Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 6

Hey look at this creepy-ass statue.

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Just thought I’d scare you all before the review started because I love you.

In the shadows of Mt. Olympus, a sheep herder tries to corral a black sheep who is running off and causing trouble. He always was the black sheep of the family……..:D

Anyway, the poor sheep ends up getting killed by a centaur after getting pelted in the head with a rock. Yes, this is still Cyborg 009 I’m reading. The centaur claims the poor sheep as a sacrifice to the gods and runs off.

The farmer’s family doesn’t believe his story that a monster stole his sheep, so he’s left outside without dinner.

In the actual first chapter, we see a bunch of centaurs and mythological creatures, known as the Mythos Cyborgs, eating the poor sheep. The one who did the killing is Centaurus D, and he’s being chewed out for it by a panther-esque cyborg named Achilles. D broke the rules that their leader, Dr. Uranus, gave them about not allowing humans to see their true forms, but D whines because he wanted wine and meat at their banquet….which was really just a normal meeting.

The fiery Apollo (who has a really awesome flying horse-drawn carriage) arrives with Dr. Uranus (who looks like a man-poodle) and Dr. Gaia. They convey the news that their Vietnamese Cyborgman cell has been defeated by the 00 Cyborgs. Despite these cyborgs being made in an earlier phase of the Black Ghost cyborg project, they have proved to be formidable foes due to their teamwork and unity, which, notably, the Mythos Cyborgs seem to lack.

Back at, I think, still Vietnam, Francoise tries to find a moment of peace, but her powers keep allowing her to see and hear the fighting and killing that’s going on all around her. I do feel bad for her in circumstances like this. She already has to experience more killing and destruction than all of the other cyborgs, and now she’s in a warzone and can’t get a moment’s reprieve from it.

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Jet is all fixed up with a new leg, which allows him to now exceed mach 5 speed. Back in the lab, we see Gilmore also improving G. Junior. While he states he can’t give the cyborgs more abilities than what they were initially given (This will later prove to be false, but just go with it.) he can enhance their current powers with the technology they obtained. 005 now has the strength of a thousand men and can crush steel into powder.

Gilmore plans on upgrading all of the cyborgs to help their fight against Black Ghost, but Francoise is having none of it. She hates the powers she already has – it’d be a nightmare for her to have even more enhanced senses. She also detests the idea of the upgrades because it pulls them further away from their humanity. She storms out of the room, and Dr. Gilmore criticizes her for not being able to see the big picture – allowing her sensitivity to cloud her judgment. They’re the only line of defense against Black Ghost, and they need to be in top shape to stop them.

I do get where Gilmore is coming from, but he should also see her side of it. Everyone else’s upgrades only better their lives, like 002 will be faster and 005 will be stronger. 003’s may make her more effective in battle, but it’d only make her suffer more in the down time.

They suddenly get a transmission from Gaia and Uranus telling Gilmore and the cyborgs to meet them on Magma Island in two weeks to either surrender themselves or die trying to fight. If they don’t come in two weeks, they’ll come for them and leave a trail of destruction in their wake.

Dr. Uranus begins to sympathize with Gilmore for a second and even suggests he and his team might win, which angers Gaia. Uranus claims it was all a ploy to manipulate Gilmore’s nobility against him, but Gaia thinks he’s being too soft and his views will lead to their downfall.

He’s so distrusting of Uranus’ methods that he recruits D to go off to the 00 Cyborgs’ location right then and take them out….Really? You’re confident with that? You think one man-horse, who isn’t even worthy of getting a real name, can take out the entire 00 Cyborg group?….Good luck, dude.

Pan, the little half-goat boy who can’t really speak, learns of Gaia’s plans and alerts Uranus and the rest of the group. Apollo rushes after D and takes him down. Back on shore, Uranus and Gaia chew each other out. Gaia believes Uranus’ method is needlessly risky and they should sneak attack them instead (Well….then why send them a transmission in the first place?) but Uranus believes he can resolve this entire situation without bloodshed.

After the fight, Gaia again sneaks off with D and decides to upgrade him with some new weapons before sending him off again. Pan, again, hears of this but Gaia tries to buy him off with a sweet egg.

Pan goes back to the other cyborgs to tell them. They whisper some plan, but when Pan tries to get Helena’s attention to join in, she just puts a ribbon on his horn and praises him for keeping them updated on Gaia.

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Chapter 23 is about the 00 Cyborgs’ journey to Magma Island. It’s chaos everywhere as American subs, Soviet subs and even the currents and falling debris get in their way. They don’t have a choice but to go through all of these hazards because they only have three days left on the deadline given by Dr. Gaia. It’s a pretty tense sequence, full of action and suspense, and WOOK AT IVAN’S WITTLE DUCKY BASSINET! WOOK AT IT! IT’S SO KYOOTT!

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….*cough* Moving on.

The Soviet and American subs destroy each other in the chaos, and the cyborgs just barely manage to get through the falling debris field by the skin of their teeth. I love how 008 and 009 manage to outsmart Gilmore briefly during the escape.

After they reach shore, their battle begins immediately. 009 grabs Pan and tries to pluck his horn off in order to stop him from transmitting data to the Mythos Cyborgs’ base, but 003 stops him since the horn is connected to his brain, and removing it might kill him.

003, 007 and 009 face off against Hippo Man (That’s literally his name. He’s never given an actual name. I also don’t know what Greek myth he’s meant to represent. There are no hippos in Greek mythology as far as I know. There’s a Hippocampus, which is a half-horse half-fish creature, but this is literally a hippo….with a tutu on…who has stretchy arms and powerful breath. He kinda sticks out like a sore thumb.) 007 takes the reigns in this fight and manages to defeat him. He also takes on Hippo Man’s identity to help infiltrate the island.

Achilles arrives with an army of panthers that have accelerator switches. 009 takes this match, but he starts getting overwhelmed by the panthers. Achilles waits until 009 is exhausted from finally managing to defeat the panthers to take his opportunity to strike.

Achilles also has an accelerator and a shield which amplifies reflected sun rays so strongly that it can melt rock. 009 has a lot of difficulty with him, and he’s cornered when Achilles takes 003 hostage because tropes. It seems like the jig is up until Pan, who has taken a shine to 003, bites Achilles’ ankle and gets him away from 003.

It seems like Achilles is getting back into the battle, but when he tries to accelerate, he ends up spinning in such a violent fashion that it results in his death. Turns out Black Ghost gave Achilles the most ridiculously obvious weakness he could possibly have – his heels.

He actually has one accelerator in each heel. When Pan bit his foot, it broke one of his accelerators, so his attempt to accelerate with the other one caused him to spin around at a literal breakneck speed. What exactly happened with Achilles’ design? Every other cyborg with an accelerator switch has only needed one, and if one of them failing can result in a fatal accident, why would you even consider giving him two?

It seems like Pan is an ally now, and they come up with a plan to pretend 003 is a hostage while Pan and 007 (disguised as Hippo Man) bring her in.

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Centaur K had overheard their plans, but 009 was able to kill him before he could relay the information. Standing behind him is a shocked Helena.

Helena calls her giant mechanical wooden horse to fight 009. It is a rather impressive robot with a targeting system, laser eyes, spikes, jets and even the ability to split in two, grab cyborgs through a powerful magnet and then squish them by reassembling.

However, disappointingly, Helena shows absolutely none of her own powers during this battle – and even more depressingly, she doesn’t actually seem to have any powers…..which just begs the question….what the hell is the point of Helena? (Is that a pun?….Pun intended if pun.) I don’t really mean that in a character sense, though that’s debatable. I mean in a cyborg sense. Why did Black Ghost make her? Any of the other Mythos Cyborgs could have piloted that horse….or, since it’s a robot, they could have had it be autonomous. 0013 was in a similar situation, but at least he had powers on his own and wasn’t reliant entirely on his robot.

Anyhoo, 009 manages to corner her in the horse and uses a special gas in his blaster to paralyze her. He blows up the horse and leaves Helena on the ground outside, sparing her life.

Back with 003, Pan and 007, their infiltration plan is going over well, though Gaia is very suspicious of 007 in his Hippo Man disguise once he gets word of K’s death and Helena’s Trojan horse defeat. He doesn’t trust that this hippo in a tutu managed to capture a 00 Cyborg. No clue why. Seems legit to me.

His suspicions only grow worse when his spy seagull (…..spygull) spots 009 skulking around outside. Uranus catches onto 007’s disguise, but chooses to not say anything. Gaia tells Uranus to put 003 in an electromagnetic prison while they handle 009, but he doesn’t trust him so he spies on him with a little trained/robot (?) mouse that he calls….Mighty Mouse.

Good taste in cartoons, bro.

Once they’re alone, Uranus ousts 007 and discusses their situation. It seems like he might be on their side, but he pulls out a blaster on them – not out of true malice, but because the Mythos Cyborgs are like children to him, like the 00 Cyborgs are to Gilmore. 003 manages to get through to him, though, when she points out that Gaia doesn’t trust him and is currently spying on him with a mouse.

Pan and a newly transformed Cat!007 give chase, which basically turns into a very long Tom and Jerry skit that runs throughout the following battle.

009 comes face to face with Apollo, and we get this odd exchange where he acknowledges that 009 is a 00 Cyborg, asks his name, and when he hears it’s 009 he….asks if he’s from the 00 series….???

They start their match, and quickly end up in a blaster standoff. Finding the match boring and without a point since they’d both kill each other this way, Apollo proposes to ditch their blasters and fight only using their cyborg abilities to determine which one of them is the supreme being.

Apollo goes all Human Torch on us, and it’s just awesome. He has always been one of my favorite cyborgs because he is such a cool and scary son of a bitch. The fact that he gets his own flying chariot is already major cool points, but the guy is living fire. He can reach temperatures as hot as the sun, he can melt anything he wants instantly with a point of his finger, and he’s obviously a huge threat to any cyborg (Hm…except maybe 006?) because he can melt them in seconds.

009 gives him a bit of a run for his money, but Apollo shoots him three times in the back with his heat beams and sends 009 careening into the rocky waters below.

Believing he has won, Apollo leaves, but we see Helena in the cliffside deciding to rescue 009 since he showed her mercy when no one else did. Once she gains 009’s trust, he tells her where their sub is so he can get patched up. However, they’re being tailed by a spy dolphin.

As 003, 007, Pan and Dr. Uranus are being held captive by Dr. Gaia, Helena reaches the sub with 009 to get him medical attention. 008 sends 006 off to destroy the spy dolphins before they relay their location back to the Mythos Cyborgs, but Atlas suddenly appears and starts an assault on their sub. Will they be trampled by the metal Goliath? How will the 00 Cyborgs get themselves out of this mess?

—————————–

This volume was a really great introduction to the Mythos Cyborgs, who were always some of my favorite cyborgs in the franchise. However, I do have to note that some of them are disappointing in design. Why even bother with weak and lame cyborgs like Centaurus and Hippo Man when you’ve already made so many impressive cyborgs that are much more powerful? Why make Helena so unimpressive and force her to just be a pilot to a secondary robot? And while Achilles was awesome in concept, the fact that he had such a peculiar and flawed accelerator setup when it’s been perfected and then some throughout the other cyborg designs is just baffling.

The story as a whole is very intriguing because Uranus kinda mirrors Gilmore in that he loves his cyborg team like family and wants to help them but, unlike Gilmore, he still holds a loyalty to Black Ghost. Likewise, many members of the Mythos crew seem like they’re decent people but they also embrace their roles as soldiers of Black Ghost. Pan in particular is a cute little dude. You can tell he wants to be loyal to his comrades, but they also treat him poorly – even Helena – while 003 was nice to him from the beginning and respected his abilities.

The battles were exciting and memorable, and I look forward to covering the conclusion of this arc.

Next Volume….

….Previous Volume


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 14: An Explosion Makes for the Worst Date/Manga Chapter 45

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Plot: Now that she realizes that there’s ‘another Yugi’, Anzu brings Yugi to an amusement park to try and lure out the darker more mysterious Yugi.

Breakdown: Oh dear lord, this is going to be a trial. Don’t let that plot fool you. Just because it seems like slice-of-life fodder doesn’t mean we don’t still have insanity. And it definitely doesn’t mean that someone’s not a complete mean-spirited twat today.

Sidetracking a bit, I really don’t understand the wonky way in which they adapted these chapters. I can’t review chapter 27, where I left off on the manga chronologically, yet because it’s adapted in episode 22, which I am no where near, yet I have to keep skipping to the near end of the manga when I’m barely to the midway point of the anime.

Anyhoo, let’s get into it.

In the manga, we merely start with an image of a newspaper explaining the latest in a string of bombings caused by the Card Bomber. He’s called such because he announces his bombings through playing cards. In the anime, we actually see the inspector from the Burger World episode investigating the threat before the bomb goes off. He’s called by the bomber who gives him a ‘quiz’ to determine where the bomb is in the department store.

The quiz is ‘Big or small (upper or lower)? The department store has 12 floors, so is the bomb lower than the sixth floor or above the seventh?’ The inspector guesses ‘small’ and the bomb goes off because it was on the ninth floor.

I really don’t get this quiz. It’s a complete guessing game considering it’s a 50/50 shot. No other clues were given.

Cut to school where Yugi is explaining the serial bombings to Jonouchi, Honda and Anzu. In the manga, Yugi was reading the story in the paper as he and Anzu were already walking to the amusement park.

In the anime, Anzu recaps that Yugi has the same wound on his hand as the person who saved her in the previous episode. She doesn’t readily believe that this Yugi is the same Yugi who saved her, though. He must be another Yugi. Because it’s more logical to think that there’s some Yugi clone or alternate Yugi personality instead of believing Yugi could just be brave and save his friend.

Anzu grabs Yugi’s paper because she sees an ad for an amusement park. She invites Yugi to go with her on Sunday. Jonouchi, Honda and Miho eavesdrop on their conversation and assume that Yugi and Anzu are dating behind their backs. They decide to go to the amusement park on Sunday as well in order to spy on them. We get a pretty funny daydream where Jonouchi imagines Anzu and Yugi on a roller coaster. Anzu is proudly standing up with her arms crossed as it descends and Yugi’s screaming and grabbing her leg.

Anyway, there’s no respectful way of segueing into this observation, so look at Anzu’s boobs in this bottom left panel.

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They’re so pointy, I’m convinced she stole the Millennium puzzle for a second and hid it in her bra.

Back with matching both versions, Yugi and Anzu arrive at the park the next day. Yugi stutters through nearly asking Anzu if this is a date, but she interrupts him by telling him they need to buy entrance tickets. When Yugi goes to the gate to get two student tickets, the woman assumes he needs one student ticket and one child ticket. Yugi pouts and asks what she means by that. She explains to Yugi, whom she calls ‘Boy’ in both versions, that student tickets are for high schoolers not elementary school students. Yugi gets understandably upset and angrily explains to her that, despite his appearance, he’s a high school student.

I’d get pissed too, but the writers of the manga, Season Zero and the 2000 anime really do their best to make Yugi look like a little kid. I get that that’s his thing, all innocent and pure and whatnot, but do they have to make him look like he’s half his age? As much as I’d think it was cute to see Yugi and Anzu together, to some degree (*coughYugiandJonouchiforevercough*) it’s hard to ship them because he looks too much like a little kid. Keep in mind, Yugi is supposed to be 16…..

In the manga, we cut to them getting ready to go on the water slide. In the anime, we get an added scene where the bomber is giving the inspector a hint as to his next target.

