AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 15: Scary Woman! Can’t Transform! (Placeholder)

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Plot: Yugi suddenly finds himself with an admirer when he receives a love letter from a girl named Risa, much to Anzu’s annoyance. While she is a very nice girl, Yugi isn’t interested in her, but he can’t get the nerve to turn her down. When she shows her true colors, Yugi won’t have to worry about turning her down – he’ll be too busy fighting for the Millennium Puzzle.

Breakdown: When I first saw the preview for this episode, I thought it would be boring and annoying because it focused on Anzu being jealous of a girl who was romantically interested in Yugi. And yup, it’s about as boring as this series can manage, and Anzu delivers plenty of annoying.

So…….witches.

Risa and her two triplet sisters are witches…..I…guess? They perform some sort of ritual thing in the start of the episode, and they identify with a trio of witch sister cards, but they never perform any magic….so…I dunno. Risa also has an adverse reaction to touching the Puzzle, but it only happened once. She touches it several times after this and it does nothing.

In a free booster pack she got from Sugoroku, Anzu obtains a very rare Violet Hekate card, which she gives to Yugi because he likes it so much. Overhearing this exchange, Risa decides to pretend to be romantically interested in Yugi so she can get the card from him.

Anzu is not happy about this, especially when Yugi falls ill and Risa takes it upon herself to nurse him back to health. Anzu spends a majority of the episode being a grouch about the whole thing, even prompting him to reject Risa, because she likes Yugi. However, bear in mind, Anzu doesn’t actually like Yugi, at least not in that way – she likes “strong Yugi” and yes that’s the term she used to describe him in this episode. She always sees Yugi as a little kid with toys. She wants her dark mysterious Yugi. So, she’s getting in the way of Yugi’s possible romance just because she’s in love…..with his alter-ego….That sure is fair.

Granted, her concerns are warranted, just not in the ways she first thinks. What I really don’t understand is why Risa and her sisters took the time out to psychologically mess with Anzu for so long. Why bother prompting her to go run errands just to hear that Risa already did them when Anzu returned? Why bother pushing her down the escalator at the mall? They don’t want or need anything from Anzu, and they’re only making her more suspicious by doing these things.

Yugi doesn’t want to give Risa the card because Anzu gave it to him. Frustrated, Risa, or one of her sisters, resorts to trashing his room to steal it……really makes you wonder why they didn’t just do that in the first place.

One of the sisters takes his Puzzle as a hostage for the Violet Hekate card. They’ll duel for it. Whomever wins gets both the card and the Puzzle. Yugi agrees.

Which brings us to the…

Not Shadow Game

Yeah, this isn’t a Shadow Game. The sisters are using a ‘machine’ that is somehow entirely hidden from view to show projections of the cards and their attacks, but that’s about it. It’s a normal duel otherwise.

Yugi defends first with a Sleeping Worm, but they blast it away with one of the three witch cards, Red Hekate.

Yugi then uses the Clocks card, which somehow not only brings the worm back from the dead, but it also EVOLVES IT?! Can someone find a way to wrap my head around that?

Anyway, it doesn’t matter, because the newly evolved form of the worm, Iron Beetle, is no match for their second witch card, Yellow Hekate.

Yugi starts succumbing to his fever again when Kaiba shows up. He explains that the triplets are well known in the world of Duel Monsters for using any means necessary to obtain cards that they desire. Since Yugi is ill, Kaiba offers to sub for him, offering an entire briefcase of cards if he loses. He even offers to let them put the Violet Hekate in their deck.

They agree, and the duel continues. Kaiba starts with a Cyclops card, which is blasted away by the Hekate witches.

Kaiba loses. The end.

The end

What? I know how to do math. They started with 2000 LP. Yugi lost 800 LP when they killed his Iron Beetle (in attack mode) with Yellow Hekate. Then he lost 1300 when Kaiba’s Cyclops (1200 attack) fell to the Hekate sisters (Both were attacking it at the same time, but I’m only counting one because that’s illegal) with 2500 attack.

