An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 7: A Fox in a Box and a 4Kids with a Block (2002 cont.)

In January of 2002, Al Kahn made a four-year deal with Fox to take over their Saturday morning kids’ programming block, Fox Kids, for $101.2 million, nudging out competitors DiC and Nelvana to get the spot. This was particularly sweet for them because Fox Kids used to be the home of Digimon, one of Pokemon’s biggest competitors. The deal gave 4Kids full control over everything shown in that window of air time, as long as it fit Fox’s standards and practices, and it also gave 4Kids every penny of the advertising revenue from that spot.

The new block would be titled Fox Box until three years later when it would be renamed, what else – 4Kids TV. 4Kids would not be moving away from their usual home of Kids WB – at least not entirely. Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! in particular were not moving to the new Fox block, in a supposed show of loyalty to the WB. Not entirely sure I believe that’s the real reason, especially since Warner Bros. recently didn’t feel any loyalty towards 4Kids when they dropped the movies from distribution, but what do I know?

The deal seemed pretty great at the time. Kahn in particular seemed very happy about the decision and the potential for growth for each company. And a great deal it was. 4Kids didn’t even have to pay the $101.2 million up front. They had a leasing deal in which they’d pay Fox $25.3 million each year. All 4Kids had to do was fill the block with content – one of which being required to fit educational and informative requirements. Some shows they acquired from third-party sources, but the majority of their lineup was either western animation shows that they produced or from anime they had dubbed.

4Kids had four new shows to launch during the premiere of the Fox Box; Ultraman Tiga, Kirby: Right Back At Ya!, Ultimate Muscle and Fighting Foodons.

Ultraman Tiga was, in my opinion, 4Kids’ attempt to compete with Saban for their Power Rangers audience, even if the Power Rangers boom of the mid 90s was pretty much over by that point. It still had steam, but it wasn’t as massive as it was with Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. At this point in time, they were airing Wild Force, which was their tenth season/series.

4Kids didn’t do any better job at dubbing Ultraman Tiga than they did with any other show they dubbed. The typical changes were made – new theme song, completely replace the soundtrack, names of items, abilities etc. are changed, and storylines were changed, there was a much more humorous tone added with many more jokes, although, interestingly, everyone’s characters retain their original names. The aspect of the stories being changed was blamed on Fox’s standards and practices clause, not on 4Kids themselves, but I can’t be too sure.

Unlike what Saban did to Super Sentai when they created Power Rangers, 4Kids didn’t opt to film an entirely new show with American actors and only splice in scenes from the original show when it suited the new one. They just dubbed the original footage into English.

Despite getting the rights to dub all 52 episodes, 4Kids dropped the show at episode 23 due to low ratings. According to Erica Schroeder, a voice actor in the show, a part of the reason Ultraman Tiga flopped was because they couldn’t decide whether it was a serious show or a parody.

I never saw this series when it was airing, but I did find an episode on Youtube, and even in episode one this problem is clear. A lot of the episode will go by being entirely serious, but then they’ll suddenly interject with a weirdly out of place joke. Like how when they learn Easter Island is being attacked by a giant monster, one of the characters says it reminds him of his mother-in-law, and Daigo, the main character, says their mother-in-law’s nose is bigger than the monster’s.

One clip I found on Youtube has one of the enemies claiming he’ll capture all of humanity, shrink them down into collectibles and everyone will be trading them back on their home planet – claiming that they’ll be “Bigger than Pokemon.” TV Tropes claims it is clearly a parody, specifically parodying the 1966 Titra Studios dub of the original Ultraman, which, if true, is equally confusing. Like any kid would ever get that.

It’s almost like they were trying to reach the same balance of humor/cheesiness with action/seriousness that Power Rangers is known for, but just couldn’t achieve the right result. It’s a shame, because, honestly, I did find the show to be perfectly watchable. It’s not great, but it’s fine. Not sure it ever would have been a favorite of mine as a kid, especially since I was pretty well out of my Power Rangers phase at that point, but I can totally see myself enjoying it back then on Saturday mornings.

