Yu-Gi-Oh Episode 12 Sub/Dub Comparison: Dark Fire! Red Eyes Black Dragon

Plot: Jounouchi finally has the upper hand on Ryuzaki by using Honda’s Barbarian card in conjunction with his own. However, Ryuzaki has one more card up his sleeve – his most powerful monster, the legendary Red Eyes Black Dragon; a card that is almost as rare as the Blue Eyes.

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Ryuzaki destroys both of the Barbarians in one shot. Joey actually brings this up in the dub with the line “How could he torch them both with one shot?” which, funnily enough, brings to light all of the other times when that has happened. Even Joey himself did that with Mai. Rex just says “Those who defend together are destroyed together”…..which isn’t true. They do give themselves a bonus, but they don’t die when one or the other dies.

In this episode they finally fix the specifics of the Time Wizard. This time he needs to spin a wheel and land properly with a 50/50 chance.

They get rid of the word BOM! In the scene where Tristan punches Joey because I dunno. And they change it to “shove” again, even though he was clearly punched and Tristan has his hand in a fist.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

In the original, Mai tells Jounouchi and the boys not to peek while Anzu takes a shower. In the dub, she compliments him on good cooking.

They completely edit out Mai’s backstory simply because it involves gambling…..which, oddly enough is a focal point of the entire show (Almost every duel has something riding on it, star chips, cards, battle city cards, souls, etc) Also, isn’t it stated that Bandit Keith was into underground dueling for money? Though that might also be original version exclusive.

Mai’s backstory was that she was a blackjack dealer on a cruise ship and traveled the world watching wealthy people gain and lose money on card games. They were always focused on money and power, and she found those people to be shameful. Eventually, she got fed up with them and started hating people, so she left the profession. It doesn’t explain at all why she started basically doing the same thing nor why she chose Duel Monsters as her game of choice, but it’s something that would’ve been nice to include in the dub.

In the original, Mai views Anzu and the boys’ friendship with melancholy, like she sees something she lost in them. In the dub, she just says they’re useless as friends.

They edit out Jounouchi and Honda trying to go into the shower after Mai says it’s okay. Yugi’s holding them back and Mai hits them with another BOM bubble.

All of the Japanese text on the food packages is removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Jounouchi doesn’t have the same kind of fantasies as Joey does. He just explains how everyone has a card they relate to or treasure. 4Kids just wanted to foreshadow what was going to happen in literally minutes..…

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This episode was pretty good. Time Wizard’s showing to be a little bit OP, even if it is a gamble, but I guess Jounouchi deserves some OP cards, especially when Yugi’s deck is littered with them. The second half was pretty nice. We got some of Mai’s backstory, in the original anyway, and it was a good change of pace to see Mai hanging out and being kind.

Next up, a Shadow Game! Yami Vs. Yami Bakura!


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SSBS – Megaman NT Warrior Episode 4 – Count to Three!

SSBS - Megaman NT Warrior Ep 4 Screen1

Plot: Yai and the others are held hostage at school by a crazed rare BattleChip collector named Mr. Higsby intent on obtaining Yai’s rare and expensive BattleChips.

Breakdown: Today’s episode introduces us to the rare BattleChip-crazy Mr. Higsby, who is surprisingly not part of WWW, and his NetNavi, Numberman, who actually has a pretty cool design.

Mr. Higsby is a guest lecturer at Lan’s school, talking about fighting viruses and utilizing BattleChips.

Later, Yai brings the group to her log cabin in a tree. She had her daddy build her a secret base in her yard. The secret is the treehouse/log cabin shifts into a high-tech building designed for 3D NetBattling.

The group instantly jack in their NetNavis to try it out. It’s here where I have the honor of pointing out that when Maylu jacks Roll in, she does it while twirling in front of a pink background covered in hearts and sparkles. Come on, guys, be a little more realistic. At least add in a unicorn and a few rainbows.

The whole 3D NetBattling thing is meant to be impressive, but the way they went about it makes it so that….it’s kinda not. From what we see of the 3D stage in a far shot, it just looks like they superimposed the typical shots of what we usually see in the net onto a big platform in front of them. And then when they start battling, they just switch back and forth from the characters to the scene in the net, which is how it typically goes anyway.

SSBS - Megaman NT Warrior Ep 4 Screen2

In conclusion, nothing changed and I just wasted your time.

Dex and Gutsman battle Yai and Glide who win because she’s rich and has access to all sorts of rare BattleChips that make Glide overpowered, despite not being a NetNavi designed for battle. Nice to see Megaman laying the groundwork for pay-to-win games. Good job.

Anyway, since I just mentioned Yai’s rare expensive BattleChips, obviously Mr. Higsby is in her super secure server, waiting in the wings with Numberman, spying on them.

The next day, Mr. Higsby sets up to attack Yai while the entire group is helping their teacher, Miss Mari, edit the school newspaper. Why does she need all of these kids to help edit the paper? I have no idea.

Lan is slightly late to the meeting, so when Mr. Higsby locks the school down to trap Yai, he gets locked out of the computer room. Numberman/Mr. Higsby threatens to destroy the school’s computer system if she doesn’t battle him for her rare BattleChips…..I’m not sure why he doesn’t just steal the chips. I guess he’s an honorable asshole?

Yai initially doesn’t care because she says she’ll just have her daddy buy the school a new system, but Maylu and Dex point out that he can’t replace the data. I’d think any school with valuable data on their system would regularly back it up somewhere offsite, but this is a public school system so maybe I’m giving them too much credit.

With Miss Mari’s permission, and somewhat insistence, Yai begrudgingly agrees to battle Numberman. I’m not exactly sure why she’d agree to battle him just hand over the chips. She’s always talking about her daddy’s endless supply of money – surely he can buy her new ones. She needlessly risking her NetNavi’s life…. She jacks in Glide, but even with his fancy BattleChips, he quickly gets laid out by Numberman.

Megaman gets jacked into the system.

Dex: “Megaman!”

Maylu: “That must mean that Lan’s right outside the classroom!” First of all, how did you not hear him banging on the door for the past several minutes? Second of all, just because Megaman is in the net space doesn’t mean Lan is right outside the classroom. He could be anywhere in the school.

SSBS - Megaman NT Warrior Ep 4 Screen3

Numberman has a really weird manner of attacking. He rolls a big die and whatever number it lands on is the number of explosions that will occur right next to the die, which means anyone who catches onto this will be able to combat it quite easily….just…ya know…stay away from him when he rolls the die….Also, having your attack strength completely reliant on the roll of a die seems very inefficient.

The school’s security system blocks Megaman from interfering in Glide and Numberman’s fight any further, for some reason, and Lan and the others deduce that Numberman must be controlled by Mr. Higsby.

They decide the only way to end this is by teaming up against Numberman, but they need to disable the school’s security system to lower the walls blocking them from Numberman. Roll offers to interface with the walls to see if there’s anything in the code that would lead them to the password…which…makes sense, but also makes it seem like this super high-tech security system is extremely flawed.

Within less than a minute, Roll finds the word ‘Dove’ and Miss Mari states that the password is the number of doves at the school, which she can’t remember so Lan goes out to count them.

Mr. Higsby: “Unbelievable. The competition will be over by the time he gets back here.”

Miss Mari: “You’re the one who’s unbelievable, Mr. Higsby!”

Mr. Higsby: “Pardon me? ….*Elvis voice* Thank you. Thank you very much.”

…………………………………………..Hello completely random Elvis impression that I doubt any child watching this would understand or find funny.

Lan counts 34 doves, which is the correct answer.

Within less than three seconds, Roll already has the second hint – tennis: the number of tennis rackets the tennis team uses…..Ya know, these numbers seem awful arbitrary. What if you get more doves? What if a dove dies? What if you buy more tennis rackets? What if the kids lose some of them?

My point is made even more apparent in the next scene. Lan accidentally enters the girls locker room and they throw tennis rackets at him. He goes into the storage room and counts the rackets there, which is the correct answer. Why don’t those other rackets count?

SSBS - Megaman NT Warrior Ep 4 Screen4

Anyway, the number is 63?! 63 tennis rackets?! I’m almost certain no school would buy that many rackets, especially when typically only one or two is in use at any given moment.

Another issue with this password thing is, if Mr. Higsby knows the system inside and out and is currently manipulating it….can’t he just change the password to something only he knows?

The final hint word is flowers, which indicates the number of potted flowers in the schoolyard. Again, that number can change at any given moment. The flowers could die, the landscapers might plant more without notifying anyone, some could get destroyed by the children. You guys really need a better password system.

Lan loses track counting the hundreds of potted flowers, but a mysterious green-haired woman who seems to be the landscaper and someone who knows what’s going on but for some reason isn’t interfering, tells him the exact number.

Numberman throws three dice this time…..why he wasn’t throwing that many to begin with, again, I have no idea, but with the walls down and Megaman able to access the fighting area, they’re able to save him. Numberman surrenders and relinquishes control of the school’s security system.

SSBS - Megaman NT Warrior Ep 4 Screen5

They confront Mr. Higsby who begs on his hands and knees for forgiveness, claiming he couldn’t control himself and that he loves BattleChips while most people don’t appreciate their value….I don’t think that’s true because most people seem to drool over rare BattleChips.

For a second, it seems like Miss Mari might actually punish Mr. Higsby….but instead she just asks him to remember back when he was a child and got his first rare BattleChip (?! How long have PETs and stuff been around?) He probably didn’t appreciate its value either, but the flashback and narration indicate it was the best day of his life……You’re really not making any sense, show.

Miss Mari gives him a second chance, even though he does not deserve it in the slightest. He hacked into a school’s security system. He held several people hostage/kidnapped them. He sprayed Dex with the school’s sprinkler system for trying to interfere. He threatened to destroy the system if he didn’t get what he wanted. He threatened a young girl into battle so he could take her rare BattleChips (If BattleChips are physical items, how does he take them without showing his face?) He nearly destroyed a young girl’s NetNavi, and we’re just supposed to forgive him because he wants to strong-arm rare BattleChips from people since they don’t appreciate them….when they do? And he was misguided all along when he didn’t appreciate rare BattleChips when he was a kid….when he did?

Anyway, to the epilogue, Mr. Higsby quit his job educating children on rare BattleChips and security systems thanks to Miss Mari’s kindness in forgiving him. He wants to do good for people now, because apparently valuable education doesn’t do that….So he’s…selling rare BattleChips.

Hey, writers, when you wanna make sense, please contact me. Your logic is about as airtight as a butterfly net.

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So that was that episode, and it was actually pretty okay. The things I talked about in regards to the security system’s password being too easy to figure out is probably forgivable given this is a kid’s show, but I can’t give as much leeway to the fact that the numbers would probably change all the time and some of them make no sense.

At least Mr. Higsby is a little better of a bad guy considering he’s not out to just cause chaos like the WWW members, he actually has a goal, but I definitely don’t agree with him getting no comeuppance for his actions.

Numberman has a cool design, but for a guy who obsesses over rare BattleChips, he really doesn’t use any. He just uses that same lame dice rolling trick. I also find it really strange that Megaman was able to intimidate him so easily. A guy with a huge collection of rare BattleChips should be able to put up a better fight, especially if he makes a habit out of bullying people out of their chips.

The tension involved with running around trying to figure out the password was much more intense and interesting than last episode where we sit on the edge of our seats hoping a little girl gets to the potty in time.

I didn’t really quite get the significance of introducing the 3D NetBattling system since it, honestly, looks no different to the viewer than it ever did before. It really just established that Glide could be a good fighter with rare BattleChips despite being a NetNavi not designed for battle. Not that matters because he couldn’t do anything against Numberman, even with the chips. He may have lasted a little longer than he would have otherwise, but that’s about it.

Next time, WWW targets a robotic fish aquarium. I’m not sure if a robotic fish aquarium is a really good idea or a really stupid one. Thoughts?


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SSBS – Medabots Episode 4: The Legendary Medafighter

SSBS - Medabots Episode 4

Plot: Ikki and Erika head to a fancy school for rich kids in order to find the mysterious undefeated Legendary Medafighter.

Medabot Debuts:

Neutranurse: A NAS Medabot, Neutranurse is based on a nurse. It has massive healing capabilities and a Holy Wall ability that creates an impenetrable shield for a short while.

Sumilidon: An STG Medabot, Sumilidon is based on a saber-toothed tiger. Its right arm holds the flexor sword, which is a series of three long claws extending from its wrist. It can utilize this part to also create an attack called the Shadow Sword. Its left arm has a Straw Hammer attack. Finally, its head part creates traps.

Gloomeg: A GLM Medabot, Gloomeg is based on a stone statue and specializes in missiles.

Robattles:

Koji vs. Eddie: Winner – Koji: No parts are exchanged due to refusal.

Ikki vs. Koji: Interrupted – no winner.

Breakdown: Ikki is on his way to school when he’s suddenly ‘saved’ from an oncoming slow-moving tiny car by a girl named Karin. She goes to Rosewood Academy, a nearby private school for super rich kids. Ikki is initially annoyed by her, but when he gets up close to her, he finds himself smitten. However, she runs off before he can talk to her more.

Two things about this – One, why is that little car allowed on public roads? And two, does this show have cartoon physics or not? Because Ikki was just slammed so hard into that wall that he left a massive crater.

Back at school, Erika is telling the tale of the Legendary Medafighter and his undefeated Medabot. She also, for some reason, has red marks under her eyes. Given the scary story motif, I think they were gunning for shadows, but they’re clearly red. It looks like she’s either blushing too hard or got very specifically placed sunburns.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 4 1

Not much is known of this Legendary Medafighter except he supposedly goes to Rosewood Academy. Since Metabee is itching to fight the Legendary Medafighter and Ikki wants to see Karin again, he asks if he can go with Erika while she investigates the place for an expose.

Is Ikki now allowed to bring Metabee to school? Because he’s clearly right there in the open talking to other students. Last episode seemed to imply that Coach Mountain was still being super strict about not allowing Medabots on school grounds.

They arrive at Rosewood, where the gates to the school are massive and made of 24k gold. I get that this place is meant for the super rich, but you don’t have to be super gaudy too.

They see a kid being thrown out of the school for not being rich enough to attend, so they decide to disguise themselves as students to get in.

