2012
11.30

Before I begin, I have to apologize for my break last week. I wasn’t swamped with family, but rather schoolwork and a social life to take care of.

Also, I ordered this shirt as a Christmas gift. There are shirts and other pieces of merchandise for not only Ed, Edd n’ Eddy and the other three shows I tackle, but a few other Cartoon Network classics as well. If anything ehre tickles your fancy, add in the code CHEER15 at retail, and you will get a bonus 15% off until December 11th.

It’s all official, too! Anyway, I promise to make this week an engaging one, so let’s see what I have to tackle.

Dexter’s Laboratory:

Jurassic Pooch

This one starts of with Dexter finding a dinosaur fossil (or a turd- I can’t understand his scientific mumbo jumbo), in hopes of bringing a prehistoric creature back to life by doing so. Unfortunately, Dexter doesn’t have the ability to do such and sits and mope.

Until Dexter sees the family dog, that is. And yeah, sometimes they have a dog, sometimes they don’t. I’d call it a continuity era, if this was a show where continuity mattered. Or maybe it isn’t the family dog, but he does have a leash and was in the lab.

Anyway, Dexter combines the fossil and the dog to turn it into a T-Rex. One that acts like a puppy! And like an overgrown puppy probably would, the dinosaur wrecks Dexter’s lab, forcing him to cage the creature. Dee Dee eventually comes in and sees the T-Rex, confuses it for an actual puppy, and releases it. But of course!

And now it’s up for Dexter to capture the Jurassic pooch before it causes a bigger wreck outside, while Dee Dee just wants to play with the puppy. Dexter takes force to capture the dinosaur, and in typical Dexter tradition, fails, and the family gains a new pet Tyrannosaurs Rex.

“Jurassic Pooch” is okay, but not great. The show has done crazier concepts (or will), but this is one that seems to rely on the insanity factor of Dexter and Dee Dee fighting over a T-Rex, and is otherwise light on humor. Even the last line feels forced. I do feel that this would be a better episode for younger children, but watching it as an adult now, this left me lukewarm.

Orgon Grindor

This week’s short guest star’s Stromboli from Pinocchio!

Er… no, but would you be surprised if that was the villain’s inspiration?

There’s something even weirder with this short though, since it starts off with Agent Honeydew getting dressed and ready… for a date with Monkey. Ick. But hey, we’ve written about weirder things on this blog, so who’s to judge?

Anyway, this week’s villain is an old-school monkey vendor (too lazy to look up their name), and he plays his music box to bring Monkey over to him. The Grindor (this isn’t a typo- this is how the character and episode are spelt) has Monkey go out to bring him the most valuable thing in the world.

Being a primate, Monkey has no need more money, gold or all that nice stuff and brings over a picture of him and Honeydew instead.

But Grindor just was some gold, and asks for something yellow and shiny. Monkey’s response? Bananas. Lots of them. At least he didn’t piss on the guy’s hospitality.

And now Grindor is pissed, and has Monkey go to Fort Knox. Only Honeydew can stop him! But it’s a cartoon, so of course she doesn’t have to. Love conquers all, y’no?

Jim Cummings’ performance as Orgon Grindor saves the short a little, but like the previous short, it’s light on humor and the relationship between Monkey and Honeydew is just creepy. Thankfully, I think we’re coming near the end of Monkey’s run as a leading character.

Dimwit Dexter

For someone that tinkers away in secret like Dexter, the boy works a LOT. So much so that the little workers in his mind take note and leave his mental power plant just as Dexter shuts down.

Don’t worry, Dexter’s still alive and all. He’s just… dumb. Really dumb. Dangerously dumb. There’s just no middle ground with the boy. He either has to be the smartest boy alive, or the dumbest.

After a minute or so of Dexter dicking around like a moron, Dee Dee takes note. and decides to help Dexter out. Now he is Ginger (and I know what joke’s going to come next, so you might as well reply with it when you read this).

You know, I don’t think I would have expected to see Dexter run around in his underwear and with his hair and make-up set like a little girl, but this episode has it. It also has a bunch of neighborhood kids we’ll never see after this episode laugh at Dexter’s clowning around. And in typical television fashion, just after Dexter does his most embarrassing act of stupidity, his mental state returns to normal.

Well, if you want a change of pace from Dexter’s Laboratory, this short is it. It’s pretty juvenile overall, but I do think that it’s the most fun of the three shorts this episode, which was overall a disappointment.

But hey, you gotta laugh when Dexter put a goldfish in his tighty whities. That’s my highlight this week.

Johnny Bravo:

I Used to Be Funny

Oh, this one. I remember this being a good one, but it’s been a while.

Johnny’s just minding his own business in an alleyway, except a clown’s standing by his side, doing clowny stuff. The guy’s pretty old-fashioned in his humor, a striking contrast to a fellow, more contemporary clown who shows up and attempts to take his side of the street. Now the two jokesters attempt to prove what is funnier- the old or new school.

Unfortunately, poor Johnny is the culprit of this test of comedy. The old clown uses classic acts against Johnny, like a “kick me” sign and a good-old fashioned pie to the face. Meanwhile, the 90’s business-oriented clown is a little more creative, using an “I hate rhinos” sign and a pie shooter against the guy. All Johnny wants is to have his date in peace.

The end result? Well, neither of them actually wins, or loses for that matter. That’s up for you to decide, in the question of the week. What’s funnier, old and time-tested or new and experimental?

One thing I noticed while watching this episode- Johnny Bravo uses the smear effect a lot. This week is no exception. Chuck Jones probably wants his royalties.

Otherwise, it’s a cute short, but not necessarily a great one. The clowns aren’t great characters, and Johnny doesn’t get much to do this time at all. As a statement of old vs. new comedy, it works okay, but doesn’t really have any answers at all, which makes me wonder if that’s the intention at all. But hey, JB’s already a step-up from this week’s Dexter.

My Fair Dork

There isn’t much creepier than a little girl trying to hook up with a man at least 3 times her age. Actually, there is. The other way around is much creepier.

Anyway, Lil Suzy needs a date for her school’s dance this week, and since no boy interests her, she asks Johnny to be her chaperone instead. Johnny turns her down, saying she needs to go with a guy her age and size instead. A little dweeb hears this and goes to Suzy, only to get promptly dumped. Johnny, who can obviously relate, takes refuge into the boy, and picks him up as his lil protégé.

Johnny and Lil Johnny (I think he has a name, but I’m too lazy to remember, so he is now Lil Johnny) go around Aaron City to learn the art of picking up chicks, and of course, Lil Johnny does poorly at first, but in comedic results, ends up not only doing well, but surpassing the master. So much so that he ends up stranding Johnny.

Another cute episode, even though you can call the ending coming a mile away.  Ah well, at least it has a solid amount of great gags.

In other news, never, ever, turn your back on a lion.

‘Twas the Night

Merry early Christmas! This short served as the show’s unofficial Christmas entry until an actual Christmas special was made a few years into its run, but I think they air it out of order from this episode every now and then.

This episode features a narration by Adam West (who, spoiler alert, you will hear from again this season) based off of “A Visit From St. Nicholas”, and plays throughout the episode, including when Johnny hears someone creeping up the roof, only to deck Santa himself.

Now Johnny’s gonna take over Christmas this year, and flies all over the world to drop everyone’s one gift off. Man, it’s a good thing that Santa isn’t real. Only one gift for Christmas? Lame. Thank God for parents.

This is another episode dependent on side gags, and most of them work, thanks to West’s narration. We even get a return of Jungle Boy and some of his crew, Cronos the bear, and even Scooby-Dooby-Doo! That alone makes the episode worth it, right?

There’s a bit of a twist ending, but it all turns out fine. The story has a nice ending, and leads up to a possible sequel, which we kind of will get eventually.

And “’Twas the Night” makes for three out of three. A great week all around, especially compared to Dexter’s Lab’s mediocre episode. I may not put any of these episodes near the show’s top, but I got a lot of laughs from each, probably the third most of all.

Wish on the bald man from the second short for this episode’s highlight!

The Powerpuff Girls:

Boogie Frights

Before you ask, no, this has nothing to do with P.T. Anderson’s classic. But wouldn’t that be something for a kid’s show? Eh, it wouldn’t make sense. If Professor U was hung like Dirk Diggler, he wouldn’t need to genetically create his own girls.

