Animating Halloween 2020 Close-Out + 1000 Posts! + Other Updates

With the rise of the sun in November’s first dawn, we close out this year’s Animating Halloween. I hope you all had some ~spooky~ fun with it. I certainly did, even if I nearly didn’t manage the one-post-a-day schedule. (Sometimes I posted past midnight…. D: )

As per usual around the Madhouse, though, the end of Animating Halloween means it’s time for me to slow my roll. I tend to take November easy blogging-wise since it’s sandwiched between two months in which I have everyday posting events. I’ll still be posting regularly, but not as often as normal. In the mean time, if you guys have anything you’d like to see me cover for A Very Animated Holiday Special this December, feel free to throw them at me.

In other news, as of my Corpse Party: Tortured Souls review, I’ve reached 1000 posts on my blog! I had no idea I was close to this milestone and I have no idea of anything I can do to celebrate, but it’s really cool to think that I’ve got 1000 posts under my belt. And I thank you all for reading however many of those 1000 posts. 🙂

I hope you all have a happy and safe November! ♥

~Twix

Animating Halloween | Mickey Mouse: Lonesome Ghosts (1937) Review

Plot: Mickey, Donald and Goofy have created a ghost-hunting business and their newest ‘clients’ happen to be a group of bored ghosts looking for some fun scares.

Breakdown: Ghostbusters 50 years before Ghostbusters. Instead of proton packs, they used a shotgun, a butterfly net and an axe. And instead of “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.” they said;

Goofy: “I’m brave!….but careful.”

This short is pretty entertaining, I smiled a few times and even laughed out loud a couple of times, particularly at Goofy. Not their best work, but it’s a nice watch for Halloween. I sometimes get nostalgic for Mickey’s old ‘dot eyes’ design.

I will say that the sound design on the ghosts is terrible. I get that this is the 1930s and they were going for a ghostly echoing voice, but it really just sounds like they recorded their lines in an airplane hangar on their lunch break.

Not much else to say about this short. It’s fun, it’s Halloweeny, it has some great animation, and I still don’t understand how you can fight ghosts with an axe. Supernatural has taught me that the shotgun might be loaded with salt rounds, and Fairly Odd Parents taught me that butterfly nets can catch supernatural beings, but the axe is just silly.


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Animating Halloween | Kim Possible: October 31st Review

AHKPO31

Plot: Kim wants to go to Monique’s Halloween party, especially considering her crush, Josh Mankey, will be there, but she ends up creating a web of lies while trying to avoid going Trick-Or-Treating with Ron. What’s worse, she has a top-secret nanotech bracelet on her wrist that slowly covers her in armor the more she lies – and Drakken and Duff Killigan both want it.

Breakdown: Considering how much I loved Kim Possible so much when it was airing, I can’t believe I’ve forgotten about this Halloween special for so long.

….But on the other hand I can totally believe I’ve forgotten about this Halloween special for so long.

It’s just such a cliché plotline with one of the most overly parroted lessons in all of media – honesty is the best policy. It’s so overly done that the episode kinda pokes fun at itself for doing it. Kim’s little brothers points out how stupid it was to lie when Ron and her parents both would’ve understood, and even the villains go on about how disappointed they are in her.

And, really, a Halloween special has to be the absolute worst setting to use something like the Centurian project (the nanotech bracelet) because she can just claim the armor is part of her costume or is her costume – which she did, even though she tried to cover it up with a princess outfit. Actually, considering the Kim Possible universe, she can just claim that the armor is slowly covering her up for some reason. She doesn’t have to tell people it’s because she’s lying.

Outside of the cookie cutter plotline, though, this episode is perfectly fine. There are some funny moments, and the Centurian project is a pretty awesome set of armor. The one part I don’t like is the part that covers her head. It just looks weird. Also, if that’s the full armor, I’d think it should cover her face. The suit is so advanced that it can instantly recover from any damage, but all someone would have to do is aim for her face and it’d be all over.

The animation is a bit rough, but this was season one Kim Possible and it had a habit of being all over the place. There’s one scene that’s just terrible, though. Kim’s mom is taking tickets at the hospital’s haunted house, and they show her saying ‘Thank you, enjoy.’ THREE TIMES without anyone handing her a ticket or entering the haunted house. The only part of this shot that is animated is her lips. It’s like they forgot to animate everything else.

I can’t imagine there will be many more Halloweens where I’ll purposely seek out this special, but it did stoke my fire to do a Cartoon Step-by-Step of Kim Possible sometime soon.


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Animating Halloween: The Proud Family – A Hero for Halloween Review

AHTPF

Plot: Penny begrudgingly partakes in Halloween as Snack Girl when her parents (taking the roles of Snack Man and Snack Woman) force her into it. She believes Halloween is just for little kids and wants none of it, not even attending Wizard Kelly’s Hallo-Tween Frightacular with special guest Lil Romeo. After consuming one of her father’s putrid Proud Scary Snacks, she gains superpowers. Also, there’s a ghost in Penny’s house.

Breakdown: The last time I tangoed with The Proud Family, I kinda tore into it – justified as though it may be. I did legitimately hope that today I could present a good example of a Proud Family episode to make up for it a little.

