A Very Poké Christmas

My sweet Island Guests, this cocktail will be the last round of drinks before the blog closes for Christmas! That is right!  I decided to not post anything on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.  The latter in the Netherlands is called “Second Christmasday” It’s basically the day where you visit the other side of the family. So just another day of christmas festivities. While Christmas will be a bit sober and all I will get for Christmas is some good food, a good time AND a hangover, that is enough. I will not be able to respond on posts a lot and I assume a lot of view have gone to visit loved ones as well so I decided on a short two to three day break (depending on how I get through christmas)

That being said I did want to say Merry Christmas to all of you so I decided to do this with a little Christmas story of rhyme! Because I am the Pokémon girl and the anime-blogging girl of the community I decided to make a zaney, wacky rhyme! So strap in and here we go!

Twas The Night Before Christmas, when only on the island of Paradise,
bars were still opened serving cocktails on ice!
Kuro was working hard serving guests when they heard a loud noise!
A fat..android like creature showed up with a very menacing voice!

“Christmas is over, I put Santa’s Sled Firmly to the ground”
“Now that he is in Isolation, no Happiness will be found” 

Manager Pinkie , also drinking, spilled her drink yelling “How Mean”
When she looked at this presence she shrieked “Oh No It’s Covid-19”

“That is right” laughed the Dragon Ball Bootleg “That is me”!
“It’s not the Grinch or Krampus that will ruin christmas you will see”

The manager sighed and got up from her chair and put on her Santa Hat.
“If Santa is grounded I’ll save christmas..I am equally jolly just slightly less fat “

The Virus laughed and said “Half the world is in lockdown, there is nothing you can do”
Pinkie smiled as all Coconuts gathered “Luckily I got a friend or two”

Covid cruely grinned “You can’t even get close to people, christmas sleeps with the fishes”
Pinkie smiled back and said “We will save Christmas, strictly with warm wishes”

While Paradise, might only exists in the virtual space, 
it exists to be a happy place.

While Pinkie can’t board a boat and does not possess a magic sleigh!
There was yet another play!

The Manager looked at Indigo and said should with me!
Both looked up to the sky yelling Tamago Tomadachi “We needeth Thee”

A fried egg descended from the sky!
“Behold my glory, Tamago Tomodachi that is I”

The Pink girl bowed and said “My egg friend ,we need to save christmas in the blogosphere”
“Lets together spread some Christmas Cheer”

The friendly egg sprinkle some magic yolk on the island to make it fly
For some weird reason (because it rhymes) it also made the island smell like apple pie!

Pinkie cheered and picked up some Pokéball!
“Let’s travel around the blogosphere and bring monster friends to all”

So they departed on this epic quest,
To bestow Christmas greetings to many of you.. before we take rest.

Merry Christmas , my Senpai Irina!
I’ll leave you with a Book of Friends and an Alcoholic Primarina!

And to you , lovable Scott!
Happy Holidays! Have some fictitious Gunpla and an adorable Oshawott!

An amazing christmas for my blogging friend Naja!
My gift, non existing Amigurumi supplies and a Copperajah

And to that super swell fellow, by the name of Mallow!
Imagine me gifting you Guild Wars 3 and a Shiny Swellow!

Merry and Bright days, to my bestie Foovay!
Whom I will bestow unique Castle Cats and a Brand new Luxray!

To the wonderful unique Fred,
I wish you a wonderful winter hike  and a carolling Loudred!

A magical day to magical girl Lita!
I’d  give you some Yaoi and a lewd Gothorita!

Happy Christmas, to a Geeky Girl called Meg…
No Pokémon rhymes with that name so here is a Lillipup, still half in its egg!

Feliz Navidad to the just geeking Heather!
Enamel pins and Pikachu for you..but he’s not real he’s just a sweater!

Winstolf Happy Holidays to thee!
That’s right swapped it around so I can give you Cait Sith cosplay and a Goomy!