The episode starts off with the girls getting ready for bed, and like any little kid, Buttercup doesn’t want to go to dreamland. Instead, she wants to go out and taste the nightlife. Blossom and Bubbles are more content with going to sleep, however, like any good little girls.

Until Buttercup scares the girls with visions of the Boogie Man, that is. You know him yourself, so I’ll skip the description, but it should go without saying that timid little Bubbles shrieks at his mention. Her scream wakes up the Professor to check up on his girls, and give a nice little moral on how bravery means facing your fears or shit like that. You know how it goes, but at the same time, the Professor is a really good dad, so why fight it?

It’s a cartoon, so that means that not only will the Boogie Man show up and have a plan to appear in the story, but he does almost immediately after this scene. The Boogie creature, who obviously takes his inspiration from the disco era, plans to put an end to the light by putting a disco ball in place of the sun and make it night time 24/7, so he and his Boogie minions can get down at all hours. Aww yeah.

The monsters behind the boogie succeed and go all around Townsville to wreck havoc so no one gets in their way. Their havoc eventually wakes up the girls, as they come out to see what’s wrong. Even Buttercup gets scared by one of Boogie’s minions, which means that it’s time for them to save the day.

The rest of the episode steals from A New Hope, and has the girls attempt to take off the Death Star giant disco ball. And I’m guessing you’ve seen Star Wars, so you know how this ends.

It’s a cute short, if not an especially funny one. You gotta dig the boogie regardless.

Abracadaver

Ho boy, this one. I remember this story being something.

So the girls join the Mayor and Miss Bellum at the old location of a Townsville theater that the Mayor used to go to as a kid. This obviously makes the Mayor nostalgic, especially after seeing a poster for a magician he saw here as a child, the great Al Lusion. A performance that turned out to be his last.

We even get to see this performance via flashback. Huh, didn’t know that even as a kid, the Mayor had his monocle. During this show, Al Lusion calls a little girl up to the stage and takes her teddy bear as a part of the show, making it disappear. The distraught little girl pulls off his pants, to reveal that Lusion has actually hid all of his tricks inside of his pants. Which means he’s not only a fraud, but a creep, too. Somehow, this doesn’t matter anymore, as the magician trips into a bed of nails, as it closes on him, ending his life.

This haunting scene leads to a moment of silence, quickly interrupted by the smashing of the theater. Ba-bam. One artifact from this relic remains, however- the thorned tomb of Al Lusion.

Eventually Lusion rises from the grave as a newfound zombie, with the titular name Abracadaver. The zombie roams across Townsville and scares the citizens, with his horrifying image and magical abilities, while the girls are coincidentally watching a zombie movie on the boob tube.

A zombified magician up against the girls? This can’t be an easy fight, can it? Surprisingly, it isn’t. Especially since Blossom bears a striking resemblance to the girl that was responsible for Al Lusion’s life.

Abracadaver uses this to his advantage, and, well, why spoil the rest? The girls make it through eventually, but you’ll have to see to find out.

This isn’t a very funny episode, but has great atmosphere, and works as a scary story for an otherwise safe show. This would be an everyday thing for Courage, but the fact that Powerpuff never really went out of its way to scare like in this episode.

In fact, while I know “Abracadever” scares a good amount of people, I believe “Boogie Frights” wasn’t a walk in the park for fans either. We just had a Christmas story for Johnny Bravo, while Powerpuff Girls gets solid Halloween tales. Go figure.

Buttercup will grab Bubbles’ goat if I didn’t pick this scene from the first short as the highlight.

Ed, Edd n’ Eddy:

Read All About Ed

It seems that the first few episodes of the show start off with establishing sequences to show off just how different the Eds are. This time, we see how they wake up each morning.

Eddy’s z’s are rudely interrupted by Rolf’s lawn-mowing service which we’ll never see or hear from again.

Ed doesn’t wake up until later, and makes due with a lack of sheets by cuddling up with the opposite side of his bed. Yeah.

And Double D wakes up precisely at the sound of his alarm and makes sure that every inch of his room is set up perfectly.

This all comes into fruition as Eddy sees Double D wake up bright and early to start up his paper route job, and decides to join in to score some serious cashage by upping his workload. As Edd makes a nickel a day for his route around the Cul-De-Sac (what a shit pay), Eddy decides to order more papers to give him more routes to make more moolah so they can get more jawbreakers.

Except in typical Eddy fashion, when their papers drop by the next day, he’s sleeping in. Double D and Ed take it upon themselves to deliver the papers without their tiny buddy. But hey, Eddy eventually does wake up and smell the coffee, and it’s up to the three to work on their load.

The rest of the episode consists of the Ed’s delivering their papers. Well, of Ed and Double D delivering the papers. Eddy just sits there and reads for the most part, except for a brief moment where Eddy shows just how girly his throw is. Poor Double D even gets attacked by a dog, and Ed loses his pants during the day.

Eventually the Ed’s create a paper-throwing device to help their load go by faster, and it works, until Ed pulls a “little” goof, and it’s all downhill from there. The Ed’s end up having to pick up the papers in the pouring rain, and leads us off with our title, and the end of the short.

I remember this episode being shown fairly regularly back in the day, and it is indeed a good one. Light on plot and supporting characters, but I think the differences and balances of the Ed’s make up for that, and this turns out to be a fun one.

Quick Shot Ed

It’s spring cleaning time for Eddy, even though it’s still summer. He and the boys go into his attic to arrange stuff, when all of the sudden they find an old camera and decide to dick around, and even use it to troll Kevin for a change.

Eddy’s new idea? Why not take pictures of the kids of the Cul-De-Sac and make a calendar out of them. Which sounds nice in theory, but how are they going to get the kids to stay and have their pictures taken?

We follow the Ed boys on their wild safari to take pictures of each of the kids, and the end result turns out to be a mix between Animal Planet and Candid Camera. Plus, everyone goes mad. And did you know that Rolf is a weiner?

All goes well until the Kankers get their way, and five the boys hell. Now the Ed’s will never see the light of day again.

Another short light on plot, but makes up for it with more character appearances than the previous one, and just as many good gags. I think it’s even the stronger of the two shorts this week, which altogether makes for a good episode of the show.

The scene where Eddy wakes up and sees all the papers the boys have to deliver in the first short is this week’s highlight. What a great gag.

Overall:

Dexter left me cold this week, but the other three shows made up for it, even if Powerpuff was heavier on spooks than laughs. I might just go with “’Twas the Night” as the best this week, if only for all the little callbacks to previous Johnny Bravo episodes. Now let’s see what these shows can really do!

2012
11.29


For reference, I’m currently caught up with the series and am only behind in terms of making entries on them. Really digging the series so far, though I do have something of a minor gripe. The episode starts off with a chase scene between Rikka and her sister, and we see what I can only assume to be Rikka’s after school free-dress which… works oddly well. Usually I think of the Lolita style to be one of those things that just doesn’t translate well into real world situations, but she actually pulls it off. Then again, she’s an anime character. Then again again, she’s an anime character with rather prominent thighs, which for reason I equate to being more realistic in comparison to most anime character designs. Just saying that I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some kind of blog out there that keeps track of Rikka’s outfits since, and I’m saying this in the most non-creepy way possible, she looks pretty good in them.


What better way to better flesh out a new character than with a dream sequence? The first episode already proved that the team behind the series knows how to get inside the mind of a high schooler that takes her delusions to a whole new level; it’s good to know that they can get into the head of a typical high school boy with just as much ease. Sure, Yuuta’s dream was incredibly typical and if it were done in live action I’d feel like it was as shallow as a goldfish blow on the surface of the sun, but there’s just a certain amount of charm in Chu2 where I’m willing to look past those things and see it more as a spoof than anything else.


And to have it followed up by Rikka waking him up was just more icing on the cake. I said it last entry, but I really like the Clarissa and Sam type of relationship the two have going right now. Rikka comes and goes into Yuuta’s room as she pleases, but if Yuuta honestly had a problem with it, he could just lock the door (or call the police even) but he doesn’t. It’s one of those instances where actions (or I guess a lack of action) speaks louder than words.


Add to that that Yuuta was actually able to notice Rikka’s forehead bandage and even asks about it. Even better is how the whole bandage imagery works its way to the end of the episode and acts as a sort of initiation of sorts into Rikka’s odd, odd home life.

I will say, as socially awkward as Rikka can get, they sure go out of their way to make her as redeemably adorable as they can at times. I mean, she just meowed in unison with a cat… that’s wearing wings!

