AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 6/Manga Chapters 15-20

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Plot: Shadi is desperate to draw out Yugi’s other personality from the Millennium Puzzle. Still having unfinished business with Yoshimori, who excavated the artifacts Shadi believes should have stayed in their resting places, Shadi decides to use him as a puppet to corner Yugi. Also utilizing Anzu as a puppet and risking her life in a twisted Shadow Game, Shadi gets his wish and Yami emerges. Will Shadi regret what he has wished for, or will Yami pay the price?

Breakdown: This lone episode covers SIX chapters of the manga, so prepare for a lot of cuts.

In the manga, Kanekura was murdered by Shadi. In the anime, he just loses consciousness. They’re attributing that to the pharaoh’s curse, but that’s hardly newsworthy.

In the manga, Shadi entered Yoshimori’s mind room and found it full of artifacts and other items connected to archaeology. He also has a photo of his family collecting dust off to the side, symbolizing his neglected family due to his work. The mind room at the moment is dark and gloomy, symbolizing anxiety and dread. However, there’s a spark of light amongst the darkness – Yugi and the others, who are coming to visit him to help comfort him after Kanekura’s death. (Likewise, there’s a scene at school where the kids read about Kanekura’s death and they all decide to visit Yoshimori to comfort him, though Yugi has a bad feeling about it.)

Shadi takes this opportunity to draw out Yugi’s other self and challenge him on a more level playing field than last time. Using the power of his Millennium Ankh, he reorganizes Yoshimori’s mind room to make him into a puppet. When Yugi and the others arrive, they’re tricked by the INSANELY CREEPILY DRAWN Yoshimori (I swear to god, the way Yoshimori is drawn here is scarier than a good chunk of horror manga) who claims he killed Kanekura and tries to attack them.

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He starts by strangling Jonouchi. However, Anzu knocks Yoshimori over the head with a globe, freeing Jonouchi from his grasp, and she leads him away from the others. Yoshimori will not stop no matter what, per Shadi’s orders and powers, so Jonouchi tries to lead Yoshimori away while everyone else scrambles. Realizing he needs more than one puppet, he targets Anzu’s mind next. Her mind room is filled with mirrors and items relating to dancing and New York, symbolizing her confidence and her dreams of becoming a dancer in New York.

Oh and there’s also this picture….

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I have no idea what the hell that is. It’s a faceless ripoff of Superman? What does the G stand for?

Also, take a look at Anzu’s interpretation of the Statue of Liberty. It’s holding a dancing shoe, has ribbons around it and is holding a drink.

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Shadi feels more guilty screwing around with Anzu’s mind room since it’s so innocent and full of light, so he decides to make Anzu into a silent puppet instead of a crazed zombie like Kanekura.

Did you guys get all that? Because hardly any of it is in the anime. In that version, all we see is Shadi approaching Yoshimori, him freaking out, the Millennium Ankh glowing and then, as Sugoroku arrives to visit his friend, he sees Yoshimori busting through the window and falling to the ground below.

His injuries aren’t fatal, but we never see his mind room (which means we lose out on learning more about him, even if it is small. It also makes the point to show that, while Yoshimori is obsessed, he’s not greedy and uncaring like Kanekura was) he never turns into a crazed zombie or has a really long chase scene with Jonouchi, and he spends the rest of the episode in the hospital. Yugi and the others visit him in the hospital when they find out what happened, which is when Shadi catches onto Yugi’s presence again.

The group’s talk on the way back from the hospital might as well be a replacement for the discussion at school in the manga, I suppose.

As they walk home, Shadi plans his rematch with Yugi by targeting Anzu, who has split off from the group to head home. Shadi enters Anzu’s mind room to turn her into a puppet. They actually mirror (hehe, get it?) her mind room pretty well, even if I think the room should be much brighter. They don’t make the same alterations to the picture of lady liberty, however, yet they nearly perfectly match the very confusing picture of the G-man with no face.

In the manga, Anzu doesn’t really do much as Shadi’s puppet. She follows him to where he needs to place her and puts her in the Shadow Game trap almost immediately, after telling Yugi about it to prod Yami to come out, of course. He does trigger the shift by claiming that he can make Anzu do anything, even die, if he so wills it.

In the anime, Shadi doesn’t make himself known to Yugi for quite some time. He has secretly taken over Anzu and is using her as a silent puppet at school to try and trick Yugi into shifting into Yami by putting his life at risk – nearly causing a bunch of pipes to fall on him, making him fall down the stairs by dropping a basketball down them as he ascends (??????) and finally trying to strangle him in the infirmary.

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THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP

Yugi is saved by Jonouchi and the rest of the group, and Anzu runs off. Everyone tries to find her, though they’re concerned she’s affected by the pharaoh’s curse and that any one of them could be next. They split up, and Yugi manages to spot Anzu. He follows her to the roof and we get the Shadow Game portion here.

(Side Note: Throughout all of this, Honda is taken over by Shadi and he basically takes Yoshimori’s place in the long chase scene. The only real difference is that now Miho is here. We also didn’t get to see Honda’s mind room, which is a shame….but I worry it might have been filled with pictures of Miho and rulebooks or something. Zombie!Honda is actually pretty frightening, but not as creepy as Yoshimori was. Miho is the one who sprays the zombie with the fire extinguisher whereas it was Jonouchi in the manga.)

Shadow Game

Anzu is on a plank over the edge of the roof. It is being held up by five ropes connected to the fence. Shadi holds her life and mind in his hands, and he will kill her if Yami doesn’t show up and play his game.

(The only real difference here is that the plank had a bunch of ancient Egyptian designs on it in the manga, but this didn’t transfer to the anime.)

Shadi’s ploy works – Yami emerges from the Puzzle to confront Shadi. Before he explains the rules, Shadi tells Yami that the Millennium Puzzle did not end up in his hands and was not solved by him through pure coincidence. He was chosen by the Puzzle after 3000 years of waiting. Shadi’s family was chosen by the Millennium Items as well. Yami doesn’t want to hear anymore, though, and just wants to know the rules. Shadi points out, however, that the game is well since underway.

The ropes connected to Anzu’s ‘bridge of life’ are connected to the fence through six items – five ushabti or ‘answerer’ figurines, four belonging to Yami and one belonging to Shadi, and Shadi’s Millennium Ankh.

One of the figurines suddenly breaks – this was due to Yami showing his inner fright over the powers of the Puzzle. Each ushabti will break whenever he has a weakness of heart. If all four of his statues break, Anzu will fall to her death.

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However, if Yami can somehow break Shadi’s lone ushabti, it will cause the Ankh to slide down the rope and into Anzu’s hands. The only thing that can break her trance without Shadi’s interference is by Anzu holding the Ankh.

The first proper trial starts. The ground breaks apart under Yami’s feet, revealing a slue of zombies grabbing for him. Shadi presents a riddle to Yami – “It crawls out of the earth and clings to a pillar – what am I?” After calming himself down, Yami correctly answers that it’s his shadow.

Yami passes the first test, which, logically, would mean he wins the whole thing because all three of those ushabti need to break in order for the platform to fall, but whatever.

In the anime, they skip ahead to the second test for the first test and completely omit the manga’s first test.

Everything about this test is kept the same, but the anime omits that the monster holding Yami, Amemit, might still be full from eating the soul of Kanekura since, in the anime, he was only left unconscious not killed.

This game has Yami being held in place by an alligator-like monster named Amemit. Before him is a shinkei suijaku game – a game where you turn over one tile at a time and try to find matches. However, this one is different. There are nine tiles, not eight, meaning the middle tile stands alone. Yugi only has one opportunity to guess at what the slates show. The only clue he gets is that the slates are mirrors that reflect Amemit.

Yami eventually figures it out – The slates reflect Amemit’s appearance, meaning it has several pairs on its body: eyes, nostrils, hands, ears, which account for eight slates, but the lone feature, the middle slate, reflects its mouth.

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He passes this test, and we move onto the final round, which, of course, puts all three ushabti at risk of breaking because Shadi’s a cheating dick.

The final round, which is only the second but still final round in the anime, involves an illusion of Bully!Jonouchi from Yugi’s memories. Shadi is pitting Yami against the illusion in a game to the death. The floor falls around them, leaving only a small section to stand on. Using the Millennium Puzzle as a pointer, each person will roll the Puzzle like a die. Whichever direction it points to is the direction in which the other will have to take two steps. If Yugi can make Jonouchi fall first, he wins the game. If Jonouchi makes Yugi fall, he loses the entire Shadow Game and Anzu will fall to her death.

Yugi, not Yami, is the one being more harshly tested here because not only does Yami/Yugi not really know for absolute certain that this is not the real Jonouchi under a spell, possibly putting his best friend in mortal danger, but the memory of his friend as his old bully is revealing weaknesses in Yugi.

Just one line of mocking from the fake Jonouchi is enough to make two of Yami/Yugi’s sshabti’s shatter, leaving one to hold Anzu.

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Also, for some reason, the Puzzle sounds like it’s made of hollow plastic in the anime.

Jonouchi rolls the Puzzle, making Yami step forward. It’s Yami/Yugi’s turn, but he refuses to play this game with Jonouchi. Taking Yami’s turn as passed, the fake Jonouchi rolls the Puzzle again, making Yami take two more steps. Once again, Yami refuses to take his turn.

Shadi asks him if he’s forfeiting the game. Afterall, this challenge is about facing his past, the bully Jonouchi, and overcoming it by destroying it. Refusing to play and letting this memory push him over the edge must be a declaration of defeat. Yami, however, corrects him. He’s not conceding defeat – he just believes in his friends too much. He trusts Jonouchi, whether he be real or not, to not kill him like this.

Scoffing at this ideal, Shadi points out that such a mindset is what makes him weak. In order to truly show strength in this ordeal, he needs to only believe in himself. However, he’s not giving Yami any leeway either way and commands the fake Jonouchi to roll the Puzzle one more time, which would surely send Yami over the edge and end the game.

The illusion, however, refuses and eventually smiles and fades away. Yami/Yugi’s faith in his friend and his trust that Jonouchi has become a changed man since his days as a bully showed Yami/Yugi’s true strength and allowed him to win the game.

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Another problem arises when the lone rope holding Anzu starts breaking. Yami panics, but finds Jonouchi, the real one, holding up the plank Anzu is standing on.

Shadi watches in confusion. He’s shocked that Yami/Yugi’s friends are supporting each other. Yami declares that true strength doesn’t come from standing on your own – it comes from believing in your friends.

This actually shatters Shadi’s ushabti, sending the Ankh down to Anzu’s hand and freeing her from the trance. Jonouchi and Yugi help Anzu back up, though Honda is climbing up Jonouchi. In the manga, Yami is still the dominant one in Yugi’s body through the rest of this finale, but in the anime he switches back to Yugi when Anzu starts falling.

In the manga, Yami directs Jonouchi to touch Yoshimori’s hand to the Ankh to free him. In the anime, the plank holding the Ankh just conveniently smacks Honda on the back of the head, freeing him.

Yami has one last confrontation with Shadi before he leaves in the manga. He says he finally understands the power of the Puzzle. It’s the power of unity. He was able to connect with his friends and overcome these illusions and challenges because his friends were connected with him through it. Suddenly, all of Yugi’s friends, Yoshimori and his grandpa appear beside him. Then Jonouchi tells Shadi to stay out of their territory, which in this case is Yugi/Yami’s heart and mind, though I’m not sure how Jonouchi knows Shadi was responsible for all of this.

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Shadi grabs his Ankh and leaves, telling Yami he’s happy to have found people like him in possession of more Millennium Items and even asks if he can ‘Open the door.’

Jonouchi and Anzu wonder why Yugi looked so different, but when he turns around he’s back to normal so they just brush it off. Yoshimori’s fine, barring some soreness and loss of teeth thanks to Anzu, and they all go off to get something to eat, which is silly to do considering the teeth thing.

In the anime, Shadi leaves without confronting Yami again, though he does explain in voiceover that they’ll meet again and now Yugi has the mission to draw out the true power of the Puzzle.

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Overall, I really liked this arc and episode, even if the finale was a tad on the cheesy side. The rematch with Shadi was really unfair since the odds were so highly stacked against Yami, but the challenges were pretty good and the stakes were high.

I’m not quite sure how much I care about Yoshimori literally being thrown out of this episode. Though, given the narrative they’ve made in the anime, I suppose it is more impacting to have Honda be the crazy zombie here. They pretty much left Yoshimori’s fate up in the air, though. For all we know, at this point, the poor guy will be in a coma forever like Kanekura.

They did match the creepiness factor of Zombie!Yoshimori pretty well, though. Not perfectly, but they did a good job.

I understand why they erased the first game, but at the same time I kinda don’t. If they had removed all of those parts with Anzu trying, in a really pathetic fashion barring the strangulation, to assault Yugi, they probably would have had time to include it. They were already pushing it, trying to include six chapters worth of material into one episode, why add filler?

Next chapter/episode, hey guys, remember Gigapets/Nanopets/Tamogotchi? Time to fly down a nostalgia hole within a nostalgia hole!


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Hell Girl (Manga) Volume 2 Review

Chapter 6: Ice Shadows

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This chapter was not one mirrored in the anime, but it is very well-written and quite intriguing. Saeki is a great ice skater and top of her team. Despite this, she screws up in a big competition and has been skipping practices, so she’s overlooked for the spot in the national competition for a girl named Eri, with her substitute being Marie.

Saeki is infuriated at this, but can’t figure out what to do to get her spot from them. Her friends tell her about Hell Girl, but that’s not an option for her because she has two targets and Hell Girl only allows one entry. However, that doesn’t mean Hell Girl is completely useless to her.

She concocts a plan to have Eri and Marie send each other to hell. She tricks Eri into thinking Marie sicced a bunch of bullies on her, and she tricked Marie into thinking Eri tried to kill her by locking her in a room with a gas leak.

Her plan seemingly works – the two send each other to hell and she is chosen to skate in the nationals.

However, all is not as it seems.

Saeki is actually the one going to hell. Eri and Marie figured out easily that she was behind everything. They also had great trust in each other to not do such terrible things since they had been best friends for over ten years. Saeki was the one who planted those ideas into their heads, and she was the one who just so happened to save Eri from the bullies and Marie from the room of gas.

They both entered Saeki’s name into Hell Correspondence, and now they’re both marked for hell, but they’ve still got each other and their bright futures as ice skaters ahead of them. Eri even wins first place in the nationals, much to the delight of Marie who was cheering her on the whole time.

But….this is really confusing.

Why are they BOTH damned to hell? This has never happened in any other Hell Girl story I’ve watched or read. Even if they both contacted Ai at the same time, she wouldn’t give the offer to both of them. It’s always just a one-way street – a soul for a soul.

In fact, in one episode of the anime, a client tries to use the doll on someone, but Ai tells her she can’t because someone else is about to pull the string on her target.

It is a beautiful gesture that they basically agreed to go to hell together (even though I’ve explained before why that’s also pretty dumb) but I just don’t think this would fly with how Hell Girl operates.

Another curious thing in this episode is Ai at the very end. She’s watching the girls skate and is very happy and content. I really don’t think Eto gets it that Ai is supposed to be emotionless.

Oh well, at least they didn’t have Ai wait until the girls were about to commit suicide to give them the offer this time.

Chapter 7: Family

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So, this chapter starts with a flashback to the death of the main character, Chiaki’s, mother on her death bed telling her and her sister, Chisa, that they need to live good lives because she’ll be waiting to reunite with them in heaven.

Well…..Wonder where this could possibly be going.

Chiaki is in college, I think, but she’s coming home for a weekend visit. Their mother has been dead for over a year, so their father has hired a local woman named Yurie to care for the house and Chisa while he’s working.

Despite having a nice reunion with her little sister, Chiaki is troubled when she realizes Chisa is very visibly afraid of her new babysitter. Yurie claims Chisa is just having a hard time accepting her into the house, so she’s lying and making up stories when everything she’s claiming she’s doing is explained through other means. For example, Chiaki found the framed picture of her mother that she kept by her bed in Chisa’s room, with the glass of the frame cracked, and Chisa claimed she was protecting it from Yurie since she threw it in the garbage. Yurie, on the other hand, says the frame broke when she was cleaning Chiaki’s room and she set it aside for when she’d get a new frame for it…..but why would she keep the broken glass hanging around? That’s a hazard in a house with a little kid.

Chisa tells Chiaki that Yurie is very mean to her, yelling at her all the time and hitting her. Chiaki doesn’t believe her for quite a while until she discovers all of the bruises on Chisa’s chest. She calls Hell Girl before Yurie can react to the accusations about the bruises. When she talks to her dad and Yurie about it, they claim she kept falling off of her tricycle, causing the bruises, and that maybe, at worst, Yurie overreacted when she told her to be more careful.

Chiaki decides to accept that story, because apparently she’d rather believe the word of this woman she literally met that same day instead of her own flesh and blood. (Her father only corroborates Yurie’s claim because that’s the story she told him.)

She leaves to go back to school, but suddenly gets a panicked phone call from her sister. Chiaki rushes home and finds Yurie slicing off Chisa’s hair. She decides to stop playing nice and just tell Chiaki that, yeah, she’s an abusive bitch who hates kids. The only reason she took this job to begin with was because their father has a good salary and a nice house, so she can eventually marry him and get his money.

Chiaki threatens to go to the cops, but Yurie says it wouldn’t matter anyway because they’d never believe them over her….Uhm…why? The kid is covered in bruises and has her hair lopped off. She’s clearly very scared and jumpy when touched, which are clear signs of abuse. And now she has an adult witness to back her up, one who just got sliced by the accused, but yet Yurie believes the cops would never believe them?

Because this is Hell Girl, where everyone’s over the top evil, Yurie lunges for Chiaki to stab her to death with the scissors which is, uh….yeah, how would you ever explain that away, darlin’? “Oh Chisa and Chiaki’s dad! Chiaki just came home for a surprise visit less than a day after she went back to school – and in the middle of the school day no less – and suddenly decided to run around with scissors. She tripped, fell and stabbed herself 18 times with the scissors! What a tragic accident!”

Chisa jumps in front of Chiaki as Yurie attacks, but Chiaki pulls the string and immediately sends Yurie to hell. The hell torture this time around is pretty creepy. She’s surrounded by a bunch of children seemingly soaked in blood and grabbing for her. Yurie doesn’t show a drop of regret, and Ai ferries her away to hell.

Meanwhile, Chiaki laments on failing to uphold her promise to her mother. She’ll never reunite with her in heaven now, but she doesn’t have any regrets because she saved Chisa’s life. Their dad reveals that, per Hell Girl magic, I guess, they found out that Yurie was accused of committing marriage fraud several times and abusing the husbands and children in those families, too. The cops are looking for her, but they can’t find her.

I have to believe this revelation is Hell Girl magic, because otherwise this is twice as depressing. They could have known the truth about her almost immediately and Chiaki wouldn’t have had to sacrifice herself.

Truth be told, this is one of those situations that seemed largely avoidable. She should have called the cops before she called Hell Girl. And I doubt she had enough vengeance in her heart to even contact her if she didn’t even really believe Chisa very much. Technically, it’s a good thing she did call Hell Girl then because otherwise she or Chisa may have died, but it also could have been avoided entirely if she called the cops.

Granted, yeah, the cops are very spotty when it comes to situations like this. I’m not even really certain which side their dad would be on, which in itself is kinda stupid. They’re not even dating or anything, and she’s been their housekeeper/babysitter all of a month, but it’s implied that their dad is willing to believe Yurie over Chisa and Chiaki on everything. Still, calling the police should at least have been a step. Hell Girl is typically a last resort type of deal.

Not saying this situation isn’t believable at its core, however. There many real circumstances similar to theirs, sadly.

Still, this was a good but fairly sad story. Like I said, you pretty much know what will happen the instant they throw in that flashback to the mom dying, but it still really sucks that Chiaki will never see her mom again in heaven.

Also, small note, this is finally the first time we fully see the client receiving the doll and pulling the string in the manga, so that’s pretty cool.

Chapter 8: Distorted Love

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Another chapter that was never reflected in the anime, this story is about a girl named Mei and her close friend, Tsukasa. For the past three years, Tsukasa has been hospitalized with a severe illness, but he still holds firm to his dreams of someday becoming a detective. Mei visits him every day and brings flowers to him sometimes, but she has recently started getting stalker-esque obsessive text messages.

She doesn’t tell Tsukasa about it in fear of making his condition worse, but the stalker’s behaviors are escalating. He’s broken into her room to steal her school albums, and someone in a rabbit costume (she loves rabbits) grabbed her and said threatening things to her.

Mei believes she hears someone call the guy in the costume Yuki, who was an old classmate that she spotted a little while ago. Thinking he must be the culprit and realizing the cops nor her mother will help her, she calls Hell Girl. Stopping myself for a minute there, it’s pretty unreasonable that her mother simply doesn’t believe her on any of this. She even said she was wrong about the intruder in her room when Mei specifically said stuff was stolen from her room. Why is her mother so flippant about this? Is it Terrible Parent day in Hell Girl world?

She’s kidnapped by the man in the bunny costume and knocked out. When she awakes, she’s in a beautiful dress. The stalker explains that he read in her album that she wanted to get married, so they’re going to do so today. Mei pulls the string on the doll, but, shockingly, nothing happens. When the stalker reveals his identity, it turns out it was actually the florist who was selling her flowers to give to Tsukasa for several months. His name is, coincidentally, Yukee.

So….did Yuki get sent to hell? She did pull the string, but they never reveal if she has a curse mark. Why did Ai allow this to happen? Isn’t she unable to provide a doll if the target isn’t ‘correct’?

Mei is terrified, but Yukee soon vanishes before her eyes. He has been sent to hell by none other than Tsukasa.

He had found out about the break-in from her mother, and he found out everything else on his own. Tsukasa did some investigating into Yukee, whom he found to be suspicious. She was always getting the stalker texts on Wednesday, and her room was broken into on a Wednesday, which is the Yukee’s day off. He had done this investigating the night before, working on the computer all night when he was told not to, which lead to him developing a bad fever.

When he called to talk to Yukee, he said he was doing a wedding ceremony. I assume Tsukasa knew Mei was missing somehow, so he called Hell Girl and pulled the string in the nick of time.

Believing his time left in the world of the living is very short, he was content with accepting his fate in hell soon. He had been able to save Mei’s life, and that’s all that mattered to him. Mei is, of course, devastated and proclaims tearfully that he’ll get better and be a detective like he always wanted. Either way, they’ll spend as much time as they can together before fate pulls them apart once more.

Even though there were a bunch of conveniences in the story to make the mystery and resolution work, I absolutely loved this story. The mystery was intriguing, and the scene where the string pull doesn’t work really throws you for a loop. You’re left seriously worried about Mei after that happens because string pulls always work in Hell Girl. The service is designed to not really be able to target the wrong person, so having the string pull not work and the reason being that Mei wrote the wrong name into the website was really shocking.

