Pokemon Extravaganza SHORTIES – Pikachu’s Winter Vacation Chronicles: Delibird’s Dilemma

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation Chronicles - Delibird's Dilemma

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Delibird is trying to get some presents to Santa before he leaves on his sleigh, but some shenanigans from Pikachu and pals knocks him out of the sky and causes him to lose all of the presents. It’s a scramble to find and retrieve all of the presents before midnight.

Breakdown: Santa really needs to get his shit together.

This is the technically the third time he’s needed Pikachu’s help to save Christmas if we count the non-short Christmas special. Why is Delibird bringing presents TO Santa anyway? Isn’t all that stuff at the North Pole? Don’t they manufacture the presents there? Or are some modern gifts caught in legal hell and can’t be reproduced at the factory so they have to send out a bunch of Delibird to some stores?

Anyhoo, this short is pretty cute and funny. Chikorita has reached its non-bitch stage (And teamed up with Bulbasaur so much I could feel my heart flutter whenever they did it) there were several adorable moments, nothing really stood out as being annoying or bad and we even finally got a Christmas song in the dubbed version. It was short and really only made Christmassy because of the jingle bells, but I appreciate the effort.

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation Chronicles - Delibird's Dilemma1
This is Cyndaquil tickling Delibird. It’s as adorable as it sounds.

The story is not that interesting, though. Santa can travel the entire world and deliver presents in one night – starting at midnight apparently. I’m quite certain he’s speedy enough to find and retrieve a handful of presents before he goes. Also, none of the presents are in a location where they’re particularly hard to get.

The narrator is interesting. He has some funny-ish moments, but he’s also kinda weird. It’s obvious that the narrator’s Santa, but he starts out the short explaining that something always go wrong right before Christmas as he’s narrating over the Pokemon playing bowling…..And he seems like he’s disappointed when things don’t start going wrong. It’s so weird, but kinda funny in a dark way. Santa loves him some schadenfreude, apparently.

Another weird line from the narrator, he says it’s five minutes to midnight when it’s clearly sundown…..This seems pointless to mention but…..I couldn’t not note this, it was CLEARLY sundown. You’re not fooling anyone, old man.

Same old, same old in regards to some notes. Like Meowth’s incredibly pointless cameo, though this time it was very very short. And, for some reason, he’s being harassed by a Skarmory in this episode? Was that part of the series? Also, of course, not all of the group’s Pokemon are here. In fact, we don’t see Ash and co. at all in this short, which is very strange because it’s Christmas and they’re out past midnight.

In addition, despite having seen Santa before, again, they keep him hidden from view, and when Christmas comes all pine trees magically turn into decorated Christmas trees…..Okay.

Recommended Audience: Why do I keep including this section for these shorts?

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Pokemon Extravaganza SHORTIES! – Pikachu’s Winter Vacation 2000: Stantler’s Little Helpers

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation 2000 - Stantler's Little Helpers

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: On the night of Christmas Eve, Pikachu and the other Pokemon find an old man tending to his sick Stantler in the woods. He desperately needs some berries to lower its fever and make it feel better, but he can’t find anymore or leave Stantler’s side. Pikachu and the others offer to find some berries, and, with some teamwork, they manage to get a whole bunch.

After feeding the berries to Stantler, it starts feeling a lot better. The old man thanks the Pokemon sincerely and rides off on his sleigh. It begins to ascend into the sky.

Could it be…?

Breakdown: This was a very solid short, but nothing that great. It had some cute moments (melt my heart for picking up Togepi to see out the window, Bulbasaur) and some anger inducing moments (Screw off, Chikorita. You have no right to forcibly remove Pikachu from the bed while he’s sleeping so you can creepily cuddle with Ash. And, not anger inducing, but, Heracross, please, I beg you, stop sucking on Bulbasaur.) but I didn’t have any major issues with it. Plus, I was endlessly entertained by Pikachu walking around with a lit-up star tree-topper on his head for some reason.

Problem is, the short goes the same way you’d expect from the very instantly you hear the ‘old man’ request the berries. They’ll get the berries, Stantler will get better, the old man was Santa. Sorry, spoiler alert, but they’re not good at hiding it.

Why are they hiding it anyway? Are they forgetting that Pokemon has had an episode where Ash and the others help Santa? Certainly not considering they are consistent with the character design for Santa. Only now he uses a single Stantler instead of a team of Ponyta because gen 2 came out.

He also ‘forgets’ that he is frequently assisted by numerous Jynx who would be useful in such emergency situations, but she’s purple and no one wants to see her now.

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation 2000 - Stantler's Little Helpers1
Excuse me, need to die of cuteness for a second.

Speaking of forgetting things, I do have petty nitpicks like, why did all of the Pokemon, barring some because of course they did, escape from their Pokeballs in the middle of the night? It’s kinda understandable that Chikorita did, because it’s a creepy asshole, but why everyone else?

Who cares, though? Vulpix got to be useful TWICE in this special! Whoo!

Not to mention that the Japanese version gives us a very nice ending Christmas song with some great visuals of the Pokemon.

Recommended Audience: You should be privy to this by now.

Pokemon Extravaganza SHORTIES! – Pikachu’s Winter Vacation 2000: Winter Games

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation 2000 - Winter Games1

Rating: 3/10

Plot: Satoshi, Kasumi and Takeshi leave their Pokemon at a rented cabin while they go shopping. The Pokemon then discover an ice skating rink and play on the ice.

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In this short, Chikorita is a bitch. It’s mostly about Chikorita being a bitch while everyone else has fun. They try to include Chikorita in their fun, but Chikorita is too much of a bitch. After a lot of slapstick, Chikorita finally joins in on the fun while trying to sabotage Meowth on the ice. And they all bonded over bullying, hooray.