And on the subject of these wings, I’ve seen similar ones on Koromaru in Persona 3. I take it it’s a Japanese thing? If so, they sure beat the wing accessories us American pet owners have.


Really like this shot. In a way, both Rikka and Yuuta’s sister tugging at Yuuta’s sleeve could suggest how childlike Rikka still is. On the other hand, a the blatant and unfiltered opinion of a child could just be what Yuuta needs to get over his 8th grade syndrome shame.


I just realized that Yuuta’s desk isn’t a window seat which, according to the laws of anime, means you’re nothing but an extra in someone else’s show. Kinda interesting to consider keeping in mind that that’s essentially what Yuuta wants out of his high school life.


Did I mention how I love how this anime really gets the inner mechanisms of a high school boy? I wouldn’t say the conversation with Shinka was painfully boring, but it did seem to purposely stay in this sort of drab zone due to Yuuta’s fear of being too weird. And then Rikka pops in and ruins everything. It’s just so perfectly executed!


I will say, while I enjoyed this whole gag of Rikka purposely misinterpreting Yuuta’s “take it off” comment, I did find it a bit out of character… at least out of character in terms of what I would expect of her two episodes into the series. When she’s not absorbed in her delusions, Rikka is usually 1) being cute, B) wearing her heart on her sleeve for the sake of well deserved feels, or $) a combination of both. So to have her not only take a shot at Yuuta, but do so in a rather risqué manner was a bit baffling. Funny, but baffling.


I feel like Kumin-senpai represents every normal person ever and Yuuta is just too absorbed in his own problems to realize this. Upon seeing him fangasm over Rikka’s gun (yes, bad wording of the situation is bad) she didn’t really have a look of disgust at all. Rather, she seemed more in awe of him for not only being able to be himself around others (at least for that short moment in time) but to also be able to find a niche for himself that he can so readily identify himself under.



It’s funny to think that the fight scenes, as over the top as they are, aren’t the best parts of the series. Then again, that could be the old fogey in me speaking and no longer being fazed by popcorney action, as intentional as it may be. I found it more enjoyable just how willing Touka is to fight her younger sister, since she figures she won’t respond to anything else.


… then Yuuta walks into her life and she realizes this is the weirdo that spouted nonsense the floor above her and figured she’d blackmail him into neutralizing Rikka’s 8th grade syndrome. Though even two episodes in, I think we can all tell that even without the blackmail, Rikka has become a part of Yuuta’s life whether he wants to be or not.

2012
11.17


Halfway through the new season of anime, I guess it’s about time I started another episodic review. For reference, the other new shows I’m following are PSYCHO-PASS and Robotics;Notes. And with PSYCHO-PASS being too srsbzness, and Robotics;Notes being relatively vanilla so far, Chu2 seemed the most bloggable.


Flickering text on a screen coupled with blurry images of people? Just what kind of animation studio would take such artistic liberties with its introductory scene? Ah, Kyoto Animation. Keeping in mind the intro scene to the Haruhi anime and movie, I shouldn’t be surprised. But wait! The similarities don’t stop there!


Enter main lead Yuuta, who, against his better judgment ends up being the center of attention to Rikka, an oddball that is convinced that her entire world is full of the bizarre and paranormal. Though the rope-climbing scene reminded me more of Clarissa Explains It All than Haruhi. Would this suggest that Rikka will eventually move on to becoming a teenage witch and viewers will assume the new series is a spinoff to her first one?


Enter the Taniguchi character! He doesn’t come off as girl-crazed as Taniguchi does (even considering what he does later in the series) but I’m pretty sure making the supporting cast come off as normal in comparison to Rikka is the point. Though the more I think about it, the more Isshiki reminds me of a fusion between Taniguchi and Kunikida. He’s a one-man “those two guys” trope!


Is the divorce rate in anime disgustingly high? I’ll accept the anime-typical younger sister that’s more responsible than her mom, and even the Yotsuba-ey duo that’s the mom and adorable youngest sister, but for the dad to be nowhere at all is just too trite for me. And sidenote: I really should re-pick up Yotsuba! Anything with a story-telling style that’s been compared to Calvin and Hobbes is an automatic blind buy for me. Now that I think of it, I haven’t bought any manga on a regular basis for some time now. Hm…


Catching a glimpse of Yuuta’s middle-school days as the Dark Flame Master was embarrassingly good. Within the span of a few minutes you’re able to sympathize with what he’s been through. Even if your own personal plight wasn’t as blatant, I think it can be safe to say that everyone’s had that phase of being embarrassed of something you did/were into way back when.


In terms of returning series this season I’m keeping up with, the only show on that list would be Space Brothers. What it lacks in animation quality it makes up for in story. Still, whenever I catch a KyoAni show, it really makes me wish all animation was this disgustingly detailed. I mean just look at this classroom! All other characters besides Yuuta and Rikka didn’t have to move, but each and every one of them had a slight animation to themselves that’s just really… wow.


Another thing I love about this series…


…the slapstick. Even if you’re not a fan of it, Chu2 takes the route of extending the gag and following it up with even more slapstick that you’re just forced to laugh. The top-notch animation is just icing on the cake.


Really loved how following Yuuta’s over-the-top-anime-reaction, the background objects remained knocked over. For some reason, I find the care in keeping some kind of consistency during the scene even more comedic.


Yep, the box-carrying scene was classic Haruhi/Kyon material. Yuuta has absolutely no reason to help out Rikka, and from his mindset I bet he’d think himself better off if he were able to avoid her altogether, but deep down in his Grinchly heart of hearts, he knows he’s doing the right thing. And oddly enough, even though she knows Yutta’s an ex-eighth-grade-syndrome-er himself, she seems to act the most normal whenever they’re alone together. It’s like the ex-addict helping out the current addict with their daily troubles even though they’d rather have nothing to do with that lifestyle ever again. Actually, a reality show about eighth-grade-syndrome people sounds like something that would actually exist, even if having it televised could be potentially scarring for all parties involved.

2012
11.16

This series is the highlight of my weak. My only problem is finding the time to do it.

Dexter’s Laboratory:

Double Trouble

And here is the first appearance of Dee Dee’s best friends, Mee Mee and Lee Lee, who are pretty much like Dee Dee, except black and Asian, respectively. I’m sure that you are familiar with these characters.

Well, the episode starts out innocently enough, with the girls playing in Dee Dee’s room. Except when has Dee Dee ever been innocent? The girls crash into Dexter’s lab and raise hell, as per usual. I don’t know about you, but a lot of the time, I can’t stand Dee Dee, and most of those times occur when she raids the lab and causes pain to Dexter with nothing returned in the favor. This is closing into one of those times.

At least Dexter hardly ever lets that happen. As evident by the title, he clones himself, so he has a copy of himself to attempt to catch each girl.

The Dexter’s end up chasing the girls… right into the cloning machine again, causing a boatload of clones of everyone. Dexter now has to influence his clones to fight to capture each and every clone of the girls, even taking inspiration from General Patton in his speech. (ooh, shot time! I didn’t mention this drinking game? Well then, every time you see a pop culture reference in one of these shows, take a drink)

Of course, the Dexter’s don’t catch the girls, but the short does end on a high, funny note., if extremely odd. It’s a cute short, and Dee Dee wasn’t as malicious as I was expecting her to be. The episode is young, though.

Barbequor

If you watch the show on TV or the DVD now, you’d probably catch “Dexter’s Lab: A Story” during this half hour. A fine short, but one that didn’t originally air until season 2.

What did originally air was “Barbequor”, a Dial M for Monkey short featuring a parody of the Galactus storyline during the original Lee-Kirby Fantastic Four run. It comes complete with a Silver Surfer caricature, too!

A homosexual stereotype of one, at that. One that was apparently so controversial that CN only aired the short for a few runs before replacing t with the aforementioned season 2 short. The strange thing is, even though recent repeats and the DVD do not contain the original short, it has surfaced on iTunes, so it is easy to watch in good quality.

Is it worth the ban? This is the first time I’ve ever seen “Barbequor”, at least in memory, so I’ll be the judge of that. Also, have one drink now, because the whole short is basically going to be a Marvel reference.

Anyway, the short starts off with Monkey flying to Agent Honeydew after receiving her distress call, only to find out that she, the people of her agency, and the Justice Friends are throwing a birthday barbecue party for Monkey! A lot of the super heroes from “Rasslor” show up, along with a couple of new ones, which include a tiki man similar to the Human Torch and an unknown woman who looks strikingly similar to Scarlet Witch.

