CSBS – Rocket Power Episode 4: Happy Luau to You-Au/Rescue Rocket

Plot: Happy Luau to You-Au – Reggie’s planning to have an awesome birthday party at Madtown Skate Park, but her plans are ruined when Otto gets all of them temporarily suspended from the park.

Rescue Rocket – Sam and Twister are forced into joining a junior lifeguard program. Despite a rocky start, they eventually find themselves enjoying the experience, much to Otto’s dismay.

Breakdown: Happy Luau to You-Au – Sometimes, Otto can be really full of himself. And other times, he can actually be pretty sweet.

Trying out a new game he came up with for Reggie’s birthday party in which everyone holds hands and skates in a chain, the group gets suspended from Madtown for one week. Despite being clearly a bad idea (maybe a fine idea in a skating rink, but not in a skate pool) Otto had innocent intentions here, and it would’ve been fine, technically, but their people-chain ended up knocking down basically every other person at the park.

They really should have stopped the instant one person went down because of them, since that’s just what most normal people would do, but they didn’t for whatever reason. As a result, they got suspended from the park for one week, which is honestly pretty lenient if you ask me, but it’s made all the worse because Reggie was planning on having her first big birthday party at Madtown. Usually she has ‘lame’ parties at the Shore Shack, but she’s finally breaking free and having her party somewhere more exciting. Since she’s suspended, she can’t have her party there.

Reggie is devastated and very angry, especially at Otto, and for once Otto is genuinely sorry. He doesn’t argue, he doesn’t try to make excuses – he just accepts that he screwed up and feels very remorseful about it.

Reggie, on the other hand, is being a bit of a brat throughout the entire episode. Yeah, it’s understandable that she’s being a brat, but it’s also just slightly annoying.

In his guilt, Otto tells Mrs. Stimpleton about what happened. She takes it upon herself to throw Reggie a huge birthday bash – and if you know Mrs. Stimpleton, you already see why this is a big problem. She has a very kiddie and lame idea of what a teenager’s birthday party should be. She ends up hiring a really awful clown (who is even named Lame-O) and a terrible band that uses accordions.

When Reggie learns about this, she becomes even angrier and vows vengeance on the person who told Mrs. Stimpleton about her party – making Otto feel even worse. As if that weren’t bad enough, Mrs. Stimpleton is going to ridiculous lengths to get the word out on Reggie’s party. She’s put out a full-page ad in the paper and is driving around town with a huge loudspeaker announcing the party.

Otto, Twister, Sam, Raymundo and Tito set out to make things right.

Mrs. Stimpleton goads Reggie into coming to the party, and Reggie is shocked to find that the party is actually really cool. It’s being held at the Stimpleton’s pool, the band is using ‘cooler’ instruments, there’s good cake, the clown is basically being taken as a doofy street performer and everyone’s having a blast.

Reggie gets her awesome birthday party, Otto makes up for his mistake, he and Reggie make up and everything’s great……….This isn’t really a luau, so I dunno what the heck the title’s on about, but everything’s great otherwise.

This was just a really wholesome episode (Well, wholesome barring one scene where they’re clearly making that joke about a character ‘drinking’ their problems away at the bar, but in this case it’s Reggie eating fries and Tito cutting her off. He even asks if she’s driving home. Kinda surprising how many kids’ cartoons make this joke.) that, for once, didn’t center mostly on extreme sports. Otto’s being a sweetheart, and even his big mistake was just that – a mistake. It’s something a kid would totally do without realizing it’s a bad idea. Reggie’s being a little bit of a brat, but, again, it’s understandable, and she never goes too far with it.

I also really like that Otto didn’t slam Mrs. Stimpleton for what she was trying to do. He worked with her to turn her ideas into something Reggie would like instead of hurting her feelings and taking everything over himself. It was also really sweet how everyone came together in the end to help make things right for Reggie.

Overall, this is a really good and sweet story. I fully enjoyed it.

Breakdown: Rescue Rocket – Sometimes, Otto can be really sweet. And other times, he can be a dumbass.

Story B of today’s episode involves Sam and Twister being signed up for a junior lifeguard course by their parents. They’re both bummed about it at first, but Sam quickly takes to it, and even Twister eventually starts making a really solid effort to succeed in the course.

Otto and Reggie, however, are bummed because this course is eating up all of Twister and Sam’s time and energy, so they’re left to skate and play hockey by themselves.

Both Reggie and Otto express disdain towards the class, but Reggie soon starts showing interest and is even impressed by the feats they’re pulling off.

Otto, on the other hand, stays firm in his stance that lifeguards, and especially kids partaking in the junior lifeguard course, are all weenies and losers. He’s being totally in character here, both as a kid and just as Otto, plus I get his purpose in trying to show the audience, who may share his views, how cool and important lifeguards are, but he is being flatout annoying.

You’d think a guy who was practically born on a surfboard and was raised by an avid surfer right next to the ocean would have more respect for lifeguards, but he could not respect them less. Even after hearing Tito’s dramatic explanation (according to him anyway) about how, many years ago, lifeguards started out as wise people who respected the power of the ocean so much that they spread the word to people who worked and played in the waters and kept them safe from harm, Otto’s still not impressed. Reggie, however, is so impressed that she asks if she can join the junior lifeguards near the end.

Left on his own as the class winds down, Otto laments that everyone he knows is giving into the idea that the ‘lame’ lifeguards are interesting and cool.

As he mopes, Tito, who claims he’s collecting some seawater with a bucket on a rope for a secret recipe, suddenly falls from the pier and into the water. He’s tangled in the rope and can’t swim to safety.

Twister and Sam instantly grab their gear and establish a plan to save Tito. They work together to untangle Tito from the rope and tow him to safety.

…..And yeah, he was faking the whole time. It was Twister and Sam’s final test in the course, which is fine and cool and all, but….like….what about everyone else in the class?

Tito was actually a lifeguard back in Hawaii, a fact that makes Otto eat some crow when he realizes how he was accidentally insulting Tito when was slamming lifeguards. Otto has now gained a better appreciation for lifeguards and even compliments Twister and Sam for their skills in saving Tito.

I really liked this episode, too. While Otto was annoying, he was realistically annoying. Most kids think lifeguards are lame, and it’s understandable that Otto, hater of all rule enforcers, would be one of those kids. I just feel like, given how much of his life revolves around the ocean and extreme sports in the water, that he’d have a decent appreciation for lifeguards by now. Has he not ever witnessed anyone being rescued before?

I would say maybe he doesn’t have a grasp or mortality either, but….uh….his mom’s dead…..

Like many other times, this episode also shows the significant difference between Otto and Reggie, and that’s simply in the fact that Reggie is more mature and open-minded than he is (Uuuuuuusuallyyyyyyyy.) They both started out ragging on the junior lifeguards, but Otto did it more, worse, and Reggie warmed up to them much sooner.

This was a great episode for both Sam and Twister. It gave Sam some confidence, which I always love. Once he actually got invested in it, Twister also had some nice moments. It showed that he really can learn and do great things if you manage to keep his attention. Plus, I really like Twister and Sam’s friendship. They make a great team when Twister’s not being a jerk to Sam.

There were several funny moments in this episode, particularly when Sam and Twister were trying to save Lars and Sputz. Twister refuses to save his brother, and Sam actually stands up to Lars when he, predictably, starts mocking him. I loved when Sam said “Please grab the rescue can, MADAM, and I’ll tow you to safety.” Then Twister returned without Sputz because he couldn’t understand what Sputz was saying (He’s basically the Boomhauer of the show – speaking in mostly gibberish only a few select characters can understand.)

I love the overall message of this episode as well. As I mentioned, while connecting with Otto, it helps kids who think lifeguards are lame to gain a greater respect for them. It also encourages kids and teens to take safety courses and become lifeguards. That’s really great, especially for a show that puts so much focus on extreme sports in water. Any kid who wants to partake in these sports due to the influence of this show should take safety courses to ensure they stay as safe as possible and help other people. Admirable job, Rocket Power. You did good.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 17: Inside the Straw Review

HGTVEP17SCREEN1

Plot: Yamawaro’s backstory unfolds and….I dunno. Fitting that he’s a mushroom spirit, because I feel like I just took a bunch.

Breakdown:

I don’t even know where to begin with this. When I saw the preview for this episode, I was uninterested because I don’t much care about Yamawaro’s origins, but now that I do know Yamawaro’s origins, I feel a strange cocktail of emotions beginning with an ounce of confused and topping off with ten gallons of “What is actually happening right now? I feel like my brain is trying to escape my skull.”

I’ll try to summarize best I can.

Yamawaro was a mountain spirit or a mushroom spirit who spent his time alone in the mountains. Sometimes, he would, for some reason, take the form of a naked boy. Other times, he would take the form of a bunch of mushrooms. And still other times he would take the form of a naked boy…..covered in mushrooms….Don’t ask. I don’t know.

Ai stumbled upon him and invited him to join her group, but he initially declined because he believed being alone was just how you were supposed to live.

Later, he found a happy family living in a house near the mountain – two loving parents, Fujiko and Risaburo Ashiya, and their young son who looked incredibly similar to Yamawaro’s human form. The son, Hikaru, tragically died shortly thereafter in an accident in the swamp. His parents were devastated.

Cut to several decades later, the mother, now an old woman, is bedridden and reaching the end of her life. She wishes to reunite with Hikaru and knows she will soon see him in the afterlife.

Yamawaro, for reasons beyond even his understanding, decides to appear to her (naked again) claiming he’s Hikaru so she can give the woman’s life some happiness before she passes. The father is wary of him and later we’ll find out that he knows Yamawaro’s not human, but he doesn’t want to break the illusion and hurt his wife.

The father also happens to be a…doctor…scientist….botanist…medicine man? Some combination of the three? He’s been trying to grow something called caterpillar fungus, which, he surmises, can somehow be used to make a medicine that will bolster a person’s health and grant them longevity. He wants, more than anything, to give his ailing wife more time on this earth. He requests Yamawaro to assist him in his research. Caterpillar fungus needs to grow on a living being, but every animal he’s tried to grow it on hasn’t produced adequate results. He knows Yamawaro is a supernatural being, so he hopes that the fungus will react better with his body. What a coinky dink that Yamawaro happens to be living mushrooms…..I think….right? Why is this Yamawaro’s backstory episode and I’m still confused as to what he actually is?

HGTVEP17SCREEN2
This better not be some sort of weird-ass Mario crossover.

