2013
01.28

Late again, I know. We bring shame to our families. We’ll be more timely next time, I promise. Love you guys~ <3

Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman

Bakumatsu

Not-Lupin not resembling Lupin in the least.

Do you remember what happened last time Monkey Punch made an anime that wasn’t Lupin-related? Allow me to refresh your memory. While less laughably incompetent, Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman is just as bad… which in essence probably makes it worse.

Bakumatsu is about as close as a show can get to Lupin III without actually being Lupin III. The male protagonist looks exactly like Lupin, the female protagonist looks exactly like a younger version of Fujiko, this one guy looks exactly like Zenigata, some other guy looks exactly like Goemon, and he has a brother who also looks exactly like Goemon. And if you thought the character design had no effort put into it, just wait until you find out that these people also act exactly like their counterparts from Lupin III, more or less. Too bad the jokes are unfunny and the animation is mediocre.

The story is that Not-Lupin and Not-Fujiko steal money and valuables from the government, which they then give back to the people. These capers are usually pulled off in zany ways. There’s also some weird sentai shit involved for whatever reason. In short, this is a less charming and less stylish version of Lupin that takes place in the Edo period because clearly that makes it new and exciting. 3/10 – Foggle

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT

Haganai

I think she’s referring to the writer of this show.

This is a show about people who want to make friends and don’t realize that the reason why they don’t have friends is because they’re complete assholes. This is a show that tries to be funny but is written by someone who has no idea what the word “humor” means. This is a show that uses a girl getting spanked by her dad as a fanservice shot.

There is literally nothing good about Haganai. Okay, the animation is decent, but that’s about it. The music is lame, the voice acting is obnoxious, and the writing is putrid. The characters have no redeeming qualities to speak of; it’s not hard to see why they don’t have any friends. The “gang” is composed of multiple sociopaths and other assorted douchebags, all of whom could rightfully find a spot on a “worst cartoon characters of all time” list.

I guess it’s supposed to be ironic since these people who are basically friends already are trying so desperately to make friends because they think they don’t have any, but it’s not funny… it’s just stupid. Fuck this show and everything about it. 1/10 – Foggle

Chihayafuru, Season 2

Chihaya

Yeah, basically.

Chihayafuru is one of those shows that I know isn’t necessarily bad but I also don’t find enjoyable in the least. The art and animation are fine, the voice acting is fine, the music is fine, the writing is fine – but none of it excites me at all. It’s just kind of… there. It’s a thing that exists; nothing more, nothing less.

That said, there’s effort put into it. The characters, while not particularly interesting, all have their charms and will no doubt grow on viewers within the span of a few episodes. Perhaps the (fairly basic) storyline is more interesting if you care or at least know about Karuta – the card game beloved by Chihaya and her friends. The most exciting moments involved Sumire Hanano, a character I absolutely hated and was delighted to see unhappy.

There is substance here, but you have to actually care about the show and stick with it for the long haul to get anything from it. Whether or not you’ll like this series mostly depends on what interests you; I didn’t find Chihayafuru entertaining, but I’m sure others will. It might be worth a glance if you’re looking for a new show. 6/10 – Foggle

Cuticle Detective Inaba

Cuticle

Kill me. Later.

I don’t think I’ll ever get most Japanese comedy. I’ll always enjoy the odder works like Cromartie, Oh! Mikey and Happiness of the Katakuris, but they’re the exceptions to the rule. Even aside from the pun jokes, humor mostly comes from pure absurdity not according to the anarchy of Monty Python but the formulaic kookiness of an average Disney Channel Sitcom. And as always, this show didn’t do a single thing to dispel that idea. Almost every joke is basically “Here’s a goat! Isn’t this weird?!~” While humor is subjective, there always lies into how well-constructed humor is. You can’t just fling a dress on a scarecrow and call that comedy. Good humor actually utilizes such an absurdity and sees how the demonstration would betray the audience’s expectations or make them so confused that the act goes straight into hilarity. Instead, everything’s just so mundanely silly.

Which says nothing about the actual plot, for those expecting actual detectives and getting hijinks from the average Studio DEEN drivel. Whatever approach the show goes for becomes drowned by the nonsense of the usual Garfield comic. The writers probably just scribbled nothing but bullshit on twenty pages of paper and called that the script, except that would probably be too much credit for them. But of course, bastards will probably think this is a better detective show than Sherlock, or Poirot, or even Prime Suspect. And to that, I say, “Fuck you.”

