Plot: Thousands of years ago, at the dawn of humanity, God blessed the world with prosperity and light. However, the humans, greedy for more, wished for darkness as well. They were granted their wish, and darkness fell upon them. It invaded the hearts of men, and humanity had to fight against it. Warriors of light emerged and triumphed over the darkness, but now the darkness has returned, heralding in the call for warriors of light.
A dark and evil king named Nene is terrorizing villages everywhere looking for a special power, kidnapping children that he believes possesses the ability to wield it. One day, Nene’s forces target the village of a boy named Shu, who wishes for nothing more than to be a brave warrior called a Knight Master and travel the world looking for adventure.
He believes he’s found a Knight Master when he meets the stoic woman named Zola, but is disappointed when she states that she is no such thing. When the attack commences on Shu’s village, he races to find Zola and her companion, a boy named Jiro, to recruit them to help fight them off. They refuse, however, and tell him that if he wants his village saved he must do it himself.
Jiro and his friends, a girl named Kluke and three others, make a valiant effort to fight off the soldier, but to no avail. The leader of the soldiers is met with Zola and he prepares for battle by calling on his shadow, which turns into a goblin-like beast. Zola too calls upon her shadow, a killer bat. The goblin is no match for Killer Bat, but the resulting battle causes debris to fly everywhere. Just as Shu’s friends are about to be killed by a falling heap of debris, he leaps into the line of danger with nothing but the wish to save them behind him. As he’s about to get crushed, his shadow suddenly emerges as a brilliant blue dragon, aptly named Blue Dragon, the incredibly power everyone’s been looking for.
Breakdown: Blue Dragon is a title I’ve been aware of for quite some time, but I’ve never bothered to look up any information on it.
At face value, there’s not really anything special about this series so far besides the Akira Toriyama aesthetics. Being clear, Toriyama only lent his talent to the art. He had no hand in the story. The opening in particular about the powers of light and darkness battling each other was some dry milky toast. The aspect of the shadows is also not horribly creative since it’s basically just a fancy way of saying ‘familiar’
As a first episode, it fares okay. We get the personalities of all of the main characters fairly well, even if a good chunk of them are also stereotypes. Shu is the headstrong shounen fighting fantasy anime lead character who has a heart of gold, wants to protect the people he loves and is kinda dense. But he has the best power because main character. I’ll stave off of making a stark comparison between him and Goku for now.
You have the perpetually grumpy rival in Jiro. Kluke is kinda a generic love interest, though she’s also sort of a big sister to Shu and her love of gadgetry is a nice touch.
Zola in particular caught my eye because holy shit it has gotten annoying to not have many prominent legit female fighters throughout shounen. Zola is one kickass pirate-clad assassin girl.
The enemies are horribly generic, destroying villages and beating up kids while chuckling evilly. Even the leader’s shadow is a typical goblin thing.
Shu discovering his power through a desire to save his friends is also typical…..I know I praise some shows that use tropes, but I just don’t feel like this show is bringing enough to the table to make me ignore the tropes.
They don’t explain these powers much at all in this episode. We know that some people can summon monsters through their shadows and that’s about it. We have no clue what constitutes gaining this ability, why certain people get certain shadows, why it seems like they were collecting kids for the sake of summoning the blue dragon (you can’t really argue that only kids can summon shadows because the leader guy is definitely an adult and Zola’s a teen at least), what’s so special about the shadows, how they work etc. Hell, they don’t even explain Nene and the Gran Kingdom well.
That being said, it is obviously very stylized because Akira Toriyama and I never felt bored while watching. I was never really immersed in it that much, but I didn’t find it to be that bad, especially with Zola.
A slightly reluctant yes. Yet another freshly hatched Shounen Step-By-Step. Hopefully it just gets better after this point.
Recommended Audience: There’s some minor swearing and violence but nothing that bad. 8+
Plot: After Zero gets some much needed medical care at Hospitown, Taichi and Gabo meet the evolved versions of some of the Agumon that he met back at Holy Angemon’s castle. They are determined to help stop Neo and Demon from taking over the Digital World, but it’s an uphill task even for their newly evolved forms, and Holy Angemon’s army continues to suffer massive losses.
Taichi and Zero finally reach the tree where Neo stands with the final tag. While Taichi and Zero are more than ready to take him on, they haven’t seen every trick up his sleeve.
Later, Taichi and Zero meet another human in the Digital World – a girl named Rei, and while she seems normal enough, there may be more to her than meets the eye.
Breakdown: Really the only notes I have between the anime and manga are that Piyomon makes an appearance and needs a boost of bravery when faced with the trail of fallen allies Demon and Neo have left in their wake.
Also, the new human character, Rei, has a haircut that looks a lot like Sora’s, but eh.
This volume is where the stakes get amped up a hundred fold. The battle against Neo takes center stage in this volume, and it’s definitely the biggest and most nail-biting battle of the manga so far, but surprisingly that’s the ‘second act’, so to speak. A lot more happens in this volume than you’d first think, and we have quite a bit of ground to cover.
We start off learning where the other Digi-allies are in their fight against Demon and while there is some good news, such as the Agumon who were being trained in the first volume evolving and Leomon evolving, though his evolved form is never seen on-panel, there’s no denying that the battle against Neo and Demon has taken its toll on Holy Angemon’s army. Holy Angemon himself even catches some of the damage.
Piyomon’s reluctance to brave the frightening circumstances and continue to help the battle are a highlight to this, but the one who brings the shining light of hope back into her very skeptical eyes is Taichi…..and his goggles.
Yes, we get the backstory to Taichi’s goggles. You may faint now. And because I’m such a nice person, I’ll share it with you. A Piyomon is frozen with fear after surviving a massacre lead by Neo. She makes fun of Taichi’s goggles when explaining how ridiculous it is that he and Zero can do anything to help. Taichi explains that the goggles were given to him by his grandpa when he was a young kid.
When he was younger, he saw a kid getting bullied. He knew he should do something about it, but couldn’t find it within himself to do so. Taichi’s grandpa gave him the goggles, knowing he liked airplanes, and called them goggles of friendship and courage. The goggles belonged to a childhood friend of his who was known for being brave and a great friend. When he was older, he became a great pilot but later fell ill and passed away. He kept his friend’s goggles as a reminder of him and his old saying of ‘courage will give you wings to fly’ (which is actually kinda foreshadowing something that happens later.) Taichi received the goggles happily and knew at that point that he had to be brave in order to protect his friends – a lesson he has never forgotten.
Dammit, considering how important the aspect of the gogglehead is in this franchise, why the hell have we never gotten a backstory for them in the anime? Plus, considering the strong connection the goggles have to Taichi’s courage, his crest no less, you’d think they’d jump on that chance. This revelation, if it can be applied to the anime, makes me a little madder that he just handed his goggles to Daisuke in Adventure 02. That wasn’t a reminder of courage for Daisuke, he was just given a new pair since his broke and Taichi basically proclaimed him as the new leader with them.
Onto the main event, Taichi’s battle with Neo. As I mentioned, Neo has several tricks up his sleeve for combating Zero with his own two Digimon, now a Kuwagamon and Akatorimon that he can merge and separate as many times as he wants. Not only that, but he takes their Perfect form, Megadramon, and merges it with another Perfect, Jureimon to make an Ultimate level Digimon, Deathmon. And it looks about as disappointingly uncreative as the name is. It’s basically a cyclopic (or tricloptic, considering it has eyeballs on its hands) monster with bat wings.
Despite its bland look and uncreative name, it is a huge threat to Taichi and Zero considering that Zero is still merely an adult level, they are still at a disadvantage on the ground while the enemy can fly and they’ve never once faced an Ultimate level before. As you can guess, this results in Zero getting the ever-loving crap beat out of him to the point where, again, you’re seriously wondering if they’ll make it out alive. Even Taichi and Gabo have near-death experiences. This really was the perfect opportunity to spotlight Zero’s first evolution, and they took advantage of it. It’s probably one of the best evo events of the franchise, at least that I’ve seen. Granted, V-dramon doesn’t change very much when he evolves, but it’s a much needed change to his design and power structure that gives him plenty of edge in the fight.
I’ll also give them props for how Neo was handled in the end. They cop out at the end of the volume, but it was still pretty shocking when it happened. Neo did get a little too crazy and villain-like for my liking, though. Seriously, he’s basically surpassing Kaiba and Vegeta now for how obsessed his is with beating his rival.
After the events of the ‘second act’, we see that portals to the human world have opened and people are being sucked into the Digital World either because they’re being called there or they just happened to be sucked in on accident through their computers. In comes Rei, who comes off as very abrasive. She finds herself in a strange world filled with monsters and when she finally finds some friendly faces, a human one no less, she makes fun of them, insults them and leaves to find more ‘normal’ people to help her.
When they save her life, she pulls a complete 180 and practically flatters them while agreeing to join their group and even asks them to take her to Demon’s castle, but Taichi is soon suspicious of her.
Meanwhile, the egg of the Super Ultimate Digimon has hatched and Neo has to start training it. He sends out a new team of tamers who recently came to the Digital World through the portals, a group called Alias III, to take care of other matters in the battle against Holy Angemon’s army.
But that’s not all, we also have our first mini-chapter in which Taichi and Zero run into a Sukamon while training. He takes advantage of the fact that his special ability is to emit pheromones that induce the need to poop to completely distract Zero and Taichi from the battle. It’s only made worse by the fact that Zero doesn’t want to fight a pile of crap because that’s gross. They can’t even fight from a safe distance with his V Breath Arrow because it will probably redefine explosive diarrhea.
Zero then can’t fight the need to crap anymore and dumps a load so large that it takes up 80% of the page, he can sit on it like a hill, and it intimidates Sukamon into leaving.
Yeah……that just happened.
And I thought that one Naruto OVA where he craps his pants was ridiculously stupid. I will admit, this mini-chapter is a little tiny itty bitty bit funny, though.
All in all, this is the best volume yet. This series really just seems to get better and better as the ball keeps rolling. We got to start off fairly calmly while also getting some info on where Holy Angemon’s efforts stand, we got a huge battle, some more strengthening of Taichi and Zero’s friendship and we ended on plenty of interesting details for the next volume, such as the Super Ultimate hatching, Rei’s true intentions, who exactly the guys in Alias III are and what they can do, if any more humans came through the portals and even if we’ll see even more evolutions from Zero. Deathmon was a disappointment in regards to design, and I would’ve liked to see some real character development from Neo in this volume, but still a very solid vol—oh yeah the mini-chapter……
*sigh* That really does tarnish this whole volume quite a bit, doesn’t it? Like I said, it’s a little funny, but it’s an entire nine pages dedicated to fighting poop, talking about poop and actually pooping – a house-sized poop, mind you. So, yeah, I’m gonna take off at least half a point for that, but we’re still standing really strong with this one.
Recommended Audience: Zero gets even more badly beaten in this volume, and there’s one instance where a character kinda sorta commits suicide by falling. You don’t see anything, and it’s later revealed that his life was saved so I guess we’ll stay with 7+
Plot: Some of Ash and Misty’s Pokemon are left alone on a beach I can only assume because they’re irresponsible and they go to a mansion and meet some Pokemon who live there. They decide to play Hide and Seek, but the game is interrupted by a psychotic lawnmower.
Breakdown: I only watched this short like once or twice before on my DVD because the disk messed up on the short for some reason and everytime I tried to play it afterward I’d get that stuttering effect. I really don’t remember this short very much…..except for the theme song. The theme song is yet another ear worm that 4Kids forged, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Before we start though….Pikachu’s Pika-boo? First of all, that is an awful pun. Just awful. Second, I don’t think there’s any worse word you could’ve used to basically toddler-fy this series. Third….they’re not playing peek-a-boo. I know the phrase is sometimes used in games with hiding, but peek-a-boo is technically an entirely different ‘game’ than what they’re playing, which is hide and seek. I don’t expect people playing hide and seek to pop out from where they’re hiding to yell ‘peek-a-boo!’
With that out of the way, let’s play hide and seek!
We start out at some unidentified beach where the gang’s Pokemon, at least some of them because screw the others, are playing in the water. Totodile, Bulbasaur, Bayleef, Cyndaquil and Pikachu are present from Ash’s team….no idea why Noctowl isn’t there. I can usually make up an excuse, but for once I have no clue.
From Misty’s team, Togepi and Psyduck are out because they’re always the ones who get let out despite the fact that they’re at a damn beach and Misty’s Pokemon would have the most fun there, but nope. Go to hell Staryu, Poliwhirl, Goldeen and maybe Corsola.