Next comes a….very, very uncomfortable scene where the father applies a special medicine to a fully naked (barring a towel) Yamawaro’s back while chanting something that supposedly makes the medicine work? This is bad enough, but Yamawaro starts moaning and develops a blush on his face…then he starts….panting and sweating….

Look, I get that he’s moaning in pain and the blush, panting and sweating are probably a result of a high fever, but this is still extremely disconcerting to watch.

Spores and mushrooms start growing very quickly all over Yamawaro’s body to the point where he’s basically entombed in them. Slicing off some pieces from the growth, Risaburo makes his concoction, that he calls Ambrosia, and gives it to his wife.

The potion actually works. A little too well, actually. Fujiko reverts back to her thirties somehow. The experiment was a massive success, but Fujiko couldn’t stand what her husband was doing to Yamawaro. The poor boy was wrapped up from head to toe in bandages, because he took so many of the spores I presume, even though the first sample seemed like enough, and she was concerned that Risaburo would continue to experiment on him. She secretly brought him back to the mountains and told him to run away, which he did. Eventually, he must have made his way to Ai to join her team.

HGTVEP17SCREEN3

In present day, things only continue to get more confusing, if you can believe that.

Ai has a request from Fujiko, and Yamawaro insists that he be the one given the job. Ai agrees. He doesn’t plan on stopping the ferrying if she chooses to pull the string, but he hopes that he can convince her to not pull the string at all. Technically, they’re not supposed to interfere with cases, but they seem to have thrown that rule out the window at this point.

Kikuri later finds the straw-dolled Yamawaro lying in a bed in the Ashiya household while Fujiko falls back under the delusion that Yamawaro is Hikaru…..even though….ya know….he’s a straw doll now. Yamawaro also shows his doll’s insides to Kikuri, which, as shown before, is a bunch of fungus. The dialogue points at this being a result of the experiments, but wasn’t he a mushroom spirit before? Did he just turn into a bunch of mushrooms for funsies?

Fujiko has called Hell Girl to send her husband to hell for making Yamawaro suffer for his experiments. Fair enough, I suppose, but why did it take her so long to call her? And if she was considering doing that anyway, why not call her, pull the string and not send Yamawaro off into the woods? Then she could live the rest of her days happily with ‘Hikaru.’

Now…here’s another weird thing. Fujiko contacted Hell Correspondence…..via a newspaper. This isn’t a new thing – Ai used to get her clients from blank newspaper ads back before the Internet, but the scene where they show her doing this is in black and white and she’s young again. She’s still young in present time because of the potion, but the use of the newspaper and the scene being black and white makes me think this was way back when Hikaru died. I guess this is meant to be recently, because they never say she got a doll back then, but they made this shot look way too similar to a distant flashback for me to be certain about it.

Fujiko is suddenly old again now….??? She was in her thirties literally ten seconds ago. She aged fifty years between shots……Whatever. She finally confronts her husband with the doll, accusing him of also having something to do with Hikaru’s death, but he denies this and says it was just a sad accident.

The dialogue is really unclear for the rest of the scene. The best I can make of it is that Risaburo was actually more intent on just finding the secret to eternal life more than he was in helping his wife, I guess. He just said that to trick Yamawaro into helping him….I think. He knew he needed a non-human specimen for his research…somehow…and pure luck lead Yamawaro to them so he took advantage of that. But then he muses that it actually worked and that it saved him trouble? Why is he so confused about why it worked?

Fujiko pulls the string and Risaburo is sent to hell.

However, the weirdness doesn’t even end there. After the string is pulled and everything’s all said and done, Yamawaro rushes to the Ashiya mansion to witness it….sinking into the lake….for some reason. Also, Fujiko’s in there….young again….holding Hikaru…..Is she already dead? Why is the house sinking? There was never any indication that the house was at risk of sinking. Truth be told, I didn’t even fully realize it was situated on water. I knew they were near a swamp, but that’s about it.

HGTVEP17SCREEN4

So, class, can one of you please enlighten me on what the hell I just watched?

I kinda feel like the Hell Girl stuff was unnecessary. Was the guy a terrible person? Yeah. Did he deserve to go hell? Probably. But the timing was really weird, and I honestly didn’t feel like I hated the guy enough to want him to be sent to hell. I don’t much care that he did, but I wasn’t rooting for it.

This is another one of those times where I feel worse for the client because now she really won’t ever be back together with Hikaru again, no matter what was shown in the window. Unless Hikaru’s in hell too for whatever reason.

She should have taken this into consideration when she called Hell Girl. She’s been so intent on reuniting with Hikaru one day. It’s been her one driving focus in her days after Hikaru died. Why would she sacrifice reuniting with her son in peace in Heaven just to send Risaburo to hell for kinda hurting someone who’s not even human? She could’ve just left him or stopped consuming the potion. She would eventually die a natural death, and Risaburo, without Yamawaro around, would die some years down the line and be sent to hell anyway. It’s rather pointless.

The story, boiled down, is fine. Yamawaro connected with some grieving parents in the twilight of their lives because he took pity on them after they lost their son and decided to fill the void for them. He eventually needed to leave, and, realizing the benefits of relationships to other people, he decided to join the Hell Team. But when everything else is added to the mix, it just becomes too confusing and weird to be worth any real value.

The only two things I gained from this episode are learning a little more about Yamawaro, kinda, I still don’t even have a good grip on what he actually is, and seeing Kikuri be *gasp* nice and tolerable for a change. She’s actually having a good discussion with Yamawaro and is defending him. It’s like she’s a completely different person in this episode (and she didn’t need to be wound once for some reason.)

…….Am I forgetting something?……….

……………………OH YEAH, Yuzuki! She exists! Right. She was here for literally one minute of screentime. She went to the Ashiya mansion to talk to Fujiko about Hell Girl. She thought the person would be in her eighties, but the only people living there were in their thirties, so she just….frickin’ left and never came back.

Protagonist of the year.

Didn’t investigate further. Didn’t ask for their names. Didn’t ask if she had contacted Hell Girl or anything. Just ‘Oh I must have the wrong house. Guess I’ll leave the episode now.’


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Battle Arena Toshinden (OVA) Review

Plot: Uhhh, there’s some tournament called the Toshin tournament, but that doesn’t matter because we never see the tournament over the course of the show. This anime is also based off of a video game of the same name that I’ve never played, but I hope to God at least the fans of the game find some meaning behind this show.

A man named Eiji was apparently the last tournament’s winnerm and his brother, Sho, has turned bad, apparently, and has betrayed his family so Eiji’s on a mission to find him…..apparently.

But there’s also some lady named Uranus who dresses like Lady Gaga’s lobotomized twin. She’s evil and runs some evil organization called….The Organization. Eiji along with a bunch of other characters who are never adequately explored fight The Organization.

Breakdown: THEM anime reviews has, at least at one point, labeled this the worst anime they’ve ever seen. Ouch. Now, I’ve disagreed with THEM before and at this point I’ve seen my fair share of crap. Do I share the same sentiment?

……Uhh, I wouldn’t say ‘worst’ but it’s pretty damn low on the list. It’s bottom 10 at least. This anime is confusing as hell to me. I really, truly hate when shows, anime or otherwise, expect that you should know the full backstory behind something, especially when the backstory is explained in an entirely different medium. I’ve never played Battle Arena Toshinden, yet this anime not only acts like you should know full well the backstory to this whole mess of an OVA, but it also assumes you know every character and what their story is too.

When they actually do bless you with some information, it’s just thrown at you like a rock of exposition. Characters are constantly showing up, especially at the ending where the big clusterfuck of cameos happens. I had no idea who 98% of those people were when they showed up and the ones I did recognize I still knew nothing about. Oh yeah, the old man with Wolverine claws, dominatrix love-interest chick. ♪ And the rest….are here on Gilligan’s Isssllllleeee!

Not like they even did anything either. They were simply meant to fight the lacky no-name no-face enemy characters to give the main guys a chance to go after the characters who actually somewhat matter. Eiji, one of the main characters, actually said “We don’t have time to deal with those pawns!” Yeah, great, thanks for telling me there’s no reason give a crap about what they’re doing.

I didn’t even really get to know the main character that well. He’s a master martial artist and a nice guy…..that’s…about…it.

Another character who literally shows up just to create a plot point is Ellis. She’s a cutesy knife thrower in the circus who was also a participant in the tournament that I’m told happened. She appears in the final minutes of episode one and is in a coma dying from poison five minutes into episode two.

I don’t care about this person. If anything, she annoys me. I don’t care about her dad (It was also an exposition rock that a fighter named Gaia was her dad) And oh she’s voiced by Lisa Ortiz….

Let’s address Uranus, hm? Well, first of all we don’t see her do anything. She’s one of those behind-the-scenes villains who talks big then runs off when she’s confronted face to face. Oh and…she grew wings out of nowhere.

By the way, can someone please explain to me what the hell this is?

It looks she fell in the shower, got wrapped up in the shower curtain, curtain rod and all, walked to the mirror and said, “….Hm…that’s fine. Time to go to work.”

And look at the front!

Her dress has no top! What was that listed as in the item description? “Side-Boob-Displaying Uncomfortable Dress from Hell”? That has got to be one of the dumbest clothing designs I’ve ever seen in anything.

Oh well, she has to look better when she’s prepared for battle, right?

Wow….more practical but still ugly as all hell. That does not look liked she’d be able to move, though, considering the way the shoulder guards are designed. Also, all that armor, looking clunky as a robot made of washing machines, and the two areas they don’t cover are the head and the boobs. Oh well, at least she has boob socks – the strongest of all female armor.

I am thoroughly unimpressed with everything. Thank you.

Our only two actual villains in this movie who do things are Sho and a man-machine (because ‘android’ or ‘cyborg’ are just too complicated) named Chaos. Sho’s obviously the big brother who joined the bad ranks for whatever reason but still wants to fight his brother in an honorable match. Chaos is just a crazy guy wielding a sickle. He has a grudge against Gaia for beating him a while back and that’s about it.

From what story I could piece together, there is nothing here. It’s filled with so many cliches and suffers from such a lack of originality that it’s just sad. Being cliché doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker. You just have to be creative with the cliches…and they’re not. I could not care about anything in this OVA. Not the story. Not the characters. Nothing.

This isn’t even really good for action. The action scenes, while not being particularly boring, weren’t particularly interesting either. Their moves are so uninspired that I honestly would never be able to tell them apart if they were done one after another.

