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.

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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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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh (Manga) vs. Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Chapter 1/Episode 1

Plot: Yugi is a timid kid without many friends. He’s smaller than most of the other students, and frequently gets bullied by Jounouchi, who claims he’s trying to help him be a man, and his friend Honda. Yugi’s precious treasure is an ancient puzzle from Egypt called the Millennium Puzzle that he believes will grant his wish upon completion. His wish? To have true friends. However, he’s been working on it for over eight years and hasn’t solved it.

The school public morals officer, Ushio, takes it upon himself to punish Jounouchi and Honda for bullying Yugi by beating them senseless. When Yugi arrives to defend them, Ushio agrees to let up if he pays him 200k yen as a bodyguard fee.

Yugi doesn’t have anywhere near that kind of money, so he struggles with figuring out what to do. In an effort to clear his head, he decides to work on his Millennium Puzzle. He manages to almost finish it, but is shocked to find a piece is missing. Jounouchi had taken it earlier that day and thrown it into the school pool.

Yugi’s grandfather, Sugoroku, arrives with a surprise – the missing piece! Jounouchi had secretly retrieved it from the water and returned it to pay Yugi back for defending them.

Upon completing the Puzzle, Yugi is endowed with dark powers and a stark new personality – one who punishes evil people by challenging them to shadow games – competitions where your life, soul and sanity lay on the line.

‘Yami’ Yugi invites Ushio to school claiming he’ll pay him his money. Even moreso, in fact. 400K worth. However, there’s a catch. Ushio has to play a shadow game with him to get it.

Ushio accepts. The game is simple, yet dangerous. They each take turns stabbing the stack of money as it is perched on their hand. Whoever has the most money on the knife at the end wins. Whoever has the least or stabs himself, loses.

Ushio’s greed manifests itself in a force controlling his hand. Worried that this force will drive the knife too far, Ushio opts to stab Yugi instead and take the cash. Having broken the rules, Yugi punishes him with a never ending hallucination of money raining from the sky.

Yugi reverts back to normal with no memory of what had just occurred that night. He meets with Jounouchi, who kindly offers his friendship, and Yugi realizes that his wish had come true.

Breakdown: I’ve been wanting to do an episode-by-episode review of Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero for a long time now – but why not go for the gold and also include an AniManga Clash for you guys? For those unaware, Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero is the (Unofficial) name given to a 1998 anime based on the original Yu-Gi-Oh manga.

Both the manga and Season Zero are much darker and, outside of the characters, virtually nothing like the 2000 ‘reboot’s’ plot.

In the manga (before it was essentially soft rebooted) and Season Zero, the stories are more episodic and there’s a much wider variety of games being played.

In the 2000 ‘reboot’ (Which is really just a new series that focused more on the later parts of the manga (Chapter 60 and onward) that shifted tone and focus), the plot is almost exclusively driven by Duel Monsters with only a few variations, such as Dungeon Dice Monsters and Capsule Monsters (which is also in the classic manga), popping up. That’s why Yugi is the actual King of GameS. Kinda weird to get a title like that when you really only play one game.

Since this series is so episodic, I decided to go chapter by chapter instead of volume by volume like I normally do, though there will be some exceptions down the line.

————————

Let me just point something very obvious out before we start – the art, in both versions, is just terrible. Absolutely awful. Laughable at many points. Anyone who has made fun of the reboot’s art hasn’t seen anything yet.

In a complete 180 move, Honda, who was originally a fellow bully to Yugi and best friend to Jounouchi, gets turned into somewhat of a goody two shoes in the anime. He’s a school beautification club member and was even up for student council president, but lost the election.

I never thought I’d say this while doing this comparison, especially so early, but the reboot actually did this part more accurately. Even though this version gives Honda more personality and differentiates himself more from Jounouchi, the later anime keeps him as a fellow bully and best friend to Jounouchi, later fellow friend to Yugi…..And he basically becomes a load of nothingness once he stops being a bully because, unlike Jounouchi who has a strong personality, continues to better himself and goes off to become an amazing duelist, Honda basically stagnates for all of eternity, only duels all of once, and strives to…..drive a motorcycle, hit on his best friend’s sister and turn into a robot monkey.

This is a welcome change that I would’ve actually liked to have been kept in the reboot, kinda. At least it would’ve given Honda more personality. Honestly, it wouldn’t give him more of a reason to exist, but still, it’s better than nothing. My issue with the Season Zero!Honda in this situation is that he also gets beat up later in the episode even though he wasn’t one of the bullies attacking Yugi in this version, so you kinda feel bad for him.

Honda’s role is also increased quite a bit as he was basically a background character for most of the original seven volumes of manga this series bases itself from, only getting the spotlight a few times before being bumped up a bit to a moderate side character. This change was probably for the sake of increasing the main cast size and story padding since the material is typically a bit thin to run for a full 22 minutes.

Likewise, a character who barely exists in the manga, Miho, also has her role greatly expanded to being a side character. I assume this decision was for the sake of adding a little more to Honda’s character, as he has a massive crush on her, and to maybe add more girls/fanservice to the series. Miho, in the manga, appears for only one chapter centered around Honda trying to confess his love for her through a jigsaw puzzle. At the end, she rejects him and is never seen again.

Believe it or not, the bully, Ushio was indeed a public morals committee member who strictly enforced all school rules. In fact, if the subs on the anime are any indication, he WROTE all of the school rules, which I highly doubt.

Anzu is nicer in the manga than she is in the anime in this instance. She originally says that she couldn’t stand to watch a nice guy like Yugi get harassed by Jounouchi. She further expresses her frustration with them by explaining that Jounouchi and the other boys got the girls to play basketball with them just so they could see their panties when they jumped. In the anime, she says she has to be tough or else they’d pick on her too and berates Yugi for claiming Jounouchi’s not actually a bad guy since that kind of attitude is what gets him mocked in the first place. Kinda funny how a character who will later be known for her friendship speeches is acting like a cool jerk who believes thinking the better of people is good for nothing but getting your ass beat.

Also, Yugi’s a bit of a perv in the manga…….and noses come and go.

Minor, but the manga has a misunderstanding where Yugi tells Anzu that the puzzle is a memento of his grandfather, leading her to believe his grandfather passed away. When he brings her to the game shop later, she’s shocked to find he’s alive. Yugi then corrects himself and says he meant to say it’s going to be a memento of his. That’s a bit morbid, there, Yugi.

Sugoroku is a pervert in both the anime and the manga, by the way.

Ushio originally asks for 200k yen in the manga whereas, in the anime, he asks for 20k. The anime amounts to about 200 USD, while the manga amounts to about 2000, which is why it’s a bit more understandable for Yugi to be outraged. It’s still a lot in either version, but 2000 bucks is much more ridiculous to ask for than 200.

In the manga, Ushio says he’ll pass on the responsibility of punishment to Jounouchi and Honda if he pays the 200k. Yugi pretends to be interested in beating them up for the sake of getting Ushio off their back. As a bit of a down payment, Ushio beats up Yugi for a bit. In the anime, we cut straight from Yugi reacting to the 20k fee to him thinking about how to get the money while he continues work on the puzzle.