From Brock’s team…..Not a single one. Friggin’ nice, guys. He usually at least chucks Vulpix into the mix, but nope.
Togepi nearly drowns itself because Togepi just likes putting his life in peril, but a passing Wailmer saves it and shoots it up to a passing Yanma who flies it back to the beach.
And no it’s never explained as to where Ash and the others are this time nor why they let their Pokemon roam without supervision again. These shorts are turning into Rugrats.
The narrator finally realizes the short has started and we learn that there’s a nearby mansion with a beautiful garden near the beach. The owner, who is never seen (in fact no humans appear in this short at all), has three Pokemon who guard it; a Larvitar, a Kecleon and a Granbull, with Larvitar acting as an anal retentive leader.
Pikachu and the others decide to trespass because why not, and while Granbull and Kecleon welcome them, Larvitar becomes annoyed by the group’s intrusion. Granbull calls the other Pokemon on the property, Sunflora, Azurill, Donphan, Sandshrew and Oddish to meet the group. Pikachu tries to call Larvitar over to play, but he just snubs them and walks off. Granbull then suggests that they play Hide and Seek, Pikachu agrees and grabs a stick to select who will be ‘it’.
He throws it into the air as everyone stands in a circle. Gee I wonder if it’ll land on Pika—Yes, of course it lands on Pikachu. Why would it land on anyone else?
We get the aforementioned ear worm theme song “Everybody Hide, ‘Cause Pikachu’s Comin’” I just found this song funny because of one line. “But not just any place, you have to find a space that fits your color and your size!” I’m just imagining little kids singing or playing this song while playing Hide and Seek and looking for places to hide that match their skin color. I can imagine some awkward calls to other parents happening.
The Pokemon start hiding while Pikachu counts. Sunflora tries to find a field of flowers suitable to camouflage in, Kecleon basically cheats by using its camouflaging ability to hide in front of a bird bath…I mean, I know it leaves behind a little zig zag stripe so it’s not like he’s completely invisible but that’s still cheating to me. Bulbasaur also hides in the soil of a garden as a plant and Oddish does the same. Cyndaquil tries to hide between two large pieces of furniture, but Granbull tries to get in too, prompting Cyndaquil to ditch the spot.
I always hated that in Hide and Seek. You find a great spot and then some asshole likes your idea so he tries to muscle in on your spot and forces you to go somewhere else. Pfft.
Azurill hides underwater in one of the bird baths and we end on everyone else trying to hide before we finally get our title screen.
Pikachu finishes counting and goes off to find everyone, but Larvitar is not amused.
Cut to Meowth and Wobbuffet who have taken a job at the mansion doing landscaping work….uhh, okay. Why are so many people okay with hiring a talking Meowth to do menial chores? Their lawnmower breaks down and Meowth takes that as a cue to stop working in the garden.
Back with Pikachu, he’s looking through a garden for the Pokemon and finds Sunflora acting as a regular flower.
Pikachu gets to a yellow brick wall and we see that Sandshrew was actually pretty clever in using its design to camouflage in with the wall. Pikachu catches him anyway, though. Damn ability to see in three dimensions!
He reaches a fountain and spots a weird water spout coming out of the water. He dips his head underwater and sees that Totodile is using Water Gun to make it seem like it’s a spout in the fountain even though there are no other spouts in the fountain. Pikachu shoves his hands on Totodile’s Water Gun which is kinda dickish and calls him out when he emerges.
We see Larvitar again who spots Donphan rolled up near a pile of tires (again, actually pretty clever) and when he spots Pikachu at the bottom of the hill, he rolls Donphan down to hit Pikachu….Wow, what an asshole. Pikachu gets out of the way and calls out Donphan, which sucks because he didn’t technically get found.
Narrator: “Now Pikachu’s going for a look inside the mansion!” Wow, thanks Narrator for telling us that thing that we will see happen in literally seconds. Are you just bored and looking for stuff to say at this point?
Pikachu looks around the mansion and spots Togepi on the couch who only has a suitable hiding spot because, for some reason, the owner has incredibly tacky blankets or pillows that have the exact same color and design scheme as Togepi’s shell.
Next, they find Cyndaquil in the fireplace acting as a fire, which is also kinda clever.
Back with Larvitar, who is still salty from….I guess just not liking the other Pokemon or fun. He kicks a small rock angrily and it bounces off Meowth and Wobbuffet’s lawnmower, which suddenly causes it not only start back up again, but also to go on on out of control rampage.
It actually seems to be sentient as it purposely pursues the Pokemon and changes direction when prompted by other Pokemon. Oh yeah….that’s not contrived or anything. I get it, a plot consisting of nothing but Hide and Seek, even for one of the shorts, is pretty damn boring and hard to fill up 22 minutes, but really you couldn’t come up with some other huge crisis besides this ball of stupidity?
The Pokemon all run away from the lawnmower, revealing Bulbasaur and Oddish underground while it causes havoc. I’m glad they got out of there, or this short would have a much higher content rating. Bulbasaur tries to stop it with its Razor Leaf to no avail, Donphan tries to destroy it with Rollout but it doesn’t even dent it. Wow, where did the owner buy that thing? My dad’s lawnmower is usually defeated by damp soil.
Pikachu decides enough is enough and uses Thunderbolt on it, which actually seems to stop it for a bit, but then it starts back up again. Oh, but it doesn’t just start back up again. It activates two hidden CHAINSAW ATTACHMENTS! What the unholy hell!? This was contrived enough as it was, but two chainsaws that pop out of the sides? How would that even be useful, let alone safe for landscaping? And why was this little turn of events even needed? Was the lawnmower not scary enough with the razor sharp blades underneath it? Did someone hire Leatherface to do landscaping work? Come on!
Totodile tries it hand at stopping it with Water Gun, but it doesn’t work. Cyndaquil tries stopping it with Flamethrower, but, get this, it continuously dodges Cyndaquil’s attacks on purpose and even manages to get behind him to get the edge. Yeah, sure. Crazy sentient lawnmower now knows basic battle strategies. I’ll believe anything at this point.
Cut back to Meowth and Wobbuffet who just got done sweeping the chimney when Pikachu and the others cross their path. Meowth and Wobbuffet are now being pursued by the lawnmower that can apparently hop across stone slabs now too. They try to fight it with the little chimney brooms, because that’ll work right? However, the chainsaws destroy the brooms and the lawnmower knocks both Meowth and Wobbuffet into the air and down the chimney of the mansion. In the process, I guess the lawnmower also breaks off the chainsaw attachments, making those additions even more pointless.
The lawnmower chases the group through a hedge maze for some time before Larvitar helps them out and kicks the lawnmower into one of the walls, supposedly stopping it from continuing its rampage…..uh, I’d try to disable it before walking aw–
The gang then walks away thinking that they’re safe, but then we see the lawnmower break through the hedges…..with BUZZSAW ATTACHMENTS!
I mean, really what the hell!? At least chainsaws might be used for some landscaping, even if their existence on the lawnmower is incredibly inefficient and dangerous, but buzz saws aren’t used in landscaping! What purpose do those possibly have on that thing!? Next you’re going to tell me there’s a flamethrower and a BFG on it!
Also, am I the only one freaked out by the fact that we went from our main short issues being, in order, Charizard being stuck in a pipe, making it through a thunderstorm, Pikachu finding its way back to Ash to a murderous sentient lawnmower with chainsaw and buzzsaw attachments? Especially on a short called ‘Pikachu’s Pikaboo’? Just seems like a B-movie horror plot is all.
They keep running from the lawnmower and try to hide up a tree, but the lawnmower just saws it down and keeps chasing after them. They reach the beach and trick the lawnmower to fly off a dock and into the water, seemingly stopping its rampage yet again. Larvitar and Pikachu take a sigh of relief for a second but then realize that horror movie villains always come back from the dead, and it rips the dock up with its saws and continues chasing them.
The other Pokemon gather some logs to make a track for the lawnmower to follow to lead it away from them, even though I don’t see how that would work considering that it sawed through a huge tree in less than two seconds and reduced a dock to toothpicks a second ago, but whatever. However, Psyduck trips and screws it up, causing it to continue the rampage.
Bayleef, who has been napping this whole time, comes into play by Vine Whipping the handle and throwing the lawnmower back into the track….Why Bulbasaur hasn’t done that this entire time is beyond me.
They continue the track and lead it into some shed, shutting the door behind it. The shed bounces around in a barfy CGI effect that gives us a nice preview to the also awful CGI effects coming in our feature presentation, and the bouncing suddenly stops. The door opens and reveals that the lawnmower is now basically destroyed…..…
Really?….That’s our climax? The ultimate weapon against that thing….was a shed? It was subject to Razor Leafs, Rollouts, Thunderbolts, Water Guns and being completely submerged in water with little to no issue….yet a track of small logs and a shed defeat Satan’s lawnmower? What a rip off.
The gang cleans up the yard and Bayleef and Bulbasaur Razor Leaf a design of the Pichu Bros into the hedges…..for…some….reason, and we see that Meowth and Wobbuffet finally made it out of the chimney.
Larvitar picks up the stick from earlier and wants to play Hide and Seek with them this time. They all agree and he throws the stick into the air. Since we see Pikachu actively trying to blow the leaf/indicator on the stick now and Larvitar’s not in the frame, it obviously lands on him this time and he smiles. They go off to hide again as the sun sets and Ash and Misty never see their Pokemon again.
I should mention that this is the first time that the short has ever had its credits kept intact. In the other movies, they were always put with the ending credits of the movie to keep people from thinking the movie was the short and had already ended. However, I suppose because this is the first movie that was released on DVD instead of VHS, the magic of DVDs granted them the ability to keep the credits with the short.
I have no clue if it remained this way in theaters because to the best of my knowledge it never showed in any theaters near me. This was the first Pokemon movie that I wasn’t able to see in theaters. I don’t have many theaters near me to begin with, but none of them ever showed 4ever and beyond to the best of my knowledge. Some people have told me that they still play Pokemon movies in theaters, but if that’s true I must just live in an area that never gets them.
Bottomline: This short was boring. Cute, and sometimes made me smile with the way that the Pokemon hid themselves, but boring. And even with the INCREDIBLY INSANE AND CONTRIVED lawnmower chase scene, it was still boring mostly because the chase got really old and repetitive even with the craziness of that serial killer lawnmower. In fact, it really just seems like that whole plot point was shoved in there because they realized Hide and Seek couldn’t fill even half the running time without getting boring. It’s worth one watch just because of how crazy the lawnmower is, but has really no rewatch value.
Recommended Audience: Keep away from children who have completely reasonable and healthy fears of sentient lawnmowers that have several saw attachments and a thirst for blood. But it’s okay for everyone else.
Plot: While Fillmore deals with a troublemaker named Tony Clementina, all of the books in the library get mysteriously stolen. One bit of evidence points to Clementina, and Fillmore is compelled to believe he’s the culprit. But is he really a lost cause?
Breakdown: The crime this week is pretty outlandish, even for Fillmore. Are you seriously telling me a librarian was so obliviously lost in a book that they didn’t realize every book in the library was being checked out? If they did it book by book, that must’ve taken hours.
Also, the culprit is incredibly obvious from the get-go once you meet him because he’s a bit overly dramatic in his reaction to the crime. Much like the first episode where the culprit is obviously the person who seemingly cares most about what was damaged or stolen.
His plan didn’t even make full sense. He complains about never being able to read the best books in the library because they’re always checked out. He wanted to keep all of the books, especially the best ones, for himself. But how did he plan it to take out the good books too as this mass and sudden book heist was happening if those particular books are always checked out?
There’s also the school-yard forensics going on. Fillmore has had a touch of forensics in their episodes so far, but this one was the first to really get down into it. And I gotta say, this is where any intelligent viewer would constantly call BS. I can handle the inconsistencies, oddities and outlandish goings on in regards to the crimes because that’s what they intend on doing, but a lot of this stuff is hard to swallow.
For instance, I get that Ingrid is a genius, but she can identify custard under a microscope, especially when it’s a year old? She can also microscopically tell the difference between two different salt samples from various brands of pretzels?
Also, they have fingerprinting. This isn’t really entirely out there because, for the most part, a good chunk of actual fingerprinting is done by hand in a visual inspection, so a kid might have the know-how to pull it off, which Tehama seems to be.