Just when the heroes are all going to sit down and enjoy some hot dogs, a Silver Surfer-like character comes and takes all of their ketchup and mustard packets and flies away. Monkey would fly off to stop him, but the Commander insists that Monkey stays here and enjoys his birthday, while the rest of the agency takes care of this.

A few ships follow the Surfer, until he tells them to stop, for the Barbecuor. And just like Tartakovsky’s influence, Barbecuor wants to eat up the Earth, only this time cooked up. The agents fail, as well the Justice Friends when they all try to face the barbecue-obsessed giant, so now it’s up to Monkey to obviously save the day.

Is this flamboyant parody of the Silver Surfer offensive? Eh, not really. There have been more blatant stereotypes of homosexual personalities in animation. I mean, this came from the same studio behind Snagglepuss, after all.

But then, is “Barbecuor” a good short? It ain’t bad. It might be just like in “Rasslor”, when my love of Marvel comics just outshines my ambivalence for Dial M for Monkey, but there’s some sharp gags here, even if the plot really goes nowhere. I’m glad that I finally got to see this shot, even though there’s no reason that it should have been banned.

Changes

Well, here’s the pilot short for Dexter’s Laboratory. It’s funny, I attempted to do a First Impressions Are Key article for a lot of the Cartoon Network pilots, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get much out of this one, so I gave up very soon.

I’m not even sure why, maybe it’s because the short is so atypical of Dexter’s Lab, but that shouldn’t be a problem. I could just as easily say that Dee Dee fucks shit up, until Dexter retaliates, and end it here.

I’m pretty crunched for time now too, so I might just do this.

Episode 4 of Dexter’s Laboratory is good. if nothing spectacular overall. I enjoy each short about equally, and right now, there just isn’t much more to say.

Did Krunk get drunk in the second short? Because it’s up to Honeydew, and later Monkey, to take him home in this episode’s highlight.

Johnny Bravo:

Date with an Antelope

Don’t you just hate when you talk to a nice girl online and think you have something going on, and when you get to meet her in person, she ends up being an antelope?

So does Johnny, as you can see in this episode.

Johnny discovers the joys, and curses, of online dating during its infancy, as he hooks up with a nice-sounding babe, and becomes severely disappointed when she comes over in all fours. And not like THAT. At least Carol seems nice, though.

But yeah, the episode becomes a bit of a one-joke cartoon from here, the joke being that it’s SO WACKYYYY that Johnny is dating an antelope. Also, Johnny gets hurt. But that’s just par for the course of an average Johnny Bravo episode.

Things take a turn for the (even more) bizarre when it turns out that Johnny’s lobster dinner turns out to be Carol’s boyfriend, whom Carol the antelope is cheating on to teach a lesson. Anddddd it gets even stranger from there.

“Date with an Antelope” is another Seth MacFarlane contribution, and like last week’s MacFarlane script, it shows merit. In hindsight, I think this short is more bizarre than actually funny, which isn’t always a good thing, but it’s worth watching regardless.

Did You See a Bull Run by Here?

In this short, Johnny heads over to Pamplona in hopes of getting some fine Spanish coño, but instead, meets up with a bull. And Ferdinand he ain’t. This bull has got an attitude.

As well as a fan or two. Now, Johnny hopes to gain the attention of a hot mamacita in a bull fight.

It’s funny how we have two cartoons in a row with Johnny conversing and dealing with talking animals, but here you go. Strangely, despite how much of an influence the works of Termite Terrace were on the staff for these series, there are no nods to “Bully for Bugs”, which also means no shot yet.

As the short goes… I really don’t know how to describe it. This practically ends around the same time it started, with another weird ending. But at least you can make up for the lack of drinks lately by taking either one or four shots at the end.

This one is just odd, and while the previous one was strange in a good way, I can’t even say that about this one. “Did You See a Bull Run by Here?” is too forgettable and oddly paced to really say anything about. It’s not even Lynchian in it’s oddness. This is too dull to be Lynchian.

Cookie Crisis

Now we’re talking.

This is a short done entirely in rhyme, a tribute to Green Eggs and Ham. Turning Lil Suzy into Sam I Am, as she attempts to sell Johnny her girl school cookies. Johnny, who is obsessed with his muscular figure, refuses to indulge into such sweets, and constantly ditches Suzy’s efforts.

That’s pretty much it, but at least it works. While not every line is a scream, the whole episode is just too pleasant and clever to not love. I don’t really have more to say, so watch and enjoy your day. Until it’s time for Powerpuff, a show you can never have enough.

…of. Sorry, I had to. But hey, take another shot, since Dr. Seuss is definitely a part of popular culture.

But yeah, episode 4 of Johnny Bravo isn’t too strong. The third short saves it, but I’m not huge on the first two. Nor to say that they’re awful, but their concepts get old too quickly for their own good.

Check the blog title for this episode’s highlight.

The Powerpuff Girls:

Buttercrush

Another early week of Powerpuff Girls, another villain indtroduction. This time we become introduced to the Ganggreen Gang, a group of five low-lifes whose skin all happen to be literally gangrene. Don’t worry, they’re more along the lines of the Amoeba Boys than Mojo Jojo when it comes to evil- punks that wreck hell, but aren’t particularly strong or intelligent.

The girls still won’t stand for their actions, though, and take the gang on at every turn.

In a strange turn of events, it seems like tough little Buttercup falls for Ace, the Ganggreen Gang’s smooth-talking leader. She even helps the gang out after a while, when Ace’s charm helps to win Buttercup over.

Now the group’s strongest girl has her first boyfriend, even flying over to the gang’s junkyard lair and spending her bedtime with them. It’s a little romantic, but mostly sad, to see Buttercup and the Ganggreen Gang play around and team up with each other over the night.

No. Definitely sad, because this has been Ace’s scheme all along. With Buttercup on the gang’s side, they can trap Blossom and Bubbles, and eventually take over Townsville.

Of course they don’t succeed, and of course the girls turn out just fine. And of course Ace gets a particularly rough beating, just like he deserves. This is a cute, if overly predictable, short. I think one thing that makes it a little above average has to be the fact that Buttercup doesn’t ay one single line of dialogue in the episode, but is able to convey her emotions by her actions and expressions perfectly fine. Not bad for the fourth episode.

Fuzzy Logic

And here is the show’s debut of Fuzzy Lumpkins, but not his actual first appearance in the history of The Powerpuff Girls. “Meet Fuzzy Lumpkins” was the very first Powerpuff short made for What-A-Cartoon, but like its follow-up short, has never aired on the show. Fuzzy probably told Cartoon Network to get offa his property before they could have asked him to air it.

Fuzzy is so obsessed with his “properta”, that he even shoots butterflies that try to get in his way! But hey, all he really wants is some peace and quiet, and a chance to play his banjo.

But Fuzzy’s anger gets the best of him, as he chases a squirrel arriving in his property all the way to Townsville. Alll the way to the front of an 18-wheeler. When Fuzzy wakes up, he sees a nice old lady attempting to give him back his fallen hat.

Fuzzy’s response? He decks the woman. And then another person. And another. Soon enough, Fuzzy takes on a bunch of Townsville citizens who get in his way, along with a buttload of property.

The girls are called into action to find out who did all of this damage, which causes Bubbles to show off her great secret power- she can speak squirrel! She converses with the furry little critter, who tells her just who was responsible.

The girls and the squirrel (which is apparently a flying squirrel) head over to Fuzzy’s actual property. Even this is enough to set off Lumpkins, who attacks each of the girls, until Buttercup grabs a hold of his banjo. Now the odds are in her favor, but Buttercup isn’t THAT bad of a person, right?

Well, Fuzzy learns his lesson at the end. For now, at least.

Not a bad week. Neither episodes are classics, but they’re both fun entries, and prepare us for more, greater episodes starring their respective baddies.

Highlight of the week? Hearing grotesque Ganggreen Gang member Grubber attempt to caricature Buttercup’s voice in the first segment.

Ed, Edd n’ Eddy:

Dawn of the Eds

It’s just another week for the Ed boys. This time, Double D and Eddy have Ed hung from a rope as they prepare to wrap him up in ceramic wrap and have him fish for loot.

Any luck? A few unrecycled bottles. Score.