The scene in Yugi’s room continues beyond the point of finding that the last puzzle piece is missing. In the manga, Yugi starts crying and panicking because the piece is gone. Sugoroku arrives and hands it to him stating that a soaking wet boy delivered it to the house and asked to give it to him. It was Jounouchi, but he asked Sugoroku to not tell Yugi it was him. He had gone into the school pool to fish it out as a bit of repayment for Yugi protecting them from Ushio. Yugi then finished the puzzle and instantly becomes Yami.

In the anime, Sugoroku never comes into Yugi’s room or gives him the piece. Instead, he runs to school at sundown in hopes of finding where he dropped it.

In the manga, the now Yami’d Yugi invites Ushio to school at midnight with the promises of giving him the money he ‘owes’ him. Yami reveals that he ‘accidentally’ brought 400k yen instead of 200k and claims if he wants the additional 200k that he’ll have to play a shadow game. All they’ll need is Ushio’s knife.

In the anime, Ushio is still at school, for some reason, and catches Yugi returning. He asks for the money, but Yugi says he doesn’t have it nor does he think he’ll be able to get it. Ushio then takes Yugi out behind the school for some ‘education’ in the form of a beating. Jounouchi, who had just retrieved Yugi’s puzzle piece from the canal, and Honda see this happen, return his puzzle piece to him and attack Ushio in defense of Yugi. While he lies on the ground, Yugi mutters to Jounouchi that his wish was for true friends.

As they get beat by Ushio, Yugi elaborates more on his wish in inner monologue. When he sees Jounouchi and Honda lying unconscious, he crawls over to the puzzle and adds the final piece. Upon completion, Yami possesses Yugi.

Shadow Game

In the manga, today’s shadow game is fairly simple. They each take turns placing the stack of money on their hands. Then they take the knife and stab the money. However much money they stab through, they keep. Whoever has the most money at the end of the game wins. If you stab yourself at any time during the game, you lose. If you break the rules, you end up with a penalty game.

Yami goes first. He gets less than ten bills.

Upon Ushio’s turn, Yami gives him a tip – don’t use too much strength or you’ll stab yourself. The aim of the game is to control your greed. He uses more strength than Yami, earning him more bills.

As the game goes on, Ushio pulls out ahead, but he finds himself struggling with controlling his arm as the amount of bills decreases.

As Ushio’s about to take his turn, Yami reveals that shadow games unveil a person’s true character and sort of turns that into something physical IE Ushio’s inability to control his hand. In order to win the game and save his hand, he has to learn to control his greed.

Ushio thinks there’s an easier solution to this problem that allows him to use all of his strength, save his hand and get all the money – simply stab Yami/Yugi to death.

Yami is able to dodge out of the way. Since Ushio broke the rules, Yami punishes him with a penalty game: illusion of greed. He is now cursed for all eternity to having uncontrollable hallucinations about money falling all around him.

The next day at school, he’s rolling around in leaves and garbage, thinking they’re piles of cash.

In the anime, the game is entirely changed. As Ushio walks away, he’s suddenly teleported to the side of the school’s water tower, hanging by a rope. Yami appears with the money and challenges Ushio to a game, which Ushio accepts out of pride over never having lost a game in his life.

Yami also descends down the tower, revealing he and Ushio are connected via the rope. The lower he goes, the higher Ushio goes and vice versa. He drags a trail of playing cards behind him. Each of them will take turns flipping over the cards. The higher the value, the more you ascend. Whoever reaches the top, gets the money. He neglects to explain what will happen to the loser until the game is up.

Yami indeed wins the match, but Ushio’s not done with him. He climbs up the tower anyway, accusing Yami of fixing the game in his favor. Yami briefly warns him to not break the rules or else something bad will happen. He knocks Yami off the tower and cuts the rope, seemingly murdering him. He reaches for the money only to find that it’s a deck of playing cards.

As punishment for breaking the rules, Ushio is ‘swallowed by his greed’ which equates to him being eaten by a bunch of giant worms. In real life, however, he’s perpetually locked in a nightmare and ends up huddled in a fetal position crying out that he’s scared.

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I’m a little torn about this comparison, to be honest. The anime changed several things, but I can’t deny that some of them might have been for the better. Cutting out Yugi’s first beating was fine in my opinion. It didn’t make much sense to beat him then anyway. Plus Yugi trying to get out of it by saying he’ll beat Jounouchi and Honda was a little strange. He was asking for the money anyway and seemed like he’d let him off without him making that declaration.

Jounouchi did witness Yugi getting beaten up for them, but I think simply the act of standing between him, Honda and Ushio was enough to prove to Jounouchi that Yugi had guts and actually cared about them, despite what they did to him.

There was much more substantial buildup to Yugi getting his puzzle piece back in the anime. In the manga, Sugoroku just hands it over immediately after Yugi realizes that it’s missing. He never even learns that Jounouchi is the one who returned it to him (Granted, he’s also the one who took it….)

Yugi getting the piece back right before Honda and Jounouchi try to fight Ushio for Yugi’s sake is so much better. The inclusion of Jounouchi and Honda fighting for Yugi is a much better addition overall, to be honest. In the manga, Honda doesn’t do anything to earn Yugi’s friendship, and Jounouchi just gets wet. Even though Honda doing this when he was rewritten to not be a bully seems kinda unfair, it was still a cool thing to do.

Giving Honda more of his own personality was also welcome, even if it’s not the best personality. I don’t want him to be a watered down Jounouchi clone, but I also don’t want him to be such a massive bore like the reboot version is.

Miho is a bit of a question mark because she has no purpose here outside of making Jounouchi and Honda go away, which they were going to do anyway.

Anzu also kinda being changed to a slight jerk, in this episode anyway, also didn’t do it any favors.

The biggest aspect that the manga has in its favor is the shadow game, which is vastly better than the anime’s version. I don’t know why they changed it so drastically, to be honest. Was the knife thing too frightening?

The manga’s game actually involved Ushio’s greed and required a sense of self-control. The anime’s game relied entirely on luck. The only aspect that involved Ushio’s greed was in him cheating in the end. His attempt to kill Yugi there was pointless. He could’ve grabbed the money and ran, but instead he straight up murdered Yugi/Yami. However, he states he could survive a plunge into the canal and only end up getting wet, which is weird because the canal isn’t very deep and that is a very high tower.

His attempt to kill Yugi/Yami in the manga actually did have a point. It was either do that or stab his hand or risk losing the money.

The penalty game was also better or at least more creative in the manga than the anime. Him being trapped in a perpetual hallucination of money both fits his situation better and is a hell of his own design. In the anime, he’s just scared of giant worms with teeth.

All in all, it was really close, but I’ll have to give this episode to the anime. The additions and changes they made were almost entirely for the better outside of the shadow game, and while the shadow game was a lot better in the manga than the anime, it wasn’t enough for it to pull ahead.