In a really weird twist, 4Kids didn’t release the episodes they had dubbed on DVD. Instead, they released all of the Japanese episodes uncut on DVD. The dub was originally lost, with copies only being available through recordings people had when the episodes originally aired. Nineteen of these episodes have been found, remastered (Using HD footage from the original Japanese version) and released on Youtube by a user named Gorizard, if you want to check them out. Also, if you have access to the remaining missing episodes, please go drop the Lost Wiki a line.

Their next show to premiere on the Fox Box was Kirby: Right Back at Ya! – originally known in Japan as Kirby of the Stars. Believe it or not, even a show based on a character as innocent as Kirby didn’t get away without being edited.

As was now the norm for all of their dubs, 4Kids removed any instances of text, usually Japanese, but also commonly English, they got a brand new theme song and opening sequence as well as an entirely new soundtrack, some instances of violence were cut, many of the names were changed, some swearing was removed, the characters announcing their attacks was removed, references to alcohol were removed, one instance of fanservice was edited, and an entire subplot was removed. There was also one episode, A Dental Dilemma, that was never aired, but this was also supposedly because of Fox’s standards and practices. As Michael Haigney stated during an interview with Anime Boredom,

“The Standards & Practices woman at Fox felt that the whole show dental care in a terrible light and that airing it might discourage children from going to the dentist. Actually, Escargoon had to go to the dentist because he had taken terrible care of his teeth, so there was a positive message in the show, but in a kind of negative way. (The Japanese have a very different sensibility in some things.) I saw the woman’s point, though the show was obviously (I hope) a comedy. After some back and forth, we decided to release the unaired show as a bonus on one of the Kirby DVDs.”

Edit: Apparently, while the episode was initially removed from airing, the episode was eventually aired during season three

Even the broadcasting of the show had to be messed with. Some episodes were aired out of order to better suit 4Kids’ marketing – such as when they moved some episodes to coincide with the release of new Kirby games, and one instance where, not kidding, they shifted the airing of an episode that was parodying Harry Potter for the sake of mooching off of the upcoming release of one of the books.

There was even one time where they moved episodes from near the end of the series, episodes 96 and 97, to much earlier than they were set to air to help promote Kirby Air Ride on the GameCube. To avoid people getting upset at spoiling parts of the finale, they edited the episodes to make it seem like the characters were having a prophetic dream and aired the episodes as a special called Air Ride in Style.

Despite this, from all I’ve read online, fans seem to claim Kirby: Right Back at Ya! is one of their better dubs – only the various terrible accents bother them for the most part.

However, just as many other people claimed the series was an empty excuse for random monster fighting or mindless toddler stuff that even seemed out of place on a block like the Fox Box.

While the Wiki page acts as if the show got a full DVD release by 4Kids and Funimation, it really didn’t. In 2003, it got three volumes worth of releases, which, by 4Kids’ DVD logic, means just a pitiful nine episodes were released. Considering Kirby: Right Back At Ya!! has 100 episodes, that means, if they kept this pace, it would have taken them over 30 volumes to release the entire series.

They did release a bundle of the final five episodes in the DVD Kirby: Fright to the Finish!! though they were edited together to make a “movie” (They announced it as a new feature film even though it wasn’t….) The DVD also included a bonus episode, Hour of the WolfWrath (episode 24). They released two other compilation DVDs after that three years later.

In 2008, they released Kirby’s Adventures in Cappytown…..which was just a re-release of the first seven episodes….and, finally, they released Cappy New Year and Other Kirby Adventures, which also re-released episodes eight and nine, but also finally released episode ten, eleven, twe–eh thirteen, fourteen and 29, which was the titular Cappy New Year. According to a moderator on 4Kids’ forums, 4Kids lost the rights to Kirby in 2009 so no more DVDs surfaced after that. In 2012, three episodes of the show were included on the disk for the GameCube game, Kirby’s Dream Collection, episode one (again), episode 60 and episode 72. Altogether, that means 76 episodes of the show have never seen a DVD release.