Oh excuse me, did I say they disguise themselves as students? I meant they dress up Metabee like an idiot and pretend he’s a student while Ikki and Erika try to walk in dressed in their street clothes with only a Rosewood backpack to indicate they’re students.

Where did they get this stuff? Is there a gift shop outside?

Believe it or not THAT. WORKS.

The guy only asks where Ikki and Erika’s uniforms are and they say they spilled caviar on them and the butler had to clean them for later.

Is school even in session right now? Because if it is, Ikki and Erika (as well as the Screws, because they’re following them) are skipping school.

The same trick doesn’t work for the Screws, who didn’t even get Rosewood backpacks (again, where did they get those?) but they do make the scene kinda funny by claiming they spilled caviar on their butler.

Back with Ikki and Erika, who have somehow switched out their backpacks for plain ones (Did they just get stickers or something? I am way too confused about the origins of this Rosewood stuff.)

So the school is actually way the hell away from the main gate. It’s through a dense forest, over numerous mountains and after that there’s a lake and the school is on an island in the middle of that lake.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 4 2

Obviously, it’s an insanely long walk for the kids to get to the school and they ask themselves how these hoity-toity rich kids get to school everyday since they can’t imagine they’d walk. A helicopter shows up, which you’d think would be the answer, but a person on a loudspeaker tells them to land because commuting by helicopter is against school rules.

It’s later revealed that they do drive and take horses and stuff to and from school, but then why have they not come across any when they’ve been following the road?

Then…..*sigh* Then they meet Eddie and his Gloomeg Medabot. He and Gloomeg have been trapped on Rosewood’s lands for two years, trying to find the Legendary Medafighter.

And yes.

That is as dumb as it sounds.

Two years?

TWO YEARS!?

How has this guy been lost in Rosewood’s property for two years and not ever have anyone find him? Especially when the property is covered in stuff like a golf course, tennis courts and a friggin’ amusement park? How do they not have cameras set up everywhere? Especially considering, as we learn upon meeting Eddie, that Rosewood’s property is littered in traps to keep intruders out. Do they not regularly check these traps? Because Eddie admits that he keeps getting caught in them. Did the girl from that Pokemon sanctuary Bulbasaur came from grow up to build these traps so she could continue her string of negligent homicide?

Not just that, but his parents have to be worried sick. Do Medabots not have some sort of tracking device or interface for communication?

A horsedrawn carriage arrives on scene because Ikki and Eddie are making a ruckus because Eddie thinks Ikki’s the Legendary Medafighter and wants to fight him. If that’s all it takes to get someone’s attention, there’s even less reason that Eddie is still lost in here. Unless he’s such a stubborn idiot that he’s never looked for a way out, in which case, I’ll just stop watching the episode altogether because he is far too stupid of a human being to waste any of my brain cells caring about what he does in this episode.

In the carriage is Koji and his terrible voice acting. Koji snootily tries to make the boys stop fighting, but Eddie, somehow knowing Koji is a Medafighter, challenges him to a match.

Koji accepts and summons Sumilidon. The match is pretty quick as Sumilidon’s speed and agility allow it to easily dodge Gloomeg’s missiles and get several strikes in. Koji is the winner, but he doesn’t take any parts since he has too many as it is. With a literal twinkle of his not-drawn teeth, Koji leaves. Eddie follows because he wants a rematch, and Erika and Ikki try to follow too, but Karin pushes them out of the way and into a hole.

Erika’s pissed, but she soon realizes why she pushed them.

The ELEMENTARY school grounds aren’t just littered in net traps – they’re also covered in spear gun traps and bear traps.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 4 3
Is that a butcher knife?

How is Eddie still alive with all of his limbs after spending two years wandering around this death trap? How is this place even still open? Jesus.

Karin: “You’re that boy from yesterday.” Yesterday?….Wasn’t it just this morning? I didn’t see any noticeable passage of time.

Ikki’s name is really a problem when he introduces himself. “I’m icky.”…It’s supposed to be pronounced ‘Eek-ee’ I can understand the former is just a more common English way to say that word, but either pronounce it correctly to stop calling the poor kid ‘icky’ or, and I don’t like suggesting this, just change his name for the dub.

Also, how did Karin get here? At least they show Koji having a horse and buggy. Karin just came out of nowhere in the middle of this mess of land.

Karin leads them to some boats to access the island that the school is on. I refuse to believe that these rich kids only get to the school via row and paddle swan boats. There has to be some motorboats or yachts around here.

Ikki and Karin are in a row boat while Erika and Metabee are in a paddle swan boat. Karin suddenly looks at the water, making the boat creek a little, causing Ikki to rush her, thinking she’s going to fall out. He overshoots, however, and ends up in the water. Turns out, nothing was wrong….

Ikki: “Karin, what was that all about?”

Karin: “I thought I saw a penny at the bottom of the lake. *sigh* A penny. Boy, I could sure use that.”

…….*deep breath*

*sigh*

I don’t have the patience for this right now, so here’s a ranting lightning round.

– The lake is way too deep and you’re all out way too far for you to see anything at the bottom.

– Let alone a penny.

– Ikki looks at her with a -_- face like she did something wrong, but he overreacted over her just looking to the side of the boat. Her reasons were stupid, sure, but she didn’t gasp or freak out or anything.

– No one, not even the dirt poorest person in the world could ‘sure use a penny.’

– Because pennies are useless.

– They never explain why she wanted this penny. No reason would be satisfying, most likely, but still, why did she want a penny?

– You have to be one of the richest people in the country to even go to this ridiculous school – why the fridge do you need a penny?

– Even if you did somehow see a penny, then what? You call a scuba team and pay them a few thousand dollars to retrieve it, never getting the bitter irony of the situation?

SSBS - Medabots Episode 4 4

They reach the castle of a school and Erika starts interviewing the students for info on the Legendary Medafighter. As expected, they all just know stuff based on rumors. It starts out normal enough, with some of them arguing over which Medabot he uses. Then it gets weirder with people exclaiming he’s over eight feet tall. Then it’s gets stupid with people saying he’s not eight feet tall – he actually has eight feet growing out of his head, which goes even further and stupider by other kids saying they’re all left feet and he has to buy 16 pairs of shoes when he goes shopping (is it even necessary to buy shoes for feet that are on your head? Also, they’re forgetting his regular feet – so 17 pairs of shoes…)

Ikki notices Karin mopping. She’s made fun of a little by some snotty girls who really only make fun of her by pointing out what she’s doing in one of those snotty bitch voices.

Bitch: “Don’t forget the toilet. I clogged it.” Yes….you’re so intimidating by admitting that you dropped such a massive load that you clogged the toilet. What an effective bully you are.

Ikki asks her why she’s cleaning, and she happily explains that it’s just something she does. Ikki instantly believes she’s super poor. She can’t afford the tuition, which is why she cleans the school and was trying to get the penny out from the lake.

Let me spoil this for you right now. She’s not poor. She’s just a ridiculously overly kind airhead.

Ikki is an idiot for even thinking this for a second. Why would any dirt poor kid go to one of the most expensive schools in existence? Unless they got a free ride for some reason (And I doubt that here because this is just an elementary school), that’s a horribly irresponsible thing to do. Not to mention impossible. If these middle class kids can’t even fathom being able to afford this school, no poor person, no matter how many pennies they pluck out of lakes, would ever be able to.

And I must reiterate, even poor people wouldn’t really care about a single penny no matter how hard up they are for cash.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 4 5

Through some more of some of the most painfully bad voice acting I’ve ever heard (please stop it) some boys ‘coerce’ her into giving them her lunch and dessert, which she happily gives away for also no real reason.

Erika shows up claiming that the latest batch of rumors state that the Legendary Medafighter is connected with a ‘maiden’ who is super sweet and has her hair up in pigtails.

They don’t.

Even glance.

At Karin.

They get frustrated because apparently that description could apply to thousands of girls in the school, but I only saw one other girl so far who had pigtails.

Eddie, who is in the vicinity, happens to overhear this and, having a working brain, does instantly connect the dots that it’s Karin.

After a very awkward moment, complete with awkward silence, happens between Karin and Ikki, she picks up a rose and pricks herself on the thorns that the art department couldn’t be bothered to draw.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 4 7

 

Ikki does the laziest job tying the handkerchief Karin gave him earlier onto her supposedly injured hand. Look at how loosely that’s tied. That’s not helping anything. Also, she just poked her finger, she doesn’t need a whole-hand tourniquet.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 4 6

Ikki: “Wow, she’s SO pretty.” Deep into the mind of a young boy this piece of wisdom comes.

Koji shows up, wanting to protect Karin from Ikki.

Erika: “Hey look, it’s that rich guy!” Literally every person in this school is rich….

Koji goes on a tangent about knowing Karin since he was in kindergarten and how he won’t let Ikki put his filthy hands on her.

Oh excuse me, I meant to say…

Koji: “I’ve had my eye on Karin since kindergarten. I’m the one who had to grow up with her through those awkward years. You think you can walk in here and lay your unmanicured hands on her?! Think again, groundling!”

So, treating Karin like property, like you had dibs on her, like you’re entitled to her because you ‘had’ to grow up with her, acting like her ‘awkward years’ were a particular burden on you, acting like a condescending twat to a guy based on your financial standing merely because he was trying to help your precious Karin not bleed – Full fledged asshole. Got it.

Mr. Referee comes out dressed in a suit of armor…for…some reason, and Ikki and Koji have a robattle.

Sumilidon is too quick for Metabee and slashes him in the back.

Ikki: “MeTAbee!” I know I can’t convey in text how awkwardly lines are delivered, but he emphasizes the ‘ta’ way too sharply here.

Ikki says Koji is really advanced and that he’s never battled anyone like him just because he thought to attack from behind….how novel.

After some grappling and quick shots, Koji becomes equally impressed by Ikki, stating no one’s ever lasted this long against him, especially with an outdated Medabot.

Suddenly, Karin is kidnapped by Eddie who is using her as bait to lure out the Legendary Medafighter. He doesn’t really intend on hurting her, he’s just desperate to fight the Legendary Medafighter or else he’ll have to admit the last two years of his life have been a waste.

Koji and Ikki, again, both deny that they’re the Legendary Medafighter (And if it was Koji, he’s already lost to him once, sooo…) However, once he starts yelling out his demands over a bullhorn, literally every (poorly drawn) guy in the school comes to Karin’s aid.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 4 8
Seriously, look at the guy directly behind Ikki. He looks like he was carved out of a potato.

They all summon their Medabots and kick Eddie’s ass. Karin comes in to defend Eddie, somehow untying herself I think? She summons her Medabot, Neutranurse, to the scene to heal the damaged Gloomeg, which never made an ounce of sense to me. These are robots with dents and scratches and broken parts. You shouldn’t be able to heal physical damage with some magical light.

What makes even less sense is that it seemingly also heals Eddie of his wounds! What the hell!?

Ikki’s shocked that she’s a Medafighter, which at least makes a little sense because she didn’t have her watch on, but that just makes me question why she didn’t have her watch on this whole time. Koji exclaims that no one can defeat Karin, and her Wiki backs this up. She’s undefeated because, no lie, she’s so sweet and kind that no one has the heart to attack her, which just makes me physically ill. I don’t remember hating Karin in the past, but I think it’s inevitable.

Erika deduces that Karin is actually the Legendary Medafighter, and, yeah, she’s right. I have no clue how this rumor got started, though. Was someone just so ashamed of ‘losing’ to Karin that they came up with some silly story of a mysterious powerful guy?

SSBS - Medabots Episode 4 9

As Ikki, Erika and Metabee leave, they’re stopped by Karin’s massively long pink, because of course it’s pink, limo, (She was with Ikki and Erika on the regular grounds before but there was no limo – why didn’t she have it then?), and offers them a ride.

Karin: “There’s plenty of room as long as you don’t mind sitting in the Jacuzzi.” That limo is ridiculously long even for a limo. No one else is in the limo. There’s no way there aren’t more actual seats in there – you just wanted to mention that you have a Jacuzzi in your limo.

Ikki: “Karin, you’re rich!?” Oh for god’s sake, Ikki…Even if you held that stupid belief for that long, surely realizing that she owns a Medabot should be enough to prove she’s not poor. Even you couldn’t afford your own Medabot, Ikki.

Koji: “Come on, Karin. Let the commoners walk. They like the exercise.” He legit called them commoners….Ya know what’s even worse, though?

Karin: “Oh really? I’m sorry, I didn’t meant to interrupt.” She. Believes. Him. Are ‘commoners’ so foreign to you that you can’t even work your brain past a statement like that?

Also, you know what I hate? Super kind cutesy characters who don’t point out when other characters are insulting each other because apparently they’re so kind that they’re also oblivious. From Koji calling Ikki a groundling to a commoner, Karin doesn’t ding Koji for it or defend Ikki – she just goes about her day with that big ol’ smile.

Anyway, all of them have to walk the rest of the way because Koji’s an ass and Karin’s an idiot. Meanwhile, the Screws are damned to walking the grounds of the school for all eternity.

The end.

————————————-

I really want to reach a point where I can end a Medabots review without feeling the need to say ‘This episode is bad.’ At a certain point, it just makes me feel like I’m being a jerk, but…yeah, this episode is bad.

The concept of a mysterious undefeated Medafighter is alright, and so is the episode baseline of trying to find him, but every step along the way was really infuriating.

The school was way too over the top to the point where it didn’t even make logical sense for rich kids (Even traveling by carriage or car, there are mountains to traverse on their property to get to the lake’s edge, and you still need to seemingly take a row or paddle boat to get to the actual school. It would take way too long to get to school. You’d have to wake up at 4AM to be there on time. And let’s not even talk about the lethal traps they lay everywhere.)

Eddie’s story was terrible. He really couldn’t reach the school in over two years? Why didn’t he just follow the road? How is he not dead with all of those traps around? How did no one on security detail ever find him? In addition, it’s pretty sad (read: pathetic) that his two year trek to find and challenge the Legendary Medafighter amounted to him finding a girl who is literally unbeatable because, gosh darn it, she’s just so swell.

