him to go find Drago. He stubbornly refuses and goes to lay on his bed without shutting off the computer or closing the video chat.

“Dan, come back!” He’s just laying on the bed about two feet away from the computer. He can still hear you and talk.

Meanwhile, Drago and underwater shenanigans.

The next day at school, Dan starts ragging on this kid named Ryo who, despite never having played Bakugan before, likes to analyze the data from battles and make up strategies for certain scenarios using his computer. So, pretty much Bakugan’s version of The Chief from Beyblade. Dan believes there’s no strategy to Bakugan – it’s all about who has the most power….This Bakugan prodigy, one of the best in the world….Has early Yu-Gi-Oh Joey syndrome. Or Morikawa from Cardfight!! Vanguard syndrome, take your pick.…..

I’m not kidding – Dan is MYSTIFIED that there’s actual strategy involved in this game.

They pronounce Ryo as ‘Rye-oh’….

One of their classmates says Ryo knows so much, he might even be able to beat Dan in a Brawl, and Dan becomes enraged. He mocks Ryo some more, despite Ryo being perfectly pleasant and nice this entire time, and challenges Ryo to a Bakugan Brawl. He tells him to put his money where his mouth is unless he’s afraid to show that his data isn’t worth spit, but Ryo didn’t say a damn thing, the other kid did. So he’d be putting his money where some other kid’s mouth is.

Dan gets so pissy that he rushes up to Ryo’s face to the point where Ryo stumbles backwards and drops his computer.

For a change, the other kids actually call Dan out for being a dickhead and defend poor timid Ryo and his possibly broken computer. Dan doesn’t own up to it, though, and just runs out of the room claiming it wasn’t his fault when it 100% was.

While Dan sulks later that night, Ryo is contacted through his Bakugan simulation software by Masquerade. Ryo states that he’s perfectly content simulating Bakugan, acting as if it’s a chess game, as opposed to playing the actual game. Masquerade claims Ryo wants to prove to the world that he has the skills and knowledge to be an amazing Brawler, and he can help him with that if he joins his mission.

The next day at school, Dan actually seems like he might be about to apologize, but Ryo suddenly challenges him to a Brawl, revealing that he has one of those Duel Disk-esque things from Masquerade. Dan accepts the challenge.

Dan: “This geek is going down!” So much for apologies, apparently.

Ryo sets down a Doom Card, and they both set down their first Gate cards.

Ryo sends out Fear Ripper. Dan puts down another Gate card and summons Pyrus Terrorclaw.

Ryo….draws a card from his shirt? I’m not sure that’s allowed, but whatever. He places another Gate card and summons a dark praying mantis thing. He then uses the ability card, Marionette to….grab…Terrorclaw and…..somehow that allows the praying mantis thing to beat him.

Wiki Response – Apparently, moving Terrorclaw to Darkus Mantris’ spot….lowered its power enough to beat him…or something?

Anyway, Terrorclaw is now in the….the Doom Dimensionpbbbttthahahahaha. That will never not be funny.

Ryo recalls his Mantris for some reason, and we’re off to round two.

Dan calls out Juggernoid while Ryo summons….the Mantris again. Why recall it if you were just going to call it back out half a second later?

Juggernoid attacks Mantris, but Ryo uses the ability card, Companion, which…sends both of them to the Doom Dimension?

Wiki Response – I guess that’s exactly it’s function: it kills both an opponent’s Bakugan and your own. *shrug*

Dan is offended that Ryo let his own Bakugan be a sacrifice to beat his, but Ryo says they’re all just tools and parts of his strategy.

Round three – Dan sends out Robotallion and uses the ability card, Robotallion Enforcement. That….beats him….I guess?

Wiki Response – Robotallion Enforcement powered up Robotallion by 50g, which gave him a 40g lead over Fear Ripper. However, they never show Robotallion attacking. They both get engulfed in flames, return to their ball forms and, I guess we’re left to assume that Dan just won that round because of that.

Round four – Ryo sends out Reaper, and Dan thinks this match is clinched because Reaper is standing on a Gate card that will give his Pyrus cards an extra 150g, meaning Reaper won’t be able to beat Robotallion. Boy it sure is nice when the show actually EXPLAINS what’s happening.

Dan sends out Robotallion and activates his Gate card, but Ryo counters with Dimension 4, which nullifies his Gate Card. Now without the g boost, Reaper is able to beat Robotallion, giving the match to Ryo.

Dan finally actually, legitimately lost…..and I feel numb. I thought I’d feel happier with Dan finally losing, knock him down a peg. But, remember, I am reading the Wiki page for this episode….He wins the rematch later on, so this whole thing just seems somewhat moot besides guilting Dan enough to go after Drago.