Next up was 4Kids’ dub of Kinnukuman Nisei, retitled by 4Kids to be Ultimate Muscle. In a surprising turn of events, Ultimate Muscle would prove to be one of 4Kids most successful dubs, despite having the hallmarks of nearly all of their dubs, such as changing the names, censoring violence and some sexual-ish/nudity-ish content, removing English and Japanese text etc. Ultimate Muscle would also have the first instances of 4Kids changing the ethnicity of certain characters, although only audibly – Check Mate was originally from Monaco, but 4Kids gave him a British accent. There was Buffaloman, who was originally from Spain, but was changed to be Russian. They made The Ninja, who was originally Japanese, American. Perhaps the most ‘Do we need to point out what’s wrong here?’ moment of ethnicity changes was Geronimo who was originally Native American but was changed to British as well.

Unlike Ultraman Tiga, 4Kids seemed to know for certain that they wanted Ultimate Muscle to be almost entirely comedy-focused to the point of parody, and they made the right call. The series would be praised for its strong sense of humor, light tone and fun characters. They even broke the fourth wall regularly and kept numerous innuendos from the original series in addition to making their own, such as naming a character Dik-Dik Van Dik.

4Kids’ dub of Ultimate Muscle did much better than its Japanese counterpart, which got canceled after 51 episodes and running for one year due to low ratings. The ratings in the west were so good that 4Kids called the original production company, Toei, up and requested them to make two more seasons of the show that would be marketed as spin-offs in Japan. Despite the lousy ratings in Japan, TV Tokyo and Toei agreed. The spin-offs in Japan would be titled Kinnukuman Nisei: Ultimate Muscle and Kinnukuman Second Generation: Ultimate Muscle 2. Whether at the behest of 4Kids or because Toei thought it would be a better move, the next two seasons would be more American focused. Like the original series, neither spin-off did well in Japan, but the continuation of the series was very successful for 4Kids.

Oddly, however, as far as I can tell, Ultimate Muscle only got two DVD releases in America, which contained the first nine episodes of the series. In Japan, however, both of the spin-off series they made would get full box-set releases, which has to be one of the more backwards things I’ve heard recently.

I remember seeing bits and pieces of Ultimate Muscle when it was airing, but I never really followed it. However, finding some clips for research and seeing how beloved it’s remembered by fans, I think I’ll keep it in my back pocket and watch it sometime in the future.

Finally, 4Kids dubbed Martial Arts Cooking Legend Bistro Recipe, which they would retitle to Fighting Foodons. Despite there being very little information on this title, the manga of this series was popular enough to warrant two spin-off Game Boy Color games, neither of which got released outside of Japan, and a Wonderswan game, which obviously never released outside of Japan either. The anime version was less successful. It ran for 26 episodes, completing its run after airing between December of 2001 and June of 2002. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have been aired in Japan after this.

Since the series was doing poorly and they only had two volumes of manga to work from anyway (I don’t know if the manga got canceled or just ended), the series was discontinued. Enoki Films, who currently own the rights to the franchise, never released the show on any form on home video, nor did the manga, which was obscure in its own right, get any English translation (not even a fan scanlation), making the series largely lost to time.

Sometime in 2002, while the original show was airing in Japan, 4Kids purchased the rights to dub the show. Their run of the show started on September 14, 2002 and ended on August 30, 2003. Despite not being all that popular State-side either, the show did garner a cult following because of its strange premise and, like Ultimate Muscle, its sense of humor. In fact, from what I found, many fans who seem to have watched the original find the dub to be at least fairly loyal to the original while some have gone so far as to say the dub is better. However, I did also find a THEM review that completely steamrolled it, claiming it was the worst Pokemon rip-off that, unlike Ultimate Muscle, wasn’t fun or funny, but instead was annoying and boring.

The information available online is sparse. Even the Fandom page for the franchise doesn’t have a lot of content.

Trying to find any information on what changed between the original version and 4Kids’ dub of Fighting Foodons is very difficult since the Japanese version was never released on home video, and the raws, at least as far as I can tell, aren’t available anywhere online either. I’m 99% certain the only copies of the Japanese version are in Enoki’s hands, and they don’t seem interested in releasing them.