Rhyming was getting harder and Tamago Tomodachi was running out of yolk!
“This can’t be it” Pinkie said “We still have to wish Merry Christmas to so many other folk” 

Tamago Tomadachi who is always very smart,
Came up with a solution to make this endeavour a bit less hard!

“What if we pair people up by the two”
“You can combine some names so rhyming will be easier for you”

To my gaming friends Solaryo and Pix,
I wish you’ll get Playstation fives and christmas kisses from this Swirlix!

Joyeux Noël,  K (try rhyming with a letter)  and Curtis with the Iridium Eye!
Foreign Christmas movies for you. delivered by a shiny Cutiefly.

Best wishes to Master Mix Movies and Future President Joy,
I’ll give you two a Betty White Movie, with a cinema loving Baltoy!

Merry Christmas , Biblionyan and Lyn!
Manga Mystery boxes for you and Sky form Shaymin!

Blessings to Celestial Sparkles and Olive Unicorn! 
My Pinkie-Santa gift to you is sparkly make-up and a fun to ride Ryhorn!

Gingerbread Men and Cookies for Alyssa and Krystalina!
Who will we give a mental  manga library  and some Nidorina!

The merriest of Holidays to the great people called Yasuno Kuro and Crow!
My gift is an anime about a Kaiju Santa fighting Solgaleo!

My christmas greetings to Una and Lina from Hallyureviews!
K-pop tickets for you two along with Pachirisus !

“We aren’t going to make it in time” the manager squealed,
when two brave little helpers were suddenly revealed.

Sunny and Indigo rolled up their sleeves, 
while Kuro made the manager a Mojito, he was crushing some leaves.

“Do not worry manager-chan we are a team” was said by the STAFF
Suddenly the manager found the strength once again, just laugh!

Her giggles might have been more of  a HiHiHi than a HoHoHo..
There  was not even a rednose reindeer, but this crew was very merry though!

Merry Christmas to Emma and the Thoughts of Shoujo!
Our team will bestow you with adorable fanfiction read by Lucario!

Blessing of the Season to Moya and Wooderon!
My gift to you a night at the movies with the projector powered by Magneton!

A healthy wholesome day to Red Metal, Mari, Egghead Luna and  Jarilissima
I will show you the world, on the back of a Staravia.

A day filled with laughter, family and joy for Indigo, Ony, Jon, Nabe , Ashley and Annie!
I bestow you with ugly christmas sweaters made by your very own Leavanny!

The best of wishes to Kim, McKenna, 9Tailed and also Thero!
A happy night of drinks for you.. followed by Amnesia with Slowbro!

Stay strong and have fun,  Wren, Mike, Merlin and Aria.
Good times will come, so says Dialga!

Merry Christmas to those who are currently away, Raistlin, Karandi and Iskidee!
May you all recover from what troubles you, as if healpulsed by Indeedee!

The happiest of days who read who did not get mentioned because I forgot!
You have my apologies.. and a second merry christmas because Wynaut!

Fatigued but satisfied Paradise returned where it belonged,
We could mention more of you guys but the conclusion might be too far prolonged.

While Covid is a horrible Grinch who keeps us all apart..
This post is meant to illustrate how many people we have  close in our heart.

For this list is inconclusive.. but if you are reading this I DO appreciate YOU!
So the world might seem small, but you have a list like this too!

The monster we may like Christmas might make life seem like hell..
I hope that Santa Pink Illustrated.. that somewhere in the world will always wish you well.

Thank you everybody for being a part of my life, no matter big or small! I all wish you a very VERY happy christmas, be it in small groups or even by yourself. While we might not be able to do everything we want.. we can make the world seem prettier with just a bit of magic or make belief! I hope you enjoy my fictional gives in your fictional variants! ..Returning some of this stuff will be horrible!