I am really interested to see a scene with him reuniting with his parents. They’ll be bawling and hugging him and then they finally ask the million dollar question – where have you been? And then he’ll explain he was stupidly chasing after a Legendary Medafighter in the woods of some snob school for two years, wouldn’t find his way back home….and then they put him up for adoption.

Seriously, imagine being that kid’s parents while hearing that explanation and try not to see a white flash of rage.

Then there’s Koji and Karin….ugh. Koji is a stuck up prick and Karin’s an overly saccharine perfect (to the point where her Medabot is basically a literal angel – look at that last screencap, come on) idiot who I can definitely see making my blood pressure go up in future episodes. It doesn’t help that she’s the typical oblivious center to a love triangle – IE two of the main characters constantly fighting over her.

Even the robattles in this episode weren’t that good. The first was completely one-sided and the second ended prematurely. I did like the sudden flood of Medabots in the end (Didn’t realize so many of them could fly/hover), but they were so briefly shown that I couldn’t really see them too well. Then there’s the logistics of how Neutranurse even works, and I don’t want to bother trying to do the mental gymnastics for that one.

Pile on all the other little nonsensical details I’ve listed here, and it’s just a largely unpleasant episode. I will say that they got me with the twist. I didn’t expect Karin to be the Legendary Medafighter, but that positive is put into question because the reasons behind her undefeated record are irritating.

Sumilidon is pretty cool, and that’s pretty much all I have left in the positives department.

Next episode, beach…stuff…I guess.

…Previous Episode


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SSBS – Dinosaur King Episode 3: Tanks a Lot!

SSBS - DK EP3

Plot: A saichania card is awoken in a museum in London and the Alpha Team and the D-Team scramble to claim it. Meanwhile, Rex becomes very frustrated with Ace, who keeps causing trouble.

Breakdown: I wonder if a piece of Veronica Taylor’s soul broke off into the abyss when she found out she was pegged for another show that makes her prattle off painful pun titles in voiceover. Hm.

This series continues to infuriate me, but it’s one of those things where I’m more pissed about the accumulating smaller details than the overall big picture.

For example, again, we are destroying valuable artifacts for no reason. First, the guards at the museum for some reason have no qualms with smashing dinosaur bones and displays just to apprehend some yahoos with shopping boxes wandering around, especially when the museum seems to technically still be open since Dr. Taylor is meeting with the curator.

Second, there are so many stupid moments. For example, Chomp finds a triceratops display and nuzzles it, which is actually insanely sad. Max points out that he probably misses his family, but without even a second of pause he goes on to say that they’re his family now and they’ll have lots of adventures together.

Real tactful timing, Max. Imagine doing that in any other similar situation. ‘It’s okay recently orphaned child, we’re your family now.’

What’s even stupider is they’re looking for the saichania, Max and Chomp find it but Max doesn’t realize it’s real even though it’s clearly moving, breathing and blinking. He doesn’t even give it a second look or touch it before turning his back and being silent for just long enough for the saichania to walk away, like a goddamned ninja, and then Max suddenly decides to also leave without looking back.

Dr. Taylor has a moment of stupid too. He asks what would lure out a saichania, and he thinks about the fact that they live near water, which is something….most animals do since all living beings need water. If you don’t live near a fresh water source…..you…die.

Zoe briefly raises her voice at Paras when she starts eating a plant and immediately after she sees Paras’ sad face she says now she knows how Ace feels. Why do you know how Ace feels? Wouldn’t this be more how Rex feels? You don’t know what that plant is. You could’ve been saving your dino’s life. Hardly akin to yelling at her for ruining a valuable book.

Later, she explains what she learned from that millisecond of ‘experience’ with the dinos, which is really as obvious as the nose on your face. They’re trying to be helpful, don’t yell at them – if you do, it hurts their feelings. Oh wow, you mean yelling at a living being and treating them like crap will make them feel bad? Golly, what a revelation. Sure am glad I’m two years old so this lesson is not painfully basic.

And how did she learn that from yelling at Paras for eating a plant? How was that helping?

Also, that doesn’t address the issue that Ace is being really hyper and destructive and Rex can’t figure out why or what to do about it. In fact, that’s never really addressed at all.

Thirdly, the saichania’s walk cycle is animated like it has a full diaper. I have no clue how a real saichania moves, but I am almost certain it doesn’t barely move its legs while shuffling around. That doesn’t really have much to do with anything, but the CGI just really bothers me still.

Fourth, the way the saichania is lured out is with a bunch of vegetables. Wanna know why? Remember how I said earlier that Dr. Taylor said saichanias like to live near water? Well, he jumped from that to hippos, because hippos also live near water. So he gathered up hippo food.

Now, saichanias were herbivores, but that’s not the point. He’s a goddamn paleontologist. He should be able to deduce luring out an herbivore with plants immediately instead of going “Saichania’s lived near water…what else lives near water?….err….HIPPOS!…So saichanias must be exactly like hippos. Hippos eat plants! So I should lure out the saichania with plants!” It’s a good think no carnivores or insectivores live near water.

Fifth, Zoe gets her first solo battle today, and it consists of immediately calling for help.

But Paras gets into gear!

Then immediately calls for help too. Because that’s one of Paras’ special abilities. Not lying. It can heal. And it can call for help. You certainly do belong to a female protagonist in a shounen show.

Then Max and Chomp show up and defeat Spiny easily. Yay.

As for the main plot of the episode, it’s one of the most predictable and boring plots I’ve seen in many moons.

Rex is a bit peeved at Ace for being all rowdy and getting mud on his nice book, which he then licked “clean.” The plot is resolved by Ace saving Rex’s life because that’s always how understandings are made between two characters.

The…..end.

Alright, there’s a tiny bit more to that. Rex had to understand that Ace was trying to help when he licked the book, but Zoe already pointed that out before the opening theme song, even, so I guess Rex is a crappy listener. Also, this wasn’t a time to shine for Ace because he loses against Terry.

As for the saichania, despite Dr. Taylor luring it out, the Alpha Team manages to snag it and they also get away with some important tablet. So, congrats, guys. You caused a bunch of damage to a museum and failed in both of your objectives. But hey, at least that minor tiff between Rex and Ace is over. Thank god. You can slow down now, pulse.

Overall, this episode is not good. I guess it’s not as infuriating as the previous episode, at least they didn’t flippantly destroy as many historical artifacts, but it’s, ultimately, very boring. That conflict was really lame, and the resolution might as well have come from the mouth of Dora the Explorer it was so preschool level.

Also, I can’t prove this, but given the animation, I really think Ace pooped on Rex’s book originally. If he had muddy feet, he would have been getting mud all over the room and on Rex’s bed as he was running around. Instead he popped a squat and suddenly left footprints. 4Kids would obviously change this, and I feel like that’s for the better. Afterall, if I’m right, then that means this entire plot is literally built….on crap.

It’s definitely more understandable that Rex would be upset, but it’s also a lot more gross, especially considering Ace licked it clean….

Rating: 4/10

Next episode….

….Previous Episode


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One Piece Episode 4 Sub/Dub Comparison: Luffy’s Past – Enter Red-Haired Shanks

One Piece Ep 4 SDC Screen 36

Plot: After Luffy almost loses his precious straw hat, we’re told the story of how he obtained it. As a child, Luffy befriended a great band of pirates lead by the legendary Shanks. After being saved from a sea monster by Shanks, causing Shanks to lose his arm in the process, Shanks gives Luffy his straw hat with the promise that he’ll return the hat to him on the day that he indeed becomes a great pirate.

——————————-

In the original, you hear the pirates who were sunk by Nami yelling at her that they’ll get her for what she did to them before the title screen. In the dub, it’s silence and the title screen immediately comes up…..If they didn’t return later in the episode, I’d think 4Kids killed them off right there.

Title Card Change:

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Also, I shouldn’t have to tell you that all that pirate talk (Especially about swag and….whatever swigger means) plus the pirate puns when they get into her boat are dub-only.

They edit out some shots of the pirates drinking.

A bottle on the bar is painted away.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

They erased the word “Anchor” from Luffy’s shirt…..*sigh* 4Kids, that is a word that you would literally find in a book aimed at toddlers learning how to read. In addition, there’s a picture of an anchor right behind the word.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

They edit out a shot of Benn Beckman after Luffy asks Shanks to take him with him next time he goes on a journey. This is likely because he’s smoking.

They edit out the word ‘Yassopp’ (No idea why it’s misspelled) on Yasopp’s headband and later erase a bottle from his table.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

They edit out a shot of Makino, the woman who owns the bar, watching the pirates talk to Luffy as she dries a glass.

Also, in the original the pirates are laughing at Luffy after taking the glass of juice because a real adult/pirate wouldn’t drink juice, he’d drink alcohol like the rest of them. In the dub, they make it out like the real reason that this proves he isn’t an adult/pirate is because it’s APPLE juice and a real pirate/adult wouldn’t drink APPLE juice. Yeah! Real adults drink grape juice!

Bottle:

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Another shot of Benn is edited out probably due to his cigar (Is that a cigar, technically?)

In the original, the bandits want ten gallons of beer. In the dub, 4Kids actually decides to play around mentioning beer instead of saying it’s juice or something. They say they want “strong stuff.”

I give 4Kids semi-points for that, but in typical 4Kids fashion, they lose it immediately in the next scene. The color of the bottle that Shanks gives the bandit leader is changed from purple to orange…Why? I have no….friggin….clue. If anything it just makes it look like the beer they were so careful to avoid mentioning instead of whatever it was supposed to be. (Maybe wine? I can’t think of any other bottled drink that would be in a purple bottle and the label’s blank in both versions.)

Subbed:

Dubbed:

In the original, the leader of the bandits destroys the bar top with his sword and says that since they love cleaning up so much that they’ll enjoy what he did. He then says that, since there’s no beer there, that they’re wasting their time and they leave while calling them cowards. In the dub, well, if that bandit had stats like a trading card, he’d be listing them off. I’d say he’s bragging, but he really just seems like he’s listing off all of the stuff he’s done like he’s reading it from an info card.

They edit out another shot of Makino after Luffy eats the Gum Gum fruit.

They edit out a shot of the outside of the bar after Luffy eats the Gum Gum Fruit.

More Bottles removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

After we see Makino getting the mayor, there’s a series of still screens explaining what had happened with Luffy and the bandits. (Flashback within a flashback) It basically shows the bandits making fun of Shanks and his crew for not fighting back earlier in the bar. In the dub, they cut out the stills and go straight to Luffy yelling at them to stop making fun of Shanks.

In the original, the mayor gets on his hands and knees and begs for Luffy’s life. In the dub, while the dialogue is kept mostly the same, they don’t show the mayor getting on his hands and knees.

Okay, this is just sad. We have another instance of a gun, this time being pointed at Shanks’ head. So what do they do? Erase it? Make it some water gun?

Nope.

Even better.

They make it a CORK GUN! Yeah, you know, one of those old toy guns that has a cork in the end of the barrel and when you pull the trigger or push the stick thing the cork pops out and makes a POP noise? And the cork has a string on it to ensure that you don’t lose it when you use it? How could that possibly hurt him, 4Kids? HOW? It’d be slightly annoying to be hit by that. The end. It’s almost comical that 4Kids actually believes this is intimidating.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

In the original, the cork gun thing is made even funnier because Shanks says that pistols aren’t toys before one of his crew shoots the bandit in the head. Speaking of which, OH MY! Shooting someone in the head?! How will 4Kids tackle this?!

Well, Shanks tells the bandit that the weapon, whatever it’s supposed to be, misfires at such close range….uhh, how? Weapons don’t really misfire because they’re close, they misfire due to mechanical issues or stuff plugging up the barrel. Considering the edit makes it out to be a cork gun, I guess he’s not wrong. If you press a cork gun to something and try to pull the trigger, the cork might still come out due to the pressure, but it wouldn’t do as much because it doesn’t have the room to eject with full force.

Now about that head shooting. Well, first off, the gun that Shanks’ crew member had is changed to a bright orange color to indicate that it’s not real, I suppose. But the bandit still falls over. How to tackle that? Well, Shanks says that when he wakes up (from his mortal head wound) to tell him that it was a cap gun……..

A….cap gun….

A.

Cap.

Gun.

ALL CAP GUNS DO IS MAKE NOISE AND SMOKE! They don’t even produce any reasonable burst of air! The cork gun is a more legitimate weapon than a cap gun because at least it has a projectile! I can’t even say maybe they’re making off like the smoke is knock-out gas or something because the gun doesn’t really produce any smoke. Just BLAM and the bandit falls over.

Maybe, considering Shanks said that those weapons deliver quite a scare, we’re meant to believe that the bandit was so scared from the noise that he passed out? That’s quite the pill to swallow, 4Kids.

Also, 4Kids, are you friggin’ high!? You just told kids that it’s okay to shoot each other in the head because they’ll just get knocked out! If anything, yes, I’m gonna say it, the original version is actually more kid-friendly than what 4Kids just showed. At least it says that guns aren’t toys and they can result in death. 4Kids basically said that all guns are toys and they just knock you out. What the hell is wrong with you people?! 4Kids makes some pretty stupid moves, but this one actually pisses me off.

Subbed:

Dubbed: 

Oh and, cherry on top, in the dub, after the guy gets ‘knocked out’ one of the bandits says that he was their ride home. Hurr hurr.

After one of Shanks’ crew beats the bandits with his rifle, he points it at the leader. In the dub, despite the fact that the rifle is left unedited in the previous scenes, the rifle is painted away when he points it at the leader which results in his left arm being mysteriously missing.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

So….guns….bad.…

Alcohol….bad…

Cleavage lines….bad.…

Japan in any way, shape or form……bad……

Shot of Shanks after he just got his arm bitten off: A-OKAY!

Granted it’s not like it’s pouring blood, which it honestly should be, and you can’t see the stump, but they still acknowledged and showed that he did indeed get his arm ripped off by a sea monster and didn’t change the shot at all. They didn’t even paint away the blood-ish tint on the ripped sleeve. I’m so confused.

Also, can I just point out that dub Luffy’s crying is nowhere near the emotional impact of original Luffy crying? Original Luffy is bawling and I mean bawling after he sees Shanks in the water. Dub Luffy’s crying like he dropped his ice cream.

Dub Buggy Pirate: “Or you’ll be getting’ a knock-knock on the head you won’t soon forget!”