‘Big or small? Will the temperature at 11 o’clock be more or less than 28 degrees (Celsius)? The answer will be revealed on the 11 o’clock weather report.’

Back at the park, in the manga, Yugi and Anzu are next seen on the water slide where we get probably the most shameless instance of fanservice I’ve ever seen in Yu-Gi-Oh. They go down the water slide and….well….pretty much this entire page.

I swear she went up two cup sizes since the title page.

Also, I can’t believe I have to say these words, but look at Yugi between Anzu’s legs. He’s looks like a toddler.

In the anime, we also get pretty much this same fanservice shot of Anzu in her bikini, but she’s dry. Yugi is meeting with Anzu after they get changed into their bathing suits and that is the first shot of her that he sees.

Oh and Jonouchi, Honda and Miho are stalking them throughout all of this in the anime. I probably won’t bother noting it from here on unless something important happens.

If you’re wondering if we get the waterslide scene in the anime, we do, but it’s not so ridiculously drawn as it is here.

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Anyway, look at Yugi’s stupid face.

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This is actually mirrored from the manga, but how hilarious does he look?

As they’re sunbathing, it looks like Yami takes over Yugi for a split second and Anzu notices. Either that or she’s hallucinating. I’d probably bank on the latter because Yami typically never emerges unless there’s something serious going on. Also, uhm…he kinda can’t emerge unless Yugi’s wearing the Puzzle…….Where’s your Puzzle, Yugi? You were wearing it when you came in. I know they probably wouldn’t allow him to wear that clunky chunk of metal at a water park, safety hazards and whatnot, but where did he put it? Don’t tell me he left it in one of those lockers they give you for your shoes and clothes. My dude’s gonna get so robbed.

He changes back when some kid shoots a water pistol in his face, causing Yugi to chase after him. Anzu also believes it was her imagination, but I’m not entirely sure. It’s unclear.

Anzu’s all about that hot Yami action, so she decides to force the ‘other’ Yugi to appear.

This is so manipulative. I know that Anzu is legitimately Yugi’s friend, but she’s taking advantage of his feelings to get closer to his sexy alter-ego.

Also, considering that Anzu doesn’t know about the actual separate spirit within the Puzzle….What does Anzu believe the ‘other’ Yugi actually is? Because, in real life, the only real explanation for someone having two personalities is a mental health issue….Which means that Anzu looks even worse in hindsight because, to anyone else in this universe, she’d look like she was not only taking advantage of a friend’s feelings but also like she’s taking advantage of someone with a mental health problem. And trying to force out the other identities of another person, especially for the sake of lusting over him, sounds like flatout abuse.

I’m just trying to imagine Anzu attempting to explain to Jonouchi, Honda or even Miho that her intentions with this date were to force out Yugi’s ‘other’ personality because she wants to get into that Yugi’s pants.

In the manga, some oiled up beach dude comes up to Anzu and asks if she wants to hang out with him. Anzu, seeing this as an opportunity to get the ‘other’ Yugi to defend her, screams out that he’s a pervert. Yugi does take notice, but so does a large group of people around who start beating the shit out of the guy.

And Anzu just grabs Yugi and walks away before anyone asks any questions. What the hell, Anzu?! You got some poor dude beaten up all because you’re horny and then you just bounce? The guy was kinda sleazy, sure, but he didn’t deserve to get the crap kicked out of him all because he asked if she wanted to hang out.

What I think is especially funny is, in the anime, Jonouchi hits on some women in basically the exact same manner as this guy, but gets shut down pretty badly and we’re meant to sympathize with him. So, basically, this dude was no worse than Jonouchi with girls, but it’s supposed to be okay that he gets beaten up. Okay.

In the anime, Anzu’s first approach to this was to pretend she was drowning in the pool. Yugi rushes out to save her, but, funnily enough, she’s saved by two guys in the pool, and Yugi actually ends up legitimately nearly drowning and needs to be saved by another guy. (Where are the lifeguards?)

Manga!Anzu: “After all that, I haven’t seen him.” All that what? You tried one thing.

In the anime, we catch up with the police after Anzu’s failed attempt to draw out Yami. The weather report states that it’s now 28.2 degrees, meaning the answer to the ‘quiz’ was ‘big.’

There are so many variables here. He never mentioned what specific weather report he wanted them to listen to/watch, and considering the threshold was merely a couple of decimal points, I’d say that it could have varied quite a lot between reporters depending on where they’re getting their readings and what equipment they were using. It also means the bomber had no plan for this one since he didn’t know the answer either. This was purely another guessing game. There is no way to know the answers to these ‘quizzes.’

I’m guessing since the inspector starts getting upset that he answered ‘small.’ Not that it matters anyway because the bomber calls up and says it’d be boring if they ended the game there, so he’ll give them another quiz. Thanks for wasting our time, man.

The bomber basically just straight out tells them that his next target is the largest pool in the city, which just so happens to be located at the amusement park where Yugi and Anzu are hanging out.

Hey, just thought I’d tell you, a little late, sorry, but the anime does recreate the pervert scene beat by beat at this point only with two major changes. 1) Unlike Manga!Anzu, SeasonZero!Anzu specifically says the pervert touched her in a nasty place. And 2) Remember how I compared the manga pervert to Jonouchi a bit ago?……Yeah, the ‘pervert’ in the anime is Jonouchi. She spotted him following them so she allowed him to accidentally bump into them, giving her the opportunity to act like she was getting groped so Yugi would Yami up and save her.

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Luckily, Jonouchi didn’t get beaten up by the guys who apprehended him, but seriously Anzu you should be smart enough to realize that was Jonouchi. His only ‘disguise’ was sunglasses….

I love how no one calls her out on the fact that she clearly lied about a sexual assault here. Jonouchi asks why she did that, but we get no answer before cutting away to a later shot of them walking together. She could have just told Yugi that some creepy guy was following them (Although, he’d definitely recognize Jonouchi….) or yelled out ‘creepy stalker!’ or something. But nope. Instead, she accused him of touching her in her bathing suit area. That type of accusation can land a guy in prison, Anzu. And you almost did that your good friend all because, again, you’re horny and manipulative.

As Jonouchi, Yugi and Anzu walk together, Jonouchi reveals that Honda and Miho are there too. Anzu asks why he was secretly following them and Jonouchi denies the accusation. To help tamper tensions, Yugi suggests that they all play together now since they’re together for the day. Anzu suggests….playing tag? And specifically just with her and Yugi? I get what she’s doing, I do, but even Yugi should be confused.

First off, who the hell goes to an amusement park to play tag?

Second, what 16-year-olds go to an amusement park to play tag?

Third, why would you suggest playing two player tag as a response to Yugi saying they should all do something together?

God, Anzu, your plans are so transparent and stupid.

The next part is changed in a very important way, and it’s one of the key reasons why the manga version upsets me so much. Yes, the pervert scene wasn’t the worst of Anzu in this chapter.

In the manga, Yugi and Anzu spot the police in the park and wonder why they’re there. An announcement over the PA system informs them that a dangerous item has been brought to the park and that everyone needs to evacuate immediately. Yugi thinks it’s the Card Bomber, and Anzu responds by saying “A bomber, eh?….What a thrill! This could get interesting!” And then she thinks to herself ‘This is the perfect chance to see the other Yugi.’

Jesus.

Christ.

Anzu.

People could get killed or lose limbs and your only thought is ‘Oh boy, I can use this terrorist attack to see sexy Yugi-kun!?’ Whatever drops of respect I still had for you just went down the drain into the most putrid sewer system. What the fuck is wrong with you, Anzu?

In order to enact her plan, she sneaks away from Yugi and takes a ride on the Ferris wheel. Why the Ferris wheel is still taking passengers and operating when the police are evacuating the place in response to a bomb threat, I have no clue.

Manga!Anzu: “I hope Yugi gets worried! If he does, I might meet that stranger…The other Yugi-kun….”

Back with the anime, Anzu just heads off to the Ferris wheel because she’s upset.

Anime!Anzu: “Stupid Yugi. I finally had him alone….” Yes, stupid Yugi for being unable to control our friends and suggesting we all spend the day together when I never made it clear or official that this was a date.

A bomb explodes on the Ferris wheel, but not in the car that Anzu is riding, car three. It’s only here where they finally announce that there’s a bomb in the park and they need to evacuate. Anzu reacts to the news of a bomb with shock and horror, like a normal person.

Everyone stampedes out, forcing Jonouchi and Honda with them. Yugi is left behind. He informs the police that Anzu is on the Ferris wheel. Another officer explains that there are actually three cars with people in them – one with Anzu, another with a mother and her child and yet another with a mysterious shadowed person who is totally not the bomber.

SPOILER ALERT: HE IS.

And what a stupid-ass bomber to place bombs on the very Ferris wheel on which he’s riding. Even if there isn’t one in his car, he can still easily cause the Ferris wheel to topple over and kill him.

Yami emerges, which makes Anzu ecstatic. (Congratulations, Anzu. Do you think you’ll have enough time to pleasure yourself before your car explodes?) and takes over the game for the police, who just allow it because Yami proclaims he’s really good at card games….O…kay…

Shadow Game…..Kinda

In the manga, the ‘Shadow Game’ (it’s not really a Shadow Game in this chapter, and it’s not initially in the episode, but let’s just call it that) is a game called Clock Solitaire. A deck of 52 cards (excluding the joker) is used to distribute the face-down cards into twelve piles of four cards each. The piles are arranged like the points of a clock, each representing one number that matches the numbers on the Ferris wheel. A thirteenth pile of four cards is created in the middle to represent car thirteen.

The player, Yami, will randomly choose to flip a card from a pile one by one. Whatever number is on the card that he flips over, he will set on the pile that corresponds with the point on the clock. If he flips an ace, it will go on the one pile, two on the two pile, etc. This will keep going until the piles are completed. The first pile to be completed will have the bomb on that car blow up, as demonstrated when he completes the four pile and again when he completes the eight pile.

After the first car explodes, Anzu finally realizes, holy shit, tempting fate with a bomber on the loose was a BAD IDEA?!

Yugi needs to ensure that he doesn’t complete the piles for any cars that have people in them, especially Anzu’s car, number three. Before he knows it, the three pile already has three cards on it, so he needs to win.

How do you ‘win’ this game, you might ask? Well, initially Yami explains it like this.

Manga!Yami: “There’s only one way to win this game! I have to gather all of the king cards! I started the game by drawing from that pile, so I have to finish the game by completing it!” Uhm, Yami, the bomber never said that. He never explained how to win this game at all. You’re just making a guess.

Yami IS right, but for an entirely different reason. As I already stated, the bomber is on that Ferris wheel, which is how he can see what’s going on (and, really, the only reason this is kept a secret is because the art allows this to stay secret. In reality, the police would be pretty damn suspicious of the guy in the car who keeps looking down with binoculars and talking on the phone….the one with the bomb detonator in his hands. He’s also in the car closest to the ground, so they’d be able to see roughly everything he’s doing. Why would he trap himself in there anyway? I get that he needs to be close to the action to see what cards Yugi’s flipping, but surely there’s a better way.) He can’t blow up car thirteen because he’s the one in car thirteen.

Yami wins the game, and everyone’s rescued. Before Yami walks off with Anzu, he tells the inspector to interview the guy in car thirteen since he’s obviously the bomber. Anzu happily grabs his arm and insists they continue their date….which totally wouldn’t happen.

First of all, the park is bound to be shut down for at least few days because of the TERRORIST ATTACK they just suffered. Secondly, you’re going to be a little busy making statements to the police. Third, Anzu….are you a sociopath? I was going to say that jokingly, but I really mean it. Are you?

Between the messed up stuff you did today and now going off on a date like you didn’t just survive a TERRORIST BOMBING WHILE TRAPPED ON THE FERRIS WHEEL THAT WAS BEING BOMBED, you’d think you’d maybe need a breather….maybe wish to go home? Perhaps look up one of those “therapists” I’ve been hearing about.

In the anime, the game is entirely different. The police are instructed to get a bunch of balloons of various colors. The inspector is then told to release a balloon of any color. He chooses a white balloon. For a second, everyone’s on pins and needles because the balloon catches on Anzu’s car. However, it becomes loose and floats away. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief, but car one suddenly explodes.

Also, somehow the bomb made the car look like this.

ANIMANGACLASHYGOEP14SCREEN5

It looks more like the car was detached, dropped off a cliff and then reattached. How would any bomb cause that kind of damage?

The bomber explains the rules – the colors of the balloons each correspond to a car. If the player can figure out which color corresponds to Anzu’s car, he wins and saves the passengers. If not, the cars will explode and the people will die.

In a very hilarious take on the police handing over the reigns to Yugi in the manga, the anime has the police just flatout saying they can’t play this game. The inspector himself says he doesn’t have the confidence. The. Confidence. You are a goddamn police inspector. You’re not confident playing a game? A game that involves solving a puzzle? Something police inspectors typically do?

I can somewhat understand being hesitant about playing the card game, even if that was purely luck, but this is an actual problem that can be solved logically. The only luck involved is potentially needing to sacrifice cars in order to make it easier to reach the solution.

Yami takes over and accepts the challenge. Anzu realizes Yugi has changed, but unlike Manga!Anzu, she’s not swamping her bikini bottom over it.

The bomber explains some more conditions. Yami has a fifteen minute time limit. If he gives the wrong answer or explodes a car with a person in it, he loses. If he doesn’t provide any answer within fifteen minutes, he’ll detonate all of the bombs.

The only information Yami has is that the white balloon corresponded to car one. All of the cars are identical in color both inside and out, they’re not known by any other names outside of their given numbers, and they’re all the same shape.

The bomber decides to throw Yami a bone. Knowing he needs more to go on, he suggests releasing the yellow balloon. He promises that the balloon does not correspond to a car containing any passengers. The inspector doesn’t believe him, but Yami does, citing that the bomber enjoys his games too much to purposely end it here.

Yami releases the yellow balloon, and, in response, car ten blows up.

He can’t reach a conclusion based on only two answers. Half of his time is already eaten up. The bomber is getting bored, so he suggests releasing another balloon – this time pink. Yami asks if the pink balloon is safe to release, but the bomber refuses to give anymore hints, meaning Yami will have to gamble more than he did before. The bomber threatens to blow up a car with a passenger if he doesn’t release the pink balloon soon. Yami, realizing the bomber still desperately wants to enjoy his game, decides to release the pink balloon.

Car four blows up.

Also, it seems like someone phoenix down’d car one in this shot.

ANIMANGACLASHYGOEP14SCREEN6

Yami keeps looking at his watch, keeping an eye on his time limit. Suddenly, he comes to a revelation. The Ferris wheel is mirroring a clock. The way the numbers correspond to colors is by use of a flower clock. I have no clue what a flower clock is. I tried looking it up, but all I found, predictably enough, were images of either clocks with flowers on them or clocks made in gardens. I don’t know why either would be in an amusement park. When we see the flower clock, it’s a giant clock on the ground that has different colors for each hour of the day. I have no clue what flowers have to do with it.

The park staff member doesn’t know what color corresponds with the number three on the clock, so they have no choice but to go to the clock and see for themselves. It will take two minutes to run there, but they only have one minute. Yami spots a drop tower nearby and heads off to ride that to get an aerial view of the clock. It somehow starts the second Yami sits in it. Are these rides all sentient? What is happening? There shouldn’t be anyone manning this ride and no one was running ahead of him.

Yami spots the clock and finds the color for three – blue.

He’s wrong, and Anzu blows up.

Oh fine, you never let me have my fun.