Credit where credit is due, this episode is nowhere near as anger inducing as the Kwanzaa special, but it is just all kinds of silly and weird.

Like many episodes, a lot of the characters are just being assholes to each other. Penny’s making fun of her friends and family for partaking in Halloween festivities and acting like she’s better than them because she’s oh-so-mature and refuses to partake at all in such childish frivolity. Her friends make fun of her back. I honestly don’t get why she’s not into the Frightacular, though. She seems to be a fan of Lil Romeo, so why not endure it just to watch him perform live?

Oscar forces her to dress up as Snack Girl and give out his gross Proud Scary Snacks at the door or else she’ll be grounded until the end of the year. Oscar’s also very unpleasant to everyone else, even slamming the door on the face of the guy who was trying to warn him of the ghost, but what else is new?

Addressing the story, yeah, Penny becomes a superhero by eating her father’s gross snacks, after getting hit by lightning because of course…She also loses her powers after a bunch of the snacks get caught up in an exploding ghost.

I kinda don’t feel like giving you the context for any of this stuff, because I don’t think it’d help.

The other kids are enjoying the Frightacular, and for all you Lil Romeo fans out there, he does voice himself here, and he does perform. The song’s pretty good, but it’s a very weird and out of place moment in a Halloween special.

Penny comes to the Frightacular after saving all of the goodie bags from the Gross sisters, and she gets greedy asking for rewards for the deed. She’s invited to perform with Lil Romeo, but we never hear them both (or her at all) singing.

Back with her family, her father is warned by a previous homeowner that their house is haunted by a man named Garret Krebbs, which is why he sold the house to Oscar for a mere $500. And wouldn’t ya know it, even though they’ve lived in the house for over ten years, tonight’s the night Krebbs decides to attack.

Penny saves the day and destroys the ghost, but since she loses her powers as a result of the battle no one believe it was her. However, she’s gained a better appreciation for Halloween as a result.

Also, throughout this entire ordeal, they are very clearly playing a knockoff of the Halloween theme, even though absolutely nothing in this episode has a single thing to do with Halloween, the movie, besides taking place on Halloween….

The next day, everyone talks about the hero who saved Halloween, but Penny keeps her secret. They see something flying in the air, believing it’s the mysterious hero….and it’s Suga Mama’s dog, Puff, who has now become a superhero after eating some of the snacks.

The, uh….end I guess.

I gotta be honest, I completely forgot this Halloween special even existed. I was browsing lists of animated Halloween specials and this one came up as one of the best ones from Disney Channel, and I went from “The Proud Family had a Halloween special?” to “OH YEAH! It did….I completely forget what it was about…” to finally, after looking it up “OH YEAH…I kinda remember that……a little!” And bear in mind, I did watch The Proud Family fairly often when it was airing.

……I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. I don’t really get good Halloween vibes from this special. I don’t get much of anything besides confusion. It’s like a word salad, but with random plot elements.

Have a performance by Lil Romeo. Have Penny gain superpowers. Have her father’s snacks be the conduit for said superpowers, somehow and someway. Have a random as hell meteor nearly hit a small child. Have a ghost wait ten years before attacking the family of the house he’s haunting. Why was he even dicking around pretending to be a magician at the party for several hours before attacking?

I guess the lesson was that Halloween…..Uh…Halloween’s not just for kids….because you can get superpowers? No, that can’t be it. Don’t buy houses for $500 because there has to be a hitch? Maybe….Is there even a lesson in this episode?

By the way, all of this DID actually happen. They didn’t balk and say it was a dream or something. It all legitimately happened. The world of The Proud Family is very, very odd sometimes….and I still haven’t reviewed the movie yet…..

This episode really highlighted how god-awful the animation was in this series. I look back to the Kwanzaa special and realize that they must have bumped up the budget a smidge on that episode because I didn’t have much to complain about there, but here? It actually makes me sad. It’s so cheap, the lip syncing is terrible and there are numerous very obvious loop animations. I remembered the animation quality being bad, but this was near laughable levels. Disney, why was your budgeting for the animated Disney Channel shows so inconsistent?

I guess, at the end of the day, this is a perfectly harmless Halloween special. It’s nothing good or bad, it’s just really, really goofy and nonsensical and doesn’t capture the Halloween mood that much. It didn’t make me angry, it didn’t make me happy, it just kinda baffled me.


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Animating Halloween: Hell Girl – Three Vessels Episode 4: Elder Brother Review

HGTVEP4SCREEN

Plot: Yuzuki’s classmate, Yukawa, is constantly beaten and bullied by a group of three terrible boys. He resigns himself to this fate, however, because it’s been like this since he was a little boy. He finally finds self-confidence and strength when a man named Nishida protects him from the boys one day. The two become very close very quickly, but…is that enough?

Breakdown: It’s a very weird day when I realize Hell Girl has addressed an incestuous relationship before a homosexual one.

Anyway, this episode is complete shit….

It honestly was pretty good for most of it, but the ending was just horrible.

Yukawa gets bullied every day by a trio of assholes. And by ‘bullied’ I mean they take huge sums of money from him, treat him as a servant and beat the hell out of him on a regular basis. One day, they tie him up to a tree naked in the middle of winter and pelt him with snowballs. They’re about to chuck a snowball that has a rock inside of it at his head, but the snow/rockball is swatted away by a mysterious kendo fighter named Nishida. He manages to fight off the bullies and save Yukawa.