Winner: Anime

Since the next chapter isn’t in the anime, I’ll be reviewing that as a singular chapter.

Chapter 2…..

Episode 2/Chapter 4

Final notes: I feel I should mention that the 2000 Yu-Gi-Oh series did indeed keep this backstory for Yugi, Honda and Jounouchi, but obviously it’s toned down immensely in that series. It was cut down to basically a minute-long barely-animated flashback. Also, there’s no mention of Ushio getting comeuppance in any way outside of the dub which claims he got expelled because of his actions.


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Yu-Gi-Oh GX Episode 3 Sub/Dub Comparison: Etoile Cyber

Plot: Shou gets a supposed love letter from Asuka that is really a plan gone sour by Cronos to get Judai expelled. Shou arrives at the Obelisk Blue Girl’s dorm in the middle of the night as per the love letter’s message, but ends up getting accused of being a peeping Tom. Judai comes to his rescue, and Asuka proclaims they’ll let him go if he manages to beat Asuka in a duel.

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The Obelisk kid in the back says even kindergartners know what field spells do. In the dub he says even “Pre-Duelers” ….Like pre-schoolers….hahhahaaaaaaaaa…..Also, it’s DuelISTS. Not DuelERS so this joke doesn’t even work on a basic level.

Shou just says he got stage fright. In the dub, Syrus says he let all of Slifer Red down. Geez, Syrus it was one random question in class. Not like Red’s piss poor rep could get any lower anyway.

Also, why the hell are the three different groups being taught in the same class? If this school is segregated into three groups based on skill level and knowledge, why are all three of the groups taking the same class? Especially when the questions are ungodly easy like, “What are the various types of Duel Monster cards?”

Shouldn’t the Obelisks be in some advanced class and the Ras in some intermediate class? Just seems to me like classes where they’re all together would mean the Obelisks and likely Ras would either be learning basic stuff that they already know ten times over or the Slifers would be learning stuff way above their heads- And judging from this scene, I’d say it’s the former.

Judai says technical knowledge of the game and skill are two completely unrelated matters (well, let’s not go too far, Judai. If you don’t know even the bare basics, you can’t have much in terms of skill) and says that he’s got poor enough grades to be in Osiris Red but he beat Cronos anyway. In the dub, Jaden says to not make fun of Slifer Red students because, since Jaden beat Crowler, him making fun of them essentially means he’s making fun of himself.

After Judai gloats, we see Asuka staring at him before we get our title card. In the dub, they edit out Alexis staring at him and replay a scene of Crowler getting mad with him saying he won’t tolerate having Jaden there another second.

In the original….and I still don’t understand this….Cronos says, as he’s applying lipstick in the mirror, “Melanzane, Melanzane” which apparently means “eggplant, eggplant.”……….I’m sorry wut? Why….is he repeating ‘eggplant’ over and over? There’s a reason he’s applying lipstick (he’s forging a love letter) even though I think he wears purple lipstick all the time, but why is he saying that? Just because it’s the shade of purple lipstick?

They remove the labels on Judai’s shoes that say “Judai” either because they changed his name and were too lazy to try and just write “Jaden” or because it’s text and text is evil.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: The PE teacher’s name is originally Emi Ayukawa. In the dub it’s Vonda Vontaine….Also, 4Kids did everything in their power to make her sound like a hyper annoying aerobics instructor whereas in the original she just sounds normal.

We’re never given a reason why Shou is late in the original. In the dub I guess he went to the girl’s gym on accident…..wait, the GIRL’S GYM!? Whaa…….there’s two separate gyms for girls and boys? I think they wanted to say he went to the girl’s locker room but then switched to gym because…I don’t know. What could possibly be different in the girl’s gym? Is everything pink? Do the basketballs have the WNBA logo or something? What?

Judai says that there’s still plenty of hot water in the bathhouse if he wants to go. In the dub, Jaden says the OUTHOUSE is now free because he’s done in there…..First, I’m pretty sure that no matter how crappy the Slifer dorms are, they have indoor plumbing. Second, I guess in order to understand how weird this is, I should mention that Judai enters the dorm room…..while drying his hair with a towel….so couple that scene with saying the outhouse is now available makes me think Jaden just went swimming or took a bath in the outhouse. Ew.

Okay, I have to ask, what is up with bathhouses and women in anime? Every time I see women in a bathhouse in an anime this scene always occurs.

“Oh Female Character, your figure is amazing!”

“Oh stop, it’s embarrassing!”

“And your boobs are so big!”

“EHHH!? WHERE ARE YOU TOUCHING!?”

It happens all the time.

Anyway, this exact scene happens as Cronos is outside of the Obelisk Blue dorm’s bathhouse. We can’t see inside, but we can hear the girls. In the dub, obviously this is removed. Instead we get one of Alexis’ friends asking if she wants to go into the wading pool. Alexis says no because she doesn’t want to deal with guys asking if she wants to play tackle Marco Polo which, in my opinion, just makes this scene as inappropriate as the original because that game sounds like a grope fest. Her friend reminds her in typical exposition-y fashion that it’s the girl’s dorm, no guys allowed.

In the original, Cronos plans to snap a picture of Judai in front of the girls’ bathhouse to peg him as a peeper and get him expelled. In the dub, I have no clue why getting a picture of Jaden there will ‘ruin’ him. He mentions nothing of peeping and I doubt merely being outside the girls’ dorm is grounds for expulsion. At most it’s trespassing and being out of your dorm after hours.

Asuka’s friends lament that there are no good boys who enrolled this year. They single out Judai in particular and say he’s crass, rude and full of himself. Asuka says that she doesn’t really care about him and leaves. Her friends then start gushing over Misawa.

In the dub, they talk about how Jaden was such a disrespectful jerk to Crowler in class earlier and Alexis says it was kinda cool. Yeah, it was really cool…in a totally egotistical and snobby way. Then her friends say “Yeah maybe if he had the skills to back it up.” I hate to flip-flop here, but uh, ‘if he had the skills’? He beat one of the professors at the school who was using his own deck as his entrance exam. Why do you think he sucks?

Oh and also, since it’s a bathhouse obviously the girls are naked. They’re submerged in water so you see nothing, but they are. In the dub, 4Kids draws on these blaring blue swimsuits to get rid of any suspicions that they might be naked.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Cronos is repeating “O sole mio” or “Oh my sun” in the original for….some reason. In the dub, Alexis is thinking over this that she won’t know if Jaden really has the skills to back up his attitude until she duels him herself.

Cronos just calls Shou “Signore Marufuji” in the original when he realizes that it’s Shou not Judai. In the dub he calls him “That field spell stuttering nitwit”

Asuka’s friend says there’s no way the Queen of Obelisk Blue would send a love letter to an Osiris Red…..Ya know, I’ve noticed that all of the main characters have three character cliques. Judai has Shou and Hayato; Misawa fills in when Hayato’s not around, or maybe I should say it’s really the opposite. Jun has his two cronies and Asuka has these two bitches. Hm. Anyway, in the dub her friend says there’s no way Alexis would be interested in him because she’s tall and he’s short, she’s great at dueling and he’s not, she’s really hot and he’s not. Geez, what a witch.