Pinkie and her Christmas Nakama: A Christmas Actvity With Anime Characters

Johoho Island Guests it is I, Santa Pink! I have come to bring some Joy to The World by taking on this amazing tag created by the wonderful Annie! She is the writer for Evening Tea Musings!.. I did not know there was Evening Tea.. but since there is Breakfast Tea I guess it makes sense!  In this tag we celebrate Christmas and it’s various activities with Anime Characters!  Now in the Netherlands we don’t have many Christmas traditions because we used to Celebrate Sinterklaas instead and just have the religious aspect.. but I’ve seen a lot of Christmas movies to give me some ideas!

Senpai, Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime, gave me the gift that is this tag so she and Annie can join me in these fictional Christmas celebrations.  Also note that I was actually supposed to have a post about Wild Wild West here, that now will show up somewhere in the final days of December. On Christmasday and on Boxing day I will not release any posts as we don’t box anything on boxing day..instead it is to celebrate christmas with the other part of the family we could not visit.  I assume most of us will celebrate christmas those days anyway so I felt I better save my blogs for later. That way we can all interact and have fun together again! Regardless this post snuck in because I thought it was super sweet! Thank you Senpai.. you gave me a great gift!  So how does the tag work? There are not really any rules except you list a Christmas Activity with an anime Character. So I will go in a sort of ..but not really Chronological order. As If telling a story!

Decorating the Tree with Monkey D Luffy

So in the Netherlands we have few Christmas Traditions.. but the Christmas Tree has been there for almost as long as I remember, lots of people did not do it when I was like 4 but by the time I was 7 every house had a Christmas Tree. While it is always lovely  to have the finished product there are some issues with decorating it. Reach… being on thing .. if you have a big tree you have to really work to get to those tough spots and more importantly untangling the lights of last year. Reeee that is so stressful! I just don’t have arms that are long enough so when I put it on the floor behind me as I go.. the stuff behind me tangles again!  Luffy is the perfect solution! He can easily untangle lights with his stretchy body, he can even decorate the  back of the tree properly and he can get to those hard to reach spots!  He is also a very Jolly and Merry guy who would bring some of that Christmas spirit in the house!

Carolling with the μ’s.

The second step in making a Christmas movie is showing how much I care about Christmas, or sometimes how I do not care about Christmas.. but that latter does not fit into this tag! So this movie shows how much I care about Christmas through me singing and dancing Japanese Idol style versions of classic Christmas Songs…and Snow Halation as well which is one of my favourite Idol songs ever! I do think that the μ’s make for good carollers though I might struggle with the Choreography! We do not have carollers here but from what I have seen in Christmas movies those are a bit stuff! They could really use the show element these girls would bring and I could live my dream to be an idol girl! Win for the people and a win for me!

Visiting a Mall Santa  with Team Rocket

The Krampus Pokémon

So… this is a bit of a sidestep.. .But in a good christmas movie there is always that person that is trying to ruin Christmas. Be it a Grinch or Krampus or whatever. Krampus actually appears in versions of our traditional Sinterklaas as well. Just in this case he is a super powerful Pokémon that Team Rocket actually releases to try and catch Pikachu!  However this monster is beyond their control and goes out to ruin Christmas!.. They don’t like that so in Panic they abduct Santa so Krampus can’t get to him and then they see the performance of the carolling people and think! Those girls  love Christmas. We should ask them for help… So Jessie dresses up as Santa Claus and James as a Female Elf Helper and they sit in a mall near us waiting for us to show and eventually we do! Now we need to save Christmas or they will keep Santa!