Nishida reveals that he’s an aspiring prosecutor in law school because he wants to bring justice to the world. Yukawa admires him for his strength, and they become friends. The two bond very quickly, and it’s soon apparent that they like each other romantically. One scene even heavily implies that they either kissed or made out in a field. Honestly, this would make for a decent shounen-ai/yaoi series setup. It probably already is, now that I think about it.

Anyway, because of Nishida’s influence, Yukawa becomes much more self-confident. He gets involved with kendo, he changes up his look and he confronts his bullies with no problem. Everything seems to be going just fine for him….But this is Hell Girl, so it can’t be fine.

And it’s not.

It’s also insanely stupid.

It’s like they started writing a romance story for a bit but then was like ‘Oh shit, I’m writing Hell Girl! Quick! Rush something Hell Girl-ish together for the ending!’

Nishida and Yukawa are on a bus ride together when a man accidentally angers a lunatic with a big knife because he bumped into him and started to yell at him. The man uses the knife to slice off all of the other man’s hair, but that’s not good enough. He stops the bus, and drags him off while implying that he’s going to slit his throat.

Yukawa nearly gets up to confront him during this, but sits back down, intimidated by the man. Hoping big strong Nishida will save him, he’s shocked to find Nishida obviously incredibly angry, but also restraining himself from doing anything. After the men get off and the guy supposedly dies off screen, Nishida apologizes to Yukawa for being unable to do anything and says he understands if he views him as weak now – he just didn’t want to do anything so dangerous while he was on the bus since Yukawa might’ve gotten hurt.

As they separate at the crossroads, Yukawa quietly tells Nishida goodbye with a smile on his face. Later, we see him getting his doll and he pulls the string, sending Nishida to hell. Nishida pleads for his life while being forced to constantly bang a taiko, proclaiming that all he wants to do is finish law school and help fight for justice. He’s ferried away anyway, like always, and he realizes that he’s being sent to hell for not helping the man. He yells out how unfair it is that he’s the only one being punished when everyone on the bus chose to do nothing. Yeah, he has a point. Or, more to the point, why is the psycho not being hunted down and sent to hell?

Back with Yukawa, he’s lost his self-confidence, is getting bullied on the reg, quit kendo and is back to the way he started. The school nurse, who had been concerned about him being bullied this whole time, asks him why he reverted back to allowing himself to being bullied and quitting kendo. He responds that even if he changes a little, it won’t change society…..

Yes.

That is it.

He sent Nishida to hell because he wasn’t hero enough for him.

He sent a really great guy to hell because he wouldn’t charge at a PSYCHOPATH WIELDING A LARGE KNIFE WHILE HE’S UNARMED.

He sent a guy he seemingly loved to hell because he was trying to protect him and not the other guy.

He never sent his bullies or even a bully to hell because reasons, but this damn near perfect man – handsome, kind, educated, brave, loving etc. he sent down the river Styx because even if you’re great and brave and you live a good life with good people, who cares because shitty people still exist?

You’re more content living your life as a target for assholes and being a pathetic sack of fecal matter than at least striving to do what you can for the world at Nishida’s side?

Even if Yukawa was just morbidly depressed and wanted to give up on becoming strong because ‘why bother?’ why send Nishida to hell?

Fuck you, Yukawa. Fuck. You. Fuck your stupid ‘Haha, I see the world for what it really is now’ smile in the end, too. I’ve never been so floored by an episode of Hell Girl. That was just fathoms of stupid. It was light years of stupid. It was god-tier stupid.

Oh, and Yukari’s role in the episode? She’s just there again. Even less than usual. She literally just sees Yukawa in passing a few times and once the nurse asks her about him for some reason. They’re not friends. They never even talk. Absolutely pointless for her to be here.

It’s such a shame because this episode had so much potential, but they just farted it away in a pool of stupid.

Oh and as a bonus stupid, the bus suddenly stopped (causing the psycho to bump into the dude) because Kikuri rolled out into the middle of the street and needed to be wound. Some random dude wound her key….because that’s normal right? And then Kikuri leaves….So…stupid.

Rating: .5/10

Next episode

Previously

Late Stage Edit: I just realized I referred to Yuzuki as Yukari on accident in this episode, but I’m not going to fix it because it just highlights what a forgettable and benign character she is.


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Animating Halloween: Hey Arnold! Arnold’s Halloween

AHHAAH

Plot: Arnold, Gerald and their classmates come up with a Halloween prank to play on the adults. Most of them believe in aliens, so they decide to fake an alien invasion in town. However, the prank gets out of hand quickly, causing the entire city to panic and putting Helga and the other kids in danger of being attacked by an angry mob.

Breakdown: There aren’t that many Halloween specials, particularly animated ones, that ever really made me nervous as a child. And any that did manage to make my heart pump a little faster didn’t manage to continue doing that as I got older.

Arnold’s Halloween is one exception.

“Now, Twix,” you might be asking, “Why Arnold’s Halloween, of all things? It’s a very grounded show. What could possibly make you nervous here, especially as an adult?”