This would be a perfect incentive for the boys to get some jawbreakers, and they nearly do, until something else captures Ed’s eye- a poster for Robot Rebel Ranch, a Roger Corman-esq sci-fi flick. Except this one is for Adult’s Only, which makes sense, since the title makes it sound like a porno more than anything. That, or my mind is just THAT dirty. Want another drink? Take a shot here. Ed, Edd n’ Eddy was never one for direct pop culture references.

The Eds ride on their way to the theaters, in an attempt to fool the theater (or skip in). We just assume that the boys cashed in their bottles and go along with the ride, as Ed describes how he envisions the movie. Ed’s, who’s peddling, description sounds so exciting that the boys don’t notice that he peddles away from the route to the movies, and leads them into the junkyard instead.

Except Ed is so stuck on his science fiction kick that he seems to think that the boys are stuck in his expressive futuristic world, and they must escape it or fall peril to the rebel robots.

We also get to see the Ed’s dude-mobile for the first time, an old van with flamed painting on its side that contains a nice enough habitat for the Eds to chill in when they need a place of their own. What I’m saying is, this won’t be the last time we see of this van.

Not too far away, the Kanker Sisters have Kevin tied up to a loose car wheel, and spin him around in pleasing their sick desires. The girls ask Kevin for what color his underwear is almost like a creepy tumblr anon, with less success. Especially when the Eds scare the girls away for once.

While Ed looks for robots, Double D works on a rocket ship for the Eds to ride on, but only a prototype. Sorry, Eddy. I bring this up because the ship, as well as the “armor” the Eds are in, were featured in a sick-looking statuette available from DC Direct that I would kill to have.

The robots arrive, and the Eds fight them off. When they “succeed”, Eddy and Double D head home, leaving /Ed to ponder the humanity of his crimes, and ends a classic short. This is just a blast to watch, and proves that there’s more to the series than just the Eds scamming the kids of the Cul-De-Sac. It’s just a lot of fun.

Vert-Ed-Go

This one starts off with the Eds fishing for a quarter in the sewer, using the ol’ gum and string trick. They succeed… until a bird comes and takes the quarter away.

In hopes of finding the bird, Double D looks through a binocular and finds a flying ad instead, for some guy named Joe’s clubhouse. This leads Eddy to think that if Joe can have a clubhouse, why can’t he?

The boys look for the ideal place to find a clubhouse, and after a couple of classic missteps, they choose a random tree to start it up on. The whole of the episode consists of comic scenarios with the Eds attempting to succeed, with misdirected results. There’s some strong gags, but not much of a story to report on.

Things make a turn for the structured when the Eds complete their clubhouse and not only does it turn out to be pretty okay, but it raises the interests of the kids of the Cul-De-Sac. That is, until the Knakers take over it and totally girlify it. Take it as revenge for the previous short, boys.

But that doesn’t stop Eddy from trying to win back Club Ed numerous times. The Eds don’t win back their clubhouse, but hey, at least they do have their van from the previous episode to inhabit, right? Again, light on plot, but hey, at least it’s funny, right?

Here’s a fun episode of the show with two solid shorts. It isn’t among the best the series can offer, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of it. “Dawn of the Eds” is my preferred choice of episode, though.

Nothing like seeing Jimmy getting smacked with a can on the head in the first short, all for this week’s highlight.

Overall:

So the drinking game was a total bust. This week. Trust me, you’ll get some more buzz from later weeks if I remember to bring it back.

This week’s selection was okay, but not too great. I’d probably give my vote to “Cookie Crisis” or “Dawn of the Eds” for short of the week, not sure which. Although a randomizer tells me to go with the latter, so yay, Ed boys!

2012
11.09

Another week, another set of Cartoon Cartoons to look over. And yes, I will probably still be this lazy with every introduction for now on.

So let’s just get started.

Dexter’s Laboratory:

Dexter’s Rival

At last, the first day of school is compl… er, here.

And poster boy genius Dexter is ready to shine in his class, until the class’s new student (it’s the first day, who cares if he’s a new student?) Astronomenoff, or Mandark for short. This guy is so smart, he can even read Dexter’s thoughts, and crams him hard on the first day.

To add insult to injury, Dexter shows Mandark his world-famous (or soon to be) lab, which doesn’t impress the new kid in town, with his own massive laboratory. Shamed beyond belief, Dexter shuts down his lab.

This could lead to a sad ending for our boy genius, but there’s a sick little twist- Mandark falls in love with Dee Dee, which gives Dexter an idea, and his victory.

Mandark is one of the most popular parts of Dexter’s Laboratory, but he doesn’t really appear that often, at least not during the show’s original run. I don’t think he even appears in the rest of the first season (I’m afraid to spoil myself by checking). While the later episodes would overrun the character well beyond his welcome, Mandark was a likable addition at first. His introduction here is cute, if predictable and not on par with the best uses of the character. Later stories will build on his and Dexter’s rivalry, with greater results.

Simion

Speaking of introductions, with this week’s Monkey shorts comes our proper meeting of Agent Honeydew and her S.H.I.E.L.D.-esq agency of heroes.  I’d write a little about Honeydew, her boss, Commander General, and their cohorts, but they don’t really have much character at all. Neither does Monkey, for that matter.

We only get to see them briefly in the beginning anyway, as this week’s titular villain requires instant attention from Monkey.

Simion is a fellow primate, a chimpanzee to be exact. Simion was hired to become a space chimp for NASA, but after being exposed to similar cosmic radiations that the Fantastic Four met, became a super-strong chimp, similar to Monkey.

Simion’s goal is to get Monkey to team up with him, and take over the humans, almost like Planet of the Apes in reverse. However, Monkey is too obsessed with the somewhat bestial relationship with Honeydew to think about anything, and comes up with a quick solution to make Simion a happy monkey.

Maurice LaMarche packs a punch playing the title bad guy, but this is about on par with the lesser Monkey shorts that do nothing for me. They just aren’t that funny.

Mmm, triple fudge chocolate cake.

Old Man Dexter

This is one of the first Dexter shorts made, commissioned as a test after the show was bought as a series to se if it could work as a show. We’ll see the original two shorts later this season, but we’re not talking about them now.

It’s time for the family’s Saturday night tradition- sitting together and catching the Late-Early Movie. Well, all of the family but wee Dexter, who gets rejected for being the youngest of the clan.

Tired of being denied a part of this family tradition, Dexter decides to use his science to his advantage and ages himself up. The funny thing is that while Dexter planned to age himself up to be a young adult, Dee Dee comes in and messes with Dexter’s machine and turns him into an old man instead.

Thankfully the rest of the family confuses Dexter for the family’s grandfather, as he commutes with the fam. Needless to say, being old is not what it’s cracked up to be, and Dexter misses his youth. Not even the movie can make up for the pain of being stuck in an old man’s body with a young boy’s brain.

“Old Man Dexter” is a cute short, which certainly proves that there’s lie to the concept of Dexter’s Laboratory. It’s also the best of the three shorts in this episode, which is overall decent, if nothing spectacular.

Dee Dee’s scream at the end of the third short makes for this week’s highlight.

Johnny Bravo:

The Sensitive Male

Last week we saw an episode directed by Butch Hartman. This week Seth MacFarlane takes his hand at writing an episode. The funny thing is, even if you don’t like MacFarlane’s stuff, you might enjoy this episode anyway. It’s nothing like Family Guy.

Johnny tries his hand at hooking up with a hot mama, in typical JB fashion, and in typical JB fashion, his attempt at getting some falls in his face. A short, pudgy guy gets the girl’s number with only a couple of smooth lines, which just amazes Johnny. So much so, that he starts taking tips.

This episode consists of original songs by this smooth talker, which sounds like a throwback to Schoolhouse Rock! The DVD even comes with MacFarlane’s temp tracks, as he was required to write all of the songs in the episode. They make for a keen listen, if you can still find the DVD. They’re all pretty good, too.

Johnny follows this guy around, in hopes for some way to get a girl, but fails along the way. It’s a bit of a one-joke episode, but it makes for a great joke regardless.

Damn, this guy really gives a D. Oh baby. Also, never leave the house without pants.

Bravo Dooby-Doo

We only get two shorts this week, since both stories are a little longer than usual. It’s totally worth it, though.

So, this one. Johnny is on his way to his Aunt Jebedissa’s house, but his car breaks along the way. What’s a poor babe magnet to do?