Kaiba was subbing for Yugi, not starting an entirely new duel. This much is shown when we see that both of the Hekate sisters are still on the field when Kaiba comes in.

Yugi/Kaiba lost. The end.

But, oh, silly me. I can’t math. Nor can I pay attention. I am but a mere viewer of Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero, and apparently the writers can’t dig up an ounce of respect for my intelligence.

The duel continues once more – Kaiba summons a Blue Eyes, because of course he had one immediately, but they counter by summoning Violet Hekate, which is bullshit. Did ‘put Violet Hekate in your deck’ translate to ‘place Violet Hekate on the top of your deck so you can totally cheat’?

Anyhoo, the three Hekate cards automatically merge into Gorgon whose attack strength matches Blue Eyes. However, since it’s on a forest field, where witches thrive apparently (But…Gorgons aren’t witches….???) it won’t be destroyed if it’s in a stalemate attack. For some reason, she doesn’t choose to attack Blue Eyes right then to prove her point, leaving Kaiba open to summon his second Blue Eyes, because of course he got a second Blue Eyes on his third turn. And then, somehow, both Blue Eyes attack Gorgon, which….somehow defeats it? That shouldn’t have happened. They all have 3000 attack power, and the sisters said the Gorgon wouldn’t die in a stalemate while on forest land. Unless they somehow got a power boost from being together or something, there’s no reason this should be working like this.

With Gorgon gone, the sisters…..just….lose I guess.

Kaiba gathers his things and says he’d never let someone like the witch sisters defeat Yugi, especially in such a dishonorable manner. He’ll ensure that he’ll be the only one to defeat Yugi.

…..Then the episode just ends.

What a bunch of malarkey.

Boring plot, boring conflict, boring duel, boring enemies. You introduced witches to Yu-Gi-Oh and you give us nothing but jealous Anzu and a milquetoast duel that makes so little sense that, logically, the good guys should have lost? Also, it’s like they knew the duel was boring because they really shoehorned in that mysterious invisible ‘machine’ that makes holograms….oh excuse me – they call them ‘hallucinations.’ *eyeroll*

Not to mention Yami wasn’t even in this episode. And now I sound like Anzu, and that makes me pissed off. And being pissed off only makes me sound more like Anzu. 😐

Next time, more purely anime stories when we’re introduced to Shizuka, Jonouchi flirts with a nurse and the third Game Shitennou shows up.

..Previous Episode


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 16: Yu-Gi-Oh No! (2005/2006 cont.)

In October 2005, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX was brought into the fray to replace the void left from the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series as it was ending the same year. However, instead of premiering it on Kids WB or 4Kids TV, 4Kids opted to premiere the show on Cartoon Network (on the programming block, Miguzi, which was basically Toonami if it was less cool and held underwater) for some reason. I’m not complaining, I’m just confused. Not airing it on Kids WB I get a little, but why wouldn’t they want it premiered on 4Kids TV? It would take until September 1, 2007 until it would air in syndication on 4Kids TV.

4Kids hoped GX would breathe new life into the franchise with new characters, new cards and a more casual and fun atmosphere with the new series taking place at a dueling academy. The show did suffer from the typical 4Kidsisms, including story changes, dialogue changes, a lot of visual edits in regards to transitions and splitscreens to make it seem more fast-paced and ‘cool,’ but it wouldn’t really be much more changed than the original Yu-Gi-Oh!.

Unfortunately, in 2008, 4Kids would wind up canceling GX without ever airing (or dubbing?) the final episode of season three or the entirety of season four. This was reportedly due to the fact that Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds had started airing in Japan, 4Kids had already acquired the first season and wanted to focus on releasing that instead.

According to an email response someone got from 4Kids around the time of cancellation;

“Thank you for writing to us about your interest in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. Because a lot of our resources are dedicated to dubbing and airing 5Ds, we will not be dubbing season four of GX for this season.

However, this does not mean that we won’t ever dub it, it just means that it is not on the schedule for the near future.

The 4Kids.tv webmaster”

Basically, how this can be interpreted now is that 4Kids didn’t want to lag behind. Considering their dubbing plate wasn’t really all that full at the time either (see: all the shows they lost at this point) they easily could have dubbed GX alongside 5Ds, but I can bet they just didn’t want to bother.