Also, despite the fact that time stopped at the start of the Brawl, the second they get back from the pocket dimension, it’s suddenly looking like there’s going to be a storm.

Ryo and the other kids walk away, leaving Dan on the ground beating himself up over losing his Bakugan. And if there were ever a more inappropriate time for the commercial break to bust in going ‘Stay tuned for more Bakugan: Battle Brawlers!’

Dan has a welcome moment of self-reflection as he laments on not learning anything over his battles and being the cause of his Bakugan being sent to the Doom Dimension.

There’s also this –

Wiki: “When Dan was thinking about his battle against Rikimaru, the flashback of the battle is entirely different. None of it occur [sic] where Siege deflected Drago’s attack on him by the gate card. Thus this is more of an alternate timeline scene since Drago broke free from using his ability and waited for the gate card to open.”

Okay…..Wiki, I think you’re being a little generous with the ‘alternate timeline’ explanation. I think a better one would be ‘The writers were too lazy to remember what happened there, so they bullshitted something.’

He, rightfully, beats himself up for being so self-absorbed, then rushes off to save Drago from the river.

Drago…sparkles or something, allowing Dan to finally find him.

Once the symbolic and literal clouds clear, Dan apologizes to Drago, and despite the fact that Drago also admitted he was unfair and apologized to Dan in private, he doesn’t share such a kind sentiment in response to Dan’s apology.

Drago: “You are not completely useless to me, so why should I not take advantage of you as much as I can?” Stop. Please. I’m tearing up.

Dan: “Do you really mean it?” Why are you acting like that was a sweet thing to say?

Oh my god, that embarrassingly animated shot of still-frame Dan and slide-animation Drago. Wow. That’s a special thing right there.

They start a rematch with Ryo. Fear Ripper is called out by Ryo first while Dan sends out a horned demon thing. They show that Dan’s learning by pointing out that he suspects a trap.

His suspicions are confirmed when we basically get the exact same song and dance as before with Mantris and Marionette. Ryo also opens his gate card, which grants Fear Ripper another 80g, making it a match of 400g vs. 320g.

Dan activates Fire Wall, which decreases Fear Ripper’s attack by 50g….Obviously….he failed math and the demon thing is sent to the Doom Dimension.

Dan: “Just trust me, Drago! Okay?”

Drago: “I trust you!” He threw you in a river and left you there for over a day and only retrieved you when he finally felt the sting of loss, knowing you were his best Bakugan and could give him the best chance to win in the future.

But okay.

Round two – Dan calls out Drago, and Ryo…calls out…Fear Ripper again. I didn’t even see him recall him that time. Whatever.

Ryo then uses the ability card, Slash Zero, which grants Fear Ripper 80g, making its attack 400g to Drago’s 340g. Dan protects Drago by using the gate card, Intercept, to stop Fear Ripper from attacking Drago.

Dan summons a Mantris of his own and also uses the ability card, Marionette, to take control of Ryo’s Fear Ripper and set it on Mantris’ gate card, which is Mind Ghost and even the Wiki doesn’t help me here as, apparently, doing that sent both Mantris and Fear Ripper to the Doom Dimension. Dan does explain what this does, as it’s basically Companion, I guess, but why the card activated on its own when Dan placed Fear Ripper on it is beyond me.

Logically, there’s no way Dan should’ve even known Ryo had that card, let alone had it out on the field. That wasn’t strategy – that wasn’t even heart of the cards bullshit – that was a guess and luck.

Dan: “Well, you see, Bakugan is really a strategic game. You have to read your opponent’s mind and anticipate his moves.” Literally, I suppose, because the only way you could’ve possibly have known Ryo had that card out was if you actually read his mind.

Also, shut up.

Ryo: “I don’t understand! He actually managed to double-cross me!” You’re not using that word right.

Round three – Ryo summons Reaper and quickly disposes of Dan’s Mantris.

Round four – Reaper and Drago face off. Dan is anticipating that Ryo will use Dimension 4 this time, which actually make sense.

Dan activates his gate card, which looks like another Fire Wall, so Ryo tries to counter with Dimension 4 again, but Dan reveals this is a character card, which isn’t affected by Dimension 4, meaning Drago gets the powerup.

Dan’s whatever card doubles Drago’s power to 680g as opposed to Reaper’s 370g. Even though it’s entirely pointless because the power gap between the two Bakugan is now massive, Dan powers up Drago even more with a Boosted Dragon card, making his attack level a ridiculous 880g. Yes, I’m going to prove I’m not all about power by needlessly powering up my already overpowered Bakugan.

The match goes to Dan.

Yay.

At least Ryo and Dan make up and look forward to a nice non-doomy match someday.