I’m still wondering whether Yuki was sent to hell or not. I’d think not, but I can’t be certain. Like I said, nothing like this has ever happened before and they never reveal if Mei has a curse mark. The only other circumstance I can think of that was kinda like this was in one of the first chapters where the client sends her tormentor to hell, but it’s revealed that the target wasn’t the only one doing the abuse, but that’s really not the same because Yuki was entirely innocent.

The relationship between Mei and Tsukasa was also beautifully sweet and tragic. They’re so great together, and it makes me so sad that their relationship will almost certainly end soon and badly. And they’ll never be reunited in the afterlife….

Chapter 9: Lost Cat

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Oh boy, an animal in a Hell Girl story? I can only imagine happy things happening.

This story focuses on a girl named Maki befriending a rather quiet and somewhat unfriendly girl named Juli after they bond over caring for a lost cat named Mikey. They become very good friends, but things all spiral downward when their substitute teacher, Takamine, enters their lives.

Takamine is one of the most ridiculously over-evil antagonists I’ve seen since the episode Bound Girl (And that one also included animal abuse….) The instant she sets foot in the classroom, the first thing she does is take a collection of paper cranes the class had made (and Maki had started) for their actual teacher who is on maternity leave and crumple them up. She claims that anything that isn’t schoolwork is a waste and will be destroyed.

Juli is enraged by this and grabs Takamine, which earns her a stint in the English room, which is apparently full of garbage. Takamine insults her hair before taking her there, and then drags her by the hair to the room. But that’s not all. Takamine also gives her heaps of work based on things their class hasn’t even covered yet and tells her she can’t go home until she’s done.

Maki helps her out with her work, but Takamine just keeps piling on Juli. She completely removes Juli from the class list, refuses to include her in roll call, and she has decided that she no longer gets a desk and will have to work in the closet from now on.

Meanwhile, the rest of the class isn’t getting away scot-free. They’re being given incredibly hard tests day after day and exhausting all of them.

Believe or not, we’re still not done. Maki spots Takamine trying to force feed Juli tuna eyeballs for lunch, and when she tries to tell the principal about it, he doesn’t believe her. Her friends also don’t want to get involved for fear of Takamine’s wrath. They tell Maki to do the same, but she refuses to abandon her friend.

Instead, she contacts Hell Girl and gets her doll, but she hesitates because of the price she’ll have to pay.

Things come to a head when Maki hears some girls talking about hearing meowing coming from a garbage bag Takamine was carrying to the river. They were worried, but too afraid of Takamine to do anything about it. Maki rushes to get Juli and they head to the river, seeing the garbage bag floating downstream – and indeed there are meowing sounds coming from it.

Juli jumps into the river to get Mikey, but they both vanish underwater. Juli ends up in critical condition as a result, and Mikey seems lost forever. Takamine has the balls to come to the hospital and mock Juli to Maki’s face, calling her an idiot for trying to save the cat and saying the cat was a piece of trash who needed to be thrown out because it was something that had nothing to do with schoolwork. She finishes off by saying if Juli dies because of it, it will be perfect because she was toxic trash too.

You see what I mean? This bitch is too ridiculously over-evil. I mean, good job in the realm of making me hate her guts, but she’s almost comically malicious.

Hearing those final words from Takamine, Maki angrily pulls the string. Takamine’s hell torture is pretty good. All of her personal items are destroyed by the hell team, their heads all turn into weird mutated tuna eyeballs and to top it all off they tie her up into a trash bag and throw her into the river Styx where she’s finally ferried…or floated…down to hell.

After that’s all said and done, Juli recovers and she and Maki enjoy class with a new substitute teacher who is much nicer, promising to always be friends forever.

But wait.

Could it be!?

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YAY MIKEY’S ALIVE!

I was really surprised that they chose to do this. They very rarely ever let the animal live in these stories, and I’m not even sure how he survived. It’s implied that Ai may have saved him because she was holding him while delivering the hell torture to Takamine, in which case you’re aces in my book, Ai.

All in all, I really loved the friendship development between Juli and Maki, and I truly appreciate that they let the cat live, but Takamine is just super-villain levels of evil. She doesn’t even try to hide that she’s doing all of this absolutely terrible shit, but the principal refuses to believe Maki when she tells him about the bullying just because grades are up? Come on. Can’t any authority figure be competent in this universe?

Chapter 10: Friends

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We’re back with another story that was somewhat mirrored in the anime in the episode of the same name. The names of the characters aren’t the same: Minami is Azusa here, and Shiori is Hitomi.

The circumstances of their friendship is also different. In the anime, they had only recently become best friends since Minami was a transfer student and Shiori had befriended her. In the manga, Hitomi and Azusa had been best friends since they were little. She used to protect her from boys who would pick on her, and as a result she became very clingy to Hitomi, though Hitomi didn’t seem to mind.

In the anime, Shiori just ditches Minami as a friend once she becomes friends with two other bitches, and for some reason they can’t allow her to also be their friend. In the manga, they go to a group date with a bunch of guys for karaoke. Azusa is very nervous around guys because they picked on her so much when she was little, but with Hitomi by her side she decides to go for it. She takes a liking to a particular boy, but decides to not pursue anything because Hitomi clearly liked him.

The next night, she gets a text from the guy that was seemingly asking them all out on a group date again, so Azusa accepts, but she finds out the next day that he was only asking Azusa out, which devastates Hitomi. She and her friends instantly vilify Azusa for what she did, not even trying to hear her out. Hitomi also blocks her number, so she can’t call or text. When she visits her house to talk about it, Hitomi flips and even accuses her of being a stalker.

The same thing happened in the anime, for the most part. Shiori’s new friends were telling her how stalker-y Minami was because she was texting Shiori once every half hour, and they even told the teacher so she’d get her to leave her alone.

When Minami approaches her in person, at school, Shiori accidentally falls over. Even though it was clearly an accident everyone blames Minami and acts as if she did it on purpose.

In the manga, things get even more heated. Using the photos they took earlier, Hitomi makes cards with Azusa’s number on them that basically amount to ‘for a good time, call…’ kind of cards. She sends them out to guys all over town, and Azusa starts getting messages and calls from weird guys. Some of the guys even approach her and try to get her to come with them.

Azusa recognizes the handwriting as Hitomi’s but calls the police to help find the perp and keep the creepers away from her house.

Unable to take any more, Azusa calls Hell Girl and gets the straw doll. The only difference between the anime and manga here is that Azusa is much less malicious than Minami. In the anime, Minami is so set on giving Shiori her just desserts that she expresses a desire to pull the string right in front of Shiori’s face. Azusa does no such thing.

She keeps the doll in her desk and leaves it one day. Hitomi starts having random wrist pains, so she heads to the nurse’s office. On her way back, she sees the doll in Azusa’s desk and believes it’s a voodoo doll with which Azusa used to give her wrist pain.

This is way more justifiable than in the anime, where Shiori just thinks it’s a voodoo doll for really no other reason than it’s a funny looking straw doll.

In both versions, Hitomi/Shiori takes the straw doll and nails it to a shrine post to curse Azusa/Minami, but obviously that doesn’t work.

Later, Azusa stays home from school due to a fever. I forget why, but the same happens in the anime.

While at school, in the anime, Shiori’s friends just randomly ditch her for a new third member. And, since it’s established that groups of four friends are forbidden by god or whatever the writing is doing to justify this, she now has no friends.

In the manga, her friends start turning on her when they hear of her sending out the cards. They also get concerned about being involved with her since they know Azusa called the cops for what Hitomi did. This is also much more justified of a turnaround for Hitomi/Shiori than the anime.

In both versions, they contact Azusa/Minami and try to make up, which Azusa/Minami eagerly accepts. However, Hitomi/Shiori pulls out the doll and suggests they curse their classmates with it, even explaining that she has needles with her to do the deed. Azusa/Minami explains that the doll doesn’t work like a voodoo doll and that she’s the only one who can use it. Hitomi/Shiori keeps pushing her to use it, even after Azusa/Minami explains that the doll sends both the target and the user to hell, not realizing that she’s the target and not caring about what happens to Azusa/Minami. She forces Azusa/Minami to pull the string and Hitomi/Shiori is sent to hell.

Azusa/Minami falls to the ground in despair in both versions, but what Ai says to her is drastically different. In the anime, as Minami says she didn’t want this, Ai says she indeed did want this, as evidenced when she said straight to Ai’s face that she wanted to pull the string in front of Shiori. She allowed herself to be consumed with hatred, and now she has to pay for it.

In the manga, Ai tells Azusa that her own weakness caused all of this. If she had just been stronger and not relied on Hitomi so much, none of this would have happened. Ai tells her to become stronger and make better friends, which she vows to do, even if she’s marked for hell.

In the end, the manga is SO much better than the anime’s story. The anime had a stupid reason for breaking the friends apart. Suddenly deciding that you want to be friends with two other girls and not including your other friend just ‘because’ didn’t make any sense to me then and it doesn’t now. Thinking your friend stole a guy you were clearly interested in…..is still kinda stupid just based on the fact that they only knew the guy for one night, but these are teenage girls, so shit happens.

It’s implied that Hitomi even purposely set all of this up to get Azusa to leave her alone because she was too clingy, and it that’s true then there are way better ways to do it than making everyone think she’s a creepy whore.

In the anime, they weren’t even friends that long anyway. She was her first and best friend at her new school, but they didn’t have the same history or dynamic as Azusa and Hitomi.

What Hitomi did to Azusa was also worse than what Shiori did to Minami. In both scenarios, she made many people at school not want to associate themselves with Azusa/Minami, but Hitomi went the extra mile to make people think Azusa was basically a call girl – even floating her photo and phone number around to skeevy guys. Azusa could have really gotten hurt if one of those guys got aggressive with her.

Finally, Azusa is objectively better than Minami. Azusa’s character flaw is in her weakness and codependency whereas Minami’s is that she suddenly let herself be consumed with an almost ridiculous level of hatred for someone who didn’t even do that much to her. I’ve had friends treat me way worse than that and I never felt a desire to not only send them to hell but basically mock them as I do it.

I don’t believe Azusa’s weakness is really the core cause of the blame here, but it’s a part of it. Many Hell Girl cases are created as a result of personal weakness. They want a relatively easy method of taking care of a problem in their life – one that can’t be traced back to them from a legal standpoint and doesn’t actually get blood on their hands. There’s still a hefty price, but, siding with Hajime for a bit, numerous instances of Hell Girl usage is fairly petty and could have been fixed without Hell Girl if the effort was put in.

If Azusa had just accepted that Hitomi was an unreasonable bitch that wasn’t worth being friends with, she could have just laid low for a while, stopped contacting Hitomi, let Hitomi move on, especially if her goal was just to get Azusa to go away, and then eventually go make friends with other people. The others won’t be hungup on the betrayal crap forever, especially since it was a dude she liked for all of a few hours. Azusa didn’t even do anything with the guy. She just accepted his offer. Teenagers get past this shit real quick.

Likewise, if she hadn’t been chewing at the bit to accept Hitomi’s apology despite the shitty things she did to her, then Hitomi wouldn’t have been able to force her to use the doll. Hitomi probably would have just tried to use the doll herself, nothing would have happened and that would have been the end of it.

It makes a little more sense for her to do this in the anime because Shiori didn’t do something like herd a bunch of perverts to Minami’s location acting as if she was a slut.

The absolute ending was also much more hopeful than the anime’s. In the anime, the only ‘bright’ spot is Minami looking forward to seeing Shiori again in hell. In the manga, she decides that she wants to be stronger and seek out better friends than people like Hitomi. She may still be destined for hell, but at least she’s more determined to live a better life as a stronger person who surrounds herself with good people for as long as she can.

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And that was volume two! Definitely heaping loads of improvement from volume one, and they’re certainly getting better at communication between the anime showrunners and the manga author for important elements of the Hell Girl universe, like the straw doll and a bit more implementation of the hell team as actual characters. Not everything is meshing between versions in that regard, but it’s gotten a lot better. At least we’re finally past her phase of needing the person to be on the verge of committing suicide or murder before she finally shows up to help the client.

The start of the next volume notes that it was released right when season two of the anime was debuting, so that’s pretty cool. She also mentions she’ll be putting more of the hell team in the stories, which is great. Not sure if the author intends on including Hajime and Tsugumi or Ai’s backstory, but time will tell I suppose.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 5/Manga Chapters 13-14

Animanga Clash YGO Ep5

Plot: The gang wants to head to an Egyptian exhibit at the Domino art museum where a friend of Yugi’s grandpa, Professor Yoshimori, is revealing some artifacts he found.

Before they enter the exhibit, they, along with Yugi’s grandpa, meet Yoshimori and the financial backer of the expedition that heralded many of the artifacts being presented today, Kanekura. In awe of Yugi’s Millennium Puzzle, he asks if he can put it in the exhibit, to which Yugi hesitantly agrees.

The gang goes to see the rest of the exhibit when Yoshimori explains that archaeologists don’t get to keep the items they discover since it’s illegal in Egypt. This surprises Yugi and the others since they believed archaeologists got rich off of the artifacts that they found and were typically greedy individuals.

Yugi spots an Egyptian man (Shadi) crying at the exhibit and asks him what’s wrong. He states that these tears are not his own – they’re those of the pharaoh who is mummified before them, unable to find rest in this state. Shadi pats his head and calls him a nice boy, which irritates Yugi. He also notes that the man carries around a scale, so he might be crazy.

Surprisingly absolutely no one, Kanekura is secretly a bad dude who wants to sell the Millennium Puzzle behind Yugi’s back, but not before Shadi targets him for a shadow game for his role in excavating all of these artifacts and looking to profit off of it.

Kanekura loses his shadow game, and, ultimately, his mind.

He grabs the Puzzle and leaves, bumping into Yugi, who notices the Puzzle in his hand and remarks on it. Upon learning that Yugi is the one who solved the Millennium Puzzle, he enters Yugi’s mind, which actually contains two rooms – one that is so innocent and child-like it almost seems like a baby’s room, and another that is frighteningly ominous. He meets Yami at the door, and he allows him into his room, which is a massive maze filled with hundreds of doors.

Yami posits a game, if Shadi can find the ‘true room’ in his mind’s room, then he can obtain the ‘treasure’ that awaits there. If not, he’ll be lost in his mind forever. Shadi’s is pretty confident he can do it because his Ankh/Key/Cross allows him to also alter the mind rooms of others, but the massive maze of Yami’s mind is too much to allow him to do this, so he opts to just visit each room individually, resulting in him finding a plethora of traps.

Yami saves Shadi from falling to his death (Or…mind death?) in one room, finally allowing him to leave. Shadi returns the Puzzle to Yugi and warns him of the power of the Puzzle as well as his other personality. Shadi reveals his name to Yugi before departing, aiming to test Yoshimori next.

Breakdown: Oh good. Anime!Honda wants to go to the Egyptian exhibit to scare Miho so she’ll fall into his arms. Nice…

Wait a second, so in 1922 the Egyptian government passed a legislation that made it so whatever ancient Egyptian artifacts were found in the country stayed in the country and did not belong to the person who discovered them (This isn’t something I researched independently – this was said in the manga and the anime.)

….But….Sugoroku found the Millennium Puzzle in the Valley of the Kings in the 1960s. Doesn’t that mean that, technically, the Puzzle doesn’t belong to him and he’s had an ancient Egyptian artifact illegally for over 40 years? How did he even get that out of the country?

Also……..Excuse me…..What?! Miho finds this mummy…this…dead person….CUTE? Because it has a bald head so it looks like a baby to her? Someone please get this increasingly difficult to watch character off of my screen.

They omit a small part in the manga where Kanekura goes off to display the Millennium Puzzle and Yugi thinks to himself that he feels like a worried parent. I’m not sure why, but the parent comment seemed very intriguing. It could be general unease at being away from something that is precious to him, but it could also be an anxiety brought on by his connection to the Puzzle, telling him something’s wrong.

Considering the bond between owner and item seems to stay intact no matter if the item isn’t on their person, this is very possible.

Both Manga and Anime!Yugi yell that he’s a high school student when Shadi calls him a ‘nice boy’ and pats his head, and he follows that up with calling him a weird Egyptian. The main change here is that Manga!Yugi says all of this in his head (thought balloon) whereas Anime!Yugi yells all of this out loud. The reason I bring this up is because that’s a really rude thing to yell and an even ruder and somewhat racist thing to say out loud, even if Shadi was already walking away by then. He didn’t yell out either of those things in the manga because Yugi’s not such a rude person, even if it is still in poor taste for him to think that ‘weird Egyptian’ comment.

Also, yeah Yugi, he must be insane because he carries around a scale. Now go walk around with a giant golden upside-down pyramid hanging from your neck you sane boy, you.

Why is that even seen as odd? He’s carrying around an Egyptian artifact in an Egyptian exhibit. For all Yugi knew, he was just moving the thing.

Speaking of which, the owner of the Millennium Scale kinda gets the raw end of the deal in regards to convenience, doesn’t he? Every other item can easily be carried on your person – the Puzzle, Ring, Key and Necklace are all worn around the neck, and the Rod can be holstered easily. However, the Scale has to be carried around by hand. The Eye is carried around in the user’s head, but I think we can all agree that the Eye is the worst item to actually obtain or have taken from you because it needs to be jammed into your eye and then plucked out.

Shadow Game

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This Shadow Game is based entirely on the functions of the Millennium Scale. Shadi asks Kanekura questions, and the scale tips one way or another depending on how much sin he’s revealing, which is technically how much he’s lying in his responses.

Shadi’s first question is kept mostly the same, but the manga says the girl dropped money on the ground before she fell into the well, not a gold ring. Truth be told, though, I prefer the anime version because a gold ring is more valuable and more realistic to covet than ‘Oh yeah, I would let a girl die for whatever cash she just got from her piggy bank.’

In the end, Kanekura is ‘eaten’ by a demonic representation of the greed and evil in his mind’s room, as seen by Shadi’s Millennium Key/Cross/Ankh.

Manga!Yugi doesn’t think Shadi would know where his Puzzle would be, but in the anime, he noticed Shadi carrying the Puzzle and remarks on it. Small change, honestly, but the anime makes him look a little better because in the manga he’s, again, thinking Shadi is crazy for really no reason this time.

There are many more traps in the anime version of Yami’s mind than there are in the manga, which is fine, in my opinion.

——————————-

This episode covered two chapters this time, and I think it did a really good job reflecting the manga material. I like how we technically got two Shadow Games in this episode as a result – one run by Shadi and the other by Yami. The initial Shadow Game was a great intro to Shadi, and the second was a very interesting and intense start of the conflict between Shadi and Yami. It was also a really intriguing way of depicting Yami’s mind’s inner secrets.

Also, this panel:

Animanga Clash YGO Ep5 2

lolwut?

Final Notes: The 2000 anime did basically keep in the entirety of chapter 14/the second half of episode 5. The sequence in Yami’s mind room is almost exactly the same except three crucial details.

First, in the manga and Season Zero, Shadi and Yugi meet by chance at this Egyptian artifact exhibit. In the 2000 anime, they meet when Shadi comes to Pegasus’ castle looking to investigate a criminal who stole the Millennium Eye. (2000Anime!Shadi can also use portals because reasons.) Yugi happened to be there after the events of Duelist Kingdom concluded.

Second, the one who saves Shadi from Yami’s room is Yugi – not Yami. The reason for this, supposedly, is that Yugi recently realized and acknowledged that he had another spirit living within him and was able to save him. He was thereby able to learn more about the history of the items whereas in the manga and Season Zero he wasn’t all too aware of this for most of the run. However, the 2000 anime really makes Yami look like a dick who was going to let an innocent man lose his mind forever.

Finally, the 2000 anime adds an entirely new sequence. Yami supposedly lets both Yugi and Shadi out of his room, but it leads to a mysterious new room that seemingly showcases more things related to the backstory. They’re attacked by Yami’s mind’s guardian, Dark Magician, which is weird because Yami should have control over this place, despite not having his memories, and Dark Magician should instinctively know not to attack Yugi, but whatever.

Shadi tries to summon Blue-Eyes from a tablet on the floor, claiming it’s the only monster who can beat Dark Magician, but Yugi stops Dark Magician by merely talking to him, which shocks Shadi. (I’m fuzzy on the details of this arrangement, if it’s ever explained. If Seto always lost to Yami, then why is Blue-Eyes an instant win over Dark Magician even in the card game?) Dark Magician then releases them both from the mind room.

Next time, continuing on with the Shadi plot – we got a lot to cover in the next episode.


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Hell Girl (Manga) Volume 1 Review

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Plot: A horror anthology that chronicles the stories of the clients of Hell Girl – a mysterious girl behind a website where you can input the name of someone who has wronged you and get the opportunity to exact immediate vengeance on them by sending them to hell. However, curses come home to roost. The price for this service is damning your own soul to hell – but only when you die your natural death.

Your grievance shall be avenged….

Breakdown: Oh what? You thought I was done with Hell Girl for now just because I said I wasn’t going to review Three Vessels until October? Psshhhtt. We still got manga to review, my friends!

Hell Girl’s manga is…something. It’s a bit odd. You see, the manga started just a month after the anime started running and ran along side it. In fact, it ended right before Three Vessels aired, so my timing is right on the money.

It’s not so much adapting the anime nor did the anime adapt it. It’s just kinda its own thing while also still being the same thing….do you get what I’m saying?

Good, because I don’t.

Considering this is an anthology, it doesn’t really matter that much anyway.

This also isn’t the only manga to the Hell Girl name. After Three Vessels aired (technically, it debuted a month before Three Vessels ended), a manga called New Hell Girl started up. Then we got Hell Girl R. Then we got Hell Girl: Enma Ai Selection, Super Scary Story (I’m not being a smartass, that’s the actual name) that actually came before Three Vessels aired, back in 2007, yet didn’t end until 2012.

However, whether I can actually find and review any of these manga will have to be an answer for another day. So far, no dice.

Something that creates quite the difference between the manga and the anime is the art. The anime’s art is fairly unique, especially where Ai herself is involved. Everyone has between toned down yet normal anime-ish styled designs or they go for a more realistic route with smaller eyes and more, for lack of a better term ‘normal’ features.

Ai’s design is quite notable and unique. She has a realistic eye shape, but it’s greatly enlarged in order to give her that signature haunting stare. The ruby red of her eyes in stark contrast to her black hair really create an air of horror around her. Kikuri, as much as I dislike her as a character, is also very unique even from Ai. She has a very similar eye shape, but she has even less in terms of visible scleras and her eyes are purple with odd reflections, giving her an insect vibe.

The manga is pretty much just typical shoujo style. Ai herself doesn’t really look anything like what you probably know her as. She has the usual anime/shoujo eye shape with an eye color that is way more brown than it is red (on the covers anyway – the manga’s in black and white, as usual). She’s also almost always given an angry or ‘evil’ expression, which goes directly against the emotionless front that Ai is supposed to have at all times. Even her notable hime haircut doesn’t go unaltered because her hair is frequently very sharp and flowing in the manga.