The hunt for gifts (+ Krampus)  with Spike

Ask a person what they want for their birthday and people , almost always, will answer! I don’t need anything! Just celebrate the day with, some flowers are fine! Stuff like that! With Christmas however people tend to be a lot more imaginative. “I saw this one particular set of bathing goods that would be lovely” , this one store has this amazing sterling silver charm on my bracelet that isn’t that expensive… I forgot what store it is though. It’s quite similar to Jingle All the Way, which is a much smarter movie then people give it credit for. It isn’t done very well..but that movie does really depict a real side of christmas. The thing people want is sold out, they forgot what it is called and what store it is in. I need a skilled hunter to help me track it down. It doesn’t hurt that he could track down Krampus as well!  Plus his Hair is Green and his little airship we can use to get around is Red.. so he also has the colour scheme down! As I haven’t seen the entire series yet and only missed bounties I would also like to give him a contract he can complete for once.. Even though I can’t pay a lot..it should at least feel nice to have somewhat of a success!

Stress Crying with Usagi

Well I have most of the gifts now, but that one gift was out of stock but would come in tomorrow, and for that other gift I have to remind myself to get some batteries, but I can best do that on my way to the house where I will eat Christmas Dinner because otherwise I am sure to forget. I still have to do groceries for dinner and remind myself to call my family, send out the last batch of Christmas cards, I still have to go shop for a new Christmas outfit and then there is Krampus who now took my most cherished guest for Christmas ….Waaaaaa that is a lot of stress!  For those who believe Andy Williams song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” It kinda is, but if you wholeheartedly believe this to be true you have never hosted anything. Christmas is one of the most Stressful times of the year. There is so much to do! Crying helps vent that stress a lot.. but I don’t stress cry that easily. I do cry easily but I need a stronger push! So Usagi ..who cries REALLY easy, might just be the incentive I need! When I see someone else crying of stress I feel like.. “okay I am not the weakest anymore now I can cry to” There have been few christmases where I did not at least stress cry a bit though! (Since I lived on my own at least)

Defeating Krampus with Maple

After the mental breakdown in the Christmas movie it is always time for the turn around we find our Christmas spirit back! When me and Usagi have cried ourselves dry Spike will point out that there is a weird star in the sky somewhere west from here.. it is really bright but it should not be there! It also looks to be a bit low in the sky!  We travel to the star and discover it is actually Angel Form Maple from Bofuri flying on her Turtle because she is looking for Santa ..  A few shepherds and their flock of sheep is running in terror as they see an Angel fly  on a Kaiju turtle as we arrive. Christmas needs some angels as well. Spike tells her where Santa is and how we can get him back and Maple sends Syrup on our way and the fight is fair. Usagi transforms, Spike shoots and I distract Krampus with Christmas songs that he hates! He evolves into something bigger and then Maple oneshots it! But Krampus can only be finished by someone who truely loves christmas..so now I have to sing the most sincere Christmas song ever. Of course that would have to be O Holy Night since we have an angel there.. and I did the whole analogy thing with three people traveling from the east to visit a super powerful child and all.. so yeah!  But it has to be sincere. I might have to sing R2-D2 we wish you a Merry Christmas instead. Pick whatever you want to hear and imagine that! (For those who don’t know the R2-D2 song) This is the first song Bon Jovi ever recorded! Check the YouTube link on my blog to listen to it’s greatness!

Drinking mulled wine and Eggnog with Aqua

Suddenly we realise it is already Christmas Eve… Imagine that.. whole story of the last bit. In the Netherlands we traditionally would go to Church, until I lost my faith when a priest refused to have my uncle in church because he was gay..and seeing a few movies that made me doubt this was it. Regardless at the end of the service people would meet outside and drink some Mulled wine together. After Krampus is defeated and we rescued my party guests who would probably both be quite shocked and unsure if they can attend the next day..due to being kidnapped by a demon.. i’d probably curse and use “the lord’s”  name in vain.  I worked so hard and now it is all ruined still! God dammit I hate Christmas..you see a lot of christmas movies have this second setback where all hope seems lost.  Then God would appear..well not “the god” just “A God” Aqua would show up and tell me.. you look like you could use a drink! I would nod and she would say! So could I !  Let’s have some christmas drinks! Sad and hurt my guests, I would agree! And I would enjoy the wine and try bourbon and rum filled egg nog as I go deep into christmas eve with Aqua. 