He’s right, but they’re not done. Yami decides to make him play his game now. He’ll specify where the bombs are and the bomber has to guess. Also, Yami’s kinda just stuck on the tower drop ride?

The bomber likes Yami and games so much that he agrees.

Yami says the hint balloon he’s symbolically releasing is white. The bomber states that the number is one since they’ve already gone over that. Yami says he’s wrong because now they entered into evening time on a 24 hour clock. The white balloon would actually correspond to the number thirteen, as in thirteen o’clock. Yami deduces the same thing he deduced in the manga, that the bomber had a clear view of both him and the Ferris wheel, but the entire park had been evacuated. The only number that doesn’t exist on a traditional analog clock is thirteen.

Yami tells him to blow up car thirteen if he is really wrong. The bomber claims he is wrong and that he’ll blow up car three in retaliation. Surprisingly, Yami tells him that he won’t have time to detonate car three (Also, looking at the detonator, how is he even specifying the cars? It’s literally two buttons.) because thirteen will blow up before he has a chance to push the button.

The bomber laughs, claiming there is no bomb on car thirteen, but scary-ass!Yami educates him a little and claims there is indeed a bomb. He amplifies the sound of his ticking watch over the phone to make the bomber paranoid. Then he implements his punishment game by making the bomber hallucinate a bomb in the car. Despite the fact that he can just try to throw the fake bomb out the window, he instead decides to bust open the door and risk falling to his death.

ANIMANGACLASHYGOEP14SCREEN7

He falls through a concession stand and is alive, but holy fuck Yami! You could’ve killed that guy! I saw the far shot of the Ferris wheel. Car thirteen was up so high it was near the top of the tree line. Yami’s no stranger to nearly killing people, and, in the manga, he canonically has killed people, but wow.

Unlike in the manga where Yami sticks around and Anzu gets to happily finish her date with him, Yami reverts back to what Anzu refers to as ‘usual’ Yugi, which upsets her a little. She then asks “What happened to the cool Yugi from earlier?”…out loud….to ‘usual’ Yugi.

Jonouchi, Honda and Miho reunite with them, which also wouldn’t happen because this place is a terrorist crime scene with a bombed Ferris wheel right there. Anzu is still annoyed that Yami isn’t around, but she’s happy she was able to see him and Yugi’s happy because he’s a precious marshmallow who deserves way better than this bimbo.

————————————–

In regards to the manga chapter, I kinda hate it. Everything with Anzu is terrible because she’s a terrible person. The game was boring and based entirely on luck. And I hate that Anzu ends up getting her dream date with Yami in the end. Screw that noise.

The only good points in the manga were that there were some funny moments and expressions, and most of those were reflected in the anime.

The anime episode, in my opinion, is a million times better than the manga chapter. Sure, there was still a decent degree of Anzu being horrible, but she was more tolerable and acted more understandably than her manga counterpart, and she didn’t end up on a date with Yami in the end. Jonouchi, Honda and Miho had absolutely 100% no purpose in being here. I can’t remember the last time they felt so shoehorned into an episode. I can tune those spots out, though.

The real highlight is in just how much better the anime’s Shadow Game is compared to the manga’s. The manga’s game was based entirely on luck and never became an actual Shadow Game. The anime’s game was pretty well-crafted. Even though the connection to the clock and the flower clock was never really set up very well, it was one of the most intense Shadow Games I’ve watched throughout the series. Not only that, but it ended on an awesome Shadow Game/punishment game where a really scary Yami nearly straight-up murdered a man. I love how he pulled a switcheroo on him and challenged the bomber to his exact same game and beat him. Such a badass move.

Only negative points in the bomber story for the anime are that the ‘Big or small’ ‘quizzes’ were stupid and based entirely on luck. For a guy who Yami deemed as basically being obsessed with games, he’s certainly not good at making them. Those moments were also complete wastes of time, but they did set the tone, so I don’t mind much.

Winner: Anime

Next three episodes are, as far as I can tell, not mirrors of the manga so we’ll have some placeholders to deal with for a bit.

Specifically, the next episode is about…..*sigh* Anzu being jealous that a new girl is giving Yugi attention. Oh boy. More Anzu goodness. Is it my birthday or did the gates of hell open?


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Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru (Manga) Volume 10 (FINALE) + Full Manga Review

Plot: Who cares? This crap is over!

Breakdown: Our first chapter of the final volume starts with Iku and Yori seeking refuge at Yano’s house since Yori has effectively kidnapped Iku. They didn’t even stop to get dressed – they’re just wrapped in a sheet. Yano lends Yori some clothes and dresses up Iku in a maid outfit because of course he does. He even mentions that seeing her in that costume is reawakening his lolicon tendencies…….Can we go one chapter without making me feel icky?

He brings them to his family’s summer home to crash for a while and leaves.

Yori, realizing he never took Iku’s feelings into consideration and asked if this is what Iku wanted before disowning their parents and kidnapping her while naked, asks Iku if this is what she really wants. If it is, she has to kiss him. If not, she can leave right then.

Go choke on toothpicks, Yori. It’s a little late to be asking her if this is what she wants. I don’t care if you admit that – it’s still too late. And, again, you’re basically blackmailing her with ‘stay with me and be my lover or leave and never see me again.’

Here’s exactly what he tells her.

Yori: “You choose! Be mine, or agonize for your entire life over today’s events and become some other man’s woman!” Gee, that sure isn’t worded in a way that is coercing her into one option over the other and isn’t said in a demanding tone.

I will concede and say that Iku has seemingly legitimately fallen for him at this point, but I can never really be certain if she is actually in love with him or she’s trapped in a delusion of love born of panic over possibly losing him. Yori has fucked her up ten ways to Sunday over the course of this manga, and she’s, quite frankly, stupid, naive and easy to trick.

Iku: “I don’t like you…..but….I love you!” *deep sigh* I’m beyond tired of fighting for you, Iku. I have more than extended my fair share of defense and leniency with you. You deserve whatever sex dungeon he locks you in for the rest of your lives.

Yori: “If Iku can hate the unreasonable and bossy me, then I can forget this love. However….the aggressive and forceful me, Iku not only accepted, she seriously replied to me! That was the first time….I felt regret.”

I hate you. Hate. Hate. Hatehatehatehatehate. HATRED. HATE.

You’re only now, for the first time, feeling regret over how you’ve treated Iku?

Now, that she finally admits she loves you too?

Now, that you’ve disowned your parents and subsequently taken her from her family?

Now, that you’ve kidnapped her in the middle of the night while you were both nude directly following the aforementioned kidnapping?

Now, that you’ve treated her like some object you’re entitled to because your Mom never told you that you were only half-siblings, which would barely affect anything.

Now, that you’ve emotionally manipulated her for the better part of two years at least?

Now, that you’ve repeatedly borderline sexually assaulted her several times?

Now, that you’ve made your feelings and relationship to Iku public to many people and essentially destroyed her social life back home should this ever spread, which it certainly will. especially if Tomoka is still in communication with their home town?

Now, that you’ve given her yet another blackmail-y ultimatum which was acting as a test to see if she’d love you even acknowledging that you’re a massive dickhead who knows he acts like a dickhead yet makes no effort to be a better person?

NOW?

…..Now.

Go to hell. Now.

We cut to a flashback of Yori overhearing a conversation Iku was having with her friends, asking what age they’d like to get married. Iku says she’d be fine never getting married as long as she’s with the person she loves.

Yori then flashes back to their mother confirming that they were technically still siblings, and he comes to the realization that he can’t make Iku truly happy. All he wants is one last memory with her before he leaves her.

*sigh* Alright, look. For the sake of Iku’s future, even though I doubt it’s bright either way considering she has no skills, knowledge, common sense, hopes, aspirations or interests and tends to attract attempted rapists, yes, leaving her would probably be best.

That being said, again, it’s kinda fucking late for this. The damage is done, Yori. You’ve gone too far to turn back now. Turning back at this point will only further confuse and hurt Iku. You are the epitome of a human disaster.

Oh that ‘one last memory’ was sex, if anyone was wondering. Because that also won’t do more damage or anything.

But, hey, let’s also make it gross. Iku says she doesn’t want to have sex right now because she’s all sweaty, but Yori says he likes it that way so he can fully experience Iku’s smell.

For good measure, let’s keep the creepiness up. Iku says it’s too bright. He can see her too well, and it’s embarrassing her. She asks to turn the lights off, but Yori vehemently refuses.

The next chapter is sex….Sex on the floor….the hard tile floor. That was the memory you wanted? You could’ve at least bottomed, Yori. Have some courtesy.

Hair sniffs: 9

Then they basically dick around for a while….Not in that way – showcasing more of Iku being terrible at everything like making god awful food and losing ten games in a row while playing video games, only winning the last game because Yori let her.

They dick around some more, again not in that way, then head to a church where they find the familiar white clover.

Yori: “Iku, did you know the clover is a flower that existed when Adam and Eve were in paradise?”

………Oh no.

Yori: “Since they committed a taboo, they were banished from the Garden of Eden.”

Please, no. You can’t be serious.

Yori: “When they were banished, they said to remember only the happy times.”

It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion.

Yori: “Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and some people say that act alone had the meaning of ‘doing the most intimate act.’”

You’re not making me do this. No. I’m not comparing the story of Adam and Eve with Yori and Iku. I’m not doing an in-depth analysis on the symbolism of Adam and Eve to see if it could justify Yori and Iku’s relationship.

The fact that this is even here is insulting to me. Not even on a religious level, just in general. I’ve never looked at the story of Adam and Eve in a positive light. You’re not supposed to. It’s literally the fall of man.

It’s not some beautiful love story, it’s not about committing a taboo because you love someone that much – it’s two idiots screwing over the human race for all of eternity because they thought they should listen to a snake over God and couldn’t resist eating fruit from one of two trees in all of the Garden of Eden when there was perfect food sources everywhere.

And the act of eating the fruit wasn’t intimate. It was just her offering it to him.

It’s literally –

Snake: “Yo, Eve, eat this fruit.”

Eve: “God said I shouldn’t.”

Snake: “Who cares? Do it. It’s real delicious and stuff.”

Eve: “Okay. Hey, Adam, want some fruit from this forbidden tree?”

Adam: “Sure!”

*Humanity Fucked*

Their taboo also wasn’t that they loved each other…..They were kinda….meant to love each other. She was literally made for him. And if you even start to tell me that her being born of his rib is a mirror of Yori and Iku’s incestuous relationship, I’m just leaving. I can’t even.

But, hey, considering these are two idiots leaving a path of destruction in their wake, maybe there is more to this connection than meets the eye.

That is the second time I’ve gone off in this volume. I’m not even done with chapter two. Dear god.

According to whatever source he’s getting this from, clovers were brought with them from the Garden of Eden when they were banished because, I guess, after defying God and being booted from paradise, developing feelings of shame and making their lives exponentially worse for all eternity, they thought ‘Hm, we should bring some souvenirs with us. Let’s grab this random plant.’

When Yori first gave Iku the clovers several volumes ago, he was trying to tell her ‘Even if I have forsaken God, I still want you as my lover.’

They enter the church and both pray. Yori prays for him alone to be banished from Heaven since he is responsible for the taboo. Oh, you didn’t think you were bound for hell already? That’s cute.

The next chapter, Yori tells Iku that they’re going home. Not the beach villa home – their actual home, back with their parents. He claims this has been his plan since their dad caught them together. I feel I need to reserve my energy for the rest of this review, so let’s just say ‘Bullshit, go to hell’ and move on.

Yori tells her it’s completely outside of the realm of realism for them to run away together. It’s all just a dream.

Iku pushes him down on the pew. She yells at him claiming he hasn’t even tried anything yet to help them build a future, he’s just needlessly throwing away every idea. He claims he loves her, but he won’t even make the effort to try, despite everything he’s done. She just wants to be with him no matter what.

Yori asks her if she’s ready to fully give up her parents, because that’s the price for them being together. For good measure, he states Yano told him their mother fell ill. You withheld this information from her just to possibly use it in an ultimatum? I’m losing track of how many terrible things you’ve done, Yori.

The very next page, they burst home. Yori was telling the truth. Their mother is quite ill brought on from stress in her tirelessly searching for Iku and Yori since they left home. She’s lost weight, as has her father. Even Inu-Yori wouldn’t eat as long as Iku was gone, but started gobbling up food as soon as she got home. They don’t give a time frame for how long they’ve been gone, but considering their parents’ conditions, I’ll guess a couple or a few weeks.

You guys never even thought to buy a throwaway phone and call, even just to assure them you were okay? Jerks.

The chapter ends with Iku devastated that she caused her parents and Inu-Yori such pain. Despite what she said earlier, she’s now struggling with the idea of giving up her parents forever for Yori.

The next chapter opens with the entire family enjoying a meal together. For a fleeting moment, Iku believes they might actually be able to ignore everything that has happened and be a family together again. Doesn’t take long for the other boot to drop, however, when Yori mentions going to rest.

Their mother suddenly snaps at this, demanding to know where they’ll be ‘resting.’ Yori, with that same dumbass supervillain smirk on his face, replies “Where? Isn’t it obvious? In our room….because we are siblings.”

She forbids them to be alone together ever again. She demands they sleep in separate rooms and do everything apart. Yori points out the obvious problem that she can’t monitor them all the time nor can she do it forever.

Suddenly, Yori comes to realization that, if he truly wanted things to go back to normal, he never should’ve abducted her.

No. You’re supposed to be super-smart. There’s only so many instances of ‘Oops, I never realized this insanely obvious repercussion of doing (blank). My bad!’ that I can believe. You’re a manipulative house of dicks. Burn in hell.

Yori tells them all that the only option is for him to leave the family. His dad tries to stop him, but he’s made up his mind. Iku and Yori meet in their room, and Iku tries to convince Yori to stay.

One more for the road –

Hair sniffs: 10

Yori asks Iku if she wants him to cut her hair since she stated sometime before that she had wanted to, but Iku knew Yori liked it long on her. He starts to cut her hair, symbolizing their ending love and him leaving since he’s cutting off “16 years worth of hair” and they reminisce about a time when they were younger.

Yori would braid Iku’s hair every day, and a boy made fun of him for it because braiding hair isn’t something boys should know how to do. Iku didn’t want Yori to be made fun of, so she learned how to braid her hair.

Yori explains that he gave the boy “a brutal beating” when that happened, because he took away his “privilege to stroke Iku’s hair.” Psychopath. Nothing new here.

When he gets done cutting her hair, he wishes her to have good memories of him after he leaves. She starts crying and asks him once again to not leave. He puts her to bed, claiming they’ll talk about the future in the morning. That was the last time Iku ever saw Yori.

The last chapter starts with Iku and Yori’s conversation continuing from what we heard before. He claims he’ll go away to some place where she’ll never see him again and their lives will move on after some time. She may forget this love and move on, or she might not ever get over it, but they’ll never see each other again. Yori leaves, taking one last look at the house and remembering the good times with his family before leaving for good.

In the middle of the night, Yano gets a text message telling him to take care of Iku. Realizing Yori left for good without that conversation he promised in the morning, Iku falls into a deep depression. She stays locked in her room, not eating for five days. She loses so much weight that the ring Yori gave her falls off. I guess she never looked at the damn thing because she only now realizes it’s engraved with a message that says he was blessed to have her in his life.

Iku blames herself for Yori leaving.

Iku: “This is all because of my weakness.” No, this is 99% because Yori’s a prick. That 1% is reserved for your utter lack of pretty much any positive characteristics.