Rating: 1/10 – Bloody Marquis

Love Live! School Idol Project

LoveLive

Kill me. Just fucking kill me.

A scream of agony ends the silence. I retch into a trash can, attempting to purge the bile I feel rising in my throat. I grind my teeth, desperate for the pain to end. Watching Love Live! is an exercise in torture, and it almost broke me. Almost, but not quite. I still breathe. My heart keeps on beating. I kiss the floor, happy that I did not spontaneously combust before the end of the episode. Surely I’m one of the lucky few.

Honoka, a generic loli, is extremely depressed by the fact that her beloved high school is shutting down. So what can she do to save it? Why, start a school idol club of course! With the help of diabetes-inducing musical numbers, godawful 3D animation, and the invisible (wo)man, she plans to rekindle interest in the school with singing, dancing, and strange outfits. Unfortunately, the student council president doesn’t really go for her plan, so the next few episodes are sure to be an uphill battle filled with moe antics and bad singing.

I didn’t see a single Y chromosome anywhere in this episode. That’s a good thing, because I don’t want there to be any possibility at all that I could have been born in Love Live!’s universe. 1/10 – Foggle

Mangirl!

Mangirl

You mean it’s NOT about man-girls?

Where are the man-girls? I was told there would be man-girls. Instead, it’s just a shitty three minute comedy about lolis making manga. Go figure. 2/10 – Foggle

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha

Maoyuu

So, what if demons weren’t really bad guys? What if they were just like you? Would you want to kill them then, huh? WOULD YOU, MOTHERFUCKER? Thus is a less eloquent phrasing of the question the Demon King asks of the Hero in Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. The aforementioned King explains this situation to the aforementioned Hero, and while the majority of this episode is technically exposition, it’s handled extremely well and is actually very interesting throughout. While the tale of corruption isn’t exactly original, it is intriguing, and something I’d like to learn more about in future episodes.

Oh yeah, the King and Hero are also in love. Imagine that.

The OP is terrible. My ears were already bleeding from the horrible singing by the time I got to the actual meat of the episode. That aside, the music is very nice and atmospheric, a highlight of this show’s production along with the lovely background art. While the character designs leave much to be desired, the painted backgrounds are very pleasing to look at even on their own.

This was certainly an interesting first episode. It definitely had its problems (occasional cringe-worthy dialogue chief among them), yet I couldn’t help but enjoy what was great about it. Maoyu is almost certainly the only show this season I’d even consider keeping up with. 7.5/10 – Foggle

Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?

Mondaijitachi

This shit’s for the birds.

Three unlikable characters are transported to a fantasy world where they play games with gods and demons because… because. They meet a Playboy Bunny (like, an actual bunny) named Black Rabbit, who refers to herself in the third person a lot. Then the male protagonist punches out a giant water dragon.

This show doesn’t have much substance. Hell, it doesn’t even seem to have a plot or purpose yet. Outside of a couple flimsy cliffhangers, viewers are given no reason to tune in for the second episode because the first installment looks generic and contains nothing of merit writing-wise. The world of Little Garden is kind of cool, I suppose, what with its mixed communities of different races (humans, gods, assorted demons), but I have no interest in seeing what happens next.

In fact, I’d completely lost interest in this episode long before the halfway point. Mondaiji-tachi is so damn unremarkable that it couldn’t even keep me interested through the eyecatch. 3/10 – Foggle

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai

Sasami

Hershey's lost my sale.

Shaft’s got money, so Shaft has good animation. Too bad Shaft can’t hire a good writer, because Shaft is still shitting out the same Shaft nonsense. Shaft is as Shaft does.

…I don’t know what I watched. Something happened for 24 minutes that involved chocolate, underage girls, and a grown man doing the Hare Hare Yukai dance, but nothing I can elaborate on. If anything, I can say I wasn’t bored, something that most other anime keep on doing for me. However, Shinbo just seems to be repeating himself instead of trying new things. The last scene of the episode felt just like the Walpurgisnacht fights from Madoka. Fumes of Arakawa Under The Bridge and Bakemonogatari reek the first part of the show. Instead of trying to invent something new, Shinbo seems to have relished in the success of his previous shows with absolutely no one to tell him that an idea might be too stupid to animate.

Rating: 3/10 – Bloody Marquis

Senyuu.