Despite realistically having Ingrid struggle for a while to lift the fingerprint properly (even though, after all of those attempts on that mug, all of the prints must’ve been destroyed by the time she was actually able to get one) they have her instantly, and from a distance, match the fingerprint of Fillmore’s with the fingerprint on a soda rocket she found in the gym’s ceiling. I’m not expecting forensic precision and accuracy with a cartoon, especially one that is obviously embellishing on numerous aspects of school life for the sake of making a police setting possible, but it still catches my eye.
Which brings us to the subplot. While the Safety Patrollers are chasing Clementina for an unrelated crime, Ingrid notices a soda can rocket lodged in the ceiling of the gym. Without telling Fillmore, she requests that it be taken down so she can examine it. She discovers that there is custard residue on it and asks around if there have been any incidents involving custard recently. Tehama says that last year, before Ingrid transferred, one of the faculty members was trying to break the world record for largest bowl of custard. As he was trying to empty the last small bowl into the big bowl, the platform the big bowl was sitting on gave way, causing a huge custard flood in the gym.
Tehama points Ingrid in the direction of Fillmore since the brand of soda used in the rocket was only sold in Cleveland, where Fillmore used to live before they moved to wherever this takes place.
She matches Fillmore’s print to one lifted from the rocket, but keeps her findings to herself. However, she finds herself annoyed when he treats Clementina as a ‘lost cause’ when that’s exactly what many people thought, and some still think, of Fillmore back in his troublemaking days.
Fillmore realizes what Ingrid found out and explains what happened. He didn’t cause the custard spill. That truly was an accident caused by a buckling platform.
However, the rocket was his attempt to try to make the spill happen. The platform was already falling when he shot it off, and the angle of the wood sent the rocket into the ceiling, where it stayed for a year. He was caught sometime later on an unrelated but serious charge and the Safety Patroller who nabbed him gave him an ultimatum – either help him with a case or spend the rest of the school year in detention. He decided to help and turned over a new leaf as a Safety Patroller.
We never learn the name of the Safety Patroller who helped him out, but it’s a decent backstory for Fillmore either way.
I will say that Fillmore is being kinda out of character in this episode. He’s usually not so dismissive of the criminals he deals with. Hell, he had faith in a kid who was so bad that he was isolated from the other kids and had to take his classes in a special prison cell with no one else in the room. Yet he’s now completely ignoring a plethora of hard evidence that full-out proves Clementina didn’t do it just because of one piece of easily planted circumstantial evidence and Fillmore’s seeming vendetta against him. It’s just not like Fillmore is all.
It’s also a bit weird how quickly Clementina turned around. Fillmore changed his ways because someone showed him a better path. Clementina went from a complete asshole criminal who only cared about money and prestige to someone who willingly wants to help the Safety Patrol without even being asked. Fillmore didn’t show him any better way before this point. They were butting heads the whole time up until the climax.
This episode is just a big mixed bag. I liked the glimpse into Fillmore’s backstory and the case was alright, but I don’t think they did enough with Clementina to really draw the parallels enough for this to be that impacting on Fillmore or the audience. The culprit was pretty obvious, especially since there were far fewer red herrings than normal (let’s see, it’s either the obvious guy everyone’s pointing the finger at immediately or the only other child character who has been prevalent so far. Hm.)
The crime itself was just a bit too far out there to be plausible unless X Middle School has the dumbest librarian ever.
In addition, the forensics stuff is mostly a bit too tough to swallow if you know anything about forensics, though it really is one of those things you just have to let slide for entertainment value. I know I just thought it was cool when I was a kid (and, hell, it sparked an interest in forensics so much that my focus for my degree was forensic psychology) And Fillmore’s on the OOC side in this episode.
Plot: Fifteen teenagers are accepted into the prestigious Hope’s Peak Academy for high school, but they soon find themselves drugged and sealed within the walls of the empty academy….well, empty except for a robotic teddy bear named Monobear who tells them that they’re completely trapped in the school and the only way out is to ‘graduate’. How do you graduate? Quite simple, really. You just have to get away with murder.
Breakdown: This is one of those anime that, when I saw the first episode, I really wanted to finish it as soon as possible….In a good way. This may seem….weird…but I actually like stories that involve people being trapped somewhere with a bunch of mysteries to solve and knowing that you can trust no one because they may want you dead for legitimate reasons. Most importantly, I love murder mysteries, and that’s really what this series is.
‘Danganronpa The Animation’ is an anime version of a PSP game of the same name. I’ve never played said game, but I really want to, especially give the fact that the trial format seems a lot like Phoenix Wright to a degree.
Only one person out of all of the students is allowed to ‘graduate,’ and the ‘get away with murder’ aspect is really only keeping the murder a secret from your fellow classmates. Monobear is allowed to know everything and pretty much does know everything due to the cameras that he has placed in nearly every room of the school. I should also mention that he has the students pinned pretty badly under his…paw.
In addition to the cameras and everything being controlled and monitored through their school-issue PDAs (And the entire school being sealed like a fallout shelter), he also has several methods of instantly punishing students when they break rules. By ‘punish’ I mean ‘brutally murder’. Also, for a reason not stated until the ending, the police will not come rescue them nor will anyone else come looking for them. They are completely on their own with their only given option to kill someone and get away with it in order to leave.
Once a murder has been committed, the students will have a set amount of time to investigate the murder and examine evidence. Once Monobear feels enough time has gone by, or if he gets bored or impatient, the trial starts.
During the trial phase, Monobear’s role is to sometimes give other information or confirm some suspicions, but for the most part he just sits there watching the trial unfold until someone has been pegged as the murderer. The trials are interesting in that the students vote on who they believe is the culprit after deliberating amongst themselves. Naegi, our main character, is given three ‘verbal bullets’ (Objections to conflicting evidence or testimonies) to use during the trial, except on special occasions when he’s given six. He solves basically all of the cases because…well, main character. However, it’s up to everyone else to vote on who is actually the culprit.
The other interesting part of the trials is in the voting process. Here’s how it works; the students converse about who they think the killer is. After Naegi’s points, the students usually agree with his decisions, except on a couple occasions, and select the actual culprit. However, there is a very risky part to this trial for everyone involved that adds a lot of stress to the situation. If the vote is unanimous for a person who did not do it; the people who voted for the innocent person get sentenced to death. So not only does the killer have to worry about getting caught but everyone else has to worry about not catching the killer.
As a slight spoiler, I will say that this never happens. However, I don’t quite understand how this would pan out. Obviously, the killer would not be sentenced to death no matter who they voted for because that’s the whole point; to frame someone else for the murder or at the very least not deny it when someone else is suspected. If everyone else voted for that innocent person; that means you got away with the murder and would graduate. My question is what happens to the innocent person who was accused? They don’t get sentenced to death, do they? Do they get trapped in the school forever or do they really get killed for no reason?
If most of your classmates vote for the right suspect and a few people vote for the wrong one, the culprit is considered caught and the people who voted for the wrong person are saved by the others voting for the right person.
If the actual culprit is caught, the remaining students get to live but the killer has to die for getting caught. The punishment phase has an art style all its own with a mixture of CGI and cardboard cutout-like animation. It’s pretty cool, and some of the imagery gets very imaginative. Monobear has set up ironic and incredibly gruesome manners of death for the killers. I can’t really explain what they are because that would spoil the killers’ identities, but they range from really gruesome crazy to really weird crazy.
When the trial is over and the punishment has been done, the students go back to their lives in the school waiting for another murder to occur. If they go too long without murdering one another, Monobear will give extra incentives to ‘graduate’.
That is one of the iffier aspects of this series – visual aspects of the trials. It just seems weird to me that they included the Visual Novel-esque format for their trials. Everywhere else, the intros, clues, evidence etc. are fine but it seems weird to include it in the trials mostly because there’s no really point in showing us the ‘verbal bullets’ or the points where you may find contradictions in someone’s testimony. We aren’t usually given enough time to think about these and it’s not like we’re answering anyway – Naegi is.
I honestly don’t want to spoil this series because I really enjoyed it, so I’ll just be diving into short character descriptions before continuing with a few other points. I’ll also note that all of the characters in this series are labeled as being a ‘Super Duper High School (title)’, their main point in excellence that allowed them to enroll in Hope’s Peak, even if some of the titles are kinda silly.
Makoto Naegi – Super Duper High School Luckster: Naegi got into Hope’s Peak through a raffle, earning him the title ‘Super Duper High School Luckster’ as that was really his only notable trait beyond the fact that he’s really optimistic. To be honest, considering the nature of the school, he’s really anything but lucky. Naegi as our main character is a really good choice. He’s pretty bland, mostly to allow the viewer or player to project their own personality onto him, but also very likable. He seems to find good in everyone no matter the situation. Plus I love the hell out of that jacket. God, I want that jacket.
Sayaka Maizono – Super Duper High School Idol: The only person that Naegi seems to know out of this whole group, Maizono used to go to Junior high with Naegi, but he never believed she ever noticed him because he was so plain and she was, well, a super duper high school idol. However, she shows that she does indeed remember him and they become friends. They soon rely on each other even more in regards to their situation.
Junko Enoshima – Super Duper High School Model: Not much to say about Junko. She has huge pink pigtails and an attitude. You pretty much want her to die or know she’d have no qualms against killing someone.
Sakura Ogami – Super Duper High School Fighter: Sakura looks, sounds and acts like a very muscular guy. In fact, the only reason I questioned her sex at first was because she wore a sailor uniform like female high schoolers typically wear. Despite her appearance and her title, Sakura is actually a very kindhearted girl with a lot of honor. She quickly becomes friends with another female student, Asahina, and their friendship becomes a major point in the series. Sakura became one of my favorite characters.
Leon Kuwata – Super Duper High School Baseball Star: Leon has a pretty cool character design but a fairly forgettable personality….and might I ask whose big idea was it for him to be wearing a blood stain t-shirt in a murder mystery show?
Celestia Ludenberg – Super Duper High School Gambler: A goth character with one of those weird finger bands that are also blades. Celes remains fairly calm throughout the proceedings as she believes that they need to adapt to their situation to survive instead of playing into Monobear’s hands by actually killing people.
Aoi Asahina – Super Duper High School Swimmer: Aoi is a very strong yet sensitive girl. She tries to remain optimistic despite the horrible situation she’s in and finds great strength in her friendship with Sakura. Despite this, the numerous murders and deaths take a toll on her resolve.
Kyoko Kirigiri – Super Duper High School Detective: Kirigiri’s title is actually not given in the beginning like the others. She’s merely labeled ‘Super Duper High School ???’ until later on. This may be a spoiler, but not really. Kirigiri herself is a rather mysterious girl throughout most of the series. She’s constantly running off from the group to find evidence and explore the school for clues, causing many of her classmates to be suspicious of her during many of the murder trials. She’s quite obsessed with finding out who the mastermind is behind this school.
Kiyotaka Ishimaru – Super Duper High School Prefect: Ishimaru is one of the more entertaining of the bunch. He really, truly, seriously lives up to his title because he is obsessed with being a model student, rule follower, everything. No matter the situation they’re in, he wants to follow the straight and narrow. Ishimaru also has a really freaky character design. By all accounts, it’s insanely tame compared to the others, but dammit his eyes and eyebrows. Geez.
Yasuhiro Hagakure – Super Duper High School Shaman: Despite his title, he never does much in terms of fortune telling in the series. Hagakure is a very friendly individual, but also somewhat panicky and nervous and dear lord look at his hair. That is some hair right there. Damn.
Hifumi Yamada – Super Duper High School Fanfic Maker: Yamada is….something else. He’s the fat guy of the group and creepy to boot. He falls over himself to cater to the whims of people like Celes and comes off as a bit of a perv. He’s also an anime nut who has a thing for fanart of pretty girls.
Touko Fukawa – Super Duper High School Bookworm: Fukawa is incredibly annoying as she’s panicky, extremely paranoid and is constantly shaking and accusing people of things. She also never seems to have her own opinions as she’ll blindly follow quite literally any line of reasoning in the trials, causing her vote to switch back and forth whenever there’s a new point brought up. Doesn’t help at all that she essentially stalks and lusts over another character named Togami whom I’ll get to in a minute. She also harbors a secret that makes her much more entertaining and tolerable.
Byakuya Togami – Super Duper High School Scion: Kaiba—Excuse me, Togami is an heir to an extremely powerful corporation run by his proud Togami family. Togami is a very stone-faced individual who is constantly butting heads with nearly everyone. The only one he seems to get along with in the least is Naegi and that’s only because he seems to subtly respect Naegi’s deduction skills.