She decides to finally eat so the ring won’t fall off again. When she grabs a bowl, she finds a note in it from Yori saying ‘Don’t oversleep. You must eat your breakfast!’ She then finds or remembers a slue of other notes reminding Iku to do various daily tasks.

Iku: “If I cannot become a woman who can stand on her own two feet, it will be impossible to continue any form of relationship. Such an obvious thing….I finally understand it for the first time.”

Good. Good girl. Become a strong independent woman. I’ll be rooting for you. Ya know…I’m actually kind proud of you, Iku. Maturing so much. I’m certain that this will stick and you won’t instantly revert to the overly dependent dumbass you’ve been this entire serie–

So the next page has Iku ready to intensely study for entrance exams to Tokyo University…….because she believes Yori will be there.

God.

Damn.

It.

Of course, Yano points out the obvious that there’s no way Iku would ever get into Tokyo University, even if she went to cram school.

We instantly cut to ten years later. If you needed a boost of inspiration in your life, let me tell you that the most incompetent and dependent idiot in the world, Iku, somehow managed to get a great job and earn enough money to travel the world at 26. She’s in London on business and has been looking for Yori for ten years. Of course she has.

She’s also keeping in contact with Yano I guess because he’s either feeding her money or because Yano is upholding his promise to take care of Iku….or both.

Iku: “I need to rely on my own strength to allow this love to become ‘one ordained by fate.’” Iku, it’s hardly ‘fate’ if you’re combing the globe for over a decade searching for him.

She goes to the local university’s library, and we see that Yori has become a junior lawyer. After some near-misses in their meetings, they finally cross paths. As Yori and Iku’s eyes meet, and they finally embrace once more, Yori thinks to himself “I love my younger sister.”

End.

Thank god.

But also, what?

How is this even happening?

I thought Iku couldn’t give up her parents, that’s really why their relationship would never work. You don’t stop having parents once you become an adult. You still can’t pretend they’re not related – Yori doesn’t even seem like he changed his name. If this is really insinuating that it was ‘FATE’ that they met back up several years in the future once Iku had ‘matured’ and learned to be more self-sufficient, then….the blame really is being put squarely on Iku being weak?

Fuck off.

Don’t get me wrong. Iku was and possibly still is one of the weakest, most dependent, dumbest, poorly written sacks of female I’ve ever seen. How the neurons in her brain fire without a note from Yori, I don’t know.

However, all of this is undoubtedly almost entirely Yori’s fault. If he could’ve kept it in his pants, not been an emotionally, physically and sexually abusive twat all this time, if he could stop being a psycho for five minutes, none of this would’ve happened. I can guarantee Iku never would’ve fallen for Yori. They probably would’ve gone their separate ways in college because god knows she’d never get into the same university. He would’ve lessened his crusade to get into his sister’s panties, and she would’ve gone off to flunk clown college and married some guy who would be cool with supporting her for her whole life and enjoyed the bonus storage space in her skull.

This entire series, if this last part is meant to be taken as fact, was meant to build up to Iku becoming more independent so she could have a real relationship with Yori when that was never the real problem. And Yori’s big moment of development is leaving Iku to pick up the pieces of her broken family, who now realize she had a sexual relationship with her brother for a couple years, her social life, which was undoubtedly screwed over from the rumors, and her love life, which seems like it was non-existent after Yori because who can top that perfect specimen of man?

Meanwhile, Yori, making off like he made some grand sacrifice, gets to go off, start a new life for himself overseas, everyone completely unaware of his escapades in sister boinking, becomes a successful lawyer and eventually gets exactly what he wants – Iku. Go. Drink. Molten. Lava.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the ending of the OVA was better. They had a small fling, he realized what he did was wrong and left. His parents never found out, there never was any scandal in his family, only Yano and Tomoka knew the truth about them, but Yano would never tell and Tomoka didn’t seem like she was far enough along in her bitchy development to do anything with it.

Oh well. Like I said, they deserve each other. I still feel bad for Yano, though. Now he’s spent ten+ years chasing Iku to no avail. Granted, he’s almost as bad as Yori anyway, but I’d rather have her go with him than Yori.

But we’re not quite done even now. We have three bonus chapters to go through….Oh happy day.

The first bonus chapter takes place before Yori admits his feelings for Iku. He’s giving her a piggyback ride home, he tricks her into saying she wants to do it with her, changes the subject abruptly and says he just wants to be by Iku’s side forever.

That sure was worth the ink and paper.

The next chapter is a more developed story of something they flashed back to briefly in the next to last chapter. Little Yori is about to be a prince in a play. He wants Iku to be the princess so he can pretend they’re getting married, but their teacher won’t allow it because Iku’s too dumb to remember her lines.

Yori vows to get Iku to learn her lines, but he works her too hard (even withholding food from her until she says the lines he wants her to say) and she falls unconscious with a fever. I know this is a trope, but either Yori’s a slave driver or Iku really is the weakest person alive.

Yori feels insanely guilty….for all of five minutes. We later see an unconscious Iku, still sick with fever, playing Sleeping Beauty opposite Yori. They changed the play to Sleeping Beauty because she’ll barely have any lines to remember, and she’ll be allowed to sleep through a good portion, I guess. Then he kisses her to wake her up. The end.

….So, what I’m getting from this is….Yori forced his sister to partake in a play because he wanted to play pretend marriage with her and kiss her, ran her like a dog until she was sick and unconscious because he really wanted her to keep the role, and the school, for some reason desperate to keep Yori as the prince (The girls in his class practically protest, complete with a sign, for him to be prince, but the only reason any of them would want that so badly is if one of them got to play opposite him, so I don’t get it), changed the entire play so Yori would still be the prince in the play instead of a tree, not even caring that they were putting a sick unconscious child on stage and allowing another child to kiss the aforementioned unconscious child.

Does the horribleness ever stop? The manga is technically over and it’s still happening. Someone please help me.

Also, apparently the teacher is such a doormat for the girls in her class that she agrees to Yori’s terms in regards to letting Iku play opposite him when another girl already has the part. The girl in question, named Rika (whom I don’t remember at all if she’s an established character) clearly doesn’t agree with this arrangement, but since the other girls are so insistent on just rolling over to make Yori happy, she’s forced to play a tree. This manga isn’t for children, but this is such a terrible message. As long as you’re cute and people love you, you’ll have everyone bending over backwards to give you literally anything you want – even if it’s completely unfair to everyone else! Iku didn’t deserve to have the lead in the play, and Yori didn’t deserve to have everyone cater to his screwed up fantasy.

The final chapter is the story of how Yori adopted Inu-Yori.

He went to a pet store looking for a high-energy corgi.

Yori: “If Iku takes it for a walk every day, she can definitely lose some weight.”

HORRIBLE. NEVER. ENDS.

The female corgi liked him, which I assume eventually becomes Inu-Iku, but he turned her down because he wanted the dog to be in his stead as he was gone, so he chose the male……….He chose the male because he wanted the dog to be in his stead. I thought it being a companion so she’d never be lonely was the point of this. What does the dog having a dic—forget it. I don’t care.

Manga over.

——————————–

Well…..that sure was…..*exasperated sigh*

This manga has a 7.08 rating on MAL and a three-star rating on Anime-Planet.

How?

Why?

….What?

I’ve said my piece on this manga by now, but to wrap things up, this is a terrible manga. This is a terrible thing. These are all terrible people doing terrible things. No character is really likable. Even the dogs end up being a little creepy. This is a terrible ‘romance’ story that never really felt like a romance. Like I said in the tags of volume nine, the story actually is serviceable, but it’s completely burned down to the ground and pissed on by the unlikable and infuriating cast.

Yori’s a rapey jackass who admits flatout that he’s mean, bossy and forceful, and that’s just the tip of the assberg. He never tries to change his ways, and any instance of him doing something good is usually laced with terrible implications or motivations.

Iku’s a complete imbecile who spends her time either acting like a toddler, crying at something Yori’s doing or responding to things going on her around with that HeroineFromAmnesia-esque vacant stare. It’s hard to believe someone so stupid and useless actually exists. Scientists would probably want to study her brain, if they could find it.

They love each other but, despite all this, we never really learn why. Yori only has bad personality traits. Even when he’s going out of his way to care for Iku, he’s still a jerk to her and everyone else. Iku is kinda nice, but her uselessness and stupidity as well as complete lack of characterization outside of her over-attachment and dependence on Yori make her incredibly frustrating to watch.

It’s Yori’s lust and obsession stirring up Iku’s crippling dependency to the point where love is an illusion. The ending may contradict this, considering Iku did eventually stand on her own two feet, but I don’t know if she got that job because of Yano (his family is filthy rich) and her focus is still entirely on finding Yori to the point where I think the only reason she became independent was find Yori, ironically.

The only two emotions this manga made me feel were apathy and anger. The only part that I legitimately enjoyed was the story of Takuma and Mayu, and they left that plot on a damn cliffhanger. Did they ever get together? Did he really die when he hit 20? We’ll never know, but hey, let’s watch Yori sexually assault Iku again, and then we’ll watch Iku be so stupid she forgets how to walk. Quality writing.

I didn’t think this series would get substantially worse than the OVA, but, goshdarnit, you proved me wrong and then some, manga.

If I’ll throw it any bones, I’ll say the art was alright. Like I mentioned in my AniManga Clash!, the art style is basically exactly the same as the anime, but the manga’s was noticeably better. Just slightly. It still looked weird, especially with the mouths and the fingernails, but it was alright. Very typical shoujo style.

Please don’t waste your time or brain cells on this manga. Trust me. It’s not worth it.

Recommended Audience: There’s several instances of nudity but really only in regards to breasts as the crotch region is usually fully airbrushed out. There are numerous sex scenes, but they never get that graphic. I feel I can easily put a rape trigger warning on this series as there are tons of instances of flatout sexual assault and borderline rape, even if they paint it as romantic. Plus, there’s just a lot of squicky creepy talk and gestures. Incest alone is probably a flag for many people. There’s no violence, swearing or blood/gore. 15+


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Update: 5/1/2022 – Did I ABANDON the Madhouse?! *gasp*

Short answer, no.

Hello my lovely word readers who direct their browsers to my little blog’s URL. It is I, Twix. Person who writes the words that sometimes make sense.

It’s been two months since I last posted in here, but if you missed my tweet about this a while ago, fear not. I did not abandon my blog baby. I’ve been here every day, actually. I’ve been on a mission to deep-clean my blog for sake of improving past mistakes, fixing issues with the blog, and removing some overly harsh/unfair/flatout incorrect/poorly articulated statements. I know I’ve said I’ve done this before, but those were very cursory cleanings. This was a ‘get some overalls, a power washer and press ‘edit’ on everything’ cleaning. Most were just spruced up a little bit for the sake of consistency and proofreading, some got a bit more of an overhaul. I thought it wouldn’t take that long, but I was obviously wrong. I’ve been working on this bit by bit since March. It didn’t click with me that I had over 1100 posts to go through, soooo…..womp womp.

My review of Pokemon the First Movie and Pokemon Movie 09 were some of the most changed with the first getting an update because I’ve had a slight change of heart and recognized a good deal of bad writing on my part, and the second was to include a significant note about the voice actor changes to Pokemon that I thought was very important to include.

Most notably across all posts, however, I have been working to purge my reviews of all number ratings. This change might be a bit confusing or maybe even annoying to some people, but I honestly think it’s for the best. I have gone without number ratings in my reviews for a year or so now, prompted by someone else posting that they weren’t including number ratings anymore, so I thought I’d give it a try, and, honestly, it’s made my blogging life a lot easier. Giving set ratings based on numbers or stars has ALWAYS stressed me out since way, way, way back when I first started writing reviews around 15 years ago (oh god….the oldness…ow.) I was always bad at it, and I always struggled trying to settle on a number, even when I allowed it to go into decimals. I don’t even like leaving number/star ratings on MAL or Anime-Planet because it seems like people always just make snap judgements without wanting to hear why I rated it that way. And, even when they do read why, they still seem focused on the number. Granted, it’s not like a cheat into getting people to agree with me, people still disagree with me all the time, and that’s fine, but I’d rather be rid of the stress of coming up with the number at all and worrying how people will accept that, as if that’s the most important part of the post, than stick with it just because that’s what a lot of reviewers do.

Other updates: Officially canceled Analyzing the Criticized: Sakura Haruno. This has been quietly canceled for some time, but just officially announcing it now. I’m probably not going to do anymore ‘Analyzing the Criticized’ again. I just didn’t think I did a good job even with how much effort I put into it. I had read more to prepare for the fourth entry, even wrote some of it and read some of the Sakura Hiden novel, but I just didn’t enjoy writing it anymore and I still think I wasn’t doing it ‘correctly’ if that makes any sense.

If you want my final say on Sakura, here it is. She’s gotten a lot better as an adult than she was ever allowed to be as a kid/teen. I respect the living hell out of her efforts to improve the mental health of children in their war-torn world – not just in Konoha, but everywhere. I also have a fair amount of respect for her as a ninja and a medical practitioner. How she was treated as a character through basically the entirety of the series was one of the story’s biggest sins. She could have been so much more, but, then again, we can say that about so many characters in Naruto – Sakura is just one of the worst examples. It’s weird how neither Sakura nor Sasuke was meant to exist in the series in the first place, but Sasuke was made into a creator’s pet because Kishimoto wound up loving him so much, and Sakura just puttered through the story on Sasuke’s leash for the most part until Kishimoto finally decided ‘Oh yeah, let’s give her something to do.’

I do stand firm in my assertion that her relationship to Sasuke is one of the worst-written most toxic and unhealthy relationships put to page or screen, and the fact that they ended up together and had a kid still rattles my brain cells. I don’t care about the pittance of affection he shows her after he becomes a good guy again. I don’t care about him smirking when she shows off her strength or him catching her after she nearly fainted in the final battle or him booping her on the forehead (Which I find far more weird than romantic. That’s more like a sibling/familial gesture of love, not romantic.) – it’s bad. He should’ve wound up alone, and she should have taken several years to mature emotionally in her romantic life before pursuing literally anyone else.

Even Sakura Hiden, which I was kinda enjoying otherwise, was constantly marred by Sakura’s annoying yearning for Sasuke. You wanna hear some of my notes from the novel?

– “We started at “You’re annoying.” and we’ve made it all the way to “I’ll see you soon.” Along with the remembered sensation of that poke. My heart feels a little warmer somehow when I think about it like that.”

Sakura, can I be real with you for a second? That is, without a doubt, the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard in all my days of breathing oxygen.

In the course of like four or five years, much of that time being spent with Sasuke being a horrible crate of fresh assholes/a terrorist and trying to kill you twice, you went from “You’re annoying.” to “I’ll see you soon.” and got a little poke on the noggin, and that puts you on cloud nine? You have severe problems, Sakura. I’m not even joking right now. This is disturbing.

– Sakura is jealous of Naruto and Hinata when she sees them on a date. She’s jealous of Ino and Sai, who are close to confessing their feelings to each other. She’s jealous of Shikamaru and Temari. She’s even jealous of Choji and Karui.

– Sakura has a dream where she gets to see Sasuke again. It actually seems like it’s developing into a genuinely sweet and romantic moment for the two of them, capped off with a….head pat…but nope. It was just a dream. Sakura is so hard up for Sasuke’s affection, that she’s dreaming of him patting her head like a dog.