Well…my answer’s actually kinda depressing. It’s because the series is so grounded that this episode manages to make me nervous.

In this episode, Arnold and Gerald get a little annoyed that they’re being kept out of the boarders’ special Halloween plans because, ironically, they’re kids. They decide to get back at them by playing a prank on them. All of the people in the boarding house, and many other adults in the city, are believers in aliens and fans of a local alien TV show. Arnold and Gerald decide to take advantage of this and stage an alien invasion. Helga and the other kids in their class will dress up like aliens and visit the house, they’ll rig the nearby water tower to look like a spaceship and they’ll fake a radio broadcast announcing an alien invasion.

Their plan works very well….ridiculously well….Borderline unrealistically well. Basically, the entire city ends up in a complete panic over this prank, which is being spread because Arnold and Gerlad accidentally sent it out over the regular radio too and the local alien show host caught wind of the situation and broadcast an alert on TV. Everyone’s convinced the aliens have landed and are taking over. The city accidentally ends up in a blackout because of the lights they put on the local water tower, but somehow the water tower itself stays lit. It’s lit so well that no one can tell it’s a water tower, but no one questions where the water tower went.

It’s Hallo-freakin’-ween and hardly anyone has the sense to think this is a prank. Even if the alien show host starts prattling on about it, they should have the sense to think it’s just Halloween nonsense. They then start chasing Helga and her friends with rakes, mallets and sticks.

That’s where things actually start getting tense to me. This insane group of idiot adults is chasing after a group of children with actual weapons intent on hurting on them. Helga and the others try to prove that they’re just kids in costumes, but Harold got some crazy strong makeup that doesn’t rub off. (They could just take off their gloves, but whatever.)

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The one in town who is the most alien-crazy is none other than Helga’s dad, Bob. If you know Bob, you know him being crazy is a scary thing. He’s an untrained militant wack-a-doo who takes any opportunity to whip out his massive hummer and army gear.

He fully believes this invasion is real, so he rallies his friends to go attack the mothership. And by ‘attack the mothership’ I mean fucking BOMB IT.

He legit has bombs (in a bunch of beepers…..He owns a beeper emporium, you see.) that he plans on shooting into the ‘mothership’ after the ‘aliens’ board. Which means, he very nearly blew up a group of nine-year-olds, one of which being his daughter. Holy. Shit.

They also kidnap and tie up Principal Wartz for no other reason than he’s a weenie.

When the kids arrive at the water tower to get away from the angry mob, they become very pissed at Stinky, who is helping Arnold and Gerald, because he accidentally revealed that they were playing a prank the whole time, which greatly confused me. Why wouldn’t Arnold and Gerald let the other kids in on this prank? Maybe they’d like to help. But nope. Instead, they played a prank on them too by telling them to come to the boarding house for a Halloween party.

Helga and the others start attacking Stinky as he runs for the water tower. Seeing this, Bob sets up the others to throw the bombs on his signal and rushes to confront the ‘aliens’ attacking Stinky. He grabs Helga and holds her up in the air by her head, holy shit, and starts frickin’ shaking her over and over. She can’t convince him that she’s Helga because he just thinks that it’s alien mind control.

I was really concerned about Helga here. It may seem stupid in hindsight – this is a kid’s cartoon, Helga’s obviously not going to get hurt – but even as a kid I saw Bob as such an uncaring and intimidating asshole that he very well could have hurt her, especially in one of his crazy modes. I mean, come on, look at what he’s already doing.

Even after Arnold arrives to try and help, Bob doesn’t listen.

By the way, did you forget the bombs?

Bombs.

They hurl the bombs at the water tower, very easily could’ve hit the group below, and they blow a huge hole in the side of the tank. The water finally washes off the makeup, revealing that the ‘aliens’ were just Helga and the others all along. At the very least, Bob realizes what a horrible thing he nearly did (He even says straight out, “I almost killed my own daughter! I’m a monster!”) and hugs Helga, for a change, but, geez, those last few moments were really tense.

And, oddly, I find this episode even more tense as an adult, even though I know the outcome. The reason for this is, now that I’ve grown much older….I realize how stupid people can truly be. It’s still a bit of a stretch to say the whole town went into shambles in less than an hour over alien reports on Halloween, but…mass hysteria plus people being stupid….it’s a hell of a thing. If nothing else, I can certainly believe a small group of yahoos would go out and attack some poor kids, possibly even trying to blow them up. Be honest, if you saw a story like that on the news, would you be surprised? It’ll probably pop up next to a headline that says ‘Gender Reveal Parties Now Leading Cause of Wildfires.’

As much as I like that Helga finally got a hug from her old man and Bob realized what a psycho moron he was being….they didn’t really address the issue they were having throughout the whole episode. Like always, Bob was ignoring Helga, constantly telling her to go away and mistaking her for Olga, and no matter how much Helga wanted her dad’s attention, he wouldn’t give it because he’s an asshole. And….Yeah, after this episode, he’ll continue to ignore her and be an asshole. It happens a lot with Helga-centric episodes involving her parents. It’s quite frustrating.