As far as I can tell, most of the regular 4Kids cuts are present. Completely change the score, change the opening theme song (set to, of all things, a bastardization of Jacques Offenbach’s ‘Orpheus of the Underworld’?) changed the names, removed all text, removed smoking etc. Names of certain Asian dishes represented in the show were also changed to food more familiar to Americans, even if many of the dishes were still not entirely unfamiliar to Americans because, well, we have Asian foods in America all the time. Not only were the names localized, but they made puns out of the names. For example, a Foodon called Meat Sauce was changed to Spaghettabout-It. Chorizon, based on a Chorizo, was changed to Hot Doggone-It. Curry was changed to Curry-Up. And Kobe Beef was changed to Sir Loin.

There was one clear instance of digitally painting away pistols to make them into ketchup and mustard shooters, and that also seems to be something people noted in other discussion threads about the show’s dub.

The show never did that well in America either, so the fact that they only had the 26 episodes was no real skin off of 4Kids’ nose. However, apparently, the show did have a strong enough cult following to prompt Discotek, who bought the rights to the show after 4Kids went defunct, to release the dub on DVD in 2017. While the box art for their DVDs had uncensored images of a character smoking (right on the spine, so it’s not really an oversight) and Hot Doggone-It, the character whose pistols were changed to ketchup and mustard bottles, with his uncensored pistols right there on display (as the main art on one of the discs, even, so it’s a clear closeup) the footage was the same edited version as shown on the Fox Box.

I never watched Fighting Foodons, but I definitely remember the moment when I first heard that random-ass theme song. Why is their theme song the Can-Can? Is it because it’s public domain and they didn’t want to bother having an original song made?

Other notes for 2002 include the acquisition of several properties for syndication broadcast such as Cramp Twins, which was very popular in the UK, and Pirate Islands, a live-action pirate-themed action-adventure show from Australia that prompted Al Kahn to say this cringey paragraph;

“Pirate Islands combines practically everything that kids love: high-flying adventure, an exotic pirate story and fast-paced video game-style action. The only thing missing is chocolate. If this isn’t a sure-fire hit… I’m walking the plank!”

Al Kahn was then eaten by a shark because I don’t remember this ever being a thing anywhere. I imagine it was more successful in Australia, but the generic title makes it really hard to find much information on it. The ratings that are around seem pretty middle of the road, though.

Oh as a final note to close out 2002, 4Kids also picked up some little known license. Teenage Mutant something or other. I forget.

Overall, 4Kids saw a 28% rise in 2002 from $41,538,000 in consolidated net revenues in 2001 to $53,140,000 in 2002, attributed to their returns from the Fox Box, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon and Cabbage Patch Kids, but production costs increased 137% to $3,375,000 as a result of taking on more properties than ever before, and their net income was actually down nearly half of 2001’s net profits with $6,990,000 in 2002 compared to $12,244,000 in 2001.

Next – Part 8: Miramax Killed the Movie Theater Star (Coming Soon)

Previous – Part 6: 4Kids 4Ever


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Cartoons Step-by-Step | Xiaolin Showdown Episode 5: Shen Yi Bu Review

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Plot: The Dragon Warriors detect the presence of a new Shen Gong Wu – The Sword of the Storm, which allows the user to control powerful storms and become intangible. But when Omi, self-proclaimed expert on the sword, tries to explain the technical aspects of the weapon, Raimundo daydreams and ignores most of what he says.

His lack of caring on the subject causes him to lose the sword to Tubbimura – Jack Spicer’s newest crony. While losing a Shen Gong Wu is embarrassing enough, it’s stings even worse for Raimundo since the sword is a wind-based Shen Gong Wu and he’s the Dragon of Wind.

Realizing that his lack of focus and seriousness in his studies caused him to fail, Raimundo cracks down on studying.