Despite this, they’re no where near ‘friends’. That also doesn’t change the fact that he’s an asshole. You know how I just explained how I find Fukawa really annoying? Well, he basically does nothing but throw really cruel insults her way and even I was feeling bad for her. Don’t feel too bad though as she turns everything Togami says into a compliment since she has a huge crush on him. Togami also never really gets better in his attitude as episodes go on, but he is just as determined as Kirigiri to find out who is behind this.
Mondo Owada – Super Duper High School Outlaw Biker: Owada’s also kinda hard to like and look at his ultra-Kuwabara hairdoo. Dang.
Anyway, as you’d expect from a gang member, he’s extremely abrasive and picks a lot of fights, even knocking out Naegi at one point. His anger is what first showcases Monobear’s true hold on everyone as Owada tries to attack Monobear, but his defense systems caused him to explode. Owada was unharmed because he threw Monobear before he exploded, but it displayed one of the primary rules of the school; do not attack the principal (Monobear). He gets better later on, however, as he finds a weird friendship or brotherhood in Ishimaru.
Chihiro Fujisaki – Super Duper High School Programmer: Fujisaki is a very timid and seemingly weak individual. She harbors more than one secret that will be both very useful and very devastating to the entire class.
Monobear: Monobear is a very entertaining antagonist. His design is also pretty cool. Half is a white teddy bear, the other is a black psychotic looking bear with sharp teeth. Monobear seems really entertained when a murder occurs, but gets bored easily when nothing is happening or when the trials are going on for too long. His mastermind controls nearly everything in the school. He has cameras practically everywhere and everything is monitored through electronic access. He also has guns and other booby traps placed in some areas of the school to prevent rule breaking. Despite being entertaining, he’s not a very impressive antagonist as it’s shown that it’s not necessarily difficult to make him lose his cool.
This series has many twist and turns and interesting cases as well as a very intriguing storyline. I greatly enjoyed the murder mysteries, the atmosphere and the mystery behind the school as a whole. Most of the characters are very likable and entertaining. Even the ones who got on my nerves didn’t manage to press their luck too much. Togami was really the only one who stayed on my dislike fully list because his damn pride and arrogance.
If there is one glaring flaw with this show, it’s the fact that, unlike other mystery shows like Detective Conan, you’re not given much of an opportunity to solve the mysteries with Naegi, which sucks. I mean, yes, almost every piece of evidence that Naegi uses to solve the crime is given before the trial, but there are some moments of unfair revelations in terms of using information that is somehow available to Naegi but not to the viewer. In addition, you’re just given the pieces of evidence and not given any hints as to why these items may be significant. I’m not saying hold our hands and walk us through everything, that takes away the fun of the mystery, but at least give us enough information to allow us to figure out why certain pieces of evidence are important.
While you may believe that being trapped in a school isn’t really grounds for murder, especially multiple and gruesome murders, it should be noted that Monobear gives the students several incentives to prompt them to commit these murders such as the promise of large amounts of money, showing threatening and real situations involving their loved ones, threatening to expose deep secrets and even placing a mole within the group who has been tasked to kill someone if no murders occur for long periods of time.
I honestly didn’t see the ending twist coming, and it was really clever. While I didn’t see it coming it did answer a question that I had nagging in my head about a very early death in the series. However, I will give points off for the ending a bit. See, I mentioned before that objections in this series are called ‘verbal bullets’ or just ‘ammunition’. Well, let’s just say the finale involves Naegi shooting bullets of literal hope at people. Cheesy as hell, but I’ll allow it.
Art and Animation: The art is wonderful and very stylized. Some character designs are a little too crazy for my taste and sometimes it really seems like they’re using character design to make up for lack of real personality, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the designs are really memorable and appealing. The animation is good. It feels visual-novel-y sometimes, but nothing super noticeable. The punishment sequences in particular is really done well. CGI is integrated very well in various other aspects of the series. As a final note, and I’m not entirely certain if this is the same in every version, but the blood in this series is ‘censored’ to be bright pink and it kinda distracts from the show a bit. Looks like everyone’s bleeding gel pen ink.
Music: The music is great. I love the OP and ED, and both are incredibly addictive. They also do this cool bit at the end that shows Naegi in a classroom and each episode that has a death includes one more person to the picture. They also add an 8-bit intro to the ending that’s pretty neat.
Bottomline: If you like murder mystery shows or video games, or if this sort of set up appeals to you at all, check it out. The ending cheese is really the only slightly major issue I have with it. I loved it, and I look forward to checking out the continuations.
Additional Information and Notes: Danganronpa the Animation was produced by Lerche, producers of Persona 4: The Animation and Kino’s Journey. It was directed by Seiji Kishi, director of My Bride is a Mermaid, Angel Beats and Persona 4: The Animation.
Recommended Audience: Boy this plot sounds like Sesame Street doesn’t it? You have psycho killers, large amounts of hot pink paint—I mean ‘blood’, depictions, explanations and scenes of murder plus several shots of corpses that have usually been killed in pretty awful manners. No nudity, no sex, no swearing I don’t believe. 14+
Plot: Zeke Palmer has a magic electric drawing pad that allows him to alter reality and create things from thin air just by drawing them.
Breakdown: It’s like Chalkzone mixed with Fairly Odd Parents only not nearly as imaginative, funny, or with as much freedom.
I know, I’ve done similar bits before, but it’s true. This concept, on paper (….puns?), is a very good one that hasn’t been done to death but has been done, ala Chalkzone. But its execution here is just plain not good.
First and foremost, this is not an origin story episode. Which is….alright, because we can get the gist of the main plot from the theme song and the episode itself. Zeke has some sort of tablet (called ‘the pad’. How creative) that can create anything he draws. It seems like this ‘power’ is a secret, but I don’t really know. His best friend knows, and that’s all I got.
The origins of the pad are rushed through in the theme song and still make no sense. An electronic drawing pad was being assembled at a factory when the machine suddenly malfunctioned and caused lots of sparks and….magic? The machine threw it out, seeing it as defective, but it bounced out of the bin and out the window where Zeke caught it, somehow instantly knew its powers and how to use it and used to it get away from a dog that was chasing them…..Okie.
Next, Zeke is bland and forgettable with his only notable traits being that he’s lazy, selfish and inconsiderate. Because that’s what I want in my main character – unlikable traits.
To give you the low down, let’s go through Zeke’s actions throughout the course of the episode.
We spend well over two minutes hearing him bitch and moan and have a breakdown over having porridge for breakfast yet again. Apparently his insanely neurotic mother makes it every single day. However, this ‘joke’ has no real setup because we don’t go in knowing this and the joke runs for way too long and amounts to nothing.
After he has a minor porridge breakdown, he bitches and moans that they never have something good like pancakes for breakfast. Aw, poor baby. Your loving mother takes the time out to make you breakfast every morning and it’s not what you want. If you want pancakes, get off your ass and make them.
And he takes my advice…..by going to his room and drawing a huge pile of pancakes on the pad, which materialize before him. And by ‘huge pile’ I mean he stockpiles his room nearly to the ceiling with pancakes and he chows them all down….without syrup or butter. I know that would be messy, but without syrup or butter, you might as well be eating mattress foam.
He gets a huge gut because of this, and, continuity honored, his gut stays this way for the entirety of the episode. However, he completely fails a fitness test at school because of it. Why the hell would you draw a room full of pancakes to eat when you have a fitness test that day? Huge gut and cartoonish appetite aside, eating even a regular helping of pancakes before strenuous exercise would make me feel like garbage.
He got the worst grades on the test in school history, so he’s sent to a fitness camp to bulk up and pass. He exercises a little and gets so fed up with the whole thing that he draws a hot air balloon to escape, but drew it with a nearly empty fuel gauge and crashes…..Yeah, don’t ask me why he did that. He brings it up (“I had to draw it with a FULL fuel gauge?!”) but it still makes no sense (Why would you draw it with an empty gauge to begin with?….or a fuel gauge at all?). Anyway, he makes it home and obviously gets found out because his crazy camp counselor instantly finds he’s escaped, goes straight to his house, searches it and finds Zeke.
That was a pointless waste of time because of stupid, by the way. Of course they’d find out and call his parents. Of course they’d look for him. Of course the first place they’d look is his house. Maybe they wouldn’t practically break in and search without asking permission, but they wouldn’t just leave him be. And he knows this camp is necessary to get him a passing grade, so he should know escaping is pointless. If he were smart, he’d draw a way to make the camp or test easy as hell to pass. Hell, he has reality altering powers, just draw a test with an A grade on it.
Also, just to get this plot hole/annoyance out of the way, Zeke’s father, despite hearing that Zeke has to fitness camp to pass his test, for some reason thinks it’s ridiculous that Zeke would be a camper at a fitness camp and that him, being an artist, must be at an art camp. Even after telling him that and being found at the house, escaping from the fitness camp, Zeke exclaims later that his dad still thinks he’s at art camp…..Is his dad an idiot or is this very poorly written? I can’t tell.
Zeke recruits his best friend, Jay, in the middle of the night to help him pass his test. He claims he can’t just draw himself before he ate all those pancakes,because going back, deleting and erasing always goes horribly wrong. We just have to take his word for it, but uh…..just draw yourself in a fit way you’ve never been. That way it’s an alteration not a redo or a deletion. It’s not that hard.
Just a note, Jay does not help him at all. Not for lack of trying or because Jay’s a bad friend, but because he has no way of helping him. Zeke has the pad and Jay could easily give him advice over the phone, but he begs him to put aside his studying for an algebra exam to help him at the camp and he, reluctantly, goes. When Zeke’s pad gets taken away by the counselor, they both sneak into his office to get it, but it’s entirely unnecessary for Jay to be there. He doesn’t do anything because there’s nothing for him to do. He does point out that Zeke is running away faster than he is and asks if he’s been working out, but bite me Zeke’s Pad. There’s no way a day and half of moderate exercise with a huge gut hanging over his pants made him fit enough for there to be any noticeable improvement.
When he gets his pad back, he thinks of the perfect solution. He draws them at Art Camp, which alters reality….somehow, to making everything an art test and art challenges, which Zeke excels at.
The only repercussions of Zeke’s selfish and lazy actions is that Ike, his older jock brother who both gave him the initial fitness test and worked as a counselor at the fitness camp, is still rough on him, they have to draw Ike in his boxers (Jay’s still at the camp because of no reason whatsoever.) and Zeke’s mom makes him pancakes when he gets home as a gift for passing his test, which, wahmp wahmp, makes Zeke freak out….Also, he’s instantly thin again when he changes the camp to an art camp…..continuity makes sense, right!?
Nothing about this episode was funny. Not a damn thing made me even want to put effort into moving my lip muscles. I’m watching a lazy inconsiderate idiot get himself into trouble, easily get out of it and get what he wants all the while bothering his friends and scarily manipulating reality and those around him. Not to mention a total lack of a lesson being learned or comeuppance for his behavior. He could at least have done something nice for someone else with that pad (like, maybe something to help Jay with his algebra test), but he just uses it stupidly for stuff he wants and is too lazy to do himself.
There’s also a subplot with the rest of his forgettable family with his mother making them work out and eat healthy non-stop. It goes the way you think and ends the way you think.
The jokes they attempt have no thought put into them. Most of them are unfunny slapstick gags, burp jokes and a fart joke, the rest is just cartoon zaniness in how quickly and sporadically they move, which may as well be slapstick.
As an artist who would value this power like a gift from the gods, it bugs the hell out of me that this is such wasted potential. I would love another Chalkzone-esque show. It allows for such amazing creative freedom in plots, characters and powers. However, it is just not used well here. There are vague and undefined restrictions by default and they can’t use the power many times because the thing needs to be charged.
Not to mention the fact that there’s no artistic merit going into these drawings. We never see him actually ‘draw’ anything. We get some weird overdone transition, see the finished drawing for about a second and then cut to the thing appearing or reality changed. We don’t even see him draw anything for the hell of it or at all despite the fact that people keep saying he’s creative and loves to draw.
Even in the very end where he gets his altered test to draw Ike, we don’t get to see him draw or see his finished drawing. This is a show based around art-fueled powers….with no art.
Speaking of art, the CGI cel-shaded art for the show is really blah with no real style to it. The colors are bright and appealing, but that’s about it. These graphics look pretty dated for a show that was supposedly made in 2010, and the animation, while not having many errors, doesn’t have a good fluidity about it. Half the time it’s jarring shifts and the other it’s slow moving in a sliding fashion.