They all have regular weapons from your traditional sword, to a buster-sword-thing, to whips (of course the dominatrix character gets a whip….a PINK whip.) to big billy clubs (wielded by a female character who seems to be roller-derby-ish…..and they’re, of course, pink….They also look like giant Nerf toys.) to the aforementioned Wolverine claws. They also have the never-explained ability to use energy-powers, but none of these moves are memorable either.

Oh and did I mention that the ending basically resolves nothing? They manage to get the antidote for Ellis by defeating Chaos. The reason they couldn’t defeat him before was because he was turned into a man-machine. Every time he fought one of the main guys, he’d get data on their fighting styles and predict their moves. How was he beaten? Eiji shrugged him off and said to just fight using each other’s moves so Chaos couldn’t predict it.

Eiji: “You’re a fool for thinking we’d just do the same moves over and over.” You know what? That is a great point and a gigantic flaw in this multi-billion dollar experiment to make man-machine fighters. Way to go, Uranus, you dumb stupidly dressed sack of idiot.

Uranus gets away, the real Sho shows up (don’t ask) yet disappears as soon as he came to just say “Yeah I blew up all the stuff you had. Just wanted to end this BS. Bye!” Uranus escapes due to her unexplained sudden growth of wings (even though I don’t see how she really did escape unless there was a series of holes leading straight up out of the building), the good guys survive the explosion complete with walking out of the flames without even attempting to walk at a brisk pace because bad-ass.

Oh and at the very end, some guy, I guess, according to the Youtube comments, his name is Vermillion, comes out, Eiji smiles, unsheathes his sword, slashes once and reveals the title screen before the end credits start.

Bite. Me.

Look, if you want to release an OVA that is purely meant as an advertisement for a game or a manga or whatever – be my guest. There are plenty of times when that can work, but you have to do it well. You can’t expect that your audience knows all of this crap that may or may not be explained in the video games, and it’s really bad practice to do that because chances are the video game will become dated and phased out due to people ditching their old consoles for new ones, but the OVA will stick around for future viewings and people will be like insanely confused.

I guess the Youtube commenters must’ve been fans of the game because I just kept seeing “this is a good anime” and the like. However, seeing as how many people were also bringing up how this OVA is such a blast from the past, I’m going to either believe they have nostalgia goggles glued on or this OVA really is a lot better when you know of the game. However, I believe even if I knew of all of that stuff that this would still be awful.

Art and Animation: The art is terrible. It’s exaggerated fighting anime style, but it’s still really bad. I don’t know if I’d say it’s some of the worst I’ve seen, but it’s still awful. I will commend them for actually animating the action instead of just resorting to still screens, but the animation as a whole is pretty damn bad.

Voice acting: English Dub. Ranges from ‘okay’ to ‘Wow, they really hired this guy?’ Most of the characters lean on the side of okay, but characters like the Duke were just laughably bad.

Music: The music wasn’t that bad but like everything else it wasn’t memorable.

Bottomline: Unless you’ve played the old Battle Arena Toshinden games and can find some value in this OVA, there’s no point whatsoever in watching this. It’s confusing, poorly paced, extremely poorly written in terms of both story and dialogue, gives you no reason to care about anything and there’s not even good mindless fight scenes to enjoy. And I do have to reiterate – there’s no ‘battle arena’ in Battle Arena Toshinden. There WAS one. You just missed it.

Additional Information and Notes: Battle Arena Toshinden is based on a series of video games for the Playstation (1-3 and Vita) Game Boy and Sega Saturn. There hasn’t been an incarnation of the series since 2009, and even then it was released under an entirely different name with no connection to the previous storyline.

The OVA was produced by Animate Film and JC Staff. It was directed by Masami Obari, who also directed pretty much every Fatal Fury anime, Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer and uh…*cough*….some hentai titles.

It was co-written by Masaharu Amiya (episode one) who also did minor work on Ai Yori Aoshi, Beyblade, Karin, Inuyasha and….Yosuga no Sora.

Episode two was written by Haruo Takayama, and either the dude is too ashamed of this work to display it anywhere he’s listed or the Wiki doesn’t have accurate information. The only Haruo Takayama I can find did the screenplay for both of the Turn A Gundam movies and wrote the script for Jungle do Ikou’s OAV. Nothing anywhere about Battle Arena Toshinden.

The OVA was originally licensed under the now defunct Central Park Media, then known as US Manga Corps. Their licenses were distributed to many other media companies, but it’s unclear who owns the license to Battle Arena Toshinden now, if anyone owns it at all.

Episodes: 2

Year: 1996

Recommended Audience: Plenty of violence, but nothing gets incredibly gory. One nude shot, of course of a woman, of course the dominatrix lady, some sexual-ish content, no swearing. 12+


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Pelswick

Plot: Based on a series of newspaper cartoons by John Callahan, Pelswick follows the life of Pelswick Eggert – a paraplegic boy who wants nothing more than to live a normal life.

Breakdown: I usually don’t do Episode One-Derland entries for shows I am actually familiar with, but it has just been so, so, SO long since I watched Pelswick that I felt the need to do one here.

I watched Pelswick when it first aired on Nickelodeon, and I remember enjoying it quite a bit. It wasn’t my favorite show or anything, but I thought it was a pretty good series. It was really cool that it gave the spotlight to a paraplegic main character when you typically can’t even find many side characters in shows that are in a wheelchair or just generally have disabilities, especially back when this first aired.

The writing was also good with a style that reminded me a lot of Doug what with all the fantasies and cutaways, but actually….ya know….funny and interesting. (No hate on Doug, but it can be quite the bore sometimes.)

Now, Pelswick’s not making me bust a gut in laughter or anything, but it did have its charms and made me smile a few times as I revisited it. It also had some fairly clever writing and commentary.

This episode tackles the subject of Pelswick being barred from the eighth grade camping trip due to his special needs. Someone fought back in his stead, even getting a lawyer involved, and because of this push, instead of allowing Pelswick on the trip, they just canceled it altogether. The eighth grade camping trip is a big deal to a lot of people, so the situation gets heated quickly. It turns into a huge spectacle as many people start protesting against Pelswick to get the camping trip back while there were also many others supporting the rights of handicapped individuals and fighting to let him go on the camping trip.

Throughout the story, we get the reactions of various people that range from understandable to silly to silly but understandable on the grounds of parody. Many of Pelswick’s classmates are pissed off that the trip is canceled, which is understandable since it was such a big deal.

Some people are getting so pissed about it, however, that they’re purely protesting Pelswick as if he was the one who made this decision when it was technically against him. And when I say protest I mean they have signs with his face on it but crossed out in red and offer anti-Pelswick hot dogs at the picket lines.

You also have the younger kids in town, including Pelswick’s younger sister, Kate. They’re angry that they won’t be able to destroy the bedrooms of their older siblings while they’re on the camping trip, which is silly, but yeah totally something they’d do.

There was also a group of kids who were perfectly depicting the hypocrites you tend to see in these situations. They were going off about Pelswick being selfish for doing this while they were being selfish during their whole conversation. Not only is the narrative of ‘What a selfish thing to do. Why isn’t he thinking of what we want?’ inherently selfish, but they’re furthering the point by having them literally take the seats out from under two other kids so they could sit.

Then, on the opposite side, you have the ones supporting Pelswick, many of whom are fellow disabled individuals who are fighting for their rights, which is, of course, entirely understandable. But they also go a bit into silly territory by having pro-Pelswick hamburgers and a giant Pelswick balloon.

Likewise, while this situation does suck, the school had a relatively reasonable explanation for doing this. Their insurance didn’t cover individuals with special needs outside of the city limits. With the push against the decision to keep the camping trip but bar Pelswick, they felt they had no other choice but to cancel the trip entirely.

And even if we do go down the route of them getting better insurance coverage, the steps needed to achieve that would’ve taken too long as the trip was that weekend. It’s not just a matter of improving their insurance – it’s a matter of whether they have the money to do that, and if they don’t, allocating funds from one place or another to meet that demand. I think everyone knows how much red tape and bullshit there is in budget discussions, especially when it comes to schools.

For nearly the entire time, Pelswick believes his father/his connections to the state senator is the one who did all of this. He’s an ultra-’PC’ person to the point of parody. He’s definitely a good person, but he doesn’t realize that there is a limit when it comes to not trying to step on anyone’s toes. He actually says the line “Nobody’s wrong. They’re just differently right.”

He also does and says some things that come off like he’s one of those people who pats himself on the back for being, for lack of a better term, “woke” but he may actually be a rare occurrence when he doesn’t realize he’s doing it.

Here is one of his first lines of dialogue. “I’m showing your siblings the folly of gender-based stereotypes by cleaning and cooking dinner while nurturing Bobby and reading Kate a story about tolerance and equality.” If he were just doing this, it wouldn’t be anything worth noting, but the fact that he pointed this out so specifically is what makes it come off like he’s trying to pat himself on the back.

I actually think his dad might be a play on the critics of John Callahan’s cartoons. He was always criticized for being “politically incorrect” (Though Callahan would prefer the term “Survivor humor” – himself being paralyzed from the shoulders down and a survivor of a harrowing childhood) and he didn’t much care for those people at all. In fact, he was quoted as saying he really only cared about the responses he got from individuals with disabilities, which were overwhelmingly positive. When it came to everyone else, he liked pushing their buttons and seeing how far he could go with his dark and biting humor. His cartoons even sometimes caused people to boycott and protest the publications he was working with, and even created some issues with sponsors.

In this circumstance, if what I believe of this character is true, then the point of Pelswick’s dad is obviously poking fun at people who are uptight about not offending anybody and walk on eggshells around those who are different while still acknowledging that these people mean well.

Anyway, back on point, his father goes to the senator to get her to do something about this, so Pelswick thinks the lawyer, who is the one who kicked up the fuss, was hired by either his dad or the senator. Turns out, it’s neither. He was hired by his crush, Julie.

Julie is a character who prides herself on her strong sense of justice. When she learned that Pelswick was being barred from the camping trip, she took it upon herself to start all of this for him because she felt bad at the idea of him being all alone while everyone else was off camping. However, it got out of hand and she couldn’t stop it.

Pelswick is ecstatic to hear that she cared about him so much that she’d do this for him, but it also kinda goes against Pelswick’s whole point. Pelswick was annoyed because, during this whole situation, no one would listen to him about what he wanted. They just kept pushing their own narratives and agendas while pushing him to the side, even though his face is plastered all of the town because of it.