Thankfully, a van passes by this otherwise deserted road. Not just any van though. The Mystery Machine stops by to catch up on Johnny, and after learning that his aunt lives in a spooky house, they agree to give him a ride. So yeah, Scooby and the gang are joining Johnny Bravo to his aunt’s house.

Matters only get worse when Johnny and the mystery gang step into the house, and not only is it empty, but a spooky voice can be heard. In hopes of finding a closet full of snacks, Shaggy and Scooby open a broom closet, only to find a ghostly farmer.

In typical Scooby-Doo fashion, the six team up into groups of three to find clues about this supposedly Ghostly Farmer. Along with Shaggy, Johnny eventually does find the ghost, and a classic chase scene occurs with the whole gang.

Do I even need to say that the Ghostly Farmer isn’t actually a ghost, and that the gang find Aunt Jebedissa? If I do, you haven’t seen an episode of Scooby-Doo before, which I just find hard to believe.

Oh wow. Three episodes in, and we already hit the promised land. The best episode of Johnny Bravo. This isn’t hyperbole, and I know that nothing will top it. “Bravo Dooby-Doo” is as close to perfect as you can get. Taken as either a celebration, modernization, or destruction of Cartoon Network studio’s original Hanna-Barbera influences, this works perfectly, and contains far too many great scenes to possibly name. Nearly every gag works, no matter how you spin it, right down to the classic ending. I’m afraid to say more.

The whole episode is great, with both shorts living up to be classics. Just watch it. You’ll be thankful. Oh, and a fun fact- “Bravo Dooby-Doo” is the first piece of Scooby-Doo material to have Casey Kasem reprise the role of Shaggy, after taking a few years off when asked to play the character for a Burger King ad earlier in the decade. Kasem, a loyal vegetarian, refused to have the character be anything but a herbivore as far back as on the original Where Are You?, and he stood by this with his time off from the character.

Guys in drag rarely make for great gags, but there’s a hilarious scene in the first segment with Johnny in a dress that makes for an easy highlight.

The Powerpuff Girls:

Octi Evil

Another early episode, another introduction. Here we meet the androgynous baddy, known only as Him. Him seems to get off at watching the girls playing jump rope with a giant snake (ho-ho), although it does seem more like the devilish creature is looking for a weakness from the girls to exploit.

He succeeds after seeing Blossom and Buttercup fight, like your average sisters would, only they fight about which one of them should lead. Poor little Bubbles ends up crying as a result, which gives Him his new idea.

Later that night, another fight between her two sisters makes Bubbles cry alone in their room. Shortly after, Bubbles’ Squiddly Diddly-like plush, Octi, talks to her in an attempt to calm her. Octi suggests to Bubbles that Buttercup should be leading the girls in action, which gives Bubbles the initiative to help Buttercup succeed.

Disastrous results occur, obviously, but surprisingly on both sides. Blossom’s straight leadership skills are too modest for the girls to succeed, while Buttercup is just too brash to be a leader. And Bubbles, as sweet as she is, just doesn’t have the strength to take on such a task herself (not yet, at least).

All of this just causes the two to fight even more, which gives Him the incentive to use Octi for his own gain against them, by having the plushie grow to giant size to attack Townsville. And thanks to teamwork, the girls get to save the day!

This is a pretty good short. Him is one of the show’s strongest villains. His ominous powers and questionable demeanor helps to give the character a bit of an edge over other villains, and crack into the girls’ psyche. This story introduces Him into the show in a strong way, and gives off potential for more great stories with the devlish crawfish.

Geshundfight

Ah, the Amoeba Boys. We met them in one of the original What-A-Cartoon shorts, but since I won’t be tackling them, I’ll just remind you that they’re easily the world’s lamest villains.

Except for this episode.

The boys just want to commit a legit crime to rally up the girls, but they’re so inept that they can’t succeed at all. They even stand by a “keep off the grass” sign all night, falling asleep over the pouring rain. When they wake up, the Amoeba Boys get sick, and considering their parasitic demeanor, a simple sneeze or two is all that it takes to get the rest of Townsville to get sick.

Literally, everyone in Townsville gets sick. Even the girls, at a point, fall accursed of this disease. After a meeting from the Professor helps to give the girls the idea that the Amoeba Boys are responsible for this outbreak, the girls search for the boys, until they pass out. The boys find the Powerpuff trio on the ground, and eventually a compromise is met between the heroes and ne’er-do-wells.

“Geshundfight” is okay. The Amoeba Boys are kind of forgettable, but do have their moments. Thankfully they aren’t used too often over the show’s run, and don’t end up as overused as, say, Mojo. The first segment is definitely the stronger one, but this is a solid episode all in all.

I think this week’s highlight has to be in the second short, when Blossom has to remind the Mayor that the Powerpuff phone is not a toy. The fact that a little girl has to tell a grown man something like that is just hysterical.

Ed, Edd n’ Eddy:

Sir-Ed-a-Lot

You know, as much as I love this show and have actively watched repeats on Cartoon Network and my own DVDs, I don’t think I’ve seen this episode in years, but I still recall the whole thing.

One aspect of the show that tends to be overlooked is how Eddy’s dad works for an auto dealership. We know intentionally little about the parents of the kids in the Cul-De-Sac, but Eddy’s dad is one of the few whose profession is revealed in the show. It’s important to the series as a big part of Eddy’s scamming comes from the tricks he learned from his old man, as a desire to live up to his family. Eddy’s Oedipus Complex is never mentioned very often over the show, but his constant attempts to live up to his brother is another big push towards his desire to make his family, especially his father, proud.

I bring this up because the episode starts with Eddy playing with a random car, which ends up not being his dad’s. Somehow Eddy knows how to pull out its hydraulics, which makes for a cute opening scene.

Double D eventually shows up to the car, as the two Ed’ss begin to search for big Ed. They go to his house, only to find out that Ed is all dressed up for princess Sarah’s tea party, and now Double D and Eddy are required to join them. Dress, hats and all.

After prince Jimmy comes over, the games begin! Sarah and Jimmy use the Ed’s for horses, and later a fool. Eddy is easily annoyed by Sarah’s games, until he finds out that Ed is getting paid for taking care of his little Sarah, which causes Eddy to go crazy to please the prince and princess. All of which destroys Ed’s house as a result. But don’t worry, the Ed boys have a solution to make it seem like everything is a-okay when Ed’s parents come home.

This short is fine, but nothing too spectacular. It contains a couple of big laughs, but also gets predictable fast. It’s nice to have Sarah and Jimmy’s characters flesh out a little and have some fun with the Ed boys, though.

A Pinch to Grow an Ed

Poor, tiny little Eddy. He just can’t get a break, being the runt of the group. And everyone is giving him hell for his height in particular, even the other Ed boys.

Double D decides to build something to help Eddy with his height issues, and goes to work on it, while Eddy waits outside. It turns out Edd made height-inducing boots for Eddy, which helps to make him look taller than he actually is. After a few missteps, Eddy is able to successfully use hi newfound height to his advantage.

Eddy sure seems to be on top of it all, literally. Until those damn Kanker sisters come in and ruin everything. Oh well.

This is a pretty good short, especially in the first half, when it builds on the ageless fear of inadqueacy, particularly in height. Eddy’s shrinkage issues is something that we’ve all gone through in our lives, at one point or another, and it easy to relate. It becomes increasingly wackier when Eddy gets the boots on, but in a mostly good way.

This was a solid episode of the show, but far from its best. But hey, we’re only three episodes in, right?

“A toast to my big mouth!” Damn straight, Eddy. This first segment line makes for the episode’s highlight.

Overall:

Great week! Johnny and Powerpuff were especially on a roll, with “Bravo Dooby-Doo” being a masterpiece of modern animation. The rest is easily recommendable, though.

2012
11.08

I stopped watching at episode 13 even though I know that technically the first arc ends at episode 14, but with the direction things were going, I couldn’t put myself through another episode of this.

Sword Art Online started off promising enough, taking place in a distant future where technology has reached the point where mainstream videogames not only appealed to a slightly broader audience than you’d expect, but also were able to literally insert yourself into the game. Mix in the fact that the programmer of the game has gone crazy and trapped all the players in his game and you have a decent premise for a series even if it does seem like it would go in a predictable direction.