The music’s alright, but forgettable. I listened to the theme song three times just five minutes ago and I’ve already forgotten it.
Two-dimensional characters with the MC having no real good traits conveyed so far, poorly written story structure and dialogue, no good jokes and a complete waste of a fairly good plot and you leave me with no reason to want to continue.
Also, in spite of the fact that this show won two Elan awards for Best Animation TV Production and Art Direction, this show only lasted one season. Hm.
Plot: In season one, Godlord Golan is sent to earth from his home dimension of Gkrool after a rebellion uprising hurls him through a portal. He lands in the Beekler home where he lives with his acolyte, a goth girl named Dylan, as they wreak havoc across Oak Grove, Minnesota.
In season two, Golan is summoned to earth by Dylan after she finds an ancient demonic tome in the basement of her mother’s workplace. Golan returns to his home dimension shortly after only to find it has been taken over by his acolyte, Kruung, who sends the demons of the dimension after Golan. He returns to earth after fleeing the demons and wishes to take over our world instead in hopes of one day creating an army that can combat Kruung back in his own dimension.
Breakdown: I really didn’t expect to ever like this series based on the premise, but I actually got into it quite a bit. I like dark comedies when they’re not being overly gross or seeming like they’re gunning for pure shock humor, like Mr. Pickles, a show that can die in a the hottest of hell’s fire. Granted, there is a lot of maiming, murder and rape implications, but it’s not usually so in your face about it that it put me off very much.
Dylan really came out being the best character to me through both seasons as they mostly kept her character consistent in how ridiculously ‘evil’ yet still somewhat realistic she really is. I love watching her do pretty much anything as you can guarantee that the contrast between her and her environment will be pretty stark. Plus her dialogue is usually pretty funny in that she’s constantly trying to overly exaggerate her words like she’s a villain. Think Zim from Invader Zim only as a small goth girl and much more violent. She has an unhealthy obsession with demonic forces, gross things and overt violence, and quite a few times she gets in on the maiming and murder.
Golan can also be a lot of fun and pretty funny, but season two kinda butchered him a bit for me. More on that later.
Long story short, I really liked season one a lot more than season two, and not in the usual way that works.
As you can probably tell from the plot synopsis, the second season isn’t really a continuation. It’s a complete reboot. The first season consisted of six ten minute long episodes and when the second season was picked up by FOX, they extended the episodes to 22 minutes and gave the entire series a reboot. From what I’ve heard, the creators deem the second season as the more legit first season while the ‘first season’ is really a series of shorts. Which is a shame because I really believe this series worked best in the first format.
In season one, Golan acts much more like you’d expect a ‘fish out of water’ demonic godlord to act. He makes overly dramatic statements, threatens a lot of people and does a lot of horrible things without thinking any of it is a big deal. Despite the fact that human stuff like watching TV, hanging out with the cool kids and fitting in does appeal to Golan, his first and foremost duty is being the demonic godlord that he is, wreaking havoc and trying to take over the world.
In season two, Golan basically got neutered. Golan is now more ‘human’ though more ‘partier’ human than he has any right to be. Dylan pretty much has to drag him on evil adventures all the time instead of him being proactive in his demonic duties, which is lame. If he is being proactive in that duty, it’s usually for some human related selfish end.
He’s also gotten a voice change, which does not work for him. Before, he had a very ‘monster’ like voice that was gruff and gurgly, performed by series’ creator Josh Miller. In the second season, he pretty much just has a slightly gruff human voice done by Rob Riggle. When old Golan would get ‘demonic’ he didn’t need to have any audio alterations done to his voice to make him seem any more menacing because his voice was just fine for it. Now they have to give him the stereotypical ‘devil’ filter.
Dylan is mostly the same, but now she is also a bit more human and has a seeming excuse written in for her odd and hateful behavior. Her dad’s either dead or not around. In the first season, Dylan had a dad, Richard, a really conservative somewhat doormat of a dad who served as more or less foil for Golan. In season two, he doesn’t exist. It’s never explained what happened to Dylan’s dad or even if Richard is the dad in this series, but they imply that he either died (of Robot AIDs) or left the family.
Dylan is still the best character in both versions, working off Golan and utilizing her personality pretty well, but the fact that they changed her story in season two kinda makes it less fun. I mean, her becoming a hateful death and demon obsessed sociopathic goth is just a bit sad when it’s partially because she feels lonely and lacks a father figure, which only gets worse in the season two finale. In season one, it’s funnier because you just think she’s a bit of a psycho kid with a legit passion for this stuff.
Carole, Dylan’s mom, stays roughly the same, but she’s crazier and more sexually frustrated somehow despite being a single mother who has no problem offering up her sexuality to people.
Dylan’s older sister, Alexis, is kept the same through versions, but the new animation style basically makes her look crazy. She can’t say a sentence without flipping her head or making big gestures. This might be a play on how overly dramatic some teens are, but it just seems more annoying than anything and this style is eventually applied to basically anyone, especially Carole.
Speaking of the new animation style, while you could argue that there is more detail and fluid animation in season two, I preferred season one’s. It was a bit on the rough jutting side, but it was fine. In the second season, everything’s a bit too animated. People don’t move their bodies that much when they’re just talking. It’s distracting and, like I previously mentioned, sometimes annoying.
Despite the fact that the characters are made slightly more human in the second season, the dark humor also gets amped up a bit. Like MacKenzie B and her friends are all viciously murdered in episode one and a baby is killed by either car crash or being burned alive in episode two. Yeah, Golan killed some people in season one, but for the most part he just maimed lots of people. Not that it really matters anyway since MacKenzie B is miraculously alive and well in episode two.
The finale with Keith’s background is even more confusing. They explain in a flashback that Dylan used to be a perfectly normal sweet pink dress and bow wearing little girl who used to be best buddies with Keith, Alexis’ boyfriend, after her dad ‘went away’ as a way for her to have a male role model. However, Alexis became his girlfriend and he never did stuff with Dylan again, causing her to become the evil and violence-obsessed goth girl she is today. It also explains that the teardrops (season one)/slash marks (season two) on the bottom of her eyes are actually scars as a result of her tearing at her eyelids when Keith was taken away from her.
It was never implied at all that Keith used to be Dylan’s best buddy nor that Keith felt bad about abandoning Dylan back then nor that Dylan had any lasting trauma from it. In fact, he’s made fun of Dylan right to her face several times before this revelation, yet suddenly he’s like ‘Oh…hi Dylan’ after that flashback and she huffs in response. It was nice to give Keith some backstory, but that was one of the sloppiest ways to shoehorn in such a story thread, not that they do much with this anyway in the grand scheme of things.
Not to mention, there have been numerous times where Dylan’s given zero shits about possibly losing Golan, even in similar circumstances, but the concept of such a thing in this episode is inconceivable to her just because it’s matching almost exactly how she lost Keith.
A character named Swingly is introduced in the finale of the first season as a spastic and odd little boy that Dylan gets a crush on. In season two, he’s basically the same. He’s pretty entertaining in his own right in both versions, even if they recycle several jokes of his between versions, but in the end of his only part in season two, they make him gay and give him a boyfriend, subsequently crushing Dylan’s first crush. I’m perfectly fine with making him gay, but it just seemed like such a dick move, writing-wise, to Dylan. They could’ve done a lot more with that pairing, but they just decided to scrap it. It’s even worse considering there are so few people Dylan actually likes.
Another strike against season two is the fact that the citizens of the town are way crazier than they were before, and some of them even possess supernatural powers. The thing that made season one so funny was the stark contrast between how evil and crazy Dylan and Golan were in comparison to the rest of the normal citizens in the world. Yet they were also pretty much accepting what Golan and Dylan were doing as if it were somewhat normal or, for comparison sake, like it’s a rambunctious child with an imaginary friend, only magnified.
If you make everyone else just as crazy and weird, while also making it so nothing has consequences (like MacKenzie B coming back to life) and other people having supernatural powers (like the doctor being able to time travel; almost certain that’s not a Doctor Who reference) then it makes it much less funny. It’s just a town of crazy people with a demon and an ‘evil’ little girl as the main characters. Added to the fact that Golan is made more human in the second season just basically waters down season two entirely. It still has its moments, but they lost much of what made it funny to begin with.
This also makes Dylan’s issues seem kinda moot. Yes, she’s still quite a bit different from the other kids, but since so many people are so crazy and everyone sees them as normal, it makes her problem of feeling alone and misunderstood because she’s so different seem like less of an issue because, really, she’s not so different. Though considering, as of the finale, she has three major ‘tragic backstory’ reasons behind her behavior, I guess even this point is moot.
As a contrasting example, in season one, Dylan and Golan are trying to capture the tooth fairy. Dylan’s dad, the one who’s really been leaving money under her pillow, gets his arm caught in a bear trap that Golan left under the pillow to catch the tooth fairy. As he’s writhing in pain, he decides to keep up the charade of the tooth fairy by saying he was stealing the money she left behind instead of revealing that the tooth fairy isn’t real.
It’s important to note that the parents are the only ones who put value in Dylan’s belief in the tooth fairy, since they believe it’s normal for kids to believe in that stuff and revealing the truth too soon in their lives might be heartbreaking. Dylan doesn’t really care if she’s real one way or another, and the only reason they’re trying to capture her in the first place is because Golan wants to bone her. His ridiculous and misguided sacrifice is for the sake of their view of normalcy, and that’s what makes it funny. If this was some crazy character hollering and jumping around then falling down or exploding or something, this whole scene would be boring.
Another good example of this is the running gag in season one where Golan keeps hitting on and making sexual references to Alexis and Carole. It’s funny because Alexis hates Golan and it’s also somewhat offensive considering she’s right on the border of legal age. It’s funny with Carole because she’s married and is obviously sexually frustrated while being attracted to Golan, as evidenced by her spicy Golan fanfiction. However, she can’t bring herself to just do it with Golan because she is loyal to her husband.
In the fourth episode of season two? Both Alexis and Carole blurt out that they’ve had sex with Golan, and both times were never mentioned or ‘shown’ on screen. So yeah, they basically just burnt that joke to make a not-really-joke. The reason they said it was because she was comparing the pain of breaking her arm to the pain of having sex with Golan…..Not like it would’ve still been funny with Carole anyway since she seems to be a freer sexual being who is now single.
Season two’s run time is also a problem for me. The first season’s episodes were all between 10 and 11 minutes long, which I found perfect for this type of formula. This show doesn’t really call for intricate storylines and extended plot elements. 10 to 11 minutes is all it really needed to tell the specific story it wanted to tell while keeping up the pacing just fine. In the second season, the episodes are extended to 22 minutes, and I can’t say I was a fan of the change. It just seems like, for the stories it presented, except maybe the pilot, 22 minutes was too long. It felt like the stories dragged on for a bit and tried to fill up extra time with sideplots that usually didn’t work very well.
FOX has officially canceled the series after it spent about a year in hiatus hell, which is a shame because I have faith that this series could’ve been something pretty great if it had more of an opportunity to get its footing in the new format.
Is it perfect? No. I wouldn’t even go so far as to say it’s really entirely great, but it has quite a few memorable moments and lines and you can have a ton of fun with the characters, especially in the first season.
As a final note, here are my favorite and least favorite episodes of both seasons.
Season 1 Favorite: Dylan Crushes Reading – Swingly is just a very entertaining character and his weird mannerisms and personality are perfect alongside Dylan’s. Plus, the plotline with her being unable to read is handled in a very funny fashion.
Season 1 Least Favorite:A Pox on Your Pox – I just didn’t like how Golan was treating Dylan during this entire episode. I know that seems like a weird thing to say considering he’s a demonic godlord, but he was just being a dick for most of this episode. Plus, it was kinda light on jokes that really worked.
Season 2 Favorite:Shell Raiser – It involves a bacteria ridden turtle with a sawblade taped to its back getting a magically possessed arm by a stoner that peer pressures Golan into messing up his and Dylan’s latest plot of infecting a huge vat of chili with turtle bacteria by pushing him into smoking weed. I don’t feel I need to say anything else.
Season 2 Least Favorite:On Golan Pond – This was one episode in the entire series that I pretty much hated. Golan sheds his skin and becomes a little chibi version of himself for 24 hours, leaving Dylan to protect him in the middle of the woods while they’re on vacation. He eventually gets taken by a mama wolf who sees him as one of her own. He then proceeds to treat the runt of the litter, a pup he calls ‘Runty’, like garbage. Runty, starving partially because of Golan taking the last teat, licks up some of Golan’s blood and becomes a monster bent on killing Golan. He is then killed by Dylan and his heart is ripped out and eaten by her. So, yeah, the only two jokes in there are Golan being cute and cuddly and treating a dying wolf pup like crap before viciously killing him.