Hey 4Kids, knock-knock!

4Kids – Who’s there?

Bad dialogue!

4Kids – Bad dialogue who?

Go to hell! 😀

In the dub, the episode cuts off before the smoke from Luffy’s landing clears…like it’s some cliffhanger. We know who it is…Heck, if the previous scenes weren’t a big enough clue, the episode shows closeups of him falling from the sky.

What, are we wondering if Luffy’s still alive after that? He’s a rubber man! I’m pretty sure he can survive any fall. In the original, we see Luffy in the clearing dust, see him standing up and saying “Where’d that cannonball come from? Well, you don’t see that every day!” and we close in on Nami’s face before we see the TO BE CONTINUED screen which is also edited away.

————————–

This episode was great. I loved the backstory on Luffy, Shanks is a fantastic character that I really love, there was plenty of action and emotional moments to keep things interesting, and I actually like the fact that Luffy eating the Gum Gum fruit isn’t a bigger event. He just mistook it for regular food and ate it. That’s definitely a ‘Luffy’ thing to do.

Dub-wise, holy crap, this is a nightmare. I will give them props for leaving in Shanks’ de-arming, but that’s about it. Everything else is either ruined at best and demolished at most.

Next episode, it’s the debut of Buggy. Luffy tries to get Nami to be the navigator for his ship, but Nami’s got enough on her plate trying to trick Buggy into letting her be part of his crew for the sake of getting a map to the Grand Line.


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Analyzing the Criticized: Sakura Haruno (Naruto) Part 1 – Chapters 1-100: The Buds of Problems and Promises

Sakura Analysis 1

When it comes to hated female anime characters, few get as much flak as Sakura Haruno of Naruto. The most common complaints about her character include – she’s useless, she’s whiny, she’s obsessed with Sasuke and she’s one of many ‘typical female leads’ where their role is defined by the men in their lives (Either Sasuke or Naruto)

I watched Naruto and a good chunk of Shippuden many moons ago and my opinions were the same. Heck, I slammed her quite a bit over the years and even included her in my entry for ‘Least Favorite Female Sidekick’ in the Salty Anime Challenge.

Everyone agrees that she becomes much better during Shippuden and….I’ll have my time with Boruto later, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still a LOT of talking points regarding her usefulness and simply how she’s portrayed. But it’s been so long and I need another perspective. I need to dive into the details of the criticisms throughout time.

I’m hitting the nostalgia button. I’ve decided to go back and read the Naruto manga, which I’ve never done, to focus firmly on Sakura’s role. Why? To give Sakura a fair shake. To break her down as objectively as possible and try to see how much of the criticism was really warranted while also giving her proper credit when due. If this analysis goes well, I may do similar evaluations to other criticized characters such as Kagome from Inuyasha, Eren from Attack on Titan and Miaka from Fushigi Yuugi. I might even do this for characters I like, though that’s more of a traditional character study than what I’m doing here. We’ll see.

Quick Disclaimer: I am going to be discussing my opinions on certain shippings in this series. I kinda can’t avoid it, honestly, because so much of Sakura’s character is entwined with her relationship to Sasuke, and it’s no secret that I have a lot of criticism for the pairing. HOWEVER, note that I am very much against anti-shipping. I may post heavy criticisms about ships, but at the end of the day I am very respectful of people’s opinions on the matter and never sling hate their way for them. Ship anything you want, it’s fine. No matter if it’s canon or not, like what you like. Have fun.

I, personally, ship Rock Lee and Sakura and Hinata and Naruto (And Temari and Shikamaru, but I doubt that’ll ever come up, really) for a variety of reasons, but I most certainly won’t harp on that. I may bring it up if it has to do with Sakura’s development or if there’s a particularly good comparison to be drawn from it, but otherwise, this series will definitely not be championing any shipping and no shipping hate will be tolerated, that includes the comments.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll be breaking up this series into 100 chapter marks and 20 chapter sections.

Chapters 1-20 (Covering basic training and part of the Hidden Mist Arc)

Even 20 chapters in and there’s already a lot of commonly discussed issues that are brought to the forefront.

Sakura treats Naruto badly. True. However, she’s a 12 year old girl and Naruto is the egotistical class clown who has a crush on her and hates Sasuke, her crush. Even though those facts don’t justify her behavior, it’s somewhat understandable.

What’s not understandable is her comments about how he behaves poorly because he has no parents and that he’s lucky to not have them, in a way, because he doesn’t have his parents hounding him.

When I got to this scene in the manga, I looked up responses online and some people justified this by saying she was explaining his behavior, not mocking him, but I don’t think so. From what we’ve seen of Sakura to this point, she never says anything kind or in defense of Naruto unless someone chews her out or Sasuke acts as an example for her. Both of which happen after the scene in which she makes the aforementioned comment.

Not to mention how unbelievable it is that she didn’t realize she was saying these things to Sasuke of all people. I can’t imagine she didn’t know about the Uchiha family massacre and didn’t connect the dots that, maybe, saying stuff like Naruto acts poorly because he has no parents and is lucky to not have them isn’t the best thing to do in front of a fellow orphan.

Then there’s the moment where they’re practicing climbing trees with their chakra and she actually seems like she’s looking forward to Naruto getting frustrated and quitting.

Sakura Analysis 2

Sakura is obsessed with Sasuke. This is also very true. Nearly every line she gets, either internal or external, somehow involves Sasuke to some extent. If not, she’s merely providing commentary on what she’s watching.

When she has moments of character development, at this point anyway, like rethinking her views on Naruto or giving Naruto some of her lunch during the bell test, she only does so because of Sasuke. He scolds her for her comments on Naruto’s lack of parents – she rethinks her views on Naruto for about ten seconds. Sasuke gives some of his lunch to Naruto first – Sakura follows suit.

Even during a moment where she actually has a time to shine brighter than the boys, a rarity to say the least, her focus is on Sasuke. She climbs the tree easily with her chakra but is upset that Sasuke isn’t impressed with her.

Speaking of chakra control, Kakashi does praise her for this, but it doesn’t come into play as an actual strength of hers until way down the line after the time skip where she uses it for medical purposes and feats of massive physical strength, particularly in punching and kicking. As of right now, her chakra control is only as useful as the ability to climb trees without her hands, and even that won’t be impressive in about one chapter as Naruto and Sasuke learn the ability.

Kakashi also mentions in passing that, despite her great chakra control, her potential power is ‘nothing’ compared to Naruto and Sasuke. While I understand that to a degree, considering she doesn’t have a massively powerful demon living in her and isn’t part of an incredibly powerful bloodline, it’s still a bit irritating to not only have confirmation that she’s the weakest in her team by far, but also that she doesn’t even have the potential to match her comrades’ power.

Also, I could’ve sworn another of Sakura’s strengths was in her being smart. I thought she was at the top of the class, but she’s not. Sasuke has the best grades in class according to Iruka. So she doesn’t even have that going for her.

That also brings about a question of the balance in their teams. Sasuke and Naruto supposedly got paired because the best in the class is balanced by the worst in the class, but where does Sakura fit into this equation?

She’s supposedly the most talented kunoichi of her class but….come on….that’s not really something to brag about. There’s all of five or six girls in her class, only three of which get names.

To her credit, she does attempt to do something brave on her own without even thinking of Sasuke. She jumps in front of Tazuna, the old bridge builder they’re meant to protect, as two enemy ninja attack him. However, the moment is still overshadowed by Sasuke because he suddenly jumps in front of Sakura to protect her. Either this was a brief fleeting moment where Sasuke actually shows concern and caring for Sakura or he knew she wouldn’t be able to do anything to protect Tazuna and was more concerned with the mission. Maybe a little of both.

Chapters 21-40 (The rest of the Hidden Mist Arc and the first part of the Chunin exams)

As you can probably expect, Sakura doesn’t do much in the rest of the Hidden Mist arc. She’s relegated to babysitting Tazuna on the sidelines for the entire fight. Sasuke and Naruto fight Haku, and Kakashi fights Zabuza.

To her credit, she is shown to be very determined to both help her friends and protect Tazuna with all her might. However, the one time Zabuza does break off to attack Tazuna, Kakashi steps in the way.

Granted, it’s not like she can do much now, as I stated before.

This is one of many times where Sakura is massively eclipsed by Naruto and Sasuke off the bat. This arc is where Sasuke awakens his Sharingan and Naruto starts tapping into his nine-tailed fox powers. Obviously, Sakura has nothing grand to show off that even comes close to these abilities, so she’s mostly relegated to being a bodyguard and she doesn’t even really get to do that.

Kakashi also mentions that Sakura’s the brightest mind on the team, which is odd because not only is there the earlier mention of Sasuke getting the best grades, but in almost the same breath as him saying that, he mentions that Sasuke is a genius. It’s hard to be impressed by her intellect if you immediately follow that up with ‘but she’s not as smart as the other main character.’

There’s a slight bit of character development here in that Sakura, without prompt, kinda compliments Naruto. She says Sasuke will never lose to someone like Haku, then she adds that Naruto wouldn’t either.

The only other thing Sakura does during this arc is cry over Sasuke’s body, believing him to be dead then her hugging him and crying more when it’s revealed that he’s alive.

Some people complain about this scene, mostly in regards to, of course, the girl is relegated to crying being one of her only notable actions during the entire arc, but these complaints are easily countered.

1) She just watched her sensei kill a kid her age in a horrible manner mere moments before she found out about Sasuke. She’s already on uneasy ground, emotionally.

2) She doesn’t go to Sasuke until Tazuna offers to go with her in order to properly perform her ninja duties.

3) Before she cries, she explains that part of the shinobi way is to never show your feelings on the battlefield no matter what, like she’s trying to apologize beforehand for breaking this rule.

4) Her comrade, teammate, crush and kinda friend is laying dead on the battlefield. I’m pretty sure anyone would get a pass for crying in that moment.

5) She’s not the only one who cries in this arc. Haku cries, Naruto nearly starts bawling and even Zabuza sheds some tears. You can’t ding the trope of girl tears if several guys are also crying.

Sakura Analysis 3

After the Hidden Mist arc, we get to the Chunin exams where Sakura starts reevaluating her standing in the team after Sasuke chews her out for being more focused on flirting than training and being ‘just as bad as Naruto.’ Trouble is, there’s an entire chapter dedicated to her struggle with this, even named ‘Sakura’s Depression’ but it doesn’t amount to anything.

Sasuke compliments her strategic skills, which haven’t really been displayed yet, and her ability to identify Genjutsu, which also hasn’t really been mentioned up til now. The only experience she’s had in Genjutsu, really, is when Kakashi tried to trick her into thinking Sasuke was terribly wounded, and she didn’t see through that one. She freaked out and fainted….

That is the first instance of Sasuke seemingly being nice to Sakura genuinely, though. I don’t know if he felt guilty for what he said or if he knew she felt useless compared to the two of them, but it was a rare moment of niceness.

Sakura did catch Sasuke after being thrown by Rock Lee, so chalk one up for her.

Chalk up more character development for her too because she believes Naruto is shaking in fear or about to cry in the face of the Chunin exam and she goes to comfort him.

She’s also being very analytical during the first portion of the exam.

Chapters 41-60 (Chunin Examsthe rest of the intel test and part of the Forest of Death)

Sakura’s actually impressive in the first part of the Chunin exam, even if Sasuke figures out the main goal of the test before she does (Actually, it’s a bit unclear whether she figures out the main goal of the test. The furthest she seems to get is that the test almost seems designed to force the participants into cheating.) She’s the only one of the main characters to legitimately answer all of the questions on the exam instead of trying to cheat…..which is the main point of the exercise….which….may mean she actually didn’t do well in this part? Hinata may have also answered the questions herself, but considering she has her Byakugan, that’s questionable. Even Sasuke the ‘genius’ and Neji the ‘genius’ needed to cheat.

She was also willing to take the hit in quitting the exam for the sake of protecting Naruto’s future as a ninja, knowing he’d be too proud to do so himself – completely disregarding that quitting would mean Sasuke would also be forced to fail the exam.

I find it funny that Sakura does this to spare Naruto from being a Genin for the rest of his life, when he stays a Genin for the rest of his life anyway. Not kidding – he never officially advances beyond the point of Genin the entire series until he earns the role of Hokage.

Sakura punches Naruto for trying to take a leak in front of her, which is kinda justified, but the little inner Sakura above her head implies that she’d be fine with Sasuke doing it in front of her…..So either Sakura has a urine kink or she’d love to see Sasuke’s doodad while he’s doing one of the most unsexy things with it. O…kay….Sakura….

Sakura didn’t notice the fake Naruto when she’s supposed to be the smartest one…kinda…Sasuke the genius realizes it immediately. She also does absolutely nothing against the enemy ninja that tries to pull this stunt.

Sakura AGAIN doesn’t detect the fake Naruto in front of her and doesn’t find it odd that he remembered Sasuke’s long complicated password with no issue. Sasuke the genius, again, realizes it immediately.

Also not a big fan of Sasuke needing to put his hand over Sakura’s mouth to keep her quiet. Nor am I a fan of the fact that chapter 47 ends with a page focusing purely on Sakura being paralyzed with fear….

Sakura spends the rest of this fight doing fuck all. In fact, when Naruto is grabbed by Orochimaru, she just stands there yelling “Sasuke, Naruto needs you!” The one thing she does do is stop Naruto from falling.

I do kinda like how she implied that Sasuke was acting cowardly because he was seemingly giving up and submitting to Orochimaru when Naruto was giving it his all. It’s a slight implication, but it is there. And I will admit that her words are what drive Sasuke to getting back in the fight.

They kept saying Sakura has an affinity for Genjutsu, but this is yet another instance of someone using a Genjutsu on her (The death vision) where she couldn’t identify it or break it without help yet Sasuke was able to recognize it, keep moving and break it entirely by hurting himself while Sakura was frozen in fear.

We’re at Sakura’s first big solo moment here, and it’s one I and many other people have slammed pretty hard in the past – her haircut.

But there’s more to it than that.

……But I’m still pissed about.

Let’s break this down. Sasuke and Naruto are both unconscious after their battle with Orochimaru and Sakura is the only one left behind to both care for them and protect them – big responsibility. Big opportunity for growth.