Honestly, Ai barely looks any different from nearly any other girl you’d see in a shoujo series.

It’s not bad, it’s just not…Ai.

All of the other characters are also given very shoujo styled appearances, which, again, isn’t bad, but it kinda reduces the horror aspect of the whole thing.

Another difference is that, right off the bat, Ai very frequently appears to her clients and watches them, usually in the form of a student in their school. This is mostly unheard of in season one of Hell Girl, and even when it does become common for her and her team to investigate or watch clients, it’s usually only after a contract has been made and not usually so blatantly, especially with Ai herself. In the manga, it’s even common for her to use her own name when she’s doing this, and that’s just ridiculous from an anime standpoint. In the anime, the Hell Team are usually the ones who act as humans and do recon. When they have to give a name, it’s always an alias.

If what the artist, Miyuki Eto, says in the notes is any indication, it seems like she’s taking her notes of the main canon stuff, in regards to how Ai looks and how the system works, from the anime, because she mentions that Ai had bells on her bracelet in the anime and had to work the bells into later chapters.

She also notes, however, that she doesn’t get to watch anime a lot because her TV antennae needs to be setup in a certain way for her to watch it. (So she doesn’t get at least story notes on how the anime is working?) However, it seems like that’s just a preference of hers to do it that way because in chapter four she talks about coming up with the dog’s name, even though the dog already had a name in the anime version (Candy.)

It says the stories themselves are written by the Jigoku Shoujo project, whatever that means, so maybe they’re leaving Eto to her own devices when it comes to the finer details. I really don’t understand how the people working on the Jigoku Shoujo project organized the anime and manga this way, seems really sloppy and inefficient, but what can you do?

Even though I will likely make comparisons to the anime every now and then, please note that this is not an AniManga Clash entry. There are too many stories that weren’t adapted/mirrored for me to feel comfortable giving it that label, and like I said the anime isn’t even really an adaptation. However, when stories are adapted/mirrored I will make notes for the sake of completion.

It should also be noted that Hell Girl’s manga supposedly changes quite a bit the further along you get. Before I started doing the review, I read only about ten chapters, so we’ll have to find out if this is true later.

With that said, let’s delve into each story in volume one.

Chapter One: From Within the Darkness

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Hey, I’m super consistent, which is why I’m going to open this review by saying the first story from the manga that I just said was very different from the anime in its stories is very similar to the first episode of Hell Girl.

In that episode, From Beyond the Twilight (even the names are similar) a girl is pressured into doing worse and worse acts because a bitchy girl and her friends are blackmailing her. It eventually gets so bad that when she hears of Hell Link she decides to contact Ai and send her tormentor to hell.

That same story is used here, but there are numerous differences. The characters are entirely different and so are the main circumstances. In the anime, the client, Mayumi, is blackmailed by Aya, the target. Mayumi was entrusted with a large sum of money that the class had raised for charity only to have it go mysteriously missing. In order to ensure the class and teacher never found out and didn’t accuse her of theft, Aya offered her a loan to cover the money.

In the manga, the client, Mari, is blackmailed by Hayase, the target. Mari had been accused of shoplifting a CD from a store and Hayase had gotten her out of the mess by vouching for her to the cashier.

In the anime, Mayumi is driven to stealing from her mother in order to pay off the debt to Aya, but even after covering the sum, Aya claims that’s only good enough to cover the interest on the loan. It comes to a head when she brings her to the red light district and basically tries to whore her out for a meal. She then takes pictures of Mayumi with the men and blackmails her with those as well.

Turns out, Aya had been screwing her over from the start since she’s the one who stole the donation money.

Mayumi contacts Hell Girl, but she doesn’t come, so Mayumi tries to commit suicide, which is when Ai suddenly decides to make her appearance and give her the doll.

A short while goes by when Mayumi discovers that, even though she hadn’t stepped out of bounds with Aya, she still posted the photos of her with the men on the school’s server, which nearly destroyed her life and future. Devastated, she pulled the string and sent Aya to hell, allowing her life to return to normal.

In the manga, Hayase and her friends use the shoplifting incident to blackmail Mari into copying her schoolwork and buying A LOT of things for them, which eventually leads Mari into draining all of her savings and stealing from her parents several times. She was even caught by them on one occasion, which earned her a slap in the face from her father, though she still couldn’t get up the courage to explain why she was stealing. Mari pretty much knows from the instant this all starts that Hayase was the one who stole the CD and was using the situation to blackmail her. Mari wanted to get into a really good school and, supposedly, couldn’t do so if she had something like that hanging over her.

Unlike in the anime, Mari does not get the additional blackmail of having her photo taken in the red light district with seedy men. She is, however, still driven to suicide because she believes she has no choice.

I feel like this is the ultimate differentiation between the two stories.

Stealing nearly $1000 USD is way worse than shoplifting a CD already, especially since it was only an attempt (She got stopped in the doorway because the alarm went off) and she wouldn’t get charged or anything since the cashier already let her off (in fact, they have a security system in the store, which is how she got caught, so couldn’t she just ask to check the security footage to see who put the CD in her bag?)

They blow this situation up way too much in the manga. She drains her savings over this. She steals from her parents over this. Mari also seems to have absolutely no trust that anyone she loves would believe her over Hayase, which is silly because even one of her friends notes what a slimy person Hayase is – mentioning that she’d always pick on her and, get this, STEAL HER STUFF. She’s such a terrible person that even this friend says she wishes Hell Girl would take her.

If there’s one person she could have definitely told about this, it was her friend, but she still supposedly couldn’t risk it.

What’s even stupider is that, in lieu of the sketchy photo blackmail in the anime, the big crescendo in this story is that Hayase tells her to get her something, but Mari doesn’t have the money, so Hayase tells her to shoplift it….and she does….and her aforementioned friend catches her.

Guess what she was stealing…..Just guess. Anything. Shoot out suggestions. I’ll wait.

In the meantime, let me tell you that this was the event that made her want to attempt suicide via jumping off a building.

Got some ideas in your head?

Kay.

They’re wrong.

She stole snacks.

Snacks.

SNACKS!

Pocky and cornchips were all I was able to make out, but yeah, snacks.

Let me remind you that she had already resorted to repeatedly stealing from her parents, even getting caught by them once. Yet this is what tips her over the edge into calling Hell Girl and attempting suicide.

Snacks.

I don’t even know why she decided to steal from her parents anyway. Draining her savings, I get, kinda, even if I still find this whole setup a bit silly. But stealing from her parents? That’s a much bigger crime than trying to steal a CD, if you ask me. And she already got caught for stealing from her parents, and they were not happy, so why even bother trying to placate Hayase anymore? You think they’ll care that she attempted to steal a CD after that?

And even after all of that, she still does what Hayase says and she still flips her shit…..

Over stealing snacks.

She kinda shot herself in the foot too, because if she had just told someone about this before she was driven to steal from her parents, she likely would have gotten off a lot easier. The fact that she stole from her parents and then stole the snacks would actually be levied against her if Hayase mentioned she shoplifted the CD. She was digging her own grave in all sorts of ways.

Oh and another thing the manga and anime have in common in this chapter/episode, Ai waits several hours until the poor girl is attempting suicide in both versions for her to finally appear after being called. What the hell, Ai? What’s your problem?

I’m not one to call out characters for attempting suicide based on what I think is ‘worth’ having those thoughts over, but there’s no contest that Mayumi had a much more significant reason than Mari did. Being accused of being a teenage prostitute would do much more damage to your reputation and future than being accused of stealing a CD, or even stealing from her parents or even stealing SNACKS.

The hell torture in this chapter is also pretty benign as Hayase is basically just accused of shoplifting stuff and being sent to jail before she gets taken to hell. It’s nothing to clutch your pearls over.

In the end, it seems like Mari’s life is back to normal, sans the black mark on her chest designating her for hell when she dies her natural death, as expected.

I do have to ask though, in each version of this story, the target had a bunch of friends who knew of the situation and were partaking in the blackmail. Couldn’t they just pick up where the target left off and continue harassing the client or is this another one of those mysterious circumstances where life gets magically improved after the target is sent to hell, as if the Hell Team has some sort of reality-bending or time travel powers?

Chapter 2: Sweet Trap

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Hey, look, a chapter that’s so similar to a Hell Girl episode that even the titles are the exactly the same this time.

I suck at this.

Anyway, this chapter is very obviously mirroring the episode Sweet Trap where a young aspiring baker named Hiromi opens up a cake shop. Her old teacher, Mirasaki, seemingly gives his blessing, but turns on her when he makes her look like a recipe thief on live TV. Her business is entirely ruined by this, somehow, so her younger sister, Yuko, takes it upon herself to use Hell Link and send Mirasaki to hell.

Quite honestly, it’s one of the sillier entries in the franchise because it didn’t seem like realistic circumstances nor did they seem like bad enough circumstances to warrant sending the dude to hell. He was a prick, but it’s hard to say he was enough of a prick to deserve immediately being sent to hell or Yuki damning her soul either.

Also, the hell torture in that episode is one of the goofiest I’ve ever seen.

What of the manga version?

The manga version is basically the same in regards to characters (Hiromi is left alone, Yuko is Yuka in the manga and Mirasaki is Morisaki.) but quite a bit different in regards to both the circumstances and the hell torture.

In the manga, Morisaki used a magazine article to claim he made the recipe that belonged to Hiromi – he didn’t back her into a corner by giving them back to back TV spots where they’d unveil new recipes and she’d be stuck because he unveiled her, “stolen”, recipe that she intended on unveiling on the show first.

Still, people found her to be a rip-off of Morisaki and went to his shop instead.

After that, he kept spreading terrible false rumors about her bakery like saying they use frozen ingredients instead of fresh, they use rotten fruit and their kitchen is absolutely covered in insects. He also sends out his employees to bust her windows, steal all of her product and even steal her recipes so can he use them himself.

Hiromi was under so much stress and was working so hard to build her reputation and make new recipes that she ended up being hospitalized.

Yuka couldn’t take watching her sister suffer anymore, so she contacted Hell Girl, but, like last time, she didn’t come immediately like she’s supposed to. She waited until Yuka was picking up a knife and was ready to kill him herself! Ai, please, timing!

The anime was so much more lackluster in this department, because Hiromi’s downfall was entirely that one recipe being stolen and everyone instantly refusing to go to her store afterwards, which caused her to shut down almost immediately.

In the anime, Yuko was driven by both guilt and anger because she was the one who gave Mirasaki a piece of Hiromi’s cake to try, which allowed him to somehow know the exact recipe and steal it before she unveiled it?

In the manga, Yuka is just tired of watching her big sister suffer and work herself sick just to keep getting kicked down by Morisaki.

Ai reveals the reason Morisaki did all of this – he used to steal all of Hiromi’s recipes when she worked at his shop. When she left, his quality went down, so he started stealing her recipes from her shop and trying to ruin her.

I gotta say, the anime made more sense in this respect. Mirasaki, in the anime, had sexually advanced on Hiromi, but she rejected him. As revenge, he ruined her when she tried to open her own shop.

The manga just doesn’t make much sense. If he’s a crap baker and needs Hiromi’s recipes (that he seemingly needs to steal like every few days or so) to keep the quality of his shop high, why would he go to such lengths to ruin her? If she shuts down or quits being a baker, he’ll be screwed all over again.

Another note the anime had near the end of the story was Hiromi comforting Yuko by saying she’d save up the money to open a new business down the line, which pretty much made it seem like Yuko didn’t really need to use Hell Link, especially since Hiromi is still very young and can overcome such a minute scandal. Kinda makes it all the more apparent that contacting Hell Girl really isn’t necessary here.

There are no such comforting words in the manga. Things just get so bad that Hiromi’s reputation, shop and health are down the toilet and Yuka feels the only way to end it is by contacting Hell Link.

As for the hell torture, there’s no denying that the manga’s version is 300% better and less goofy. In the anime, people threw cakes at Mirasaki, called him a terrible chef, people turned to frosting and then he was eaten and fused with a cake. In the manga, he’s accused of stealing the recipes, his shop was revealed to be infested with tons of bugs, and the exterminators, who are Wanyuudou and Ren here, stick him to flypaper and, in order to kill the bugs, SET HIM ON FIRE. Wow. Yeah. Goofiness gone.

After that, Morisaki’s shop is suddenly closed down, Hiromi is getting better in the hospital and Ai moves on to take more requests.

Chapter Three: Fallen Idol

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Hey, finally a story that isn’t mirrored in the anime at all – and it’s a pretty good, albeit predictable, story.

Sakura is an actress who just landed her first leading role. She will be playing Ai Enma in a new drama about the legend of Hell Girl. She and her friend, Kaoru, are super excited about it, but as soon as she begins prepping for the role she starts getting harassed.

Someone plasters threatening messages to her forum, sends her a picture of herself getting dressed, sends her a bouquet of chrysanthemums, which are meant to be a message of condolences when someone dies, and it’s clear that someone is watching her at all times. She gets freaked out until her friend tells her it’s probably her creepy makeup artist doing it, and it’s confirmed when her manager finds incriminating photos on his computer. He promptly gets fired, and Sakura happily returns to her job. However, the instant she gets back in costume, a lighting fixture falls down from the ceiling and crushes Sakura.

Ligaments in both of her legs have been severed, and the doctors say she might not ever walk again.

In comes Kaoru, who is now gussied up to look exactly like Hell Girl. It seems Hollywood’s a pretty rough place because they’ve already booted Sakura from the role, since she can’t walk, and hired Kaoru as her replacement.

This was Kaoru’s plan all along. She had always felt like Sakura looked down upon her, something that, objectively, seems untrue, so she thought she deserved the role more than Sakura.

Filled with rage over losing her role, career and her ability to walk all because of some jealous bitch, Sakura calls on Hell Girl to take her to hell.

The hell torture this time around is rather typical bitter irony based on what she had done to Sakura.

Afterwards, it seems like Sakura’s career is still on track, getting a new role in a new movie even as she remains in a wheelchair. She states that she’s determined to get her ability to walk back and to keep moving forward. This entry is also the first time we see the curse mark in the manga.

This chapter was another that was predictable. I knew it was Kaoru the instant they showed another actress girl acting super happy about her role. A jealous fellow actress makes a lot more sense than a skeevy make-up artist, but there was also a good degree of pointlessness. I’m sorry, I just don’t understand why Kaoru did half the stuff she did. Why harass Sakura and frame the make-up artist if she was just planning on either severely wounding or killing Sakura so she could take her role? Even Sakura mentions that the stage lighting could have killed her. She could have just dropped the stage lighting on her at the start.

I thought for a minute that, maybe, Kaoru was trying to scare her into leaving the role voluntarily, but right as Sakura starts getting really freaked out, Kaoru frames the make-up artist, he gets fired and she’s back to feeling safe.

As a result, the make-up artist gets his rep tarnished and he’s fired from his job for things he didn’t do. He was a tiny bit creepy when he put his hand on her shoulder when he was trying to console her about the harassment, but that could easily just be an innocent gesture that was misconstrued. It makes so little sense, even Eto said in the notes “I worry about what happened to that poor make-up artist after he was fired even though he didn’t do anything wrong. I hope he got his name cleared.”

Hell Girl has a bit of a problem with overly evil super villain-esque targets, and this one is no exception. After Kaoru reveals she was behind everything, she might as well grow horns and have thunder clapping whenever she talks. She gleefully brags to Sakura about what she did, mocks her for being in a wheelchair/bedridden now (basically saying ‘You looked down on me, now you have to look up!’) throws a bouquet of chrysanthemums in her face and talks about how easy it was to get the light fixture to fall down. There is no doubt in your mind that this bitch deserves to go to hell, no matter if she’s still probably in her teens.

Chapter Four: The Inaudible Scream

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Oh goodie, not only are we back to stories that are reflected in the anime, but it’s also a story about animal abuse. Fun fun.

The Inaudible Scream or Silent Cries as it’s known in the anime (It’s basically the same title) is the story of Junko and her beloved dog, Lucky, known in the anime as Candy (I feel like I have to talk about this name change even further because 1) If Junko and Hanjo kept their names, why not Candy? And 2) It seems needlessly cruel to name a dog you know is about to DIE….Lucky….)

Candy was very sick and needed an operation, helmed by Dr. Hanjo. However, when Candy was having her operation (I guess the dog also got a sex change between versions *shrug*) Hanjo stopped in the middle of the procedure to talk on the phone about golf with some congressman, and as a result of his negligence, Candy died.

Junko was devastated, especially since Candy was her only family because her parents died. Hanjo’s assistant tells her of the circumstances of Candy’s death, so Junko sends him to hell via Hell Link.

The story is almost the exact same in the manga, but there are some key differences.

First, even though Hanjo had been known by the assistant to give lower quality care to the pets of patients who weren’t rich and influential, apparently, in the manga, he just takes the money of the pet owners who aren’t rich and….doesn’t treat the animals, leaving them in their cages until they die.

That’s infinitely worse but also so much harder to get away with. Hanjo is supposedly so tight with a lot of influential and powerful people that any attempts to sue him get swept under the rug, but certainly his reputation would be severely tarnished if he lets tons of animals just die in his care. It’s one thing to give priority to the animals owned by rich people, but he’s not even trying to treat the other animals for no reason.

Second, Junko’s story is actually more uplifting in the manga, even if it is still bittersweet and tragic. Junko knows she can’t sue Hanjo, but she tries to stop a little girl from giving her dog to Hanjo for treatment, fearing her dog will die too. The little girl and her mother leave the vet, but as a result Hanjo nearly strangles a dog in front of her, assaults her and tells her that the assistant that told her the secret behind his evil vet office mysteriously up and quit.

Seeing no options, Junk calls Hell Girl, but like so many times before Ai doesn’t show up. Junko is so depressed, hopeless and lonely that she tries to commit suicide by train, and THAT’S when Ai shows up to give her the offer.

Ai, seriously, what the crap are you doing? Why are you waiting until your clients are driven to either suicide or murder to finally show your face?

We also get our first glimpse of a straw doll here, complete with manga exclusive creepy scarecrow-esque face. It’s really weird because we never see Ai hand her this doll, she never explains what to do with it nor does a string get pulled. It just randomly appears in one panel. If you didn’t know of the show, you’d be very confused as to what this doll is and why it’s here.

Third, Hanjo’s hell torture is almost the same, but there are some interesting changes. He’s driving and about to hit a cat. He has no intentions of swerving because he doesn’t want to get his car dirty (Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be super clean with the blood, fur and cat gore all over it, dumbass.) He crashes because of Ai and breaks both of his legs. Wanyuudou, Ren and Hone Onna dress as doctors who are treating him, but they hilariously hand over the operation to a bunch of animals, who just hack away at him, not understanding his pleas for mercy. The anime episode ended with him in the cage begging for help for his leg while the Hell Team doctors ignored him.

Fourth, there’s an epilogue involving the little girl. Junko helps her find a better vet for her dog’s treatment. Turns out, her dog wasn’t sick – it was pregnant. And it just gave birth to a litter of three adorable puppies.

One of the puppies looks exactly like Lucky and takes a shine to Junko. The little girl gives the dog to her saying Lucky must’ve missed her so much he came down from heaven to be with her again.

No I’m not crying. There’s just water in my eyes. Shut up.

In the anime, it ended very depressingly with Junko set for hell and absolutely nothing to show for it. She had no parents, no dog and really nothing to be happy about – especially considering that her being damned to hell meant she’d likely never see her parents or Candy again.

At least in the manga they have her save a dog (or four, technically) and even get a new dog of her own to love, even if they remind her that her soul is damned to hell and she’d likely never really get to see the real Lucky ever again.

Chapter Five: Dangerous Extracurricular Activities

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This chapter is another that wasn’t mirrored in the anime. A girl named Yuu wants to work hard to get into the same private high school that her crush, Endo, is going to attend. She needs some additional work in chemistry, however, so her teacher, Yazaki, offers to privately tutor her.

It’s soon made apparent that this guy is a total creeper who just wants to get in her pants. He deliberately spills chemicals on her and makes no haste in trying to rip her clothes off, seemingly innocently (they are possibly harmful chemicals) and putting her in nothing but a lab assistant jacket.

He also invites her to what he claims is a group tutoring session at his house, which obviously turns out to be a lie – it’s just for the two of them. He quickly tries to get his hands in her shirt, but she runs off.

The next day, someone has written on the board that Yuu tried to seduce Yazaki. They also spread rumors that she was naked in nothing but a lab coat around him and that she went to his house to try and sleep with him. Yazaki is obviously the one who did this, but he’s playing the nice guy, acting like he might have just lead the poor girl on by being nice and hot.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, turns on her after this. Her friends shun her, everyone treats her like a slut, Endo tells her she’s scum, and even her mother slaps her in the face and tells her to not come home.

Jesus Christ, people. Is this guy such an angel in teacher clothing that no one wants to point the finger at him and say he’s probably the bad guy here? Just throw all of the blame on the middle schooler? Just because the guy is hot?

I wish I could say this is unrealistic, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised….

Doesn’t make it any less infuriating, though. Especially her friggin’ mother. Not listening to her and being angry with her is one thing, but she legit kicked her out of the house!

Yuu goes to a manga cafe after hearing about Hell Correspondence, but, once again, Ai doesn’t come immediately. Yuu is about to slit her wrists with a box cutter before Ai finally shows up. I am not getting this weird suicide/murder theme at all, and I hope that’s one of the things that ends after a volume or two.

Yazaki is sent to hell, where his hell torture is Ai baiting him into his creepy behavior, which promptly gets noticed by tons of people….And that’s about it. I’d say that the vindictive pedophile is probably not the best candidate for ‘most tame hell torture of the volume.’ but you do you, manga.

After that, it seems the Hell Team has done their magic because Yazaki has somehow been ousted as a pedo with several molestation victims coming forward and everyone makes their apologies to Yuu. It’s even hinted that Endo returns Yuu’s crush and that she’ll live as happily ever after as someone can in this series.

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And that was volume one of Hell Girl! Like the anime, the stories have their big ups and downs with quality. And in terms of comparisons, they did some things better and some things worse. I especially didn’t care for the whole ‘Ai waits until the client is either about to kill themselves or commit murder’ shtick. I just don’t understand it. Why is she waiting for them to do that? Just to make a big dramatic entrance?

Some of the stories were drastically improved on in a variety of ways, though, so that’s at least good.

I’m not sure how I feel about the straw doll being almost entirely absent from the first volume (According to Eto, it is in volume two onward) as it corners the clients into making this huge decision right on the spot, but it’s not that bad. Usually, the clients are in such a state that, if they had the doll, they’d probably pull the string then anyway.

I hope another thing that changes with time is the art, but I don’t think it will change that much. Again, I must reiterate, it’s not bad art. It’s just that it’s so different from the Hell Girl art I’m used to, and Ai’s design is particularly distracting.

Here’s to more vengeful stories in volume two!