Another uneasy thing about her dream is that dream!Sasuke has a new arm courtesy of Hashirama cells, and he tells her that he’ll contact her if he has any problems with it. Thing is, real!Sasuke didn’t get a new arm, and it really feels like she’s dreaming this detail just so he’ll have a slightly bigger chance of visiting again in the future.

I never finished reading Sakura Hiden, and I’m not sure I want to. Granted, Sakura is, in my opinion, at her best here, but maybe that’s because this story isn’t even written by Kishimoto.

In conclusion, for the last time, finally, Sakura deserves a very hefty amount of criticism for a variety of reasons, but, at the very least, I can say that they could have done a lot worse. At least near the tail end of everything they made an effort to improve her, which is a lot more than I can say for some other characters. I don’t really think there’s any real defense for Sasuke as Sakura as a couple, though. If they’re happy the way they are, fine, I guess, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a dumpster fire within a dumpster fire.

Officially Canceled Smile Precure SSBSs and SDCs. Sorry, but I felt like a few series needed to be dropped to help me stay on course, and my heart just wasn’t in this anymore. However, if you do want to read some reviews and SDCs on Smile Precure/Glitter Force beyond what I’ve written, by someone much more qualified than I, please visit my friend GlitterInformer’s blog.

Officially put Dinosaur King on hiatus. I feel like I’ll probably revisit this one somewhere in the future after I’ve finished a different SSBS project, but it’s just not entertaining enough for me to keep in my list for now.

I’ve now added episode titles (both original Japanese and English dubbed) to all of my archives. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. I realized that it could be very difficult to navigate the episode lists if you only know the title but not the episode number, so hopefully this will make things a little easier.

I’ve added “Next episode….” and “….Previous Episode” links to every episode-by-episode review and SDC. This is also meant to help people with navigation. Now you can just immediately jump to the next episode or visit the last one to easily read the reviews or comparisons in succession.

I have acquired the rest of the Cyborg 009 manga beyond volume ten and the novel. So, in theory, I should be able to review quite literally everything Cyborg 009 now. However, big-ass asterisk, the thing about the manga beyond volume ten (and the novel) was that no company ever acquired or translated the rest of the manga (or novel) in English. I….do not speak Japanese. I am currently learning it and enjoying it, but I am nowhere the level I would need to be to read this properly. It’s going to be a struggle, and I guarantee manga updates will slow to a crawl once I get to that point, but I’m just thankful I have the files and can maybe sorta kinda talk about them…..maybe…..I hope.

I’m gonna have the same issues with the 1968 anime series beyond episode 16 as well. Subs stopped for that series, and I am forever sad. I’ll do my best.

Some minor updates: I fixed the Twitter social media button at the bottom of the posts, and fixed my Twitter feed over on the side. This may have just been a problem on my end, but neither was loading no matter what browser I used for months, and now they are, so hopefully I fixed whatever problem that was.

You can now see likes on comments. I had no clue how to turn that functionality on despite seeing it everywhere else, but now I’ve found it, and you can like comments and see other likes on comments.

And I think that’s all folks. I am still not done with the cleaning, but I am nearing the finish line. I think I can finally start posting again, likely sometime in the next few days, and once I’m finally done I should be back to regularly scheduled shenanigans. Thank you for being so patient with me! Thanks especially to the people who have dropped by to comment around here in the meantime. I love all your faces, and I’ll see ya soon!

~Twix


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 13: Targeting the Female Students – The Prophet’s Fang/Manga Chapter 5

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Hmm, this is a 90s anime taking place in a school. Aren’t we due for the ol’ fortune teller episode?

We sure are!

Introducing Kokurano, a fake psychic who has everyone convinced he’s the real deal. He even has a posse of girls who practically worship him.

Jonouchi feels as though he’s cursed because he got into a bad fight and nearly got clocked by a piece of equipment falling off of a power pole, so he reluctantly goes to Kokurano for his fortune.

In the anime, he doesn’t believe he’s cursed. He just goes to get his fortune told because he wants to.

Additionally, while both the anime and the manga include the story about how Kokurano accurately predicted a classmate’s home would burn down, we don’t actually see it in the manga. In the anime, the episode starts out with showing the fire. However, the anime omits the part about the classmate getting wounded in the fire. In fact, the classmate is seen at the opening shot and he’s fine. It’s never really made clear whether Kokurano set this fire or not, but if he did, holy crap!

Since most of the people coming to see Kokurano are girls, Jonouchi decides to save face by proclaiming that Anzu dragged him here.

Love his expression when he does so.

The anime kinda mirrors the expression, but it’s better in the manga.

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The anime also changed this to Jonouchi claiming Honda dragged him here, which, in my opinion, makes the scene funnier.

Kokurano’s headband originally bore the symbol for “chou” which stands for ultra, upper, super and/or ascend. In the anime, it’s just a blank star.

Another thing the anime added to this scene was a short joke exchange with a girl student. Kokurano tells this girl, who is clearly designed to be unattractive, that the ‘dawn of her beauty’ will last forever.

More anime-exclusive stuff – Honda berates Kokurano for improperly using school supplies for his fortune telling. In order to get him to shut up, he tells Honda that he will marry the girl he’s in love with, which obviously sends him over the moon imagining himself being married to Miho.

A minor earthquake occurs in both versions, and Kokurano pulls out a piece of paper he supposedly wrote on earlier that predicted the earthquake, causing mostly everyone to gawk at his powers.

The only one of them who actually gets their fortune told in the manga is Anzu (well, technically, Jonouchi does too, but all Kokurano tells him is that he’s cursed. In the anime, he tells Jonouchi off-screen that he’ll be a policeman in Los Angeles.)

The manga and the anime differ widely here, but they also leave the core information alone. In the manga, Anzu wants her fortune told at the same time Jonouchi gets his done, and she’s flattered when Kokurano starts creepily molesting her hands in order to get a palm reading. Anime!Anzu is creeped out and disgusted when he does it to her later (which is a much better and reasonable reaction if you ask me.)

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He tells Anzu that she’ll soon meet a wonderful man and she’ll surrender her body and mind to him. Anzu is pretty willing to believe him almost immediately. In the anime, however, she’s incredibly skeptical and doesn’t even get her fortune read until we’re into the second half of the episode.

Yugi ousts Kokurano during the first round of predictions claiming that he doesn’t really believe in his ‘powers’ since he’s seen similar tricks like that before. For instance, the piece of paper he claimed he used to predict the earthquake earlier could have been one of hundreds of slips of paper with vague predictions on them that he whips out whenever a ‘prediction’ comes true.

Technically, Anime!Yugi also ousts Kokurano with the same theory, but he does it much later in the story. The reason he waits so long is because he believes Kokurano, in his own way, is playing a game. As far as he can tell, his predictions and tricks are harmless. Being such a game enthusiast, he believes revealing Kokurano’s trickery is breaking the rules of his game, so he leaves him be. Only when Anzu starts believing in Kokurano’s powers and he convinces her she has a secret mysterious admirer does he finally snap and make the accusations.

Additionally, in the manga, Yugi doesn’t care that he said those things to Kokurano. In the anime, Yugi feels really bad that he ‘broke the rules’ of Kokurano’s game all because he was jealous. I like Anime!Yugi here much better because refusing to ruin the fun of a fortune teller because he respects games so much is a totally Yugi thing for him to do. The fact that he feels bad about doing it in the end only makes him seem sweeter and more innocent.

In both versions, Kokurano makes an ominous prediction on Yugi after this point. He tells him that countless words from heaven will fall down on him and bring destruction.

As I said before, Anime!Anzu stays skeptical throughout much of the episode and refuses to get her fortune told (probably to extend this otherwise short story to fit the episode length), much to Kokurano’s disdain. He’s intent on making her his, so he persists in luring her into getting her fortune told.

Between when Anzu finally gets her fortune told and the initial fortune telling scene in the anime, there’s quite a bit of filler involving Kokurano’s predictions. Kokurano tries to convince her that he’s the real deal by the lockers, but she stands firm. There’s a scene where the group is getting ready for gym, and Jonouchi complains that he’s too stiff. He also complains that the girls get the easy task of playing tennis while the boys have to do Judo.

Continuing on from that, they meet Kokurano in the hallway. Jonouchi literally gets on his hands and knees in front of Kokurano asking him to read his fortune some more. Kokurano tells him to beware of lights coming towards him – a prediction that later comes true during Judo when a lighting fixture above Jonouchi falls and nearly injures him.

Miho pops up to….act like she’s friggin’ three years old and starts tugging on Kokurano’s cloak, wondering what’s underneath it. She has no reason to ask this – like she glimpsed something strange underneath it – she just has the mind of a toddler who took ten too many tumbles down the stairs. It’s not like this is the big reveal of him cheating or anything, either. It’s just Miho being irritating.

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Kokurano tells Anzu that there’s a mysterious man watching over her from the shadows and that, if she wants to learn more, to come see him later to get her fortune told. She still doesn’t bite, however. After she hears of the light prediction coming true, she decides to get her fortune told, curious if the mysterious man he’s speaking of is Yami.

When she actually goes to get her fortune told, the scene stays more or less the same as it was in the start of manga, barring some notes I already mentioned and excluding everything the anime already showed. Anzu gets her hands molested, Kokurano tells her about the mysterious man, but in the anime he also adds that the man will be in the science room at six o’clock.

Some minor changes in Anzu and Yugi’s plans for after school. In the manga, she seemingly told Yugi at the end of the day that she had the day off from work and wanted to go window shopping with him. He’s just gathering his things in the classroom while she waits in a different classroom. He spots a book left on a desk and decides to return it to the library real quick before going to meet Anzu.

In the anime, Anzu tells him about having the day off earlier in the day, when they’re talking by the lockers, and asks if he wants to go to a tea shop after school. Once the day ends, Anzu decides to see if the prediction was true, so she hangs out in the science room waiting for the mysterious man to arrive. Meanwhile, Yugi had just found a book lying in the hallway and decided to return it to the library.

In both versions, as Yugi is returning the book, the bookcases all domino into each other and nearly squash poor Yugi (countless words from heaven), but Yami kicks in and escapes from the danger in the nick of time. He realizes that this was set up by Kokurano. Fearing Anzu is in danger, he rushes off to save her.

Anzu is met with Kokurano in the science room. In the manga, he claims Yugi’s not coming to meet her, but since she’s not waiting for him in the anime he doesn’t make this statement there. He does, however, state that his prediction was right and that she did meet her mysterious man that she will surrender her body and mind to – him.

He uses chloroform to knock her out. The only difference between the two versions here is that, in the manga, he’s clearly copping a feel on her boob. In the anime, he’s not.

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Yami arrives and challenges him to a Shadow Game. Anzu is just about to lose consciousness at this time and tries to get a look at Yami’s face so she can finally learn the identity of the owner of the mysterious voice, but she passes out before she can.

Shadow Game

The Shadow Game today is almost entirely different barring the use of chloroform bottles and the risk being the loser will be knocked out by the chemical.

In the manga, Yami spreads a bunch of sheets of paper on a desk and places the chloroform bottle on top. They will take turns each sliding a piece of paper out from under the bottle without knocking it over. Whomever knocks over the bottle loses and will be knocked out.

They each remove some pieces of paper until one of Yami’s pulls lands the bottle on the very edge of the desk. Surely, if Kokurano tries to remove one more piece of paper the bottle will fall. Yami goads him into trying anyway, claiming, if he is a psychic, he’d be able to telekinetically lift the bottle and take a piece of paper. Too full of pride to disagree, or maybe simply delusional, Kokurano agrees and tries to lift the bottle with his mind. He pretends like it’s working, but Yami points out that it’s clearly a lie. Unable to remove the paper without knocking the bottle over, the bottle breaks and Kokurano is left unconscious on the floor with his cloak splayed out.

His open cloak reveals, as Yugi coincidentally predicted, that he had a slue of papers with vague predictions written on them so he could whip them out whenever appropriate and pretend he had psychic powers.

In the anime, the game is a bit more complex. Yami attaches several chloroform bottles to the classroom clock via thin wires. The clock is set up to snip a wire once every minute. Which wire is connected to which bottle is a mystery. They’ll each have to take turns guessing which bottle will fall each minute and try to catch it before it hits the ground.

They each take a turn, successfully catching a bottle, but then Kokurano plays dirty and trips Yami when he rushes for a falling bottle. He’s able to keep the bottle from falling by….I honestly don’t know what happened. He threw his Puzzle, the pointed bottom stuck in a wall and the string….somehow grabbed the bottle and suspended it in mid-air….I have no clue. I think Yami just screwed over the laws of physics ten ways to Sunday and back to Friday.

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There are only two bottles left now, and they’re way too far apart for the player to recover if they choose the wrong bottle. Yami eggs Kokurano on, claiming if he’s a real psychic he can just use his powers to accurately predict which bottle will fall. (Of course, if he does, that just leaves one bottle and….what, does the game just end?)

He guesses wrong, the bottle breaks, and, as in the manga, he’s splayed out on the floor with his ‘predictions’ in his cloak on display, certain to expose him as a fraud in the morning.

Truthfully, I like the anime’s Shadow Game a little better than the manga’s. The manga’s game is a little overly simple (Kokurano could have pulled the paper from any other side to prevent the bottle from falling…) Not to mention the fact that just because you have psychic premonitions doesn’t mean you also have telekinesis. Kokurano never once claimed that he had telekinesis. Why would Yami be like ‘If you’re psychic, you can just make the bottle float with your mind.’? And why would Kokurano lean into that?

The anime’s game makes much more sense because Yami’s coaxing him based on the fact that Kokurano claimed he could predict the future and this game relies entirely on predictions. Plus, I like that Kokurano tried to cheat during the game in the anime. It keeps in line with the theme of antagonists cheating during Shadow Games to open the doors to darkness. I do still wonder what would have happened if Kokurano just guessed correctly. Is the door to darkness thing that he would’ve chosen wrong no matter what?

In both versions, Yami carries a still-unconscious Anzu to safety, and she groggily muses over her mysterious savior again onto the fall back to sleep once more. However, the anime continues on and carries a very important change with it.

In the anime, while she was being carried, Anzu saw that Yami’s hand was injured (somehow. They never show it being damaged and we never see an injury on his hand before Anzu notices it.)

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In an added scene after that, the group all discusses how Kokurano was a fake. In a rather genuinely sweet scene, Honda is shown being depressed at this revelation because he believes it means he and Miho aren’t destined to be married. Miho walks over the cheer him up saying they can make their own futures now (unaware that he was upset specifically about his future with her.) Honda instantly gets his spring back in his step.

When Yugi runs off to join Honda, Jonouchi and Miho, calling Anzu to join them too, Anzu notices that Yugi has a wound on his hand that is identical to her mysterious savior’s wound.

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Yes, Anzu seemingly now knows that Yugi and Yami are one in the same. I don’t know why they rushed this revelation, but they keep on with it considering the next episode leaps WAY ahead to chapter 45.

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I thought the manga chapter was fine, but I much prefer the anime version. It fixed many issues I had with the story in the manga and even added some stuff that was unexpected but nice. Anzu was made much more tolerable in the anime than she is in the manga. She isn’t being terrible in the manga, but I much prefer her being skeptical and weirded out by Kokurano than instantly falling for his predictions, getting all swoony over her hand being groped and being gushy over the thoughts of the owner of the mysterious voice.

Yugi was also just being an adorable sweetheart in the anime. Again, there’s nothing terribly wrong with him in the manga, but he comes off as more of a spoilsport from the beginning in the manga whereas, in the anime, he’s playing along and being sweet. The only reason he loses his cool is because he was jealous, and even then he felt very guilty about it.