To Sakura’s credit, she does several things here that are worthy of praise. She carefully watches and tends to Sasuke and Naruto all through the night, driving herself to the point of paranoia and exhaustion. She sets booby traps around their camp to help catch intruders, and despite being very visibly afraid, she stands her ground and confidently confronts the other sound-nin when they show up, even name-dropping Orochimaru.

Rock Lee kinda comes in and ruins it A LITTLE. I love that little bushy browed bowlcut, and he’s being sweet here, though on a similarly misguided infatuation level as Sakura is with Sasuke, but I think this confrontation would have been better without his initial interference, mostly because it derails the story into more of a Rock Lee moment than a Sakura one for a bit.

Granted, the fact that Lee fails in his attempt to protect Sakura compounds her guilt that people are always coming to her rescue, getting hurt in the process, and she doesn’t like that.

She does try to combat the sound-nin with some throwing stars, but they’re about as effective as you’d think.

Then comes the moment of truth. One of the sound-nin, Kin, has Sakura by the hair…..Yup. She doesn’t restrain her hands to prevent her from pulling a weapon or making hand signs or just…to not use her hands, she just grabs her by the hair and expects that to be good enough.

Sakura actually pulls out a kunai and Kin, like an idiot, just doesn’t do anything, even though it’s in plain sight and she even acknowledges it. And then, after much buildup, she frees herself by cutting her hair very dramatically.

Everyone looks at her like she just cut her damn arm off.

Now, considering Sakura had been dinged a few times now for being more concerned about her looks and flirting than she was about being serious in her ninja duties, this could be seen as her growing out of that and proving her ninja prowess. Considering that she actually does have a slight moment of badassery after this, that much is certain….but 1) There’s still the glaring part about this also being a big thing because Sakura and Ino both grew their hair long because they had heard a rumor that Sasuke liked girls with long hair. They focus on this aspect, but we all know it doesn’t really matter in this respect because Sakura’s obsession with Sasuke never ends.

2) It’s still just hair, it grows back. Granted, she never does grow her hair back, whether symbolically or because she realized she looks a lot better that way, but still. It’s hair.

3) She has about four pages of badassery in her before she just resorts to biting Zaku and not letting go like an untrained puppy. I give her props for taking that beating, but it was unnecessary. Why didn’t Kin or Dosu do anything to stop it?

4)….In the end, she still gets saved by other people, which is what was she was trying to prove she DIDN’T NEED.

I know, she’s against three people and she’s already exhausted. There’s no way she’d be able to pull something uber powerful out of her butt and defeat them all. I would never expect her to. Considering they just whupped Lee’s ass, it’s completely unrealistic. It’s unrealistic even if Lee never appeared. Even Naruto and Sasuke would have great difficulty taking on three skilled ninja, BUT I have a constructive criticism on how this entire scene could’ve been made eons better.

First of all, maybe restrain Sakura in some way where there would be no way for her to escape without harming herself. It would badass, a definite show of courage and seriousness, and the scar left behind would be proof that she cares more about her stance as a ninja than her looks. Maybe even go the extra mile and put the wound on her face somehow. You don’t need to pull a Berserk, but shed some blood.

Second of all, keep the scene with Sakura fighting the sound-nin alone, but after the biting scene have her get thrown by Zaku then have him try to look for her to finish her off. He can’t find her and, after some time, the other sound-nin realize they’re in a loop (This is inspired by later events). They reveal that Sakura had bitten Zaku as a distraction. While he was focused on her head, she was making necessary hand signs to pull off a Genjutsu.

The Genjutsu in question would be making the sound-nin think everyone’s still there when they aren’t and put them into a loop of trying to find Sakura. The Genjutsu was so good even the Genjutsu-savvy sound-nin didn’t realize it until she had grabbed the boys and taken them far away. She doesn’t need to defeat the other ninja, she just needs to get out of this dire situation. She needs to ensure their survival. That in itself is a big enough moment.

Finally, Ino, Shikamaru and Choji would all witness this and just quietly give Sakura a moment of respect for how much she’s grown as a ninja.

My version isn’t perfect but it would be much higher tier than what we got, which just pales in comparison to the big moments of Sasuke and Naruto up until this point. Plus, it would actually show that she has a true affinity for Genjutsu instead of people telling us that without any evidence. How can I really give this moment much credit when it comes after Sasuke very nearly dying for a mission (twice now) and Naruto kicking ass while using his nine-tailed fox powers (Twice now)?

Another big-ish moment for Sakura, especially where SasuSaku is concerned is him reverting back from his cursed form when Sakura hugs him and begs him to stop. This moment is a bit up in the air for me considering it’s another moment where Sakura’s crying and doing more observing than anything, but I think I’ll give it to the pairing support at least. Sasuke really could’ve just pushed her away and staked his true claim as a power-hungry ‘avenger’ by taking out the last sound-nin, but instead he listened to her pleas and calmed down.

Considering this, you’d think, later, Orochimaru would have mentioned her influence being a problem for Sasuke’s dedication to being an ‘avenger’ instead of just mentioning Naruto and making him a target because of it.

Even though I give Sakura props for lying to Naruto about the reasons behind cutting her hair, the fact that they focus on Sasuke and Ino pausing as she says this, like it’s some dark secret, is a bit goofy.

Sakura Analysis 4

It’s very interesting how Tenten points out that Lee could have easily taken the sound-nin in battle if he wasn’t preoccupied with Sakura. Does that mean I have to ding her here for being the reason Lee lost?

I appreciate Sakura defending Lee so fiercely but punching the hell out of Naruto for making a comment like ‘unibrow’ is way too far. I’m also starting to get sick of the old ‘female love interest is allowed to punch the protagonist for little to no reason and haha it’s funny even though it would be clearly seen as abuse if the genders were reversed’ trope….

Chapters 61-80 (The rest of the Forest of Death and most of the tournament prelims)

Sakura is the first to get so tired she collapses when they get caught in the enemy loop Genjutsu, which is silly because Naruto and Sasuke were both exhausted from battles that left them both unconscious for several hours, but I guess Sakura did also fight for a bit and they got to rest that night while she didn’t.

Hey, speaking of Genjutsu, Sakura didn’t notice another damn Genjutsu when she’s supposed to have a talent for this shit.

Another instance of a different Genjutsu that Sakura neither notices or can dispel. She also needs to be kinda convinced that it’s a Genjutsu at all.

When they finish the second exam, there’s an interesting bit involving the scroll on the wall. It was a little interesting back then, but it’s much more interesting now given hindsight. Iruka points out that the scroll is talking about traits you should work on in order to be a good Chunin. It’s necessary to have the properties of heaven and earth with heaven signifying wisdom and knowledge and earth signifying strength and physical prowess.

He notes that Naruto’s weak point is the trait of heaven – he needs to study hard and develop himself mentally to become a good Chunin. Then he notes that Sakura’s weak point is her physicality – earth. She’s physically weak and doesn’t have much battle prowess, so she needs to work on that. (He doesn’t state it, but the framing implies Sasuke has both properties, so he’d be most fitting as a Chunin in Team 7)

The reason I found this more interesting in hindsight is because Sakura does become incredibly physically strong later after learning to channel her chakra in very specific points such as her fists and feet. Problem is, this doesn’t happen until way down the line after the time skip.

She vehemently tries to get Sasuke to withdraw from the exams due to his curse mark to the point where she starts crying and threatening to tattle on him if he doesn’t leave. I’m debating how much of a pass, if any, I’ll give her here because she has already seen Sasuke ‘die’ once before and she’s pretty much starving and sleep-deprived right now. However, I will ding her a little because I’m having a hard time thinking she’d fight as strongly if Naruto was the one who was cursed and she’s back to crying some more.

This has nothing to do with Sakura, but can we please stop referring to Sasuke as an avenger? This complaint has nothing to do with anything Marvel related – it’s just a cringey thing to say, especially when you’re proclaiming it about yourself. It’s so emo or forcibly dark and edgy. Putting the Marvel spin on it, it’s a team name so it doesn’t have that spin. It’s not like something you’d say before flapping a black cape in front of you and walking off dramatically to go reapply your black mascara.

Oh shit, son, are we at chapter 71? It’s time for the main event!

SAKURA

VS.

INO

Let me give you my initial views on this battle from when I watched the anime version: This is one of those Sakura-centric plot points that I’ve heavily criticized in the past. One of the few times Sakura actually gets to battle on her own, no one interfering at all, and it’s kinda boring and ends in a silly tie. Ino, in a seeming act of defiance to Sakura cutting her own hair, cuts her own hair, which, unlike Sakura, she doesn’t keep for too long, in fact she has much longer hair when the first time skip happens and even longer in the Boruto age. It’s also slightly symbolic in that, again, the long hair was grown in an attempt to impress Sasuke.

I think this battle would’ve been more interesting if they both got past their insane love of Sasuke afterwards, but of course that didn’t happen.

We just got one of the dumbest friendship breakup baskstories in existence.

(Trying to keep this as an aside: Another common complaint regarding Sakura even in Shippuden and Boruto is that Sakura never gets to actually finish her battles, even when she’s winning. She always either has someone else come in and take over or she has someone save her. My question will be answered in time as I do this series….but does Sakura ever actually win any battles on her own? Legitimate question. Does she actually WIN, as in completely finish by herself, any battles? I’ll even take movie references as proof, even if those aren’t considered canon. I’ll become so much sadder doing this series if I find out she’s never won once…..)

So, since this is basically the first actual major Sakura event….and uh…..pretty much…..the only one until we get to Shippuden, let’s break this down a little more than we normally would.

Ino and Sakura are paired to fight in the prelims of the third round of the Chunin exams because why wouldn’t they? And we get the absolute best vote of confidence that this fight is going to be boring by Ino’s teacher, Asuma. He says in inner monologue that Ino may look fierce, but, and I quote “among the kunoichi rookies, she’s far from the top of the pack.”

Let me remind everyone that the only rookie kunoichis in konoha that aren’t nameless nobodies to fill up classroom space are Sakura, Hinata and Tenten………And I’m going to give top spot in skill to Hinata and knowledge to Sakura…..If Ino is ‘far from the top of the pack’ in konoha kunoichis and we’re ranking Sakura as one of the top dogs….this match is going to be depressingly uninteresting before the bell even rings.

Let’s be even more fair and include the non-konoha konoichis there, which consist of Temari, who is skilled probably on the same level as Hinata, at this point anyway, and Kin, the sound-nin, who is basically Tenten if she focused more on Genjutsu, and whose sole role to this point has been ineffectively restraining Sakura. Admittedly, Ino did take over her mind once, but she was defeated by Kin’s teammate there, so make of that what you will.

Asuma expounds upon this even more by wondering if Ino can even give Sakura a good workout…..He either drastically overestimates Sakura, maybe based on her grades, or he underestimates Ino, which is a bit sad because he’s her teacher. I feel like, if the rules didn’t say whole squads had to participate or none of the individual members could, Asuma never would have submitted Ino has an entrant.

And, considering this match ends in a tie, I’d say he did both massive under and overestimating on both sides here. They’re both disappointing, but to different levels.

Since this is the first time we’ve really focused on literally the only ‘tragic backstory’ Sakura has (or really the only backstory she has at all) we have to sideline the battle a few times to go over her past with her previous best friend Ino.

The flashback starts off with a female ninja leading a class specifically meant for young aspiring female ninja, teaching them feminine practices for the sake of blending into a village easily and being a covert spy. One of those important traits is flower arranging…….sure it is. And we see that Sakura’s even useless at picking flowers as she trips and falls on her face. And if you think I’m being too harsh on her, even Sakura says she’s no good at this stuff.

Ino teaches her to arrange flowers, and she’s being kinda passive aggressive about it. First she says it’s pathetic that Sakura is not being able to arrange flowers when her name is based off of cherry blossoms. Then she says blossoms should never be in the competition for the main focus of the arrangement, very clearly making a metaphor in regards to Sakura. She then compares herself to the center flower, the cosmos, and says she’s even prettier than that flower. So, if we’re completing Ino’s little metaphor, Sakura should always be kept to the background as an ‘accessory’ and Ino’s the beautiful star of the show.

This is the foundation for this beautiful friendship torn asunder. Go grab some Kleenex before it’s too late.

Three girls walk up harassing Sakura about her ‘big forehead’ but before I go off about that, what the hell is up with the designs of these girls? They’re meant to be like 8 or 10 years old yet one of them is dressed like a punk rocker, the middle one is like a female Orochimaru and the one on the right……pbbbbtttt what is the girl on the right? She looks like the love child of Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo and Wobbuffet.

Sakura Analysis 5

Back to the ‘big forehead’ thing – I never once understood this. I get that kids are little pricks and will make fun of anything they think can be a viable target, but this has followed her into her Genin years. In fact, while Sakura’s go-to insult with Ino is calling her variation of a pig (because her name is Ino, which means ‘pig’) Ino’s is to constantly poke fun at Sakura’s forehead. Sakura’s forehead looks ridiculously normal. It looks no bigger than Ino’s.

They’re bullying her outside of the forehead stuff anyway, and Ino pulls a pretty badass move and uses flowers as ninja stars, throwing them in the mouth of one of the bullies and claiming they’re poisonous, which causes them to run off.

Sakura then continues with the metaphor from earlier, saying Ino’s so smart and cool, and if she’s the cosmos, Sakura must be a purple trousers (one of the accessory flowers) Ino then says she’s not even a bud yet. Sakura then asks why Ino gave her the ribbon she wears on her head to hold her hair back from her forehead. Ino replies that she felt it was a shame to see a bud like her dying on the vine. She gave her the ribbon to help her bloom into something even prettier than a cosmos.

Admittedly, this part, even in light of the passive-aggressiveness from earlier, was sweet. She helped build up Sakura’s confidence in herself and it strengthened their bond.

HOWEVER, any sweet sentiment involving their backstory or current situation is instantly completely destroyed all because of their stupid fight over Sasuke. It literally went ‘Hey I heard you like Sasuke. Guess we’re rivals now.’ *end friendship* It’s like they didn’t realize they can be friends and rivals at the same time or didn’t bother trying that route.