Oh and there’s a stupid subplot about Carole deciding to let loose with Keith’s partier parents and falling in love with a Party Bot. Reminded me somewhat of that Futurama episode where Bender doesn’t want to get an upgrade.
Recommended Audience: There are rape implications and some sexual content, but no real sex scenes, nudity and so forth. There is swearing slung around, but surprisingly not a whole lot considering the subject matter. People get killed and maimed quite a bit, and there are several instances of animal abuse. 16+
Time Monster of the Day: Love-Love/Getalong – Love-Love’s ability is basically to make everyone….. well, get along. It instills feelings of love and caring into its targets and tries to quell fighting.
Plot: The land of time is in ruins and the king of said land, Toki G wants to seek out a new Time Detective to fix the time stream, stop the evil actions of TP Lady and her cohorts and save the land of time. He finds a great candidate in the caveboy named Genshi.
Brief personal background – This is probably the show I know least about. I remember seeing previews of it while watching KidsWB but I never sat down and watched….any of it. Hell, I never even knew the plot before this comparison. Hopefully I’ll be able to do its fans justice.
The theme song is completely changed, clips and music-wise. It’s weird; the entire theme is just tribal-like chanting and Saban actually puts a lame sing-a-long word prompt with Flint’s head as the prompt at the bottom of the screen. It’s not particularly bad, and it’s somewhat catchy.
Saban uses a stillframe that’s used near the end of the song for their title card. The original uses an animation of Genshi’s hammer. Since I don’t think these change over the course of the show, I won’t be taking note of title cards.
As for the original theme, it’s actually much better; clips and music-wise. It has a rather unique style to it.
I guess they didn’t misplace the opening narration; they straight up removed it. It was a scene giving the backstory of the show. There was a land of time that got attacked and nearly destroyed and now time is out of sorts. It’s up to Genshi and his friends to help put time back in proper order.
Name Change: TP Lady (Time Pilfer Lady,) is changed to Petra Fina.
TP Lady just says “Music start!” and we get nothing besides that for a bit until a vocal song pops up. In the dub, she says “set the course!” and then says to set the goal for some time in BC. The dub also adds in a bunch of inner dialogue in Petra Fina’s thoughts about how she’s going to get the time shifter and soon she’ll have enough time shifters to give to her ‘dark lord’ to destroy the land of time. Wow, if there were ever a more cliché plot, I’d have a more original response. She also says a bunch of stuff about how she loves evil and how much of her life is evil, including how she dresses.
Somewhere near the end of her internal speech, we get the lyrics to the vocal song which is also singing what she’s about, but it says she’s all about stealing beautiful things and taking over the world basically.
Name Change: Genshi is changed to Flint Hammerhead.
The vocal song is not in the dub.
TP Lady excuses her purposely walking off of the plane by saying her personality is to always charge forward. In the dub, she just says she thought they were on the ground.
TP Lady seems far funnier than Petra. And her dub voice is really awful…..but….sounds….really familiar….like….I know her grating villain voice from something beloved from my childho——–RITA REPULSA! Ah, Barbara Goodson….the VA for Rita Repulsa in The Power Rangers, Naota of FLCL, Masaru of Kikaider, and Laharal of Disgaea as well as a crapton of other things. The best VA with a nails-on-a-chalkboard voice. Sadly, as much as I have a guilty pleasure for her work, I don’t think she’s the best VA choice for Petra Fina since she really is just full on using her Rita voice, toned down just a little. Eh maybe she’ll grow on me.
The two goons with her just say ‘farewell’ as TP Lady gets eaten by the pterodactyl. In the dub, they each tell each other to get her.
I just witnessed a girl in red leather go back in time in a ship that looks like it belongs in Samurai Pizza Cats with a frog person and I don’t know what, turn a pterodactyl into a fossil using a ray gun, meanwhile a caveman and caveboy are chasing a triceratops on foot and the conflict is resolved with a fairy thing that looks like an eggplant with lips comes out of nowhere and puts a love spell on them……Anime, you so silly.
The title of Love-Love’s love ability is removed.
TP Lady says she didn’t know people existed in that era. Petra says to keep an eye on them because they look suspicious…..Cavemen in prehistoric times look ‘suspicious’? I mean, yeah. Cavemen didn’t exist with dinosaurs, but I don’t think she’s talking about that.
The weird goon guy says in surprise that she fossilized Love-Love, but she says it’s okay because they can change it back later. In the dub, they act like she intentionally did this. The goon is impressed with her shot and she boasts about perfect she is.
By the way, TP Lady masquerades as the other two human protagonists’, Tokio and Sora’s, teacher Ms. Aino. I was surprised when I thought they left her name alone, but then I checked the wiki….they didn’t. Her dubbed name is Ms. Iknow….Get it? I….KNOW? I don’t know how that’s really a joke, but there you go. Also, Saban, I see what you did there, but Iknow would not be pronounced that way given how it’s spelled as one word. It would likely be ‘Ick-nao’ or something.
Name Change: Sora Yamato is changed to Sarah Goodman. Her brother, Tokio, is changed to Tony.
Sarah is voiced by Tiffanie Christun who voiced Yolei in Digimon 02 while Tony is voiced by Brian Donovon who voiced Davis in Digimon 02 and Rock Lee in Naruto.
Tokio says fossils are boring since they’re just rocks. Ms. Aino says that may be, but the person to find the fossils that she’s looking for will instantly get a 100 on their next archaeology quiz. The kids react with “Really?!” In the dub, Tony says they’ll never find any fossils and Ms. Iknow says anyone who doesn’t want to look for fossils can just wait on the bus. And the kids just give the same robotic ‘yes, Ms. Iknow.’
Despite not having that same line about the 100 in the dub, Tony still has the same drive as Tokio about digging up fossils to get an A.
Tokio makes a somewhat sexist remark about how women fantasize while men have to be realistic. This is not present in the dub. He just says if they find a fossil, it’ll probably stink.
I don’t get how Sora and Tokio are twins. I know fraternal twins only look as much alike as any other siblings, but they don’t even look related. He has blue eyes, she has green. He has brown hair, she has hot pink. I would say she dyed it, which is possible….but this is anime.
Tokio finds something in the ground and believes it to be a fossil when it’s really an old toilet. He jokes around by pretending to use it, but Ms. Aino or Sora (I can’t tell) smacks him in the head and we see him lying on the ground as Ms. Aino leaves. The bit from Ms. Aino reacting to the find, Tokio pretending to use the toilet, him getting hit, and him on the ground are all removed.
It’s weird, because Saban doesn’t even try to give the slightest explanation as to what it even is.
When we cut back to Sora, she’s upset because Tokio is so embarrassing and that’s ‘typical of men’ (they’re both sexist – that’s nice). In the dub, she’s angry because apparently we’ve jumped somewhat in time with no indication and she’s upset because they’ve been digging for over an hour and found nothing.
Sora thinks to herself as she finds the fossil that it’s amazing that the fossil has been waiting over 200,000 years to meet her. In the dub, she thinks it looks like a pineapple, but she believes it to be a fossil.
Sora says as the fossil bounces around “Could this thing really be alive?”. Ya know, something a sane person might say. Sarah says “Hey there! Looks like you want to be friends!” Ya know, something a person who’s not allowed to hold anything sharper than a marshmallow Peep would say.
The eyecatches, as expected, are gone in the dub. They’re actually kinda cool. They show the time monster in fossilized form then uncover half of it in a checker pattern before the break. When the show returns, they uncover the rest. Today’s is Love-Love’s fossil.
It actually reminds me of Pokemon’s “Who’s that Pokemon?”
They add a panning shot of the city during this part.
The sign for the Yamato O Parts Research Facility is painted over to say ‘The Bureau of Time and Space’….which it isn’t. That’s a completely different, much larger facility that we see later on.
Saban scene shifts in order to add more dialogue to the little robot pterodactyl, Ptera, and Tokio. Also, the professor is just incredibly sleepy because he pulled an all-nighter, he’s not being woken up by an equation after sleeping for three days.
Professor Yamato asks if whatever they need can wait since he’s tired and it’s Sunday…Sunday? That can’t be right. Why would they be at school on a Sunday? Uncle Bernie says it’s okay and he can see what they brought since he needs to get up anyway. Also, if they were up in the hillside, how did they get to the bureau so quickly? Surely they can’t think Ms. Aino wouldn’t realize they’re missing.
So Saban didn’t scene shift, they scene cloned. They left the shots that they added in for no reason earlier in the places that they were already in.
While the scene with TP Lady and Dyna and Mite (the goons) is kept mostly the same, the dub adds in this weird line.
…..It sounds like they were trying to reference Ghostbusters and Good Times both at the same time………
Name Change: Apparently, Dyna’s name was changed to Dino in the dub because, according to the wiki, Dyna’s a girl name so they gave him a more masculine sounding name.
The original doesn’t have Professor Yamato spout out a bunch of stupid ‘equations’ (E=MC2 to the fourth power? That doesn’t even make sense.) like the dub does.
Uh oh, Sora prays to GOD hoping that the fossils can be revitalized since they must’ve been lonely in the ground for 200,000 years. In the dub, Sarah says that mantra that you’re supposed to say when you wish upon a star and says that her wish is to have the fossils revived so that they can “appreciate life on earth.”…..Whaaaaa? They’re not aliens. They’re fossils. And let’s say she actually meant so that they can appreciate being alive again….who’s to say they didn’t before?
Name Change: Toki-G, the ruler of the Land of Time, is changed to ‘Old Timer’….haha.
Ptera says Genshi gained the power of speech through that weird light. In the dub, he says the Professor’s revival program did it.
By the way, Flint’s voiced here by R. Martin Klein, whom I know best as Gomamon from Digimon and 001 from Cyborg 009. I wish he did more work. I like his voice.
Sora and Tokio ask why Genshi’s dad didn’t get turned back to normal too and the Professor says it’s a mystery. In the dub, Sarah and Tony ask if he’ll remain a rock forever and the Professor says definitely ‘yes’.
Sora calms Genshi down by saying not to worry because she’s sure they’ll be able to restore his dad to normal one day. In the dub, Sarah tells Flint to calm down and say he can be part of their family now. Yes, kid. Forget about your rock-dad and become a family with these weird strangers.
Genshi just keeps hopping up and down gleefully about how he and his dad will get to be together forever again. It’s actually very cute. In the dub, he takes this scene to awkwardly introduce himself and his dad.
Name Change: Oto-tan is changed to Rocky Hammerhead.
Name Change: Love-Love is changed to Getalong…….I feel…..like this is a Care Bears reference…..but I really don’t want it to be.
TP Lady either thinks to herself or says (I can’t tell) that children who don’t obey orders should be punished. Petra thinks to herself that if they were back in class she’d flunk her just for being ‘perky’. I don’t think she’s using that term right. Perky generally means upbeat and happy not demanding and protective like she was acting before that line.
In the original, TP Lady is the one who has a very short flashback to dealing with Genshi and Oto-tan. The scene in particular is just the scene where Genshi pushes the Love-Love fossil behind him and them both getting ready to fight. In the dub, Flint’s having the flashback to remembering Petra and the scene is changed (with a ripple effect) to Flint taking out the ship with a rock, the time criminals under their ship and Petra fossilizing Getalong, Flint and Rocky. The shots of Petri in close up are removed as well.
When Oto-tan increases in size, he yells ‘Fighting Spirit!’ It also seems like this effect wasn’t included in the tech that the Professor added to him since he seems surprised when he does it and saying ‘A mystery…’ In the dub, he says ‘Hammerhead, rock!” when doing this (*eye roll*) and Tony says ‘That’s a cool effect’ while the Professor says ‘I guess’.
Weird note here, but Petra and the others say ‘Our failure was a success!’ as their robot cat ship thing flies off into the sky with fireworks….I would say this is a poke/homage/rip-off of Pokemon’s Team Rocket blasting off scenes, but I can’t be sure. The shows came out at roughly the same time both in Japan and the States….
Tony: “We would’ve been gopher bait without you.”…..Gopher bait? Huh?
They remove a small scene where Genshi says he’s hungry. Genshi also doesn’t ask if he gets his own cave like Flint does.
They do add a short scene of the Professor talking for no reason, though.