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AniManga Clash! Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 1

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Preface: It’s no secret that I love Yu Yu Hakusho. It’s one of my favorite anime, and it’s my favorite shounen fighting anime. (Naruto, DBZ and One Piece are up there, and HunterXHunter is looking to be very strong competition for top spot as I get further into it, but YYH has maintained the top spot.)

However, I’ve never read the manga before. I’ve never even heard or read up much about it before, either. So I figured, since I’m also doing a Shounen Step-By-Step on the series, it’s the perfect opportunity to also dive into the manga and do an AniManga Clash on it.

So let’s not waste anymore time and explore volume one of the Yu Yu Hakusho manga!

Chapter One: So Long World

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(First episode review and summary) Yusuke smokes in the manga when he’s about to chew gum in the first episode.

The wake is a lot less dramatic in the manga. Atsuko sits for half of it like she does in the anime, but she does it with this cartoonish blank face as opposed to just a blank face. Additionally, Kuwabara doesn’t attempt to hit Yusuke’s picture and end up bursting into tears in the manga. The picture in question is a cartoony picture of Yusuke, though to be honest the one they used in the anime seemed really weird to me. Like he was a much younger kid looking back at a camera, but he was obviously the same age.

The anime doesn’t include a really sweet flashback (Well, part of this flashback is in the anime much later.) Atsuko thinks back to the last time she saw Keiko so forlorn. It was several years prior when Yusuke got a bad cold.

He fell into the river after running from Keiko after he flipped her skirt. Keiko was adamant to not leave Yusuke’s side and was very upset about how sick he had gotten. The next day, despite still being sick as a dog, Yusuke decided to suck it up and go to school because if he took a sick day Keiko would continue to worry as she was the day prior, and he didn’t want that. When we cut back to present day, Atsuko slightly berates her son for making Keiko sad again before basically passing out on the counter.

It’s a shame because this is an adorable flashback that adds to Keiko and Yusuke’s relationship quite a bit and even gives us some more glimpses into Atsuko as a caring mother, if only slightly. I mean, she is still blaming him for leaving.

Chapter Two: The Test for Revival

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(Episode 2 review and summary) Keiko is blaming herself heavily throughout all of chapter two. The last thing she said to Yusuke was ‘Just die!’ and now her last exchange with him keeps replaying in her head. The anime doesn’t include this, which is a shame because Yusuke comforts her (in his own way) and combats her guilt before he tries to tell her about his body being cremated.

Apparently, in the manga, they implement a restriction on Yusuke after he possesses Kuwabara. He can’t infiltrate people’s dreams or possess anyone until the test is over. But this restriction wasn’t in the anime. In fact, much of the episode about Kuwabara and his friends is centered on Yusuke helping him through his dreams and possessing people.

Chapter Three: Time to Begin!

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This story is actually pretty different from the anime version, and that’s quite disappointing because, in the manga, this chapter is one of very few where the focus is entirely on Yusuke’s feelings for Keiko and vice versa.

In the manga, Yusuke is told that he only has one more day to talk with any loved ones, specifically Keiko (or his mother) before the test to get revived formally starts and he’s completely barred from communicating with them. Why is he barred from communicating with his closest loved ones? No idea. Just cuz, I guess.

Because of this, Yusuke has a chance to give his ‘last words’ to Keiko in person instead of a dream, because she might not believe the dream is really Yusuke talking to her. Yusuke must possess Kuwabara, because he has higher spirit sensitivity, find her, convince her that he’s Yusuke and pass on his final words before his possession window closes in 30 minutes.

In the anime, they continue on the plotline from the previous chapter about trying to prevent his body from being cremated. Originally, Keiko was convinced enough by the dream sequence of Yusuke telling her to check to see if his body’s still alive that she ran to Atsuko’s house in the middle of the night to do so. She was successful, though Atsuko had already discovered Yusuke was alive because Atsuko opened his coffin to smack him one more time and noticed his face had color.

In the anime, she’s somewhat convinced by the dream, but decides to not tell Atsuko about it out of fear that she might upset her even further. Yusuke has to find a more convincing avenue of telling her, so we cue up the Kuwabara plot to tell her in person. I don’t much care for this change because we go from a sweeter plot of Yusuke rushing around to give one last message to the girl he loves to a race to save his body from being cremated with sweet moments with Keiko interspersed throughout. The sweet moments are still very sweet, but it’s more romantic in the manga.

The rest of the story goes the same in both versions, basically. Yusuke possesses Kuwabara but runs into all sorts of problems while trying to find Keiko including accidentally pissing off Keiko’s parents by ‘posing’ as Yusuke and running into a ton of thugs that Kuwabara and his gang have challenged in the past.

However, he does indeed find Keiko and convinces her that he’s who he says he is by grabbing her boobs and joking around about it, which is something Yusuke has more or less done since they were kids. She slaps the fuck out of him, yelling out his name, and she instantly knows he really is Yusuke.

This is where the two stories shift again. In the manga, he only asks her to wait for him and have faith that he’ll return to her. She agrees and tells him she’ll wait forever. In the anime, obviously, they have to add in the part where he tells her that he’s taking a test to return to life and that he needs her to take care of his body until then, including stopping the funeral so he won’t get cremated. Then the conversation ends with the aforementioned dialogue exchange.

Again, this scene is still sweet and romantic, but it loses something when the other stuff is piled on there. It’s much more emotionally impacting if he’s simply rushing around to tell the girl he loves his ‘last words’ to her than it is to have him tack it on at the end of telling her stuff she has to do for him to help him out.

Oh and the anime adds Kuwabara taking advantage of the fact that Keiko was hugging his body when he was possessed by Yusuke to get in some hugs from a cute girl only to have Keiko slap the fuck out of him again. This was unnecessary but it did kinda highlight that Keiko truly knows Yusuke and could tell when Kuwabara had taken over again. However, I don’t think Kuwabara, Mr. Honor over there, would continue hugging Keiko like that to be a little pervy.

After Yusuke is saved in the anime or just after he returns to spirit form in the manga, Yusuke looks on at Keiko and proclaims that he must go back now because he promised her. He even says he’ll never do another bad deed again if he can come back to life (though he thinks to himself that fighting’s not a bad deed.) In the anime, Yusuke just checks the spirit egg, which is feeding off of his spirit energy. He wonders if that’s a good thing because he thinks he only did good things that day, but Botan wonders because he beat up a lot of people too.

This is actually a point where they lost a sweet moment entirely. I love that Yusuke has a newfound determination to come back to life for Keiko, even promising that he’ll never do another bad deed if he returns. The anime’s ending isn’t necessarily bad, but this romantic gesture is completely lost.

Chapter Four: The Old Dog and the Wolf

This chapter never made it to the anime, and I’m very glad for that because, even though I can’t bring myself to say it’s a particularly bad chapter, it is still insanely sad, and I don’t much care for Yusuke’s behavior in it.

The chapter involves a boy named Shota grieving over his dying dog, Jiro. His bitch of a mother coldly forces him to go to school while Jiro is on death’s door, and a bunch of asshole kids bully him about his dog when he arrives. Botan and Yusuke are watching, knowing that the dog won’t live until Shota returns.

They’re right. Jiro dies while Shota is at school and he’s completely devastated by it to the point where Yusuke thinks this may be the tipping point for the kid to commit suicide.

Jiro’s spirit won’t leave Shota’s house because he’s worried about him. Yusuke comes up with a plan to appear to Shota in his dreams, pretending to be an agent of hell trying to ferry Jiro down to hell because he won’t go up to heaven. He even uses a thorny leash and kicks him over and over, which I thought was really overkill. I get that Jiro is dead, but if hell is a place in this universe and you can feel pain there, it’s not a stretch to say Yusuke is actually hurting the dog.

Shota, in an effort to save his dog from hell, beats up Yusuke and tells him to leave Jiro alone. Yusuke relents, but says he’ll come back for Jiro if Shota continues to be a crybaby and wimp. He won’t let that happen, and an angelic Botan takes Jiro up to heaven.

The next day, Shota’s mom was apparently replaced by another woman because she actually offers to allow him to stay home from school today. Yeah, his dog is hours away from death, so you scream at him, act like the dog doesn’t matter and force him to go to school. Dog’s already dead? Oh honey, you can stay home today.

Bite me, lady.

Shota, however, declares that he must be strong and go to school because he made a promise to Jiro and he’s going to keep it.

At school, the bullies continue to be dicks, even going so far as saying that once his dog dies (they’re unaware that he died) they’ll chop him up and make dog stew. This time Shota fights back and tells them if they ever talk about his dog again, he’ll beat them both up. Because the chapter’s almost over, of course they relent and Shota’s off to start a new life as a confident young man who will be forever worried that the slightest show of cowardice or soft-heartedness will be a one-way ticket to hell for his beloved doggo. The end.

This chapter really pulls me in two directions. First of all, it deals with the death of a pet, and that’s a very sore topic with me. If you want to see me cry, just show me any story that involves animal death, particularly dogs. It’s almost instantaneous with me.

Second of all, I can’t really get behind Yusuke’s methods for helping this kid. Sure, he pretended like he legitimately got his ass kicked by Shota so he’d get a boost of confidence, but he also threatened the kid basically saying if he ever went back to having feelings and not attempting to beat up two kids who were way bigger than him that he’d send his dog to hell.

Third of all, they were worried that Shota was in such a bad place that he might commit suicide soon, so they decide saying that his dog is going to hell because he’s such a wimp is the best course of action? They’re incredibly lucky that worked, otherwise they might have blood on their hands.

Finally, the ending was really cliché and, realistically, shouldn’t have worked. As far as I can tell, standing up to bullies does tend to make them back off, if you’re dealing with one bully, but in this situation the power balance was a bit too much – it was two bigger sociopathic kids against little Shota threatening to beat them up. They not only relented after he told them off, but they were so stunned and in total fear of him that it was a bit comedic. He didn’t even hit them – he just grabbed one of them by the collar.

I won’t say this was a bad chapter, even if it does have several objective problems, but it did make me really uncomfortable and sad.

Chapter Five: Christmas of the First Year

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Another story that was completely lost from the anime – and it was a Christmas special. Yeah…I never knew there was a Yu Yu Hakusho Christmas special but here we are. It kinda threw me for a loop because that implies that Yusuke’s been dead for MONTHS now. Remember, the episode with Yusuke saving Keiko with his spirit egg happened in summer. I had no idea there was so much of a gap between him getting his spirit egg and actually being revived. I guess this is so we can see Yusuke doing more good deeds while dead instead of him just doing a couple like he did in the anime.

As for the chapter as a whole, it’s very sweet. There’s a spirit of a girl (She’s never given a name) who has been waiting on a park bench for over a year. She’s very adamant about not moving because she agreed to meet a guy she liked, Kenji, on that bench on Christmas of last year, but she suddenly fell very ill, lapsed into a coma and died. Botan wants to help her move on, but she will only leave if she’s able to see Kenji to apologize for standing him up, whether he can hear her or not. They make an agreement – if he’s not there by their meeting time last year, noon on Christmas, then they leave. They wait until 1:30, because she says he’s always late and finds that charming about him.

Kenji, surprisingly, does show up, but he’s there to meet another girl. When they talk about how late he was, he mentions the spirit girl. He explains that he loves to leave girls waiting for him. On that day on Christmas, he had a 10,000 yen (1000 dollars) bet running with his friends that she would wait over five hours for him to show up, but she never showed and he never talked to her again, implying he doesn’t know she’s even dead. He also mocks her before heading off with his girlfriend.

The spirit girl can’t find it within her to get angry with Kenji, however, especially when she states that she would have waited the five hours if she hadn’t fallen ill. She is, understandably, devastated, though. Yusuke is angry that he can’t beat the crap out of Kenji, and he’s frustrated that the spirit girl won’t get angry either, so he decides to help her forget about him and move on instead.

He takes her on a date – movie, seeing the sites, going on a roller coaster etc. as best they can since they’re spirits. At the end of the date, he tells her to tell Kenji off by yelling into the city, but she just yells out a note of thanks to Kenji because, if it wasn’t for him, she’d never have met Yusuke and had such a nice time.

She happily departs from this realm knowing that there are better people than Kenji who are probably waiting for her on the other side. If she can manage to find someone even half as nice as Yusuke, she’ll be happy forever.

Yusuke, while glad that the girl passed on with no regrets, is not as forgiving of Kenji. Somehow breaking the laws of appearing to humans, he’s able to speak to Kenji over the phone, acting like one of the girls he’s burned by his games and he also appears to him as a ghost to scare him. Botan ‘lets’ him just this once, but I really don’t understand how he’s doing this or why, if he’s able to appear to humans, he hasn’t been allowed to do so with his family or friends outside of dreams.

No matter, though. The jerk had it coming to him. It even looks like his current girlfriend isn’t too happy with him now. Not that she should have been from the very beginning, though. He talks about the girls he’s emotionally screwed around with, brags that she’s a new one just like the others and implies that he’s currently doing this to many other girls.

Chapter Six: Lonely Journey

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Yet another story never told in the anime. This one is about an old man who is close to death, so Botan and Yusuke are keeping an eye on him. He’s a bitter old man who doesn’t trust anyone and throws the kindness of others back in their faces, but he wasn’t always like that.

He used to be a very kind old man who loved spending time with his family, particularly his grandson, Shinji. However, his daughter/son and son/daughter-in-law along with Shinji died in a terrible car accident. His family fought him over the estate, so he became distrustful, got rid of most of the estate and closed himself off from others.

Botan and Yusuke spot a tanuki wandering around the old man’s house, and it’s confirmed that in this universe animals can see and interact with spirits. In addition, animals like foxes and tanuki can transform. This is a rather young tanuki, and it explains why it’s watching the old man.

When he was a little baby tanuki, he got his foot caught in a snap trap. The old man and Shinji freed the tanuki from the trap and patched him up, saving his foot and, ultimately, his life, so he wanted to repay them somehow. When he learns that Shinji has passed and the old man is close to death, the tanuki decides to transform into Shinji to keep him company on his dying days, but he can only do it at night.

The old man is very happy to have Shinji around, even if it’s only at night, and his last days (or nights) on earth are made so much better because of it. As the old man is reaching his end, his final request is for Shinji to stay with him until he goes. But the sun is rising, and the little tanuki’s time transformed is about to be up.

Surprisingly, the old man reveals that he’s known all along that ‘Shinji’ was actually the little Tanuki. He knew he was just trying to provide him with comfort, so he played along. He still wanted the little tanuki to stay with him until he passed, and the tanuki tearfully honored his final request.

The old man finally passed on to reunite with Shinji and the rest of his family, and the little tanuki went back off into the wild.

This story was pretty heartwarming and sweet. I won’t lie, I teared up a bit by the end, but….you notice how Botan and Yusuke had really nothing to do with the actual story? That’s a bit weird. They really were just reacting to what was going on and talking about it. They had no effect on the story whatsoever besides telling the tanuki about the old man’s family, and he could’ve figured that out on his own.

Chapter Seven: Promise

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(Episode 3 review and summary) The next chapter finally matches back up with the anime (or vice versa, I guess I should say) as they cover the story where Kuwabara needs to both stop fighting for a week and get at least a 50 on his next test in order to save his friend, Okubo’s, job.

The anime adapted this story pretty well. They didn’t really omit anything nor do I remember them including anything notable. There are some notes here and there that I don’t remember being in the anime, like the first scene being Yusuke visiting Keiko at school to see how she’s doing, and Yusuke explaining that he thinks his mom makes money to support them by….extorting a cop. Atsuko: Mother of the Fucking Year.

Also, there’s a little character blurb off to the side about Keiko and uh…..Ya know, I could write a whole post about how shafted girls are in this series (As much as I love Botan, she’s still just an assistant – as much I enjoy Keiko and Yusuke’s relationship, she gets to do fuck all over the course of the series and doesn’t have that deep of a personality – Atsuko’s a horrible mom – Yukina’s as literal of a damsel in distress as possible, complete with being locked in a tower, and certified love interest etc. The only really good female character in the series who fights and does important stuff is Genkai.) I had to pause and just sigh because her little character blurb said this:

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Yes…Keiko’s hobbies are….cooking….and cleaning…..There’s nothing wrong with enjoying cooking and cleaning, but, Keiko, for God’s sake, you’re really not helping the pseudo-sexist vibe this series gives off whenever women are involved nor are you making yourself any more interesting as a character.

Anyhoo, I’ve always really loved this story. It’s a very sweet example of how dedicated Kuwabara is to his friends and how much honor he has a person. It highlights the friendship between Yusuke and Kuwabara very well too. Beforehand, you really just think they had a mutual respect for each other and weren’t really friends, but this episode truly shows that their bond was a lot deeper than just fightin’ buddies.

Chapter Eight: A Short Lived Revival

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The final chapter of the volume does a bit more for Keiko’s character, but not so for Atsuko who, AGAIN, has left Yusuke all alone and even has the balls to say in a note to Keiko that Yusuke is ‘sleeping like the dead.’ What the unholy hell, Atsuko?

In this chapter, Yusuke is temporarily reunited with his body. Apparently, if his body doesn’t get some activity from his soul every month after being revived, then his body might actually die from the lack of energy.

Botan tells him to just sleep the entire time he’s in his body so he can more efficiently recharge his batteries and so he doesn’t accidentally interact with his mom or Keiko, which will break the terms of his revival and make it so he’s unable to come back.

Yusuke, of course, doesn’t listen to her advice and goes off in public anyway. Like in the anime, though in that case it was after he’s officially resurrected, he decides to stay under the radar for the most part. In the manga, he doesn’t slick back his hair, and that’s his only disguise. In the anime, he also puts on sunglasses.

Like in the anime, he bumps into a few people and is just happy they can see and feel him. Even when a couple of thugs try to mug him, he’s just happy that he’s alive and corporeal. These thugs are from Kasanegafuchi Junior High, whereas in the anime they were from Rugafuji Junior High.

The rest is altered from the anime, however.

Yusuke manages to scare off these thugs by nearly strangling one of them. The one who nearly got strangled is so pissed, he decides to take out his anger on one of Keiko’s friends, who accidentally bumped into him. He kicks her to the ground, and Keiko, not taking an iota of shit, slaps him across the face.

Kuwabara’s friends, sans Kuwabara because he’s actually off studying, confront them instead. Keiko’s friends manage to convince her to leave and let them handle it. However, almost as soon as they start to leave, Dai(Daisuke), the thugs’ leader, arrives and swiftly beats the snot out of Kuwabara’s gang.

Keiko turns around and demands he stop, smacking him in the back of the head with her bag when he ignores her. Dai grabs her face and threatens her. Meanwhile, Yusuke is off playing pachinko, completely unaware of what’s happening with Keiko. Even if he does learn about it, it would mean his certain death if she sees him.

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I’m actually quite astonished about how little the manga, so far, has been adapted in the anime. Only a week or two seems to go by after Yusuke’s body is revived when he’s finally brought back to life for good, but in the manga he’s been out for at least a month, given that he’s only learning of this body recharge thing now, and I have to imagine it’s way more than that – bear in mind the thing about it one minute being summer and the next it’s Christmas.

Do I fault the anime for omitting all of these stories?….Yes and no. I could’ve done without the story about Shota, for obvious reasons, and while the story with the old man was really sweet, it really had absolutely nothing to do with either the main plot or Yusuke or any main character. I’m on the fence about whether or not I’d like this cliffhanger plot with Keiko to have stayed. On one hand, it’s a bit of a badass moment for her, and she gets few in the course of the series, if any. On the other hand, the badassery leads her to be a damsel in distress – complete with impending rape implications….

I get that they probably wanted to rush Yusuke back to life so he could finally get into some Spirit Detective action, but I can’t deny that it would have been nice to at least see a couple more stories of him being a ghost and helping people or spirits out. I’m especially disappointed that we didn’t get that Christmas special. It could easily be altered to not be a Christmas special if the timing or whatever is an issue, and it was a very sweet story about an equally sweet girl. Plus, Yusuke’s being a big teddy bear in it, and that’s rare to see, even when he’s with Keiko.

The parts that were actually adapted were done well, and the anime’s changes were mostly made for the better, especially that wake scene. There were some snippets of information here and there that were lost, but it was nothing too bad.

I’m actually at a bit of a loss as to how to determine a winner here. Only about half of the manga so far, if that, was adapted to anime form. I don’t feel like the side-stories that were lost were so vital that it should damage the anime’s score too much, but I also feel like we simply got more out of the manga.

I want to say ‘Tie’ here, but…

Winner: Manga

I’m mostly giving this round to the manga because I think they really should have explored more stories while Yusuke was a ghost in the anime, and I think they did some of the adapted stuff just a tiny bit better – by a barely noticeable margin. The anime did the wake better, but the manga did the brief reunion with Keiko better as well as several other quieter moments with her.


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My AniManga-ish Thoughts on Aishiteruze Baby

A long, long time ago in a place….directly where I am now, maybe a few feet away, Twix watched an anime called Aishiteruze Baby. Twix was not one to be easily swayed by stories of little children. No, she was a jaded old grump whose thoughts would instantly jump to ‘Oh god, here comes an annoyance.’ whenever a child character would be introduced to, well, pretty much anything, which she’s now realizing is insanely ironic because her favorite TV show as a kid was Rugrats.

The point is, it would’ve taken quite the lovable little kid and a nice heartwarming story for her to really be invested in an anime centered on a little kid. And Aishiteruze Baby was that anime.

I dunno why I keep doing the storybook-esque intro. Anyway, it’s been eons since I watched Aishiteruze Baby. In fact, it was one of the first dozen shows I ever reviewed.

Aishiteruze Baby is the story of five year old Yuzuyu who has been temporarily abandoned by her mother. Her teenage cousin, Kippei, is forced to take care of her until his family can figure out where Yuzuyu’s mother is and when or if she intends on coming back for her daughter. The story explores how Kippei adjusts to being a surrogate parent to Yuzuyu while also trying to balance his own life, and how Yuzuyu copes with being abandoned by her mother as more and more time goes on.

I really enjoyed the series when I first watched it. Kippei was a sweetheart, his relationship to Kokoro, his stoic yet lonely girlfriend, was nicely done, the stories were cute and heartwarming with some well-done drama and tension, and Yuzuyu was a PWECIOUS WITTLE CUPCAKE!! She was such a little sweetie, and she was so adorable, and she loved Kippei so much, and she was so cute, and so sweet and she so cute and she was so sweet and she so cute and she was s—

*cough* Sorry.

I really enjoyed watching Kippei mature and take to his new role as a parent more and more to the point where he was excitedly doing stuff for Yuzuyu, even without anyone telling him to. I loved seeing Yuzuyu have fun with Kippei and everyone else, even if it was tough watching her whenever she’d be reminded of her mother or when she was thinking she was a burden on Kippei. While it’s not a perfect show, I really enjoyed every minute of it.

The only two real issues I had with the show were that the very serious conflicts they’d bring up were usually resolved too quickly, and there wasn’t really much of an ending, though I didn’t think the ending was as unsatisfactory as many seemed to think. I knew the manga had properly ended the show and I pretty much knew what the ending was, but it would be well over a decade before I finally sat down and read it to see if it was also void of the other problems I had with the anime.