Some deep and caring friendship you two had if your competition over a guy who has never even shown a passing interest in girls can completely destroy it to the point where all you two do when you see each other is make fun of the other. I also find it particular stupid that the ribbon that Ino gave Sakura for the sake of keeping her hair back and owning her ‘big’ forehead as opposed to hiding it and giving the people who made fun of her power over her is even a thing because once they stop being friends, as I mentioned, she resorts to making fun of Sakura’s forehead too.

I won’t comment on their future friendship status yet because I don’t remember enough about it. I’m pretty sure they don’t reach a point of even really being casual friends again until either mid to late Shippuden, which is probably around when Ino started letting go of Sasuke and liking Sai, which, if that really is the lynchpin, is even more disappointing. At least it shows that Ino can get over her petty obsession….Unlike some people.

Back with more flashbacks, soon after their graduation I assume, Sakura proclaims that Ino doesn’t have much of a chance with Sasuke now since she and Sasuke are on the same team, but Ino won’t let up. Sakura returns her ribbon to Ino and proclaims she’ll use her leaf headband as a hair band until the day she feels she can face her in battle as a true kunoichi – then she’ll wear it on her forehead properly.

Ino takes the ribbon back and agrees to do the same (well, she wears hers as a belt).

Back in present day, Sakura shows she’s ALL BIDNESS by taking off her konoha headband with a flourish. Then, to prove this isn’t some silly stereotypical catfight, she announces that she’s never letting Ino anywhere near Sasuke………………….Kakashi points out that she’s riling her up so she won’t go easy on her, but still….that is one of the points they’re fighting for. Their friendship wouldn’t have ended over it if it wasn’t.

Ino realizes what’s going on, and she removes hers as well. They replace them both on their foreheads, signifying that they’re ready to prove themselves to the other.

The match starts and it’s pretty much just physical blows for a while. I love how even the other characters are cognizant of how boring this match is because, even with all of the aforementioned factors already making this match kinda boring, they point out that Sakura and Ino are too well-matched at this point in time so they’re just stalemating for over ten minutes.

The only way Sakura ups the ante is by basically calling Ino too vain and pointing out her long flowy hair, which prompts Ino to cut her hair too. However, I must have forgotten this point, Ino’s main point in cutting her hair wasn’t to prove herself to not be vain to Sakura, she was actually setting up a living hair jutsu trap, which is kinda ingenious. I still believe literally throwing her cutting her hair in Sakura’s face was part of it, though.

I’ve always loved how this moment, in a way, just highlights how silly it was for Sakura’s big moment to be cutting her hair. Like “You think you’re hot stuff because you cut your hair?! Look, I can do it too! It ain’t hard, there, Supercuts!”

And just to follow up an ingenious mark with a stupid one for Sakura – she’s top of her class in grades, Ino’s back of the pack, and even she was able to outfox Sakura in battle.

Technically, Sakura should’ve lost because she clearly said the full phrase ‘I, Sakura Haruno, wish to withdraw from the match.’ and she had her hand up most of the way. I have no way of knowing the volume at which she said that, but the text wasn’t small or implying a whisper, so, by all means, Sakura should’ve lost.

I always thought it was kinda dumb that they actually acknowledge inner Sakura is a legitimate other being – Ino refers to it as a second psyche. And Ino develops one later too, it’s weird.

Sakura manages to use her inner Sakura to literally fight off Ino internally long enough to use a release jutsu and force Ino out of her mind, with the help of some egging by Naruto. When all is said and done, they tie with one final punch, but the tie is negative – they both lose and neither moves on to the next round.

Alright, so even though I still found this fight to definitely be boring, most certainly the worst match of the Chunin exams (well…..maybe not as bad as Choji vs. Dosu. That’s pathetically short and I didn’t even remember it) it was more entertaining than I remember….but that’s really because of Ino.

She was the one thinking on her feet and coming up with clever strategies. She was the one with cool jutsu, even when Shikamaru claimed she needed to use her mind control technique with him because he restrains them first. She proved she knew that weakness and could overcome it on her own. Ino technically managed to win, but I guess the ref just didn’t hear her or something.

All Sakura did was have decent physical strikes due to good chakra manipulation, even though she didn’t seem to be hitting harder than Ino, and she had the weird inner Sakura willpower to fight off an already weakened Ino’s mind manipulation.

If this battle was meant to highlight Sakura’s growth as a ninja, it didn’t do much. I was much more impressed by her in the Forest of Death, to be honest. Yes, I was more impressed by her haircut moment than her big battle with Ino that was meant to prove herself. There, she was putting her life on the line and proving her vanity wasn’t more important than her duty as a ninja and a friend. She fought literally tooth and nail back there. The haircut was lame, but at least they painted some badass aspects over the lame.

Here, she’s not really impressive. In fact, she’s disappointing. Sakura’s so smart and skilled with chakra manipulation yet, in all this time, she never tried to learn some specialties, find a niche, or maybe make her own moves? Her strategy was just full on punching and kicking with one instances of making clones. How does that prove you’re the better ninja? It only proves one or the other is a better kickboxer. Ino, despite being more vain than Sakura and seemingly much lower in class, not only mastered her own clan technique, but she mastered an ability that fixes a major issue with its implementation.

Sakura didn’t even really come back on her own – Naruto had to pump her back up to push Ino out.

I do appreciate the sentiment behind this battle more than I did in the past. I viewed it more as a bitchy penultimate catfight over Sasuke when, at it’s core, it was more about their rivalry as ninja – Sakura proving that she’s just as good as the girl she once idolized and Ino proving her own worth. However, it pretty much failed on Sakura’s end in that regard. What a wasted opportunity for some much needed Sakura shine.

At least the very end of the confrontation has a sweet moment between the two, though I still wish they’d move past their dumb obsessions with Sasuke.

But, hey, let’s be fair to all the girls who get shafted up in here – the anime was a lot more generous to Tenten than the manga was in regards to her match. They just straight-up cut from the start of the match to Tenten bent over Temari’s fan in defeat after a brief conversation with Ino and Sakura in-between. In the anime, the match was completely one-sided, but we still got to, ya know, see it.

After Sakura wakes up, she cheers on Naruto to not lose to the sand-nin….but the framing is weird? She’s not looking at Naruto when she says this and Rock Lee’s the one who challenged Temari in defense of Tenten. Considering Gaara’s the only sand-nin left to challenge, it’s strange that she would assume that Naruto will get paired with him anyway. Oh well, at least she’s being supportive.

She goes further by basically giving him a speech similar to the one he gave her during her match and thanking him for helping to give her the willpower to break free. That was nice….I mean, Naruto had to ruin it by saying he saved her butt, but still.

When Naruto is in his match with Kiba, Sakura is cheering him on quite spiritedly. She and Kakashi also share a knowing look when everyone thinks Naruto’s down for the count, but they clearly know better. Show’s a bit of growth in her respect for him.

Hm, I had forgotten how clever Naruto was in his match with Kiba. He was pulling some really good moves and even utilized his prank-y nature to get the better of him…..The fart was still stupid, but at least it had an actual point.

And Sakura didn’t even really ding him for it, which is pretty impressive because that is definitely ripe for both mocking and yelling.

When Naruto asks what a keirakukei is, Sakura says “Here we go again. The insightful questions of an idiot!” Really, Sakura? Come on. I’ve been praising you all this time and then you go and call Naruto an idiot for not knowing what is essentially chakra physiology?

Also, Sakura punched Naruto in the back of the head for seemingly making a jab at Rock Lee’s haircut, yelling that he should be respectful since Lee outranks them…But Sakura has been really disrespectful of Lee a couple of times at this point.

I always get chills when I watch Hinata’s match with Neji. Yes, you could apply some of the same criticisms I throw Sakura’s way when it comes to Hinata, that her focus is heavily on a guy she likes when she does stuff, but her focus is less on how cool Naruto is or how attractive she finds him and it’s more about how he inspires her to be better. She admires him for being the underdog who always gives up, never backs down and is always trying to prove himself and be better.

She wants to be like him more than she wants him. She does express a desire for Naruto to watch her and acknowledge her here, but it’s more to show him that she’s improving too. She’s bettering herself, putting her life on the line and never giving up because she wants to be better and he inspired her to do that. Even Kurenai points out how much Hinata has improved over her time as a Genin, and she’s had very little contact with Naruto since graduation.

Sakura, however, is different. Her focus is on impressing Sasuke through her looks, charms and whatever skills she can muster in her ninja training (such as climbing the tree) She also feels a desire to prove herself as a ninja, to not be useless in her ninja team, and she has made strides in improving herself, but when it comes to Sasuke’s influence, he doesn’t inspire her. He doesn’t prompt her to be better – at best, she just gets sick of him and Naruto getting hurt trying to protect her. On the occasions that she is prompted to make changes for the better because of him, she moreso copies him seemingly because she thinks it will make Sasuke happy. And her rivalry with Ino is heavily based on fighting over Sasuke and who will ‘get him’ in the end.

But it’s superfluous to both of them because neither really care to know him and fall in love with him as a person, like Hinata has with Naruto. They love him because he’s dark, brooding and hot. Even today, I’d be hard-pressed to say Sakura really knows Sasuke deep down and loves him for who he is as a person, especially considering all of the crap he does later on, but I’ll refrain from making a firm statement until I’m further along in this analysis.

Chapters 81-100 (The end of the Chunin exam prelims and the entirety of training for the finals)

Sakura is cheering on Rock Lee and is clearly showing a lot of concern for him through his match. She also has a very grave look on her face as she tries to go to Lee after the match is over and Kakashi stops her, because he knows seeing her will cause him more pain at this point.

Though, goddamn, can we take the time to appreciate the Rock Lee vs. Gaara match again? This has been one of my absolute favorite matches in all of shounen for quite some time, and the manga was just as good. It’s telling how two of my favorite matches in Naruto are ones where the character I’m rooting for loses.

Gaara’s insanely powerful and scary, yet even he’s amazed and nearly defeated by Rock Lee. It’s full of tender, sweet moments with Lee’s backstory and it’s got some of the best action you can find in shounen fighting manga/anime. It’s just awesome.

Even though Sakura really doesn’t have much to do in the following chapters considering she lost her bout and thus doesn’t have to train for the finals, Ebisu does elaborate more on Sakura’s good use of chakra production and specifies why she has a slight edge over Naruto and Sasuke in that regard.

No matter what jutsu Sakura is using, she is able to precisely convert her stamina reserves into the proper level of chakra. If she needs 30% of her stamina to create the proper level of chakra, that is exactly how much she will use. Her skills with hand signs also allow her to control her chakra properly, making for a clean and efficient jutsu to be created.

Sasuke’s chakra production isn’t quite as good. For the sake of a 30% chakra move, he’ll use 40% of his stamina, causing him to waste 10%. However, his skill with hand signs is just as good as Sakura’s so he still makes a clean jutsu, he just needlessly wastes a little energy.

Naruto, however, is the worst of the lot because he’ll convert 50% of his stamina for the same 30% move and his skills with hand signs are sloppy, which makes his control over his chakra poor, creating bad jutsus sometimes.

However, even though I will definitely give Sakura this, it’s never really much of an issue. Sasuke never seems like he’s noticeably using too much chakra, and Naruto has such immense stamina due to the nine-tailed fox that his wasted chakra is also not very noticeable. Even though his knowledge and skills with hand signs needs work, he doesn’t seem to be bound by the crap jutsus he used to make, so even that note doesn’t seem to be too relevant. (Not to mention that Jiraiya notes that Naruto’s chakra control and production problems were further expounded by the five-pronged seal he had put on him, but he released it so his control is much better now.)

Sakura is the most efficient ninja of Team 7, there’s no doubt about that, but it doesn’t count for much if both of her teammates have massive chakra reserves and seem to be insanely fast learners. Sakura was desperately in need of powerful and useful skills that focused on these strengths early on, but they waited a depressingly long time to give her any.

Also, given this situation, you’d think Sakura never would have tied with Ino. I mean, if chakra efficiency Sakura’s forte and she went the longest match with Ino, and she didn’t even use many jutsu, it only makes sense. If Ino’s far from the top of the class, I’d imagine she has chakra production and control issues too, but maybe not considering she later also becomes a medical-nin.

Other than that, we have Sakura and Ino trying to get some flowers to Sasuke, who is still hospitalized, but become saddened when they find that he’s not there. Sakura does show great sympathy for Lee, who is also hospitalized, but continues to try to train despite doctors claiming he’s so badly injured he’ll never be able to be a ninja again. She even picks out a flower for him and gives it to him secretly, which was really nice. (Note: She didn’t get him a flower after she saw him try to train. She got him one while she was shopping for one for Sasuke.)

The last bit with her before we reach the end of this part is her asking Ino why boys always push themselves too far. Ino says she doesn’t know either because she’s a girl. I feel that’s an unnecessarily sexist statement that makes no sense for Sakura to ask let alone not know the answer to.

—————————————

Overall, I feel I have a little more respect for Sakura as a character, at least right now. The moments that I saw initially as being ridiculously stupid or annoying don’t seem to bother me as much upon experiencing them through a more balanced lens. At this point, I’m more annoyed at her being wasted so many times and her moments to shine being poorly executed than anything else.

Sakura does obsess over Sasuke, she does treat Naruto badly numerous times and she is pretty useless and unimpressive at this point. I get frustrated at there being so many moments when she realizes that she’s so far behind Naruto and Sasuke and can’t do much on her own, but she doesn’t respond to this by training, coming up with a plan of jutsu or areas she can specialize in, or trying to perfect the use of some tool or weapon or something – she just mopes and gets encouragement from others which spurs her to get off her ass. At least she does manage to get off her ass, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.

Here’s looking forward to chapters 101-200!


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SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 20: Hidden Message

SSBS - CFV Ep 20

Plot: It’s the second match of the finals! While Kai steps up for his match, Aichi stews in anxiety as the weight of the tournament piles on his shoulders. He knows Kai will win, leaving the deciding match to him. Self-confidence slowly fades away from Aichi, but Kai sends him a hidden message with this battle. Will Aichi get what Kai is telling him?

Breakdown: This episode is 80% pointless. Even the characters know that Kai will, no question, win his next match, and we, as an audience, know he won’t lose to Mr. Kaboom. And if he did lose to that kabooming ignoramus, I think I’d drop the series along with my faith in humanity.