My main gripe with the series is that it doesn’t play it safe by taking your typical direction based on its premise. Being trapped in a virtual world while your real-world body is essentially in a coma ups the stakes significantly and gives enough reason for the cast to try their best to escape their virtual prison as soon as possible. However, rather than putting full priority to leveling up and becoming strong enough to fight the final boss and escape the game, most of the victims have become content with their new life in the gaming world. This slight bend in the plot is interesting enough but isn’t given the proper amount of screen time it deserves. Instead, we’re treated to a series of for the most part contained episodes ranging in quality from substandard to somewhat interesting. Each of these episodes only slightly nudges the main cast towards the overarching plot, which by this point seems to have taken back seat in favor of everything else.

I have no problem with episodes starting off slow and culminating to a bigger payoff in later episodes, but the way SAO pulled it off just seemed… weird. The story is told from the perspective of gamer Kirito, who feels the need to travel throughout the game solo. This mindset of his is eventually changed when he meets Asuna. However, it doesn’t change immediately upon meeting with her. Instead, the two cross paths a number of times before any kind of romance blossoms, but by the time that happens I’m just left confused as to why it had to happen in the first place. On the one hand, I find that the buildup towards their relationship was erratic at best, but on the other hand, I did enjoy some of their interactions once they did start traveling together as a couple. This odd mishmash of emotions just made me feel manipulated and ultimately took me out of the story as a whole. If you’re going to make kickass action sequences, fine; if you’re going to pull at my heartstring with the remainder of the script, fine. But regardless of what you do, be it action, romance or a blend of both, it needs to have a distinct direction.


By the time I reached episode 13, there were a fair number of moments of action as well as drama, but they seemed to have been built off a foundation that didn’t relate to either—the fact that they’re trapped in a virtual reality, which you’re only reminded of a handful of times. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the series was about people that lived peacefully in a virtual world with the occasional problem; not about people wanting to escape it altogether. With a strong premise but muddled direction, I’d say the series could be enjoyed by some, but in the grander scheme of things is definitely one of the more forgettable anime titles as of late.

2012
11.02

While you could definitely find my enthusiasm in last week’s entries, I don’t think that I articulated why I have such a particular affection for Cartoon Network’s programming on the 90’s/early 00’s.

Well, the 90’s were a great period for animation. Besides the birth of Cartoon Network, Disney and Warner went through a renaissance, primetime animation arguably started up, and Nickelodeon also started its own collection of animated series. This period started out around the mid-80’s, when Disney, under new creative management by Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, formed a television animation department, which constantly evolved as the 90’s started.

Granted, by the time Dexter’s Lab came out, this high-creativity period was slowing down a bit. Disney’s film and television departments were delving into mediocrity, as did Nickelodeon, Warner still was producing interesting stuff, but eventually the sting of Kids WB!’s underperforming hurt too much and the block would rely on a series of pocket monsters to stay alive (but hey, their best shows eventually did start to air on CN), and adult animation was stuck with only one or two major hits at a time, one of those always being the Simpsons.

Cartoon Network the channel was a highpoint of animation during the entire decade, right from its inception in 1992. This especially became true when the network did more than air classics, and introduced their originals and later brought in cutting-edge anime to their Toonami block. But this isn’t a Toonami reflection, it’s a look back at four of CN’s classic originals, and I’ll try to talk more about why these shows are so great as I look through their sophomore episodes.

Dexter’s Laboratory:

Dexter Dodgeball

Dexter has the holy gym excuse card hidden safe in his lab, the ultimate Get Out of Jail Free card. An easy way to get out of what seems like the toughest gym class out there… until the school’s substitute coach asks “What’s this crap?” (back when crap was a-okay on kid’s shows not rated TV-PG- later repeats would replace it with “crud”, but the DVD and recent Boomerang airings have the original word restored).

So now Dexter has to put on the school’s yellow and green gym clothes and has to go outside. The game? Look at the title.

And as you can guess, a minute or two’s worth of the episode takes place with Dexter getting pounded on by these balls. Hard. There’s your dirty joke for the week, pervs. Ya happy? But what can you expect with what seems like imitations of Jimbo Jones, Dolph Starbeam and Kearney Zzyzwicz?

This causes Dexter to make his own mecha dodgeball fighter, showing off Tartakavosky’s fetish for giant robots. And of course Dexter gets his revenge… until the end.

This is one of the first episodes of Dexter that I remember watching in particular. I distinctly remember hearing the “What’s this crap” line in particular. Seeing it now, I can’t say that it’s one of the best. It’s a pretty one-joke episode, and that joke does get old fast, even with some clever variations. Sadly this won’t be the last time we get a short like this, either.

Rasslor

And here’s Monkey!

This week’s title villain, the all-mighty Rasslor (voiced by “Macho Man” Randy Savage), comes down to Earth to face its greatest combatant. Rasslor has a bunch of heroes, including Monkey, join him in a giant stadium and faces each person one-by-one.

This introduces the Justice Friends before they starred in their own segments. It is funny to see that despite being named after the Super Friends, and their lair being a knock-off of the Hall of Justice, the entirety of the members are based off of Marvel characters. Of course, the three main Justice Friends, Major Glory, Val Hallen, and the Infraggable Krunk, are inspired by Captain America, the Mighty Thor and the Incredible Hulk respectively.  I’ll get to talk about these three characters again in greater detail later in this series, so I’ll end my say on them here.

But since I probably won’t get a chance to tackle these lesser Justice Friends again, and there isn’t much to talk about in this short, I’ll give you a who’s-who of the others. Sam-R-I, the samurai with the Seuss-inspired name (which Rasslor calls out in a funny scene), seems to be a combination of Moon Knight and villain Silver Samurai. The grey-bodied and yellow-faced dude, bears a strong resemblance to the Vision. The white tiger is an obvious nod to Black Panther. The Globetrotter-like dude is a combination of Luke Cage’s (aka Power Man) street appearance and Giant Man’s powers. And Living Bullet is Iron Man, nat.

And they all get their butts handed to them. Can Monkey top Rasslor? What do you think? A bunch of brief fights is all you get, but I’m sure that Marvel fans will enjoy not only the references to various heroes of their canon, but the little nod to Daredevil #7 by the end. Otherwise, it’s standard fluff.

Dexter’s Assistant

Dexter sure likes to show off his elitism. He’s super sure that he will win this year’s science fair… again. Except Dexter can’t reach the button at the bottom of his giant invention while being on top.

Dexter needs an assistant, and needs one fast. Which is why he picks Dee Dee to have a brain transplant to do such. The only problem is that Dee Dee becomes a LOT smarter than before, and corrects a lot of Dexter’s mistakes, and eventually gives up on him, entering the science fair on her own.

This short reminds me of a Pinky & the Brain episode where the Brain increases Pinky’s brain capacity, only for Pinky to realize that all of the duo’s failings come from the Brain’s own misgivings, instead of Pinky’s negligence. It’s a cute, eye-opening story, and despite the similarities between the two, “Dexter’s Assistant” doesn’t really suffer. It has a different take than the P&TB short, while both shows generally have unique pacing and styles of humor from each other, so it’s not like you’d expect them to be entirely identical. While Dexter and Dee Dee’s relationship hasn’t exactly been perfected yet, the short works fine for both characters regardless.

Episode two of Dexter’s Laboratory is just fine. None of these segments are classics, but each one does have their moments. The first suffers the most from early-run fatigue, while the last is the pick of the litter. I try to not spoil my appetite by finding out what episodes are planned next for each consecutive week, but I’m sure that there will certainly be stronger segments in the long run.

This week’s highlight comes from the last segment, featuring the boy genius’s infamous “MY HAIR IS ON FIRE!” chant.

Johnny Bravo:

Super Duped

Hey, Little Suzy! While I’m just sticking to the DVD’s order of episodes, rather than checking the original airdates, I’m a little surprised to find that Johnny’s precocious little next-door-neighbor appears in the series before his mama does. But hey, stranger things have happened in the world of TV appearances.

Bunny Bravo is mentioned briefly though, as Johnny’s on a quest to get some groceries for his mama, which forces him to cross Suzy’s school, where she apparently has a show-and-tell project today. Naturally, she wants Johnny to be her subject, and while he is reluctant, after catching an eye of Suzy’s teacher (Miss… Babe), he accepts.

Suzy introduces Johnny as a super hero, and just like the zookeeper in the pilot, everyone in her class, including the teacher, believes her. Johnny gets the class’s attention, when all of a sudden, the bank across the street is robbed. Sounds like a job for a super hero, right?

Despite Johnny’s protesting, everyone, including the cops of the town and villain robbing the bank, believe that he is a super hero. Aaron City sure is full of morons, huh?