When the dubbed Professor asks Flint if he wants to live with him…..little creepy.
The Chief of the Time Bureau says to give Genshi a Time Ride and a Time-Space detective booklet. In the dub, he says to give him a Time car or card, I couldn’t tell.
In the original, as I just mentioned, Genshi gets a Raidon (a Dinosaur-shaped time machine) and a Time Ride, which is a belt that remotely calls the Raidon. In the dub, the Professor says HE invented the Time Cycle and is giving it to Flint.
Sora says that Tokio will just have to keep trying to be a Time-Space Detective and Tokio says of course he’ll become one some day too. In the dub, Sarah selfishly says that since they helped save Flint, they should get a reward too. Tony says the only reward they’ll get is detention from Ms. Iknow.
They remove a shot of balloons before the ending credits sequence.
Oddly enough, the background shots for some of the ending theme were kept in order to make some sort of epilogue explaining how Flint’s living with them now and he’s a great kid who’s quickly becoming part of the family. They remove some shots, such as Genshi rolled over, the kids all running, the kids at a table, a closeup of Tokio, a closeup of Sora, a short flashback scene to Love-Love, the kids making bubbles and being outside during the sunset, another flashback of Love-Love and the final still frame.
As expected, the next episode preview is removed.
All in all, this seems like a great candidate for comparison. The original is charming enough, but I keep feeling similarities to other shows. The dub is just blah. It’s not the worst dub in the world, but it’s plenty worthy to be on my comparison list.
There are 39 episodes of this show and to the best of my knowledge it’s fully dubbed, so here’s to the future!…..or the past….But this takes place in the 25th century….with a cavema – Forget it. Here’s to more episodes!
Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive in a gross, desolate factory town called Gringy City. This area used to be a great and bustling factory town, but became nearly abandoned and loaded with pollution after the town became too saturated with factories.
Pikachu suddenly falls very ill, so Ash rushes him to the nearby Pokemon Center. The odd and seemingly uncaring Nurse Joy claims Pikachu has a cold and takes him in, but the power quickly goes out. The Pokemon in the ICU will be in grave danger if they don’t get the power back on, so Ash and the others go to the police station to get some answers.
Jenny tells them that she’s been trying to contact the people at the power plant to see what’s going on, but there’s no answer. Ash and the others are about to make their way towards the plant to investigate when Pikachu suddenly emerges from the bushes, still incredibly weak and unsteady on its feet. Misty tells Ash that Pikachu is probably scared that Ash will abandon him there, so he agrees to take Pikachu with them.
When they arrive, they find the place seemingly deserted, but Misty gets the sneaking suspicion that they’re being followed. Her suspicions are realized when they see Pikachu being accosted by the sudden appearance of a Magnemite.
Misty surmises that the mysterious Electric Pokemon caused the power outage so Ash decides to capture it until he realizes that Magnemite is acting strangely around Pikachu, like it’s in love. However, Brock questions how an inorganic Pokemon can be in love with an organic animal Pokemon.
Ash manages to shoo the Magnemite away when they’re met with yet another problem – a legion of Grimer invading the hallways. They are easily angered when called stinky or smelly, and a Muk emerges when Misty yells out that they smell bad.
They run from the Grimer and Muk, and they soon bump into two of the power plant’s employees. They hole themselves up in a room and the employees tell them that the water intake for the generator is plugged with Grimer. Without water, the generator cannot run, but they can’t take on so many Grimer without Pokemon of their own. They suggest Ash, Misty and Brock take care of the Grimer problem for them so they can get the power back up and running, but Ash doesn’t believe Pikachu is well enough for the job.
Finding no other option, Pikachu goes out into battle and Ash reluctantly agrees to let him battle. However, his efforts make little headway. A swarm of Magnemite and Magneton emerge from the ducts and shock the Grimer away from the halls and from the water intake, allowing the generator to turn back on.
While the Grimer flee, the Muk remains and challenges Ash. Pikachu steps up, but its Thunderbolt isn’t quite strong enough to take down the huge pile of sludge. Its friend, the ‘Stalker’ Magnemite from before, comes back and helps take it down with a Thunderbolt of its own.
Ash captured Muk, but is quickly disgusted when he realizes that the stench of Muk comes through the Pokeball.
Later, Pikachu is fully recovered, and one of the power plant employees states that Pikachu sometimes enter states of seeming illness when they have too much electrical energy built up. When Pikachu battled, it had discharged enough to make it feel better. The Magnemite ‘stalker’ starts to ignore Pikachu, and it’s revealed that it was only attracted to Pikachu because it was magnetized when it was sick. Now that it’s better, it has no desire to follow him.
Ash, Misty and Brock chastise Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny for the state of their waterways and tell them to clean up the pollution to help stop the Grimer from returning. Ash and the others continue on their journey, but not before sending the smelly Pokeball of Muk to Professor Oak so they won’t have to deal with the stench.
– With a name like Gringy City, you’re basically damning the place to eventually earn the monikers of ‘depressing’ and ‘desolate’, Mr. Narrator.
– It’s no shock (puns!) that there’s an environmentalist message in this episode, even if there’s something odd that I’ll have to address about it near the end. However, this is one of those times where it might be justified for two reasons. 1) It fits well with the capture and Pokemon featured in this episode. 2) The inspiration of this episode very loosely stems from the novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, which focuses on a post-apocalyptic world ruined by radioactive nuclear fallout. Obviously, it’s toned way down just to show a, well, gringy, city ruined by pollution, but still.
– And here’s one of the things about this aspect of the episode that does piss me off a tad, Nurse Joy. Since we have to shove the green message down our throats, obviously they have to come across someone who is a lazy, inconsiderate ass wipe. The Nurse Joy they come across is constantly yawning, doesn’t even give the clearly sickly Pikachu a second look and brushes it all off as a cold. Even if she does provide evidence towards her claims (that electric mouse Pokemon discharge sparks from their cheeks when they’re getting a cold) the damn thing is still barely able to walk and needs treatment.
To be fair, she mostly drops this behavior after the power outage occurs, but still.
– Another goddamn Pokemon Center without it’s own generator? As someone who is also much further ahead, technically, on an unrelated viewing of the series, this is practically a trope at this point.
– Oh good, Joy’s also an incompetent boob who let Pikachu escape. Also, to get this out of the way, we see later that she neither seems to notice nor care. Good job.
– Uh, Jenny, why are you not going to the power plant? I mean, what the hell are you planning on doing about this problem while they go there? It’s nice to know you give a crap, but sending a bunch of children off to do something that seems to be your job seems ill-advised……are you….are you the only cop on duty? I know this place is basically a ghost town, but it seems like plenty of people still need power around there. Several factories seem to still be functional when they get there, hence why the pollution in the air is still an issue……wait a damn minute…..they have power at the police station! They have power or a generator there but not at the Pokemon Center? The hell?
– How does Misty know Pikachu is worried Ash and the others will leave and never come back? They’ve been separated several times at this point and this never came up. In fact, when Pikachu and the other Pokemon were stranded on the Island of Giant Pokemon, he had complete confidence Ash and the others didn’t abandon them and that they’d find them. He leaves for all of 30 seconds, telling Pikachu he’ll come right back after he gets the power to come back on and Pikachu has a panic attack and runs after him. I don’t get it.
– Oh yeah, Ash. Your extremely ill Pikachu is suddenly screaming out in discomfort so just tell it to shut up over and over without even looking back to see if it’s okay. Best. Pokemon. Trainer. Ever.
– Dexter: “This very mysterious Pokemon is of the electric type.”
Ash: “What’s a Pokemon like that doing here?”
What’s an Electric Pokemon…..doing…..at…..….……..a………….Power plant…….…
Mystery of the goddamn century.
– Misty: “It caused the blackout! Magnemite shut down the power plant!”
Brock: “This one? By itself? No way!”
Misty: “Well….Dexter said it’s mysterious.”
Well, gosh, since when did being mysterious mean you’re instantly guilty? I hope our court system doesn’t work that way.
“Well, the evidence presented here is mostly melted Skittles from the prosecutor’s pocket, and some of the documents are written in crayon and finger paints, but I don’t know what makes you tick. Why you are who you are. Where you came from and what your goals are. Your eyes are dark and seem to see right through me, whilst I cannot do the same…..GUILTY.”
– Ash: “These things really stink!”
*Grimer get agitated*
Brock: “Ash! Don’t say anything that might insult their Pokemon pride, or make them mad!”
You’d think Pokemon that are literally living piles of sludge would be prideful of their stink. Erika’s Gloom never seemed to have esteem issues about it.
– I’m actually impressed that Ash knew immediately that Muk was a different Pokemon and not just a huge Grimer, considering the fact that it’s dark in that hallway and Muk really does just look like a huge, slightly darker colored Grimer.
– Ash, stop yelling at the poor power plant employees about the power outage. Isn’t it obvious that the place is being overrun by tons of Pokemon and that the blackouts are out of their control?
– *explanation as to why the plant’s not working – lots of Grimer mucking (more puns!) up the water intake and causing the generator to fail*
Ash – “SO DO SOMETHING!”
Oh sure, they look like experienced Pokemon trainers and it’s not like they’re not obviously trapped in the place by legions of Grimer and you’re being an asshole, stop it.
– Misty: “I hate to say it, but if we don’t act fast, we’ll be on the menu!”
….What makes you think the Grimer are going to eat you?
– Oh boy, let’s rage me up!
Dick: (their canon, non-spoken names are Dick and Philip, based on the author of the novel, but I don’t know who is who so pbbt.) You guys are all Pokemon Trainers aren’t you? You’ve got to use your Pokemon to help us out!
Philip: “That’s right! If you can get rid of the Grimer, the generator will work!”
Why, what a logical and completely smart suggestion, Dick and Philip. I’m certain this will be responded to with the same amount of logi–
Ash: “What do you expect us to do!? Pikachu is sick! It won’t be able to take out all of those Grimer at once!”
Ash…..are you fucking kidding me!? I know you’re notorious for derping out on the fact that you have more than Messiahchu in your party, but this is like epic levels of ‘what are these things on my belt for again?’ dumb. Is the pollution killing off one of the two brain cells you have left?
And, what, ladeeda, the few people in this place that actually have the means and abilities to take care of the Grimer can’t do a damn thing. You better feel like an asshole for yelling at Dick and Philip now.
What’s even worse is, obviously, Ash isn’t the only one derping on the ‘I have Pokeemanz?!’ front for a change. Misty, Brock, you’re forgetting that you also have at least half teams of Pokemon with you? Brock, let out Onix for God’s sake. It may wreck some stuff, but it would plow through those Grimer like they were silly putty on a driveway in July. Vulpix would reduce them to smelly puddles.
Why do characters always have to be turned into idiots for plot convenience?
– And let’s just go further with this, because there’s a bigger issue here.
Ash: “Pikachu, you’re the only one who can help!…You…you’re our last chance!”
Yes, my clearly sickly Pokemon who can barely stand! I am forcing you out into battle, possibly killing you right now! I have no choice but to do this, ya know. You’re our last chance….out a totally honest one chances. Not twelve, the amount of Pokemon we have collectively! I am absolutely abysmal at Pokemon training. But hey, at least we get a LITERAL MARTYR SCENE FOR MESSIAHCHU.
– Ash: “An adult Muk, and its child!”
This shot always confused the hell out of me, even as a kid. There’s so much wrong with this one sentence it’s actually intriguing. First, there is clearly only one Muk in the room. I guess 4Kids thought that since the front shot of the Muk didn’t mesh up well with the side view that immediately follows, they assumed there were two Muk there?
Second, saying a Muk is an ‘adult’ is both incorrect and correct. An evolved Pokemon is typically considered ‘adult’ by default considering how much time usually has to go by for evolution to happen and just going by stages, but there can be no ‘child’ Muk because an offspring of a Muk would be a Grimer. They are born at base evo stage. Unless they’re saying that the shot looks like a Grimer, which is possible, even though it’s obviously the same Muk. I guess you really have to give 4Kids slack when it comes to evos that look so similar to their pre-evos. Afterall, it’s not like paying an iota of attention to what’s happening on screen or, oh I dunno, reading the original script, would help them at all.
Finally, Ash captures Muk, but the supposed ‘child’ vanishes. We’re left to assume Ash just technically orphaned a young Grimer. Nice.
– You wanna talk captures that weren’t really earned? Muk was only captured because Magnemite lent Pikachu a hand….err….magnet. Also, I thought you were firmly against matches in which the sides aren’t even, Ashy boy?