Asuka says she’s never write such vulgar words. In the dub she says her name’s not even spelled right in the letter, which makes no sense to me. Crowler seems to adore Alexis/Asuka and he doesn’t seem like an idiot. How many ways can you spell Alexis anyway? Alecksas?

Also, I get that Shou/Syrus was very enamored by the note, but he didn’t even bother to read all of it and see whom it was addressed to? What’s even weirder is that notes usually start by addressing the main party anyway, so this entire plot is incredibly flimsy.

They really wanna make that female gym teacher annoying. I guess she’s the master of the Obelisk Blue girls’ dorm too. She says in her grating voice that they better keep the volume down because she has Pilates in the morning. Seeing as how the island just seems to be home to the school, I don’t know where she’d be taking Pilate–…..WAIT A SECOND. I’m embarrassed I took so long to connect this but earlier Syrus said he accidentally went into the girls’ gym, right? Yet the boys have a woman as a gym teacher? Huh?

While Asuka and Alexis both come up with the same plan, Asuka’s the only one who suspects someone had planned to trick Judai into going to the girls’ dorm and pegging him as a pervert.

Eyecatches:

Is the only way to access the Obelisk Blue Girls’ dorm really just a rowboat? Must be a pain for the girls who live there…

Well, okay, I guess the big crime really is merely trespassing in the dub. You know, in one episode of Spongebob they had Spongebob, Patrick and Mr. Krabs go on a panty raid….yet 4Kids can’t imply peeping even when 100% nothing was seen.

So all of the girls barring the dorm master saw Shou and knew he was trespassing and believe he was peeping. Yet the only girls who handle it are Asuka and her friends, and the only one with authority on whether or not anyone can report him or say anything about it is Asuka? I know she’s called ‘the Queen of Obelisk Blue’ but that seems ridiculous.

The arrangement in the original is basically only using Shou as a bargaining chip. They all say he was peeping and that’s an expulsion offense. If Judai refuses to duel or loses, they’ll report Shou. So basically Judai is dueling for Shou. In the dub, they say that Syrus was trespassing and now Jaden is too since he took their invitation. If they don’t want to be reported, Jaden needs to duel Alexis.

Well, Jaden does have proof that he was invited to the dorm and I’m sure it’s not rocket science to see who sent the message even though it seems like these futuristic PDA’s/phones don’t have caller ID. Syrus may also be able to get out of it through the note. Heck, Crowler might get in deep crap if they realize it’s his handwriting.

Crowler mentions in the dub that a duel between a Slifer and an Obelisk should be interesting. Well, there have been three duels in this series so far. Crowler (Obelisk) vs Jaden (Slifer), Chazz (Obelisk) vs Jaden (Slifer) and Alexis (Obelisk) vs Jaden (Slifer). Yeah, that’ll be a real changeup.

Saw this coming from a mile away. Etoile Cyber’s outfit had to be censored.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Asuka asks if Judai is done. Judai says his turn is finished and Asuka says it’s her turn. In the dub, Alexis asks if he’s impressed. Jaden says he’s not only impressed, he might be in love. Alexis says he’s sweet and it’s too bad she has to crush him.

I’m noticing that Jaden just seems to not give a damn about his cards…or the duel as it goes on a lot of the times. He’s always saying sarcastic comments, and when his monsters die he just basically says ‘oh well.’ Judai seems to actually care about his monsters and reacts much more harshly when the duel takes sudden turns.

4Kids removes Asuka’s friends showering her with adoration and also egging on Judai and Shou. They even ask Shou and Judai if they want to try swimming naked. Shou says that’s sexual harassment and the girls say he’s got a lot of nerve saying that since he’s a pepping tom. This is all just excess dialogue that could’ve been changed yet 4Kids decided to remove the entire scene.

The only part of the audio that is ‘kept’ is replaced with one of the girls saying it was probably just luck that he beat Crowler.

Jaden: “And, thanks to his super power…” Ya know what? Screw it. Entire Show Edit: I guess, for some reason, the dub claims all of the special effects of Jaden’s cards are ‘super powers’ just because they’re hero based.

Cyber Blader’s special effect is called Pas de Deux or Dance for Two. In the dub it’s left unnamed.

In the original, Judai seems fascinated that Cyber Blader’s Attack got jacked up to 3600. In the dub, he fails to care and acts like it’s nothing.

Asuka and her friends say Judai got full of himself when he beat Cronos and imply it was likely a fluke since he’s losing now. They then say that the idea of Osiris Reds beating Obelisk Blues is just ridiculous. In the dub they just mock him and don’t say any of the above.

After this, Shou says he doesn’t care what happens to him because he knows he did nothing wrong, but he won’t let them badmouth Judai or let him get expelled when he was just trying to help him. All of this is removed.

Asuka wonders what he can do with 200 life points and Judai mentally goes over all of the facts on the field right now. In the dub, Alexis thinks to herself “You shouldn’t make promises you can’t deliver” and Jaden thinks “I hope I didn’t make a promise I can’t deliver.”

Shou says the function of field spells as a callback to the first scene. (Field spell are continuous magic cards that give the entire field a special effect.) This is removed because I guess 4Kids really hates showing when characters learn things.

Asuka’s friend originally told Judai to not get too full of himself because it was probably just a fluke that he won—Yes, yes, every time he wins it’s a damn fluke. In the dub, she says she thinks they should report them anyway.

Judai tells Asuka that she’s strong. In the dub, Jaden tells Alexis she’s “got game.”

Asuka doesn’t think to herself that she wouldn’t have turned them in anyway. I mean, she likely wouldn’t have, but she doesn’t say it in the original.

Asuka’s friend only implies in her thoughts that Asuka has a thing for Judai. In the dub she outright tells us.

Cronos says he’ll think of a way to take Judai down later since he’s tired. In the dub he says he needs to find a way home…..the pond isn’t THAT big.

————————————

This episode was very much okay as a proper introduction to Asuka, but at this point it’s very much the same song again – An Obelisk Blue underestimates Judai and then he beats them in a duel, showing how awesome he is. Even though I would probably say that Asuka, as far as my memory allows, is probably the best female duelist in the franchise at this point, she’s just never been all that interesting as a character to me. There’s something about her that’s very bland even in spite of her maturity and knowledge and skill as a duelist. Maybe I’ll grow to appreciate her more as I do this comparison, as I have gained more respect for Judai, but I’m not really holding my breath.

Also, this whole ploy to get Judai expelled is silly, but poor Shou. It always sucks to think someone likes you then you find out you were being tricked by someone else into thinking so.

Next episode has Judai facing off against Jun again. Are we ever going to see someone besides Judai duel? And four episodes in and we’re already having a rematch? Okie Dokie….


