The Doctor Who Christmas Crapfest, Part One


The revived series of Doctor Who is a one that I have a rather complex relationship with. On the one hand, reviving interest in a decades-old series is not an easy thing to do, and the show deserves respect for taking a franchise that wasn’t always taken seriously into a globally recognized cultural powerhouse. But on the other hand… Read More


Smile Precure vs. the World: Pointless Competition Edition


This time around, a competition between two episodes about competition. Which one will win? Let’s start with the original version of this banter-heavy subject:


Episode 8 of Yes! Precure 5 begins with Rin rushing off to the Natts House to present her tulips, which she plans to decorate the store with. Right outside, she bumps into Karen, who is carrying Chinese bellflowers. The immediate result is an epic staring contest, which I’m sure must have been a load off the backs of the animators.


Unless that store is Hot Topic.

After the opening credits, Nozomi, Urara and Komachi raise the items they brought in a horrifyingly unified, sanitized way, like they’re in a really cheesy commercial. Rin and Karen are also setting their respective flowers up, but quickly get into an argument about which color flower suits the store the best, Rin’s red tulips or Karen’s blue bellflowers.


Someone hasn’t watched enough advertisements for Caribbean resorts.

The other girls try to defrost the situation, but eventually the argument spirals back up, this time about Karen’s greenhouse gardening, and the dubious appropriateness of growing summer flowers out of season. After the girls settle down to eat Komachi’s snacks, the argument then turns to which beverage to consume them with. Nozomi finally settles the deal by deciding to mix black tea, green tea and milk together 😛


A war was later fought over that last one.

The feud continues with Rin and Karen struggling to store their collectible plot devices into the Dream Collet before the other, which turns into a polite fight of who’s going to LET the other go first.


Out of context, it sounds like a black market for fingers.

Meanwhile, at Nightmare Headquarters, Bunbee gives his subordinate, Arachnea her next assignment, which is really her first assignment; get the Dream Collet. She sets out by levitating through the ceiling, because I guess Nightmare’s walls have this special property or something.


The head of Studio Pierrot.

The next day, the two subgroups consisting of Nozomi, Rin and Urara, and Karen and Komachi, respectively, are discussing Karen and Rin’s antagonistic relationship. When all five girls get together, they can’t even discuss the weather without Rin and Karen verbally sparring again. Trying to turn the subject to food just results in a massive eating contest between the two, with both even managing to out-eat Urara, a rare occurrence on the show.


She knows about the Precure fandom!

As the remaining three girls and Coco are discussing how to find something that Rin and Karen actually agree on, Coco senses Arachnea’s presence. And since she laughs quite evilly and loudly, everyone can easily sense her too, with their ears.


Unfortunately, we have governments to show that this is not true.

Arachnaea quickly captures Cure Dream, Lemonade and Mint and drags them into the nearby sewer, leaving Coco to get the two remaining Cures. He catches the two running into each other and exchanging their usual passive-aggressive banter. After explaining the situation, the two immediately go together to save the others without missing a beat.


Pictured: a beat being missed.

Rin and Karen finally make it to where Arachnaea is holding the others hostage in her spider web of doom, and transform into Cure Rouge and Cure Aqua. The Kowaina this time is one of the sewer pipes. Amusingly, Rouge and Aqua pretty much instantly get passed the beast and go right for Arachnaea herself, though the monster manages to get in its requisite pre-ass kicking beatdown.


Basically the ultimate fate of S.H. Figuarts.

Rouge and Aqua are quickly able to turn the tables on the fight, their need to outperform the other greatly elevating their combat capabilities. After easily dispatching the Kowaina, the other three girls manage to escape from their bonds, and proceed to kick Arachnaea’s ass as well, all the while giving a speech about how differences make people stronger and shit.ypc508-10.png

Afterward, Rin and Karen each admit that other was pretty awesome in the previous fight, and manage to high five each other. This newfound respect even extends to accepting each others’ flowers on display at Natts House. Of course, anyone with a basic understanding of storytelling knows that this peace is not to last, particularly not with two girls who REALLY don’t like to lose…


Might as well leave with the most important image of them all.

On to this round’s Smile Precure episode:smile25-title

Smile Precure‘s 25th episode begins in pretty typical fashion, with Miyuki excitedly explaining summer vacation to Candy, while generally acting like she’s six, which in real life would probably raise a few eyebrows.


And when you’re Chevy Chase, you screw everything up.

Turns out Miyuki didn’t actually have any summer plans, which is totally the way to go for me, but that doesn’t matter because Akane invites her by phone to go to the beach. Guess how Miyuki reacts.


No seriously, guess.