Senyuu

“Slime-tan is mai waifu!” – An actual quote from this show. There isn’t much to say about Senyuu. because the episodes are less than four minutes long, but it’s kind of funny in a stupid way I guess. And the animals are cute. It’s not particularly good, but those two things alone make it better than most of the shit I’ve watched this season. 5/10 – Foggle

Tamako Market

Tamako

Well here it is… the best reviewed show of the season so far (by ANN no less!). “Tamako Market” is yet another moe-rific series from our friends at Kyoto Animation, namely the same team that previously gave us “K-On!”. And, as typical with KyoAni series, it shows very little improvement over the previous ones. It appears that for my first ever clusterfuck entry, I have picked a real winner this time! (sarcasm)

Since director Naoko Yamada and screenwriter Reiko Yoshida have apparently run out of girl rock band manga to make a fortune on body pillows from, we have the story of the titular girl and her “pet” pigeon. I say “pet” because the bird is not much of a pet and more of an interloping nuisance that just wont go away, sorta like that weird penguin thing in Gorey’s Uninvited Guest. It also has the remarkable ability to speak fluent Japanese, not as some inner monologue (no that would be too realistic!…like Garfield!) but as some sort of psychic communication everyone else can hear. Now normally I’d be expecting the government to appear suddenly to dissect this miracle of modern science but this is Japan so…

Outside of the bird, its your basic S-O-L show dealing with the trials and tribulations of owning a mochi shop in a bustling shopping center. There’s so little meat on the bones of this script that we warp speed our way through several weeks of basically no plot whatsoever in the span of 30 minutes. By the end, Tamako’s slightly depressed that she forgot when her birthday was, the bird has become morbidly obese from his dango addiction (hey its what killed Nagisa!) and what little interest the audience may have had has been sorely tested.

In retrospect I can see why this would be so highly regarded considering the competition consists of smoldering crap like “Cuticle Detective Inaba”, “GJ-Bu”, and (snicker) “Mangirl!”. Its pretty damn harmless, well animated, and decently voiced (mostly by seiyuu newbies…and Daisuke Ono for some reason), but there’s hardly anything there to keep one interested for very long. And knowing KyoAni, that’s probably what they were trying to do in the first place.

5/10 – Lord Dalek

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes Alternative Two ~Opera Kobayashi and the Raven of the Void~

Milky

Sherlock makes a startling discovery.

As anyone who’s seen the first season will tell you, this is easily the best version of Sherlock Holmes ever committed to celluloid. While each series is – sadly – quite short, the episodes’ high level of quality absolutely makes up for it. Picking up immediately where the previous episode left off, the nail-biting standoff between Holmes and nemesis Moriarty ends a bit anticlimactically, but then it’s right back into the intelligent intrigue Milky Holmes is widely known for.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but writer Steven Moffat (of Doctor Who fame) delivers another excellent screenplay that will leave you on the edge of your seat with twists galore and a unique take on classic Sherlock character Irene Adler – portrayed flawlessly by Lara Pulver in this incarnation. Benedict Cumberbatch returns as the titular detective and once again brings his A-game, leaving audiences breathless ‘til the end.

My favorite thing about Milky Holmes is how each episode contains so many nuances. There are always tons of little pieces coming together that make this series work on every possible level; everything is so similar to, yet so different from, the original Doyle stories, that it just works. Hell, I don’t think I’d be out of line in saying that this adaptation might actually be better. 10/10 – Foggle

TL;DR

WATCH IT RIGHT NOW
BBC’s Sherlock – 10/10
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha – 7.5/10

MAYBE TRY IT OUT SOMETIME
Chihayafuru, Season 2 – 6/10
Senyuu. – 5/10
Tamako Market – 5/10

DON’T GO NEAR IT
Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman – 3/10
Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo? – 3/10
Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 3/10
Mangirl! – 2/10
Tantei Opera Milky Holmes Alternative Two ~Opera Kobayashi and the Raven of the Void~ – 2/10
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT – 1/10
Cuticle Detective Inaba – 1/10
Love Live! School Idol Project – 1/10

———

Our Rating Scale

Many websites rate shows on a scale of 7-10, with the other 6 numbers on there simply for posterity’s sake. That’s fucking stupid. We here at AR proudly use roughly 250% as many numbers as IGN when scoring anime!