It was also suggested that, since the new wave of 5Ds-based TCG releases was coming and 5Ds would still be around a year or more before release in the States if they decided to finish GX first, they just decided to bump up 5Ds and save some money by ditching GX on the side of the highway.

Other rumors theorize that 4Kids didn’t like the new direction the show was taking in the final season. The show had gotten notably darker and stood in stark contrast to the much lighter casual show it had started out as. Judai/Jaden himself also suffered from a personality change, making him much more brooding and serious than his trademark happy-go-lucky self was in earlier seasons.

It didn’t help that reception for the final season and the tail end of season three in Japan wasn’t nearly as good as it had been, and it was mostly for that very same tonal shift. Ratings for GX also weren’t as good in the west. They weren’t particularly bad, but they seemed to have paled in comparison to the original show. Either fans of the original didn’t like the new cast/vibe/setting in comparison to the original show, they didn’t like the way 4Kids had presented it, particularly in making Jaden this ‘radical’ main character who shouted out “Get your game on!” whenever he started a duel, the fact that many of Yu-Gi-Oh!‘s original fans had aged out of the target demo and the new generation of the demo wasn’t hooking in much yet or the lingering decline of Yu-Gi-Oh! as a whole was keeping it from finding a large audience.

There’s another rumor that Konami and TV Tokyo pressured 4Kids to dub 5Ds in order to capitalize on the new TCG releases, which makes some sense, but it doesn’t answer the question of why they couldn’t have also dubbed and aired GX at the same time.

Also, according to an email exchange from 4K Media, which was the division of Konami that took control of Yu-Gi-Oh! when 4Kids lost the rights after they went bankrupt (and is not, in fact, basically 4Kids in disguise as some people seem to believe), Konami didn’t have any say in 4Kids dumping GX. They claimed that they didn’t even know why 4Kids stopped dubbing GX.

Really, the only one who would suffer for keeping GX out there is 4Kids because they were the ones who would have to devote time, money and other resources to the show. Konami probably did pressure them to dub 5Ds as soon as possible, but how much pressure, I don’t know, and I sincerely doubt they told them to drop GX since that would just be additional advertising, basically, for Yu-Gi-Oh! as a whole.

Despite 4Kids claiming they might dub the rest of the series some day, they never did. They also retained the international license for several years, so no one else could take over at the time. It’s possible Konami could now dub and release the final episode of season three and all of season four, but I sincerely doubt it. It’d be a lot of work and fuss for something that probably wouldn’t be profitable.

You could argue that they just didn’t want two new Yu-Gi-Oh! shows airing at the same time.

Only they totally had two Yu-Gi-Oh! shows airing at the same time.

As Yu-Gi-Oh GX was airing on Cartoon Network, 4Kids also premiered a brand-new Yu-Gi-Oh! show on 4Kids TV….one that 4Kids had made from scratch.

Yu-Gi-Oh Capsule Monsters was a show commissioned from Studio Gallop by 4Kids based on the game, Capsule Monsters – a game introduced in the original pre-soft-reboot version of the manga and in Season Zero, which never aired in America. Because the last time 4Kids commissioned their own Yu-Gi-Oh! feature just went over so well, Twix said sarcastically.

It’s possible that 4Kids was also basing this off of Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum – a PS2 game that released two years prior. Capsule Monster Coliseum was not a successful game. While the very few reviews I can actually find on the game are somewhat positive, they all cite the high learning curve as a big negative, which is understandable considering it’s a game based on a game where even the writers had no idea how the actual hell it really worked.

I can’t even find any sales information on the title (best I could eek out is that it may have sold 220,000 units in America with 440,000 units overall, but I can’t be certain because the website on which I got this information has no information on the Japanese sales.

Basically, the game wasn’t a success. In fact, many extensive lists on Yu-Gi-Oh! video games frequently forget this title exists. People say the same about Dungeon Dice Monsters, but at least Dungeon Dice Monsters was actually explained and prominently featured in the main anime. I loved the Dungeon Dice Monsters GBA game.