Later, a new Shen Gong Wu is detected – the Shroud of Shadows, which allows the user to become invisible when cloaked. They track it down only to be met with Tubbimura again. Raimundo and Tubbimura start a Xiaolin Showdown over the shroud, but Raimundo calls for a Shen Yi Bu dare, which doubles the stakes – in addition to the shroud and their initial Shen Gong Wu item, they’ll also wager a second Shen Gong Wu. Winner goes home with five Shen Gong Wu. Tubbimura puts forth the Sword of the Storm and the Fist of Tebigong while Raimundo wagers the Two-Ton Tunic and the Eye of Dashi. Before starting, Raimundo calls for a third condition – swapping items at random intervals.

The showdown starts. It’s a challenge to stay on a rock. First one to knock the other off into the water wins. While Raimundo’s newfound knowledge and determination definitely show in his improved skills in battle, Tubbimura proves to be a formidable opponent. Raimundo barely holds on to the side of the tall rock, using the Fist of Tebigong to maintain his grip. However, the item switch causes him to lose the Fist at the worst moment, but he gains the Sword of the Storm.

He chooses to fall, shocking everyone, but Raimundo once again uses what he learned in his studies to change the tides. He combines the Eye of Dashi with the Sword of the Storm to catch himself in midair and fly over the water. He creates a tornado over Tubbimura, which launches him off the rock and into the water.

Raimundo is declared the winner of the showdown and goes home with five Shen Gong Wu.

Back at the temple, everyone discusses Raimundo’s progress. No one else on the team or even Jack Spicer knew what a Shen Yi Bu dare was, nor did they realize that they could combine Shen Gong Wu together. Master Fung mentions that no one has attempted a Shen Yi Bu in centuries, and winning one is exceptionally difficult.

Meanwhile, Raimundo continues to work hard on his studies to prepare for future challenges…..but he’s not above taking a secret break or two for video games.

Breakdown: This episode is probably the best of Xiaolin Showdown so far. While it was a pretty typical story as far as this series has been concerned so far (One of the group messes up because of a personal flaw, then they realize their mistake, work through it and win in the end) this is the best version of all of these types of stories.

Raimundo’s not being obnoxious, he just has his head up in the clouds (or in the waves, in his case) because he finds the subject to be boring. He clearly has an ego that allows him to think he can do this and still make off without any problems in his studies or battles, but he’s not really being cocky about it. He’s being a typical teenager. Studies are boring, so let’s just do the thing so I can goof off.

When he fails against Tubbimura because he didn’t listen to Omi explaining the Sword of the Storm, it’s a huge blow to his pride. He decides to buckle down, study more and actually engage with his role as the Dragon of the Wind.

Because he actually did the work, he manages to come through in spades, blowing everyone away with his newfound knowledge and skills, and not only getting the Sword of the Storm back, but also gaining the Fist of Tebigong and the Shroud of Shadows.

My main problem with this episode is that Raimundo goes a bit too far too fast. He studies for like a day or a few days and all of a sudden he’s such an expert that he even surpasses Omi, who was practically brought up on Shen Gong Wu stuff, and is doing things that haven’t been done or even discussed in centuries? In the end, Omi’s practically begging Raimundo to share his studies with him so he can get on his level.

It kinda comes off like Raimundo is ridiculously OP if he bothers to put in an iota of effort. I get that the message is to take your studies seriously and actually listen when people convey important lessons, but it gave me major ‘sudden shift in power scaling during a shounen fighting anime’ vibes when he started studying.

What’s even more disappointing is they didn’t really show him working for it much. We saw him pull one all-nighter, if it even was an all-nighter, and then boom he’s suddenly finding an invisible Shen Gong Wu in the water with no problem, using the other Shen Gong Wu like he’s an expert in them all, using Xiaolin Showdown battle conditions that no one else has even heard of, adding additional item swapping stipulations as part of his strategy, and using Shen Gong Wu combination abilities that haven’t been introduced yet. It’s a bit overboard.

That being said, the Xiaolin Showdown was really cool and well done. I also like Raimundo’s arc in this episode, even if they went a big crazy with his upgrade. Plus, the Sword of the Storm and Shroud of Shadows seem like really cool Shen Gong Wu I hope to see more of in the future.

If I have any more notes, it’s these;

– Haha. The fat ninja’s weight is one of his main abilities and his name is frickin’ TUBBImura. Spelled and pronounced that way. You see it written in the first scene.