With the villains this time around, Akaoni decides to go to the beach himself, basically because he’s bored. You know, I like to think that villains are often scarier when their intentions are essentially boredom, but I don’t think that quite fits the mold. When Miyuki finally finds Akane, she quickly discovers her and mutual hotblooded sports girl Nao Midorikawa getting in fierce competition over their respective food stalls, Akane selling okonomiyaki and Nao selling shaved ice.


And Toei selling pure nightmare fuel.

The competition comes to a breaking point when Yayoi Kise arrives, trying to decide between the two food items. Hilariously, Akane and Nao both shout out their food items before even realizing it’s their friend. The timing of the line delivery is just perfect in both cases.


This is when you know all hope is lost.

The meeting of all five girls is interrupted once again by the call of business rivalry. When Miyuki reacts to this in a confused manner, Nao’s assistant Reika Aoki draws the same conclusion that Nozomi did in the YPC5 ep from before: that Akane and Nao are natural rivals who don’t like to lose.


And why am I randomly holding my arms in an L-shape?

Even when the two competitors have the opportunity to take a break, their activities involving Miyuki’s beach ball prove to rather violent and aggressive. They also have another eating contest similar to Rin and Karen’s lunch showdown, this time with watermelons. Followed by a sand castle building contest. And eventually a wrestling match. Yeah, I WISH the latter happened.


I’m just gonna say it was delivered by UberBalls and not question it.

Eventually the games are interrupted by the image of Akaoni surfing into the scene. Honestly, he’d probably be fine if he didn’t do anything villainous, but unfortunately for him his idea of “creating summer memories” also involves making bad ones for humans. I kind of wonder if this extends beyond simply wanting to do recreational stuff? Like, the villains can volunteer in soup kitchens or donate large sums of money to charity as long as they sap away people’s positive energy as they’re doing it?


Modeling for terrible email servers works too.

The girls meet up with Akaoni pretty quickly and transform. Akaoni creates a Super Akanbe out of shaved ice, which Cure Sunny and March rush up to to fight on their own, to predictably limited success. Things don’t go much better even after the other three Cures are encased in the Super Akanbe’s hardened ice head thing.


You can probably figure out by now what I feel is the most interesting part of this episode.

After their elemental powers fail to work, Cure Sunny and March deduce the usual lesson that their powers on their own are not enough to triumph, and decide that combining their powers by holding hands is the best option, in a scene that just screams a certain Whitney Houston song. I can definitely say that this whole sequence is very characteristic of Pretty Cure in general.


As is what immediately follows.

Anyway, Precure Rainbow Burst takes care of the Super Akanbe as always, but Akaoni is still satisfied at having made “amazing summer memories” due to now having a light tan. I’m still having trouble being convinced that he actually did anything remotely evil this episode. I mean, sure, he did try to make everyone chronically depressed and everything, but that’s such a non-factor in his motives. At least Arachnea had a real agenda!


The normal middle school girl reaction to defeating a radical surfing demon.

Yes! Precure 5 episode 8 has to be one of my favorite episodes from that series. Every scene, every line and every situation seems to be in the right place, making for a hell of a fun episode. While in Smile the competitive nature of Nao and Akane largely boils down to business and sports, with Rin and Karen EVERYTHING is turned into a contest. The spontaneous nature of their rivalry makes for a somewhat less predictable and stale episode.

But what truly sets the YPC5 episode apart is the final fight. It is great precisely because of how masterfully it defies audience expectations. One would expect something more like what happens in Smile, in which the two rivals’ antagonism interferes with their combative abilities. In keeping true to the post-modern spirit of Pretty Cure, Cure Rouge and Cure Aqua skip this part entirely, taking the audience by just as much surprise as Arachnea herself.

This is not to say that Smile doesn’t have its moments. In particular, the combination of Cure Sunny and Cure March’s powers is one of those magical moments in which something otherworldly happens, in which the lack of explanation adds to the mystique. No words are exchanged, but the way that the two affectionately look at each other is all that it takes to sell the scene (something that Saban apparently felt the need to script over for the dumb Americans here). But the rest of the episode is pretty standard formulaic stuff, which is pretty characteristic of Smile Precure overall.

Next time: Something completely different, but familiar. Until then, be safe and get along with your own friends!

Apologies About the Lack of Updates

Sorry about the lack of posts in recent days. I have some important things going on right now, and it might be a bit before I (semi)regularly update again. I am planning on continuing the “Smile Precure vs. the World” thing, and after that talking about a certain time-travelling sci-fi show that I have a rather complex relationship with. Until then, though, I have to figure some things out and also deal with the pesky thing known as real life. Sorry again.