I honestly don’t know why Capsule Monsters was created. It was set near the end of the original series, but considering GX was premiering right as the original series was airing its final handful of episodes, it can’t be that they intended for it to be some bridge between the two. The Lost Media Wiki says it was made to promote the toys that 4Kids had made, but one of the links that they cite as a source, an ICv2 article, claims the exact opposite.

“The game will be drawn from the Season 5 12-episode story arc that will begin airing in the States in January 2006.”

And if that’s true then…why was the show created? Was it really just to try and get a new toy line for a property that was literally about to end off the ground? Were they really desperate to milk the series for content considering Pokemon was out the door and Yu-Gi-Oh! was left holding the bag? I guess they could have eventually launched a GX version, but considering GX was already airing, why not just start there?

It’s such an oddity. Capsule Monsters had little promotion, little fanfare, no official announcement as far as I saw, but still spawned its own tabletop game, which was very much unsuccessful. It was canceled after only releasing two starter sets and one booster pack. I honestly wouldn’t have even known there was a Capsule Monsters game if I hadn’t seen it once or twice in stores when I was a kid. Even the IMDB page for the anime has a pitiful one review to its name.

It really didn’t help that they made the game entirely different from the way it was played in the manga/Season Zero and the video game. The game 4Kids made up was just as confusing as the other versions. The game is so confusing that they felt the need to release two versions – one basic and one advanced.

It was also released oddly. The figure game was leaked in December of 2005 on Talkinsportsweb.com, then episodes of the show were airing early on January 30, 2006, without any announcement, on the Irish children’s channel, RTE. In TV listings, it was just noted as Yu-Gi-Oh!, meaning viewers thought they’d be seeing normal Yu-Gi-Oh!, but got Capsule Monsters instead, all seemingly without the knowledge of 4Kids and completely by accident on RTE’s part. RTE would continue accidentally airing these Capsule Monsters episodes until February 2, 2006 when they would shift back to GX and keep Capsule Monsters under wraps until August (Ireland was typically able to air 4Kids shows a tiny bit earlier than the US.)

Viewers were both confused and confused. Confused because there was absolutely no information on this show anywhere, nor any Japanese source material, but the evidence was right there on a LiveJournal post that it existed. Confused because the show just seemed so weird. It was still Yu-Gi-Oh!, the main cast was front and center, but it was focused on an entirely new game that, for some reason, involved what looked like arm cannons.

To make things even more confusing, the show was not presented as a spin-off. The reason I say this is because it has the exact same theme song as Yu-Gi-Oh!, just with a few different background clips and the words “Capsule Monsters” put underneath the title, as if this was a different arc of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series, not a spin-off. In addition, at the start of each episode, Yami would just say “Previously on Yu-Gi-Oh!” not “Capsule Monsters.

Some sources claim it’s a spin-off, others claim it’s just a new arc to the original series that aired some time in the middle of the final season. US TV listings at the time said “Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters” which implies a different series, because a different arc would still be the same series. It’s incredibly confusing.

To make matters even worse…..this series comes off like a huge Pokemon rip-off. I don’t like to throw around that word much anymore, but, at its core, this was damn near plagiarism. They kept these monsters in ‘capsules,’ they could be released outside of ‘games’ and follow them around like fairly sentient (but non-verbal) animals, or they could use them as modes of transportation. They were also recalled and released with beams of light and frequently just battled other monsters with no gameplay enacted besides things like type advantages and whatnot. It was really watered down to just “Monster has a weakness against (x), so we have to do (x)”

They also didn’t have actual Capsule Monster games against other people. Capsule Monsters is supposed to be a rough off-shoot of chess, which is why one of the original names for the game in the manga was Capumon/Capsule Monsters Chess. The real world game follows roughly the same-ish format. However, in the anime, they were always just battling head to head against other wild monsters. A lot of the time, the ‘game’ came off like, well, Pokemon battles. You just command the monsters to attack and strategize based purely on certain advantages. You also collect them. And by “collect them” I mean, most of the time, they just sorta stumble upon the capsules and get monsters for free….A few times, though, they did get monsters after battling them first. And some of them just followed them for no reason, which doesn’t sound familiar at all, no sirree.