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation 2000 - Winter Games
This is Chikorita laughing after nearly murdering Squirtle by dropping a huge icicle in front of his face….

Yup, that’s the short in nutshell, which is literally all that happens. I can’t even bring myself to do a breakdown of the story because I feel like it’d be repetitive. It’s a weak story, the slapstick’s not funny half the time because most of it is caused by Chikorita being a bitch, Squirtle was kinda funny, but nothing really laugh-out-loud funny, and the animation is noticeably slightly better here. That’s about it.

Recommended Audience: Not even conceived yet+

Final Notes: I realize that this review in incredibly short, so have a treat! While I was looking for information on this short, I saw that someone uploaded the intro to the VHS on Youtube. Nummy nostalgia!

Pokemon Extravaganza SHORTIES – Pikachu’s Winter Vacation 1: Kanga Games

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation 1 - Kanga Games

Rating: 8/10

Plot: After having some fun in the cabin the night before, the Pokemon look outside to see a blanket of fresh snow covering the countryside. When they decide to play outside, Pikachu and Togepi bump into a Kangaskhanwho wants her baby to play with them.

Breakdown: This is a really great short. I mean, obviously it’s not plot heavy or anything, but it’s pretty funny and cute for what it is. This is one of those rare times where we actually get to see a baby Kangaskhan out of its mother’s pouch, and it is just incredibly adorable even if it does have a moment where it’s just another ‘Togepi’ to take care of.

We get a couple of really funny moments, one of which involving Squirtle and Bulbasau sledding that was just hilarious.

We do have one conflict to deal with in this short, but it’s just a rescue type deal.

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation 1 - Kanga Games2

I will say that Meowth’s incredibly small part was pretty pointless. It was a tiny bit funny, but I could’ve done without it. I also liked the very ending where Ash and co. return and all the Pokemon cuddle up with them and hide in their jackets like the baby Kangaskhan. That was cute.

We have an ending theme specifically for this episode, and it’s….alright. I don’t see what the lyrics have to do with Christmas or winter, but it’s there and it’s fine.

Other than that, I have one final note – Remember how I mentioned in my episode reviews that Kangaskhan’s dub voice is kinda awful? It’s especially noticeable here. Kangaskhan’s adult form sounds really rough and the baby is fairly annoying. Considering the entire short is centered around baby Kangaskhan, this is a bit of an issue. Not a large one, but an issue nonetheless.

Recommended Audience
: E for everyone!

Pokemon Extravaganza SHORTIES – Pikachu’s Winter Vacation 1: Christmas Night

Rating: 8/10

Plot: Pikachu, Togepi, Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Vulpix are left in charge of protecting the cabin while Ash, Misty and Brock go off to get a Christmas cake. The Pokemon nearly destroy the cool Christmas decorations, but they band together to fix what they can before Ash and the others return.

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It’s well beyond Christmas, but winter is sticking around for a while, so I thought I’d take a break out to review all four of the Pikachu’s Winter Vacation shorties this winter. Gather around the fireplace and let’s hear the story of the first Pokemon Christmas special, Christmas Night.

Ash and the others, never showing their faces as per short ‘rules’, have rented a cabin for Christmas, because they have that kind of money somehow and God forbid they go home for Christmas. Misty and Brock berate Ash for neglecting to get a cake so they leave Pikachu in charge of the place while they all leave to go get one.

I don’t know why their Pokemon aren’t going with them as they seem to take their Pokemon everywhere, nor do I know why all three of them are needed to go get a cake, but the shorts just seem to make the group into the parents from Rugrats in these shorts.

I will step back here a bit and say, while this is a very large and kinda nicely designed cabin, they add in little details like cracks and peeling paint to indicate that it’s not the best quality cabin so we won’t be flabbergasted at their sudden influx of money……..at least until Pikachu and Pichu where they seem to get rich for a day with that really beautiful hotel room and party.

They leave and the smaller Pokemon wander the house and stumble upon the room that Ash and the others have decorated for Christmas. They’re in awe of everything because they have never celebrated Christmas before, and they mess around with some stuff.

Vulpix in a party hat. Best short ever.

Eventually, the Poke-group starts causing a ruckus. Squirtle accidentally eats Bulbasaur’s Pokemon-themed cookie, and in spite of having a full plate of them in front of him, he still chases Squirtle all over the house. Vulpix gets stuck in a stocking. Yes, you may have gifs.

And Psyduck shakes up a bottle of what I think is meant to be champagne, but considering their age I’ll just assume it’s sparkling cider.

All of the Pokemon nearly knock over the tree with Pikachu saving it in the nick of time. Here’s Vulpix wearing a party hat while in a Christmas tree.

So cute! ♥♥♥♥♥

Okay, I’ll try to stop, I promise.

Sadly, thanks to Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Psyduck and not Vulpix because Vulpix is awesome, the tree has its lights ripped off and topples over on Pikachu.

Squirtle and Bulbasaur laugh at him because they’re jerks, Vulpix doesn’t because it’s awesome, and Pikachu gets so pissed that he unleashes his electricity throughout the room. However, he does not hit Squirtle and Bulbasaur and instead knocks the power out. Good job.

In the darkness, Pikachu stumbles upon a Christmas music box, and the group stares in awe at the pretty little light up tree and the cute song that it plays as the sun sets. The song ends, the lights go out, and Pikachu and the others decide to band together to fix what they have messed up.

Later, Ash and the others return to the dark cabin and enter the room with all the Christmas stuff in it to find the tree looking great and even lit up by the power of Pikachu’s cheeks.

The group starts the party and we zoom out on the cabin to look up into the sky at the giant moon and see, of course, Santa with a Rapidash or Ponyta pulling the sleigh. Because Stantler haven’t been introduced yet.

The End.