Honda and Miho went back and forth this episode. I liked that Miho was also skeptical of Kokurano, and her scene with Honda at the end was sweet, but her tackling Kokurano over getting his cloak off was obnoxious and completely unnecessary, and I am getting so sick of Honda’s shtick of puppy dogging after Miho. Jonouchi was also being pathetic in this episode, groveling after Kokurano, whereas he more or less has nothing to do with the plot after the initial fortune telling in the manga.

Winner: Anime

Next time, Anzu is at her absolute worst as she tries to lure out Yami at a water park. Prepare for one of the absolute worst chapters of Yu-Gi-Oh!….But can the same be said of the anime version?


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 12: The Extremely Lucky Enemy – The Undefeated Legend/Manga Chapter 42

Plot: Jonouchi becomes a contestant on a game show in order to win one million yen to pay off his father’s gambling debts. He’s excited for the opportunity, but those behind the scenes are more intent on simply making good TV, no matter if they have to torment poor Jonouchi to do it.

Breakdown: This is another one of those episodes where the plot is only loosely adapted to the anime. Most notably, the antagonist this time around is entirely changed, they added A LOT of stuff to the story to pad it out, and the game show aspect is played down quite a bit.

Starting out with the manga chapter, Jonouchi is super excited because he got accepted to be a contestant on a game show where you can win one million yen or roughly 10,000 USD because it will allow him to pay off his father’s gambling debts. Jonouchi’s currently working a bunch of part-time jobs to help them scrape by, but winning this game show will help him immensely. He also hopes that, with the debt gone, he and his father can put the past behind them and finally act like a true father and son.

This is really heartwarming and sweet, and, later, every game he wins gives him a bright smile and a sparkle in his eye. He’s not being a greedy person here – he’s legitimately hoping this money will help him and his father and make them closer. He’s not even really damning his father for getting them into debt in the first place. He just wants to make things better….which is why the ending is such a bummer, but we’ll get to that down the line.

The producer behind the show has no intention of letting him win this money, however. He just heard Jonouchi’s ‘sob story’ and knew it’d increase ratings.

When Jonouchi gets on the show, cheered on by his friends, he works very hard to ensure that he’ll make it far enough to get the million yen, and he aces numerous games. There’s a commercial break before the final game for the million yen starts, and Yugi excuses himself to the restroom. Along the way, he overhears the unnamed producer speaking with an employee about how they’re rigging the roulette wheel to ensure Jonouchi doesn’t land on the million yen. He’s laughing about how they’ll rake in viewers who will desperately want to see this ‘pauper’ win the money for his father’s debts and then feel despair when he loses. But who cares as long as he makes bank.

Because, yeah, it totally makes sense for a producer to just yell out his evil plans in a space where it seems anyone is allowed to walk around and overhear them, possibly ousting their cheating and destroying their show, perhaps even sending them to prison.

Yugi won’t stand for these scumbags ruining his best friend’s dream.

In what is probably the clunkiest dialogue ever, and I’m pretty sure it can’t just be attributed to the translators, we get this moment when Jonouchi is about to spin the wheel.

Employee: “I’ll hit the red button! There may be a lot of buttons, but you can’t miss this one! Pressing this makes it impossible for the roulette wheel to land on ‘million yen’!”

BOY THIS SURE IS SOME CHEATING WE’RE DOING, SIR!

IT SURE IS, EMPLOYEE! JUST REMEMBER TO CHEAT BY HITTING THAT RED BUTTON! YA KNOW, THE ONE THAT’S RED!

SURE IS A GOOD THING I CAN’T MISS THIS CLEARLY RED BUTTON – THE ONE THAT WILL LET US CHEAT AND COMMIT THE CRIME WE’RE DOING!

YES, IT SURE IS! THAT’S THE RED BUTTON THAT WILL MAKE IT SO THE CONTESTANT CAN’T WIN! THAT THING THAT’S ILLEGAL! BY THE WAY, I HAVEN’T FILED TAXES IN 30 YEARS AND I RAN OVER A CHILD ON MY WAY TO THE STUDIO!

YOUR SECRET’S SAFE WITH ME, PRODUCER OF THIS SHOW!

Yami walks in and starts the Shadow Game, which we’ll get to after I catch you up on the anime’s side of things.

In the anime, the producer guy doesn’t exist, and he’s not rigging the show. Instead, we get some guy named Ryuichi Fuwa who is the seven-time reigning champion of the game show. He’s a cocky little twat who wins yet again.

With Yugi and the others, they discuss Ryuichi’s win streak. While Jonouchi gushes over the possibility of the grand prize reaching 100,000 yen, which is about 1000 USD, Miho also gushes about Ryuichi’s money, but Honda halts her, claiming it’s better to get money a little bit at a time. Someone who gets a lot of money at once will be driven from society and killed by a guillotine? Honda, have you been huffing cleaning products again?

I mean, granted, he does have a slight point. Stumbling into a lot of money, such as from inheritance or through the lottery, does tend to lead people into despair more often than not. But that’s, like, huge amounts of money. Not a measly 1000 USD….People with money in general tend to have it easy. Also, Ryuichi is getting his money bit by bit considering his prize goes up in increments in each episode. His last prize was 10000 yen, which is only 100 USD…

Jonouchi gets pissed off by Honda’s words because he claims he can pay off his father’s gambling debts with the money and possibly even run away….I think that’s going a bit far, but alright. Like in the manga, he’s been working since he was young to pay for his school and living expenses on his own since his dad’s such a deadbeat. Jonouchi also snaps again at Honda, claiming he truly lives bit by bit while Honda has the nerve to say such things while ‘leeching’ off of his parents. Ouch.

He definitely has a point, though. I know Honda’s just saying these things because Miho likes Ryuichi and Honda’s jealous, but he should still have enough awareness to know that saying things like that in front of Jonouchi would be offensive.

When class starts, they’re introduced to a new transfer student who just happens to be Ryuichi. He’s a complete asshole, let’s just get that out there. He speaks like a thug, says he doesn’t give out autographs without anyone asking in the first place, and tells all the girls in the class that he just instantly knows are drooling over him that they have no chance of being his girlfriend and that he doesn’t have any interest in having kids.

Miho, being a stereotypical ditzy moron, swoons over Ryuichi after he gets done saying the terrible stuff to the girls. I really, really, really need some evidence that Miho is in any way likable. I’m not even halfway through the series yet. This is getting ridiculous.

Honda also starts hating Ryuichi the instant Miho starts gushing over him because of course he does.

Ryuichi selects his desk by chucking his bag at an empty seat, because we’re really doing everything in our power to drive home the fact that this guy is obnoxious. His teacher tries to get him in line, but Ryuichi offers a game instead. A simple coin flip. Whoever wins gets to determine where he sits. The teacher loses, so Ryuichi goes off to the seat he selected while the teacher just sulks, because that’s totally what a teacher would do. He wouldn’t just, ya know, tell him ‘I’m the teacher. Go to your seat, before I send you to the principal.’ and then probably mutter under his breath ‘and then shove that coin up your ass.’

He’s sat down right next to Yugi, who, being the sweet little muffin he is, politely introduces himself to this human kidney stone.

After class, everyone, including Miho, is still clamoring over Ryuichi, and he’s still being a tractor trailer load of douche. He gets asked if he meets actors since he appears on TV, and he says he does but they’re all stupid and he has no interest in them….Dude, you’re on some two-bit game show. I sincerely doubt you meet actors on the reg. He also gets asked how much money he’s won so far, but he says he doesn’t know because he spends it immediately. You can still, ya know…do math. Unless you’re a dick AND an idiot….which…yeah, that tracks.

Someone bursts into the room yelling about a surprise test they’re going to have tomorrow, and everyone panics. Yugi just becomes depressed because he believes there’s no way he’ll pass at such short notice. Ryuichi, however, lends a helping hand by flipping to the pages in his textbook that he believes are the only things they have to study for the test, even though he should have no idea what the test is on, especially considering he’s a brand-new student.

Turns out, he was spot-on, which baffled Yugi. Despite knowing what section to study, however, Ryuichi turns in his test blank because he doesn’t want to waste his life on stupid tests…..Why are you even in school then?

He’s a ‘chosen one’ and normies wouldn’t understand…..I’m not joking about that last statement. He basically says that straight out.

Also, it should be noted that apparently the teacher with the vanity issues from a few episodes ago didn’t quit. She is right here. I was wondering if it was her for a second and then Ryuichi proved it by telling her her makeup was off, which caused her face to crack and break apart again (at least in her mind?) So….I guess penalty games really are permanent, but only to a certain extent?

After school, Miho proves to be even more annoying and cringey than ever before by trying to grab Ryuichi’s hand as he’s walking. The first things that come out of her mouth are “Hi. Miho is a virgo, AB blood type. How about you, Fuwa-kun?”

It seems like Miho is somehow making this little jackoff nervous for some reason so he invites them out for a meal, his treat. When they walk through the door, he’s congratulated as being the 10,000th customer, earning him a free meal for him and the others.

Also, after Miho gushes about it, Ryuichi gives this expression for some reason.

Honda’s been watching Jonouchi this entire time because he thinks he’s been stewing in anger and is mere moments away from punching Ryuichi out. As he eats the free unlimited meal Ryuichi gave him, he snickers that it looks like Jonouchi’s going to punch him out any second. I may hate this kid, and he may be a complete douche, but if he’s treating you to a meal and is seemingly being civil right now, it just makes you look like the dick to be gleefully hoping he gets his ass handed to him, especially as you’re stuffing your face. And considering the main reason Honda is so upset is because Miho is lusting after his money and not really because he’s an asshole, it just makes this situation look worse.

After the meal, they go to one of those lottery booths. Ryuichi presents Yugi with a challenge. If he gets the A prize, he wins. If he gets anything lower, Yugi has to do whatever he says. Yugi agrees, and apparently he didn’t believe in the heart of the lottery ball roller drum because he loses. Ryuichi steps up and, surprise, he finds the golden ball and wins a trip to Italy.

Jonouchi finally snaps, much to Honda’s delight. He confronts Ryuichi, though instead of punching him out he gets on his hands and knees and begs him to take him in as a pupil….because he wants to learn how to have good luck like him. Do I even need to point out how stupid that is?

I guess I don’t because Ryuichi does that for me.

Ryuichi leaves, though Jonouchi stalks him in order to increase his luck so he can get on that show and win big. A bunch of kids follow Ryuichi, wanting his autograph…..I don’t get his fame. He’s a returning champion on a local luck-based game show that, in all likelihood, probably would have accused him of cheating by now. The fact that a bunch of little kids want this dude’s autograph is just a bit much to swallow.

The kids nearly get hit by a car as they cross the street, leaving them on the ground in a heap crying out for Ryuichi to help them. He tauntingly holds out his hand but then moves it away quickly explaining he doesn’t want to be tainted by unlucky hands.

Jonouchi rushes over to console the kids and check for injuries, all the while stewing in anger over Ryuichi’s callous actions.

As Ryuichi continues to walk, he’s stopped by someone in a limo telling him that Kaiba has summoned him. Turns out, Ryuichi is Kaiba’s second Shitennou. He told Ryuichi to transfer to Domino High so he could face Yugi. Ryuichi, however, is neither impressed with Yugi nor entertained. He once again gives us an example of his otherworldly luck by guessing the combination to the lock for a gun case on Kaiba’s wall on the first try. He also loads five bullets into the revolver, puts the gun to his head and pulls the trigger, but nothing happens. Geeeezzz, dude. I kinda have to imagine how funny it would’ve been if it went off, though.

Ryuichi is incredibly bored. He desperately wants a life or death duel, which Kaiba will provide for him at the game show. (Spoiler alert – he doesn’t for some reason.)

In the meantime, Ryuichi takes advantage of Yugi doing whatever he says to play a sadistic game with him. They both take turns shooting pool balls at each other. I say ‘take turns’ but Yugi seemingly never actually gets a turn. He just….*snicker* *giggles*….he keeps taking balls to the face….*snort*

I don’t even know how this is physically happening. He’s not shooting the pool balls any harder than he would be in a regular game, yet they’re bouncing around like ping-pong balls.

Jonouchi and the others rush in, but Ryuichi is so lucky that Jonouchi and Honda can’t do anything against him and end up thwarting themselves instead.

Back home, Yugi is wincing at getting his wounds treated with antiseptic but uh….he didn’t get cut or scraped. He got clocked with pool balls. Honda finds a letter on the counter from the TV station requesting Yugi’s participation in the game show. Yugi’s confused, but Jonouchi begs Yugi to let him take his place. He desperately wants the chance to show Ryuichi up and pay off his dad’s debts.

Yugi agrees, and Jonouchi takes his place as Ryuichi’s opponent while the others cheer from the audience.

The first game played in the manga is a simple game of darts where he can instantly win 100,000 yen as long as he doesn’t hit the spot that says “loser.” He wins.

In the anime, the first and only game is a concentration matching game. Each player takes turns selecting two cards on a board in hopes of matching their numbers. If they match all of the cards, they win. If they find the joker card, all of their matches go to the opponent. As another hitch, whenever a match is found, the opponent gets an electric shock.

Jonouchi misses on his turn, so obviously Mr. Luck over there gets the rest of the matches in one go, tormenting poor Jonouchi and causing him to lose because apparently this entire game show hinges on one game that lasts about one minute. (The game at the start of the episode also implies this. He only played one game after being introduced (which lasted even less time – about thirty seconds) but he was still declared an eight-time champion immediately after. How long are these episodes?)

In the manga, there were other games. The second was a game in which Jonouchi had to walk through a pathway with a special helmet on. The helmet had a rod attached to it that needed to be threaded between two electrified pipes all the way to the goal. If he got to the end without electrocuting himself, he’d win 500,000 yen, which he does.

The final game was the roulette wheel I mentioned before, but I’ll revisit that in the Shadow Game portion.

Back in the anime, backstage, Jonouchi tries to recover (I think if a game show made someone this ill from repeated electric shocks, they’d be facing legal action, but whatever. Kaiba has his hands in this place, so I’m not surprised.) and Ryuichi bursts in mocking him about his backstory.

Ryuichi: “I suppose ya want me ta cry for ya. That kind of story is what I hate the most. How lazy! I’m disgusted!” Wha….what?! How LAZY? Dude, you couldn’t be bothered to fill in one answer on a test and expect luck to solve all of your problems, but you’re calling a guy who works his ass off to get by lazy? Fuck you.

Yugi tries to defend his friend, but Ryuichi, pissed that Yugi’s a disappointment too, kicks him in the back of the head and starting crushing Yugi’s skull with his foot. Ryuichi even says in inner monologue that he’ll take the skin off Yugi’s face to see the ‘other face’ he supposedly has, if he needs to. This guy’s such a psychopath.

Apparently he stopped eventually and didn’t go through with his skinning threat because he’s later seen walking away through the darkened studio and, as he wanted, Yami comes out to play.

Shadow Game

In the manga, the Shadow Game involves two cans of paint seated on top of a ladder above Yami, the producer and the employee. Two ropes hang from the top of the ladder. One is attached to the paint can and the other isn’t. Yami will tie one rope to his arm, and the employee will select the other. On the count of three, they’ll tug. Whomever knocks over the paint can loses.

Yami wins, and the employee knocks red paint everywhere. The producer doesn’t care about his game, so he scrambles to push the button anyway. However – GASP! THE PAINT IS RED! AND ALL OVER THE EQUIPMENT! BUT THE CHEATING BUTTON WAS RED. AND NOW THE OTHER BUTTONS ARE RED TOO! GOLLY GEE WHIZ WE’LL NEVER FIND THE CHEATING BUTTON THAT CHEATS NOW!