The bad guy is named Sweet Cheeks, a creepy guy obsessed with candy that’s even dressed like a candy cane. It’s like that one Lex Luthor meme you see around, but totally legit.

Johnny eventually saves the day, kinda, but it isn’t a happy ending after all. Thankfully the whole short is a hoot though. It’s a very strange short, but there’s a lot of strange JB shorts, and this feels like a precursor to some of the best.

Bungled in the Jungle

And now we go to the return of Jungle Boy, this time in his first team-up with Johnny.

Being a part of the “No Class”, our protagonist gets kicked out of a flying airplane and falls into the jungle, crashing into Jungle Boy and breaking his leg. Johnny officially becomes the pariah of the jungle, which leads to the attention of King Raymond. The gorilla schemes to trap Johnny and use him for his own scheming, but in typical cartoon fashion, things do not go as expected. At first. The inhabitants of the jungle do get a chance to have their vengeance, and Raymond’s plot comes to fruition.

Thankfully Jungle Boy turns out okay, and Johnny is saved. But it wouldn’t be Johnny Bravo if he had a happy ending, now would it?

This is a lot better than the Jungle Boy pilot, and Johnny doesn’t even do much in his appearance. Jungle Boy still isn’t too strong of a character, but the interactions between the creatures of the jungle more than make up for it, and surprisingly, King Raymond makes for a good whipping boy, an appropriately loathsome character whose punishments are never out of line. His charisma could use some work to become a perfect foil, but I’m starting to doubt my previous statement of Jungle Boy not expanding to be a good thing.

Bearly Enough Time

Butch Hartman? Where have I heard that name before?

This segment takes us to the forest, where we briefly meet a deer and rabbit similar to Bambi and Thumper, before going over to Johnny and his mama Bunny, as she makes a sweater out of pinecones for Johnny. Mama Bravo runs away to get some more, leaving Johnny to stand with a bunch of pinecones on his person, until he runs away.

Johnny runs right into the lair of Cronos, the bear master of all time! Since Johnny woke him out of his hibernation, Cronos is mad and is now out to eat JB.

Now Johnny has to make Cronos go to sleep, or face being dinner for this bear, and Yogi he ain’t. Johnny doesn’t succeed and has to face Cronos’ wrath, with a classic ending.

While “Bearly Enough Time” ends up being the weakest of the three segments, this makes up to be a great episode regardless, setting up for some of the show’s eventual best stuff. I can’t decide if I like the first or second short more, though. I might have to come back to you.

I think this week’s highlight goes to a line from the second segment, “Everyone who’s poisonous, please raise his or her hands”. You need to see it to find out just why.

My question of the week- does anyone know how to fix a VCR clock?

The Powerpuff Girls:

Insect Inside

Okay, serious bug haters can skip this one. See ya in the next segment.

Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup may be very different from each other, but there’s one thing that the sisters have in common- they fucking hate cockroaches. Can you blame them though?

Thankfully, Professor U is here to show the girls in the right direction and give them a nice history lesson- until he delves into their future. Yeesh.

Well, it turns out the cockroach that invaded the Utonium household is a pet of the heinous Roach Coach, an owner of seemingly thousands of cockroaches, decides to use this new-found knowledge of the Powerpuff Girls’ dislike of bugs to his advantage- now, the cockroaches of Townsville will team up to take over the town, and then, the world!

The girls save the day by trapping all of the cockroaches into a giant jar… at first. Until Roach Coach combines himself with all of them to take on the girls. Of course they save the day, but is it worth seeing all of these nasty kakerlakes?

This is pretty okay stuff, with some really funny stuff. And the Professor gets a great ending, too.

Powerpuff Bluff

You thought the last segment was weird? Check this out.

A trio of petty thieves keeps on hitting the town, with the girls stopping them dead in their tracks each time. Tired of constantly being arrested, they take up a new method- become the Powerpuff Girls! How convenient that the robber’s jail cell contains costumes of the girls. They promptly escape and plan their new scheme.

While the trio are making up for their past failures, the real girls are having their naptime, with a special guest star alongside them. The robbers get the bank, the jewelry store, and even wreck havoc in the Mayor’s house. This causes the Mayor to call SWAT and get the girls locked up, for these thugs’ actions. The girls escape prison and take on their counterparts.

Do the girls save their honor and get them rightfully arrested? I shall not say! Trust me, you don’t want me to.

Episode 2, or 1, is pretty good, if odd. I think the second segment is the stronger, if only for the sheer insanity factor of seeing three grown men dressed up as the Powerpuff Girls. It’s just a trip, man.

Highlight of the episode? Primarily from the Mayor’s attempt to call the girls in the first segment, but failing each time Bubbles answers.

Ed, Edd n’ Eddy:

Pop Goes the Ed

Since the first episode was somewhat scamless, at least this short starts off with a classic scheme of the Ed’s- Ed’s Hive Bee Gone, a bee-swatting service. Unfortunately, it failed right on their face. Well, on Ed and Double D’s faces, which get damned by those bees.

This almost feels like a cold opening, as the rest of the segment doesn’t relate to it. It’s super hot on this summer day, as the Ed’s try to find some shade, and continue to fail at each turn. Until dork-hating Kevin tells the boys of Nazz’s sprinkler party. Despite not being invited, the Ed’s get ready for this party by strapping on Eddy’s brother’s old speedos, the first reference of Eddy’s sibling issues. Eddy even draws chest hairs on himself.

Now they’re totally ready to crash Nazz’s party, and mingle. We didn’t get much time for the rest of the Cul-De-Sac to shine last week, but we get great introductions to everyone else here. Kevin and Eddy’s antagonistic rivalry is well displayed, Nazz ‘s well-meaning ignorance is shown, and we get some early potential for great stuff with Rolf. You just gotta see what happens with him.

The Ed’s don’t seem to catch a break in their attempt to gain attention, and their desire to do so fails when the boy’s already-tight speedos crash out on them and leaves the Ed’s butt-naked. Ho boy.

Thankfully we don’t see any Ed dick this week, but they don’t get a happy ending. Would you really expect them too?

Something the first season of Ed, Edd n’ Eddy did very well was play on the Ed’s attempts and constant failures of trying to fit in with the rest of the kids. At first, it seems like they just want nothing to do with the Ed boys, but as the show progresses and we devolve more into their psyches, it’s easy to understand why they fail so hard. Both methods work well for the sake of the show and characters, and this is a great example of the earlier method.

Over Your Ed

This short’s opening offers a great compare-contrast for the three Ed’s, by looking at how they bathe. Double D is VERY meticulous, and doesn’t feel complete until every. Last. Stain is removed. Eddy likes to jam in the shower, to the point that he even occasionally swallows his soap. Ed… doesn’t do any kind of cleaning.

This becomes a problem when Ed’s stench ruins their energy (sorry, En-O-Gee) drink stand. A shame, since it seems like it’d actually work this time, too. Look at how Double D acts after a drink. But it isn’t even just his smell, either. Ed’s entire demeanor just seems to be a nuisance to their scams, which is a pretty astute point to bring up so soon in the show’s run, but hey, Dexter’s Laboratory did the same thing in its third segment this week.

Eddy takes it upon himself to clean up Ed and change his entire persona, first by bathing him, than giving Ed some of his clothes. And after learning some great moves and lines from Eddy and Double D, it works, and Ed becomes the toast of the town.

It all works, until the Kankers come by. Does the ending ruin the short? Only slightly. The show’s gorgeous animation has improved a lot since the first three segments. While there would still be squigglevision-esque layouts during the first season, this short looks surprisingly clean, and the show’s brilliant use of colors and character detail has really come into its own with this one episode. Check out the scene where Eddy trades moves with Ed. That’s a really smooth little bit.

The first segment is a little stronger, but I still enjoyed episode 2 of the show quite a bit. The best part is that there’s so much more great stuff to anticipate from here.

In the first segment, Eddy tries to get Ed and Double D to converse with the kids, which causes them to talk about their television viewings last night. Bad call, considering their tastes, but a highlight regardless.

Overall:

As expected, week two’s selections definitely showed signs of improvement over the first. I’d probably throw my pick of the week to “Bungled in the Jungle”, which surprised me in how well it holds up. Also, I already got a brief idea of what to expect next week, and let me just say that I’m going to review some GREAT stuff when I get to there.

Ah well, until then. I wish I had a fence post.