10 – Masterpiece
9 – Superb
8 – Great
7 – Good
6 – Above Average
5 – Average
4 – Below Average
3 – Bad
2 – Terrible
1 – Unwatchable

2013
01.19

It’s been over three long years since Studio Khara’s brilliant Evangelion 2.0 graced our unprepared eyeballs and earholes with its fresh and exciting take on the classic anime series. Fans grew antsy and expectations ran higher than ever for this third film in the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy to deliver the goods, and Neon Genesis mastermind Hideaki Anno knew he really had to shake things up with the newest installment to keep everyone flocking to theatres and DVD racks in enthusiastic anticipation. And he shook things up alright.

Mari is still a pointless character

Anno's face while writing this movie.

Picking up where part 2 left off, You Can (Not) Redo — or Q Quickening, if you’d rather – begins with a mesmerizing six minute sequence in which Studio Khara blows 75% of their budget on Asuka retrieving Shinji’s unconscious body from outer space by shooting the shit out of some artificial angels. It’s lavishly animated and beautiful on multiple levels, keeping the viewer on the edge of their seat as pretty colors light up the cosmos. The action is insane, even jaw-dropping, perfectly setting the film up to be an action-packed thrill ride. And then Shinji wakes up.

Do you remember the preview at the end of Evangelion 2.0? Yeah, none of that happens in this movie. Instead, the remainder of the film is a joyless husk; a cheap imitation of NGE that plays out more like self-indulgent fanfiction than something written and directed by the original creator. Following a fourteen year (yes, fourteen) time skip, in which no one has aged a day — a minor inconvenience that is apathetically hand waved near the outset — protagonist Shinji Ikari enters a world in which everyone hates him but refuses to say why. Poor Shinji is just as confused as the audience by this, but all of his requests for clarification seem to result in a reply of “don’t touch anything”, “be quiet”, or “fuck off ya twat”.

Misato now commands a fleet of flying battleships, her goal being the destruction of remaining NERV personnel. While this could have been an interesting storyline had something — anything — built up to it, this motivation comes completely out of left field and feels extremely unsatisfying. It is then that Rei, who Shinji was told died in the last film, suddenly shows up to whisk him away to the now-desolate NERV headquarters. The audience is subsequently left wondering why the hell Misato’s fleet hasn’t completely wiped them off the map yet, as their staff consists entirely of Gendo, Rei, Kaworu, and Fuyutsuki. That’s not a joke either; their staff is literally half the size of Animation Revelation’s before Shinji shows up.

By the time the fairly predictable climax rolls around, viewers will have been left utterly bored by almost an hour of nothing interesting happening. The film is mostly set in drab, empty environments — and if that was meant to be symbolic in some way, Khara failed miserably. Plot twists from the original Neon Genesis Evangelion occur in ways that are presented in a much less compelling manner this time around, and the bulk of these scenes simply feature Shinji being kind-of-but-not-really depressed and the expected yaoi ship-bait between the leading man and Kaworu. However, their interactions feel more manufactured than before; an attempt at shallow fanservice rather than a pivotal moment in the protagonist’s character arc… a character arc that hardly even exists in this film.

That’s not to say that their relationship was particularly well-written in episode 24 of NGE – far from it – there just wasn’t enough meat for it to be expanded upon at this level without some major rewriting. Their storyline works more for the concept than it does the execution in both instances, and the way it was presented in the original series, while certainly out of left field, made it seem like it had more depth than it really did. In 3.0, it just happens, because. It didn’t really seem to affect Shinji much outside of moving him to the next plot point. But it’s unfair to make such a blanket statement at this point in time; the final movie could definitely do some interesting things with Shinji/Kaworu.

Fans of human interaction and actual dialogue will no doubt be distressed by the fact that Kaworu is the only likable character and how the interesting dynamics and relationships of past Evangelion works have been completely discarded in 3.0. Rei has maybe twenty lines total, the majority of them being “I don’t know” and “that is not my order”. Gendo says all of one sentence to Shinji and only has a couple more lines after that. Ritsuko exists solely to deliver exposition and disappears after the first act. Misato is basically a new character. Mari speaks almost entirely in one-liners. Kaji doesn’t even appear.

The story as a whole is mostly inconsequential and serves only to undermine what was accomplished in the previous two movies. Nearly everything established or built up in 1.0 and 2.0 is either ignored or demolished in part 3, leaving the fourth and final movie to probably function better as a standalone piece than part of a film series. I hold NGE (and the other Rebuild movies) dear to my heart and consider The End of Evangelion to be among the finest films ever made — animated or otherwise — but even my love for this franchise cannot make You Can (Not) Redo look like a good movie. Sure, it excels in the A/V department (as expected), but it has no soul, meaning, or purpose. Anno’s heart is nowhere to be found in this glorified fanfic; it’s a stylish Eva knock-off at best.