Still, overall, this is a really good episode. It’s exciting and fun, and there are even some genuinely funny moments in there like Helga miming her dad as he tells his story and Gerald pretending to be the radio announcer. It’s not really a mainstay Halloween special to me, but it’s still one I revisit on occasion.


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Animating Halloween: Fancy Nancy – Nancy’s Costume Clash/Nancy’s Ghostly Halloween

FN1

Plot: Fancy Nancy celebrates Halloween!

Breakdown:

*thunderclap*

On the darkest of nights, as Halloween approaches, the spirits of the underworld start seeping into our realm.

Screams in the night.

Thump.

Thud.

Your blood is pumping harder. A cold sweat reaches your brow. You can’t sleep. You shouldn’t have stayed up late watching the most terrifying of Halloween specials. What were you thinking? Why did you do it? Why did you put on….

FANCY NANCY!?

*thunderclap*

Should I mention that when it comes to Halloween and Christmas specials I tend to use the randomizer on the Halloween/Christmas special Wiki pages to select what I watch? Because otherwise I don’t think I’d ever be watching Disney Junior’s Fancy Nancy Halloween Special.

Up until now, I didn’t even realize Fancy Nancy was a thing. It seems like you get what you pay for when it comes to Fancy Nancy. It’s a show about a girl named Nancy who likes her stuff fancy. This is really out of my wheelhouse. I am very much not a girly girl. I don’t care to have my stuff fancy. I am a simple schlub.

So, I’m going to channel my inner fanciness…..Uhm….Hm….How do I do that?

Oh thanks, Patrick!

Our first Halloween story is Nancy’s Costume Clash. Nancy and her friend, Bree, accidentally make the same Nanette the Nice Witch costume for a Halloween party, which is a fashion faux pas. They manage to settle their dispute with a coin flip and Nancy letting Bree wear her old mermaid costume. Everything seems okay until a bitch named Grace shows up wearing her store bought official Nanette the Nice Witch costume.

Like before, they settle this dispute with a coin flip, but Nancy ends up getting the bad end of the deal this time, so she’s forced to change. Her friend, Lionel, offers his old costume, a taco, which doesn’t meet Nancy’s EXCEPTIONAL needs, but she accepts it anyway.

Oh right, the EXCEPTIONAL thing. Nancy has this insanely annoying habit of saying EXCEPTIONAL all the time and needing everything she wears, has or uses being EXCEPTIONAL. Because she’s Fancy Nancy. She needs her stuff fancy. Also, she has a habit of saying French words a lot, which, while being similarly annoying – she’s not French, and really only says those words because French things are fancy by default – is at least educational. She also has a habit of saying ‘fancy’ words, which is meant to help kids with their English vocabulary, which is pretty nice.

She fancifies her taco costume via song break. The song, ‘Exceptional Halloween,’ is actually pretty catchy. When she’s done, the taco costume does look better, but it also looks worse.

FN3

….what the hell is on her head? Is that a bowl of ice cream? Why is there stuff seemingly dripping over the edges of the shell? It really comes off more as a weird seashell costume more than a fancy taco, which actually would’ve worked better considering Bree’s a mermaid.

Everyone loves her costume, and Nancy even compliments Grace on her costume. They bob for apples, everyone’s happy, the end.

This story was pretty okay. It showed a very overused plotline resolved in a less conventional way. Usually stories with ‘OMG We’re wearing the same outfit!?’ angles just involve a lot of bitching and trying to force the other girl to change, but here they just come up with solutions on making everything fair for everyone. Bree and Lionel help Nancy out, and Nancy adds her own pizzazz to be fully happy with her ice cream sea shell taco costume.

But urgh….I don’t think I have the fanciness to continue onto the second half of the episode. It’s too much exceptionalism.

*knock knock*

Hm?

Ah, yes, many thanks, Patrick. How could I have been so absent-minded?

The second segment is about the girls trick or treating. Nancy is wearing a butterfly costume (with really tiny wings and a tutu, which kinda makes it look like a fairy costume.) Why she’s wearing a different costume than she was for the Halloween party, I don’t know. It’s a little chilly out, so her mom tells her to wear a jacket. Nancy doesn’t want to cover her fancy wings, so she asks if she can wear her cloak instead since she can keep it open most of the time to keep her wings uncovered and wrap it around her if she gets cold. Her mom agrees and they go off trick or treating…..by themselves? That’s kinda a weird thing to include in a Disney Junior show. I mean, they only seem to be going to houses they know, but still. They’re like, what, six or seven, and they’re babysitting a kid who’s like four? I didn’t think that going off on your own at that age was kosher anymore.

The kids all start getting spooked by the Halloween decorations in town, but they keep trick or treating anyway.

Nancy doesn’t like having her cloak on since it obscures her wings, so she leaves it on the fence of her neighbor, claiming she’ll come back for it later. Her little sister, Jojo, who is out as a knight, believes Nancy accidentally left it behind, so she puts it on and rushes to chase after her to give it back.

Cue the misunderstanding – Bree and Nancy think Jojo’s a ghost because her helmet locked in place, obscuring her face and making her voice echo, she’s now all cloaked up, and she accidentally hooked a light-up foggy decoration on the cloak to trail behind her.