Well, was it?

….No, not really.

Let me back up.

First of all, to my recollection, the anime did a very good job adapting most of the stories from the manga. About 90% of the story material here I remember being in the anime, loosely or exactly, so in that regard, good job, anime.

Second of all, sadly, yes, the series still has that problem of bringing up a lot of serious issues and resolving them super quickly and sometimes overly easily. I mentioned the storyline with the stalker in my initial review of the series, and that story was resolved exactly the same way in the manga.

She should have at least been slapped for this. Get a life, you goblin.

For a differentiation on this issue, we also have a story of a little boy named Shouta. He became fast friends with Yuzuyu, but it’s revealed that his mother is terribly abusive. How is this resolved in the manga?

Kippei has a conversation with his mother, pointing out that her behavior is going to drive Shouta away someday. She takes a good hard look at herself, stops being an abusive shitstain and convinces her husband to move them away to the country where it’s quiet and less stressful, which is totally easy to do considering the fact that he doesn’t have a job is one of the key points of her stress.

I’m not saying that things couldn’t happen like this in real life, but the odds are insanely low.

You need to understand something – this bitch is a monster. She wouldn’t just hit Shouta. She’d make him feel like garbage. She’d make this five year old boy feel like he was an embarrassment to her, like everything was his fault and everything he was doing was wrong. And she’d sometimes do it with a smirk. She wasn’t just terrible to Shouta, either. She was also an asshole to Kippei AND YUZUYU! But yeah, sure, one conversation with Kippei would certainly turn her around entirely and make everything better.

Believe it or not, the anime did this much better. We get more backstory on why his mother started acting this way, not that it’s much to sympathize with. She had difficulty coping with the challenges of being a parent, and, seemingly, Shouta was a bit behind other kids his age, which made her believe Shouta was an embarrassment. She quickly started taking her frustrations out on Shouta for pretty much everything and began smacking him around.

Kippei does talk to Shouta’s mom, but it doesn’t really sink in fully. Shouta accidentally runs into her when she has groceries in her arms, causing her to drop them everywhere. She slaps him so hard he fell down the stairs, knocking him out, and he had to be sent to the hospital. The doctor treating him finds all of the old bruises on his body and suggests she and her husband seek family counseling. He tells them that, if they ask for it, people will help them.

As a result, his mother realized what a monster she’s been to him, and even her husband realizes that he’s been failing as a parent. After Shouta recovers, they move to the country to be with Shouta’s grandparents so they can help take care of Shouta and her husband can have a better chance at finding steady work. The country lifestyle will also be more relaxing and hopefully relieve some of the stress his mother has. She proclaims that she’s no longer afraid to ask for help if she needs it. All she wants is to start over.

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Nearly getting your kid killed, someone suggesting therapy to you and having such a deep moment of self-reflection that leads you down a better path is more preferred than just another instance of Kippei’s Talk no Jutsu. I’m just sad Shouta had to suffer more in the anime than in the manga.

Another plotline involved Yuzuyu’s cousin, Miki, attempting to kidnap Yuzuyu. In the anime, she would carry around a bike chain as a weapon, but in the manga she wielded a KNIFE and would even threaten Yuzuyu with it. I don’t care if she never intended to actually hurt Yuzuyu, you don’t hold up a knife to a little kid.

Miki was a horribly depressed girl, to the point of self-harm and suicidal ideation. She wanted to kill herself, but she didn’t want to leave her parents without a child, so she decided she would kidnap Yuzuyu and give her to them. No, it really doesn’t make any sense, but mental illness isn’t exactly known for creating logical thought. At home, Miki’s life was a nightmare.

She wanted to oust an incident of a teacher viciously beating a student, which made all of her teachers target her. All of her classmates harassed her, even the person she was trying to defend, who just told her she should’ve stayed out of it. Her parents were no help, either. Her father even hit her when he found out about her poor performance in school.

She’s about to commit suicide via cutting her throat and jumping off a bridge, but Kippei talks her down and convinces her to go back to her family by telling her she’s still important to several people and plenty of people still want to talk to her, which is all she needed to hear.

This one I’m more lenient about. These kinds of situations diffuse under a multitude of circumstances, so I’m definitely not going to say that’s an unrealistic way of going about things. Plus, her troubles really didn’t just end there. She still had to talk with her parents. Her father, by the way, upon hearing that his daughter just tried to kill herself, nearly smacked her again while yelling “You’re still causing trouble!?” Father of the fucking year.

Her mother was much more receptive, however, and is able to get her dad to stop being a dumbass and listen to her. In the end we just know Miki is on a healthier path, not that her life is fixed or anything. She reappears later and is, indeed, getting better, which is great.

Sadly, one of those rushed resolved plotlines was the main one. Like I mentioned, there wasn’t really a solid ending to the anime. Yuzuyu was concerned she would someday forget her mother since she outgrew the pajamas she had made for her, but after talking with Kokoro about their mothers and loneliness, she felt better. The pajama plotline, by the way, is part of the manga too, but it’s quite a bit earlier. Reiko (Kippei’s older sister) finds Yuzuyu’s mother, who is apparently so far away that she needed to take a plane to get there.

Yuzuyu’s mother, Miyako, had initially abandoned Yuzuyu because her husband had recently died and she couldn’t handle the stress of being a single parent. After his funeral, she couldn’t stop herself from crying. It reached a boiling point when she struck Yuzuyu for no reason. Thus she left her kid behind in her house and vowed to return when she felt she was mentally strong enough to handle taking care of Yuzuyu properly. She doesn’t call, she doesn’t send letters, except once, and the one time she came to check up on Yuzuyu she wore a disguise and skulked around Yuzuyu’s school.

When we catch up to Miyako in the finale, we learn that she’s been counting the days that she’s been trying really hard to not cry and she got a job to save money for Yuzuyu’s care when she returned for her. When she feels she can make it through without crying, she’ll come for Yuzuyu.

Most people, justifiably, dislike Yuzuyu’s mom. I totally understand if she was struggling mentally and emotionally with her husband’s death and being a single parent, and I get that striking your kid has to be difficult to process when you’re actually remorseful about it, but she went about this in the worst way possible. She really comes off as just being selfish and stupid as a result.

Her family seems like they’re really nice and accommodating people. If family is in dire straits, they welcome them to live in their home without barely batting an eye. In the manga, even when Kippei proclaims that he wants his girlfriend, Kokoro, to live with them because she’s lonely living all alone, they’re just like ‘Eh sure! Welcome!’

Why didn’t she just come to them and ask if she and Yuzuyu could live with them? Why didn’t she ask if they could take care of Yuzuyu during the day, sleepover some time, etc. while she got her shit together and maybe sought some therapy? Abandoning her child and never really making an effort to communicate with her was one of the worst options she could’ve taken.

But we’re not even done with her yet.

In the manga, Reiko still tracks down Yuzuyu’s mother, being tired of hearing or seeing nothing from her for months on end. When she finds her, she appears to be living with a man. Reiko was enraged by this because she perceived this as Miyako ditching her kid and going to live a new life with some man with no intentions of ever coming back for her daughter.

This especially hurt Reiko because it’s revealed after this that Reiko cannot bear children, thus she has no intentions of marrying or leaving the house (Yeah, that doesn’t make much sense either.) She sees Miyako have a child, what Reiko views as a precious gift, and to seemingly just throw her away is already a massive sin in her eyes, but to do that and then move in with some guy is practically unforgivable to her.

She and Kippei have a private discussion later, and Reiko basically tells him to have Yuzuyu forget about her mother. She’s not coming back, and continuing to give Yuzuyu false hope will only hurt her in the long run. Yuzuyu was listening to this, and she was so shocked that she actually did forget her mother.

All of this ongoing trauma and Reiko’s final words about her mother basically caused Yuzuyu to have a mental breakdown to the point where she was having massive fits when her mother was brought up and she was even passing out due to the emotional strain.

Even though Kippei was having a lot of difficulty finding the heart to let go of Yuzuyu, they do decide to start sending Miyako letters and pictures Yuzuyu drew to her mother, now that they knew where she lived.

Even though Kippei was very uneasy about the idea of Miyako writing back or coming back, they still checked every day for a return letter from her, to no avail.

One night, as Reiko gets the mail, she finds a letter from Miyako simply saying “I’ll be coming to pick up Yuzuyu on her birthday.” And, surprise, her birthday is in just a couple of days. Reiko, however, doesn’t say anything because she doesn’t want to upset the birthday festivities in case Miyako doesn’t come.

Yuzuyu’s birthday comes around, and Miyako does indeed arrive to take Yuzuyu back. Kokoro takes Yuzuyu upstairs before she becomes aware of her mother’s arrival.

Miyako’s got some ‘splainin’ to do. So, what does she have to say for herself? While she’s been gone, she’s gotten a new job and has been saving up little by little for when she’d get Yuzuyu back. She realizes that she was selfish and naive, but she needed some time to be alone and figure herself out. She asserts that didn’t throw Yuzuyu away – she got away from her to protect her…..which is still bullshit.

Like I pointed out before, there were so many other options she could have taken that would have been a lot more helpful and beneficial to both her and Yuzuyu. Even if she felt she was a danger to Yuzuyu, she could have explained the situation to her sister and worked some arrangement out with her. She still could have had time to herself while also keeping in touch and ensuring her daughter that she would indeed come back for her. You don’t ditch her without barely a word, go missing and only send two letters in the several months you stay gone. Have 23 hours and 50 minutes to be alone, and at least attribute 10 minutes to a friggin’ phone call, you idiot.

“I had no choice, no matter what you think.” Fuck off, yes you did.

But, again, we’re still not done.

Reiko bitterly asks what she means by wanting to be alone since she saw her living with a man. I’ll give Miyako’s response in her own words.

“We’re….not actually living together. I met him at work. And he provides comfort to me in many ways.” In layman’s terms, he’s boinking her.

Misako (Kippei’s mom/Miyako’s sister): “Do you plan to marry him?”

“Yes, I do….I talked to him about Yuzuyu….and it took him quite a while to accept the idea. But it seems like he’s finally accepted it. So…”

Are you kidding me? This nameless dude you’re obviously boinking boinked the bad parent out of you, and then he didn’t like the idea of taking Yuzuyu in, even though she’s the daughter of the woman he supposedly loves, and now he’s ‘finally accepted it.’ like it’s an inevitability that he has to bear in order to keep his sex ticket.

My thoughts exactly, Misako.

No.

No.

No.

You’ve been gone for, what, a year at this point? And THAT’S the best you’ve been able to do? No seeking therapy? No gaining true independence? Just shacking up with some guy who, I guess, has been so kind as to stomach the idea of his fiancee’s daughter living with them.

I wasn’t expecting to actually be angry at the manga’s resolution. At least in the anime it seemed like Miyako was striving to gain the strength to return to Yuzuyu on her own, even if the method was quite questionable. Here, it’s almost like she’s expecting this guy to take care of everything. He’s got the house, he can provide money, he’ll be able to ensure Miyako doesn’t backhand Yuzuyu again, I guess. She did mention getting a job, but that’s about it – and the problem was never that they didn’t have money. It was shown that Miyako would chew Yuzuyu out for stupid shit even when her father was still alive, so this won’t fix anything.

This is so much less Miyako bettering herself and trying to become a good mom to Yuzuyu and more her improving a little and finding Yuzuyu a new daddy.

I’m not alone in feeling this way because both Reiko and Misako don’t accept her words. They blatantly tell her that her explanations aren’t good enough and they can’t just hand Yuzuyu over because of that. They tell her to go home, but also tell her that if she’s serious about getting Yuzuyu back that she has to visit every single day to prove her determination. Then, eventually, she’ll earn the right to get Yuzuyu back.

Meanwhile, Kokoro and Yuzuyu wait in her bedroom. Kokoro asks what Yuzuyu thinks of her mom, and she replies that she thinks her mom loves her. She sent her a bunch of letters, so of course she loves her (I don’t really get that either, but maybe it’s just kindergartner logic.)

After Misako sets her terms, Kokoro brings Yuzuyu downstairs, much to everyone’s surprise. Yuzuyu finally reunites with her mom, and Miyako even shows her all of the letters Yuzuyu sent her, telling her what a talented artist she’s become. However, Misako soon silently interjects, and Miyako knows she must go. She tearfully leaves, promising to come back again, much to Yuzuyu’s dismay.

Yuzuyu runs after her, and Kippei goes off to get something. Yuzuyu calls again and again for her mother, but Kippei stops Yuzuyu….to give her her shoes. He tells her to go because she’s wanted to be with her mother all this time and it’s what she’s truly wants. He tells her he loves her, in a scene which nearly made me cry, and Yuzuyu runs back to her mom.

That cracking noise is my heart breaking.

Kippei doesn’t stick around for more than a few seconds, however. He runs back into the house and sadly crumbles in front of the door, looking at the birthday cake he made her and her teddy bear lying on the floor. He’ll always cherish their time together no matter what.

Cut ahead to….I’m gonna guess maybe ten years in the future. Kokoro is rushing Kippei out the door to get him to work. She tells him he got a letter from Yuzuyu, which we see on the table in front of her teddy bear.

As we see a now teenage Yuzuyu back home, she explains in the letter that she’s still doing art, and is apparently so good at it now that she’s won an award for it. She tells Kippei that she was never lonely when her mom left because she always had her Kippei Onii-chan with her to make her lunches, take her to school and play with her. Those are precious memories to her, and she thanks him for everything he did. She closes out the letter telling Kippei that she’s always really loved him.

And as a special treat, apparently Yuzuyu and Shouta reunited and may or may not be an item now. They’re at least friends, and that’s good enough for me.

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For all of my bitching about Yuzuyu’s mom, this absolute end did hit me more than I expected it to. As I was re-reading the passage again while writing this, I was actually tearing up, which was annoying because I just managed to get through her and Kippei departing from each other without getting misty eyed.

I really just wish we 1) had more insight as to what was going on in the future with Yuzuyu, Kippei and Kokoro at least (but all of the characters would’ve been very much welcome) and 2) that it had been less abrupt of a shift.

Still, it was a very fitting end to the series, and it reminded me all over again why I really love these two.

While we’re still on the subject of storylines that didn’t make it to the anime, however, there was quite the doozy that was omitted….Two doozies, technically. Maybe three.

Doozy 1: Buckle up, buttercup, because this doozy is….a…doozy. We’re introduced to Itagaki, or as I affectionately call him ‘Creepy Asshole.’ Technically, Itagaki was in the anime for a fleeting moment. He was an artist there, and he asked Kokoro out on a date. She refused because she was dating Kippei and…that was pretty much it.

In the manga, there’s an entire arc about this guy.

Here, he’s a baseball player, but that’s not important. He admits to Kokoro that he likes her, but she rejects him because she’s dating Kippei. Itagaki won’t stand down, however. He confesses to her again and reminds her of what a playboy Kippei is (he does have a tendency to flirt, but he’s completely devoted to Kokoro.) Still, she turns him down, but this time he’s not accepting that. He grabs her arm and forces a kiss on her. She manages to struggle away, bruising her leg in the process, and she’s traumatized by the assault. She becomes very nervous and jumpy, even around Kippei, and she becomes distant to all of her friends.

Kokoro decides not to tell Kippei about what happened, and, guess what? Creepy Asshole legitimately thinks that her choosing to not tell her boyfriend about the sexual assault is proof that she likes him more than Kippei.

Bear in mind that literally 30 seconds before he said this, Kokoro was telling Itagaki she didn’t want anything to do with him and never wanted to speak to him again. Whoo yeah, Itagaki. She’s falling for you hard….as in literally….ya know that thing she did when she was trying to fight off your sexual assault.

She, of course, shoots him down again, but the Creepy Asshole persists. This time he goes to Kippei himself. Itagaki tells Kippei that he confessed to Kokoro and that the reason Kokoro has been so distant from him lately is probably because Kokoro feels the same way.

Kippei, not being a creepy asshole, handles this pretty well and realistically. Before Itagaki confronts him, Kippei gives Kokoro her space and doesn’t get angry or frustrated with her. After he learns of the confession, he simply finds Kokoro and asks her about it, plainly wondering if she plans on breaking up with him. Again, he’s not angry or judging her, he’s legitimately concerned about their relationship.

Kokoro breaks down and talks about the assault. Kippei wants to confront Itagaki immediately, but Kokoro stops him. Instead he comforts her and reassures her, staying with her for as long as she needs him.

Uhm, I kinda can’t talk about the resolution to this plotline without moving onto doozy 2.

Doozy 2: Kokoro and Kippei end up making love as a result of this. They’re on a school trip and in a hotel room, and it just kinda naturally happens. It’s not graphic or anything, and even the implications only last a few panels, but it was a really sweet and beautiful moment for the two of them. They never sleep together in the anime.

Doozy 1 cont.: After the deed is thoroughly done, Itagaki deduces that the two of their groins did the fusion dance. And, as if he wasn’t enough of a douchebag, Itagaki acts as if her sleeping with Kippei is a betrayal to HIM and basically implies that she’s a slut for having slept with Kippei behind his back.

Itagaki: “Even though I’m here, you still went and did that as if it was okay, Tokunaga-san. I didn’t think you were that type of person.”

FUCK.

OFF.

Even after Kippei confronts him, with Kippei not even bringing up the sexual assault for the sake of Itagaki and Kokoro (they’re having this fight in the hallway in front of numerous people), Itagaki has the balls to say Kippei should give up on Kokoro and HE brings up that they kissed.

Luckily, Kippei verbally tears him a new one, and Kokoro tells Itagaki she never wants anything to do with him ever again.

Whoo Kippei!

The last we see of him is one of his friends acknowledging that his manner with girls is messed up and asks if he wants him to teach him on how to date. Kokoro briefly mentions later that she hasn’t seen Itagaki ever since that confrontation, and Itagaki was thankfully gone from this manga forever.

Doozy 3: Still building off of that entire plotline, our final doozy is a pregnancy scare. Soon after Kokoro and Kippei have their first time together, she starts developing weird symptoms and believes she’s pregnant.

Now…this doesn’t really go anywhere because she later realizes she wasn’t pregnant. Kippei realizes that he’s been a bit too preoccupied with Yuzuyu, which kinda made him not realize Kokoro was acting weird. Kokoro says she was actually looking forward to being pregnant a little, because she wanted to spend more time with Kippei. And it mostly just culminates in Kippei inviting Kokoro to live in their house so she can be less lonely and spend more time with him and Yuzuyu, which both his family and Kokoro happily accepts.

I was disappointed a little because this would have been the perfect opportunity for them to discuss the possibility of them someday having kids, but it somehow doesn’t really come up. Remember, they’re 17 so it’s not really completely illogical for them to be having discussions about someday having a family.

Something unfortunate I noticed is that Kokoro, in the manga, is actually flatter than she is in the anime. 90% of her character is her relationship to Kippei. 8% is her being lonely and the other 2% is her being stoic and seemingly cold.

Her backstory is that her mom died some time ago and her dad is getting remarried, so he’s basically kicking her out of the house for when his new wife moves in. She doesn’t seem to care, and the apartment her father gets for her is extremely nice (because her family is rich), but it’s the foundation of the running issue with her character being lonely.

It’s perfectly understandable that she is lonely, but it really is the bulk of her character when she’s on screen and not with Kippei. She’s lonely, and she either expresses it to Kippei or not. Over time, it becomes easier for her to express her loneliness and not be afraid of it. After Kokoro moves in with him and his family, she really doesn’t do much but be with Kippei and sometimes play with Yuzuyu.

She’s friends with two other girls, Aki and Mai (the latter of whom is basically just Kokoro lite with more expression in public), who are typically seen sticking up for Kokoro whenever they think Kippei has done something wrong. Aki is particularly vocal about putting Kippei in his place and blaming him for pretty much anything. In a side story, they reveal that she hates men and is terrified of them. When she was 16, a man in a trench coat flashed her, and she’s thought men were nothing but perverts ever since. She even has recurring nightmares about the flasher and panics when a man approaches her from behind.

And this is one of those plots that is resolved abruptly and in a rather unsatisfying manner.

Aki was closest to a boy named Shin, whom she had known since elementary school. She didn’t see Shin as either male or female, so their relationship got on fine. However, when he started expressing interest in girls, Aki started resenting him, believing he was indeed another pervert man.

Despite Aki’s traumas being very valid, she still secretly holds a desire to also be sought after by guys (particularly Shin). She feels like she might not be cute enough or attractive enough.

She’s suddenly spooked accidentally by a male teacher, screams and runs off. Shin finds her, she yells out that she hates men and she hates Shin and then Shin just kisses her and says “Don’t say hate! You love me!” And then she realizes he’s right because he was the one she turned to all the time, even when the flasher incident happened, and the story ends with them seemingly getting together even though I don’t remember Shin showing up in the regular story.

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You know that joke that a lot of people make about female leads in romance movies and romantic comedies? That they make it seem like all of your problems can be solved by a man? Well, apparently, even lasting trauma brought on by sexual harassment is one of those problems.

Now why did I just go through all of that for the sake of a character who doesn’t really impact the main plot at all? Because I can write all that about a character like Aki but I can barely write a paragraph on Kokoro.

Don’t get me wrong, I still adore her relationship with Kippei, and it’s not like she likes him for shallow reasons. She loves that he never says anything to hurt anybody, he’s so carefree yet caring that she feels more at ease around him, and he’s the one who is able to make her smile the most.

Problem is, it’s kinda hard to describe her without resorting to either calling her Kippei’s girlfriend or just saying she’s lonely. She’s nice, but she also comes off as cold and unfriendly sometimes. She’s also willing to be blunt about some things, especially when it comes to Kippei. She connects with Yuzuyu on a level Kippei can’t quite get because she lost her mother, but she never becomes a mother or even big sister-like figure to her.

The issue with her father, which is the most prominent part of her story that doesn’t have anything to do with Kippei, isn’t even one that’s properly resolved. She never goes back and talks with her dad or explains her feelings. The guy never gets redeemed or anything. He never pops up again after Kokoro moves out, which happens in the first couple of volumes. We don’t know if he knows Kokoro moved in with Kippei and his family, which is something you’d think he’d have words about it if he cared about his daughter.

In the anime, they did explore this aspect a bit further. We saw more of Kokoro as a kid. After her mother’s death, she became more independent and closed herself off. It took a few years for her mother’s death to truly hit her emotionally, but she slowly started becoming more and more lonely. One day, she found that all of the pictures of her mother that were hanging up throughout the house were taken down. Her father explained that she wouldn’t stop crying when she looked at them, so he put them away. Shortly after he did this, he brought home the woman he intended to marry.

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The last shot we see of Kokoro’s dad, she’s walking by his house and he’s snipping roses to help keep local kids from getting hurt on the thorns. She and her mother had planted that rose bush together, and, again, it seemed like he was wiping her memory away. Kokoro is terrified that she’ll forget her mother entirely. She’s even forgotten what her voice sounded like.