Top 30 Hayakawa Showdowns


My favorite television show of all time is Kaiketsu Zubat. I love the atmosphere, the setting, and the style, but what’s most impressive to me is how it can be so many things at once. It’s funny, but also dead serious. The hero, Ken Hayakawa, is kind of an egomaniac, but he has a heart of gold. The villains were always garishly dressed and over the top, but many of the evil acts they did could feasibly be done by actual sociopaths. which made them genuinely horrifying. It was a show that could channel Adam West’s Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, often at the same time. Overall, it’s an unforgettable experience that stays with most people who have seen it, which unfortunately is not as many as it should be.

One of the hallmarks of the show was that in every episode, at some point a group of foot soldiers from the Consortium of Evil, Dakkar, would be harassing some innocent bystander(s) (who were women or children disturbingly often), only to be interrupted by Hayakawa strumming his guitar and making his entrance by way of the coolest looking shot possible given the setting. He would then proceed to beat everyone up before meeting up with the current evil organization’s hired goon, an assassin renowned for a particular skill. Hayakawa would then claim that this person is only the second best in Japan at his specialty, and point at himself when inquired who was the best. What followed was usually the highlight of any given episode, the Hayakawa showdown: the challenger would attempt to show Hayakawa that he was indeed the best in Japan at his skill, only for Hayakawa to prove him dead wrong.

These were the scenes that showcased the great Hiroshi Miyauchi’s talents the most. If it were anyone else playing Ken Hayakawa, he would have come off as smug and condescending. But with Miyauchi in the role, Hayakawa was given a roguish charm that lent a massive heroic quality to Hayakawa’s bragging. When he claimed he was best in Japan, you knew you were in safe hands, and that he would never allow an innocent to be hurt under his watch. Hell, Ken Hayakawa made my list of fictional heroes way back when, a list that is in sore need of an update.

In total there were 32 episodes of Zubat, and with the exception of the last 2, every one featured a Hayakawa showdown. And to honor this wonderful show, I am counting down my personal ranking of all of them. Be warned, though. The descriptions alone will blow your mind with awesomeness. The only way to top the rush you feel will be to watch the show itself, which you can do by visiting the wonderful folks at Millionfold Curiosity. Thank you guys for all your hard work!

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The Samurai Persistence Monopoly

shinkenger14-titleThis episode of Samurai Sentai Shinkenger begins with Ryunoske Ikenami trying to help out with the chores around the temple, to no avail as the Kuroko insist on doing the menial work themselves. However, in the middle of one of Ryunosuke’s tougher fights trying to wrest the broom from the Kuroko’s hands, a stranger vists.shinkenger14-1
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Smile Precure vs. the World: Deceased Parent Edition

smile-titlePretty Cure is a franchise that is infamous for reusing certain plot elements. And of all its more than 10 seasons, the worst offender is Smile Pretty Cure. But is it fair to call the episodes of Smile that reused previous episode plots lazy or repetitive? Did the soft reboot episodes do anything different with what was previously done with the same concepts? Are rhetorical questions annoying?

I’m going to be taking a look at episodes of Smile Pretty Cure that are essentially remakes of episodes of older seasons, and comparing them to see what they did differently, what makes them distinct, and then giving a half-assed and arbitrary opinion about which one is better. Be prepared, because we’re in for a ride. Welcome, my friends, to “Smile Precure vs. the World”. Why is it called that? Because 1) it’s a catchy title, and 2) “Smile Precure” has the same initials as “Scott Pilgrim”. Now let’s get started!

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Karate Girl (2011) Recap

karategirltitleIt is amazing the kinds of things one can discover on the Recommended Videos section of YouTube. For every Let’s Play episode, pop song parody, or pointless list fulfilling a very specific niche, there are genuine gems you would have never discovered in a million years otherwise. For me, one day I was busy scrolling through (which means that I was probably supposed to be doing homework) when suddenly:

Holy shit! I knew the second it was over that I had to watch the whole movie, because miracles like this are destined to be blogged about by losers on the internet. Read More

PGSM: The “Special” Act

Hello, readers! I’ve been pretty out of it for the summer, mostly because the last few recaps have burned me out, and left me feeling kinda empty, like there was something missing. I don’t think they’re bad or anything, but they seemed to lack a certain spark that I see more when I read over my older stuff. Basically, the way I was writing most recently felt more like an office task, with me trying to insert certain things in certain places, regardless of whether or not it really worked, and in the end the whole process started to feel mechanical. As such, I took the last few weeks to clear my head a bit and relax.

So after quite a few weeks of inactivity, I’m back, trying to go back to the more free-flowing form of my earlier entries. I will definitely need a few posts to get back my footing, so bear with me. Or don’t; no one’s forcing you to read. Read More