FN2

The girls and eventually Lionel, whose brilliant costume is just a zombie mask, run away from the ‘ghost’ until they realize it’s Jojo. They laugh it off, Nancy puts her cloak back on and they all go back to trick or treating. The end.

This story was also pretty decent. It was spooky enough for the younglings, but they made it clear that the ‘ghost’ was Jojo so they wouldn’t get too scared. Plus, it was trying to teach a lesson about not letting your imagination run wild and scare you, especially during Halloween where many things are scary, but mostly fake.

Overall, this was a pretty good Halloween special all around. I think I would have tuned in to watch this as a little Twix. My impressions on the show as a whole? Seems all well and good. Nancy IS a little grating just because she’s a very, for lack of a better term, diva-ish character. People were complaining that she’s a brat who always gets what she wants and never learns any lessons, but as far as I saw that’s just flatout not true. She can be a little abrasive, and the EXCEPTIONAL habit is annoying, but she always tries to be fair and nice and does learn lessons when things don’t go her way. She’s a very realistic kid. People need to chill the hell out.

Granted, maybe I’d get really sick of her after watching more episodes, but….I’m probably not gonna do that.

Plus, she’s helping kids develop vocabulary skills, teaching them some very basic French and the show manages to teach some good lessons while not being overly cheesy, talking down to kids and still managing to be entertaining. I was never bored or really irritated while watching it. In addition, the animation and music are quite high-quality. I did find myself enjoying the theme song and the ‘Exceptional Halloween’ song way more than I anticipated.

I leave off this review with the most important lesson anyone could take away from this.


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Animating Halloween 2020 Update

Hey persons of the blog reading variety! October is coming up very soon, which means another round of Animating Halloween is just around the corner. I’m very excited as always, but I do have an unfortunate update. It’s been a bit of a tradition here for several years now to review the new seasons of Yami Shibai episode by episode over the course of the event, but, sadly, there is no new season of Yami Shibai this year.

Instead, the crew behind the series opted to go a different route and released a spin-off series called Ninja Collection, which, as far as my readings have lead me, sucks like an industrial grade vacuum cleaner. It utilizes the same paper-cutout animation Yami Shibai had, but the change in genre and focus apparently made it flop hard.

Some sites classify it as a horror, but, to me, it seems no more horror-esque than any other supernatural show, so I don’t have much interest in covering it.

Now, that’s not to say I don’t still have ideas for this year’s Animating Halloween. We’ll be covering Hell Girl: Three Vessels, and I’m currently digging up the norm in regards to animated Halloween specials and anime/cartoon horror movies/OVAs, but I do believe the Yami Shibai tradition has come to an end, unless they pick it up next year, which is iffy. It’s a shame, but it had a seven season run, and that’s pretty darn good, even if the episodes were only a few minutes long.

If you guys have any suggestions for horror/Halloween themed features you’d like to see me review for Animating Halloween, feel free to throw them at me! I’m always looking for new and interesting things to cover during these holiday events. I only ask that any suggestions be a fairly quick watch so’s to allow me to watch/read everything in time.

Thanks for reading, and hope everyone enjoys has a fun and safe Halloween season! 🙂

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 7 Episodes 11, 12 & 13 (FINALE) Review

Episode 11: Little Sister’s Room

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Plot: A teenage boy searches through his little sister’s room without her permission for something of his that she seemingly stole from him. He hides under the bed when he hears her and her friend enter the room, but they’re not the only ones there.

Breakdown: I liked the background tension this episode built with the shadowy figure hopping around behind the guy without drawing attention to itself. I also liked the design of the ghost or demon thing that was under the bed.

However, this episode is really odd because, even though Yami Shibai episodes are only four minutes long, this somehow felt really padded. He spends way too long reaching for the…thing (what was it? A book? A CD? I couldn’t figure it out) and we spend too long listening to the girls prattle on, spending half of their conversation making fun of fat people, whether it be overweight fans of a pop idol named Michi or her fat otaku brother that she also mocks for being perverted, even though we see no indication that he is as such.

I started really sympathizing with the brother because, even though they’re trying to make off like he’s a creepy otaku, he just seems like a typical guy who has an interest in anime/pop idols. She’s the one stealing his stuff, claiming she’s going to sell all of his merch and saying he’s so creepy he’d probably install a camera in her bedroom.

I was really waiting for him to burst out from under the bed to yell at her or maybe accidentally burst out a declaration while under the bed because of all the things she was saying about him, but then I realized he’s right to be highly concerned about being ousted. It’s not just a case of her brother being in her room, but he was hiding under her bed. If she told their parents later, I can bet he’d get in much more trouble for supposedly perverted behavior than she would for hearsay comments about him being creepy, especially when she’s saying that stuff while he’s hiding under the bed….We know the context, but they wouldn’t.

It’s so strange that, ultimately, I felt more tension wondering if they would catch him under the bed than I did of any supernatural being attacking any of them. The demon or ghost or whatever it was really felt like an afterthought, honestly. At the beginning, I thought we would find out their had another sibling who died or something and it was the ghost of that sibling or the room was kept the same after the younger sibling died and neither sibling was meant to be in there, but nope. Just a completely random spirit haunting the girl’s room for some reason – never attacking her for seemingly weeks or months, according to the psychic friend, because reasons.