Kokoro’s dad did offer to have Kokoro come in the house to talk about things, but she refused, and that was the end of that in regards to her dad. It’s weird how one of the aspects of her character development is opening up more to others, but she never expresses her feelings to her father or mends bridges with him.

I still really like Kokoro, and the problems with her character aren’t very severe, but I just think they should have fleshed her out more to help allow her to be a stronger character on her own, considering she’s such an important part of Kippei’s life.

One other storyline that was not included in the anime was Aya and Akari Ooga. Aya is about Yuzuyu’s age and Akari is about Kippei’s age. Their situation is fairly similar to Yuzuyu and Kippei’s in that Akari is usually the one who has to care for Aya since their parents are constantly working. Truth be told, I nearly forgot about this plotline, mostly because they don’t impact the main story much. Akari’s presence makes Kokoro a little jealous, especially when they connect through the kids, and she asks him for help once or twice, but, again, Kippei is entirely devoted to Kokoro and has no interest in Akari that way, Akari also says she has no interest nor does have time for a boyfriend, and Kokoro is never seriously jealous, so it’s kinda pointless.

The biggest point of conflict in that story is Aya overhearing Akari say something like she wishes she could just live a normal life instead of watching Aya all the time, but it’s fixed rather easily by just clearing up the misunderstanding. There was also a point where Aya, Yuzuyu and Marika (Yuzuyu’s friend) got lost in the city because they were trying to find Aya’s parents, but they were all okay.

Their storyline wasn’t bad, and Akari and Aya are nice enough characters, but I didn’t see much of a point in it, especially since their situation is so similar to Yuzuyu and Kippei’s situation that it makes it seem redundant. In fact, there’s a plotline where Yuzuyu tries to walk home by herself in order to not be a burden on Kippei, and Kippei and Yuzuyu get sick after the brief story about Aya getting sick, so it’s pretty much exactly the same.

A couple more characters I want to touch upon are Marika and Satsuki.

Satsuki is Kippei’s younger brother. He’s very blasé about pretty much everything, he’s extremely mature for his age, and that’s really there is to his character. There’s only one episode of the anime that delves into his story even a little, and the same can be said of the manga.

In that story, a girl named Ayumi has a big crush on him, but she becomes convinced that he doesn’t like tall girls with long hair and he doesn’t like models (she’s a model) all because her friends are assholes who told her that for seemingly no reason. However, when she confronts him and confesses, he tells her he doesn’t dislike those things. Then it’s kinda implied that they’re dating afterward, even though she doesn’t appear again.

I just don’t really understand why he’s here. He does have a few cute moments with Yuzuyu and bonds with her a little, but that’s about it. Again, this is another situation where I don’t dislike his character or even his lone storyline, but I just struggle to understand his actual role in the main plot.

Unlike Satsuki or the Ooga sisters, however, there is one character whom I do dislike, and her name is Marika. Yuzuyu has two main friends at school – Marika and Ken. While Ken is a nice enough boy, there’s nothing much to say about him. Marika, on the other hand, is a stuck up bitch.

The end.

Oh fine, let’s be “FAIR” to the five year old. Pft.

All joking aside, Marika really is just a brat. She brags a lot around Yuzuyu, she makes nasty comments, and most of her moments are either making Yuzuyu feel bad or gushing over Kippei, whom she has a crush on.

She can be alright when she’s just hanging out, but usually she’s insufferable.

There’s one point in the anime where she’s pretty okay, though. Their kindergarten class is assigned to write a letter to whomever they deem as their special someone. Yuzuyu writes one to Kippei and Marika writes one to Yuzuyu. We never learn what it says, but the gesture is more than kind enough.

A girl in their class, Namiko, does her letter project with Yuzuyu and tells her that she doesn’t like Marika because she boasts and brags, she interrupts people and she ‘doesn’t look good in ribbons and socks.’

Marika gets angry upon hearing this and calls her a stupid jerk, Namiko cries, though she was clearly putting on an act, and sticks her tongue out at Marika as she leaves the classroom. Yuzuyu asks Namiko if she’s jealous of Marika. She doesn’t get an answer and decides to go outside to do her letter project with Marika, who is crying over what Namiko said. The end of this story is Marika asking Yuzuyu a question. She boasts and brags and loses her temper easily – is that okay with her? Yuzuyu says it is and then she says then that makes them friends.

This storyline is pretty cute and it does redeem Marika to some degree, but this also is not very healthy. Marika’s basically saying “Look, I’m a total jerk, even to you, are you cool with that?” And Yuzuyu’s just like ‘Yup!’ It’s not like Namiko didn’t have reason to say what she said. Marika IS a braggart. She IS a glutton for attention. And she’s a brat. It’s great that Yuzuyu sees the good in Marika, but she’s not really making an effort to be better. It’s like that ‘If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best’ thing.

Yes, I’m still aware we’re talking about five year olds. If this can be a series where a stalker of Kippei’s thinks his five year old cousin is a romantic threat, I can believe a five year old can realize she’s a bit of a harpy and try to be a better person.

Granted, Namiko’s still in the wrong anyway for making fun of her socks and ribbons. And earlier she purposely got her new socks dirty because Marika was showing them off to Yuzuyu. Didn’t say Namiko wasn’t a brat too, she just seemingly has a slight reason to be a brat.

And remember this one bit of genuine niceness is only in the anime. In the manga, she’s not quite as insufferable because she doesn’t have as many scenes, but she never gets a chance to redeem herself or having a really nice moment with Yuzuyu.

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And….I think that’s all there is to say. While the anime is a bit dated in the art department, I’d definitely give both the anime and the manga a big recommend. The anime omits some parts of the manga, though how much that truly impacts your experience depends greatly on how interesting and important the Itagaki plotline seems to you (since the parts with them sleeping together and the pregnancy scare can be omitted without bothering anything) and which ending seems better to you.

While I was writing this, I found that way more people hated the manga ended than I originally thought, so make of that what you will. The general complaint was that they thought Kippei and Kokoro should have adopted Yuzuyu, and they were angry that we didn’t get much of an update on any other characters after the time skip, the latter of which is very understandable. Plus, people seemed to not realize the woman at the end with Kippei was Kokoro. *shrug*

I think both versions still provide a really great experience, though. It’s a very cute and heartwarming (and heartbreaking) story that never fails to hit the right chords with me. While you can make the argument that it’s a little melodramatic sometimes and some of the plotlines get resolved a bit too easily, I never really felt like anything was that unrealistic. Things in real life can be very dramatic and dark, and sometimes they can be put on a better path with a few simple words.

……But mostly THERAPY. Go get therapy, Miyako. Jesus. I’m glad that the future glimpse of you seems like you’re in a better place, but still therapy. Grief counseling. Family counseling. Anything. The actually abusive monster mother sought therapy – you can too.

P.S. Yuzuyu is still the cutest little kid in anime and manga. I shall love her forever. ♥


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 3 (Chapters 9-10)

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Plot: Duel Monsters is a trading card game that is quickly gaining popularity across Japan. Kaiba, heir to the powerful and massively successful Kaiba Corp., is a champion of the game and is always looking to ‘acquire’ rare cards. He sets his sights on Sugoroku’s extremely rare Blue-Eyes White Dragon card, but his means of acquiring it lead him into the clutches of Yami and a shadow game.

Breakdown: The manga did not include a scene where Kaiba has his goons viciously beat up a student at a school for the sake of getting his Dark Magician card, which he was vehement in not handing over because it was a memento of his father. Kaiba has apparently been doing this or similar things to everyone else at this school that has rare Duel Monster cards and has possibly wiped out other schools in the same manner.

I don’t think there are enough super-special-awesome cards out there rare enough to warrant this. Considering, in the 2000 anime, Yugi has a Dark Magician card by default, there is a duelist who specializes explicitly in Dark Magician cards, Dark Magician has several variations and is one of the easiest to get strong cards ever, I sincerely doubt that card is worth strong-arming from someone, especially when Kaiba’s one of the richest mothereffers in the world.

In the manga, the story starts out with Yugi, Jonouchi and Anzu talking about the upcoming craze, Duel Monsters, at the game shop with Sugoroku. It has been popular in America for a while, but is just gaining traction in Japan. Sugoroku shows the kids his precious Blue-Eyes White Dragon card. It’s extremely rare because they stopped production on the card since it was deemed too powerful to use in the game.

Kaiba suddenly enters the card shop, and he makes no effort to hide his assholery as he looks at the cards Jonouchi just bought and calls them garbage before flippantly chucking them back at him. He also makes it clear that he’s a champion Duel Monsters player and wouldn’t sully his good name to play with an amateur, but gracefully offers to have Jonouchi duel him when he’s collected at least 10,000 cards.

If you know of the 2000 anime, you likely know how the rest goes in the manga. He sees Blue-Eyes, desperately wants it, offers Sugoroku an entire briefcase filled with rare cards for it, but Sugoroku refuses because it was a gift from a treasured friend, so Kaiba begrudgingly leaves. A very similar scene does happen a bit later on, but in Season Zero Kaiba makes a clear effort to get on Yugi’s good side first, believing he might have rare cards.

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Jonouchi was originally extremely interested in Duel Monsters. In Season Zero, he spends a little time brushing it off as a childish game.

Honda is not in this chapter at all. In the anime, he goes on a tangent about protecting the students from unlawful card maniacs who will obtain Duel Monsters cards through illicit means.

Even though we’ve never seen him before this chapter, Yugi and the others act as if Kaiba has been a classmate for quite a while. In the anime, Kaiba just now transfers to their school for the sake of finding kids with rare cards and stealing them.

If you know Season Zero, you know it takes quite a bit for me to say this – This episode’s animation quality is noticeably worse than usual….and that’s just upsetting.

The anime is setup rather poorly, if you ask me. While the manga doesn’t make it a secret that Kaiba’s a douche, the anime goes to the trouble of establishing that he’s an even bigger douche than his manga counterpart, and then they try to pull off the ol’ ‘Forget what my clearly evil character design implies – I’m a good guy! Hey protagonist, let’s be pals! Wanna come to my really cool house? Invite your friends! I’m a good guy!’ to ‘Psych, I was really a bad guy! Muahahaha!’ switcheroo. In the anime, all you’re doing is waiting for the other boot to fall because we know Kaiba’s a bad guy who steals cards.

They could’ve pulled this off cleanly if they simply didn’t have the opening scene with Kaiba stealing the Dark Magician card, which is a scene that turns out to be entirely pointless outside of showing us prematurely that Kaiba’s a jerk.

Speaking of him pretending to be Kindba (hahah, I make the puns. They are funny) anime!Kaiba invites Yugi over to his house to check out his Duel Monster card collection. Yugi brings everyone else along, and Kaiba basically says ‘the more the merrier.’ Jonouchi hates him because he’s rich but also super nice because he translates that as being snobby. Honda later hates him because Miho starts fawning over him for giving them free tickets to his amusement park.

Kaiba conveys his Duel Monsters Champion status when he reveals his card collection room which also displays several of his trophies from Duel Monsters tournaments.

Kaiba asks Yugi if he has any rare cards, and Anzu remembers that Yugi said his grandpa has a really rare card. Kaiba asks if he could see it and Yugi agrees. Despite the other setup being poor, I like this particular setup because at least now Kaiba has a reason to visit the card shop. In the 2000 anime, Kaiba overhears Yugi talking about his grandpa’s rare card when they’re in class, which he just assumes might be the Blue-Eyes. The manga just has him randomly arrive.

I find it even weirder that Kaiba would do all of this without the belief that Yugi has a rare card. Kaiba is a complete ass. He wouldn’t play Mr. Nice Guy unless he knew he’d be able to get something out of it.

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Somewhat minor, but the anime neglects to mention that, supposedly, people have killed each other over Duel Monsters cards before. Yikes.

Miho: “What!? I thought it would have diamonds or jewels attached to it!”……You thought a rare trading card for a children’s card game would have diamonds and jewels on it……Miho, please go be stupid somewhere else.

Also fairly minor, but the anime calls it Blue-Eyes Dragon not Blue-Eyes White Dragon. It’s not an issue with the subs either, I can hear it.

They point out that this next bit doesn’t make sense, but still—Honda claims it’s too dangerous to hold such a rare card and that Sugoroku should hand it over to the beautification club. Sugoroku asks why a beautification club member would care and Honda doesn’t have any response to that.

The beautification club stuff was silly enough at school, mostly because Honda keeps equating being a beautification club member to being a school prefect or something, but even if the beautification club had any say in these matters, why would he ask to confiscate a card that someone off school grounds is holding?….That an elderly man off school grounds is holding?……That an elderly man who owns a game shop off school grounds is holding?

I don’t think it’s a matter of him wanting to take the card for himself because Honda’s such a goodie-two shoes (well…kinda. He beats people up in the name of justice with Jonouchi sometimes) and I don’t think he even plays the game in the first place (His first match seems like it’s in the next scene). This whole sequence is just strange.

While the scene at the game shop plays out basically the same outside of those Honda and Miho moments, Kaiba continues to play the nice guy when he gets shot down. In the manga, he basically has a big huff and leaves.

The next scene in the manga has Yugi playing a friendly game of Duel Monsters with Jonouchi. In the anime, Jonouchi’s playing with Honda. The duel is changed up slightly, though. Honda plays the card manga!Jonouchi originally played, Zombie, and places it in the graveyard zone. The manga doesn’t have any sort of field advantage mat like the anime does, so the card just gets played regularly. Anime!Jonouchi plays the Dark Dragon card – the same one manga!Yugi played. It’s 1500 vs. 800, so Jonouchi proclaims himself as the winner, as manga!Yugi did, but anime!Yugi stops him. Since Honda played Zombie in the graveyard field, its attack points double, making it 1600, so Honda wins.

I find this increasing entertaining the more I think about it, because it’s almost like Yugi is retroactively cheating between versions for the sake of not letting Jonouchi win.

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Also, DOUBLE ATTACK POWER for undead creatures in the graveyard? Are you insane? I know Zombie only had 800 attack points, but even slightly stronger creatures would be ridiculously overpowered in there.

Honda and Jonouchi both get into Duel Monsters for the sake of beating Kaiba. I find this disappointing because manga!Jonouchi was genuinely excited about the game itself and even challenged Kaiba before he started thinking he was a jackass. Having his one drive be defeating Kaiba, and pawning off that same drive on Honda, just feels lazy and uninteresting. Granted, they never play the game again after this, in this continuity anyway.

In the manga, Yugi randomly brings Blue-Eyes to school for the day after asking his grandpa if he could borrow it….for…some reason. In the anime, Kaiba specifically calls Yugi the previous night and asks if he can borrow the card from his grandpa so he can see it up close again.

I have problems with both versions. In the manga, why would he take such a rare card with him to school? His friends have already seen the card, and carrying around such a rarity just makes him a target for ‘maniacs.’

In the anime, why wouldn’t Yugi find it odd that Kaiba would ask him to do such a thing? His grandpa’s a reasonable guy. Surely he’d let Kaiba keep seeing it. Maybe not hold it again, but he’d be able to see it. Yugi’s a bit naive to believe Kaiba would ask something like that without having ulterior motives.

By the way, why is Kaiba allowed to wear such a drastically different school uniform? Every other boy has a blue uniform, but Kaiba is allowed to wear a pure white one in the anime. Is it just because he’s rich? (Just for the sake of noting this, he only wears his school uniform in a few episodes of the 2000 version, but his uniform is the proper color there.)

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Literally just realized how gross the color scheme in his hallway is. Is there any place in this anime that has pleasant colors?

The manga only goes so far as to show Kaiba pulling the fake Blue-Eyes out of his pocket to make the switch while the anime decides to show him dropping the card to make the switch too. I like this change because it bugged me a little that we don’t see how Kaiba swapped the cards right in front of Yugi’s face.

In the manga, Yugi is the only one who notices that Kaiba swapped the cards. In the anime, Jonouchi and Honda notice and take action against Kaiba after school without telling Yugi, which promptly gets their asses kicked by Kaiba’s guards.

I can’t really decide how much this bothers me. Anime!Yugi does later reveal that he noticed Kaiba take his card, but he thought he’d reconsider and give him the chance to return it. He was heading home with the fake and I guess hoped Kaiba would come to the shop later and own up or something. Manga!Yugi, on the other hand, confronted Kaiba after school about it, begged him to give him the card back since it’s so precious to his grandfather and got beat up by Kaiba who refused to cater to his wishes.

I prefer the manga side in that regard because, while it is realistic that Yugi would give Kaiba the chance to own up to what he did and make things right, I don’t think Yugi would return home with the fake Blue-Eyes card and possibly have to break the bad news to his grandpa, who may notice it’s a fake.

Also, I’m a tad annoyed because so many episodes/chapters include the main characters getting beaten up. It starts to wear thin.

After school, Yugi walks home and is confronted by Anzu who tells him she thought he’d be with Honda and Jonouchi because they decided to challenge Kaiba. Yugi somehow puts it together that Honda and Jonouchi are back at school, on the roof no less, physically confronting Kaiba.

The rest of the exchange goes the same, essentially, but since the guards are in the picture in the anime, Yami has to beat them up before going to confront Kaiba.

Shadow Game

The manga and Season Zero share the 2000 anime’s original default life point count of 2000, which will later get bumped up to 4000, though rarely, if ever, do they mirror the real life TCG’s default life point count of 8000.

Make fun of the game in later days all you want, it is a million times more complex and entertaining than the game in the manga and Season Zero. I would’ve been really bored playing the game like this. Most of the moves are drawing and playing whatever you’ve just drawn then attacking with whatever monster you summoned. Also, there’s only magic cards, no traps, though you can put magic cards face down and have them act like traps, I think?

Oh my god, the animation for the Dark Dragon falling! That is too hilarious. It was literally like someone knocked down a cardboard cutout. Is this a rough draft version of the episode? Wow.

It’s interesting seeing the beta versions of some of the more well-known Yu-Gi-Oh cards like Holy Elf/Mystical Elf and Minotaurus/Battle Ox.

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Apparently Season Zero wants to channel Bakugan in the future for a minute here as they play a magic card, but only say it makes the monster stronger. They don’t explain how much stronger or for how long. In the manga, they explain that Growth increases Minotaurus’ attack by 20%.

In the manga, once Minotaurus is powered up, Yugi suffers several losses in a slight montage where his life points are eventually whittled down to 500. His next card has to be strong or else there’s a high chance he’ll lose, which is where Demon Summon/Summoned Skull comes into play a la heart of the cards.

What’s that? You say you thought the heart of the cards was some 2000 version bullshit? Haha, you’re silly, reader.

In the anime, Yugi only suffers the loss of Holy Elf. His life points stay the same, since she was in defense mode, and he instantly draws Demon Summon.

I don’t really mind this too much because the manga makes Yugi out to be a complete idiot who keeps throwing out weak monsters in attack mode instead of defense.

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Also, have another aged chuckle, because Kaiba notes that Demon Summon is one of the five strongest monsters in the game. Wow.

Here’s where Kaiba really differs from manga and Season Zero to the 2000 anime. In the manga and Season Zero, Kaiba cheats by pulling a Blue-Eyes out of his jacket pocket, palming it and pretending to draw it on his next turn.

2000!Kaiba, as much of a jackass as he is, would never sully his good name or his honor as a duelist and cheat (The ‘summoning a bunch of monsters on one turn’ thing doesn’t really count because that was technically in the Duelist Kingdom days where half the moves were technically cheating or making shit up.) The closest he ever got was threatening to commit suicide if Yugi chose to defeat him, but that was only because Mokuba’s life/soul was on the line. If he lost that match, he’d have lost his only chance to challenge Pegasus and save his last remaining family and one of the only beings he loved.

Either Kaiba loses another monster off-panel in the manga or they did some bad math. Kaiba went down to 1500 LP when his Gargoyle was defeated. His 2040 Attack Minotaurus was his next monster to be downed, and it was by a 2500 Attack monster, which means he should be at 1040 LP. However, the next time we see his LP counter, it’s at 800.

I want to believe the anime did this wrong as well because Kaiba’s LP only go to 1200 when Minotaurus is defeated there. However, since the anime didn’t tell us Minotaurus’ exact power boost with Growth, I can only assume it’s wrong. It’s not either 800 or 1040, so unless they changed the card effect, it has to be wrong.

A small bit of text above Kaiba’s head in the manga implies that he also cheated to win those aforementioned tournaments, so this isn’t a new thing for him.

Oh, oh….oh retro Blue-Eyes and its animation…..Wow….just..wow.

YGOEP3 4

What the…? Blue-Eyes isn’t even attacking and is, in fact, in the process of destroying itself, but anime!Yami’s life points are going down to 50? Whaaa?????

I would call BS on Blue-Eyes not attacking because he’s not Kaiba’s card, thus he doesn’t have his heart in it, his grandfather does, but I think this is just the embodiment of Kaiba’s cheating so I’ll give it a pass.

I get that it’s poetic justice for Yami to revive Blue-Eyes to fight for him, but he could’ve just attacked Kaiba’s life points directly with Demon Summon. Or are direct attacks not allowed in this version, like it wasn’t in the first season of YGO? Also, when anime!Yami revived Blue-Eyes, why did he not attack with either?

Now when it’s anime!Kaiba’s turn, like Yami, his life points start going down for absolutely no reason. What the hell is happening?

Even more weirdness because, in the manga, Kaiba loses this duel, and the subsequent penalty game has a lasting effect on him that will herald in the biggest arc of the manga. Yami attacks with Blue-Eyes and wins.

20 1

In the anime….I have no clue what the hell happened. Kaiba draws a Gremlin, which, even with 2000 attack, isn’t enough to defeat either Demon Summon or Blue-Eyes. However…Kaiba summons him on a mountain range, I think, which, I guess, grants the card the ability called Split the Land….which automatically ends the duel in a draw…I suppose?

…..HUH!? Why did Kaiba not get defeated here? He not only should’ve lost, he should’ve got a well-deserved penalty game for cheating. But the anime decides, nah, let’s have it end in a draw? Even 2000 anime Kaiba lost. And where did Kaiba vanish to after the duel ended? What is going on!?!?

YGOEP3 5

It also makes th setup for the Kaiba arc so much weaker than the manga. Instead of Kaiba, the champion, being pissed about being defeated and basically being forced to go through hell, instead he’s just butthurt that he got a tie.

I’m a bit surprised that manga!Yami was lenient on Kaiba in his penalty game. It’s horrible to be trapped in a card and experiencing something ‘close to death’ as all of the fallen creatures torment him, but he clearly says it’s only for one night whereas we’re left to assume most of the other people who got penalty games were punished indefinitely.

If they weren’t, then why haven’t people like Ushio come back to get their revenge on Yugi? Are they just too scared of him now? Have they changed their ways because of their punishment? Tetsu got straight-up killed for sure, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think most of the other penalty games stuck unless stated otherwise so…..??