4/10

— Foggle

2013
01.09

Wakfu [BlackCatula]

For all the “Ragtag-Team of Lovable Warriors On A Quest To Save The World” stories and cartoons we’ve been fed over the years, you’d think adding another one to the pile would just result in a ho-hum, neat little cartoon that reminded you once again of how cool you thought this stuff was when you were maybe ten years younger. Whether it was The Slayers or The Pirates of Dark Water or whatever, you know at one point you loved watching heroes go on a long, involved quest around the world that eventually resulted in saving the world from certain doom at the hands of maniacal villain or hellspawn released from its eternal slumber.

So why on earth would you want to go back and watch a new one in 2013 with all the same tropes and long bouts of filler material between plot arcs?

Because this one hits a homerun on all fronts.

French studio Ankama’s MMORPG-spinoff-spinoff series “Wakfu” can easily be described as “the modern generation’s Slayers”, because the overall tone of both shows is strikingly similar. A European-based fantasy world, sword and sorcery but also some mechanical robots, legendary magic artifact MacGuffins galore, let’s stay at the Inn in this town tonight, there’s a monster living in a nearby cave, excuse me but do you have a ship we can use, and every other RPG cliche under the sun. Both shows also love humor, everything from basic slapstick to tongue twisters and pun flurries to pop culture parodies and homages.

One thing that sets Wakfu apart from the others of its kin, though, is its most excellent use of Flash animation. Movements are very expressive and cartoony, framerates are high and full. Many of the action scenes elicit a Storm Hawks feel, albeit a more polished and realized one. Also, the action sequences are inimitably choreographed to suit each character’s fighting style and weapon of choice, especially on the part of main character Yugo and his use of short-range portals, where a lot of nifty tracking and quick-pan shots are expertly used to showcase all those aerial acrobatics. This style of very involved animation, coupled with the shows creative and colorful backgrounds (Jing: King of Bandits, anyone?) make for a lot of fantastic eye candy.

Of course, eye candy alone does not a great show make. While the bulk of Wakfu’s episode plots deal with the usual town-hopping, spelunking, and uncharted sailing, there are several important plot arcs that provide a neat, ongoing mythos that slowly unravels into a fully-realized universe over the course of the series. We learn that Yugo is born of a very special race that is capable of sensing the life energy (the “wakfu”) of all living things, and that the main villain is in fact draining and harvesting this wakfu from its major sources in the world for the purpose of [spoiler spoiler spoiler]. Most of the important plot threads unwind into an unexpected spectacle filled with tragedy, racism, mysticism and questionable morality that strikes nerves much deeper than one might expect from such a surface-friendly adventure show. Season 1’s villain, Nox, has one of the most tragic backstories and end fates I can think of in recent times (right up there with Adventure Time’s Simon Petrikov – no bull, it’s THAT sad).

The show isn’t without it’s flaws and shortcomings, though. For a (currently) 52-episode + 3 specials show, there seems to be rather a lot of filler episodes. Then again, that’s to be expected from an adventure-driven story. Some of the characters may require a certain amount of invested time before you really start connecting with them. And outside of fansubbed torrents and importing the French-only DVDs, there’s not much hope (as of this writing) for getting a chance to watch it.

But overall, this series is quite fantastic. Fantasy buffs and RPG players will flock to it naturally, and fans of animation will eat it right up. Casual viewer beware though, as the only way to really, truly enjoy Wakfu is to buckle down for the long haul and watch every episode, because for all the filler material, there are still little snippets and segments that may become crucial to the story later on. Episodes should not be skipped!

Recommended for a PG+ audience, as the action can get pretty intense (don’t let the oft-cute style deceive you!), and the usual not-explicit innuendos and similar such dialogue.

2013
01.04

Alright, let’s see what I’m going to tackle this week.

Dexter’s Laboratory:

Star Spangled Sidekicks

In this first short, Dexter and Dee Dee are watching Major Glory’s TV show, as he faces against Doctor Diablos, an obvious Doctor Doom spoof. Even though this episode only seems to last less than thirty seconds, it totally pumps the siblings up, especially when Major Glory himself announces to his viewers that he’s looking for a new sidekick at their local mall. Talk about convenience, huh?