Art: The art and animation seems a tiny bit better than it normally is early in Kanto, but it’s not that noticeable. It’s definitely not movie quality, which I didn’t expect anyway. I actually like some of the finer details like the cookies and the decorations.

Music: Just okay – average TV show fare. It’s biggest issue for me is that none of the songs are really that Christmas-y except the music box song, and that was over very quickly.

Bottomline: It’s a nice little Christmas short that really goes to show that it’s a bad idea to leave animals with elemental powers alone in a rented cabin with no supervision. I guess I can just be thankful Ash wasn’t stupid enough to let Charizard out for this. Sadly, many of the Pokemon are missing, which kinda makes it a tiny bit sad as a Christmas special. Christmas is about being with those that you care about yet only Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Togepi, Vulpix and, of course, Pikachu get let out here. They could at least show the other Pokemon outside or something, but I guess they’re confined to their Pokeballs for Christmas.

I still would like a Christmas special that isn’t based fully on the Pokemon and actually has the kids going back to their families for the holidays. I think they could make it be really sweet.

As it stands, though, it’s not a terribly memorable or creative short, but it’s nice and a sweet little watch for a Pokemon fan on Christmas time.

Recommended Audience: C for Christmas! And cookies! That’s good enough for me.

SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 40: Two Becoming Friends? Pudding in Imminent Danger!

SSBS - TMM EP40

Plot: Taruto and Pai secretly care for Kisshu. While his wound has healed up, he is still very weak and in a lot of pain.

Meanwhile, Aoyama meets with Ichigo and shares the fact that he’s having weird recurring dreams where a voice is continuously telling him to wake up. Ichigo manages to cheer him up by sharing some of her strange, goofy dreams to him.

On her day off, Pudding decides to go see one of the biggest displays of live-performers in Japan, the New Year’s Street Performance Live Show. However, she’s not really there to enjoy the show – she’s hoping to steal the stage, perform her own act and be adored by audiences and adorned with a shower of money. Suddenly, strange tremors and indents in the stadium prompt her to go into the basement and transform to investigate.

She finds a large hole that leads to a massive underground cavern. Taruto arrives, surprised one of the girls has found them out already, and explains that this is a test. They plan on making a giant hole in order to cause the stadium above to collapse into the ground. If it works, they plan on making all of Tokyo sink into a similar hole.

Taruto attacks Pudding with an insectoid Chimera Animal. While she’s able to stop one with her Pudding Ring Inferno, Taruto merely calls another one. Before she’s able to stop that one with a Pudding Ring Inferno, Taruto uses his plant manipulation skills to wrap her up in roots. Just as the Chimera Animal is about to attack, a cave-in occurs. It stops the Chimera Animal, but it also buries Taruto and Pudding.

While Shirogane alerts the other girls to the Chimera Animal attack, Taruto unburies Pudding and reveals to her that she’s trapped. He can technically leave whenever he wants via teleportation, but she’s stuck. Pudding puts on a happy face and thanks him for saving her, even giving him a candy as a gift.

As the girls arrive at the stadium and combat the crazed Chimera Animal above ground, Taruto tries his best to scare Pudding by telling her she’ll either stay in this cave forever or be crushed by rubble when the Chimera Animal causes enough fissures.

Despite his efforts, Pudding is unfazed and continues to smile and laugh.

While the Mews struggle a bit with the Chimera Animal, they come out victorious. But their victory is short-lived when they’re made aware of the giant cavern underneath the dome, threatening to cause a major collapse in the stadium.

Shirogane and Akasaka decide to evacuate the people inside the dome. Since thousands of people moving within the dome at once may cause the stadium to collapse, they instruct the girls to support the building until everyone’s out.

Back with Taruto and Pudding, Taruto tries to egg Pudding on some more only to come to the realization that she’s becoming weak due to lack of oxygen. He manages to snap her out of it and demands her to tell him that she’s scared, but she claims she’s not because she has her friend, Taru-Taru beside her.

Taruto denies the implication that they’re friends, but as the dome starts to cave in around them, he finds himself struggling with the idea of leaving her there to die. He ultimately decides to save Pudding and the stadium by using his plant manipulation to create massive roots that eventually grow into trees around the dome, supporting it and preventing it from collapsing.

Taruto teleports them outside, and Pudding gleefully thanks him for saving her life and the dome. He says it was just because he wants to see her cry before she dies, but flies away smiling at the candy she gave him.

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– Oooh nice badass scar, Kisshu.

SSBS - TMM EP40 2

– Awww, Taruto bringing fruit to Kisshu as a sign of affection, and it was Pai’s idea. Awww.

– I feel like it’s been years since we’ve seen Pudding’s uninterrupted lone transformation sequence.

– Taruto and Pudding have some hilarious banter.

– My heart burst into rainbows when Pudding said it’s be nice if they turned into fossils that were smiling and holding hands together.

– Oh my god! The girls actually saved Ichigo in the nick of time for a change. I thought for sure that’d be a Blue Knight moment.

– How are the people in the dome not evacuated already? Did no one tell them of the giant monster outside? Did they not feel the several severe tremors shaking the entire stadium for the past 20 minutes?

– That cavern’s pretty big and since Taruto isn’t weakening, I guess he doesn’t breathe and thus isn’t taking up any of the oxygen. Pudding is a small girl and not much time has gone by, so I doubt she’d be struggling to breathe already.

– Wow, they are so hella lazy to reuse the same exact ‘barrier’ animation for the girls AGAIN. This is like the fourth time.

– N’awwwwwwwwwwwwww, she calls him Taru-Taru! N’awwwwwwwwww!!

– As great as it is that Taruto saved Pudding (N’awwwwwwwwwww!!) he didn’t really have to save the stadium to do it. When he teleports, it’s sometimes through a portal instead of just teleporting himself. Also, they can and do teleport other beings and objects with them sometimes. Surely, he could’ve just teleported Pudding out of the cavern.