And he doesn’t.

So Yami starts his penalty game, Mind on Air, which basically makes the producer money crazy, like Ushio in the first chapter. (Shouldn’t the employee get the penalty game since he played the Shadow Game?)

Meanwhile, Jonouchi actually does manage to land the wheel on one million yen. The producer rushes out and jumps the cameras, telling everyone watching the show to give him money.

This end is very bittersweet, if not a total downer, because, despite winning the million yen, the show got canceled and went bankrupt because of the producer’s actions. Jonouchi never saw a dime of his winnings, which absolutely sucks. They play it off rather comically with just one panel explaining this.

Jonouchi is shown…..I don’t even know what he’s doing. He looks like he’s yawning, but he might be crying. He also looks like he’s either kicking something that’s not there or he’s just kicking his leg out for some reason. He also nonchalantly has his hand in his pocket. He’s yelling ‘DAMMIT!’ but I really thought he was goofily yawning in this panel when I first saw it, indicating he really didn’t care about losing the money.

What a weird way to react to all of his dreams being shattered. I felt so bad for Jonouchi when I first read this. He was so happy and hopeful, and he won fair and square, but he was screwed out of his money and we’re just meant to laugh in the end, I guess. It’s kinda messed up.

In the anime, Yami propositions Ryuichi with the same concentration matching game, only this time the shocks are a lot worse. Ryuichi agrees, fully confident in his luck, and the fact that he already won this game earlier makes him even more sure of himself.

He starts the game, and Yami keeps getting the match wrong while Ryuichi keeps getting his right. However, this time, even if Ryuichi gets the match correct, Yami gets his turn anyway for some reason. After a point, Yami keeps choosing the same two unmatching cards over and over, causing Ryuichi to become incredibly confused.

The power goes out due to the electric shocks tripping the breaker, but the backup system kicks on. Ryuichi makes his selection, which just happens to be one of the cards Yami kept unsuccessfully choosing before, so he chooses that selection and then….gets a Joker.

Apparently, the cards on the board change when the power goes out. Yami knew Ryuichi would be so cocky about his selection that he’d choose Yami’s spot, not realizing the cards flipped around. Yami smirks claiming Ryuichi isn’t the only lucky one.

Uh, yeah. But your luck doesn’t negate his insane supernatural levels of luck no matter how many heart of the card……matching boards you believe in. His luck would probably override Yami’s plan to have the power go out. How did Yami even know the board worked like that? In addition, his entire plan hinged on the Joker taking the spot of one of the two spots Yami kept choosing over and over, specifically the one that previously yielded the card that Ryuichi needed. Otherwise, Yami would lose no matter if he found a match or not because Ryuichi had more matches.

For that matter, how do the cards change when the power goes out? They seem to be physical plates that are simply rotated on a board not electronic displays that would reset when the system is rebooted. It would make sense for the board to be reset, as in all of the plates get returned back to their default face-down position, but I think the only way they’d swap or change at all would be if someone physically swapped the plates.

Anyway, despite the fact that the entire board reset (seriously, look at the board after the power comes back on. None of the cards are flipped over even though, before, Ryuichi was just one match away from victory) Ryuichi getting the Joker means all of his previous matches go to Yami, which means Yami wins and Ryuichi gets the strongest electric shock. I’d think his luck would prevent him from getting shocked, but whatever.

The following night, the group watches the game show’s latest episode, dreading Ryuichi getting his tenth win. However, he loses immediately by getting the lowest number on the roulette wheel and his chair even falls apart. Yugi notes that it seems like Ryuichi’s luck has finally run dry. Womp womp.

….Wait, did Yami honestly take his luck from him? It’s unclear whether that game was even really a Shadow Game, to be honest. Is this just a coincidence? Where did his luck even come from in the first place? There’s a difference between being lucky and being an anime version of Domino.

The end.

————————————–

While the anime definitely had more to it than the manga did, the manga has more emotional impact. Jonouchi’s backstory, his face as he goes through the games and wins all of the money, and finally the terrible realization that all of his dreams were crushed in the end, even if the manga doesn’t adequately reflect this, was a pretty good backbone for this story. Likewise, the producer was a good enough antagonist, even if he was way too obvious with his evil plans.

I really wish Jonouchi could have actually won, though. Maybe it wouldn’t fix all of his problems like he thought it would, but it would still be money he could use to live a little better. Though, maybe it would still end badly with his dad continuing to wrack up debt once the previous one was paid off.

He’s almost to the point of graduating. Maybe he could have just saved up the money for himself….

The Shadow Game there was fine, though kinda boring, but also wouldn’t have worked if the producer just knew which button was the right one from memory. The penalty game was also a bit disappointing because, as I pointed out, we basically saw this one before.

As for the anime, it’s just a shitton of padding. It’s a non-stop cavalcade of ‘Look at me! I’m Ryuichi and I’m a lucky piece of shit. Watch as I do a bunch of shitty things and basically get the most modest of comeuppance for it!’ and it is beyond obnoxious. Literally everything about this character is a pain in the ass, and we’re never told why he has this ridiculous level of luck. I was thinking they’d reveal he was cheating the whole time, but nope. He’s just a lucky duck.

The Shadow Game payoff was not worth it at all, either. I guess if you were ridiculously lucky your entirely life and it was suddenly ripped away from you, that would be terrible, but maybe imply that he’s ridiculously unlucky now or something. Just having his chair break isn’t enough for me to say ‘YEAH! Haha, that’s what you get!’

I also don’t think they handled the Jonouchi aspect well enough. They kinda just gloss over the points about his situation with his dad’s debt. I will give them a lot of props for the scene with Jonouchi yelling at Honda, but otherwise it’s either not really brought up or Ryuichi’s just mocking his story. Jonouchi doesn’t even lament on the loss of the money after he loses the game.

Miho jacked up her annoyance levels here, but at least she also dropped her crush on Ryuichi when she realized how much of an asshole he really was. I think she should have realized that in the first place instead of waiting until he’s wailing on Yugi with pool balls, but it’s better than nothing. I still think his status as a moderately successful game show contestant wouldn’t have trumped his terrible personality for any of them, though. Yugi’s Yugi, so of course he’ll be nice, and Honda didn’t like him for stupid reasons, but Anzu liked him just fine when, in any other world, she’d think he was an ass. Also, considering he said he doesn’t want a girlfriend and spends all of his winnings as soon as he gets it, why was Miho even pursuing him at all?

The Shadow Game here was boring as hell because it was purely luck-based, even moreso than usual. You can’t have Ryuichi’s main characteristic be that he’s insanely god-like in his luck and then have him lose because Yami’s somehow luckier. Ryuichi’s cockiness is what ultimately made him lose, but he was stupid to not realize the board had reset, and it only reset because he had the BAD LUCK to suffer from a power outage due to Yami’s electric shocks.

Winner: Manga

Next time, we head back a bit in the manga to finally go over chapter five with the creepy as hell psychic.


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Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 5

We are in the throes of the Vietnam arc, and what an awesome yet depressing arc this is. When we last left our heroes, it seemed that Black Ghost was perpetuating conflict in Vietnam by giving an insanely technologically advanced tank, known as a Black Monster, to the Viet Cong, piloted by a mysterious man in black that we now learn is known as Cyborgman.

The horrible realities of war unfold all around us as the 00 Cyborgs, starting with 009, 007 and 004 combat the Cyborgman and his incredible tank. As they struggle with its power, the entire Viet Cong unit that had owned the tank gets blown away by an enemy air raid. They’re able to outwit the Cyborgman and destroy the Black Monster, but there’s a problem. It seems Cyborgman is more of a title, and he’s merely number eight in a line of many copies.

Not only that, but there are just as many Black Monsters around, each with unique designs and powers, and several of them have been ‘gifted’ to the Americans and the South Vietnamese to make the fighting even more intense.

A girl named Ran attempts to infiltrate a South Vietnamese camp dressed as a boy to find her brother. She’s about to be killed by them when 009, 4 and 7 save her, but are subsequently taken prisoner. They learn that both of her parents are dead and that her brother is her only family, but he disappeared some time ago. She had feared he was dead, but then she heard that he had joined the Viet Cong so she went off to look for him.

Turns out, one of the Cyborgmen, number eleven, was her brother. Black Ghost had kidnapped him and turned him into a cyborg. Her brother recognized Ran and turned against his allies, destroying several of them with their tanks. However, he felt he couldn’t go back with his sister. He was ashamed of what he had turned into and couldn’t face her anymore. In order to atone for what he did and destroy one more weapon of war, Ran’s brother bid his sister farewell and self-destructed the tank.

The trio then tried to bring Ran back to a peaceful village, but she revealed the harsh truth of the situation to them – there are no peaceful villages in the area anymore. Their entire country is wrought with war and killing. She has nowhere to go and no one to turn to.

As they try to flee, they’re pursued by robotic snakes that shoot lasers from their heads. They can slither around on the ground and in water and even burrow underground. The snakes are all really a part of the main body of another tank with another Cyborgman intent on killing them. Luckily, 003 and 006 manage to save them by digging a tunnel underneath their location before they were hit with the tank’s missiles. 002 is with them, fighting the tank and the robotic snakes in the air.

He’s giving the Cyborgman a run for his money, but with one massive surge of lasers from the main pod of the tank body, 002’s leg is shot off and he’s downed. Being a cyborg, such a wound is not immediately fatal, but Jet’s still in rough shape. His nutrition pipe and energy pipe have been severed. Proper circulation needs to be reestablished or else Jet may die.

They run into another legion of soldiers (They never specify which side they’re on, though they do mention Americans are their enemies, so that implies North Vietnamese/Viet Cong.) Ran tries to reason with them, but the second commander, Ga Diem, isn’t going to hear any of it. He believes they’re Americans with a unit that shot down one of their ally planes. He smacks Ran away and is about to kill them, but their elderly main commander arrives to spare them. He at least wants to hear them out, so he brings them to their base.

Everything above ground at their base is merely set dressing. These people actually live in a series of tunnels underground. The 00 Cyborgs relay their story about Black Ghost and the Cyborgmen, but Ga Diem shrugs it off as being ridiculous. The main commander, however, believes them, but he can’t assist them since he doesn’t know where the Cyborgmen’s base is.

It’s clear that Ga Diem does know, but he’s zipped up tight and acting ignorant. They leave the cyborgs alone for the night to rest, but Ga Diem puts heavy security on them. Jet is in really rough shape and is quickly deteriorating. They have to get him back to the sub so Dr. Gilmore can treat him, but they’re essentially trapped.

Oh and after this point Ran just kinda vanishes. We don’t even see her arriving at the village. I guess we’re to assume that she takes up shelter in their village, but her future still doesn’t look too bright.

In order to investigate and get Jet to some medical attention, they use 006’s fire abilities to tunnel out. GB transforms into a tiger to tail Ga Diem (but doesn’t realize that they hunt tigers in Vietnam) and Joe runs off with Jet to rush to the sub as quickly as possible.

GB manages to infiltrate the Cyborgmen hideout by posing as Ga Diem, Joe and Jet make it to the sub, but 004, 006 and 003 are cornered by the soldiers again and taken prisoner after the reveal that Ga Diem is a traitor.

Once Gilmore looks over Jet, he claims he can save him, but in order to do it properly he needs advanced equipment that only Black Ghost would have. Joe heads to find the Cyborgmen lair in order to search for adequate parts.

Meanwhile, GB is found out by the Cyborgman #1. 007 makes a valiant effort to fight him, even showing off his true ‘Chameleon’ skills by changing his colors to blend in with the machinery, but the Cyborgman has an ace up his sleeve – an electric field that shocks everything in the room. 007 gets downed, but the Cyborgman is unharmed thanks to his suit. He locks up 007 and puts a helmet on him that makes him unable to communicate through radio transmissions.

Back with 003, 006 and 004, the robotic snakes find them again at the village and strike. They burrow away from the robots by using 006’s fire, but they’re incredibly persistent. What’s worse is that they can’t burrow any further due to a pocket of poison gas and molten magma resting right below their location.

009 shows up and saves them from the snakes, but scouting bats tell them that the Cyborgman has 007. They rush to the Cyborgman’s location to save 007, viciously pursued by Cyborgmen, the Black Monsters and fighter planes the whole way. Eventually, it just turns into a ‘009’s the main character so let him defeat everything’ fest. Even 004 points out that 009’s a ‘glory hog.’ Narratively speaking, he does have a point. While 003 and 006 have been very useful on a support level, 004, 007 and 002 keep getting cucked while 009 is able to do most of the heavy lifting.

004 does some stuff, but it’s not that impressive. 007 tries to infiltrate enemy lines three times and ends up getting found out three times – one of those leading to his capture. 002 gets a bit of a cool mid-air fight, but gets his leg shot off and spends the rest of the volume in critical condition. Don’t even talk to me about 008 and 005 who basically aren’t in this volume at all. They stay back on the sub and have barely a few lines between them. Gilmore does more than they do. Are they just meant to guard the sub? Why are they not participating at all? Wouldn’t 008 be particularly useful in this situation, being a resistance fighter back home?

009, however, defeats many of the enemies and saves many people with his acceleration powers. He even gets one really awesome scene where he throws Ran up into the air and defeats a bunch of enemies while in acceleration mode and then catches her after he’s done.

It’s quite odd, too. It seemed for the longest time that Black Ghost thought the acceleration switch was the bees’ knees. They were putting it in every subsequent 00 Cyborg after 009, but once they started work on the Cyborgmen they just thought, what, that it’d be better to not put the acceleration switch in any of them or the Black Monsters and give them a massive tube on their faces as an obvious weak point?

When they arrive at the hideout, 007 is able to warn 009 and the others about the trap the Cyborgman has laid since he accidentally broke the helmet while punching 007 in the face. 009 rescues 007, but 004 tells 009 to step aside so he can take out the Cyborgman on his own. In a literal western-esque shootout, 004 does manage to take down the Cyborgman in one shot. Way to take back the badass reins, Albert.

With all the tech in the hideout, they’ve got everything they need to help 002. And thus our volume ends.

lighten up Ishinomori

Ah, I’m just kidding. I fight pain with humor.

—————————————–

Anyhoo, that was the Vietnam arc, and while it is quite depressing with, by far, the biggest body count of any Cyborg 009 story yet….it’s…kinda to be expected. It is the Vietnam war. Ishinomori was never really shy about his anti-war sentiments, and it really shines through here. Several moments throughout the volume are dedicated to highlighting the harsh realities of war both for the soldiers and the innocents who are caught in the crossfire.

That’s why I wish Ran hadn’t been completely removed from the story once they reached the camp. She had a decent story from an everyday villager perspective, but she’s just kinda forgotten about. She said herself that there was no safe place with the war going on, and even the camp proved to be a dangerous place with the robot snakes popping in, so we’re pretty much just left to assume Ran will live in fear and pain alone for however long until the war is over, and even that’s no guarantee. Which, when you think about it, is even more of a realistic slap in the face. Still, I wish she hadn’t just been abandoned like that.

Though we don’t get a lot of time with him, #11 (Ran’s brother)’s situation was equally sad. Immediately after losing his parents, he’s kidnapped by Black Ghost and turned into a cyborg who is forced to partake in the same war that took his parents’ lives while acknowledging that, even if he did escape, he’d never be able to live a normal life with his sister again. Then he turns on his comrades and kills himself all for his sister.