Kaiba beat up numerous people, stole god knows how many Duel Monsters cards and tried to steal Yugi’s grandfather’s precious treasure. I’m not saying all of that is worth eternal torment or death, I’m saying Yami’s done worse to some people for much less. Why is Yami so inconsistent with how he punishes people?

Also, the anime ends with a few tags – Kaiba trashing his trophy room in anger at getting a mere draw in a duel, Yugi, Anzu and Jonouchi being glad Yugi got Blue-Eyes back (somehow) and an overly long really stupid sequence of Miho riding on the back of Honda’s bike and them spending a ridiculous amount of time on the ground in a daze after crashing.

———————-

I thought this was a good introduction to Duel Monsters, for the most part. I don’t think they do an adequate enough job explaining the rules (The manga does a lot more than the anime, but they have an advantage in being able to display fairly detailed text boxes that convey that type of info. Still, a good anime would be able to convey the information naturally), and both versions have a serious problem with keeping track of life points, but the anime moreso because both of their life points went down so far for literally no reason. Nothing was happening at the time, but they were losing points. I feel like they only did that so it would be more viable for the duel to end in a draw.

I already expressed how I also didn’t care much for the nice guy act they put on Kaiba in the anime. Like I said, that would’ve been perfectly fine if they didn’t ruin the act in the first place by showing Kaiba’s guards beating up a kid for a Duel Monsters card and establishing that he does that stuff all the time.

Kaiba’s design has been noted throughout the years as being the funniest manga/Season Zero design of all of our well-known characters because, while the Kaiba we know and love has brown hair, manga/Season Zero Kaiba…well.

Again, what is up with the screwed up colors in this show?

Do I even need to bring up the janky animation in this episode? This series has always been poorly animated, but this is lower than shoestring budget. It’s like…..off-brand floss budget. It reminded me of those old Filmmation cartoons from the 70s on occasion.

Kaiba is a good antagonist, of course, and I’m glad they left the door open for him to return in the future, but that draw wasn’t earned in the anime. He may not have been able to do anything with Blue-Eyes once he was on the field, but he still cheated. He deserved to lose. There’s honestly no reason he shouldn’t have lost either. It’s like the writers were cheating FOR them. What was wrong with the manga’s ending that they felt the need to change it? Just wanted it to seem more like Kaiba and Yugi/Yami were on the same level? That’s just silly.

Winner: Manga

Next time, some filler on the anime’s part and some not really filler but never adapted chapters in the manga.


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AniManga Clash! Tokyo Mew Mew Volume 7 (FINALE + Entire Series Champion Decision)

Plot: Deep Blue has arrived, and it’s time for the final climactic showdown!

——————————————–

– I mentioned in my review of the anime that it bothered me a little that Ichigo was so shook by the revelation that Aoyama was Deep Blue that her friends got hurt trying to protect her from her own perilous behavior. However, I also gave some leeway due to the fact that she was rightfully and lovingly chewed out by the other Mews after this occurred. They had been fighting in her stead to give her time to process and grieve, but when the situation got too dire, it was time to slap some sense into her and get her back in the game.

The manga…..WHOO BOY. I got a bone to pick with you, manga. A big bone. Dinosaur sized.

Sssooooo….in the manga….Ichigo is still too shook by the Deep Blue/Aoyama revelation that she’s in a daze just watching the girls try to fight Deep Blue….In her daze….she picks up her bell….and ATTACKS THEM TO DEFEND DEEP BLUE.

What….the hell?

She did immediately regret what she did, but she still consciously did it. No mind control, no nothing – she willingly attacked her friends. There’s a world of difference between being unable to accept reality to the point where you can’t defend yourself properly against a threat, which puts others in danger as they try to protect you, and consciously making the decision to attack your friends. I really thought she would just jump between the Mews and Deep Blue and she’d get hurt, which would be incredibly reckless but so much more understandable than attacking her friends.

That was the first time I’ve ever been really shocked while following this series. Sure the Aoyama/BK/Deep Blue revelation was surprising when I first watched the series, but Ichigo attacking her friends….wow….I just lost untold amounts of respect for her. I really don’t care about the circumstances. There’s no excusing that, if you ask me.

– Mint still chews out Ichigo, but the speech is much shorter and no one tries to bring her spirits up afterward – they just say they’ll die if they don’t fight.

– Likewise, even after all of that, manga!Ichigo seems to have much less faith in Aoyama than anime!Ichigo did because, in the manga, when she’s having her first clash with Deep Blue, she’s acting like it’s hopeless and Aoyama might have been lying to her this whole time. In the anime, she was either adamant he was still the same person or hopeful that she could get him to come back to her. Even when she was faltering, she still never gave up on Aoyama. For a girl who just tried to kill her friends for this dude, her faith is sure flighty.

– Alto/Ryou still comes in to save Ichigo, but whereas in the anime where he stopped the attack and pointlessly scratched Deep Blue’s face, here he takes the brunt of Deep Blue’s attack and badly wounds his arm as a result. There’s actually quite a bit of blood for this series.

– In the anime, Pai was really the only one who had such strong faith in Deep Blue that he realized the destruction he was about to bring and accepted it with open arms. Kisshu was silent about it for a long time, though clearly torn and upset, and Taruto was visibly upset and turned on them immediately, wanting the fighting to end. He also quickly went to Pudding’s aid after she was de-transformed from Deep Blue’s attack.

In the manga, all of them are tickled pink that Deep Blue’s going to destroy the world. They’re also taking great pleasure in the knowledge that the Mews will all die soon. Kisshu even quickly jumps at the chance to ask Deep Blue if he can be the one to end Ichigo.

– As if there wasn’t enough Ichigo favoritism around, there’s this ridiculousness. When Deep Blue’s base appears, Ichigo and the other girls need to reach it. Since the girls can’t seem to confusingly fly on their own in this manga, Ichigo asks them to lend her their power, which combines in her bell….

….and allows her to grow butterfly/angel wings???????????????????

And then she engulfs the other Mews in light that allows them to fly with her???????? And she just knows how to do this even though this is the first time she’s ever shown this ability????

I cannot compute…..What is this? It doesn’t make a lick of sense that Ichigo would have this kind of ability, even with the other Mews helping. This is the kind of thing I’d expect a Mew Aqua’d MINT to be able to do – with her, ya know, being a bird and all – but nope. Ichigo, the CAT of the group can suddenly sprout angel/butterfly wings and not only fly but extend a public transport service to the other Mew

– And just so we’re keeping score with the favoritism, the same old ‘Ichigo’s the only one who can save the world’ spiel is alive and well in the manga.

– In another grand example of the poor pacing the manga tends to have sometimes, the battle between Pai, Taruto and the Mews is literally over in less than two pages. They launch one attack at their Chimera Animal and then…that’s it. They’re defeated. Battle of the century.

In the anime, while the girls couldn’t do much against it, at least the battle between the Chimera Animal and Pai was somewhat entertaining and lasted quite a while. They were suffering from hits, they were landing hits, they were clashing and struggling – it was decent enough. This was a flash in the pan not-battle.

And the sweet moments from the aliens? Basically gone. Pai just says with a smile that it seems like the humans were stronger than them afterall, and Taruto tells Pudding that he never hated her, which makes Pudding cry out his name. Both moments are contained on one page.

In the anime, Taruto and Pudding got two very sweet and tender moments after he turned heel. He helped prop her up when she was de-transformed, and Pudding’s speech as she cradled his dead body after being killed by Pai was really heartbreaking. And while Pai’s ‘emotional’ sacrifice was rushed and somewhat nonsensical, it was at least cool.

In the manga, it’s just kinda sad and really out of left field considering they were all still having tons of fun trying to kill the Mews and destroy the earth. Taruto stuttered once before the battle started, when he was talking to Pudding for a second, but that’s about it.

Almost comically, I literally nearly laughed out loud, the next page has the girls all toppling over, near dead from exhaustion. They didn’t even get hit by Pai and Taruto’s Chimera Animal or anything – they’re just really tired.

Granted, it’s hard as hell to keep up with the timeline in this manga sometimes, especially when it comes to the other Mews because the focus is so squarely on Ichigo most of the time, so maybe they have more of a reason to be so exhausted than I’m aware of. Hm. Maybe they got blasted in the face with Mew Mew power by some bitch.

– In another weird heel-turn, despite itching to kill Ichigo earlier, Kisshu is now defending Ichigo and challenging Deep Blue to a duel to protect her. I was going to mention how he’s a bit nicer here in that he doesn’t imply that the world and everything in it can be destroyed as long as Ichigo’s okay, but he kinda lost those points where he started snuggling up on her boobs after he got mortally wounded….

There are some good things to note here, though. Kisshu seems to have accepted that Ichigo doesn’t love him, even if he’s trying so hard to get her to do so. He doesn’t care, though. He still loves her anyway and will do whatever it takes to protect her. He also manages to sneak a cheek kiss and tells her he loves her twice before passing away.

Then Aoyama just kinda appears. There’s no sudden revelation that Ichigo looks exactly as she did in his nightmares (even if she was in completely different clothes in that nightmare), no dealing with an internal struggle, just Kisshu dies and then boop Aoyama pops up.

– In the anime, Aoyama doesn’t really pay any mind to the fact that he just murdered Kisshu in cold blood – besides that Ichigo was upset about it. In the manga, he touches Kisshu’s face and acknowledges that he did this horrible thing, which I appreciated.

– In the anime, the Mew Aqua within Aoyama gets revealed when Ichigo triggers it with her emotions. In the manga, the Mew Aqua is revealed by Aoyama crying and one of his tears turning into a plant, which I thought was cool and should have been added to the anime version.

– Aoyama bubbles up Ichigo to protect her from Deep Blue, which actually panics her because Deep Blue tries to unleash a massive Mew Aqua explosion over Tokyo, which would kill all of her friends, but leave her alive.

– Aoyama’s sacrifice was similar, but in the manga he impales himself on his sword, whereas in the anime this was changed to having Ichigo attack him. I actually like the anime version quite a bit better. It showed that Ichigo was willing to do something so terrible and painful for both of them because it was what Aoyama wanted. In the manga, she’s very passive and just kinda has to let it happen.

– Anyway, Ichigo’s naked now. I don’t know.

I don’t know.

I don’t….know.

She’s about to transfer her life energy to Aoyama to resurrect him and she’s just suddenly naked.

Oh and she has her light wings back somehow, in a more angel-esque shape this time, there are even feathers flying around, somehow, even though they’re wings made of light. Cats sure have feathers.

– And now she has her clothes back on, again, inexplicably. Also, despite the fact that the others girls have all de-transformed, like in the anime, Ichigo is still in her Mew outfit, despite being ‘dead.’

– So I guess Aoyama is still magic even without Deep Blue or the Mew Aqua, because he bubbles them both up and floats them back down to the ground.

– This also means that the Mews and the aliens find out about Ichigo’s ‘passing’ on the ground, not in the base. It also means the base doesn’t just turn into a spaceship so the aliens make a quick getaway without a strong goodbye for them.

– Ichigo’s naked again, but I guess this time it makes sense because all of the Mews are naked when they transform – only makes sense to have them be naked on the de-transform.

Gotta love Kisshu’s face right as it’s happening though. Lol

– Speaking of giving the aliens their proper sendoff, Kisshu expresses that he’s fine with Aoyama and Ichigo being together, but is still clearly disappointed. Ichigo stops him before he leaves and tries to come up with the words to thank him for everything, even if it’s awkward for her. Kisshu kneels before her and tells her that the only thing he wishes is for her to be happy. In inner monologue, he also thanks her for giving him the chance to love her, even if it was hopeless.

He manages to sneak one last cheek kiss before running off.

Taruto and the others are about to head home when Pudding stops him. He says he doesn’t have a reason to stick around anymore and Pudding kisses him!

N’AW!

I remember seeing the pic of this a long time ago and was so happy. They’re so adorable.

Granted the kiss is an excuse to give him a candy drop, which just makes it…..SWEETER.

She pleads with him to not say goodbye, but Taruto says he might return sometime for another candy drop…OoooOOOOooooohhhh Taruto’s such a charmer.

– Instead of the aliens finding a bit of Mew Aqua left behind from Aoyama/Deep Blue, Shirogane just gives his last bit of it to them in the manga.

I’m not….sure I really like this version of events. Shirogane doesn’t have much of a reason to trust them. The only one who turned heel in the manga was Kisshu. The others were just defeated by the other Mews. But hey, take the last bit of this superpowerful material we’ve been spending seven volumes specifically trying to keep away from you lot.

Also, the whole ‘this itty bitty amount of Mew Aqua is enough to rejuvenate our world into being as beautiful and lush as earth so we totally didn’t need to do 99% of all of this to help our people.’ plot hole is alive and well.

They also leave without a spaceship somehow? Can they teleport all that way?

– The anime ended with the cafe shutting down, the Mews spending weeks or months apart and somehow all ending up at the cafe like they were being called there. Just then Shirogane and Akasaka explain that a new enemy has arrived and they need the Mews to take them down. Ichigo and others were rightfully confused, but Akasaka explained that the loss of powers was only temporary due to the Mew Aqua. Now that some time has passed and there’s a new threat, they have their powers back and are being called into action.

In the manga, the girls still work at Cafe Mew Mew, though some time has passed. Ichigo explains that Aoyama is now studying abroad in London to learn about red data animals, specifically the animals the Mews were based on since their abilities help save the world.

Ichigo acts like she’s okay since she’s supporting someone she loves, but the other girls know she’s secretly very lonely and sad. They come up with the plan, Mew Project W, to cheer her up. They kidnap her and bring her to a church. They put her in a wedding dress (the W stood for wedding if you’re not catching on) and have invited Aoyama to have a fake wedding ceremony.

They ‘get married,’ but not before a strange new figure arrives at the cafe (I assume she’s Berry from the sequel?)

As Ichigo says ‘I do,’ her ears and tail suddenly sprout, indicating that her powers aren’t really gone and their story is not quite over.

The end!…For now!

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So, who wins the final battle in the finale battle in the end finally?…..Uhmmmmm….

This is actually kinda difficult. I think, out of all of the volumes, this one both has the most drastic differences from the manga version but also has the most discrepancy in whether the changes were good or not. For example, I really hate that the manga has Ichigo attacking her friends while she’s in shock. I thought that was going way too far and really tainted my view of Ichigo. The Mews get shafted enough in nearly every way possible without her basically acting like they’re the bad guys and blasting them in the face with her bell.

The Mews’ pep talk to her after the fact was also better in the anime.

However, I love the better absolute ending the aliens got in the manga, especially the really sweet moments between Kisshu and Ichigo and Taruto and Pudding, even if they were less earned.

I didn’t like that the aliens stayed firm on Deep Blue’s side, barring Kisshu, until the very end because it kinda ruins their redemption if they don’t….ya know…have redemption arcs. Or even just a redeeming scene. I complained that Pai’s heel turn was just too sudden and didn’t make a lot of sense in the anime, but at least it was something and at least it was pretty cool to watch.

Taruto’s turn in the anime made total sense, and was one of the more emotionally impacting moments of the series to have Pai kill him in order to carry out his orders. Pudding cradling Taruto’s body and her speech to him was also incredibly sweet.

Would you rather have those cool moments or two lines that take up all of one page? Pai basically compliments the Mews on how strong they are, and Taruto tells Pudding he never hated her. And that’s it. They’re redeemed.

The other Mews got even less to do in this finale. Their big battle was just one attack on some random Chimera Animal that instantly wins them the match and kills Pai and Taruto.

That’s pretty much something else to complain about, too. The Mews killed the aliens themselves instead of Pai killing Taruto, who was trying to help the Mews, or Deep Blue’s Mew Aqua beam killing Pai as he tried to sacrifice himself to save the Mews.

Granted, they didn’t technically get to do a lot in the anime finale battle, either, and both side battles ended on disappointing notes, but it was still an actual battle that lasted longer than a sneeze and things happened in it.

I guess Ichigo using the girls’ powers to summon weird butterfly/angel wings of light can be interchanged with the anime using their powers to create an attack, but the anime also wins out here because the girls were flippin’ exhausted, collapsed on the ground, when they did that in the anime – and they were doing it to create one final attack on Deep Blue, not to turn Ichigo into a flying Uber. In the manga, they were fine and this ability comes right the hell out of nowhere.

Ichigo, shockingly, didn’t even get a big moment other than her reviving Aoyama….while naked. She barely got a shot off the whole battle besides one clash with Deep Blue and that whole ‘attacking her friends’ fiasco. She gets bubbled by Aoyama and then he kills himself instead of having Ichigo attack him. Then it’s just over. Kisshu fought him properly, Aoyama fought him internally, the Mews fought him properly – the only one who didn’t really legitimately fight the main bad guy in the series was the main character.

Ichigo narrowly avoided suffering the same fate in the anime, but she did deliver the final blow to him.

The epilogue was much better in the manga, if you ask me. The anime’s absolute end just made very little sense. The girls gather at the cafe for no reason. It’s suddenly right as a new enemy is attacking somehow. Their powers have suddenly returned right then, even if we physically saw Ichigo’s cat leave her (which doesn’t happen in the manga, by the way. She just de-transforms) Shirogane and Akasaka have no guilt over throwing the girls back into Mew duty even when he promised they’d live a normal life afterwards. And we don’t learn who or what this new threat is, especially considering the main and only threat they were created for was the aliens and Deep Blue. And we never will learn who it is because the anime never got a sequel.

In the manga, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Aoyama to suddenly study abroad and leave Ichigo behind, but the wedding was really sweet. The little bit at the end where we catch a glimpse of Berry and we see that Ichigo’s cat powers are still present was enough of a cliffhanger to want to continue on to the sequel, Tokyo Mew Mew A La Mode. Being fair, Shirogane said their powers would disappear once they weren’t needed anymore, not that the Mew Aqua had any hand in it. So her gaining her ears and tail again is both a nice nod that she’s still a Mew while subtly indicating that a new threat might be around the corner.

Logically, if we tally things up here, the anime would probably win, but I’m struggling with handing over the point so easily. I had a lot of issues with the anime ending, culminating in the opinion that it was ultimately middle of the road. I think the same can be said of the manga’s ending. What they did so much better in the manga is balanced out by what they did so much worse.

It’s a close call, and if you pulled my arm I’d probably say the anime won here, but I’m going to just say it’s a tie.

Winner: TIE

And so, we’ve come to the end of this AniManga Clash! Only one thing left to do, and that’s crown an overall champion.

Overall AniManga Clash Champion!: Anime

I wish I could say I struggled with this decision more, but I really didn’t. While the manga does have a lot going for it, numerous things I wish the anime had kept, the anime just made, overall, better choices with the way the story unfolded.

If there was one thing I was really looking forward to in regards to the manga, it was getting to see the other Mews use the Mew Aqua Rod, considering they got no new powerups in the anime. However, that was a disappointment. I got a bit too excited when Mint got her shot with it because it was the first time – and it was a moment that was wrenched away to Ichigo in the anime. When Pudding’s time came, it was also a cool moment, but, again, I might have been more excited than I should have been, especially considering the anime actually did something arguably better with this moment, and it was for the sake of Taruto and/or PuddingxTaruto. And after that point, you realize what is going on.

They literally all did the exact same thing with it. It was the same thing with each Mew. They sense the Mew Aqua, they find it and then they use Mew Aqua Drops to solve the problem. They could have had the Rod react differently to each Mew or something, but nope. It’s just copy/pasted on all four of them.

Ichigo technically remains the only Mew with actual powerups, of which she got even more in the manga than she did in the anime.

Like I mentioned before, filler also worked in the anime’s favor in regards to giving a better degree of characterization to the other Mews. While the focus typically did lie with Ichigo most of the time, the filler allowed us to have more episodes centered on the other Mews, like Mint and her brother, Zakuro and that lonely little girl, Lettuce and her one-sided crush on that guy who was about to propose to another girl, Pudding getting sick, prompting the girls to help take care of her little brothers and sisters, and several others.

In the manga, let’s be real, the other girls might as well have not been there at all. They’re glorified props with rare times where they have an actual purpose. The girls did get some small storylines here and there, but it felt more like an obligation than the author actually wanting to explore their characters.

That makes sense considering the series was originally designed to be about one girl, Tokyo Black Cat Girl, which was shown in a special bonus chapter of Tokyo Mew Mew, but then then the editorstold Mia Ikumi, the artist and co-creator (alongside Reiko Yoshida) it would be more appealing to audiences if it was a team. I don’t think either of them had any resentment towards being forced to make this change, but it’s quite possible their hearts just weren’t fully in making a team series.

We don’t even get a lot regarding Ichigo’s relationships to the other Mews. They just hang out a lot because they work and fight evil together, so they must be important to each other. The other Mews are endlessly loyal to Ichigo, and we can tell she’s fond of them, but it pretty much ends there. It definitely comes to a screeching halt during the scene in which she attacks them to protect Aoyama/Deep Blue. In any other situation like this, the main character would be far too torn between her love of her friends and her love of her boyfriend to likely do anything outside of either yell at them to stop, commit self-sacrifice or do literally nothing.

I can’t help but imagine how the series would have gone had she actually seriously harmed them or killed them. And you can’t tell me these girls don’t have endless loyalty to Ichigo considering they didn’t even actually get mad at her for doing this. Like in the anime, they were moreso mad that she wasn’t seeing the situation for what it was, getting up and taking on the actual threat of Deep Blue. But unlike the manga, the anime just had Ichigo being so out of it that she nearly got herself killed as a result. I could never imagine the Ichigo I know from the anime ever, and I mean ever, attacking her friends like that, which is probably why it was rewritten in the first place.

I mentioned how lackluster Mint’s yelling of ‘Ichigo!’ was when she realized Ichigo was dead in the anime because her VA just didn’t seem like she was putting enough oomph into it. She does the same thing in the manga, but the reason I had a problem with it here, despite having no audio accompaniment, was because the dramatic collapse and yelling didn’t really feel warranted. In the anime, she and Ichigo had a relationship akin to Rei and Usagi from Sailor Moon. They seemed like they got along the least, but Rei was basically the closest Sailor Scout to Usagi.

Likewise, despite butting heads a lot, Mint is the closest Mew to Ichigo, so it makes perfect sense, in the anime, that she would be the one to collapse and yell out her name when Ichigo died. In the manga? Not so much. They have the same relationship in the manga as the anime, but there is much less exploration into it and moments between them to build the type of relationship necessary to warrant such an outburst.

It was so odd. And the art didn’t even actually focus on Mint, so I was confused as to who was even saying that line when it happened.

Even the aliens and Deep Blue are done better in the anime. The aliens have more time focused on them and their individual dynamics, and Kisshu defecting started their actual redemption arc as a whole. He had a crisis of faith, essentially, and even though it made him go mad, it also gave him more perspective on everything and lead him to the real source of power that he needed. Him also getting severely wounded and Deep Blue abandoning him while he’s laid out on the floor also sewed the first seeds of doubt into Pai and Taruto’s heads that Deep Blue might not be so great afterall.