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Yu-Gi-Oh Episode 12 Sub/Dub Comparison: Dark Fire! Red Eyes Black Dragon

Plot: Jounouchi finally has the upper hand on Ryuzaki by using Honda’s Barbarian card in conjunction with his own. However, Ryuzaki has one more card up his sleeve – his most powerful monster, the legendary Red Eyes Black Dragon; a card that is almost as rare as the Blue Eyes.

—————————————

Ryuzaki destroys both of the Barbarians in one shot. Joey actually brings this up in the dub with the line “How could he torch them both with one shot?” which, funnily enough, brings to light all of the other times when that has happened. Even Joey himself did that with Mai. Rex just says “Those who defend together are destroyed together”…..which isn’t true. They do give themselves a bonus, but they don’t die when one or the other dies.

In this episode they finally fix the specifics of the Time Wizard. This time he needs to spin a wheel and land properly with a 50/50 chance.

They get rid of the word BOM! In the scene where Tristan punches Joey because I dunno. And they change it to “shove” again, even though he was clearly punched and Tristan has his hand in a fist.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

In the original, Mai tells Jounouchi and the boys not to peek while Anzu takes a shower. In the dub, she compliments him on good cooking.

They completely edit out Mai’s backstory simply because it involves gambling…..which, oddly enough is a focal point of the entire show (Almost every duel has something riding on it, star chips, cards, battle city cards, souls, etc) Also, isn’t it stated that Bandit Keith was into underground dueling for money? Though that might also be original version exclusive.

Mai’s backstory was that she was a blackjack dealer on a cruise ship and traveled the world watching wealthy people gain and lose money on card games. They were always focused on money and power, and she found those people to be shameful. Eventually, she got fed up with them and started hating people, so she left the profession. It doesn’t explain at all why she started basically doing the same thing nor why she chose Duel Monsters as her game of choice, but it’s something that would’ve been nice to include in the dub.

In the original, Mai views Anzu and the boys’ friendship with melancholy, like she sees something she lost in them. In the dub, she just says they’re useless as friends.

They edit out Jounouchi and Honda trying to go into the shower after Mai says it’s okay. Yugi’s holding them back and Mai hits them with another BOM bubble.

All of the Japanese text on the food packages is removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Jounouchi doesn’t have the same kind of fantasies as Joey does. He just explains how everyone has a card they relate to or treasure. 4Kids just wanted to foreshadow what was going to happen in literally minutes..…

—————————

This episode was pretty good. Time Wizard’s showing to be a little bit OP, even if it is a gamble, but I guess Jounouchi deserves some OP cards, especially when Yugi’s deck is littered with them. The second half was pretty nice. We got some of Mai’s backstory, in the original anyway, and it was a good change of pace to see Mai hanging out and being kind.

Next up, a Shadow Game! Yami Vs. Yami Bakura!


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SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 20: Hidden Message

SSBS - CFV Ep 20

Plot: It’s the second match of the finals! While Kai steps up for his match, Aichi stews in anxiety as the weight of the tournament piles on his shoulders. He knows Kai will win, leaving the deciding match to him. Self-confidence slowly fades away from Aichi, but Kai sends him a hidden message with this battle. Will Aichi get what Kai is telling him?

Breakdown: This episode is 80% pointless. Even the characters know that Kai will, no question, win his next match, and we, as an audience, know he won’t lose to Mr. Kaboom. And if he did lose to that kabooming ignoramus, I think I’d drop the series along with my faith in humanity.

The only real point of this match is to bring Aichi’s waning self-confidence back up since he now realizes that he’ll be the deciding factor in whether or not they win the tournament.

What’s that, you say? What of Misaki?

Well, dear reader, she’s….refusing to battle. Yes, even though she was the main player in the team and Aichi was just an alternate, and even though she arrived so late the tournament was nearly over by the time she arrived, she vehemently refuses to play the final match when Aichi asks her.

I assume this is for the sake of building him up as a Vanguard fighter, but I’m really failing to see what the point even was of making her the main teammate in the first place. She has been completely without a role here. Also, isn’t she a bit too green herself to be doling out these life lessons like this?

How we even reached the ‘message’ is kinda strange and I’m not sure it makes enough sense. Kai taught Aichi to nut up and battle through………winning a Vanguard battle like Aichi knew he would. Aichi’s realization was that he wants to be as awesome as Kai, and to do that he can’t run from challenges.

So was this just Kai strutting his tail feathers around Aichi? Before his match even started, he said he doesn’t fight against players who run from matches. Considering Aichi’s deep almost obsessive admiration of Kai and his desire to battle him someday, I imagine that’s literally all he had to say to get him to do it.

What I don’t understand is how that gave Aichi confidence. Even when Kai’s match is over, he still says to himself that his skills are nothing compared to Kai’s.

In similar situations, the example being given to the character without confidence is usually by another underdog, or at least someone who’s not the obvious winner. They come back against all odds to win either through sheer determination, skill or hard work. Sometimes, the example in question doesn’t even win. It’s their behavior and attitude in battle that inspires the other character.

Here, we go into the match knowing Kai will win, even Aichi says that straight out, which is why he gets nervous in the first place. Then Kai wins and that somehow turns Aichi’s attitude around.

The one question mark was why Kai was choosing not to guard certain attacks when he easily could’ve, but obviously that was just part of his endgame strategy because again, duh, he’s not going to lose.

I might be a bit harsher on this episode than necessary because I felt a bit cheated. We’ve skipped over several matches that would’ve been interesting to watch in their entirety yet they dedicate an entire episode to Kai vs. Billy Mays and his KABOOM. Coming fresh off the heels of Kamui vs. Nagisa, which was both annoying and redundant in their play styles, and this final is turning into a disappointment.

I’m a bit conflicted on whether I want Aichi to win or lose. Kamui changed the terms of his marriage agreement with Nagisa to needing to win the finals as a whole for it to stick, so that’s on the line, but she’ll probably be a recurring character anyway.

I’d like Aichi to win, but on the other hand, if they do win this tournament this will probably lead to the Nationals, and not too long ago I praised this series for not going too far with their tournaments too quickly. I get that the stakes need to keep going higher for the sake of audience interest, but I always feel like shooting too high too fast causes the realism factor to diminish.

And just to get this out of the way, Morikawa was also putting his annoyingness on high today. That combined with KABOOM made me go into this episode feeling irritated enough.

All in all, I’m not really upset with this episode, I didn’t even find it bad, I was just disappointed. I didn’t expect much from this match to begin with, even Goki would’ve been thoroughly spanked by Kai, but I feel like it was a big waste of time.

Aichi’s moment of picking himself back up should’ve been handled a lot better. Maybe have Kai go first, then Kamui, then have a brief break where Aichi is freaking out about going into the finals with the victory resting on his shoulders then have Kai talk with him or even have a side-match with him or something. This just wasn’t the way to go, in my opinion.

Rating: 5/10

Next episode….

..Previous Episode


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SSBS – Beyblade Episode 3: Take it to the Max!