I think that’s the main reason they came up with that ‘arm cannon’ gimmick for the series when it’s not present in any form of the game, either in the video game, manga or Season Zero. If they didn’t have the arm cannon thing, they’d either have to throw the capsules or open them to release the monsters, and I can bet even 4Kids thought that imagery would probably be a bit too on-the-nose.

Oh and one of Joey’s monsters is the Baby Dragon….and he’d blow fire on Joey. Baby Dragon looks a lot like a mini-Charizard. You piece that together.

YGCMSCREEN1

Also, fun fact, the rough draft version of Pokemon was called Capsule Monsters, and that was in 1989. I’m not sure I believe the original game in the manga was inspired by/ripped off from Pokemon as Capsule Monsters. The Yu-Gi-Oh! manga originally came out in 1996, and the first Pokemon games were released in Japan in 1996, but the game in the manga and Season Zero is so different that I can’t say anything with any degree of certainty. It is definitely weird is all I’ll say, especially when you take the releases of the video games into consideration.

This specific anime version, however, I’m much more comfortable suspecting as a Pokemon rip-off, especially because 4Kids called for it. Since the completed game was leaked in December of 2005 and the announcement of the license agreement ending was in December of 2005, they likely didn’t know quite yet that they’d be losing Pokemon when they commissioned this series, so I won’t say this was some attempt to fill the void. Maybe it was more like general laziness and mooching off of it, like they were trying to fuse Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! and make some sort of super mutant merchandise baby.

There was only one actual game against a real person in the entire series, (even though it was still just a normal battle) and THAT ended up coming off like a rip-off of the duel against Pegasus because one of the main issues in that battle was that Alexander, the main villain, could read Yami’s mind, allowing him to predict his moves and change his game plan accordingly. And Yami responded by confusing him with the Millennium Puzzle because his mind is literally a labyrinth.

One interesting aspect of the series was the fact that the players were able to merge with their monsters and basically partake in battles themselves. And by “players” I mean Yugi 99% of the time. Joey was able to do it once (With Red-Eyes Black Dragon – and it was pretty sick) and everyone else got wings on one occasion, that was about it. This was not only something the main series had done a few times before, but it was also something that felt very much akin to either Digimon Tamers and Biomerging or Digimon Frontier and Spirit Evolution.

The most damning aspect of the show, however, was that it was flatout boring. Most of the monsters in the show were ones we had already seen in the main series, and there were really no fun strategies or, ya know, GAMEPLAY to hook you in. It was just a watered down series of Pokemon battles.

One of the bigger issues some gaming anime have in properly advertising their real-world games is over-fantasizing it. If you can’t even remotely emulate what’s happening in the show in real-life, the real-life game seems very boring by comparison. Yu-Gi-Oh! may involve a lot of fantasy aspects, magic and drama and whatnot, but, at the end of the day, they play the game like everyone else in real life. Capsule Monsters doesn’t do that. They only barely touch upon the actual game in the first episode.

The aspect of Yami becoming a monster himself (or really just him in various suits of armor) was cool, but it would’ve been cooler if everyone else did it regularly. Or, outside of Joey, literally even once. Not to mention the aspect of Capsule Monsters kinda loses something if the main attraction isn’t really the Capsule Monsters but Yami as the Capsule Monsters.

It probably also wasn’t a good move to make the monsters so real but still keep in the aspect of them being able to pretty much die in any battle. I’m not kidding. Their monster companions die near the end – even the tiny cute ones. Imagine Pokemon if you were worried Pikachu would die in any battle.

In addition, the art and animation were clearly either rushed or suffered a case of budget-fever. I’d wager both.

Capsule Monsters aired for 12 episodes, which did contain a full arc, but it’s obvious that 4Kids intended to build something here, otherwise they wouldn’t have tried to launch a whole game on the title. I don’t know if they planned to make a full series themselves or if they hoped Japan would be so hyped on the idea that Konami would run with it and they could just bank off of their stuff. If they really were trying to build something here, why did they do such an awful job promoting this? Did they just give up before they even started?