– Dojo is allergic to Shen Gong Wu in this episode, and it has no purpose in this story nor do I think it’s ever brought up again. I don’t understand why, even as a joke.

Next episode…..

….Previous Episode


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CSBS – Xiaolin Showdown Episode 4: Katnappe!

CSBS - XSEP4

Plot: The gang is trying out their new Shen Gong Wu – the Golden Tiger Claws, which can transport them to anywhere they want. Omi is robbed of his turn when a new Shen Gong Wu is revealed – the Changing Chopsticks, which allow the user to shrink down to a size as small as a grain of rice.

Meanwhile, Jack Spicer and Katnappe are at each other’s throats trying to prove which of them is better at retrieving Shen Gong Wu. Katnappe quickly dispatches Jack’s robots with her genetically altered super kittens, impressing Wuya, and heads off to get the Shen Gong Wu. She reaches the chopsticks right as Omi does, and he challenges her to a Xiaolin Showdown, but Katnappe doesn’t have a Shen Gong Wu with which to compete. Wuya forces Jack to give her his Fist of Tebigong, however. Omi sets the game as Tag, believing he has a major advantage in such a game with the Golden Tiger Claws.

The showdown starts, and even though Katnappe has never been in a showdown nor really knows how they work, she easily uses the Fist of Tebigong to knock Omi over and grab the Tiger Claws. Opening a portal directly above him, she easily tags him and wins the showdown.

Back at their lair, Wuya denounces Jack as her evil favorite in lieu of Katnappe, but Katnappe decides that she doesn’t like the dynamic with Wuya and she can’t stand Jack, so she grabs the Golden Tiger Claws and leaves to do her own thing.

Meanwhile, back at the temple, Omi is upset over losing the Golden Tiger Claws (Because they’re cooler than the chopsticks he was trying to obtain.) Master Fung tells him that there are no lessons in victory, but a a thousand in defeat. To illustrate his point, he challenges the young warriors to take a small statute from him. If they win, no chores. If they lose, they have to scrub the floors by hand.

While the stakes are high, they accept this challenge. Fung easily holds them off, but Clay nearly lassos the statue. Right before he’s about to pull it away, Fung smashes the statue.

The warriors are obviously very confused, wondering how they could ever win if he smashes the statue. Fung explains that their goal was to win and his was merely to not lose, which is why he ‘won.’ Raimundo’s not amused and asks where the other 999 lessons are, and Fung tells him he might find them when they’re all scrubbing the floors.

After a backbreaking night of cleaning, Kimiko gets the news that Katnappe has been using the Golden Tiger Claws to commit robberies – easily getting in and out of establishments through portals.

The next news alert says she’s at the Mall of the World (how that news came in but no police are on scene, I don’t know) but when they arrive, they swiftly get their butts handed to them. Clay doesn’t even put up a fight because he refuses to fight women.

Katnappe escapes via another portal, and the Xiaolin monks take chase, but they still have no plan for defeating her. Kimiko deduces that Katnappe is probably at Catatonia, the world’s scariest theme park that just so happens to be heavily centered on cats.

Repeating Master Fung’s advice about learning from defeat, they decide to send Clay after Katnappe. He may not be willing to fight girls, but he is willing to give her a big bear hug and make her immobile. Omi is able to easily grab the Golden Tiger Claws as a result, but the fight isn’t over.

Jack arrives, having tracked down Katnappe with his bloodhound robots. In order to stop Jack from getting the Golden Tiger Claws, Omi opens a portal and throws the Tiger Claws into it, causing the bloodhound robots to follow. He has set the portal to open at the center of the earth so even though the Xiaolin monks can’t use the Golden Tiger Claws, neither can the Heylin.

Omi again is reminded of the lesson Master Fung taught them earlier. They didn’t have to win – they just had to make sure they didn’t lose.

Breakdown: This episode was meh leaning towards the positive. There were decent highs, and none of the lows were too low (barring one aspect I’ll get to in a minute.) Katnappe makes for a good enemy, and the lesson this time around was pretty good.