And by ‘someday’ I mean ‘never’ because Ryo never appears again. Shame. He’s much more interesting than Shuji anyway.

Dan takes a break from bragging about himself to his friends by bragging about Drago (and himself by proxy – even mentioning he went up a rank) Then Dan gets all cuddly and kissy (literally) with Drago’s ball. This series let me say that sentence.

The end.

————————–

This definitely was the most tolerable episode so far. Dan was a prick in the first half but got more likable in the second. He pulled some stuff out of his ass to win the rematch with Ryo, and, honestly, I think he was dumbed down for the first match. Dan has showed much more strategy than that, and the idea that he’s such a high-ranking Brawler without understanding that this game involves strategy is ludicrous.

Either that, or Bakugan is a broken game, which it very well may be because I’ve been watching for four episodes now and I still can barely make heads or tails of what’s going on without needing the Wiki. Explain card effects. Name the Bakugan and cards every time you show a new one. Don’t just expect the audience knows this shit.

But, of course, either way, he needed to be dumbed down and beaten without Drago around in order to have Dan realize the error of his ways and go after him.

Dan’s problem was never a lack of strategy, it was impulsiveness and recklessness. The fact that they tried to show his growth in strategic planning (And, ironically, caring for the Bakugan as living creatures) by letting two more of his Bakugan be sent to the Doom Dimension (as PART of this strategy) and magically predicting Ryo’s use of a card Dan had no prior knowledge of is just poor writing.

Ryo’s personality change was way too much for me. I’d understand if Masquerade has some sort of dark influence on people, but, as far I know, he doesn’t. He’s just really good at coercion and manipulation. Ryo went from really timid and kind to cocky asshole and back again within the course of two days. It was a bit hard to swallow, even with Dan being a jerk as the trigger.

I did like Ryo as a character, and I would’ve loved him to be a sort Chief-like character for this show, if only for the sake of explaining what the hell is going on, but alas, that’d be something I’d enjoy so of course he’s a one-off.

Next episode…..Runo….yay.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 4 (Placeholder Review)

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Plot: Miho convinces Honda to stand in line for a limited edition D-Shock watch that she desperately wants. Honda, needing to use the restroom, asks Yugi if he’ll stand in his place. Yugi manages to snag the last watch, but he’s suddenly harassed by a teenager named Shotaro. He’s an avid watch collector and he wants the D-Shock for himself. He tries to steal it from Yugi right in the store, but Honda manages to fend him off.

Miho is extremely happy with her new D-Shock and Honda, but quickly becomes furious when Honda reveals that he lost the watch somewhere in an arcade.

Yugi notices that Shotaro is in the arcade and instantly becomes suspicious that he stole it. While the others are trying to control Honda in his watch-searching rampage, Yugi goes to confront Shotaro. He receives a vicious beating in return. Before Shotaro can leave, Yugi transforms into Yami and challenges Shotaro to a shadow game.

Yami is victorious and returns the watch to Honda, who can now face Miho again.

While Miho is happy about her watch, she tells Honda of a new perfume they’re coming out with and convinces him to stand in line for that as well. Some things never change….

Breakdown: This is our first anime-exclusive filler episode and it’s….really goddamn annoying.

At face value, the story is really no different from what we’ve come to expect. Douchebag has a run-in with Yugi and the gang, shadow game happens, douchebag loses, all sunshine and roses for everyone but douchebag.

However, there are two things about this episode that really rub me the wrong way. First of all, can we please just get rid of Miho altogether? We’ve established that she’s stupid, immature and annoying, but now we can add lazy and manipulative to that list. It’s not like Miho has a pressing engagement and can’t stand in line herself. She just doesn’t want to do it so she gets Honda to do it, at the ass crack of dawn, mind you.

Then, when he loses it and is clearly upset at this ACCIDENT, Miho slaps Honda and runs away yelling that she hates him. (Granted, he did strip down to his skivvies to search for it, so maybe that’s why she slapped him, but it was clearly more about finding the watch. Also, her animation when running away was literally nonexistent. They didn’t want to actually animate her leaving, so they showed her running animation for about three seconds then just fade transitioned the character’s layer away.)

Then when he gets it back, she implies that she wants him to wait in line for something else…….Does Miho have any redeeming traits?

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Second, Honda is equally annoying in this episode. Between his pathetic behavior around Miho and his yelling for 90% of his screentime, he was insufferable. At least he protected Yugi from Shotaro that one time, but still.

He’s also incredibly stupid. Like, “Golly, the guy who was super obsessed with watches at the watch store, to the point where both of his forearms were covered in watches, and tried to steal the D-Shock from Yugi is not only in the same arcade as I am, but he also stepped on my hand and purposely tried to confront me after the watch mysteriously went missing…….Well, back to looking around on the floor for the watch. “

The only two redeemable aspects of this episode are that the interactions with Jonouchi and Anzu are kinda funny, mostly in regards to the facial expressions they gave them, and the shadow game was good.