To be fair, as far as I saw, Capsule Monsters actually didn’t do too bad for itself in ratings. However, it’s pretty clear that it wasn’t generating much word of mouth outside of ‘What the hell is this?’, and just as quickly as it came into fans’ lives, it vanished. They did rerun the show once on Toonzai in 2012, but that was it.

4Kids technically never released the series on DVD either. By that I mean that they released the series on DVD, but only after it had been recut into two movies. The first movie was released on May 23, 2006 while the second was released on September 12, 2006. 4Kids and Konami offered a full free screening of the first movie on Yugioh.com the day before the DVD was released.

Japan would never air this series, presumably because they didn’t want people to think it was canon. As the Lost Media Wiki explained, it’s even questionable if a Japanese version exists. The series is on Studio Gallop’s website, but it’s labeled as Yu-Gi-Oh! ALEX. As far as fans who actually know about it are concerned, they pretty much see the series as being entirely non-canon.

We’re almost rounding the corner into 2007, so we should probably cover the last development of 2006. The next subsidiary 4Kids launched – 4Sight Licensing Solutions. 4Kids had long since been a company aimed squarely at children, but since their scope was narrow and their business was going down, it was time to expand their horizons as much as possible. 4Sight would be geared towards licensing properties for older kids, tweens, teens and adults.

And….uh….eh….kinda? 4Sight licensed a lot of art, for use in apps, calendars, textiles, home décor, stationary etc. For instance, they licensed The Dog and Friends, which was a puppy photography series out of Japan by Artlist inc. that was known for their use of fish-eye lens. They also licensed the artwork of Japanese artist, Hokusai Katsushika, and they got at least three licenses for Pachanga art by Belen Mena. They handled the American Kennel Club license, which 4Kids had handled itself for many years before this, and Crufts, which is the UK version of the AKK basically. They had an agreement with Celestial Imports Ltd, which was largely centered on the Chicaloca brand fashion in Europe.

They got into other media a little. They released a fashion game based on the Chicaloca brand, which was released on mobile platforms and Facebook. It doesn’t seem like this game was very successful because there’s barely any information online about it. Searching for “Chicaloca game 4Sight” only brings up three pages of Google results, most of which are unrelated, and the ones that are related are just announcements for the game’s release.

Less than four months after 4Kids announced they had made a licensing agreement with Microsoft, 4Sight would reach a new multi-year agreement with Microsoft to “work in partnership with Microsoft’s Franchise Development team, exclusively handling all global brand development and merchandising deals for the XBox and XBox 360.” which, as far as I can see, really only amounted to handling the license to Viva Pinata – an XBox 360 game geared more towards kids as opposed to the more teen and adult audience XBox typically catered to, which is….kinda backwards given 4Kids’ intentions with 4Sight.

4Kids—err, excuse me, 4Sight created a cartoon series for the games (4Kids is credited for it practically everywhere), but as for anything else they did with Microsoft or XBox, that remains unclear. Besides mentioning Viva Pinata a few times in official documents and press releases, no other information regarding other Microsoft or XBox properties in relation to 4Kids/4Sight ever came up. They did have some 4Kids show-based games available on the XBox, but that’s not really the same.

As for Viva Pinata, I don’t remember a single lick of either the game or the cartoon, but both seemed to have enjoyed a good degree of success. The cartoon lasted for 91 episodes and three years. That’s pretty darn good. It also has very high ratings on IMDB, even if there are only five reviews.

It’s frustrating that there is such little information on 4Sight available, but I can only surmise that’s because they wound up not doing much with the subsidiary either because they didn’t really know what to do with it or they were afraid to actually enter waters geared towards older audiences. Even when I combed the financial reports for every year, the only mentions of 4Sight were just pointing out that it existed and was owned by 4Kids. I did find a supposedly insanely detailed business report online on 4Sight, but I could only access it if I paid $300, which, ahem…Lol.

4Sight would stay with 4Kids as a subsidiary until the absolute end of the company in 2017.