However, I still have a couple of things to get off my chest.

First, Clay…..Jesus, Clay. We just came off of an episode where we addressed a lot of sexist attitudes. It didn’t really say or help much, but it was literally one episode ago. And now we have Clay refusing to fight just because Katnappe is a girl. He even says this.

Clay: “Do you have any male kinfolk I can fight?”

Come on, Clay….

And what lesson do they learn from his defeat because of his sexist attitudes?…Nothing. Just work around it by having him fiercely hug her against her will instead. Because, yeah, replace violence (That she’s willfully if not gleefully partaking in) with unwanted extended full-body physical contact. That’s much less problematic.

Need I remind him that Wuya, one of their main enemies, is a woman? What’s he going to do when she gets her corporeal form back? Sit out every battle?

Second, even though the characters are seemingly getting better at playful banter, the first scene with the monks being a perfect example, there are still too many moments where it just seems like they’re being jerks to each other for no reason. It’s a small gripe, especially if it’s going to go away over time, but I still get irritated at those moments where they’ll make a completely unwarranted snide comment towards a person who is supposed to be their friend.

Overall, though, a pretty enjoyable episode.

Next episode, Raimundo learns to take his studies more seriously after he loses a Shen Gong Wu.

….Previous Episode


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CSBS – Xiaolin Showdown S01 Ep03: Tangled Web

CSBS XS EP3 SCREEN4

Plot: Kimiko and Jack Spicer are in a Xiaolin Showdown for the Monkey Staff, a Shen Gong Wu that can turn people into monkeys. Jack is breezing through while using his Shen Gong Wu, the Jetbootsu, which allow him to defy gravity and walk on walls. Kimiko, however, only has the Fist of Tebigong, which doesn’t lend any help to their current climbing contest.

She tries to use it to knock Jack down by punching into the mountainside, but since his boots allow him to defy gravity, he doesn’t move an inch. Instead, it causes a rockslide that knocks Kimiko down the mountain, allowing Jack to win the Showdown, the Monkey Staff and the Fist of Tebigong.

On the way back home, Omi tries to ‘comfort’ Kimiko by saying she had no chance anyway since she’s a girl and was competing against a guy. Clay says the real reason behind her loss is her quick temper. The others start taunting her when they’re interrupted by Dojo detecting a Shen Gong Wu – the Tangle Web Comb, which allows the user to wrap up their enemies in web. They’re in luck, because the Shen Gong Wu is right below the boat. Kimiko dives in and retrieves it to make up for the ones she just lost.

Still being mocked at home because her new Shen Gong Wu is a comb (and combs are a ‘girl’ thing) Kimiko tries to impress the boys by showing off her skills with the Tangle Web Comb only to get wrapped up in the webs herself. As she struggles to free herself, the boys leave to snoop through her things.

Master Fung arrives and tells her the real reason the Comb isn’t working for her is because it requires total focus. To help her understand her level of focus, he asks Kimiko to pour a cup of tea from an incredibly heavy pot without spilling any. She does the task quite well until Raimundo, Clay and Omi walk in the room with Clay reading her diary, Raimundo messing with her PDA and Omi eating her lipstick. They continue on with the sexist comments and mocking, telling her to serve them tea too. She struggles through the pouring, but gets so angry at Omi’s next sexist comment that she breaks the pot.

Meanwhile, back with Spicer, he’s loving the Monkey Staff, but finds that he’s slowly getting more and more monkey-like the longer he holds it. A teenage girl enters his lab, having sneaked out of his parents party upstairs. She likes his evil lair but he demands that she leave. Just then, Wuya senses the next Shen Gong Wu – the Golden Tiger Claws, which allow the user to teleport anywhere they please.

The Golden Tiger Claws are inside the Emperor’s palace. To get in, they need connections, and Kimiko’s dad has plenty of those. He grants them access on one condition – they all need to be wearing formal robes, and Kimiko needs to wear an elegant kimono. She begrudgingly agrees, and they enter through a secret passageway that leads to an underground cavern.