Being as obsessed with super heroes as any boy his age, Dexter wants to charge and become the new sidekick, except for a little fact that Dee Dee has no shame in pointing out- Dexter’s a shrimp, a fairly weak one, at that. There’s no way he could hold his own as a sidekick. Meanwhile, Dee Dee is sure she’s going to be a way better candidate since she’s a bitch taller, more coordinated and has actual style.

We see the two work on their designs and characters, with Dexter using resources from his lab, and Dee Dee working from home, as they arrive at the mall the next day. Now it’s Dexstar, a flashy, gadget-loaded avenger, vs. Diva Dynamite, who in pink footie pajamas recites a patriotic poem that wins her hero over. Both are impressive, but the girl in pink wins this round.

Glory and Diva even take on Doctor Diablos when he makes a surprise attack on the event, while Dexstar gets sickly after throwing a couple of punches. It’s at this time that Dee Dee rejects her new job to focus on her main responsibility, her brother’s safety. Which is kind of a bull ending, but oh well.

Even though it seems like I’m not so hot on this short, it is fun. There are a couple of strong gags, and it ultimately works as a piece that argues about superior methods of crime fighting, gadgetry or honest butt-kicking, with a favor to the latter. But hey, Dexter gets better at this.

TV Puppet Pals

So the second short starts out and just as you’re expecting Monkey… what’s that? Majory Glory? Valhallen? Krunk? What are they doing here?

Well, we’re done with Monkey as the star of his own shorts, one more aside later on, and for a while now, we’ll become better acquainted with the Justice Friends, as they star in their own shorts. These are meant to be a combination of Super Friends and buddy sitcoms, featuring the three super heroes sharing an apartment, and they even come with their own laugh track

The short starts out with Disgruntled Postman, a Joker-like baddie, attempting to send a bomb to the White House, until Majorrrrrr Glory stops him pre-lick. Glory saves the day and even cracks a corny (but geniusss!) joke via a news interview, which he only has a half-hour to make it to the apartment to catch.

Meanwhile, Valhallen comes to the lair of a record producing Minotaur, who has a couple of sirens captured to make sweet, sweet music with. Before he can even save the day though, Valhallen realizes that he has to catch a monster truck rally on TV and zooms off.

At the same time, Krunk, along with a little girl, is trying to get a cat out of a tree, doing everything but actually climbing up, but considering how big the guy is, I can understand that. Eventually, they rescue the kitty, and just in time for Krunk to catch his favorite show, TV Puppet Pals!

You can tell how this is going to turn out. Three programs airing at one time with only one television in the place. Krunk is watching his Puppet Pals in peace, while Glory and Valhallen fight over the TV, until they smash the set as a result, leading a sad ending for all but surprisingly Krunk.

Well this is a lot better than Monkey. There are actual jokes and attempt at character here. We only get a taste of how the tip-top Major Glory, laid back rocker Valhallen, and childish Krunk will manage as roommates and characters with chemistry, but in this one short, I laughed more than I did in all of the previous Monkey shorts combined. Definitely a step in the right direction.

Game Over

Like the earlier Dexter short, this one starts of with the boy genius and his sister bonding a little. Bonding as in Dee Dee being up in Dexter’s face with her superiority, as she beat Dex in a Altered Beast-esque game.

And Dee Dee might have a chance to beat her baby brother again, as their dad comes in to surprise Dexter with Master Computer, an “old and dated” game that he conquered when he was three. They switch into the lab to play the game, which is more Atari to Dexter’s X-Box (er, Playstation 1, if we’re being historically accurate).

A play through of this title lends to another victory for Dee Dee, which aggravates Dex so much that he yells at her to leave him alone. So this time Dexter’s the wad.

As Dexter begins to yank the cartridge out of his computer, the game takes over his mainframe and sucks him into the game. And if you can’t tell, the rest of the episode turns into a Tron parody from here.

Jeff Bridges Dexter ain’t though, and he fails as he tries to save his life. It turns out Dee Dee is his only hope, but does that mean she can save the day? We’ll see.

This one is alright, but the weakest of the three shorts this week, if only because, like a lot of other Dexter stories this length, it comes and goes before it can leave much of an impact on you. That’s something I’ve been noticing with the show lately, but the first two are better at leaving an impact on the mind, the Justice Friends short especially.

The ending of “TV Puppet Pals” is my highlight, if only for Krunk’s laugh.