Julie never bothered talking to Pelswick about this. In fact, once the trip is canceled, we don’t see Julie again until the reveal that she was behind it all. She just felt bad for him, so she took action without even mentioning it to him once.

But what’s even worse is that she had to have known Pelswick was becoming the town punching bag throughout this whole thing, but she didn’t talk to him or even try to clear the air about who was the one who started all of this until Pelswick came out and asked at the rally. Even Pelswick points this out.

Pelswick: “You cared enough about me to make me totally miserable?”

This is said in a dreamy voice, by the way. He’s flattered that she did this.

So, in summary, the girl who prides herself on her strong sense of justice just let the guy she was trying to defend be attacked for a few days all because she was seemingly too chicken to own up to what she did. Kay.

By the way, in regards to their dynamic, Pelswick doesn’t make off being entirely angelic either. He actually has a ‘Nice guy’ moment, verbatim. When some bullies get done picking on Pelswick, Julie talks about what terrible people they are but then ends on saying she’s oddly attracted to them.

Pelswick: “It’s….the curse of the nice guys! The beautiful girls are always attracted to jerks and lunkheads.” Then he has a fantasy sequence where he imagines himself 20 years in the future. He’s rich and crying into thousand dollar bills as he imagines what could’ve been with Julie while he’s also driving by Julie who is now married to his bully and has a miserable life working at some dilapidated gas station in the middle of nowhere.

Don’t worry, Pelswick, I’m sure you’ll find that special subreddit someday.

The resolution to this episode is a little confusing. The Vice Principal says his hands are tied in this because of the insurance reasons I mentioned before. Inspired by the advice given to him earlier by his guardian angel, whom I’ll address in a minute, Pelswick asks if they can hold the camping trip in the VP’s new giant backyard at his new house.

Now, first of all, I think the writers are greatly misinformed on how much a public school vice principal would make. Certainly not enough to buy this big house with a massive backyard and a pool with a giant tower of a diving board.

Secondly, I don’t think it was ever brought up before this point that the Vice Principal has a new house with a huge backyard, so this solution kinda comes out of nowhere.

He does let the kids camp in his yard, everyone has a grand old time, and Pelswick even gets to touch Julie’s hand.

The end.

Skipping back to the guardian angel thing, Pelswick has a guardian angel named Mr. Jimmy. Whether or not he’s real is questionable, but he appears in every episode and offers Pelswick advice, usually in a rather confusing and random manner. When I rewatched this, I remembered that the Disney Channel Original Movie, Miracle in Lane 2, basically had this exact same thing. In that movie, the main character was also paralyzed from the waist down, and he had frequent conversations with ‘God’ who took the form of a fictional famous race car driver. I looked up what year Miracle in Lane 2 was made in, and it premiered the exact same year as Pelswick, 2000, though Pelswick premiered in October whereas Miracle premiered in May.

COINCIDENCE?!

*Dramatic music*

Yeah, probably. I mean, Mr. Jimmy and ‘God’ don’t act anything alike, and most of the interactions with ‘God’ are in a more serious tone when Justin needs help. Plus the race car driver motif thing

By the way, watch Miracle in Lane 2, it’s an awesome movie and one of the few times Disney Channel really got serious and kinda dark. The early 00’s were the butterzone for that. So Weird, In a Heartbeat, a few other more serious DCOMs….I miss those days.

As a first episode, this one works pretty well. It introduces us to Pelswick and explores his personality and desires fairly well. We get introduced to his friends, his family, his crush and even his bullies all in one go. I can’t really say I loved any of the characters, but I liked Pelswick and Ace most of all, and even Goon had his moments. As far as I remember, they never explain how Pelswick became paralyzed, but according to the Wiki, the series creators imply it was due to a car accident, which mirrors John Callahan’s situation.

The only other thing I really want to talk about is the art. I nearly didn’t even really bring up the art because, despite having my criticisms of it. I had read up on John Callahan while I was writing this review and realized it was based on his cartoon art, which he had created after he gained some mobility in his arms. He was able to hold a pencil between his hands and draw.

As a result, I didn’t want to criticize the art, but then I realized I’d be missing the point of quite literally everything I’m discussing here. I’d be keeping quiet about something because the person behind it was quadriplegic, and John Callahan seemed very dedicated to ensuring that people with disabilities weren’t pitied or treated differently. Granted, this isn’t directly his art, but it is heavily based on his art.

So, here goes.

The art is very, very weird. In a lot of ways it reminds me of Klasky/Csupo shows, but more off-model. Many people are given huge bulky bodies with thin heads, short little t-rex arms and massive noses. Their eyes are always both seen from the side, like one must be dislodged from their head. I can’t even begin to make sense of Pelswick’s dad’s head, who also has eyes that seem like they’re just installed in his glasses.

It’s very stylized – you can quickly tell this is a style meant to be in newspaper cartoons – but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s very weird. Weird doesn’t necessarily mean bad, I wasn’t cringing while watching it or anything, but I did find myself baffled as to the design choices many times. The animation is also simple, but it works.

Continue Yes

Pelswick is definitely a unique show that I’m sad was mostly lost to time, especially considering that it puts a spotlight on the lives and struggles of individuals with disabilities – that’s rare enough as it is, but for a cartoon aimed at children it’s nearly unheard of. It has a pretty good sense of humor, good writing and mostly likable characters. If you have the means, give it a look.

Final Notes: Because it was airing on networks for kids, Pelswick notably needed to have more of a positive/optimistic spin that was quite a bit different from the crass and darker humor Callahan used in his cartoons.

Right when Pelswick was airing, another cartoon based on Callahan’s work, called Quads!, was being aired in Canada – produced by the same team and company (Nelvana included, surprisingly). According to what I’ve read, it was a much more adult-oriented show that better reflected Callahan’s style of humor. It never got a US release. Interestingly, though, both shows ended in 2002 and both shows had two seasons/26 episodes.

Truth be told, I don’t really have a lot of interest in seeking out this show. I’ve mentioned before that crass humor really isn’t my cup of tea, even if it’s well-written, and just reading the character bios on the Wiki page for Quads! leads me to believe that it wouldn’t be any more fitting for me. I’m not criticizing his style of humor – especially considering Callahan only created and produced the shows, he didn’t write for them. Even from what I’ve seen of his newspaper cartoons (a few of which I found to be pretty funny) I can tell this that particular type of humor is not for me. It’s not something I seek out, nor do I tend to be entertained by it usually when I stumble upon it. I respect it fully, but it’s not my style.

Sadly John Callahan died at age 59 in 2010 from complications related to his quadriplegia as well as respiratory issues. He had such an impact on the world of cartoons and people with disabilities that a biographical movie, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (the title being a reference to one of his most popular cartoons) was made in 2018 starring Joaquin Phoenix. The movie was mapped out in the late ‘80s, but had a lot of difficulties finding a studio that would take on the project, and many delays and broken deals plagued it over the years.

Callahan was even quoted as saying “We’re all gonna be dead by the time this film is made.” And, sadly, Callahan did die eight years before the movie was finally released. To make matters worse, Robin Williams was initially pegged to star in it, but he had also passed away before the movie found a studio (and was too old to play the part by that time either way.) Callahan had also said he wanted Phillip Seymour Hoffman to play the part if Williams ever wasn’t an option anymore, but he, too, passed away before everything was set in stone.

Still, it looks like Joaquin Phoenix really immersed himself in the role and did a good job. I’d like to see the movie if I ever got the chance. Not only does Callahan seem like he was a funny and genuine guy, but he also has a very interesting backstory that I’d love to see explored on film.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective | Episode 10: Love-Love Rhapsody Sub/Dub Comparison

STDGKEP10SCREEN1

Plot: TP Lady sets her sights on Love-Love and sets a trap in medieval Baghdad to capture her.

———————————

They add a circular ‘droplet’ kind of transition when Petra has her fantasy.

I don’t understand TP Lady/Petra Fina’s idea here. Love-Love/Getalong only makes people set aside their differences and get along. She doesn’t make them fall in love.

The original fantasy doesn’t show any reluctance on the Masked Man’s part, making Love-Love’s interference seem strange. In the dub, they have the Masked Man say that he’s not sure they’re ready for marriage, which is what prompts Petra to use Getalong. It makes more sense in the dub – kudos for once, Saban – but, again, Getalong doesn’t do that….Also, it’s kinda silly to say you might not be ready for marriage when you’re already at the church and wearing a tuxedo. Maybe I should just chalk up the nonsensicalness to it being TP Lady’s/Petra Fina’s fantasy….

Love-Love’s name plate is removed.

Subbed: STDGKEP10SCREEN2

Dubbed: STDGKEP10SCREEN3

Another droplet transition after the fantasy ends.

It VERY briefly cuts to black when Petra is hit by the soccer ball. I’m going to assume that’s just a problem on the copy, because there’s no way that censored the hit.

Title Change: Love-Love Rhapsody is changed to Go Getalong.

They move a shot of the kids from after TP Lady speaks to them to right before then because the dub removed the title card, which originally appeared between when TP Lady got hit and when she started talking to the kids.

Okay….what…the hell….was that phone conversation? TP Lady called the Time Bureau to tell them, in a childish kind of voice, that she had found a monster….in medieval Baghdad? …What….just….what? Wouldn’t they ask how she’s calling them from medieval Baghdad?

Surprisingly, the exact same conversation happens in the dub. Is this just a joke that does not land very well or what’s happening here?

They changed another establishing shot to one in the evening.

In the original, Toki-G mutters “Ms. Jinguuji” in his sleep. In the dub, he doesn’t mutter anything.

They, again, add in Flint grabbing the time card and the kids rushing to the Time Cycle in between when the card is ejected and when they’re leaving. In the dub, Dr. Goodman also adds in that Baghdad was part of the Ottoman empire at the time period they’re visiting (This never matters, but educational nonetheless). Also, they specify that they’re going to Baghdad in 1539. In the original, they just say they’re going to medieval Baghdad.

Saban adds a shot of the kids coming out of the time stream in the dub.

Originally, Mite nearly mentioned Dyna’s name and Tokio caught it for a second. In the dub, he does no such thing, but Tony recognizes his voice for a second.

Dyna and Mite originally introduce themselves. In the dub, they introduce each other.

What the frick? They, for some reason, mirror flipped the shot of Putera telling Love-Love he did a good job? For what possible reason?

What’s ever weirder is there’s an identical shot a few shots later and it’s left alone. What the?

They remove the second time Love-Love uses her power and the subsequent effects scene as well as TP Lady saying she needs to get Love-Love quickly because she doesn’t think she can take much more of this.