And, of course, this is a lose-lose situation in regards to the attack. I sympathized too much with the brother to want him to die, and I hate the girl and her friend too much to not want them to die.

The art in this episode was also really poor. The shapes were wonky, especially the eyes, there was a severe lack of detailing, and there’s one shot where the girls have no faces for absolutely no reason. Usually, animators will opt not to draw a face on a character if they’re very far away, but the camera was way too close to warrant not drawing faces.

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Episode 12: Fitting Room

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Plot: A business woman relives her glory days in a cute little boutique that sells a lot of the outfits she used to wear when she was younger. It’s easy to get wrapped up in nostalgia and even easier to become consumed by it.

Breakdown: I really enjoyed this episode, even if it did have its flaws. For instance, there are a few too many old outfits of hers in this boutique for her to not feel even slightly creeped out. She doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that there are no employees in the building. And….was it my imagination or did she get killed because she brought in too many items to the fitting room? I only ask because there’s no reason they’d bring that up otherwise and the sign fell down after she got nabbed, so…….Also, why was there like closets filled with clothes in the fitting room if you’re only allowed to bring in one outfit?

Otherwise, mannequins can sure go to hell, eh?

This episode was interesting in that it focused more on psychological terror than the supernatural threat. This woman is taking a stroll down memory lane by wearing all of her old outfits. She’s mostly remembering people praising her for how good she looked, what good fashion sense she had, how good she was at piano or something. But then the memories turn sour. She starts hearing those same people say terrible things about her, which causes her to freak out.

I was wondering if her memories were really accurate. Because it seems like people either loved buttering her up or these memories were not right. I’m just having a hard time believing everyone around her doled out such unyielding praise to her at such….suck-up levels. Especially the part where she’s remembering what her friends were saying. I probably wouldn’t really have thought to ask but she also said she thinks she would have the courage to confess to a cute guy named Hashimoto now, as opposed to back then, and she said he was so nice to people, even to her.

He also, when shifted to a negative memory, claims she’s indecisive and hesitant. Where did that even come from? If the other negative memories of her were right and she was full of herself and needed compliments a lot, she wouldn’t be hesitant and indecisive.

Was this whole experience in the fitting room meant to expose or exploit some feelings of insecurity? Were her memories reliable at all? She’s so caught up in reliving her glory days, that I almost get the feeling like her current life isn’t all that great, which makes the ending that much sadder, if you ask me.

I wouldn’t say this episode is particularly scary, but I found it interesting at least. Sometimes, your own inner thoughts and concerns about yourself can be your deepest fears, and that’s pretty powerful if that’s what they were going for.

I won’t spoil the ending……but screw mannequins….and those creepy creaky noises they were making.

The art for this episode was done in a similar style to Manga Cafe, but the designs were quite a bit different, much more realistic and less cartoony, and even the animation wasn’t nearly as janky. I really liked it.

Episode 13: Refrigerator

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Plot: A refrigerator observes its family through the passage of time.

Breakdown: Okay!……Okay……Okay?…….

…..Ooo…kay?….

So…it…uh….there’s this fridge……..No, I should start somewhere else….Have you ever seen The Brave Little Toaster?

Ah, nevermind.

Alright, let’s just start at the very very beginning, which is simply the title. When I saw that title, I was very skeptical. It’s our season finale, and it’s about a fridge. It doesn’t help that the fridge talks. I really thought this would end up being one of stupidest episodes of Yami Shibai since that one about the toilet, but I didn’t hate it, honestly. It’s different, certainly, but it’s not bad different. It’s just….very….very confusing. And, sadly, no matter how many comments I read, really no one had a satisfactory theory on what happened to the little boy, so I’m going to share my thoughts.

Please note that my theory changed several times and this one might be kinda out there, but it makes sense to me.

The story starts out picturesque. A fridge is enjoying its life serving as a new addition to the kitchen in the home of a happy family. However, after a few years, the family gets increasingly miserable to the point where they’re always at each other’s throats. Less and less food would be put in the fridge, and they rarely ate together anymore.

After about a decade, it’s clear the family has gone nuts. There’s no food in the fridge anymore, it’s stained with blood and they’re very manic. They eventually load up the fridge with large packages of food, which makes the fridge very happy. However, the fridge notes that the food seems strange and smells very familiar. It also notes that the little boy is the only one of the family to not grow up. The father is notably not present, and the remaining family members chant that there wasn’t another way.

As we end the episode, the conclusion can be drawn that they killed the father, chopped up his body and put it in packages in the fridge either to hide or eat it maybe.

The end.

Right before I wrote this review, I had one theory that the father killed the little boy right after the shot of them acting all happy-go-lucky. Then they became miserable because of the boy’s death, and the boy was haunting the house afterward which is why we see him throughout. Then they went crazy and killed the father in an act of vengeance. I thought maybe they had hidden the boy’s body in the fridge at some point, which is why the fridge said it smelled familiar, but that didn’t make quite enough sense because we would’ve seen at least a hint of it at some point in the episode.

But then I noticed something. The boy never spoke. He never really moved much either. He mostly just stared at stuff. His shirt also never once changed. And then I noticed the most damning thing – from the very beginning, there was only four chairs at the dinner table but, if the boy was part of their family, there would be five (Mom, Dad, older brother, sister and younger brother). In addition, when the mom puts the cake in the fridge, there are only four slices.