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen7

Plot: Tyson and Kenny meet the new kid, Max, who happens to be an ace Beyblader with a dad who owns a hobby shop with its own Beystadium. As Tyson tries to learn and train, they learn that there’s an exciting new Beyblading tournament coming up and they all want to enter.

Bey-Battles

Max (Draciel Metal Ball Defenser) vs. Tyson (Dragoon S)

Victor – Max

Breakdown: Tyson is training with his new Beyblade when it’s suddenly taken by a puppy named Sparky. After Sparky returns to his owner, a little girl, Tyson and Kenny meet the new kid in town, Max Tate. However, their introduction is interrupted when they hear the girl yelling out in panic as Sparky is whisked away by the river.

I have a few questions about this whole rescue. Where did that conveniently sized log even come from? How little attention was this girl giving Sparky to let him climb on a log and float away? Why is this river that quickly flows into an incredibly steep man-made waterfall not blocked off to the public? Tyson and the others hang out there all the time. Not only is the river not restricted, but kids can easily climb on top of the waterfall platforms with no gates, fences or even guardrails.

Tyson and Kenny try to save Sparky, but the current quickly gets too strong for them to even attempt going in. Just then, Tyson gets the idea to smack the log with his Beyblade so it will turn sideways and block off the top of the waterfall. I get that we have to incorporate Beyblades into basically every facet of every plot point, but if I saw a couple of kids trying to save my dog with Beyblades I think I’d smack them. I know they can’t do much else, but still.

Tyson’s shot was unable to turn the log and the blade lands on top of the waterfall. Max steps up and releases his Beyblade to help, but Tyson chastises him for doing the same thing he did when it failed. I don’t know why he’s upset. He already launched it, there’s no point in getting angry over it. Max doesn’t even do the same shot – he launches his Beyblade to Dragoon’s location and smacks it to the proper angle, successfully shifting the log’s position and stopping Sparky.

With Sparky safely back with his owner, Tyson applauds Max for his Beyblading skills and they become quick friends. However, he’s slightly concerned over his Beyblade for being sunk in the water after that last shot. Max suggests taking it to his father’s hobby shop to get it looked at.

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen1

After getting a clean bill of health on his Beyblade from Mr. Tate, he asks if Max wants to have a friendly Beybattle with him so he can teach him that shot that saved the puppy and he agrees. Max brings them down to the basement where he reveals that his father’s shop actually has it’s own Beystadium and even a few pieces of training equipment like a smaller Beystadium and a…..ramp with spikes—what?

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen3

Kenny has concerns, however, so he pulls Tyson aside to talk to him. He says he probably shouldn’t let Max train him because his shot seemed suspiciously good. Max is obviously a very skilled Beyblader, but finds it a bit too much of a coincidence to suddenly meet this skilled Beyblader with his own Beystadium right at the perfect time to save that dog…..Uhh…The dog was in trouble after Max started to introduce himself to them, so unless Kenny’s insinuating that Max was the cause of that accident, Kenny is a bit paranoid. Tyson just believes he’s being jealous and moves on with the match.

Kenny notices that Max uses an Easy Grip launcher, which improves accuracy without sacrificing spin, and the match begins. Dragoon is making some nice hits, but Max’s blade stays firmly in place. Max praises Tyson’s rotation, but Tyson points out that sitting there won’t help him win. Kenny, on the other hand, has news for Tyson. Max’s blade, the Draciel Metal Ball Defenser, is a special defense-focused blade. Despite it seeming like Tyson is way ahead, he’s actually doing no damage. Tyson’s not giving up so easily and changes up his strategy to pushing Draciel out of the wok instead, which he nearly succeeds in doing before Dragoon runs out of energy and falls.

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen2

Max is the winner, leaving Tyson upset that he doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Max tries to teach him that patience is the key to improving – one match won’t improve much of anything. Uhh, I thought the first scene implied that Tyson’s actually been doing quite a bit of training. Kenny agrees, which makes this even more confusing because he’s been the one training Tyson all this time.

I would understand if it was the shot that Tyson missed because that was a new issue that was brought up, but despite talking about teaching Tyson the shot, there was no mention of it during the match and it wasn’t implied to be the problem afterward. He just got overconfident in the power of Dragoon and overestimated its lasting power.

Max suggests training with him for a while, promising to teach him all sorts of secrets and techniques for accuracy and power. Tyson agrees, but before they can start another Beybattle, a man walks in and greets Mr. Tate. He introduces him as Stanley A. Dickenson, the chairman of the BBA, the Beyblade Battle Association. Kenny gushes over Mr. Dickenson, proclaiming him to the most important man in the sport of Beyblading. He promotes and trains up and coming Beybladers to make them some of the most skilled players in the game.

Mr. Dickenson is a family friend of the Tates, and he has come both to check out Mr. Tate’s new store and to let him be the first to learn of the new Beyblade Battle Tournament that the BBA is hosting. They all get excited over it, but Tyson quickly gets worried, stating that a tournament this major is sure to bring out Kai. Mr. Dickenson says Kai’s actually already entered……Wait, he specifically said he wanted them to be the first to know of this tournament yet not only does Kai know, he’s already signed up?

Mr. Dickenson praises Kai as a Beyblader and reveals that he’s actually the returning champion. Despite the worries, they all get amped up for the challenge and go back to training.

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen4

We cut to Kai who is also doing some training of his own. He’s trying to increase Dranzer’s lasting power. When he hears that Dranzer’s been spinning for over ten minutes, he implements a new phase of training, which is taking on three of his lackeys at once with the same still spinning blade. They start the match, but it’s over within a few seconds as all of their Beyblades are quickly knocked out of the arena. Even after the battle is over, Dranzer is still spinning strong. We get some slight insight into Kai who thinks to himself ‘That’s why I’m the champion….whether I like it or not.’

Back with Tyson and Kenny, who have returned to the dojo after from some intense training with Max, Kenny apologizes for what he said about Max and admits he was jealous. Tyson and him make up before analyzing Dragoon for some tweaks.

The truce lasts about a minute before Tyson gets all pissy about having to do actual planning, thinking and analysis to become a tournament class Beyblader. He says he’s gotten to where he is today without all of that boring stuff, but Kenny argues that it’s necessary in order to control the power of Dragoon. Tyson then gets personal and says Kenny’s only good at building Beyblades but sucks at actually using one, and he’s also so inept at controlling his own bit beast that he trapped her in a computer. Tyson realizes he’s gone too far too late and Kenny leaves.

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen5

I don’t even know why Tyson got so pissed there. I can understand him having a tantrum over having to do technical work but going that far when he knows full well that Kenny has been invaluable to his victories since he met him? And that he’s been a great asset in his overall training? Kenny’s been so valuable that he’s been kidnapped for his knowledge.

Kenny and Max has a bit of a heart to heart by the river and Max asks Kenny to get Tyson and meet him later.