Also during this year came one of Al Kahn’s most infamous moments where he garnered quite a bit of backlash from the anime and manga fandom. In an ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference, Al Kahn was quoted as saying;

“I think manga is a problem because we’re in a culture that is not a reading culture. Kid’s today don’t read, they read less today. In every survey, we find that they’re watching more television, they’re on the Internet more, and that content, although being king, is very disposable. Because the way content gets put out now, it gets put out free. We’re streaming most of our shows. The reason why we’re streaming them is we want kids to watch them as much as they can, and get vested in the concept and go out and buy products. The products ain’t free. The content is going to be free. And manga in my mind is trying to put a square peg in a round hole in the U.S. It will never be a big deal here, for the kids that are in the computer or the Internet generation, because they’re not going to read. They haven’t read, and they’re not going to start now.”

To say his comments didn’t go over well is an understatement. According to some sources, people booed and hissed at several of his comments. I mean, I don’t really understand how you can go to a Graphic Novel Convention with over 125 panelists – in New York City – and then go on about how kids don’t read and manga is never going to be popular in America and not expect a bad reception, especially in 2006….ya know….when Harry Potter was exploding in popularity.

Reading rates for fun among children fluctuate quite a lot, and data about this specific query was unclear because of the way the studies were conducted and the fact that there were a surprisingly few amount of studies about it. Believe it or not, at least according to data in the decade in which he said this, children read for fun fairly often when they’re young, not as often when they’re teenagers, but then the rates increase again when they become adults. Reading rates among children for recreation did go down steadily as television and video games became more readily available and appealing (in addition to a variety of other factors we won’t explore here – including a noticeable discernment among the sexes.) but it wasn’t a drastic downturn, and upticks happened regularly for a variety of reasons, including reading online.

…..Oh and by the way, this comment would become especially weird in 2009 when 4Kids would become the licensing agent for WordWorld – a former PBS preschool show that promoted *drum roll* LITERACY.

And, of course, Al Kahn just saw this as little more than a money grab.

“WordWorld’s expertise in the creative and educational domains coupled with 4Kids Entertainment’s proven track record in developing entertainment brands is certain to produce exciting results – from a sales and innovation perspective.”

I also find it funny that one of the episodes of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! was shifted around to mooch off of the release of a new Harry Potter BOOK. Like, yeah, kids don’t read, but we also recognize that there’s a massively popular kids’ book series out now that we need to capitalize on.

As we can see now, he was obviously wrong as manga eventually did become incredibly popular in the west, among children as well, even if reading rates continue to fluctuate throughout the years. As recently as 2020, manga sales hit an all-time high.

He was also making these comments right next to many people who worked in the manga industry in America, including people from TokyoPop, Kodansha, and Viz Media. Al never dipped his toes into that world so he just sounded like someone who had no idea what he was talking about acting is if he was an authority on the matter.

It wasn’t just a commentary on how something like manga would never take off in the US – he was flat out saying kids these days were never interested in reading, they aren’t now and they never will be because of digital media, which is not true for a multitude of reasons. Like I said, you can definitely argue that children reading for fun wasn’t as common, but acting as if reading as a whole was dying among children was too outlandish of a claim.

To be completely fair, though, there was some validity in his statements. 2006 was a bad year for manga in Japan. Manga sales had been declining for over a decade at that point, and 2006 was the first year manga sales had dipped below ¥500bil. Print media as a whole was on the decline in Japan, and, basically, manga had just been as affected. Indeed, all commercial print media was down, and, yes, cell phones and digital media were a part of that decline (There were several reasons why both manga and anime were down in Japan at the time – such as two major financial crises for Japan preceding this, low birth rates and even their strict immigration practices.)

Japan was way ahead of us when it came to mobile technology, and they still are. The practice of spending time on your phone instead of reading a book while you’re on the bus or train was increasing. However, manga was available to consume digitally and had been for about three years at that point. It was a ¥9bil industry, and it was growing like wildfire. Consumers loved the low price point, the convenience and the discretion – considering enjoying manga, particularly hentai titles, was embarrassing in public, and reading on a cellphone allowed customers to read in public without having to worry too much about people seeing what they’re reading. The sales for manga this way, I believe, were not reported in the same manner as their print counterparts, so the manga industry was probably doing better than how it looked back then given the purely print numbers.