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I can’t imagine he was part of the family and died before the start of the episode, so I came up with this theory. Again, it’s kinda out there and might not fully fit given some details, but I’m comfortable with it.

The fridge isn’t a new fridge. It’s just new to this family/house, right? I believe the fridge is a refurbished used fridge that belonged to someone else. The boy was killed, chopped up and stored in the fridge, which is why the fridge noted that the smell was familiar even though we never saw any body parts being put into the fridge over the years (and all of the food looked normal to me, but that might not mean anything.)

The boy now haunts the fridge and affects the family of the owner of the fridge.

As for why the family eventually went nuts and the father got killed and chopped up by them, I believe the boy’s father killed him and he wanted to kill the father of this family to get revenge by proxy, so he used his ghost powers to influence them, make them go insane and eventually do the deed. That’s why he looked so happy in the end and finally disappeared. The fridge also got blood stains as we neared the end because the ghost was causing the stains from his body to reemerge now that the killing had happened or was close to happening.

The only real hitch in this theory that I can’t get around is why the fridge doesn’t recognize the kid, but I guess it’s possible that it was a fridge in the basement or garage or something of the first owner and never really noticed the kid. Maybe the events were so horrible, it blocked it from its memory.

I dunno, maybe my entire theory is bunk. But if you just take the episode at face value it is ridiculously confusing. You pretty much have to make up your own story and overlay it on top to really get enough value, story-wise, from it. It is an entertaining episode if not just for the unique perspective, different storytelling technique and gradual buildup to the really dark stuff.

The fact that the story was being narrated by this admittedly adorable sounding refrigerator also added a unique aspect to this episode. It was a deep contrast to the dark feelings of the family and the grim vibe. I felt a tiny bit sad for the fridge at the end. (Well, that’s a sentence I said.)

It was a creepy episode, but it stops there. The story and atmosphere never become truly scary. It’s one of the better episodes of the season, but it’s also probably the most confusing one of the entire franchise. I know I liked it, but it would definitely be polarizing for most people.

Sad to say, this is another season that closed out without any special little ending or the narrator doing anything special. 😦

That being said, it’s fitting that the end of the newest season of Yami Shibai also closes out this year’s Animating Halloween. It went by way too fast, if you ask me, and I can only hope we get another season of Yami Shibai to visit next year. The full review of season seven is coming up soon, but for now have a happy and safe Halloween!

And be nice to your sentient fridge.


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Animating Halloween: Tiny Toon Adventures – Night Ghoulery Review

Plot: The Tiny Toons parody numerous horror movies and shows for their Halloween special.

Breakdown: Now that the Looney Tunes have had their shot at a Halloween special review this year and pretty much flopped, how did the Tiny Toons do?

Much better, I’m happy to report. And I was trying really hard not to be biased because I did watch this special a lot as a kid (I especially remember loving the parody of The Tell-Tale Heart.)

Instead of taking old existing cartoon shorts and sloppily taping them together to make a Halloween movie, Tiny Toons went all out and made a full 45 minute long special with all new shorts parodying a variety of horror based movies and TV shows.

The shorts are bookended by sequences where Babs is parodying the TV series, Night Gallery, which a horror anthology show hosted by Rod Sterling (with Babs doing a Rod Sterling impression throughout) that was akin to the Twilight Zone.

Some of the segments are almost confusingly short and are not bookended by the Babs Night Gallery scenes, which can sometimes make it difficult to know where and why a new short is starting, but it’s not nearly as bad as Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special.

Most of the shorts, however, are pretty entertaining. Not really busting a gut laughing, but I was laughing quietly to myself. It even started me off laughing since the special started with a parody of Nightmare Before Christmas. There were many moments that had me chuckling. Obviously, some of the shorts land harder than others, but they had their moments

I was baffled at how only one of them featured Buster at all. This special was covered in Plucky and Hamton, though, which is fine because I love those two, but it’s a little confusing why they were given so much focus. They, together, got two shorts to themselves, and Plucky even got another while partnered with Buster. Babs only got one short to herself, and Babs and Buster never had a short together.

I didn’t particularly care for the fact that two of these shorts had a character, both played by Plucky, that did the ol’ ‘There’s something scary!’ *tries to show other person* *There’s nothing there* *Character is treated like an idiot or crazy* trope twice in this special, especially considering that my least favorite part of Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special was the one where they did that same trope with Sylvester.

Also, Tiny Toons does prove to get a little dated at spots. Nothing cringe or eye-roll worthy, but there are still instances here and there where you can see its age. In addition, even as an adult, there are a ton of references I just don’t get.

I really appreciated that they made a custom theme song for the special. Not only is it an extended version of the regular song, but it’s animated and lyrically changed to fit the Halloween theme, which was awesome. They even ended the special on a different ending rendition of it.

Overall, this is a really great special for any Looney Tune or Tiny Toon fan around Halloween. It’s obviously not scary at all, it’s Tiny Toons so it’s not meant to be, but it’s a great bit of Halloween humor with a little something for everyone. Plus, we got to see Furrball dressed as a Ghostbuster, come on.


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