Johnny Bravo:

Blanky Hanky Panky

There’s a yarn thief in Aaron City, and they’re attacking town rapidly, leaving all but one piece to be missing: Johnny’s baby blanky.

It turns out the culprit is a weirdo in a cat suit, along with his trusty talking kitty companion, because all animals in Johnny Bravo talk. They make it to Johnny’s house, where the plan to get his blanket and leave. Too bad Johnny’s a little smarter than you’d expect with something like this. Kinda.

This one gets pretty weird, too. Too weird to describe. Noodles.

And just for the hell of it, here’s a list of things referenced in this short:

  • Murder, She Wrote
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Baywatch

Talk to Me, Baby

How about this one? Johnny’s at home, channel surfing, as he stops on the show for TV’s Vendela, a Tyra-like talk show host, except she’s white.  She catches Johnny’s eye, so much so that he now plans to attend one of her shootings.

By a freak circumstance, it turns out that Johnny becomes the subject of Vendela’s show today, which is about bullheaded men just like him. Now, remember this type of talk shows, and whom their audience consists of. You can see how popular Johnny will become over here.

Especially consider Johnny’s fellow guest this week, an author of a self-health book similar to Of Course You’re Still Single, Take a Look at Yourself, You Dumb Slut. She hates men so much, that she angers up to a She-Hulk-like creature and shows Johnny what’s what, until Vendela pulls out her super powers to stop the madness!

The rest of the episode consists of Johnny making an ass of himself on TV, as everyone else makes sure he suffers. At first I thought this episode would be a little too mean towards Johnny, as he didn’t really do anything to the author, at least not to induce such a wrath. But by the end, I was completely won over, thanks to the sheer amount of gags thrown at us. There’s a great bit with a dinosaur that just cracks me up in there, as well. Good stuff.

I could go for a free lollypop now.

Hip Hop Flop

Ah, 90’s hip hop, pre-Tupac and Biggie. A lot of it is so silly, yet, you have to love how much fun the artists had back then, and the lack of pretension that was seen in gangsta rap. Being reminded of this era makes this episode go off to a good start.

This short starts off with Johnny catching a young girl excited for an upcoming concert of the Round pound, a hip hop trio that seems to be a combined spoof of the Fat Boys and House of Pain, with maybe even a bit of Run-D.M.C. added in. When he gets rejected for not being as fly as her favorite rap act, Johnny now attempts to take it upon himself to get tickets to the show.

By a stroke of storytelling cliché luck, Johnny meets up with the Round Pound as they attempt to obtain a record player, and mercilessly fail. Johnny then gets just what they ask for, and to repay the favor, the guys plan a dope makeover for our protagonist.

Talk about a culture gap here. The Round Pound try their best to fit Johnny into their style, yet the Elvis-like Bravo just doesn’t get it. In a Pygmalion-like turn of sorts, Johnny eventually gets it, and becomes the fourth member of the gang. Aww yeah. But don’t expect Johnny to win out just yet.

Another cute short, and any week where an episode is solid all the way through is a good one. Even if I can’t pick a particular favorite, since they’re all so strong. Or maybe especially if.

The ending to “Hip Hop Flop” gets to me every time, making for a nice little highlight.

The Powerpuff Girls:

Major Competition

THE CITY OF TOWNSVILLE IS ON FIRE AIIIYEEEEE!!!!!

What a way to start the episode off. Except this time, the Girls actually don’t save the day, and we have to watch among the citizens of Townsville as we find out who does. Also, take a drink when you spot the George Jetson cameo.

It turns out that we have a new hero in town, named Major Man. No relation to Major Glory, but he does have a similar demeanor, if slightly more douchey.

Major Man also has a tendency to discover crime and peril in Townsville way before even the girls can find out, which makes the city favor him and forget about the girls. Something’s gotta be up if he can do this, though.

It turns out something is indeed rotten in Townsville. Major Man has been staging his heroics up by personally creating each scenario where his actions are needed, and the girls find this out pretty early. A taste of his medicine is just what he needs…

Even if I didn’t tell you what Major Man’s major malfunction was, wouldn’t you have been able to guess it easily? This is a really weak short, with nary a gag or solid story hook in sight. There may have been worse to exist, but I’ll just say this- I had to take an hour or two off from even finishing watching this short, let alone write about it.

Mr. Mojo’s Rising

Hey, an anagram! Wait, that doesn’t fit. Does that mean “L.A. Woman” makes no sense whatsoever?