– Oh wait, and then he just teleports her anyway!….I don’t get it. Taruto just barely had a change of heart about Pudding alone, why did he decide to save the dome too besides plot convenience?

All in all, while this episode may be mostly filler that also doubles as a budget episode, I can’t deny that I love it. It’s fairly quick development, but it greatly humanizes (if that word’s fitting for an alien) Taruto, and Pudding is just an absolute adorable delight. Her scenes and banter with Taruto are always priceless and they’re so cute together.

In addition, the plan this week was both simple and effective. Dig a hole, destroy a city. You can’t get much simpler than that. It almost did work, too. If Taruto didn’t turn heel and save the dome, the stadium would’ve collapsed and they would’ve gone through with the plan to collapse Tokyo, and that may have actually worked as well.

Next episode, remember Lettuce has a crush on Shirogane? Yeah, the show barely does either. But it’s an underwater episode and Lettuce turns into a mermaid again, so yay!

CSBS – Fillmore! Episode 6: Next Stop, Armageddon

csbs - fillmore episode 6

Plot: After messing up Principal Folsom’s birthday party, Fillmore and Ingrid are assigned to the model train convention duty where a horrible accident causes the entire convention to be destroyed. Seeing the remote control for a model car in the rubble peaks Fillmore’s interest since model train enthusiasts and RC car racers are notorious enemies. What and who has caused this derailment?

Breakdown: One of my favorite aspects of Fillmore is how it takes some mundane thing and makes it something extremely important or popular. I know model train enthusiasts are still a thing, but to have this huge train convention at school and have this many students obsessed with model trains? With all of the various and off-color extracurricular activities at this school, I always wanted to be a student at X.

Exaggerating the topics typically gives the episodes some good moments for comedy, and this one is no exception. From O’farrell getting sick over the ‘carnage’ of the train crash to the reporter speaking in a 1920’s journalist voice and flying an RC helicopter over the wreck, this episode is one of the best Fillmore episodes for exaggerated comedy.

Plot B involves Fillmore losing his pet fish, Felonious. He had him for over three years, and was particularly attached to him because he was his only friend through his juvenile delinquent days. Everyone tries to cheer Fillmore up by buying him a pet fish, but he doesn’t want them. While this plot is kinda jammed alongside the episode for the most part, it does come full circle into the case.

Moreover, they don’t solve this problem by buying Fillmore a new fish….kinda. Ingrid understands that the reason he can’t just move on and buy a new fish is because he’s not really allowing himself to say goodbye and grieve. She buys him a therapy book on grief in children, and Fillmore accepts it without a fight or judgment. Reading the book not only helps him get over his grief and get a new fish, but it also helps him figure out who the perp is.

It was a very healthy and believable way this situation would’ve been handled in the real world, and I applaud the writers for that.

However, I do have some gripes. First, it’s completely obvious who the perp is this time. I knew it from the instant he came on screen.

Second, his reasons for committing the crime were weak. The perp today is a celebrity in the model train world, Oscar. He is moving away because his parents own a model train business and they’re not getting as much work in the area as they used to so they’re moving to a place where model trains are more popular.

Oscar didn’t want to move, so he sabotaged the entire convention to have everyone’s best stuff be destroyed, forcing them to buy more supplies from his parent’s store and preventing them from moving. I get the plan, but one or two days of good business doesn’t change the fact that the hobby is dying in that area. They’d have to move either way.

Also, this isn’t really a gripe, but I am just now realizing that whenever Fillmore and Ingrid confront a suspect, most of the time they throw something in their faces and run away. The running part I’m fine with, even though I have mentioned how pointless that is, given school grounds and such, but why do they always feel the need to throw something at them? Distractions I get, but every single person does this. It’s hard to ignore at this point.

All in all, I loved this episode. The mystery was weak this time around, but that’s about it. Everything else is very solid, well-written and very funny.

Rating: 8/10

Kouryu Densetsu Villgust Review

Rating: 4/10

Plot: Villgust is as a peaceful land in a world parallel to ours. However, many years of peace were suddenly interrupted when an evil deity appeared and cast a dark shadow over the land. Many monsters laid waste to the countrysides, and the people prayed to their god, Windina, for help. She answered their prayers and created eight warriors to rid Villgust of the evil deity and return peace to the world.

Breakdown: I tend to get excited when I start watching old mostly unknown OVAs. Even if they’re a product of a much different and, arguably, crazier time in anime, their style, stories and characters usually draw me in.

This is, sadly, not one of those times.

Kouryu Densetsu Villgust is a two episode OVA made in 1992 to 93. It is based off of a Famicom game of the same name that was never released outside of Japan and I’ve never played, obviously. Not that…it matters? Because it sounds like the plot isn’t the same as the OVA’s.

Wiki: “Kōryū Densetsu Villgust (Japanese: 甲竜伝説ヴィルガスト, off. “Armed Dragon Fantasy Villgust”) is an RPG that is only available in Japan for the Super Famicom. The object of the game is to rescue your girlfriend and to return to modern Japan from a parallel medieval world. The player controls five people as they fight apes and skeletons for experience points.”

As you can tell from the plot synopsis, none of this seems to mesh. There’s no girlfriend in another world, in fact, as far as I can tell, all of the characters are from Villgust, and the main characters are eight people, not five.

However, I can’t vouch for this as an adaptation, so let’s go over this anime on its merits as a standalone.

——————————–

First, the plot. That is some grade-A cliché plot right there. For the love of Windina, this is basically the plot to Captain Planet. This has to be one of the oldest plots to ever see written word. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing if the story and execution are good enough, though….and they’re really not.

This show is aiming to be equal parts action fantasy and comedy. This is obvious from the fact that all of the human characters are done in mid-chibi style. Ya know, where the characters are adults but clearly smaller and made cuter, but not so extreme as to be real chibi.