Taruto choosing to save Pudding instead of letting her die was also a massive turning point for him, even if he didn’t defect as Kisshu did at the time.

Having Pai be the only one who stood by Deep Blue, even causing him to kill Taruto, was quite powerful also. It was the most understandable for the stoic most non-feeling of the group to be the most loyal to Deep Blue, even under the circumstances, but it never felt like he was irredeemable. It was weak that his big turnaround was unearned, but it was still better than the manga’s explanation.

Deep Blue got more time to talk with the aliens, be more of an imposing figure lurking in the shadows and even got a tad more characterization once he was actually awakened than he did in the manga.

Speaking of Deep Blue, they don’t give any actual explanation as to his situation in the manga either. In the anime, they explained that Deep Blue was one spirit/being that broke off into Aoyama and The Blue Knight until Deep Blue could be properly awakened, in which case those personalities should have vanished, leaving only Deep Blue.

In the manga, Aoyama becomes Deep Blue and they kinda don’t talk about why or how that is. They just accept it without question. Likewise, no one talks about how or why Aoyama is The Blue Knight, either. Granted, the anime also doesn’t explore this before the Deep Blue revelation, but still.

Even Aoyama doesn’t escape this because he’s nothing but a sweetheart in the anime, but there are so many times that he’s super creepy in the manga. I don’t dislike him or anything, but it’s still unnerving to have those moments in there.

Some might say the anime is too drawn out, but I’d argue that the manga is too compressed. Yes, there are seven volumes to this story, but 80% of it feels like it’s going way too fast, especially when you compare it to the anime. The battles are the worst examples of this. So many times I was reacting to scenes going ‘What, that’s it?’ or ‘Wait, it’s over already?’ In a similar manner, there were moments where I was shocked a plot thread was still going on, like with the giant moth or the heat dome, because the manga got distracted and went off elsewhere, usually to something Ichigo was doing.

You’d think that the one thing the manga would explicitly have over the anime would be the art. Afterall, I had my fair share of time complaining about Studio Pierrot’s art and animation that ranged from ‘Good’ at its best to ‘Please gouge out my eyes with a cork screw’ at its worst. However…….eh.

The art of the manga is by no means consistently bad, it’s pretty good most of the time, but there is always at least one moment in every chapter where I’m left scratching my head as to a decision they made in the art.

You remember me being confused as to the shot where Mint yells out ‘Ichigo!’? Why was Mint in the background of that shot? Why did the speech balloon not connect to her? It honestly looked like either Kisshu or Shirogane could have been yelling that, but even they were shot from behind or not on-panel so it was hard to tell. Why are there so many moments where Aoyama gets this glazed over ‘I’m going to murder you’ look in his eyes? Is that to hint at Deep Blue or is the art just inadvertently making him look 100x creepier than he should, even when he’s not acting creepy? Why was Ichigo drawn with a massive blush and looking at Shirogane with bedroom eyes when he said she could go with Aoyama? Why was she drawn in day clothes/negligee crying in Aoyama’s future vision when she was in her Mew form when that happened (Something the anime fixed)? Why are there several fight scenes where I honestly can’t even tell who or what they’re attacking?

That coupled with the fast pacing really makes the manga a little difficult to keep up with sometimes.

I definitely don’t feel like I can give the art award to the anime either since there was just mounds of derp, and I kinda don’t forgive them for cheaping out on the series finale, of all things, so let’s just call that a tie there.

But yeah, at the end of the day, I feel more comfortable giving this clash over to the anime. I still really enjoyed the manga, there was a lot to like about it, and I look forward to A La Mode, but I was mostly just disappointed that, even though they did some things right that the anime did poorly and even did some things better that the anime did well, there were too many instances of the anime doing things better or just not doing things as badly as the manga.

And that’s that, my friends. At least until the reboot comes out. I don’t think I’ll be doing another AniManga Clash when the reboot comes out, but I’ll certainly talk about it in relation to the first anime and manga. I hope it takes all the best parts of the anime and manga, adds even better stuff to it and makes something amazing. I really do truly enjoy this franchise, and it has so much potential, they just need to draw it out.

Coming soon, A La Mode!


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Chapters 11-12 (Notes on Episode 9 Comparison)

Animanga clash YGO Chapters 11-12Animanga clash YGO Chapters 11-12 1

Plot: Jonouchi mysteriously goes missing. When his friends find him, he’s hanging out with a gang of thugs from Rintama High, lead by Jonouchi’s old partner in crime, Hirutani. Yugi and the others confront him about what he’s doing with these guys, but Jonouchi pretends he doesn’t know them and is even complacent when one of the gang socks Yugi in the stomach.

Yugi refuses to lose faith in his best friend, however, and believes there must be a good reason for his behavior. He’s right – Jonouchi was coerced into joining Hirutani’s gang by threatening to hurt his friends if he didn’t. Unable to keep a lid on his rage for too long from one of the thugs hitting Yugi, Jonouchi attacks the gang member. Having shown insubordination, Hirutani aims to ‘educate’ Jonouchi on who’s top dog. Can Yugi, Honda and Anzu save him from this gang before it’s too late?

Episode 9 Notes: This is a bit complicated. Season Zero never fully adapted the story that this arc is focusing on. However, they did take the first half of this arc and staple it onto the anime’s adaptation of Jonouchi’s second encounter with Hirutani, which is way down the line in the manga in chapters 48 and 49, and episode nine in Season Zero.

Namely, they realize that Jonouchi is absent, which is strange for him, go to his house to investigate and find his drunken pile of crap of a dad (The first and only time we ever see him, though we never see his face) yelling about Jonouchi being missing all night, not even realizing Honda, Yugi, Miho and Anzu are at the door. We learn that Honda and Jonouchi have known each other since middle school, longer than Anzu and Yugi have known him. His dad is a loud, obnoxious, possibly abusive drunk, which is why he doesn’t invite friends over to his house. Since his father mentioned Jonouchi never came home last night, Yugi, Honda, Anzu and Miho search all over town for him.

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The anime also adapts the parts where Jonouchi initially joins up with Hirutani’s gang, Yugi tries to talk to Jonouchi, he pretends he doesn’t know him, one of the gang punches Yugi, but they add the yoyo aspect of the seconds story arc to it (For a second. They don’t even hit the guy with the yoyos.) They don’t put Jonouchi in the Rintama uniform as they do here (Which I’m okay with because, what, did he get a transfer overnight?) and they remove the fact that the Rintama gang were all smoking in the manga.

Also, they changed Hirutani’s design a little. His hair is meant to be blond, and he’s thinner in the manga. In the anime, he’s taller, bulkier and his hair is a murky blue/purple color.

They also adapt Jonouchi’s backstory with Hirutani, but they kinda had to in order for the second story to make sense.

In the manga, since Honda was basically Jonouchi Lite, he also used to brawl a lot in middle school, but he didn’t like Hirutani and his gang because they’d pick on weaklings a lot (Which actually creates a bit of a contradiction because the first time we met Honda in the manga he was helping Jonouchi pick on Yugi….)

Yugi has very strong faith in Jonouchi, however, so he proclaims that he hasn’t changed. Whereas Honda immediately chose to believe Yugi’s words and believe in Jonouchi in the manga, Honda denounces Jonouchi entirely and claims that he’s always been rotten and always will be in the anime. He then leaves and tells the others to not associate themselves with Jonouchi anymore.

Meanwhile, in an anime exclusive scene, Hirutani and his gang clash with the gang of some other school. He specifically sends out Jonouchi to fight alone since he stated that fights should be done with fists, not yoyos. Jonouchi actually does manage to fight off every single one of their gang, alone, and off-screen.

Later, Anzu, Miho and Yugi head to J’z (which is the same bar they visit in the manga) to see if they can spot Jonouchi, but Honda shows up wearing some pink band across his torso. He’s about to go into J’z to confront the gang and Jonouchi when the trio spots him and point out that he was lying about what he said earlier about Jonouchi….Why he said that at all, I don’t know. Does he not want to seem like he cares about Jonouchi?

In the manga, Anzu, Yugi and Honda go to J’z together, and Honda confronts one of the Rintama gang members leaving the bar.

The anime also adds in Honda explaining what the band means. When he was in middle school, they had a track meet. The band was used as a baton, basically, and Honda, in second place, passed it off to Jonouchi, who won them the meet. Ever since that day, they’ve been friends, and that band is a sign of their friendship. While Yugi and Miho love the story, Anzu says it sounds fishy.

Since the commercial break hits there and the rest of the episode is not really related to this arc, I’ll stop there for now and continue when we get to episode nine’s review.

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Jonouchi has gone missing, and Yugi, Honda and Anzu are very concerned about him. They go to his house to see if he’s there, but only catch a glimpse of his irate drunk father lazing about on the couch. He throws a beer bottle at the door as it opens, complaining about Jonouchi being gone all night, not even realizing the three are at the door.

As the group investigates Jonouchi’s disappearance further, they spot a gang of thugs from Rintama High School beating on some guy. The gang from Rintama, particularly their leader, Hirutani, are known for being some of the most ruthless thugs in the area; Honda showing a particular distaste for them. They decide to move on, but then they notice Jonouchi with the thugs, wearing Rintama High’s uniform.

He pretends to not know the group and blows them off, which angers Honda. Yugi tries desperately to get him to come back, only to have one of the other thugs punch him in the face. Jonouchi and the Rintama gang then leave.

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As Honda and Anzu tend to Yugi, Honda expresses his disappointment in Jonouchi for joining up with those jerks, especially his old partner in crime, Hirutani. But Yugi proclaims that he’s sure there’s a logical reason. He’d never believe Jonouchi would turn into someone like that. Honda happily agrees and they go off once more. They overhear the gang wanting to head to an American-style dive bar called J’z so they head there next.

They catch one of the gang members outside, and Honda threatens him into telling them what they’ve done to Jonouchi. The thug explains that Hirutani wants to expand his gang’s influence, and for that he needed Jonouchi. However, Jonouchi had been reformed, so Hirutani threatened him by saying he’d attack his friends from Domino High if he didn’t comply.

Meanwhile, Jonouchi finds he can’t restrain himself for long after the attack on Yugi, so he punches the gang member who delivered the punch and knocks him out cold. Hirutani likes Jonouchi’s spirit, but doesn’t accept his rebellious attitude. He calls on all of his thugs to beat the hell out of Jonouchi. He manages to stand his ground for only a few seconds before being felled. Hirutani then demands that they take him to the Execution Grounds.

Sooo….yeah, another group of people so evil they’re literal murderers without a care in the world.

They tie up Jonouchi in some warehouse or hangar and give him a thorough beating. Hirutani explains their relationship in middle school. Jonouchi was his underling, but he also called him his partner and they thought exactly the same way. However, as his underling, Hirutani made the mistake of not properly ‘educating’ Jonouchi, which I take to mean he never put him in his place to make him always remember that he was the underling, not an equal.

He plans to rectify that by having his whole gang relentlessly assault him with stun guns. Before they’re able to do so, however, Jonouchi manages to knock one of them out by kicking them in the head. This doesn’t stop the others from assaulting him, and Jonouchi’s eventually brought to a state of catatonia from all the shocks. But it’s still not enough for Hirutani. He commands his thugs to shock him until he dies.

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Back with Honda, Anzu and Yugi, they rush into J’z only to find the place wrecked because of the fight. Only the gang member that Jonouchi knocked out is still in the room. They decide to split up and look for Jonouchi and the remaining gang members. Honda tells Yugi and Anzu to not confront the gang if they find them and get him first.

Yugi, left all alone worrying in the rain and seemingly able to sense Jonouchi crying out in pain at the stun guns, asks the Millennium Puzzle if it will show him where Jonouchi is. It hears his plea and shows him where to go. He finds Jonouchi in his near-death state and gets so upset he turns into Yami.

The gang notices Yami outside and go punch him in the face, knocking him to the ground next to the thug who was knocked out by Jonouchi.

Shadow Game

When he stands up, Yami proclaims that it’s now his turn. He challenges the group to a game. He claims that he’s surrounded the group with land mines, but they seemingly can’t see them. If they can find the switch for the land mines, they win and they can kill Yami if they want. If they lose, they’ll suffer the penalty game and be at the mercy of the land mines.

One of the thugs doesn’t want to play Yami’s game and just wants to shock him with his stun gun, but Hirutani stops him in a panic. He seemingly realizes Yami’s game. He lured them outside where it’s pouring rain. They’re all soaked and so is the ground. If they use their stun guns, they’ll all get a massive shock.

Seemingly having found the trigger, Hirutani declares himself the winner, but Yami just smirks and says he lost. He points to the actual trigger – the unconscious thug Jonouchi knocked out. While he was on the ground after being punched, Yami propped up the thug’s arm with a metal bar and put the stun gun in his hand…seemingly being triggered this whole time I suppose (I’d imagine the battery would die fairly quickly).

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The thug is waking up, meaning he’ll soon knock his arm off the bar and put the active stun gun into the water. Hirutani and his gang look on in terror as the thug wakes up, the stun gun hits the water and they’re all electrocuted……and….disintegrated? They literally go from them being shocked to Yugi tending to Jonouchi and Honda and Anzu reuniting with them. No bodies on the floor or anything, they’re all just gone.

However, as I already mentioned earlier, Hirutani and his gang returns, soooo….I dunno where they went at all.

Yugi and Jonouchi have a very touching reunion, though. You could really feel the emotion jump right off the page – it was so sweet.

I am going to nitpick the shadow game a little here. While the basic concept is good, the fact that they used stun guns really damages it, in my opinion. They act like stun guns have such massive voltage or amperage that there’s no doubt they’d all be seriously injured or killed if they were shocked by a stun gun hitting water, but that’s really not the case.

As far as my research led me, if a stun gun was used on someone who was wet, it might amplify the effects a little, but that’s about it. If you shock a body of water with a taser and you’re standing in it, there’s a chance you’d feel tingly, but, again, that’s about it. You certainly wouldn’t get such a massive jolt of electricity that you’d severely injure or kill yourself, even though stun guns, by default, have the risk of death simply due to heart issues.

What electricity it is dispersing through the nodes would be dissipated over the wide area, so the effects would be minimal. This isn’t like lightning striking a lake you’re swimming in where it might seek you out as an outlet and you’d get a lot of the shock, if you’re close enough, or like a downed power line sitting in a puddle – it’s a taser in the rain.

I would usually just chalk things up to typical Yu-Gi-Oh exaggeration, but this one felt like one of those times I had to go investigate since the entire shadow game was dependent on it. I did like the little detail that Yami was standing on a tire that entire time, though.

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Overall, despite some odd details in the shadow game, this was a great two-parter. It gave strong focus to Yugi, Jonouchi and even Honda, which is welcome since this entire time he’s been little more than a goofy brutish side character. It’s cool to see his dedication to Jonouchi is on the same level as the Honda we get in the 2000 anime.

Jonouchi was willing to suffer for his friends, and Yugi showed that he’d never give up on Jonouchi. He’s a true friend, and he deserved the benefit of the doubt.

I feel really bad that Jonouchi has such a bad home life, but at least he has real friends now to help him through.

I do feel awkward that four chapters worth of manga, two different Jonouchi arcs, are mushed into one episode of Season Zero, however. They don’t technically do a bad job combining the two, but I’d much rather the series have adapted both stories separately instead of taking the first half of this arc and the second half of the other arc and making one episode.

Next time, we talk about the first filler the anime has that has no manga basis.


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AniManga Clash! Tokyo Mew Mew Volume 6

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Plot: Aoyama/The Blue Knight finally joins the ranks of the Mews, but things take a turn for the worse when Kisshu and the other aliens reveal a dark secret that leads to the awakening of their leader, Deep Blue.

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– The anime and manga vary quite a bit in Shirogane’s backstory. He was never bullied, and, sadly, he had a pet dog named Daisuke who also died in the big explosion at the lab. Shirogane was actually home when the lab exploded. Both he and Akasaka witnessed it.

Also, Akasaka looked kinda weird in the flashback.

One change might have also fixed a big problem I had with his anime backstory. In the anime, the lab was attacked by a supposedly fire-based (?) Chimera Animal that just attacked the lab, killed everyone in it and then disappeared forever. This bugged the hell out of me because we never see this Chimera Animal again (until the very end of the show). It was supposedly freed from a fossil Professor Shirogane was experimenting with, but we have no idea why it attacked everyone nor where it went afterwards.

The manga gives no reason for the explosion, which is also a problem but not as bad.

The rest of the story and the scene afterwards goes exactly the same between anime and manga. (However, I’m still left wondering why and how Shirogane can transform into a cat at will and seemingly doesn’t need kissing or adrenaline to do it.)

– Aoyama’s dream of Ichigo is a little different. They’re both still images of her crying, but the anime has her in her Mew gear crying on the floor….The manga has her in…..

Is that lingerie? It’s very flowy and see-through. Am I reading too much into this? What is up with her pose and expression? She doesn’t look like she’s upset more than she looks…I dunno, drugged? In the anime, she’s practically bawling while kneeling on the floor, and that’s much more impacting if you ask me.

– Okay 1) I guess Lettuce doesn’t need Mew Aqua to become a mermaid. It’s just something that happens to her when she’s transformed and she enters the water, which is cool, but obviously something the anime didn’t keep – in fact, they pretty much spat in her face in that regard by making her unable to swim….

2) Her Mew Aqua time to shine was boring….I am starting to get a little tired of the Mew Aqua Rod shtick in the manga being a constant ‘I feel it calling out to me.’ *goes to it* ‘Mew Aqua Drops!’ *end* I was going to keep giving the manga props for at least letting the others girls use the Mew Aqua Rod when the anime gives them nothing, but your props are running thin if you’re just going to do the same song and dance every time. It’s like they did something cool with Mint, similar but still pretty decent with Pudding and then just gave up and was like ‘eh just do the same thing two more times,’

– In addition, they basically mixed the episode where she saved Shirogane and used the Mew Aqua with the episode where Pudding and Taruto fight for the fake Mew Aqua in the river, and it somehow purified all of the water even though it was fake. Only the manga’s version is less interesting….

– It’s at this point where I realized something very important. I was under the assumption that the manga did the other girls more justice because I knew they all got a turn with the Mew Aqua Rod, but we’re already well into the final two volumes of the manga and I can’t help but say….the anime did them more justice – at least so far.

The other girls are literally set dressing most of the time, and because there’s a lack of filler, there aren’t nearly as many stories about them. In fact, beyond their debuts and the Tokyo Dome storyline, there really haven’t been ANY stories actually about the other girls throughout this entire manga. It’s all been Ichigo, Aoyama, Kisshu and the Blue Knight with some Shirogane.

Yes, you heard me, filler actually worked in the anime’s favor.

It’s quite possible they at least get some better time to shine in the finale, but I’m not holding my breath.

– Her finding out Aoyama’s identity was very similar to the anime, but, again, done in a less interesting manner. Kisshu didn’t go insane and they both kinda left in the middle of the fight.

– What was I saying about the other girls not getting to do anything? As they get overrun by Chimera Animals (off-panel) Ichigo comes in to save them. She needs the help of all of them!….To gather their powers, give her a super special new weapon and attack and save the day.

“Our” new weapon. Uh huh.

– Hah, Taruto calls the guy who is supposed to be their savior ‘geek.’

– There’s a plotline that didn’t make it to the anime. The aliens set up a dome over Tokyo. It’s an impenetrable force field that increases the internal temperature until it’s too hot for any living being within it to survive. And just to get more environmental messages in there, they point out that using the AC will just cause the temperatures outside to rise even more.

– Aoyama’s backstory remains the same, but unlike in the anime where he conveys this information to Ichigo, in the manga he’s just saying this stuff to himself, which, in my opinion, isn’t preferable. I liked that he was sharing that part of himself with Ichigo, especially considering that she needs to know stuff about his past and feelings if they’re going to be together for the rest of their lives. Plus, it was just a nice overall moment for the two of them. Him just saying stuff he already knows to himself is pointless other than informing the audience about it.

– Even though Kisshu doesn’t go hilariously/sadly insane like he does in the anime, he does emotionally break down when Ichigo refuses to love him or be with him. He tries to strangle her but then breaks down crying wondering why he can’t get her to do what he wants or love him back. When he releases her and tells her he’ll buy her some time before everything goes down, she wonders if he truly loves her…..Uh no. No. He just strangled you, and has tried several times to kill you. There is no love here. Only obsession and a deep desire for control.

I would say maybe his species doesn’t understand emotions such as love, which is why he’s so bad at expressing his emotions for her, but I can’t imagine that’s the case. Afterall, the main reason they’re all on earth in the first place is for the love of their friends, family and species, right? And if he were completely ignorant of how love works, he wouldn’t do legitimately sweet and romantic things sometimes.

– In the manga, The Blue Knight actually has an attack name; Indigo Comet Blade.

– It’s….very confusing as to what exactly happens when BK and the Mews use their attack….Are they attacking Pai and Taruto? Where did they go? The dome’s not gone, because Zakuro takes care of that later. Oh look, Taruto and Pai are back immediately. What did that all-team attack do?

– There’s a manga-exclusive plotline where BK and the Mews fight the aliens in a sewer. They try to drown the Mews by flooding the pipes, but BK saves them by using his sword to slash a drainage hole in the pipe.

– Zakuro gets her time with the Mew Aqua Rod, and it’s exactly what you’d expect. Ichigo’s just like ‘Zakuro, find the Mew Aqua.’ She does and then she uses the rod and the dome’s gone.

– Ichigo’s going a bit too hard with the insinuations that she literally wouldn’t be able to fight or win unless Aoyama/The Blue Knight was by her side. Come on, girl, you’ve done it plenty of times before.

– Deep Blue’s awakening is much less interesting in the manga. In the anime, they had his initial trigger being going insane and basically turning himself into a nuke while trying to protect Ichigo from Kisshu. Then Aoyama’s completely out of it the next time we see him, wandering around town. His soul is screwed with by Kisshu, and then when Ichigo arrives he makes the final transformation. Here, Aoyama/The Blue Knight pretty much just collapses in Ichigo’s arms because reasons and then wakes up as Deep Blue.

– Deep Blue actually draws blood on Ichigo, which I think was something that should’ve been added to the anime. He did attack her in the anime, but I think there would’ve been more weight added to the situation if he actually wounded her. Plus, that would’ve definitely been a reason for Aoyama to fight for control over his consciousness.

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This is probably the most I’ve ever been skewed towards the anime side. While the manga did include some plotlines that the anime never adapted, I can’t say that anything was really lost because of it. It’s just ‘these things happened.’ Nothing in those plotlines really had lasting consequences or added anything to the story or characters.

Everything else was either done better in the anime or was basically the same level of quality no matter if it was the same or not, like Shirogane’s backstory. And if I wanted to be petty, I’d ding the manga there based on the fact that they killed a dog for no other reason beyond sadness points.

It actually makes a little impressed with the anime, in spite of its own set of prominent problems. It didn’t do anything that blew my mind with this set of stories, but it did improve upon nearly every aspect, in my opinion.

Winner: Anime


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