The only real point of this match is to bring Aichi’s waning self-confidence back up since he now realizes that he’ll be the deciding factor in whether or not they win the tournament.

What’s that, you say? What of Misaki?

Well, dear reader, she’s….refusing to battle. Yes, even though she was the main player in the team and Aichi was just an alternate, and even though she arrived so late the tournament was nearly over by the time she arrived, she vehemently refuses to play the final match when Aichi asks her.

I assume this is for the sake of building him up as a Vanguard fighter, but I’m really failing to see what the point even was of making her the main teammate in the first place. She has been completely without a role here. Also, isn’t she a bit too green herself to be doling out these life lessons like this?

How we even reached the ‘message’ is kinda strange and I’m not sure it makes enough sense. Kai taught Aichi to nut up and battle through………winning a Vanguard battle like Aichi knew he would. Aichi’s realization was that he wants to be as awesome as Kai, and to do that he can’t run from challenges.

So was this just Kai strutting his tail feathers around Aichi? Before his match even started, he said he doesn’t fight against players who run from matches. Considering Aichi’s deep almost obsessive admiration of Kai and his desire to battle him someday, I imagine that’s literally all he had to say to get him to do it.

What I don’t understand is how that gave Aichi confidence. Even when Kai’s match is over, he still says to himself that his skills are nothing compared to Kai’s.

In similar situations, the example being given to the character without confidence is usually by another underdog, or at least someone who’s not the obvious winner. They come back against all odds to win either through sheer determination, skill or hard work. Sometimes, the example in question doesn’t even win. It’s their behavior and attitude in battle that inspires the other character.

Here, we go into the match knowing Kai will win, even Aichi says that straight out, which is why he gets nervous in the first place. Then Kai wins and that somehow turns Aichi’s attitude around.

The one question mark was why Kai was choosing not to guard certain attacks when he easily could’ve, but obviously that was just part of his endgame strategy because again, duh, he’s not going to lose.

I might be a bit harsher on this episode than necessary because I felt a bit cheated. We’ve skipped over several matches that would’ve been interesting to watch in their entirety yet they dedicate an entire episode to Kai vs. Billy Mays and his KABOOM. Coming fresh off the heels of Kamui vs. Nagisa, which was both annoying and redundant in their play styles, and this final is turning into a disappointment.

I’m a bit conflicted on whether I want Aichi to win or lose. Kamui changed the terms of his marriage agreement with Nagisa to needing to win the finals as a whole for it to stick, so that’s on the line, but she’ll probably be a recurring character anyway.

I’d like Aichi to win, but on the other hand, if they do win this tournament this will probably lead to the Nationals, and not too long ago I praised this series for not going too far with their tournaments too quickly. I get that the stakes need to keep going higher for the sake of audience interest, but I always feel like shooting too high too fast causes the realism factor to diminish.

And just to get this out of the way, Morikawa was also putting his annoyingness on high today. That combined with KABOOM made me go into this episode feeling irritated enough.

All in all, I’m not really upset with this episode, I didn’t even find it bad, I was just disappointed. I didn’t expect much from this match to begin with, even Goki would’ve been thoroughly spanked by Kai, but I feel like it was a big waste of time.

Aichi’s moment of picking himself back up should’ve been handled a lot better. Maybe have Kai go first, then Kamui, then have a brief break where Aichi is freaking out about going into the finals with the victory resting on his shoulders then have Kai talk with him or even have a side-match with him or something. This just wasn’t the way to go, in my opinion.

Rating: 5/10

Next episode….

..Previous Episode


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SSBS – Beyblade Episode 3: Take it to the Max!

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen7

Plot: Tyson and Kenny meet the new kid, Max, who happens to be an ace Beyblader with a dad who owns a hobby shop with its own Beystadium. As Tyson tries to learn and train, they learn that there’s an exciting new Beyblading tournament coming up and they all want to enter.

Bey-Battles

Max (Draciel Metal Ball Defenser) vs. Tyson (Dragoon S)

Victor – Max

Breakdown: Tyson is training with his new Beyblade when it’s suddenly taken by a puppy named Sparky. After Sparky returns to his owner, a little girl, Tyson and Kenny meet the new kid in town, Max Tate. However, their introduction is interrupted when they hear the girl yelling out in panic as Sparky is whisked away by the river.

I have a few questions about this whole rescue. Where did that conveniently sized log even come from? How little attention was this girl giving Sparky to let him climb on a log and float away? Why is this river that quickly flows into an incredibly steep man-made waterfall not blocked off to the public? Tyson and the others hang out there all the time. Not only is the river not restricted, but kids can easily climb on top of the waterfall platforms with no gates, fences or even guardrails.

Tyson and Kenny try to save Sparky, but the current quickly gets too strong for them to even attempt going in. Just then, Tyson gets the idea to smack the log with his Beyblade so it will turn sideways and block off the top of the waterfall. I get that we have to incorporate Beyblades into basically every facet of every plot point, but if I saw a couple of kids trying to save my dog with Beyblades I think I’d smack them. I know they can’t do much else, but still.

Tyson’s shot was unable to turn the log and the blade lands on top of the waterfall. Max steps up and releases his Beyblade to help, but Tyson chastises him for doing the same thing he did when it failed. I don’t know why he’s upset. He already launched it, there’s no point in getting angry over it. Max doesn’t even do the same shot – he launches his Beyblade to Dragoon’s location and smacks it to the proper angle, successfully shifting the log’s position and stopping Sparky.

With Sparky safely back with his owner, Tyson applauds Max for his Beyblading skills and they become quick friends. However, he’s slightly concerned over his Beyblade for being sunk in the water after that last shot. Max suggests taking it to his father’s hobby shop to get it looked at.

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen1

After getting a clean bill of health on his Beyblade from Mr. Tate, he asks if Max wants to have a friendly Beybattle with him so he can teach him that shot that saved the puppy and he agrees. Max brings them down to the basement where he reveals that his father’s shop actually has it’s own Beystadium and even a few pieces of training equipment like a smaller Beystadium and a…..ramp with spikes—what?

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen3

Kenny has concerns, however, so he pulls Tyson aside to talk to him. He says he probably shouldn’t let Max train him because his shot seemed suspiciously good. Max is obviously a very skilled Beyblader, but finds it a bit too much of a coincidence to suddenly meet this skilled Beyblader with his own Beystadium right at the perfect time to save that dog…..Uhh…The dog was in trouble after Max started to introduce himself to them, so unless Kenny’s insinuating that Max was the cause of that accident, Kenny is a bit paranoid. Tyson just believes he’s being jealous and moves on with the match.

Kenny notices that Max uses an Easy Grip launcher, which improves accuracy without sacrificing spin, and the match begins. Dragoon is making some nice hits, but Max’s blade stays firmly in place. Max praises Tyson’s rotation, but Tyson points out that sitting there won’t help him win. Kenny, on the other hand, has news for Tyson. Max’s blade, the Draciel Metal Ball Defenser, is a special defense-focused blade. Despite it seeming like Tyson is way ahead, he’s actually doing no damage. Tyson’s not giving up so easily and changes up his strategy to pushing Draciel out of the wok instead, which he nearly succeeds in doing before Dragoon runs out of energy and falls.

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen2

Max is the winner, leaving Tyson upset that he doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Max tries to teach him that patience is the key to improving – one match won’t improve much of anything. Uhh, I thought the first scene implied that Tyson’s actually been doing quite a bit of training. Kenny agrees, which makes this even more confusing because he’s been the one training Tyson all this time.

I would understand if it was the shot that Tyson missed because that was a new issue that was brought up, but despite talking about teaching Tyson the shot, there was no mention of it during the match and it wasn’t implied to be the problem afterward. He just got overconfident in the power of Dragoon and overestimated its lasting power.

Max suggests training with him for a while, promising to teach him all sorts of secrets and techniques for accuracy and power. Tyson agrees, but before they can start another Beybattle, a man walks in and greets Mr. Tate. He introduces him as Stanley A. Dickenson, the chairman of the BBA, the Beyblade Battle Association. Kenny gushes over Mr. Dickenson, proclaiming him to the most important man in the sport of Beyblading. He promotes and trains up and coming Beybladers to make them some of the most skilled players in the game.

Mr. Dickenson is a family friend of the Tates, and he has come both to check out Mr. Tate’s new store and to let him be the first to learn of the new Beyblade Battle Tournament that the BBA is hosting. They all get excited over it, but Tyson quickly gets worried, stating that a tournament this major is sure to bring out Kai. Mr. Dickenson says Kai’s actually already entered……Wait, he specifically said he wanted them to be the first to know of this tournament yet not only does Kai know, he’s already signed up?

Mr. Dickenson praises Kai as a Beyblader and reveals that he’s actually the returning champion. Despite the worries, they all get amped up for the challenge and go back to training.

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen4

We cut to Kai who is also doing some training of his own. He’s trying to increase Dranzer’s lasting power. When he hears that Dranzer’s been spinning for over ten minutes, he implements a new phase of training, which is taking on three of his lackeys at once with the same still spinning blade. They start the match, but it’s over within a few seconds as all of their Beyblades are quickly knocked out of the arena. Even after the battle is over, Dranzer is still spinning strong. We get some slight insight into Kai who thinks to himself ‘That’s why I’m the champion….whether I like it or not.’

Back with Tyson and Kenny, who have returned to the dojo after from some intense training with Max, Kenny apologizes for what he said about Max and admits he was jealous. Tyson and him make up before analyzing Dragoon for some tweaks.

The truce lasts about a minute before Tyson gets all pissy about having to do actual planning, thinking and analysis to become a tournament class Beyblader. He says he’s gotten to where he is today without all of that boring stuff, but Kenny argues that it’s necessary in order to control the power of Dragoon. Tyson then gets personal and says Kenny’s only good at building Beyblades but sucks at actually using one, and he’s also so inept at controlling his own bit beast that he trapped her in a computer. Tyson realizes he’s gone too far too late and Kenny leaves.

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen5

I don’t even know why Tyson got so pissed there. I can understand him having a tantrum over having to do technical work but going that far when he knows full well that Kenny has been invaluable to his victories since he met him? And that he’s been a great asset in his overall training? Kenny’s been so valuable that he’s been kidnapped for his knowledge.

Kenny and Max has a bit of a heart to heart by the river and Max asks Kenny to get Tyson and meet him later.

Back with Tyson, he’s training in kendo with his grandpa, who, coincidentally, is basically mirroring his match with Max. Grandpa is taking a defensive stance, and Tyson’s continuous swings are useless against it. He says he has to be good at analyzing his moves and predicting them in order to succeed in battle, which Tyson connects to what Kenny was trying to tell him earlier.

Grandpa suddenly starts moving so quickly back and forth that he’s basically learned anime!Double Team from Pokemon. Tyson realizes that the way to combat this is by studying where Grandpa was and is in order to predict where he’ll be next. Then, with proper timing, he’ll be able to strike the real one.

Tyson’s attack actually fails, which I like because it emphasizes the other lesson about needing to practice new moves instead of learning them immediately.

Later, Tyson has some quiet reflection in the dojo, thinking that Kai’s strength is in balance while Max’s is in defense. If he can figure out strategies to combat both, he’ll be the new champ—uh, dude. No. That will help immensely, but you do realize that there will be many, many, many other very skilled Beybladers at this tournament, right? In order to truly be effective, you’ll need to learn how to quickly adapt, study your opponent’s moves for strengths and weaknesses and use both of those aspects to your advantage.

Kenny arrives at the dojo and spies through the window for a second to see Tyson start training. He puts some spin on his wrist as he launches Dragoon, and his Beyblade speeds off like a blur, leaving burn marks in the floor and shooting it through the wooden wall of the dojo, embedding it in another stone wall. Tyson rejoices that he’s finally mastered controlling Dragoon’s power. Uh….so you worry about your Beyblade when it’s submerged for a few minutes, but not when it’s crashed through a wooden wall and embedded itself in a rock wall?

SSBS - Beyblade ep 3 Screen6

As Kenny updates his stats and devises new strategies for Tyson, Tyson apologizes for what he said and the two make up, ready to take on the tournament together.

————————————-

I liked this episode, but mostly due to Max. Ray used to be my favorite character, but Max has gained a larger appreciation to me over the years. He has such a great attitude, awesome strategy, and I love his Beyblade. Plus, his backstory always seemed a bit more interesting to me than Ray’s. Truth be told, I think I used to be biased with Ray because I had a bit of a crush on him.

Tyson ruins this episode slightly to me because he has a little more ego than usual and he’s being a complete ass to Kenny for no reason other than ‘waaah, thinking!’

Some plot threads don’t mesh together like the log shot that Max just never taught Tyson, what connection the Double Team-ish move had to do with any of Tyson’s past matches, unless that was purely meant to give Tyson a niche (speed?) and I don’t see how him watching his grandpa do that automagically allowed him to control Dragoon.

Next episode, the qualifier for the tournament begins.

…..Previous Episode


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SSBS – Bakugan: Battle Brawlers Episode 3 – A Feud Between Friends

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen7

Plot: Dan and Drago have yet to meet eye to eye, but Drago extends an olive branch as he sees Dan as his one chance to save his home. Things go great for a while, but when Dan is challenged by a boy named Rikimaru, who has been given a Doom card and a Bakugan by Masquerade, tensions between then come to a boil. Is this partnership not meant to be?

Breakdown: Alright, Bakugan. We keep getting off on the wrong foot. I want us to have a healthy relationship. So let’s see if we can mend some bridges today.

The episode starts near the end of a Bakugan brawl between some unnamed boy and Ricky (His original name’s Rikimaru, but some kids call him Ricky, and then he introduces himself to Dan as Rikimaru, but it sounds like Ricky Maru, like the Maru part is his last name and—screw it. I’m calling him Ricky.), an angry egotistic dickwad. I’m already sorry I’ve given this show more chances.

Ricky’s sick of getting seemingly low amounts of…some points for beating low level brawlers and yells out for a real challenge. Masquerade mysteriously shows up, hands him a Bakugan ball and tells him it has all the power he’ll ever need….Uhh, he wasn’t asking for more power. He was demanding a challenge. Giving him an extremely powerful Bakugan is the opposite of giving him a challenge. You essentially made every future challenge that much easier.