Put it this way. If normal characters are drawn eight heads high and chibi characters are about three, this style is about five.

Problem is, the action’s not that good and neither is the comedy. The action is hard to take seriously since there’s the lingering contrast of the comedy and the complete lack of a villain you can take seriously.

In addition to the main baddie being the oh-so-creatively named ‘evil entity’, he’s not even who they’re fighting. The baddie for this series is Gavady – a follower of the evil entity who is impossible to take seriously because, in order to add comedy to him, they have him baby a pet frog named Antoinette. He pets him like a cat, talks to him and makes kissy faces – the fear is not happening.

The evil entity….is confusing. In the opening narration, the evil entity is created, unleashes swarms of monsters to cause destruction and terror, Windina makes the warriors, but the warriors never defeat the entity.

In fact, at the start of the series, for the most part, they don’t even know each other. They’re separated into two groups of four and only meet at the ending of episode one. They’ve never met before this and obviously never defeated the evil entity, but dialogue indicates that the evil entity was defeated somehow and his henchmen are trying their damnedest to bring him back to life.

I don’t get it. At all. I watched the opening narration four times just to see if I missed somewhere where they might have said he was sealed away by Windina or something, but no. She just creates the warriors and never says a word or even appears over the course of the entire series.

However, the evil entity is never revived. The final battle is of Gavady’s ‘true form’, which is a weird…worm….turtle….goblin…thing? The series ends on the ‘we can’t let the evil entity be revived’ note.

For a good chunk of the OVA, the enemy isn’t even Gavady – it’s his henchmen. Yup, even the henchman to the guy who is supposed to be the main baddie isn’t our main baddie.

He hatches a plan to have the warriors meet and trick them into fighting each other until they’re so tired that they can’t fight back….Let me point out that this henchmen states later that one of the reasons the followers of the evil entity had enjoyed their time of terror so far has been mostly due to the fact that the warriors had yet to all meet up… He’s even so nice as to reveal to them that they’re all the warriors of Windina….Good job.

That plot, by the way, takes up half of episode one and half of episode two. We don’t get to the point of fighting Gavady until the very end of episode two.

This includes having those frustrating super villain moments where you’re sitting there gnashing your teeth asking why, when given a perfect opportunity, do the bad guys not kill the warriors?

One of the characters triggers a huge expulsion of energy, which knocks out the warriors after having exhausted themselves from fighting each other. The bad guys have nearly all of the warriors unconscious right in front of them, exhausted beyond belief, and what do they do? They jail them, let them wake up, explain their plans, and set up an elaborate execution later on, not even questioning where the other two warriors are.

Again, good job.

I will give the ending battle this – it’s a pretty decent battle, even if he is one of those irritating grab bag of powers villains. He can make super powerful gusts of wind, has a Venus fly trap turtle shell thing, can shoot a multitude of tentacles from his mouth, turn people to stone, shoot huge bursts of fire and has three….giant facehugger worms (?) on his body. But, of course, it’s pretty predictable. They all combine their efforts together….except Bostov….to defeat him.

It’s an alright, albeit bland story, but the plot about meticulously tricking them into fighting each other takes up way too much time. No one’s going to believe that they’re going to destroy each other or won’t figure out the trap. It’s pointless. They would’ve been better off having the entire group together at the start and building off of that.

Second, the characters. They’re a mixed bag to say the least.

Group A: First up we have Kui, who is a knight from a distant land, I think. He is sworn to protect the princess, Chris, and is her love interest. Outside of that, he’s your very typical knight character. He’s brave, noble and honorable.

Next we have Chris, the aforementioned princess, who flip flops between also being a brave warrior and being a stereotypical girl character, fawning over Kui. One minute she’s all “I’m fighting because I’m a warrior too!” and the next she’s “Ohhh, news of a bad guy nearby! Oooh I’m so scared. Hold me, Kui!”

Then we have Youta, who is a little pervy and goofy.

Finally, there’s Fanna, the only archer of the group (everyone else uses swords.) Fanna seemed alright for a while, helping out in battle and taking no shit from Youta, but she quickly becomes very irritating and another stereotypical girl character.

In her shining moment of idiocy, she’s taking a bath while the others chase some cat girl I’ll definitely get to in a minute. Because she’s alone and vulnerable, the enemy tries to sneak attack, but they’re pushed through the wall of the bath. Fanna freaks out, we cut away, and when the others arrive at the bath they see that Fanna knocked the two intruders out with rocks. That would be fine and dandy if she stayed where she was, but no.

She’s so freaked out over these two monsters seeing her naked that she does the only logical thing….she runs off alone into the forest, still naked, freaking out over them seeing her naked.

None of this particular action makes any sense. ‘Bad guys attacked me because I was alone and vulnerable. Better run off into the woods alone and naked without my bow so I’ll be as vulnerable as humanly possible. Monsters saw me naked! Better run off naked into a forest where tons of living beings, people and monsters alike, can see me naked.’

Then she collapses in the forest crying out that she’s lost….Dumb…ass.

Fanna later becomes entirely useless and is relegated to being Ryuquir’s bitch girl. Fun.

Group B: First up for Group B is Murobo, who is essentially Kui if he was much more gullible, wielded an axe, and was an anthropomorphic Red XIII from Final Fantasy.

Murobo was my favorite character, but that’s not saying much.

Second, we have Bostov, who is a slimy, perverted sack of crap. He wields a boomerang.

Next, we have Remi, the lone mage of the warriors, but don’t expect her to do much. Her one moment of usefulness is healing Kui and Murobo so they can do some actual damage to Gavady. She has no personality outside of being kind, I guess, and being insecure about her age and lack of physical development, which is only brought up once in a petty argument with Chris.