The fact that Al Kahn didn’t even bring up the concept of digital manga (he even speaks as though it’s not possible for manga to be digitized?) or even digital means of reading as a whole shows that he didn’t know much about what he was talking about, especially since he later comments on how, if you look at people in America, they’re all using MP3 players and cell phones while walking around, but, in Japan, everyone on the subway has a “3000 page manga.” I don’t know if he was exaggerating or being stupid. Most manga have around, I’ll say, between 150-300 pages. A 3000 page manga would be comically large. It is literally two and a half Bibles.

The digital age seemed like such a hindrance to reading in the eyes of older folks, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. The internet boom and the rise of mobile devices made it much easier for kids to learn how to read and gave them more access to different modes of reading – like ebooks, online articles, web comics and even video games.

And just to drive the point home – the American manga industry was doing very well, especially during the start of a major recession. In 2006, manga sales actually grew 22% from $7.5mil to $9.5mil, with sales jumping from $60mil in 2002 to at least $170mil in 2006, and roughly 44% of all graphic novels in bookstores and comic book stores were reported to be manga. Manga sales would see another rise by 10% in 2007. However, this would obviously go down sharply in 2008-2010 due to the worst of the financial crisis hitting as well as lack of big name titles being released and the closure of the Borders bookstore chain among several other factors, until they finally rebounded in 2013. The industry was also growing, albeit, admittedly, slowly. In fact, one of the ways the Japanese manga industry was helping ends meet was through international manga sales, particularly those in the US.

One of the other reasons his comments garnered backlash was because it made off like children were becoming illiterate and we should just….ya know….let them. There’s no profit in promoting reading to kids, so screw it. It really shines a bright light on why 4Kids does everything in their power to remove any and all text, no matter the language, from their shows. They think if they let kids see too many words their profit margins will go down or something. Obviously, basically outright saying “Don’t invest in books, manga or any other reading materials for American kids because kids here don’t read. Instead, let their brains rot and profit off of that.” is a hot take that will certainly not earn you any favors with pretty much damn near anyone in the anime industry, whether State-side or otherwise, considering basically all of them are tightly woven into the manga industry.

Liza Coppola, Vice President of Viz Media, responded by pointing out that Viz had recently partnered with the literacy campaign, Read for America, and stated that, “Manga is a great medium to bring kids back to reading.” Viz had seen a positive response from librarians and children from their manga, and they continue making partnerships for the sake of literacy campaigns to this day. Likewise, in June 2006, Tokyopop also launched a program with the LA Public Library using their manga to promote reading to kids and teens.

As a final note for this year, 4Kids also acquired the licensing rights to Futari wa Pretty Cure. However, they never seemingly recorded a dub for the series at all, presumably because Mew Mew Power hit a brick wall and Magical DoReMi didn’t take off well enough. They announced that they had the license to Precure and never said much about it again. They held onto the rights for about three years until the license was handed over to Ocean Productions so they could finally dub and release the show in English on Canada’s YTV.

All in all, 2006 was….not awful. It was down from 2005 with $71,787,000 in net revenues compared to $80,607,000 in 2005. Yu-Gi-Oh! was still noted as being their biggest contributing factor, though the show’s domestic broadcast returns were down, along with TMNT and Cabbage Patch Kids, despite the latter two recording lower revenue from last year. Revenue from Viva Pinata and Chaotic were noted as giving them a boost in that regard. However, they did end the year in the red with a net loss of $1,006,000 in comparison to 2005 with a net income of $5,069,000. Their stocks did enjoy a significant bump, though – seeing the first rise since 2002-2003.

Next – Part 17: 4Kids TV 2: The Kidsening

Previous – Part 15: The Chaotic Nature of Rumors


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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.)

YGOSZEP13SCREEN10

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.

YGOSZEP13SCREEN11

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.

——————————

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! 🌟