Cut to Dan who is doing some exercises while making a sad attempt at an army march song that include lyrics that proclaim he’s the best Bakugan brawler. I really am loving Dan. He’s such a likable character. I can only hope he gets even more full of himself as time goes on.

At least I can give it to Drago for trying to drill some sense into Dan’s stupid skull.

Drago: “Hey! Put me down!”

Dan: “Not until you promise to stop dissing me!” Urghghghghghghg.

Later, Dan has an online conversation with the girls while scrubbing Drago.

Drago: “Mmmm right there.”

I want to turn this episode off now.

Also, I thought Drago hated being scrubbed. He blew his cover in the last episode to demand that Dan stop scrubbing him.

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen2

Julie: “You’re so lucky, Dan. I’ve searched the web, and you’re the only one I’ve heard of with a talking Bakugan.” What? That directly contradicts the end of the first episode where tons of people were hearing their Bakugan talk. Why are we having such terrible continuity three episodes in?

They blather on for a bit, then we get Marucho chiming in to give a play by play justification for calling the Bakugan brawl between Dan and Masquerade from the last episode a draw.

The next morning…

Dan: “Morning! I’m starving!” *Ridiculously quick off-screen eating* *BELCH* “Thanks Mom!”

I hate you more with every passing second.

Realizing that he needs to use Dan to save his world, Drago tries to connect with him.

Dan: “You called me by my name.”

Dragon: “You don’t mind, do you? I can call you something else if you’d like.”

Dan: “Nah, Dan’s good. They call me worse things at school.”

We interrupt this program for a sudden change in Dan’s character. From all we’ve been shown so far, Dan’s an extremely popular kid both at school and online. Where is this ‘they call me worse things at school’ stuff coming from?

Drago and Dan agree to work together as a team, getting along almost creepily well, and you’ll never guess who shows back up…..Shuji a-freakin’-gain.

Thank God the brawl is mercifully brief this time, amounting to nothing but a final attack, but why does this moron keep popping up?

Dan: “Yeah, everything’s been aces since Drago started seeing things my way. Although, I don’t know what made him change. Something I said maybe?”

Julie: *while swooning* “Well, you do have a way with words.”

I hate you all more with every passing second. Also, yup, unpopular mocked schmuck he is.

Runo suddenly announces that she got herself a talking Bakugan off-screen without even an explanation in dialogue as to where she came from. How dandy. It’s a Haos Tigrera and I already stopped caring.

The next day, Dan bumps into Ricky who is not only revealed to have gotten a Bakugan ball from Masquerade, but also a…Doom card….Pbbbthahhhahahahahaaaaa….The Doom Dimension is funny enough without calling the card the Doom card. I won’t be able to watch anyone play it without imaging Gir singing the Doom Song now.

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen3

The game starts, they set a bunch of gate cards and Ricky sends out his first Bakugan – Robotallion.

Drago expresses concern since Ricky is using Water attribute cards, which I guess are strong against Fire attribute, but I thought last episode they had Wind be stronger eeehhhhhhhh….

Also, Drago’s ball can float now.

Dan doesn’t pay attention to Drago’s concerns because he’s too full of himself. Dan sends out another gate card, and I don’t get why gate cards seem to be sent out willy nilly now. Then he summons the male Garudamon from the first episode.

Ricky sends out another gate card, making a grand total of five out now, and summons another Bakugan, a big blue turtle. Enter Blastoise joke here.

Drago continues to express concern to Dan over Ricky’s odd moves (Putting two Bakugan out is odd now?) but Dan still doesn’t care.

He sends out yet another gate card and summons a….griffin….lizard thing, which Drago immediately advises against. (Also, Dan says it’s weird that Ricky’s summoning all of his Bakugan at once, yet here he is doing the same.)

Figuring he now has him right where he wants him, Ricky summons Aqua Siege.

Dan activates his watch to tell us, literally, word for word, that Aqua Siege is strong.

Ricky activates an unnamed ability card that creates a tidal wave, which sends all of the Bakugan on the field to the…..pbbbbt Doom Dimension….Guys, seriously, make a better name for this place or I won’t survive this series.

Also, what a horribly OP card. In the anime, the way you win is by destroying three of your opponent’s Bakugan. If that counts as defeated, you could one-hit win in just a few turns, as long as you refrain from putting all of your Bakugan out.

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen4

Drago starts berating the hell out of Dan for acting so rash and says he should’ve focused on defeating the first Bakugan at the start of the match. Now nearly all of his Bakugan are gone.

I get what he’s saying and yet I don’t. If Dan was acting impulsively, wouldn’t that translate into blindly attacking? Dan was summoning Bakugan, Drago yelled that he shouldn’t have summoned the lion thing, for no given reason, they get defeated and he was acting rash….because? If gate cards are seen as pseudo-trap cards, wouldn’t summoning and biding your time while also amassing gate cards be seen as being patient and smart? Can someone who really understands the game help me out here?

Wait, a second – even Dan points out that Drago was telling him to bide his time and be cautious. Drago, you’re making me side with Dan and that’s making me very angry.

Dan’s not worried because he has his trump card, or trump Bakugan, in Drago. He explicitly tells Drago to do the move he did from before that broke the board and automatically ended the brawl in a tie………Soooooo….Dan’s telling Drago to cheat. Pbt.

Drago: “It’s too dangerous!”

Dan: “Ahh, just do it! Win! That’s all that matters right now!”

I’ve decided to side with Ricky. Go Ricky!

What is even Dan’s logic here? He knows full well that the ‘special move’ he’s speaking of made the match result in a tie last time. If winning’s all that matters, you’d be automatically screwing yourself over again.

If Drago’s able to resist Dan’s battle commands, as seen in the last episode, can’t he resist being summoned?

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen5

Dan summons Drago and powers him up with a Boosted Drago card that powers him up to 440. Against the 350 Aqua Siege, he appears to have the advantage. Drago doesn’t like Dan’s strategy, so he breaks free of Dan’s ability card, resulting in a 100 point loss.

Drago attacks anyway, even though Aqua Siege now has a 10 point lead on him. Drago starts getting his ass kicked, and Ricky tells Aqua Siege to hurry it up or else the gate card will activate – What? Now we have timed gate cards? I was just getting to the point where I was able to keep up without referencing the Wiki, now you’re throwing in new rules?

A gate card activates, much to the surprise of Dan, lowering Aqua Siege’s attack power by 10 and adding 10 to Drago’s, giving him the upper hand. Drago beats Aqua Siege and starts to lose control of his power again when the match ends.

Mercifully, Ricky explains what the hell just happened. He set a trap gate card which switches the attack powers of two attacking Bakugan. Drago activated it somehow. The power levels switched and Drago was able to win.

Now, follow me here because this is just weird. Drago….knew what gate card was hidden, decided to purposely break free from the ability card so he could activate the trap, switch their attack levels and win. Either that, or Ricky silently activated the trap, it took forever to finally activate, Drago realized what was happening, broke free from the ability card to reverse trap Ricky and win.

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen6

What a bunch of convoluted bullshit that, again, just amounts to Drago cheating. Whether it’s breaking free of the ability card, activating an opponent’s gate card or somehow knowing what an opponent’s gate card is without seeing or hearing it, Drago cheated.

Ricky’s all broken up about it, especially since Masquerade said he could keep Aqua Siege if he won. I don’t get what was so special about Aqua Siege in the first place, but whatever.

Dan’s all happy about his win, but Drago’s furious.

Drago: “You think that battle was close? Do you have any idea how dangerous the Pyrous Maneuver is!?” Oh there’s a name for the move that is slathered in a thick coating of cheating?

Drago continues to lecture Dan, stating that it’s not right to celebrate when several of his kind just got sent to the Doom Dimension. He says Dan will never take this seriously and that he can trust him no longer.

Dan argues that he is trustworthy and that he thought they were a team. He goes on to berate Drago for his own recklessness in his final maneuver and gets angry that Drago appears to be choosing to ditch him. He gets so angry that he decides to give him what he wants and throws him into the nearby river…..which is horrible.

Not only does he not give Drago a change to respond and possibly apologize, but he’s a mostly inanimate marble. In a river. Either he’ll spend an eternity in an underwater purgatory or he’ll slowly deteriorate and break. Way to be an ass, Dan. You could’ve just sold him or given him to someone else. Do you have any idea how much money you might get for a talking Bakugan?

——————————

This episode was slightly better in explaining some moves, but they are still throwing in confusing crap that makes no sense to non-Bakugan playing audience members while changing up the gameplay mechanics again.

Ricky has some potential to be interesting, but when you get down to it, he’s just another boring ‘pleh, no one challenges me’ character.

The brawl is almost ridiculous in how little sense it makes. I still don’t understand why Ricky sacrificed two of his Bakugan in that wave. Why not try another method of luring Dan into summoning two Bakugan and then use the wave? Why needlessly sacrifice two of your own and just pray Aqua Siege is good enough? Do I even need to point out the fact that, even so, Ricky should’ve won this match?

And why were there so many gate cards sent out if only one was going to be activated?

It’s here where the poor writing is really starting to shine through. This whole story is filled with laziness, cheating and ‘the plot said so.’ Not to mention, the pacing at the start is messed up. That montage of Dan and Drago getting along was almost humorous in how quick it was. Runo mentioning that she also has a talking Bakugan was also just thrown in there with no regards as to whether or not it fit in that scene or in this episode. Just ‘we needed to get this information out and we have an extra 25 seconds, so let’s just shove it in here.’

I can’t believe Drago was being such a senseless jerk in this episode to the point where I was defending Dan. Even if only for a moment, that was idiotic. Add that to the fact that Dan later suggests they basically cheat, and I find myself liking approximately zero characters in this show so far.

I honestly didn’t expect this show to try my patience so much.

Next episode, Dan is struggling in his brawls without Drago (he was a fantastic brawler before he got Drago, now he flounders without him?) But, don’t worry. The next episode preview spoils that he’ll get him back by the end. Yay.

.Previous Episode


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SSBS – Zoids Chaotic Century Episode 3: Memory

SSBS - Zoids Chaotic Century Episode 3

Plot: Fiona and Van get lost in a sandstorm but are saved by a mysterious drifter with a Command Wolf named Irvine. After sharing a meal and telling Irvine about their situation, they sleep through the night and find Irvine has left.

They reunite with the Shield Liger and Zeke and go on with their exploration. They find some ancient ruins of a fortress from a long-since over war being guarded by a wounded pilotless Gordos Zoid. Irvine arrives, blowing the place to smithereens in an attempt to acquire Zeke.

Gordos is revealed to be the Zoid of a soldier who used to reside within the fortress yet was left behind when they decided to vacate due to its damaged leg. It vehemently defends the fortress yet again, getting damaged even further by Irvine and his Command Wolf.

Van stops to help do some rough repairs on Gordos before Irvine strikes again. Fiona and Zeke get separated from Van, and he becomes trapped under some rubble, but Gordos arrives to help him.

Back in his Shield Liger, Van faces off against Irvine and nearly loses, but Gordos comes to his rescue, bearing the brunt of another barrage. Irvine, now outnumbered, decides to leave. Likewise, Gordos turns to go back to its post. Despite Van’s pleas for Gordos to not return to the fortress and driving home the fact that the soldiers he had befriended back in the days of the war were either now dead or at least longer since gone and never returning, Gordos decides to stay behind and wait for them for as long as it’s functioning.

Breakdown: Irvine was one of my favorite characters, though considering Zoids is one of those shows I followed closely in my younger days but remember barely anything about it now, I guess I’m not surprised to find that Irvine’s first episode is one where he’s an asshole. He had his kind moments, but the majority was assholery.

We’re getting a tiny bit more backstory on the Zoids world today and even a tiny tidbit of insight into Fiona when she finds a pillar with gibberish lettering on it that mesmerizes her. She finds that she can read it, but is only able to decipher ‘Zoid Eve’ before passing out.

The story of Gordos was quite sad, and somehow I’m more bummed out that Gordos actually survived this episode than I feel I would be if he ‘died.’ The thing is, in the end, Van says, with triumphant music playing and sporting a smile, that Gordos will wait for his pilot/these soldiers for another hundred years if he has to, which is a massively weird tone to be putting on this situation.

Why is it a happy or a triumphant thing for this poor damaged Zoid, who was left behind by these soldiers for, quite frankly, dumb reasons (his leg was damaged, yeah, but he was more than functional enough to leave the area if he has been able to protect this area for over 50 years and survive two battles with a Command Wolf.) to decide to live in denial for the rest of its possibly immortal existence waiting for people who could neither be bothered to find a way to bring him with them, come back for him later or died in the war/of old age or something and will never come back? That is insanely sad.

Sure, he’s a Zoid, and I’m sure there’s a forum thread or two dedicated to the idea of Zoids’ souls and if they pass on to some garage in the sky, but I think it would’ve been better and, yes, less sad, if they had him take the blast from Irvine and then ‘die.’ It would finally give Gordos peace and, depending on whatever religion exists in Zoidland, possibly be reunited with his fellow soldiers.

Instead, this poor innocent Zoid is left to his own purgatory until he finally does get taken out by another threat. I would say until he runs out of power, but he’s been in those ruins for over 50 years and still has ample amounts of power to spare.

As a final note, the battles in this episode were more poorly animated than they have been. They mostly amounted to running at each other and having a brief push fight. I laughed out loud during one ‘action’ shot during Gordos’ battle with Irvine the first time around.

They didn’t even animate OR DRAW damage to the ruins as Irvine was blowing shit up every which way. I was starting to think these blasts were really just harmless and it didn’t click for the characters, but one blast blows a wall up and a bunch of debris lands on Van (and he’s somehow entirely unharmed after….) Zoids has never been pretty or nicely animated, let’s just be honest there, but I think we can chalk this one up to being a budget episode.

Final-final note – Fiona, you exited a tunnel, assumed you were safe without noticing the GIANT ROBOT WOLF about ten feet to your right. (Zeke didn’t even notice it when he had the proper POV!) and then when Irvine’s about to attack, acting like you’re trapped, you don’t think to just….run back into the tunnel and go back to where you started? Come on.

Rating: 7/10


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