Finally….we have Chinese water torture incarnate, also known as Ryuquir. She is the aforementioned catgirl and one of the most annoying anime characters I’ve ever seen.

She’s a catgirl who actually acts, in all ways, like a cat. She even chases a mouse once. She’s incredibly hyper, inconsiderate, has an ungodly grating voice, and has the personality of a three year old if you gave her cat-like abilities, 30 pounds of sugar and a few hits of crack. Even her theme music is way too fast and makes me want to put a blow torch to my ear.

Not only is she annoying in every way, shape and form, but the very first time we meet her, she’s gorging herself on the village elder’s food supply without his consent – In a village where everyone is starving because they keep getting attacked by monsters.

The one positive thing I can say about Ryuquir is that she’s a good friend and brave, but friendship doesn’t not trump annoyingness.

One of the main worst parts of Ryuquir is that she’s treated like she’s the main character on several occasions. She saves the others from peril in a big display twice, and she easily knocks away huge groups of enemies without batting an eyelash. You almost wonder if Windina really needed to create eight warriors when the seven seem like they can’t do much and Ryuquir seems like she can win this whole war on her own.

She even sings the ED of the first episode….

None of these characters get any backstory whatsoever, outside of the brief flash we get in dialogue of Chris and Kui’s story, which might be relevant to the games? None of them have any moment of character development nor do we get much bonding between them.

The two groups separately are meant to be close by default, I suppose, but outside of Murobo and Kui, who obviously bond through their fight together, the others seem kinda shoved together – literally with Fanna and Ryuquir. Youta and Bostov bond over being pervs, and – are we meant to believe Remi and Chris bonded over insulting each others ages and boob sizes?

Bottomline: Villgust does a lot of things wrong, but I’d be hardpressed to say this was a chore to sit through. It just wasn’t very entertaining. Almost all of the comedy relies on slapstick, which is seriously getting old, even back then. You really need to do something creative with slapstick if you want to get any laughs.

The action wasn’t great, with the biggest highlight being the final battle with Gavady, and even that’s not fantastic. It’s also very hard to get invested in the action when the stakes never feel real due to the comedy.

The characters are not fleshed out enough to feel much concern about them, but there is a little something there. Ryuquir is way too annoying to ignore, though.

The art and animation is decent at best and cheap at worst. The music pretty alright, but forgettable.

I’d like to see a longer series of this with a better arrangement in regards to story, and I’d like to see them actually combat the evil entity, but that’ll probably never happen.

Recommended Audience: Outside of some typical anime pervness and fantasy violence, there’s a tiny splat of blood. 6+

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Motorcity

Plot: A man named Kane took over the city of Detroit, promising to turn it into a utopia only to build an entirely new city on top of it called Detroit Deluxe and strip the citizens of their freedom. In the old Detroit, now called Motorcity, people live in rough conditions, but at least they have their freedom. A team of rebels called the Burners are at war with Kane to reclaim Detroit and free the citizens above. Lead by the former Kane cadet, Mike, along with Julie, Chuck, Dutch and Texas, they have to utilize fast cars, futuristic weapons and high tech gadgets to win the war for Motorcity.

Breakdown: Hm, I sure have been reading a lot about networks screwing over their shows lately. I should take a break and watch a fun cartoon.

*one episode later*

Wow, that was a lot of fun! Hm…I wonder why it only has 20 episodes.

*one depressing article read later*

Dammit!

Why do networks do this? Why do they even pick up certain shows if they’re just going to screw them over, sending them on a crash course towards failure?

Networks seem to do this to varying levels, and I don’t get it. You don’t want a show? Don’t pick it up. Why bother going through with production and airing if you’re just going to treat the show like garbage?

Here, wander down the rabbit hole. https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ScrewedByTheNetwork

But for now let’s focus on the topic at hand, Motorcity.

Motorcity is no masterpiece. It has a pretty worn out plot, and even has a lot of cliché character archetypes at work (Except Texas, because Texas is awesome) but it’s a refreshing visual experience with a lot of style. It doesn’t seem to aim to be more than a really, really fun action show about cars.

And that’s fine. This is entertainment. It’s meant to be fun.

I had fun with this episode, and it does a decent enough job establishing all of the necessities such as the world they live in, most of the characters (I think they need to flesh out Dutch and Chuck more because they seem to both have the same job and personality quirks at this point.) the antagonist, the conflict and, right at the forefront, the style.

This is one of the more stylized shows I’ve seen in a long time. It’s simultaneously rough and very polished. It has a sort of ‘animated short’ feel to it, if that makes any sense.

The only problem I had with the style is sometimes the bright lights and lack of contrast in certain scenes makes it difficult to make out what’s going on in action scenes.

Oh and did I mention that Brendan Small of Home Movies and Metalopcalypse did the music for the show? And that Kel Mitchell came out of the woodwork to voice Dutch? AND that Mark Hamill voiced Kane? How can you cancel a show where Mark Hamill plays a villain? That’s blasphemy!

So what did Disney do to screw over this show?

I direct your eyeballs to this article.

http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/happened-disney-xds-motorcity/

To sum up – Motorcity got canned, before it even finished its first season, because of bad ratings. Understandable. But why did it have poor ratings?

Let’s go down the article’s list.

1) The timeslot was moved around frequently.

Want to make it very difficult for people to follow a show they like? Screw with the time slot. How many times have you enjoyed a show and then tried to watch it on the time and day you thought it was on only to see something completely different and then have to look up the new timeslot because the network is too stupid, lazy or conniving to properly advertise the change?

Frequent time slot changes are also a sign that the network just doesn’t give a crap about the show. For a series where the first season wasn’t even followed through all the way, there’s no excuse to keep changing the time slot.

Also, this is something mentioned in the TV Tropes listing, but they also didn’t air reruns of the show until 2015 for no reason. The show initially ran in 2012.

2) The show went on hiatus right as it was gaining a fan base.