Back with Tyson, he’s training in kendo with his grandpa, who, coincidentally, is basically mirroring his match with Max. Grandpa is taking a defensive stance, and Tyson’s continuous swings are useless against it. He says he has to be good at analyzing his moves and predicting them in order to succeed in battle, which Tyson connects to what Kenny was trying to tell him earlier.

Grandpa suddenly starts moving so quickly back and forth that he’s basically learned anime!Double Team from Pokemon. Tyson realizes that the way to combat this is by studying where Grandpa was and is in order to predict where he’ll be next. Then, with proper timing, he’ll be able to strike the real one.

Tyson’s attack actually fails, which I like because it emphasizes the other lesson about needing to practice new moves instead of learning them immediately.

Later, Tyson has some quiet reflection in the dojo, thinking that Kai’s strength is in balance while Max’s is in defense. If he can figure out strategies to combat both, he’ll be the new champ—uh, dude. No. That will help immensely, but you do realize that there will be many, many, many other very skilled Beybladers at this tournament, right? In order to truly be effective, you’ll need to learn how to quickly adapt, study your opponent’s moves for strengths and weaknesses and use both of those aspects to your advantage.

Kenny arrives at the dojo and spies through the window for a second to see Tyson start training. He puts some spin on his wrist as he launches Dragoon, and his Beyblade speeds off like a blur, leaving burn marks in the floor and shooting it through the wooden wall of the dojo, embedding it in another stone wall. Tyson rejoices that he’s finally mastered controlling Dragoon’s power. Uh….so you worry about your Beyblade when it’s submerged for a few minutes, but not when it’s crashed through a wooden wall and embedded itself in a rock wall?

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen6

As Kenny updates his stats and devises new strategies for Tyson, Tyson apologizes for what he said and the two make up, ready to take on the tournament together.

————————————-

I liked this episode, but mostly due to Max. Ray used to be my favorite character, but Max has gained a larger appreciation to me over the years. He has such a great attitude, awesome strategy, and I love his Beyblade. Plus, his backstory always seemed a bit more interesting to me than Ray’s. Truth be told, I think I used to be biased with Ray because I had a bit of a crush on him.

Tyson ruins this episode slightly to me because he has a little more ego than usual and he’s being a complete ass to Kenny for no reason other than ‘waaah, thinking!’

Some plot threads don’t mesh together like the log shot that Max just never taught Tyson, what connection the Double Team-ish move had to do with any of Tyson’s past matches, unless that was purely meant to give Tyson a niche (speed?) and I don’t see how him watching his grandpa do that automagically allowed him to control Dragoon.

Next episode, the qualifier for the tournament begins.

…..Previous Episode


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SSBS – Bakugan: Battle Brawlers Episode 3 – A Feud Between Friends

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen7

Plot: Dan and Drago have yet to meet eye to eye, but Drago extends an olive branch as he sees Dan as his one chance to save his home. Things go great for a while, but when Dan is challenged by a boy named Rikimaru, who has been given a Doom card and a Bakugan by Masquerade, tensions between then come to a boil. Is this partnership not meant to be?

Breakdown: Alright, Bakugan. We keep getting off on the wrong foot. I want us to have a healthy relationship. So let’s see if we can mend some bridges today.

The episode starts near the end of a Bakugan brawl between some unnamed boy and Ricky (His original name’s Rikimaru, but some kids call him Ricky, and then he introduces himself to Dan as Rikimaru, but it sounds like Ricky Maru, like the Maru part is his last name and—screw it. I’m calling him Ricky.), an angry egotistic dickwad. I’m already sorry I’ve given this show more chances.

Ricky’s sick of getting seemingly low amounts of…some points for beating low level brawlers and yells out for a real challenge. Masquerade mysteriously shows up, hands him a Bakugan ball and tells him it has all the power he’ll ever need….Uhh, he wasn’t asking for more power. He was demanding a challenge. Giving him an extremely powerful Bakugan is the opposite of giving him a challenge. You essentially made every future challenge that much easier.

Cut to Dan who is doing some exercises while making a sad attempt at an army march song that include lyrics that proclaim he’s the best Bakugan brawler. I really am loving Dan. He’s such a likable character. I can only hope he gets even more full of himself as time goes on.

At least I can give it to Drago for trying to drill some sense into Dan’s stupid skull.

Drago: “Hey! Put me down!”

Dan: “Not until you promise to stop dissing me!” Urghghghghghghg.

Later, Dan has an online conversation with the girls while scrubbing Drago.

Drago: “Mmmm right there.”

I want to turn this episode off now.

Also, I thought Drago hated being scrubbed. He blew his cover in the last episode to demand that Dan stop scrubbing him.

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen2

Julie: “You’re so lucky, Dan. I’ve searched the web, and you’re the only one I’ve heard of with a talking Bakugan.” What? That directly contradicts the end of the first episode where tons of people were hearing their Bakugan talk. Why are we having such terrible continuity three episodes in?

They blather on for a bit, then we get Marucho chiming in to give a play by play justification for calling the Bakugan brawl between Dan and Masquerade from the last episode a draw.

The next morning…

Dan: “Morning! I’m starving!” *Ridiculously quick off-screen eating* *BELCH* “Thanks Mom!”

I hate you more with every passing second.

Realizing that he needs to use Dan to save his world, Drago tries to connect with him.

Dan: “You called me by my name.”

Dragon: “You don’t mind, do you? I can call you something else if you’d like.”

Dan: “Nah, Dan’s good. They call me worse things at school.”

We interrupt this program for a sudden change in Dan’s character. From all we’ve been shown so far, Dan’s an extremely popular kid both at school and online. Where is this ‘they call me worse things at school’ stuff coming from?

Drago and Dan agree to work together as a team, getting along almost creepily well, and you’ll never guess who shows back up…..Shuji a-freakin’-gain.

Thank God the brawl is mercifully brief this time, amounting to nothing but a final attack, but why does this moron keep popping up?

Dan: “Yeah, everything’s been aces since Drago started seeing things my way. Although, I don’t know what made him change. Something I said maybe?”

Julie: *while swooning* “Well, you do have a way with words.”

I hate you all more with every passing second. Also, yup, unpopular mocked schmuck he is.

Runo suddenly announces that she got herself a talking Bakugan off-screen without even an explanation in dialogue as to where she came from. How dandy. It’s a Haos Tigrera and I already stopped caring.

The next day, Dan bumps into Ricky who is not only revealed to have gotten a Bakugan ball from Masquerade, but also a…Doom card….Pbbbthahhhahahahahaaaaa….The Doom Dimension is funny enough without calling the card the Doom card. I won’t be able to watch anyone play it without imaging Gir singing the Doom Song now.

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen3

The game starts, they set a bunch of gate cards and Ricky sends out his first Bakugan – Robotallion.

Drago expresses concern since Ricky is using Water attribute cards, which I guess are strong against Fire attribute, but I thought last episode they had Wind be stronger eeehhhhhhhh….

Also, Drago’s ball can float now.