Like the previous short though, this one starts off with a wallop. Professor Utonium is quietly working in his lab, when all of a sudden, a shadowy figure comes and bonks him on the head and drags him away. The girls find out shortly after, when they come into an empty lab.

But wait! There’s a note. It turns out that Mojo Jojo has kidnapped the professor, but what reason would he have to do so?

This one’s a doozy. It turns out that Mojo used to be the professor’s pet monkey, a former test project and helper who was his right hand man until the fateful day when Utonium accidentally created the girls. Jojo did not leave the professor’s side automatically, though, as he himself was hit by this splash of chemical X, and had his brain multiply out of nowhere.

Despite Jojo’s newfound intellect however, Professor U dropped all attention from his pet to his new girls, which saddened the monkey so much that he left his care and became Mojo Jojo! How’s that for an origin story?

To add insult to injury, the professor and girls don’t even remember Mojo as one of their own. That’s gotta hurt. Utonium feels so bad for this after hearing his story that he decides to comply to Mojo’s wish and gives him the same powers as the girls. For the first time in years, the two supposedly brilliant men of science team up to make their greatest creation, a beam that gives Mojo the power he needs.

But of course Mojo uses these powers for evil, being Mojo. When it turns out that Mojo Jojo is about to finally have his victory, the twist of all twists occurs. You’ll have to watch the episode to know what I mean.

A much better short than the previous one, even if the gags are a little light. The story is much strong here, and Mojo’s character does indeed give it some much-needed energy. It’ll also come back as a key part in the movie, when or if I ever tackle it.

The first short isn’t all too bad, in hindsight. It has a pretty kickass song in it, which makes for my highlight this week.

Ed, Edd n’ Eddy:

Look Into My Eds

The Ed’s have a pretty good scam this week- an Ed-lead bus, perfect for a show whose adults are MIA. Except for the fact that the boys did not anticipate the power of a downward slope, which leads to a gigantic crash with the remaining kids on the bus.

But who cares about casualties, when the mail’s here? Double D’s book on psychosis comes in, as he tests it on Ed and Eddy. Somehow both are normal, by whatever rationale.

Eddy finds something way more awesome than a test in the book, though. He finds a hypnotizing device, which the boys test on each other to successful results. Now it’s time to test their newfound hypnosis powers on the rest of the kids.

First, Kevin becomes a monkey. Then, Sarah a frog. Next up is Jimmy bulking up beyond any rationale. And then both Plank and Rolf become zombies. Yeah, this is an odd one. And God bless it.

Eddy gets tired of playing around, and decides to take over the neighborhood now. They nearly get away with it too, if it wasn’t for those meddling sisters.

I tried to not write too much about this short, since I don’t want to ruin it for first timers, but it is gold, even if nothing really happens. This story wisely trades plot for jokes, and does so without maiming any of the characters in the balance, even when it’s essential to, which is the marks of a great comedic tale.

Tag Yer Ed

Isi t just me, or do you get hungry for cereal whenever you see Chunky Puffs on the show? Because this one starts off with the Ed’s about to settle down and eat some of their favorite cereal, except for one problem- bad milk. Chunky puffs + chunky milk= yuck.

The three head over to Rolf’s farm to get some milk, the hard way. This would be really gross if they knew how to milked a cow, so instead, it’s hilarious.

The Ed’s concede, and eat Chunky Puffs straight from the box outside. As we see them in peace, a football comes and hits Double D, at least on accident by Kevin and Rolf. He attempts to throw it back to them, except Edd is even weaker than Dexter is, and fails hard.

Eddy decides to take this opportunity to man Double D up by setting up a workout schedule for him, yet Double D can’t do a thing right. Eddy’s new goal now is to skip straight up to showing off his stuff, and sets up a wrestling game for poor Edd.

Match 1– Edd vs. Plank. Guess who wins?

Match 2– the Eds versus the Kankers. Again, guess the victor.

I’d rather not spoil these matches, so here you go. They’re both great stuff, as are both shorts this episode. I think the first is stronger, but they’re both loaded with gags that are hard to forget, yet easy to love.

In the second short, we learn how similar Ed is to Kuwabara, in a brief but respectable highlight.

Overall:

One of the best weeks so far. Only one short left me lukewarm, while I actively enjoyed the rest. I think my favorite was “Look Into My Eds”, but you can’t go wrong with the lion’s share of shorts in these episodes. I’m hoping for this trend to continue,