I have no idea what this hiatus was about, but that explains why it took nearly a full year to air a twenty episode long season. Hiatuses in a show’s infancy are incredibly damaging. You don’t want to pour water on a fire before the spark even catches.

3) The episodes were aired out of order.

This one is just bullshit. There’s no excuse for this. Why the hell would you air the episodes out of order? It’s confusing for the viewer and makes for a miserable experience trying to follow the story.

3a) Most of the episodes were leaked, and when the hiatus ended, they restarted on the episodes that were leaked.

This one is something I found on the Motorcity Wikia’s petition page. I couldn’t find much info on this, and it’s so bizarre, so I thought I’d add it as a subset.

Is this implying that Disney knowingly leaked these episodes to damage ratings upon airing and then purposely aired all of the leaked episodes after the hiatus was over to further damage the numbers because why bother watching something that was leaked online?

If that has any sort of credibility, wow….just wow. That is some evil schemeness.

4) Very little advertising or marketing for the show.

I remember seeing some advertising for the show, but it wasn’t as promoted as most new shows. Also, I don’t see how this show couldn’t be marketable. Cars, weapons, cool stylized gadgets, the works. I get the feeling like the Disney didn’t like the tone or theme of this show and didn’t want to associate themselves with it, which why it reportedly took ten years for Titmouse, the production studio, to get the idea through Disney.

It makes sense. Disney is far from gritty, grungy or edgy. Doesn’t make it right at all, though. Again, you don’t want something? Don’t take it.

The saddest aspect of this whole situation is that Disney still owns the IP of Motorcity, so even if Titmouse tried to revive it, they wouldn’t be able to. Reminds me of the fiasco with Making Friends and Nickelodeon.

Apparently, in 2013, Titmouse tried to have both Motorcity and another of their properties that was shafted thanks to network bullshit, Megas XLR (which was canned because the president of Cartoon Network didn’t ‘get it’. They also purposely ignored any efforts to have it revived, even on Adult Swim, because they felt it was a complete waste of money.) but that, evidently, didn’t work.

I absolutely hate when networks treat a property like shit and then chain themselves to the IP so they can keep it in their back pocket in case they can make money on it some day. Or just to be assholes. They take someone’s ideas and hard work and ensure that no one can ever do anything with it ever again, as long as they deem it so. That is so selfish and disrespectful of the creators I could scream.

Final Verdict:

cbxcz0k

Motorcity is a lot of fun and can be pretty funny sometimes, especially Texas. It has a lot of potential to be more than just a fun action show, and, for all I know, the next 19 episodes could prove to go above and beyond, but it was yet another victim in a sea of network sharks.

Aardman’s Clay: Flushed Away (2006) Review

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Roddy the rat seemingly lives the high life. He has a mansion of a cage in his mansion of a house, he eats well, pampers himself and never misses an opportunity to have some fun. The one problem is that he is terribly lonely. When his owner isn’t around, he pretends that he has a lavish social life, but ultimately realizes that he’s all alone most of the time.

A sewer rat named Sid suddenly invades his house through the pipes. He’s loud, gross and forcibly makes himself at home while simultaneously destroying the house. While Roddy is lonely, he’s not lonely enough to want him for company, so he tries to trick him back into the sewer through the toilet only to be knocked into the bowl and flushed away by Sid.

Now lost in a sewer, Roddy finds himself in a massive underground city for rats. He wants nothing more than to get back home, and in his efforts to do so he meets Rita, a rough and tumble rat who is being harassed by The Toad, who wants to steal her father’s precious ruby. However, he has much more nefarious plans outside of a little ruby.

Breakdown: Flushed Away tends to get shit on a lot. That’s my lone potty humor joke of the review. I’m sorry.

However, I have noticed that most of the time when this movie gets slighted, it’s in passing. Some reviewer will bring this movie up randomly as being terrible when talking about something else. Because of that, I was dreading this review. However, I realized that I’ve never bothered to go and read a full review of this movie, which I didn’t bother to do until I had nearly finished the movie because I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than I expected, so I was wondering why the movie got such a bad rep.

What I found was mixed but mostly positive, with the main issue the reviewers were having with the movie being the exact same one I had.

I’d almost believe this movie was a punchline for many people based solely on the main plot and the title yet didn’t actually watch this movie or give it a chance.

Let me start off with the positive. The humor in this movie is top-notch. Despite the title, there’s very little in regards to toilet humor, and so many of the gags, even the running ones, work so well that I found myself laughing out loud numerous times, which is a difficult goal to accomplish with me.

I particularly enjoyed the running gag of the slugs, which easily could’ve been one of the most annoying things in this movie, but were hilarious every time they were on screen. I also loved the legion of frogs under Le Frog’s command. The mime frog in particular was a riot.

There are some groan-worthy jokes, and some slightly offensive-ish jokes like the French frogs immediately surrendering or the American rat being gross and rowdy, not understanding that the World Cup is soccer, not American football, but these were few and far between.

Also, despite the fact that Aardman switched to a CGI format for this movie, it still very clearly holds the traditional Aardman claymation aesthetics. And yes, you get the unreasonably large always-grinning mouths. The animation really doesn’t suffer due to this change of format, in fact, it kinda benefits in the area of freedom of movement, and considering the massive world they had to animate, plus the added complication of water, I fully understand why they went this route. Plus, with movies like Arthur Christmas under their belt now, we know that Aardman definitely has talent in the CGI world.

The voice work was also quite good with Hugh Jackman voicing Roddy, Kate Winslet voicing Rita and Ian McKellen voicing The Toad.

Now onto the negatives. While the villain characters had their funny quirks, the protagonists are rather cut and dry.

You have Roddy, our main lead, who is basically any fish out of water (or rat out of cage?) story. He’s miserable in his current life, is thrown into a new one that he initially dislikes, he longs to go home but his adventure getting back shows him that a life in the other place is much better and chooses to live there forever.