STDGKEP10SCREEN4STDGKEP10SCREEN5STDGKEP10SCREEN6STDGKEP10SCREEN7STDGKEP10SCREEN8

Tokio just said to get TP Lady and the others. In the dub, he tells Getalong to use her love beam.

Putera originally points out that the effects of Love-Love’s beam are getting shorter each time she uses it. In the dub, Pterry says ‘There’s about as much love in this room as a piranha in a goldfish bowl.’

After TP Lady’s ship is crashed into the house, Putera asks the kids if they’re okay. Sora responds that she thought she was going to die, and Tokio says that was a reckless thing to do. In the dub, for some reason, Pterry tells the kids to get along, Sarah says “So this is what love is like.” and Tony says the most obvious addition to this sequence of dialogue “Love hurts, doesn’t it?” I have no idea why they changed this because it doesn’t make any sense. The only way these jokes would work is if Getalong made the ship crash into the house, but she didn’t – TP Lady did.

Sora doesn’t suggest running like Sarah does.

In the original, all Genshi says is that he’s hungry (and yes, they’re doing that shtick again) In the dub, he says he wants macaroni.

Dyna and Mite originally suggest boiling or frying Genshi when he’s captured. In the dub, they sarcastically suggest being his friend or offering a spot of tea. Technically, I think the dub works a little better because they’re mocking what happened earlier.

I concede on this one as there’s just no way they could have added this in English and had it make any sense. When TP lady is squeezing Genshi over and over in the robot, she says “Oshikura manju! Anko-juu!” Oshikura manju is a game kids play in Japan, usually on cold days in order to stay warm. A group of kids will link their arms and form a circle with their backs to the inside of the circle. When prompted, the group all pushes into each other with their backs chanting “Oshikura Manju osarete nakuna.” The game can simply be played as a means of warming up, meaning no one technically wins or loses, or a large circle can be drawn on the floor and the object becomes to push people out of the circle until only one remains.

Anko-juu is short for anko manju, which is a type of cake filled with red bean paste.

I don’t really see what the original was going for. People aren’t squished in the Oshikura manju game, but I guess they’re acting like Genshi is an anko manju and they’re trying to….squish the paste out of him? Ew.

In the dub, they change this to “What’s the matter, Flint? Cat got your lung? Oops, I mean ‘tongue’!” While I think it would’ve been funnier if they left out the correction part, this was a very suitable and fairly funny replacement line for the original joke. I actually prefer it to the original because, like I said, it doesn’t make much sense to me.

The net wasn’t electromagnetic or anything like it is in the dub. They even added electric sound effects. Guys, it’s a net….they’re tangled in a net…..You don’t need to add anything more complicated to that to explain why they’re trapped….It’s a net….It’s what nets do.

Pterry: “Flint! I’ve got the Time Cycle programmed to produce a time shifter!” That makes it sound like the Time Cycle is making a time shifter, not transporting one.

TP Lady originally points out that Talun’s only power is to enter into storybooks, so she’s not concerned. In the dub, she just gloats about her robot’s teeth. Gotta say, she had a good point. What exactly could Talun do here?

Tokio’s an asshole to Love-Love in the original. He yells to Sora that all space-time monsters can transform, so either Love-Love has that ability too or she’s a useless space-time monster. In the dub, he only says that they have no other choice but for Getalong to transform otherwise Petra will win. The really sad part about this is that Love-Love doesn’t transform in this episode, nor does she in the entire series.

I don’t really know why TP Lady even still wants Love-Love. Not to also be an asshole to Love-Love, but they’ve proven that her abilities last only a few minutes at most and they get weaker the more times she uses it in succession. The Masked Man won’t fall for TP Lady forever with Love-Love’s powers.

Tokio tearfully tells Love-Love to stop attacking the robot. In the dub, he emotionlessly (yet still with tears in his eyes) just explains what’s going on right now.

They insert a shot of Sora yelling to Genshi right before he mutters his line. Also, Genshi originally muttered Love-Love’s name. In the dub, he says “Ugh, who turned out the lights?”

The next attack, Genshi tells Love-Love to stop attacking. In the dub, he says “That looks like Getalong.” I only keep mentioning these slight changes because they keep draining the emotion out of this sequence for no reason.

Originally, the TP trio talks about how they messed up. In the dub, Petra asks if they have a warranty on the robot, Mite says not in medieval times and Dyno says the nearest repair shop is 1000 years from now.

I will give credit – Tokio apologized for the ‘useless’ comment.

Sora offers to make Genshi some food when they get home. In the dub, she says they should order some pizza.

More external shots of the bureau are changed for some reason. They don’t change the time of day, so I dunno.

And Saban just went full 4Kids by replacing the Japanese text in Tokio’s journal with scribbles.

Subbed: STDGKEP10SCREEN9

Dubbed: STDGKEP10SCREEN10

In the original, Love-Love just ‘sings’ a song with the only lyrics being ‘Love-Love’ because that’s all she can say. In the dub, Getalong sings about getting along to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb.

They add an establishing shot of the outside of the Land of Time before showing Toki-G wake up….He’s been knocked out all this time? Dude needs an ambulance.

Tokio says to himself that maybe Love-Love’s not hiding anything (implying he’s overestimating Love-Love’s abilities.) In the dub, Tony wonders if Getalong has some sort of secret power.

They change a couple of shots at the very end to just different angles of Love-Love and Toki-G (as well as adding another establishing shot of the Land of Time.)

Even more is added after that – They repeat the shot of Getalong singing and have Tony ask her to stop because he wants to write in his journal to help him become a Time Detective some day. Finally, we end on the same old evening shot of the Time Bureau.

————————————

I thought I’d be disappointed with this episode, but it was one of the stronger stories of the series so far. The main issue I thought I’d have with the story was that Love-Love would be given focus but wouldn’t transform into her super form. While it would be nice to see Love-Love’s super form, this episode was all about how she doesn’t need to change herself in order to prove her worth as a teammate. Love-Love doing her damnedest to fight the robot was touching and very sad. A little lame of a resolution, but I’ll forgive it. I can totally believe Dyna and Mite were too incompetent to secure the bolts well enough to withstand Love-Love’s assault, though it was moreso the robot continuously swatting her away that loosened them I think.

HOWEVER, I don’t think I can forgive the fact that, in the end, Genshi defeated the giant robot and TP Lady without ever getting any food. I thought Talun went into the book to get Genshi some food, but he and Putera never came out. Genshi was just freed because the robot’s arm came off, Ototan used Fighting Spirit, and somehow Genshi had the strength to pull off the attack….Meaning, he could’ve won this entire time and Love-Love didn’t need to nearly kill herself to save Genshi.

I also assumed I’d be disappointed by the lack of both a historical figure and a new space-time monster. I would’ve liked to have seen both, but the humorous parts plus the emotional battle were enough to make up for it.

Next time, in 20th century America, Genshi and the others meet Nekketsu – a space-time monster that can turn anything into a ball. Fitting, as he stumbles upon none other than Babe Ruth.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Pixar’s Lamp | The Incredibles (2004) Review

Plot: In the golden age, superheroes were loved, admired and cherished by the masses. However, one lawsuit started a snowball effect that changed everything. Supers were suddenly vilified, and they had to go into hiding with government protection to avoid all of the backlash. Now living as normal, average citizens, Mr. Incredible and Elistigirl, also known as Bob and Helen Parr, try to raise their children, Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack in a superpower-free world.

Bob is not content with his normal life and wants nothing more than to return to his good ol’ days of heroism. A mysterious message puts all the cogs in motion to grant his wish, but he forgot that with heroics comes danger – and danger means more when your family’s in the crossfire.

Breakdown: The year is 2004.

Marvel cinematic universe? Doesn’t exist.

DC actively trying? FEH!

This is an era where superhero movies are little more than a joke. People looked forward to them about as much as they looked forward to video game adaptations. They’d try and try again to make them work, and while they may be a box office success sometimes, they’d usually wane heavily in the critic department.

Pixar saw this as an opportunity. The Incredibles is not based on an existing comic book. It’s entire universe is built from the ground up on the silver screen. In addition, it’s animated – not live-action as a majority of superhero movies were at the time. In hindsight, this seems like a big gamble. Especially since the director, Brad Bird, was coming fresh off of his first venture into directing, which ended up being a box office disappointment.

But some people need to be reminded to keep the faith. After all, that box office disappointment….was The Iron Giant. The box office does not always reflect quality.

Let’s not keep beating around the bush. The Incredibles is……incredible. Yeah, I made that joke. Fight me.

From start to finish, the movie is filled with great humor, fantastic action, memorable characters and pokes at the superhero genre as a whole. This is a very realistic family in a, well, I can’t really say ‘unique scenario’ because the concept has been done before (In fact, when this first came out, this movie reminded me quite a bit of the short-lived, basically forgotten Nickelodeon series, The X’s.), but it is a very interesting and fun scenario.

Back in ‘the good ol’ days,’ superheroes were always hailed, respected and beloved, but you know that some jackass somewhere would ruin it by suing them. Granted, superheroes do make big messes and wrack up massive bills in damages, even the MCU addresses this, but I think whatever damage the enemy would do is almost always greater. And at least we’re lead to assume that the heroes aren’t piling up huge body counts during these battles….most of the time.

The heroes go into hiding, and there seems to be two sides to this coin. You have people like Bob (Mr. Incredible) and Dash who want to embrace their powers and be heroes. Because they’re not allowed to do so, Bob becomes very depressed and withdrawn, doing heroics in secret whenever he can with his buddy Frozone, and Dash acts out.

Helen (Elastigirl) and Violet, on the other hand, want to be normal. They still use their powers sometimes in private, but they want to fit in – Helen so she can protect the family and Violet because she wants to be a regular teenager.

In the end, they all find a middleground. Bob gets to be a hero more often, but he also comes to understand the importance of his family. Dash learns to tone it down, but he’s also now allowed to participate in school sports as long as he doesn’t play unfairly. Violet gets more self-confidence and embraces her powers. And Helen learns to not be ashamed of her life as a superhero while also encouraging that type of attitude in her kids.

It’s great that they chose to go down this route instead of having it black and white ‘this side is right, and you’re wrong.’

Helen and Bob have a great dynamic, and even Violet and Dash were really good together. I like how they eventually used their powers together. That hamster-ball idea was so cool.