– Ash: “I did it! I captured Muk! Ash Ketchum saves the day once again!”
You unfairly captured Muk with the assistance of a wild Pokemon and using a two-on-one approach. You didn’t save anything. You needlessly put your Pokemon in insane amounts of danger, letting it head off into a one-on-possibly hundreds match when it’s sick as hell and you all have plenty of Pokemon who could’ve handled it easily. The lone Muk posed no threat to the power plant, either. The only reason anything was saved was because the Magnemite and Magneton burst in to help Pikachu because one of them was attracted to it (PUNNZZZZ).
You are an egotistical dumbass of a person who is more disgustingly slimy in this episode than the Grimer and Muk combined.
– Dick: “Ah, when an Electric Mouse Pokemon builds up too much electrical energy, it becomes magnetized and seems like it has a cold.”
….Why a random power plant worker seems to know Pikachu physiology like the back of his hand, even moreso than a Nurse Joy, aside……..how little training is Ash doing that Pikachu is actually getting sick because he hasn’t discharged enough electricity?
Also, if Pikachu was magnetized, so strong to the point of basically making a Magnemite fall in love with it, why was the magnetic pull not affecting anything else? Ash and co. don’t have anything metal with them? Dexter wasn’t screwing up?
– Yes, Ash, Misty and Brock. It’s totally Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny’s responsibility and/or fault that the pollution in the water is so bad. I’m so sure they’ll get right on cleaning up the entirety of the fucking ocean. Especially considering they seem to have such a vast and helpful community to give them a hand for all that. Maybe their mayor is an avocado and hasn’t noticed the massive pollution problem. Maybe they have hundreds of millions of dollars to convert their factories over to greener solutions. I’m also certain that cleaning the place up and making it as bustling as it was won’t start the whole vicious cycle all over again. A bunch of ten year old kids surely opened the eyes of seemingly two of four confirmed residents of this giant PSA town.
– Nurse Joy: “Thank you Ash” Don’t thank him. “You worked so hard to make sure all of these Pokemon survived” No he didn’t “that you’ve inspired me to be a better nurse.” You better become a better nurse because, as of now, Dick and Philip seem far more qualified for your job than you are. Pikachu could’ve blown up under your care for all we know.
Jenny: “We salute your fine work!” Stop feeding his stupid ego.
– Well, whatever. At least now Ash has a pretty powerful Pokemon taking up his sixth party seat. I can’t wait to see how much Muk will help him…………Ah, how nice. A random check-in with Professor Oak. Wonder what he’s up to.
Oh look…..he’s getting a Pokemon from…Ash…..
Alright, look, I will tell you a secret. The main reason I’m upset about this minor twist is because the whole crap about Muk’s Pokeball being smelly, and, hell, him being unbearably smelly at all, isn’t a thing after this episode. Meaning the reason Ash had for sending Oak Muk is just a pointless plot device so Ash won’t have a Pokemon that’s even marginally high-powered (besides Messiahchu of course) on his team. I just don’t get why they don’t want him to have strong Pokemon. Having stronger Pokemon on your team and facing greater challenges based on how powerful your Pokemon are is part of the growth of this journey…..it’s kinda….the point of the game it’s based on too. I always feel like they’re stunting his growth as a trainer when they take away these strong Pokemon.
I wasn’t that upset back when I first watched this because I thought the reasoning was good enough, even if the fact of Pokeballs being unable to contain smell when they do all sorts of unrealistic stuff for the sake of convenience (Ex.: weight, temperature, other powers etc. don’t matter when contained in a Pokeball) was a bit dumb. Now that I know Muk can be carried around without issue, it pisses me off a little.
This episode was stupid. I don’t even really feel like elaborating all that much. It was stupid. I will admit, it was an interesting and rare instance of having four Pokemon debut in the same episode (Magnemite, Magneton, Grimer and Muk) but, outside of that, hardly any part of this episode makes sense.
You’re either being force-fed environmentalist messages that don’t work too well in context (or out, for that matter. They’re literally just suggesting ‘hey kids, clean up the air and water! We won’t give suggestions on how to do that, but just do it.’) or you’re following a non-sensical pile of stupid, irrational decisions and plot conveniences for the sake of ‘we don’t like to put effort in writing’.
And some of these decisions are worthy of your anger because Ash is being an arrogant hypocritical jack-off, 10x stupider than he normally is, putting his Pokemon in life-threatening danger for absolutely no reason followed by him ditching a newly captured powerhouse for the sake of avoiding an issue that isn’t even an issue in the future.
It just seems like an incredibly sloppy way of getting Ash another Pokemon while also patting themselves on the back for eeking out an environmentalist message of some sort at the same time. (Pollution is bad. Stop it, okay?)
Next episode, Gary makes a surprise appearance when there’s a huge rush to capture some trouble-making Diglett. And there’s a surprising development with Team Rocket.
……Oh right! Yeah! Team Rocket was in this episode….they just didn’t interact with the group, didn’t do anything important and didn’t say or do anything interesting or funny so I just omitted them from the plot synopsis…..yep.
Plot: After saving the city from Kisshu’s latest plot, Ichigo rushes to the bus station, desperate to see if Aoyama is still there. After searching for him in the rain, Ichigo collapses and cries believing that Aoyama left and hates her now since she blew off their date and never even returned his calls.
Aoyama comes out of the shadows revealing that he’s been there the whole time. Despite being elated to see him, Ichigo can’t bring herself to make up a good excuse as to why she was so late. As they quietly stare at each other, Ichigo thinks to herself that she might not have any right to loving Aoyama since she’s always lying to him. As she tries to say something to Aoyama, he suddenly embraces her and confesses that he loves her.
Jolted by his confession, Ichigo embraces him back. Aoyama breaks the hug for a bit to gently fix her hair, but she quickly bolts away from him after realizing that her cat ears had started to emerge after getting excited from Aoyama’s words and embrace.
Aoyama, believing he’s offended Ichigo or that she doesn’t feel the same way, gives her a handkerchief and starts to leave. She stops him and does her best to hide her ears with the handkerchief and her now emerging tail with her hand. She draws up the courage to also confess her love to him, and they embrace once more.
The next day, Ichigo floats through everything in a daze of love and happiness while everyone wonders what happened to her. Deep Blue, having been struck with some of Ichigo’s attack in the last episode, still cries out in pain. Deep Blue questions Kisshu’s loyalty and Kisshu explains that he merely wants to see his true form. He theorizes that Deep Blue is not a real being at all and more like an embryo that has yet to be born.
Deep Blue, Pai and Taruto continue to doubt Kisshu’s loyalty and Kisshu reveals that his real intentions were to help Deep Blue awaken with the power of the Mew Aqua. He laid a trap in which he’d give some of the Mew Aqua to the Mew Mews and send some of the Mew Aqua powered attack through a portal and back to Deep Blue as confirmation that it would help him awaken. He kept the plan a secret from Pai and Taruto since they are too loyal to Deep Blue and would’ve stopped him.
He wants to awaken Deep Blue so he’ll truly have the power to save his people. He willingly accepts whatever punishment Deep Blue has for him, even death, since he did it for the sake of his people. However, Deep Blue agrees to his plan and merely commands him to get him more power from the Mew Aqua.
Shirogane and Akasaka find that they cannot revert the Mew Aqua Rod back to its original state, so they store it in a safe in the basement. Meanwhile, after spending some more time alone with Aoyama, Ichigo arrives at the cafe to start her shift. She believes her friends will be mad at her for being late again, but they’re surprisingly okay with it since they believe she was dumped the night before and was too distraught to come in on time.
She clears the air and all of the girls are happy for her. However, they quickly become surprised and embarrassed when Ichigo reveals that Aoyama is actually with her at the moment and wants to try some cakes.
As Ichigo dresses for work and Aoyama browses the menu, there’s a sudden alien alert. Kisshu, Taruto and Pai have finally caught on to where the Mews’ base of operations is, and they’ve come to take the Mew Aqua. Shirogane knocks Aoyama out with a drug and puts him in a safe place to allow the girls to transform and battle the aliens.
While Pai and Taruto distract the other girls, Ichigo runs to the backroom where Kisshu has attacked Akasaka and Aoyama. As she’s about to be attacked while protecting Aoyama, Pudding blocks the attack with her Pudding Ring Inferno.
However, she quickly blabs that Akasaka went off to get the Mew Aqua Rod in the basement to help defeat them, incidentally telling Kisshu exactly what he needs to know. Kisshu halts Akasaka in the basement. Akasaka tries to throw the staff to Ichigo, but Kisshu intercepts. Thinking he’s won, he’s astounded when the staff suddenly stops shining.
Akasaka states that Mew Aqua is merely a container for energy not a generator of energy. Ichigo must’ve used up all of the Mew Aqua’s energy from the staff in the battle the night before, thus it’s now mostly useless. Realizing this whole plan was for nothing, Kisshu attempts to unleash his rage at the girls. However, Ichigo won’t even let him get an attack off and Ribbon Strawberry Surprises them away from the cafe.
With the cafe now in shambles, Akasaka and Ichigo move Aoyama to a nearby field. Ichigo feels regret for getting him wrapped up in trouble again. She’s about to kiss him in his sleep, not even caring that her ears and tail have popped out again, when she realizes that the transformation is not stopping and she’s been turned into a small black cat.
– The girls faces after Ichigo says Aoyama and her confessed their love for each other are priceless.
– Is there any particular reason Aoyama was hiding behind the wall that whole time?
– Nice. They only show Ichigo transforming again. For a second, I forgot who the only Mew who mattered was.
– And of course the others are relegated to being a mostly-off-screen distraction.
– Pudding saved Ichigo? One of the other girls served a purpose? Wha-wha-wha?
– And she ruins the moment by being a blabbermouthed idiot. Hooray.
– If Ichigo can jump from the top of the stairs to the bottom without issue, why did Akasaka risk the staff at all by throwing it? I thought he was smart.
– Speaking of the Mew Aqua Rod, why is that necessary? They’ve beaten the aliens tons of times before without the staff’s help. Will you even let them battle for more then 45 seconds without breaking out the thing you put in hiding to protect it from these very beings?
– Why is the staff just now losing its shine? And surely Akasaka and Shirogane had to have known the staff was completely out of power or nearly out of power when they put it in the safe, so why even get it out to begin with?
– Here we get more Ichigo favoritism with her new full cat transformation. One could argue that this isn’t favoritism since it’s really something bad that happens to her, but it’s still more Ichigo focus. It’s still another ability she gets that puts more spotlight on her. It’s still a power added to her character to create more tension.
Just as none of the other girls have any animal features pop out when they’re excited or distressed, none of them ever fully transform into their given animals either (not counting Lettuce turning into a mermaid since that’s brought on by Mew Aqua and only Mew Aqua.), which would actually be pretty interesting a la Fruits Basket. Events like these make me truly wonder why the other girls even exist other than to pad out the series. All they seem to exist for at this point is support for Ichigo, whether in or out of battle, and whether their support even matters or not (see: stupid barriers that are never shown to do anything) They’re at an extreme point of stagnation already and we’ve only reached the halfway point in the series.
I like the first half of the episode much more than the second. The first half seems like episode 26 runoff while the second seems like a filler episode crammed into 11 minutes. Aoyama and Ichigo’s confessions were very well written and directed, and Kisshu dealing with the aftermath of his plan, as well as showing a bit more of his gentler side with how much he’s devoted to his people, was also well done. It’s odd that the villains were more informed and prepared than the heroes this time around yet they still lost.
I’m still slightly bitter about the cat thing. Not as much as the Mew Aqua Rod or the Rose Bell (Upgraded Strawberry Bell), but still. That bitterness will honestly have to wait because this ability is a source of a lot of confusion and ridiculousness to me. But let’s save that for the next two episodes.
I will ask why Ichigo turns into a pure black house cat when her animal is an iriomote wild cat. If her logical transformation isn’t convenient to the plot or the aesthetic of the show, either don’t make the power or don’t give her that animal as her source of power.
Next episode, Ichigo, now a cat, tries desperately to turn back to normal. Aoyama picks her up and decides to take care of her. Will she ever be able to turn back to a human and escape without Aoyama finding out who and what she is?
A humble, but mostly less than half-assed, blog of a pessimistic Otaku that was saved by Anime first, Manga then, just to be saved once again by Light Novels and Visual Novels; and thus wishes to share the beautiful world that is 2D. Yet, you will find mostly rants. Also available at 7thStyle.