Jack Spicer has beat them to the area but not to the Golden Tiger Claws. Jack distracts the group with his Jack-Bots so he can get to the Claws first. Kimiko doesn’t fall for the distraction, however, and both she and Spicer get to the Claws at the same time, starting a Xiaolin Showdown. The game? A race across twin bridges.

Jack bolts ahead with his newfound monkey abilities, and Kimiko trails behind due to the constricting nature of her kimono. She’s able to move a little better when she throws off her wooden shoes, but she still can’t even start to keep up with Jack. She tries to use the Tangle Web Comb, but her lack of focus makes the Comb backfire on her again. She realizes that, the angrier she gets at Jack’s laughing, the tighter the web constricts. She clears her mind and finally focuses, allowing her to snatch the Monkey Staff from Spicer. With the agility given to her by the Monkey Staff and the abilities of the Comb, she is able to grab the Claws before Spicer, winning the Showdown. Omi gains a newfound respect for women, and she states that she expects more respect from the whole group.

Back with Jack, he’s getting chewed out by Wuya for losing another Xiaolin Showdown when the same girl from earlier enters dressed in a Catwoman-like outfit and introducing herself as Katnappe. Jack sics his Jack-Bots on her and she easily defeats them. Completely impressed by her skills, Wuya recruits her to help them gain the Shen Gong Wu.

Breakdown: This episode was yet another where the message is shoved in our faces from the very instant the episode starts. Kimiko’s a hothead. She needs to learn to calm down. Wonder what will happen in the rest of the episode.

And, really, was getting pissed off that Omi was telling her that girls are not as skilled as guys, are meant to serve tea and belong in the kitchen an example of that? Fuck off. I know Omi is basing his logic off of ancient mindsets, but no one tries to teach him otherwise or correct him on his behavior. When he says this stuff, Clay just says ‘Go easy on Kimiko.’ Master Fung doesn’t even stop them from being sexist assholes. He just lets it happen.

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I get that the lesson is to keep calm no matter what is being thrown at you, but this still seems like it’s overkill and unnecessary.

Not to mention that Kimiko didn’t lose the first time because of her temper – she lost because that was literally the only option for her. It was a last-ditch effort and it failed. What else is she supposed to do in a climbing race with the Fist of Tebigong?

I’m also getting really sick of how much these guys do nothing but make fun of and disrespect each other. There’s friendly jabbing and then there’s 95% of their scenes together being mocking, taunting and jackassery. The first thing they do when Kimiko wraps herself up in webs is go snooping through her stuff and leave her there. And they don’t just go through her things – they take her PDA and use it, eat her lipstick and read her diary.

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You want to know something really weird? The one guy not being completely douchey today…..was Jack. It’s expected for him to be mocking and taunting, especially during the Xiaolin Showdown. But his mocking is mostly just laughing at Kimiko and calling her out on her temper. And he never once says a sexist word – even in spite of interacting with another female character who annoys him (Katnappe).

To be honest, I still don’t see the major problem with her temper. She’s acting no more impulsive and easily aggravated than Raimundo or Omi. Anyone would get pissed if they had to constantly be treated like crap and listen to their so-called friends spout out a never-ending stream of sexist comments. If anything, she has a problem with her ego…..which is also a problem shared with Raimundo and Omi.

The Xiaolin Showdown this time also didn’t make much sense. Each time that one of them has gone into a Xiaolin Showdown, they instantly get changed into their warrior robes. Here, Kimiko stays in her kimono purely so they can slow her down in the race and get a plot device started.

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They try to make up for the mocking and crap by having the boys start a bet on when Kimiko will find her focus, making it seem like that in itself is mocking her, but then it’s revealed that they, or at least Raimundo, bet that it would be very soon…..but no. No. I don’t buy it. Also, Omi never apologizes for what he said. He just said that her actions in the Showdown taught him a lot about the strength of women.

I do indeed get the irony in that it seems like I’m losing my temper right now.

The only redeeming aspects of this episode are Kimiko getting her first show of badassery and monkey!Jack.

Next episode, Katnappe goes on a crime spree after acquiring the Golden Tiger Claws from the monks.

…Previous Episode


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