Dan doesn’t pay attention to Drago’s concerns because he’s too full of himself. Dan sends out another gate card, and I don’t get why gate cards seem to be sent out willy nilly now. Then he summons the male Garudamon from the first episode.

Ricky sends out another gate card, making a grand total of five out now, and summons another Bakugan, a big blue turtle. Enter Blastoise joke here.

Drago continues to express concern to Dan over Ricky’s odd moves (Putting two Bakugan out is odd now?) but Dan still doesn’t care.

He sends out yet another gate card and summons a….griffin….lizard thing, which Drago immediately advises against. (Also, Dan says it’s weird that Ricky’s summoning all of his Bakugan at once, yet here he is doing the same.)

Figuring he now has him right where he wants him, Ricky summons Aqua Siege.

Dan activates his watch to tell us, literally, word for word, that Aqua Siege is strong.

Ricky activates an unnamed ability card that creates a tidal wave, which sends all of the Bakugan on the field to the…..pbbbbt Doom Dimension….Guys, seriously, make a better name for this place or I won’t survive this series.

Also, what a horribly OP card. In the anime, the way you win is by destroying three of your opponent’s Bakugan. If that counts as defeated, you could one-hit win in just a few turns, as long as you refrain from putting all of your Bakugan out.

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen4

Drago starts berating the hell out of Dan for acting so rash and says he should’ve focused on defeating the first Bakugan at the start of the match. Now nearly all of his Bakugan are gone.

I get what he’s saying and yet I don’t. If Dan was acting impulsively, wouldn’t that translate into blindly attacking? Dan was summoning Bakugan, Drago yelled that he shouldn’t have summoned the lion thing, for no given reason, they get defeated and he was acting rash….because? If gate cards are seen as pseudo-trap cards, wouldn’t summoning and biding your time while also amassing gate cards be seen as being patient and smart? Can someone who really understands the game help me out here?

Wait, a second – even Dan points out that Drago was telling him to bide his time and be cautious. Drago, you’re making me side with Dan and that’s making me very angry.

Dan’s not worried because he has his trump card, or trump Bakugan, in Drago. He explicitly tells Drago to do the move he did from before that broke the board and automatically ended the brawl in a tie………Soooooo….Dan’s telling Drago to cheat. Pbt.

Drago: “It’s too dangerous!”

Dan: “Ahh, just do it! Win! That’s all that matters right now!”

I’ve decided to side with Ricky. Go Ricky!

What is even Dan’s logic here? He knows full well that the ‘special move’ he’s speaking of made the match result in a tie last time. If winning’s all that matters, you’d be automatically screwing yourself over again.

If Drago’s able to resist Dan’s battle commands, as seen in the last episode, can’t he resist being summoned?

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen5

Dan summons Drago and powers him up with a Boosted Drago card that powers him up to 440. Against the 350 Aqua Siege, he appears to have the advantage. Drago doesn’t like Dan’s strategy, so he breaks free of Dan’s ability card, resulting in a 100 point loss.

Drago attacks anyway, even though Aqua Siege now has a 10 point lead on him. Drago starts getting his ass kicked, and Ricky tells Aqua Siege to hurry it up or else the gate card will activate – What? Now we have timed gate cards? I was just getting to the point where I was able to keep up without referencing the Wiki, now you’re throwing in new rules?

A gate card activates, much to the surprise of Dan, lowering Aqua Siege’s attack power by 10 and adding 10 to Drago’s, giving him the upper hand. Drago beats Aqua Siege and starts to lose control of his power again when the match ends.

Mercifully, Ricky explains what the hell just happened. He set a trap gate card which switches the attack powers of two attacking Bakugan. Drago activated it somehow. The power levels switched and Drago was able to win.

Now, follow me here because this is just weird. Drago….knew what gate card was hidden, decided to purposely break free from the ability card so he could activate the trap, switch their attack levels and win. Either that, or Ricky silently activated the trap, it took forever to finally activate, Drago realized what was happening, broke free from the ability card to reverse trap Ricky and win.

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen6

What a bunch of convoluted bullshit that, again, just amounts to Drago cheating. Whether it’s breaking free of the ability card, activating an opponent’s gate card or somehow knowing what an opponent’s gate card is without seeing or hearing it, Drago cheated.

Ricky’s all broken up about it, especially since Masquerade said he could keep Aqua Siege if he won. I don’t get what was so special about Aqua Siege in the first place, but whatever.

Dan’s all happy about his win, but Drago’s furious.

Drago: “You think that battle was close? Do you have any idea how dangerous the Pyrous Maneuver is!?” Oh there’s a name for the move that is slathered in a thick coating of cheating?

Drago continues to lecture Dan, stating that it’s not right to celebrate when several of his kind just got sent to the Doom Dimension. He says Dan will never take this seriously and that he can trust him no longer.

Dan argues that he is trustworthy and that he thought they were a team. He goes on to berate Drago for his own recklessness in his final maneuver and gets angry that Drago appears to be choosing to ditch him. He gets so angry that he decides to give him what he wants and throws him into the nearby river…..which is horrible.

Not only does he not give Drago a change to respond and possibly apologize, but he’s a mostly inanimate marble. In a river. Either he’ll spend an eternity in an underwater purgatory or he’ll slowly deteriorate and break. Way to be an ass, Dan. You could’ve just sold him or given him to someone else. Do you have any idea how much money you might get for a talking Bakugan?

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This episode was slightly better in explaining some moves, but they are still throwing in confusing crap that makes no sense to non-Bakugan playing audience members while changing up the gameplay mechanics again.

Ricky has some potential to be interesting, but when you get down to it, he’s just another boring ‘pleh, no one challenges me’ character.

The brawl is almost ridiculous in how little sense it makes. I still don’t understand why Ricky sacrificed two of his Bakugan in that wave. Why not try another method of luring Dan into summoning two Bakugan and then use the wave? Why needlessly sacrifice two of your own and just pray Aqua Siege is good enough? Do I even need to point out the fact that, even so, Ricky should’ve won this match?

And why were there so many gate cards sent out if only one was going to be activated?

It’s here where the poor writing is really starting to shine through. This whole story is filled with laziness, cheating and ‘the plot said so.’ Not to mention, the pacing at the start is messed up. That montage of Dan and Drago getting along was almost humorous in how quick it was. Runo mentioning that she also has a talking Bakugan was also just thrown in there with no regards as to whether or not it fit in that scene or in this episode. Just ‘we needed to get this information out and we have an extra 25 seconds, so let’s just shove it in here.’

I can’t believe Drago was being such a senseless jerk in this episode to the point where I was defending Dan. Even if only for a moment, that was idiotic. Add that to the fact that Dan later suggests they basically cheat, and I find myself liking approximately zero characters in this show so far.

I honestly didn’t expect this show to try my patience so much.

Next episode, Dan is struggling in his brawls without Drago (he was a fantastic brawler before he got Drago, now he flounders without him?) But, don’t worry. The next episode preview spoils that he’ll get him back by the end. Yay.

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