Reviewers kept bringing up that Roddy was meant to be parodying James Bond, and, I’m sorry, I don’t get it. He does dress up in a tuxedo, briefly parody James Bond and watch a spy movie at the start, but that’s it. Outside of having a villain to fight and going on an action adventure, there’s nothing else to imply a connection to James Bond.

Then you have Rita, the ‘I’m defying gender stereotypes’ clear love interest. She does more to move the plot along than Roddy does, and she’s kinda badass, but she doesn’t do much to differentiate herself from a trope that, ironically, is trying to escape a trope.

Being fair, neither character is unlikable in the slightest, which is an easy pitfall for characters like this. Rita starts out as a bit abrasive, and Roddy has his selfish and kinda jerkish moments, but these are usually justified in some way.

Sid is somehow turned into a good guy out of nowhere in the third act, even though he started as one of the grossest, dumbest, rowdiest dill holes I’ve ever seen. Also, he tried to kill Roddy in the first act, so what the hell?

The weakest area of this movie, however, is in the story. It’s just….not all that good. It’s boringly cliché at best and stupid at worst. This is definitely one of those movies that’s good because of its parts not the sum of its whole.

While we have a ton of great quick gags that more than make the movie worth watching, as well as a bunch of action that is fun to watch, when the movie slows down and reminds you of the plot, it loses your attention badly. The plot with Roddy is so predictable it practically hurts. Just by reading the synopsis, you can tell EXACTLY what will happen.

The one facet of his story that I was wondering about is if he’d really be willing to leave his owner, because even though we only get little snippets of his owner, a little girl named Tabitha, she takes great care of him and seems to love him a lot. I’d feel bad for her knowing Roddy would just up and leave her for a life in the sewers.

This is where Sid comes in because after he suddenly heel turns in the third act, Roddy leaves him to be Tabitha’s new pet. Sid promises he’ll be good to her, but you can’t trust this guy. He tried to kill Roddy earlier. He also basically destroyed the house by making a massive mess. Not to mention, this is a damn sewer rat. A filthy, stinky, fat sewer rat.

Do you honestly believe 1) She’d be fooled into thinking this is Roddy? (Spoiler alert: She is, somehow. So either she’s an idiot (she even ignores the massive mess around him) or she really cares so little about Roddy that she can’t tell him apart from any other rat, which doesn’t mesh from what little we know about her.)

2) If she doesn’t, that she’d be cool with losing Roddy forever and just adopting this new rat?

And 3) that her rich, pristine parents or even Tabitha herself would be cool with her adopting a disgusting, smelly sewer rat that infiltrated their house while they were away?

He does kinda get comeuppance in the end, but eh. I’m quite certain nothing actually bad would happen to him, but….again, eh.

On the…I guess we’ll call it the ‘James Bond’ plot, we have a story that’s both kinda dark and silly/immature at the same time.

The main villain here is The Toad, and I’m not being lazy, that’s his name. His big plan is to commit genocide against all the rats in the city by opening the sewer flood gates during half time of the World Cup, which is when thousands of people will all flush at the same time. All of the rats will drown in a tidal wave of piss water while the frogs and toads take over the city and he can repopulate with a massive collection of tadpoles that he…somehow created by himself?

See what I meant about being dark but also really silly/immature? Roddy and Rita got tangled in this mess when they both got captured by his men in an effort to retrieve a ruby Rita’s father passed down to her. The Toad believed it was his, she stole it back, so he hunted her down and took it back. In their escape from The Toad, they steal the master cable, which is necessary for this plan to work, so then he starts chasing them for that.

I will mention that, while the ruby is ultimately not very important to the overall plot, it did lead to the one story element that actually surprised me a good deal, but I won’t spoil it.

Overall, this movie is a truckload of really good gags with a decent amount of solid action piled on top of two stories that just don’t hold up very well. It could be a lot worse, it’s more like all the good stuff is sitting on cheap plywood more than wet toilet paper, but I was certainly waiting for the next gag to come along whenever the plot started to slow down. The first act in particular was a bit of a chore to get through.

Not to mention, they felt the need to include a small bit where Roddy lies about his situation to Rita and tries to pretend his life is fine, which was painful to watch for all the wrong reasons. I truly, sincerely hate awkwardness and lying plotlines. They never cease to suck all of the enjoyment out of a scene or movie. Luckily, this was shortlived.

There were some serious moments that I thought were really good, like Roddy being so happy that there was someone else to say ‘goodnight’ back to him that he kept saying it over and over to Rita, and Roddy making good on his promise to give Rita not only a ruby but also an emerald to help replace something she lost.

This is also one of those movies that I imagine would get better on repeat viewings due to little background jokes you might have missed the first time out.

Also, very minor, but I hate that this is one of those movies that ends on a dance party. That friggin’ trope needs to die.

Recommended Audience: While there is some potty humor here and there, it doesn’t fare nearly as badly as you might expect from the title. There’s some kinda dark humor and mild violence, but nothing terrible. I was actually somewhat insulted that this movie essentially got a free pass by Common Sense Media for being kinda crass, yet a fun, good kids movie when they absolutely trashed Monster House. Ya know, the movie that doesn’t include a plot about goddamn genocide by piss water. Fairness is fun. 6+

Images courtesy of AnimationScreencaps.com.

Final Notes: Supposedly, Dreamworks meddled a lot with this movie after the US failure of Wallace and Gromit. Aardman is a company that works best when left to their own devices, and even though the details of what exactly went on behind the scenes, the tension between the companies was enough for this movie to be their final venture with each other. Aardman left Dreamworks and never looked back.

Aardman had a brief relationship with Sony Pictures Animation, but have been bouncing between studios for newer projects since 2012.