Another thing to commend this movie on is, most of the time, they don’t pull any punches with the darker aspects. Helen even outright tells her children, basically telling the audience directly, that these bad guys aren’t like the ones you’d see on Saturday morning cartoon shows. They won’t show restraint on children. They will kill them without hesitation. That’s pretty heavy for an animated superhero movie in a world where kid deaths are typically taboo.

In addition to that, people attempt suicide, there’s hints of adultery and alcohol, some sexual-ish content and lots and lots of death.

Even though I said they don’t cause a lot of civilian deaths, there are a ton of bad-guy minion deaths – a good deal of which are caused by Bob and Dash. They don’t ‘directly’ cause these deaths. For instance, nearly all of the deaths caused by Dash are collisions caused by those pursuing him because he managed to out-maneuver them, but still…lots of bodies.

The ones they seem directly responsible for they kinda skirt around. For instance, Bob throws a huge tram car at two guys from a mile away and they specifically show them moving and groaning to assure the audience that Bob didn’t straight-up murder those guys.

Outside of that, we also have numerous depictions of heroes dying in that ‘NO CAPES!’ montage, including one of two instances where someone dies by getting sucked into a jet turbine. Yugh. And we have the harrowing fact that Syndrome essentially committed hero genocide, which I don’t think is given quite enough weight, but holy crap. Bob even finds the skeletal remains of one of the killed heroes and hides under his body to trick Syndrome into believing he’s dead. Wow.

Speaking of Syndrome, he’s a very effective and memorable villain. He’s very intimidating and is a serious threat. Lest we forget the hero genocide. His backstory is a little hokey, but not too bad. It’s understandable for someone who grew up in a world of supers and was basically a super fanboy to become jaded when given a massive tongue lashing by his favorite superhero. And he obviously did have value and talent, but Bob never wanted to give him a chance. He pulls off being both funny and threatening at the same time, which is very impressive. In any other movie, he’d be a complete joke, but he can be downright scary. It’s also a bit refreshing for the master plan to not be ‘take over the world’ again. Though, considering his normal job, maybe he already does, in a way. Hm.

His plan is fairly brilliant. Design a robot that is essentially perfect by having it learn and make changes to its design based on battles it endures with hundreds of various heroes. Kill the heroes, let the robot loose on the city, stop the robot and take the credit, making him the only and, by default, best hero in the world.

I will admit that the method of defeating the robot is a bit obvious, though. With all the weaknesses that have been exposed on this thing, Syndrome never thought to program it to not destroy itself? Especially when that’s exactly how Bob defeated it the first time? It has some sense of self-preservation, hence why it targeted the remote, but it’s still too stupid to not hit itself.

Some final things that I felt were a little negative in this movie:

I find Dash to be annoying 70% of the time.

While I really liked him, Frozone was mostly a superfluous character who barely did anything. I really wanted him to be given more to do.

I worry that, should they continue the series beyond the second movie, Jack-Jack will be too powerful. His main power seems to be shapeshifting, but from what I’ve heard he has many more powers that are revealed in the sequel (sadly haven’t gotten around to watching it quite yet, but very soon!)

His power is apparently that he’s a ‘jack of all trades,’ hence the name, but it’s also been suggested that, since Jack-Jack’s a baby, his power isn’t solidified and he has ‘unlimited potential,’ which is culminating in this mass array of powers. However, if that were true, that seems like it would be a normal part of a super’s life cycle. Dash and Violet would’ve had to have gone through the same thing as babies, which I doubt they did.

I dunno.

That’s about it on the negative side, though, and that’s not a significant mark on an otherwise exceptional movie. The Incredibles stands as one of my favorite movies and a testament to Pixar’s amazing talents as filmmakers. Even today in our saturated superhero movie market, I was very excited to rewatch this movie, and I’m jazzed to finally see the sequel.

Recommended Audience: It’s surprisingly dark when you get down to it, but a good chunk of the darkness is in the details. Still, there are some blatant darker aspects like the hero genocide, the suicide attempt and the implied infidelity. 10+


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon | Episode 15: Farewell Under the Lunar Eclipse Review

Plot: Flashing back to 18 years ago, we learn what really happened when the half-demon princesses were born to separate them from their parents.

Breakdown: I realize I’m very far behind, and I even wanted to do another lightning round batch review to catch up, but I had way too much to say about this one so I opted against it.

So this is the episode we’ve all been waiting for. The big backstory episode explaining what the hell has been going on.

I’m already on my Word processor writing about how confused I am…..when I’m not even to the opening theme song. Come take a 20 minute walk with me. I feel the path is going to be rocky.

This episode, as I expected from the next episode preview, is fully a flashback. Hosenki II has finished creating a black pearl after being loaned the green rainbow pearl and Izayoi’s rouge by Riku. This allowed him to create a new black pearl in four years when it usually takes 100.

Also, this confirms that Riku’s definitely not human, but what exactly he is, I don’t know either.

Hosenki goes to Kaede’s village to give Inuyasha the black pearl, but not before asking him to demonstrate his father’s ability – the Adamant Barrage. The instant he asked Inuyasha to do this I knew Inuyasha would destroy something with it and Kagome would get pissed at him. Lo and behold, he did. He destroyed their house…..Ya know, Inuyasha may not be joining Mensa anytime soon, but I refuse to believe he’d be THAT reckless and stupid. Especially considering, from where I stand, there’s no reason that wouldn’t have hurt/killed Kagome. She was standing in their doorway.

Cue Sit Boy.

The double standard of domestic abuse sure never gets old.

Hosenki tells Inuyasha and Kagome that the black pearls are actually Izayoi’s tears? And that they were turned into pearls after her death? And one of them was the black pearl in Inuyasha’s eye – the one that houses his father’s grave? What? How does that make sense? Why was anyone keeping her tears or turning them into pearls? What purpose would that possibly have? She’s human. There can’t be any mystical powers behind her tears. Where did he get one of Izayoi’s tears four years ago? She’s been dead for 20 years.

Apparently, he needed Izayoi’s rouge because he needed her deep sorrow in order to complete the pearl…..Why is her sorrow held in her rouge and why her TEARS aren’t ample enough sources of her own sorrow – I dunno.

But hey let’s turn a page in the Big Book of How Not to Write Inuyasha.

This is post-series Inuyasha. He’s matured quite a bit. He’s loved. He’s lost. He’s grieved. He’s found love again. He’s saved the world numerous times. He’s found a new family. He’s ‘married’ now….I assume. Later, it’s confirmed that Kagome’s already pregnant at this point (which means he almost just hurt/killed his unborn child with that stunt too, nice. So much for the ol’ overprotective expecting father). He may still and always be the reckless hothead we’ve come to know and love, but he’s not an asshole.

So why, pray tell, when Kagome’s like ‘Isn’t it great Inuyasha? We have two keepsakes of your mother now.’ he’s all ‘Why the hell would I need those things anymore?’ That, by the way, is word-for-word what he said.

Even when Inuyasha trusted no one and pretty much hated humans he still kept his mother’s rouge near and dear to his heart, so much so that he gave it to Kikyo as a gift that she, in turn, treasured (we’ll get to that elephant in the room in a second.) Why would he act like such an ass about these keepsakes now?

And yes I get it, Inuyasha’s still not good at showing his feelings, Kagome even says as much, but being reserved about your feelings isn’t the same as basically saying these keepsakes of his mother are garbage to him and he finds no point in keeping them. He even scoffs at the idea of bringing the items to his father’s grave out of respect.

Instead, he shoves the new black pearl into his eye, which, as Hosenki points out, means he won’t be able to retrieve it except in times of great need. Can he just keep an infinite amount of black pearls in his eye or does he need to pay for an inventory upgrade at some point?

Kagome insists that they keep the rouge, though. Inuyasha told Hosenki that he was surprised he managed to ‘find’ it and we get a brief flashback to Inuyasha giving the rouge to Kikyo. Yeah. In case you missed the late edit I made to my review of episode five, I suddenly remembered that Inuyasha didn’t just give the rouge to Kikyo. Naraku broke the rouge into teeny pieces right in front of Kikyo when he attacked her. So not only do we have to believe that the rouge was kept by….someone for the past 50 some-odd years for some reason, but also that it magically reassembled itself.

A little while later, Rin is giving birth to Towa and Setsuna. Judging from how old the twins and Hisui look right now, I’d say we’re only a few years out from the end of The Final Act, where Rin was 11, according to the Wiki. She’s 29 now….and her kids are 14……Meaning she’s 15 at this point.

Okay, we kinda can’t avoid this now….this is just squicky. Especially considering that it’s very possible she was 14 when she conceived…..

I figured she would’ve been at least a few years older, which still would’ve been squicky but not AS bad. As much as I suck at math I can determine that 14 year old + 200+ year old (at least) = eughgh.

I do have to be kind of fair and point out that this is still the Feudal Era – times were different. Like I said before, I really don’t want to research this too much because I’d prefer not having a bunch of questions of this nature in my search history, but it wasn’t terribly uncommon for adult men to have relationships with very young girls and boys back in those days. Hell, all across the world girls were getting married off when they were like nine to men who were 30+. The average marriage age back in feudal Japan was still 16, but from all I’ve read it wasn’t really viewed as a very official act back then (which might explain why there was no hoopdeedoo around Sango and Miroku and Inuyasha and Kagome getting married.) Feel free to correct me on any of this by the way.

So….on a social level, back then, this is probably viewed as being just fine.

…….HOW

EV

ER

I must point out that it’s not like Inuyasha is a series that strives for period realism. Sure, they have some historical figures pop up, and they’re probably fine in the realm of keeping the wardrobe, architecture and whatnot accurate, but that’s where the buck stops because our main character is part dog. He uses a sword that defies the laws of physics and has more forms than Frieza. He was in love with a clay zombie. His wife is a reincarnation of aforementioned clay zombie, and she can move freely between two set yet somehow simultaneously moving points in time via a well. She had a magic jewel stuck in her stomach because somehow the jewel burned with Kikyo’s body and somehow was lost to existence for 500 years before randomly reemerging. They were friends with a tiny transforming fox demon who used toys as weapons and could turn into a balloon. They flew around on a magic fire cat. One of them had a black hole in his hand. That same guy is friends with a giant tanuki. They spent a decade trying to track down and kill a half-spider demon who honestly should’ve been half-cockroach he was that difficult to kill. Said spider-dude split himself off into numerous other people with completely unrelated powers – one of which was a woman who controlled wind and flew from place to place on a giant feather, another was a small emotionless albino child who had a magic mirror and another was a creepy baby with a ball. They collected approximately 70 billion jewel shards to finally complete the world’s most annoying MacGuffin, and the grand finale to stop all of the fuss surrounding the thing was to have the jewel literally be wished away.

Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable to ask the writers, who live in modern times, to maybe tack on another few years to Rin’s age to make this not so icky, even if it’s, inevitably, going to be a little icky considering their circumstances.

Literally nothing else would have to change. Even if Towa and Setsuna ended up being a little younger than Moroha, it’d be fine. Hell, technically, you wouldn’t even have to do that. If it really is difficult for half-demons to reproduce, you can just say Kagome took a long time to get pregnant. That’s basically what they’re already saying anyway considering Kagome’s only now getting pregnant and she’s been married to Inuyasha for a few years. They don’t really have any reliable birth control in this era. Unless it took them THAT long to do the marriage dance, which, considering it took them until the very end of the series to kiss canonically……yeah, that might track.

Moving on, it’s the night of a lunar eclipse, and Riku comes to meet Kagome and tell her about the Grim Comet. Once every 500 years, the Grim Comet passes by earth. Fragments of the comet break off and threaten the lives of the people in its path. 500 years ago, Inutaisho and Kirinmaru worked together to destroy the fragments that were falling. Now the comet is a mere seven days out and Inutaisho is dead while Kirinmaru has fallen into a deep slumber for some reason.

Kagome proclaims that Inuyasha will definitely help in his father’s stead, but wonders how they can awaken Kirinmaru. Riku explains that awakening Kirinmaru is a bad idea. He hates humans and detests half-demons. If he awakens, chances are he’ll murder Inuyasha, Sesshomaru’s children and even Kagome’s unborn child. The only way to stop the comet fragments is by getting Inuyasha and Sesshomaru to do it together.

……..Wait, the comet comes by once every 500 years?…Modern era times are 500 years off…..which….means………Uhhh are we all dead now? Or is this another thing that just doesn’t exist in modern times because reasons?

Sesshomaru’s listening to his children being born from a couple miles away….why he’s not actually there providing Rin with support, I don’t know. Can’t lose that stoicism that made the fanbase swoon, I suppose.

Zero drops by and basically just taunts him, threatens him and his family vaguely concerning Kirinmaru and tells him about the comet. After she leaves, Sesshomaru goes to see Rin and his new twin children.

Consensus on whether it’s weird for Rin to still call Sesshomaru ‘Lord Sesshomaru.’? Zero even said they’re married now too.

Sesshomaru just comes in and swoops the twins away, not even commenting on Rin or their new children. So just to recap – the first instances we see of these two as a couple are him listening to her give birth from far away and not reacting and him snatching up his newborn kids and making off with them with barely a sentence in response as to what he’s doing with them and no words to Rin whatsoever.

You guys are definitely going to have to do better than that. I mean, anyone who’s watched the original series knows how much they care for each other, but that’s on a, and I hate to go here, but it has to be said, a father-daughter level. Romance is a different level. The levels should never connect, but here we are. Any emotion in this scene, what little there is, is quite shallow considering it’s not only void of any romantic or tender moments between Rin and Sesshomaru but also between the two of them and their daughters. Rin names them and that’s it.

Kagome asks what he’s doing, and he simply says it’s the rites of courage and cowardice. Kagome asks if it has anything to do with Kirinmaru, but he just leaves without saying anything more. Rin tearfully whispers that she has faith in Sesshomaru. Jaken hands Kagome a paper explaining when and where Sesshomaru will face the comet fragment. He can do it on his own, but he’s giving Inuyasha the information just in case.

As Sesshomaru heads off, he’s confronted by Joka. Remember her? The Ka demon that you stopped caring about almost immediately? Who was then killed off almost immediately? She’s been tasked by Zero to take/kill the half-demon twins, but Sesshomaru just swats her away and easily cuts her arms off, revealing that she was using two rainbow pearls in her arms – the silver and gold pearls.

He mentions that the rainbow pearls are Zero’s tears…….???????

Sesshomaru takes the pearls and flies off. He leaves the twins at the sacred tree, giving them each one of the rainbow pearls that are implanted into their eyes—wait, is that seriously the origin of their rainbow pearls? Just that Joka literally came the fuck out of nowhere, had them, Sesshomaru swiped them more easily than a credit card and then sticks them in the eyes of his daughters? Okie dokie. Guess it’s about as disappointing as the origin of Moroha’s red rainbow pearl.

Jaken tasks himself with caring for the twins until they can take care of themselves. He also explains that he’ll bring Rin there soon enough. Wait, what? He’s raising the kids in Rin’s stead….but he’s also going to bring Rin there?

In order to have a safe place to raise them, Jaken puts up a powerful barrier all around a half-mile-ish radius from the sacred tree. Neither Joka nor Zero can sense the twins now, so they’re kinda stuck.

Cut ahead to the set meeting time and place for Inuyasha and Sesshomaru to take down the fragment. It’s at Sesshomaru’s mother’s place for some reason (even though she isn’t there). They take care of the fragment, which was a demon….comet….fragment I guess?, in less than a minute, and then they just leave.

Phew.

Nail. Biter.

…..What purpose did that whole comet thing have to do with the plot, by the way? Feels like it was a big pointless waste of time. It affected nothing.

Cut to Kirinmaru’s….Pirate ship…house?…..Cool? He is awoken by Zero who shares the news of Sesshomaru and Inuyasha’s half/quarter demon children. It was prophesied by the Shikon jewel….somehow, that a being neither human nor demon who could transcend time would be Kirinmaru’s downfall, which, logically, even pointed out by Zero, would mean MOROHA’S the one he has to watch out for…..but apparently this series wants to focus on the twins.

I know the one who actually transcends time is Towa, but that’s not even her doing – it’s the power of the silver rainbow pearl.

Anyhoo, Sesshomaru comes in and acts as if he’s going to help Kirinmaru kill Inuyasha (and I guess the kids?) Also, we’ve time skipped a bit because now Moroha’s born. We’re at the exact scene where Moroha’s dreams were shown in an earlier episode. Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru face off against Kagome and Inuyasha, Kagome gives Moroha the rouge and sends her off with Hachi, why Hachi’s there I don’t know, but we now get more than we did then.

Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru attack Inuyasha. However, to Kirinmaru’s surprise, Sesshomaru rushes ahead and sticks his fingers in Inuyasha’s eye, grabbing the black pearl. He uses the pearl’s power to suck Inuyasha and Kagome into the world within the pearl. Kirinmaru is surprised Sesshomaru helped them….dude, you’re thick as a milkshake made of cement. Of course he helped Inuyasha and Kagome – he’s allied with them now. He has taken a human as a bride. He has two half-demon children he’s clearly protecting. If he really wanted Inuyasha dead, he’d have done it long ago, especially considering Miroku no longer has his wind tunnel and there are times where Inuyasha loses his demon powers entirely.

He’s definitely nowhere near as intelligent and conniving as Naraku if he fell for such an easy ploy as that. Combine that with how he seems to be manipulated by Zero and….I sense a lot of suckage on the horizon with this dude. I hope Zero’s the real villain because wow. Riku might be the villain, but I dunno. He’s been very morally gray.

Now you’d think Sesshomaru would be in deep shit for that. Afterall, he just betrayed and tricked the big bad Kirinmaru and kept him from killing those filthy half/quarter demons he hates so much.

….Nope.

Kirinmaru just kinda brushes it off. Jaken says they’ll need Inuyasha’s Meido Zangetsuha some day for whatever reasons and Kirinmaru’s all ‘Lol whatever.’ and then he walks off with Sesshomaru.

We see that Moroha was given to some new character in Koga’s wolf demon tribe to care for her, which is cool. I was wondering where Koga was and it makes sense that she would’ve been raised with them given how she acts. In hindsight, it’s kinda funny. One day, Inuyasha will have to deal with the fact that Koga, of all people, was one of the people who helped raised his daughter (I think?) I would pay to see his expression when that news drops on his head.

Using the dream-gazing thingy, Zero is able to see where Towa and Setsuna are, so she plots to burn down the forest where they reside. Sesshomaru, knowing he can’t refuse or else he’d show his hand, seemingly complies and walks off.

You know the rest.

Then we cut back to present/Feudal era time where Riku is breaking the fourth wall as he’s been the one telling us the story. That wasn’t really necessary, but okay.

And, uh, that was it.

I am thoroughly underwhelmed.

I really hate that I keep saying that about this series, but it’s true.

Like I said in the last episode’s review, I wasn’t really expecting much from this episode. They’ve dropped the ball with so much that I had little to no faith they’d pull off something impressive with this backstory – and they didn’t.

At least I didn’t get mad at it, but it also left me awash in a sea of ‘Meh.’ which, oftentimes, is quite worse.

It’s just a lot of…things….happening. But none of them are particularly interesting things. The things that SHOULD be interesting like Towa and Setsuna’s births as well as Moroha’s birth were flat and unemotional – we didn’t even get to see Moroha’s birth. She just appears. Sesshomaru being an ice queen about his kids I expected but I kinda wanted to see Inuyasha being sentimental about his kid. Instead we get him nearly murdering his pregnant wife just because he wants to show off and can’t aim in a reasonable direction and him being an ass about his mother’s heirlooms.

Considering the lack of emotional connection and caring between the girls and their parents is already an existing and glaring problem even before the girls have ever met their parents, the fact that there’s little shown on the opposite side of the fence is a really heavy blow. Inuyasha used to be nearly melodramatic. What happened to the emotion in this series?

In terms of action, that was even worse. The comet thing was poorly explained (why did no one mention it was filled with smoky demons. WHY is it filled with smoky demons? How did they get in there? Are there SPACE DEMONS!? That’s way more interesting than anything ever presented in this entire franchise.) and they did the job so easily I’m not convinced in the slightest that only Inutaisho or his kids could have destroyed it. There was no tension whatsoever in that scene. It was literally two shots – one to slice the rock and the other to defeat the smoky space demon. It’s always a little cool to see Sesshomaru and Inuyasha working together, but that’s about it. Like I said, the entire comet subplot seemed like a massive waste of time, especially in a backstory episode for god’s sake.

Looks cool, though.

The “battle” between Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru vs. Inuyasha wasn’t even a battle, hence the sarcastic quotation marks. Not only did no blows actually get traded, but I knew from the instant Sesshomaru walked into Kirinmaru’s lair that he was playing Kirinmaru. There’s no reason he’d go through all that trouble to protect his family just up and decide to kill Inuyasha for no reason.