Shadow Game

Yami was really digging the clock motif because the shadow game is all about clock gears, coo-coo clocks and pendulums. A coo-coo clock bird steals the watch from Shotaro and locks itself in its little room. Upon the game start, the bird will emerge and the stopwatch will start. The goal is to reach out and stop the timer as close to ten seconds as possible without going over. If they stop it too late, the giant pendulum will swing by and smash the player’s hand.

If Yami wins, he gets the watch. If Shotaro wins, Yami will acknowledge him as the watch’s rightful owner and he can leave.

Shotaro agrees and he loses, but he claims it was a practice run. Believing Yami has the better angle to make a quick escape, he demands they switch sides. He’s ready to go again, more confident that he can last longer, but the pendulum also switches sides and he smashes his hand. Yami proclaims himself winner, but Shotaro won’t let that go.

Sporting an incredibly freaky and scary look, Yami forces a penalty game on him.

His smashed hand is revealed to be filled with clock gears. His watches have all merged with his skin and even his eyes have turned into clocks.

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In an odd turn of events, they even decide to followup on what happened to Shotaro later, after Yugi returned the watch that night to Honda and they returned it to Miho the next morning at school. Shotaro went home in a complete daze and viciously smashed his watch collection while his mother yelled for him to snap out of his trance. The end…..

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Despite the shadow game and punishment being pretty good, I don’t think it makes up for all of the annoyingness that is the first half of this episode. Shotaro’s a confusing bad guy to start with. He’s so obsessed with watches but he wasn’t first in line to get this D-shock watch that even Miho technically got up early to get? (She got up early to meet with Honda to ask HIM to do it…) He loves his watches so much he wears as many watches as he can on his forearms, but the instant anyone even brushes them or annoys him, he comes out swinging. That’s obviously putting your precious watches at risk of damage.

I’m surprised he even agreed to the shadow game without removing his watches first, to be honest. He beat up some dude for nudging one of his watches while walking by, but he’s fine putting his arm in the way of a massive metal pendulum when he has all those watches on?

And, of course, this is yet another story where Yugi has to get beaten up because why not?

Next time, it’s back to the adaptation – Shadi appears and we learn more about the Millennium Puzzle!


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SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 21: Rematch in the Final Match!

SSBS - CFV EP21

Plot: Aichi and Gouki are set to face off yet again, and the entire regionals are on their shoulders. Aichi manages to grasp a newfound confidence in himself and his royal knights, but Gouki’s no slouch either. He’s bringing his A-game with his Granblue deck filled with undead pirates who can return from the drop zone. Will Aichi manage to come out on top, or is he not quite at national level yet?

Breakdown: First of all, A + on that title. Doesn’t sound awkward. No sirree.

Second of all, I was half and half about this episode. On the one hand, it was great seeing Aichi get his second wind and even have Gouki on the ropes for a little bit (and Aichi’s voice actor was really going for it in some scenes) but I can’t help but feel this match so far is a little slow. I felt like anytime even the slightest thing happened we were brought back to random crap the others were doing, whether it was making banal comments about the match (Aichi’s different, he’s better, it sure is an exciting match etc.) or just Nagisa or Morikawa (Can we please write these two out of the show?) making insufferably annoying comments. The pace of the match just kept getting interrupted over and over.

And, somehow, I felt like the intensity was off here even when the focus was on the match. Maybe I’m just not feeling it because I haven’t watched the series in a while, but this didn’t feel like the start to the final match in a tournament, at least until the very end. Nothing really wowed me or impressed me, which is why, when the announcer started getting ridiculously excited about the match, I literally rolled my eyes.

Granted, Aichi has been doing well – certainly better than he did the last time he faced Gouki – but something still felt off.

Either way, I did leave a little excited to move onto to episode 22 and the conclusion (I assume) of the match because I really don’t know how this will go. It’s such a weird spot to be in. He could win and show that he’s improving substantially or he could lose and take it as a learning experience for the next big tournament they try to participate in.

Nothing about this match so far screams that it will go one way or another, so it’s really up in the air, which, as I’ve said before, is quite refreshing for this type of series.

I do find myself enjoying Aichi’s deck the more I see of it. A paladin/royal knight theme that supports each other is pretty cool and very fitting of Aichi’s character. If I ever managed to successfully play Vanguard, I’d probably want a deck like that.

Next time, will Aichi be able to take down Gouki’s undead pirates and win the match? How can he fight off two grade threes with only one on his side? Can he lead team Q4 to victory?

 


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