Then you have the soldiers casually discussing what BS it is that they have to fight in this war. One even mentions that he was a simple farmer before all this and that he detests having to kill and bloody his hands for politicians who can’t and wouldn’t take up arms themselves.

Also, make no mistake, the 00 Cyborgs didn’t end the Vietnam war or anything – they just destroyed everything that Black Ghost injected into it.

Back to the 00 Cyborgs, what a blow 002 took, eh? I remember gasping when that first happened in the anime, even though I knew he was a cyborg so he’d probably be okay. Still, he is human, and such an injury can definitely be devastating.

Also, it was cool to see 007 show off a new power, even if it didn’t help him not get captured. The nickname thing is being brought up a little more than I first thought it was. A volume or two ago, 007 kept referring to 004 as ‘The God of Death’ and it was just weird. He did it like a slip up. “God of Death—err, I mean 004.” Who does that? Usually, it’s the opposite, and done in a sarcastic manner. Like “Albert—err I mean ‘God of Death’”

Next Volume….

…..Previous Volume


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The Anime Madhouse Made Feedspot’s Top 100 Anime Blogs List

Hey all you people whose brains are consuming my words right now! I have some good news for a change! Prompted by the D&A Anime Blog’s recent announcement about making it onto Feedspot’s Top 100 Anime Blog list, I decided to give it a go myself and submitted The Anime Madhouse for consideration. I honestly didn’t think it’d make it, but lo and behold IT DID! We were placed as 60th, and I am tickled purple, which is better than pink, fight me. This was such a nice surprise in what has been a very rough handful of months (and few years…) Thank you all for reading, liking, commenting and being overall awesome people over the years. You guys keep the lights on in the Madhouse, and I love you all bunches. Hope you continue having a great holiday season! 🌟

Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 4

Volume four starts with chapter fifteen – Empty War. Or as it’s known originally, Vacuum War – a change I’m perfectly okay with. I know the original title was meant to indicate the vacuum of space, but all I see when I hear that title is a bunch of Kirbys, Hoovers and Dirt Devils shooting each other on a bloodied battlefield. Plus, Empty War kinda sounds poetic.

This story is another one of the side stories from Separate Shonen King that ran while Cyborg 009 was being canceled from Weekly Shonen King.

We start with a plane being shot down by Black Ghost. In the debris, a robot is carrying an old man through the air, dodging the fire from the fighter planes and trying to keep him safe. He bumps into the submarine of the 00 Cyborgs, who offer him refuge from the Black Ghost planes. The robot’s name is JQ and he was designed by Dr. Yamazaki, the old man being rescued from the plane.

Yamazaki was originally an engineer at Black Ghost, but when he realized the evils they were doing he wanted no part in it any longer. He remembered how Gilmore and the escaped cyborgs were fighting to take Black Ghost down, so he also decided to leave with JQ and fight for justice. However, Black Ghost quickly found him out and attacked his plane as he was leaving.

Yamazaki reveals the terrifying news that Black Ghost is setting to launch an armed satellite that will be utilized by the countries of the world to shoot missiles at any corner of the globe. It’s being completed today, and he needs their help to stop them.

JQ, 009, 004, 006, 008 and 003 head out to stop the last two rockets heading to the base. While they’re unable to stop one rocket, they do manage to board the second, but they’re forced to leave 004 and 008 behind.

Having hijacked the rocket, rather easily, actually, they get as much important information out of the pilots as possible. Their rocket is merely for transport and isn’t armed, meaning they can’t use it to attack the base. That’s not the worst part, though – apparently the satellite base is only one of two weapons bases Black Ghost has set up in space. Another has been built on the moon.

They plan to destroy the satellite base by setting their rocket to self-destruct at the exact moment it hits the atomic core of the base, which will cause a chain reaction and destroy everything. They’re able to pull this off, but the moon base is another issue. Black Ghost will be on full alert after the satellite explosion, and they don’t have much of a plan to destroy the base in the first place.

JQ heads off on his own to attack the missiles right next to the control dome while 009 takes care of the cyborgs and robots being sent to their location. After the battle, 009, 3 and 6 go to the base to see what happened with JQ and they find the place in ruins. While there are still some rockets and missiles left standing, the place is completely empty and the control dome has been destroyed. JQ blew up four of the missiles simultaneously with his arms and legs, which destroyed the area, but JQ did not survive the blast.

And uh….it’s actually really abrupt. 003 is like “He’s gone. I see pieces of him everywhere.” 006 says “Poor JQ!” 009 says “He will be missed.” then we get one more shot of the rockets and the chapter’s over. That’s pretty disrespectful of JQ. The dude died trying to save the world and then it’s like ‘Press F to pay respects.’ and we just move on.

Overall, though, I wish the ending was a bit cleaner, but I did enjoy this chapter. I liked JQ and Dr. Yamazaki. I actually felt really bad when JQ was killed. He was a very noble and loyal robot, and I kinda liked his dynamic with Yamazaki, but alas, being a side story character, he was destined to die.

Oh except when he came back as a completely new character in the next chapter – A New Type of Bomb (Thunder and Lightning) or The Bomb Model “Raiden”

This story is a Frankenstein’d from Vacuum War and The Man in the High Castle. Almost all of the artwork is just lifted from those chapters with new writing being put in place to make a new story. I can’t find a solid reason as to why this story is the way it is. The best I’ve gathered is that Ishinomori was unhappy with how these stories initially went, or at least he was unhappy with how Vacuum War ended, so he made this story out of recycled panels and dialogue, but it only came out a few months after Vacuum War and The Man in the High Castle, and those stories are perfectly fine, in my opinion anyway. What went so wrong that he felt compelled to go back and ‘fix’ them, but not even really fix them because he didn’t remake either story, he just stitched the two together? Also, if speculation is correct, he never considered this to be canon either, so why bother?

To make matters worse, this story’s existence and placement in the magazine and subsequent collections, like the one I’m reading right now, make everything extremely confusing as to the timeline, the canonicity of the stories, even in their own little side-collection of stories, and the status of 007.

This story starts off with a plane being shot down by Black Ghost fighter planes. We see a robot in disguise, C-11, who is totally not JQ with a darker head, introduce himself to Dr. Yamaz—Kaminari. C-11 was originally sent there to kill Kaminari, but he has defected from Black Ghost and plans to save him instead – and save him he does.

Meanwhile, on the Cyborgs’ submarine, they catch wind of the news of the attack while simultaneously getting the news that his granddaughter, the Prime Minister’s daughter from chapter fourtee—I mean not her – was kidnapped. He was working on a weapon called Thunder and Lightning which would send snowflake shaped nanomachines into the sky and explode. He didn’t work for Black Ghost, but they wanted his weapon, which he wouldn’t hand over. So, of course, they sent a killer robot to kill him in his plane while also planning on shooting down his plane, almost certainly killing him….WHILE kidnapping his granddaughter? Well, that’s doesn’t make any sense.

They do get information on the location of Black Ghost’s base from the recon dolphins they spot outside, but they don’t reuse the dolphin ‘torture’ scene from chapter fifteen.

The base infiltration scene is lifted entirely from Vacuum War, barring some new shots of 007 and 5. Then when we get outside, it’s back to chapter fourteen and now, despite being shown as an adult about a page prior, 007 is a child again because he was a child in chapter fourteen. Also, despite the fact that we were near Japan all of a page ago, we’re suddenly in some snowy tundra because that’s where we were in chapter fourteen. They explain away the snow by reminding us that the weapon he created uses nanomachines that, for some reason, look like snowflakes.

Also, somehow, despite escaping the planes and Black Ghost with C-11, Kaminari was captured off-screen, I guess?

We get a repeat of Lil’ 007 knocking some guy out as a snowman, and this entire fight scene was ripped from chapter fourteen. Because they’re recovering Kaminari here, they redraw the shot that was originally 002 giving 007 and 009 a lift over the electric barrier to showing 002 grabbing Kaminari and lifting him up.

One of the kidnappers activates the weapon, which causes the snow to explode….but I’m 99% certain it’s just repeat shots of the electric barrier from chapter fourteen.

Anyway, 007 had a growth spurt due to the weapon because he’s now back to being an adult again. Back on the sub – by the way, the other cyborgs saved his granddaughter off-panel – Kaminari explains that his prototype for the weapon wasn’t ready, but he knew he needed to deliver something to them or else they’d kill his granddaughter, so he loaded up the place with gunpowder and, when the snow exploded, so did the base.

009 tells him to use his brilliant intellect for good now, and the story ends.

….So…I had to go back and see what happened because the introduction scene is really confusing. I guess C-11 died in a missile explosion while trying to cause a distraction? They don’t really make it clear. There’s a final panel before we cut to the cyborgs where there’s a black blotch on the ocean floor and I honestly couldn’t tell if that was meant to be C-11’s body or part of it. Also, despite the pilot of one of the Black Ghost planes saying “He’s gone.” I guess that was when Kaminari was spotted by the Black Ghost planes, somehow, and taken away. How did they see him in that barrel? They couldn’t last time.

I don’t really get why Ishinomori made this story. If you ask me, it’s just a very sloppy retelling/chimera of two solid standalone stories. If Ishinomori really was unhappy about how Vacuum War ended, he should have just redone the story from scratch instead of making this because it almost feels like he missed a deadline and just threw this together. It’s not terrible, but I’d much rather take the other two stories on their own.

The next chapter, the 00 Cyborgs are attacked in their sub while Black Ghost utilizes all of their undersea friends – I mean fearsome creatures to attack them including their signature recon dolphins, swarms of regular fish, a manta ray with cameras for eyes, attack sharks, TIGER SHARK MISSILES which are exactly what you think they are, and a giant octopus which tries to crush their sub. I love this series with all my heart.

After 009, 008 and 005 take down the pursuing Black Ghost sub, with 009 hitching a ride on a sea turtle (How can you not love that imagery?) they chart a course for the Indo-China Peninsula because Gilmore had heard rumors that Black Ghost is funding a superhuman guerrilla unit for the Viet Cong in the civil war with Laos. They must head there, investigate and take down Black Ghost if they’re involved.

003 suddenly bursts out that she doesn’t want to go. She’s seen enough killing and destruction, and she wants it to end. Gilmore reminds her of the grim truth, however. They have to stop Black Ghost at all costs or else they’ll perpetuate war and bring about the destruction of the world. They’re the only ones who have a chance at taking them down.

But enough of that, it’s time to be attacked by an army of jellyfish and a plesiosaur! This crazy train ain’t stoppin’. The jellyfish are, somehow, draining all of the power from the sub. When 008 and 9 investigate, they spot a frickin’ plesiosaur who wants to destroy the sub among the mass of jellyfish.

009 gets attacked by the jellyfish, and all of his energy gets drained by them, but 008 saves him and returns him to the sub. 009 is okay, but they have to figure out how to get out of this jam……or jelly….fish. 😀

They decide to forcibly wake 001 up from his deep slumber, and he uses his psychic powers to power the sub manually and move the sub away from the jellyfish. However, the plesiosaur continues to pursue them. 005 decides to fight it, and he RIPS THE THING APART WITH HIS BARE HANDS. 005 needs more spotlight pronto.

They manage to get a sample from the plesiosaur and two of the jellyfish. After analyzing the jellyfish, Gilmore realizes that they weren’t modified by Black Ghost. Their insane power-draining abilities are a result of nuclear bomb tests performed underwater during the war. Realizing that war creates just as much suffering in the environment as it does in the lives of everyday people, the 00 Cyborgs reaffirm their resolve to stop Black Ghost and end war.

We then get a prologue that leads us into chapter eighteen. It philosophizes on the nature of man, violence and war while showing a depiction of war throughout history from the times of cavemen to the 20th century. It’s quite troubling, especially when Ishinomori starts showing images such as tanks driving right next to a dead body, someone running up to hug the body in despair and someone getting executed via firing squad. I was going to take a potshot at 003 for suddenly bursting out like that because I felt like it was another instance where she was just being ‘the girl’ of the group and getting overly emotional, wanting to quit, but after reading this section, I don’t think such a thing is warranted.

It is a little irritating that 003 was singled out for that scene, but I can completely understand why any of them would want to quit after everything they’ve seen, especially if no end seems to be in sight for them. And 003 does have to see and hear the horrible details of everything they go through. Many times, she has to sense things that the others can’t see or hear. In that regard, I feel pretty bad for her.

The prologue ends with us arriving in Vietnam – the US forces rolling up and destroying a bunch of stuff before one of the tanks gets destroyed by a strange man in a full-body black suit driving a weird black domed tank.

Chapter eighteen starts, and we get more backstory on the situation, questioning why the American troops were having such difficulty taking on the Viet Cong. It’s chalked up to either the Viet Cong using the confusing terrain to their advantage since American troops aren’t used to fighting in these dense jungles, the American troops being unable to discern between North and South Vietnamese people, which allowed the north to deceive them OR….Cyborgs, robots and super tanks that turn into robot spiders.

See what happens when you fall asleep in history class, kids? You miss all the cool robot spiders.

Anyway, it uses its buzzsaw arms, because, yes, it has those too, to cut a pathway through the jungle. And then it uses its suction cup feet to climb up a rockface.

This thing is really sick. Just look at the blueprints.

It’s awesome.

The man in black gives the tank to the leader of the Viet Cong unit without any compensation and leaves. Joe, GB and Albert are watching all of this from the shadows, but they suddenly trip a booby trap, and that’s where volume four ends.

——————————-

All in all….this volume was…okay. Forgive my lack of enthusiasm, but this volume just didn’t have a lot going for it. Most of it was filler a la forcibly included side stories. This doesn’t mean the stories were inherently bad just because they were filler – I quite enjoyed the story with JQ – but the second story was just a recycled confusing okay story at best.

The only true saving grace of this volume was the storyline with all of the awesome undersea creatures Black Ghost was utilizing – plus the super mutated jellyfish and the PLESIOSAUR, that weren’t even created by Black Ghost. That chapter was just buckets of fun, even if it ended on a downer note.

Right when we get back into the thick of things, the volume ends.

The volume wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it wasn’t quite as the same level as some of the previous volumes.

Next Volume…..

……Previous Volume


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Animating Halloween 2021 Update

Hello visitors of this little ol’ blog. Hope you’re all staying healthy and happy.

October is just around the corner, which means Animating Halloween is coming up real soon. With that, I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is Yami Shibai has released two new seasons since the last Animating Halloween, which is AWESOME because I really thought Yami Shibai was over and done with. The tradition continues!

The bad news is things are kinda hectic right now. I’m moving soon-ish (numerous variables are keeping that up in the air. It’s kinda frustrating.) and I still have to do a bunch of stuff in preparation of that. Plus I have other personal things to handle. Animating Halloween is still on for sure, but posting once a day as I usually do during October may not work for me right now. To not rob you of Animating Halloween goodness, I will do a rollover AH day into November for each day I miss in October.

I know my posting habits aren’t spot-on either way, but I wanted to at least give you guys a heads up this year. I love doing these month-long review specials and it always makes me disappointed when I don’t manage to complete it, both for you guys and myself. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and I want you guys to be able to celebrate alongside me. 🙂

Finally, if you have anything you’d like to see me review for Animating Halloween, feel free to make suggestions. As a reminder, I will review anything as long as it’s mostly animated or is a graphic novel/manga of some sort and, of course, related to either Halloween or horror.

Have a Happy and SpooOooooOOOOoooookkkkyyyy Halloween, everyone! And thank you all for reading! 🧡