It’s cool that Sesshomaru helped them out, as rough as his plan may have been, but the fact that Kirinmaru didn’t do anything to Sesshomaru after the fact is just lame. He didn’t attack him or threaten him, he didn’t even try to take the pearl– he just shrugged and they walked off together.

The one interesting hanging thread in this entire episode is where Inuyasha and Kagome actually are. Jaken acted like they were sent to Inutaisho’s grave, but there are two problems with that; 1) They spent way too much time focusing on the second black pearl at the start of the episode and making it a point that Inuyasha put it in his eye that I can’t imagine that wasn’t a setup for a switcheroo. 2) If they were in Inutaisho’s gravesite, then they should be able to leave whenever they please. They’ve done it before.

I wonder if Inuyasha and Kagome came up with a plan about this with Sesshomaru before he went to meet Kirinmaru. I can’t imagine they did because I’d assume they’d send Moroha off to safety before Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru faced off with them.

This episode also did clear up Sesshomaru’s intentions a bit, which is good. It’s tough love, really tough, but he means well. I still don’t entirely get what he’s doing, and I feel like, if he wanted to, he could kill Kirinmaru – especially if he teamed up with Inuyasha. We already know his Perils are jokes. He just doesn’t give off that impressive of a vibe. He’s a doof in a mask. Oh by the way, Naraku called, he wants his ‘using an animal head as a mask’ shtick back. Plus, he hasn’t even really done jack shit over the course of the series so far. In fact, the one thing he was actually shown doing was HEROIC. He helped Inutaisho destroy the comet fragment 500 years ago, saving countless lives.

Some things are obviously still missing from the backstory like how Rin became comatose within the Tree of Ages, what Sesshomaru’s grand plan is, what happened to Setsuna after the fire, how and when Setsuna came into contact with the Dream Butterfly, how she got her boa, how she ended up being trained by the demon slayers, why she said that thing about a rite of courage and cowardice when Sesshomaru said that mere moments after she was born, why Kirinmaru hasn’t just slaughtered these kids himself yet considering he now knows where they are, and, just for good measure, where the hell Shippo is. He is not here. Did the writers forget he existed? We saw him in episode one, right? Where did he go? I’m not letting this go. There’s no reason he hasn’t so much as made a brief cameo, especially in a flashback episode.

I dunno, guys. My interest in this series is tanking faster than a tank of gas in a tank as it drives around a tanker truck filled with tiny toy tanks. There’s a reason I haven’t gotten around to reviewing this in so long. Dread was a part of it, but I just found myself failing to care enough to press ‘play.’ It’s gotten to a point where it’s hard for me to care about what they wrote for the original Inuyasha crew because it’s just so boring and badly written, and that’s a big problem.

I am several episodes behind, though. Someone tell me they’ve already arrived at greener pastures.

Next time, we get Moroha’s backstory with her old master from the wolf demon tribe. I actually DO care about this, but, again, I’m not expecting much. The way they treat Moroha by default is crappy, despite her being the best new character, but at least it sounds like we’ll learn why Moroha’s in debt.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 14: The Street Corner of Bitterness Review

HGTVEP14SCREEN1

Plot: Yuzuki now possesses the ability to sense people who are going to contact Hell Correspondence soon. The next client is a girl named Hidemi who accidentally garnered a bad reputation after being photographed with a delinquent in the city. She plans on sending the person who spread the photo of her to hell for ruining her life.

Breakdown: (Note: I somehow overlooked posting this episode’s review in the proper order, but it was just brought to my attention today, so better late than never. Sorry about that. Enjoy! :))

…..*lip smack* This is what we’re starting the second half of the season off with, eh?

Okie dokie.

First of all, Yuzuki is basically now all but cemented as being a less interesting fusion of Tsugumi and Hajime. At least she’s actively trying to stop people from using the service now, but she’s bad at it. She’s also bad at seeming like she’s emotionally invested in anything. At the end of the episode, she’s overwhelmed with the amount of people she’s sensing will contact Hell Girl and is clutching her head trying to get the bell sounds to stop, but I don’t really believe her response. She’s acting way too unemotional about it. Even when she was begging Ai to bring Akie back she was just barely emoting.

Also, side note, apparently Yuzuki’s friends haven’t been bothered all that much by Akie disappearing. I understand that because even I forgot for a little while.

Second of all, this story is a massive mess from start to finish.

Hidemi was in the city for a test, she spent too much time at her friends’ house and ended up missing the last train home. She also broke her cell phone. Unlike most people who would visit various shops, or even stop people on this busy street in this highly populated city, and ask if she can use their phone to call her parents or even the friends she was visiting, she decides the best course of action would be to spend some money at the arcade trying to get a stuffed cat, then sit on the sidewalk and fall asleep…

HGTVEP14SCREEN2

It’s implied that she was worried about getting caught by the cops because she was young and out late at night, but is anyone really going to press charges against this kid for missing the train? Also, if she’s worried the cops might hassle her, why did she choose, of all places, the middle of the sidewalk to sit down and even fall asleep?

She’s awoken by aforementioned delinquent, Kinya, and he offers to take her back to the convenience store in which he works where the only other person there is a guy who looks just as skeevy if not moreso as Kinya does.

She finally has the opportunity to call home, though….and chooses not to….because she sees this as an adventure or something. Let me make it clear that Hidemi is very much a shy and proper young woman. Nothing about her even suggests that she has hidden desires to be any sort of rebel or anything. She comes off as the kind of girl who would find not putting the chip clip back on the reduced salt kettle chip bag as an act of rebellion. I’m not saying she can’t just be really good at concealing this part of her, but I am saying that it is strange. Not to mention the fact that it’s a dickish thing to do to stay out in a strange city all night and neglect to call your parents. Even if you want to have some neat little convenience store adventure, they’re still probably worried sick and it’s rude to not at least tell them that you’ll be okay on your own until the trains start back up.

HGTVEP14SCREEN3

She spends the night there, and Kinya walks her to the train station in the morning, which is where she gets her picture taken by someone off-screen. It’s in the morning, not at night, and it’s not like there’s any implication that she’s romantically with him or that she’s a prostitute or anything. She’s literally just walking next to him and talking.

The photo spreads and ‘ruins’ her life, which I don’t get. Do people really have nothing better to do than gossip about a photo that looks about as incriminating as a picture of her jaywalking? And that’s all they’re doing by the way – gossiping. No one’s treating her differently outside of whispering around her. Yet that’s somehow enough for her to wish whoever spread the picture to be sent to hell.

The only way it gets worse is through more stupidity.

Kinya was a punk, but he was legitimately nice to Hidemi because some old guy in an alleyway was nice to him and told him that being nice was good or whatever.

It seemed like Kinya might actually be turning into a decent guy, but then, after the commercial break, Kinya’s suddenly viciously beating the old guy in the alleyway because he believes he’s secretly super rich. His reason for thinking this? The old guy wears a big coat when it’s really hot out….so he’s…hiding…money in it something, I dunno. Why he suddenly starting thinking this I also don’t know.

HGTVEP14SCREEN4

He gets arrested for the assault, but he also acts like he’s proud of it. He wants to be a big shot and getting arrested by the police will only increase his prestige. He even plans on bragging to the cops about everything else he’s done….This guy is a major league moron.

Yuzuki had convinced Hidemi to go with her to see Kinya in order to help clear her name and improve her reputation, but they both witness his spectacle as he gets arrested. She flips out because he’ll probably be featured in the papers (doubt it) and people will connect him back to the photo. Fair enough in that respect, I guess. She immediately contacts Hell Correspondence on Kinya.

Kinya….Oh geez…*sigh*….Kinya escapes police custody, obtains a gun and takes Yuzuki hostage. No I’m not kidding. No, I also have no idea how those events transpired.

The point is, Hidemi sees him do this. Kinya doesn’t even recognize her until Yuzuki mentions her name, so she pulls the string.

The hell torture is okay. Everyone’s giant-ish and intimidating Kinya. Ai is massive, like kaiju-sized. It’s playing off of the fact that he said he wanted to be a big shot, but now he’s little. Haha.

As he’s ferried away, he laments being nice to Hidemi, but, uh, dude, do you really think letting some lost girl take shelter in a convenience store you don’t even own, feeding her stale bread and then walking her to a train station is properly weighted against beating a poor old homeless dude in an alley, escaping the police, popping off some shots and taking a teenage girl hostage?

Yuzuki waits for Hidemi and, here’s where I get REALLY confused. A girl with completely different hair both in style and color, a much more revealing sense of fashion, tons of jewelry, makeup and a tattoo suddenly bursts in and…that’s Hidemi. She has the little stuffed cat she wanted earlier and the curse mark on her chest, so that’s proof it’s her.

HGTVEP14SCREEN5

Why does she suddenly look like this, especially since there’s no implied time skip of any kind after the hell torture? How do you go from “Oh dear, my life is ruined because I was photographed talking to a punk.” to “I’m going to change my appearance so drastically that the gossiping people from before will basically feel justified in believing I was a girl of loose morals, and more rumors will spread about me and ruin my life some more! Ya know, the reason I was miserable enough to call Hell Girl to begin with! I love being smart!” not just in general but in minutes/hours? I almost wanted to believe it was days later, but Yuzuki’s wearing the exact same clothes between when she’s taken hostage by Kinya and when we see the new Hidemi. I don’t get it.

Time issues aside, again, maybe she was just really, really good at concealing a desire to be a more rebellious girl, but they didn’t do a good job of making this connection with the audience outside of one line which could easily just imply a desire for a little more independence not that she suddenly wants to completely change herself both inside and out. Kinya’s character turn was a little more understandable because we knew he was a punk at the start, even though he was on the receiving end of the violence there, but even then he was nearly as bad in his car crash of a personality shift.

Finally, Ai’s back to being Ai fully, which is good, even if I feel bad she has to return to this job at all. They brought back the classic scene of her preparing to take someone to hell, including…her grandma….Yup. Grandma’s back. Where did she go and why is she back? No idea. She’s just here again. Somehow. I like Grandma and everything, but I never once understood her character.

Ai’s trying to teach Yuzuki about the futility of trying to save Hell Girl clients, which is more poking at Tsugumi and Hajime. I know this is for the sake of training her to be a new Hell Girl, but I am so far from caring about that plot element. She better have some gem of a backstory otherwise I’ll just feel like her entire story was a wash.

Overall, this episode was confusing and blah and I really hope things actually pick up soon, especially when it comes to Yuzuki.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com