Seeing Three Ghosts with Fuyumi Yanagi, Nanana Ryuugajou and Meiko Honma

I would not stay sober that night and in a drunken Delerium suddenly Yanagi from Blood Lad would appear before me saying “I am the ghost of Christmas Past I will show you a vision”  she would show me a vision of back when I watched Blood Lad for the first time.. the christmas of that year.  Mom and dad had just separated and me and mom had one of the warmest Christmasses together, my sister was forced to stay at her girlfriend’s place. Mom had a Turkish boyfriend, but she came home because she did not want me to be alone for Christmas.. We had an amazing Christmas together. The vision would end and I wondered why Usagi and Spike let me get this drunk.

Then suddenly Nanana from Nanana’s buried treasure appears before me.  “I am the ghost of Christmas Present” she would say! I would take a bottle of Sake , probably empty and tell her she is not even a real ghost!  She would shrug and show me a vision of me staying in bed all day, my one guest would just read a book in her room by herself while she just been through a bad experience and my other guest would feel very unfulfilled. Nanana would say they need me and I would say they chose not come and it made me sad! They are always welcome but if they don’t want to come I won’t force them. Nanana would fade away as quickly as her show ended and Meiko from Anohana would appear. As the ghost of the future she would show me countless empty December 25ths..  Nothing bad happens.. but I would just sit at home doing what I always do..except no one is online because everyone celebrates. I would be shocked! I hate the idea of having an empty life and not being part of memories! I would tell her why is she here I have not even seen Anohana yet.. and she claims that is the exact reason why she is the ghost of the Future. I wondered when I would see it.

Cooking Christmas Dinner with Megumi

The next morning I would wake up in my own bed, hangover free, with a not from Aqua saying she purified me or something and that I should have a great Christmas.. awww perhaps she isn’t a useless goddess over all.  Though I can not help but wonder if the purifying was kinda lewd! I’d call up my two traumatised guests and in a joyful tone ask them to come. I promise them it will be great and without much convincing I succeed! People can be weird around these days and kind of shut you out but all they want to know is that you really love them! I  haven’t finished the entire Food Wars series yet, I am stranded at the part where they cook on trains!  So the Megumi that is coming to cook with me is earlier seasons Tadokoro-Chan.

She’d be my guest for Christmas but like I said in my New Years posts last year, rather than giving each other flowers and chocolates or a bottle of wine that gets added to the collection, we just help each other out! She loves cooking and I do too! So it would be super fun to cook christmas dinner together. I really adore her personality and while I would not serve a fish only Christmas menu, I think together we can still make something great!

Exchanging Gifts with Sayaka Saeki

Of course I would not leave my Waifu out of Christmas! I needed Spike to track down the perfect gift for her. I kind of like giving gifts more than I like receiving them, but I am fairly poor so it is a lot rarer as well.  For this little Christmas fantasy however I had a neat little cash influx that allows me to afford all these Shenanigans. I would give Sayaka a first print of her favourite book, or like a first edition of the first book I ever saw her reading. Something like that. I like giving things that show you know a person and while maybe not very valuable or rare or useful it shows thought!

Those are my favourite kind of gifts. If I gift you a hairbrush you want.. I am kind of saying “I agree your hair could look better”  but if I gift you an item that suits you without it being functional, I show… I like you.. I like this aspect of you and I accept you for who you are and I think Christmas is the perfect time to give such gifts.. I might be just gifting a keychain (and this year nothing  caused stores to close and I waited with gift shopping as one of my giftees wants something perishable) but it is not just a keychain! It is love as well. Obviously my Waifu would get a lot of love…the non physical kind, the physical kind seems kinda gross after having a rich christmas meal.

Believing In Santa with Yuki Takeya

The story would end with my little band of Carollers performing Snow Halation one last time! We do that inside because my house would be too small for so many girls to dance and sing!  As we look up in the sky me and the neighbour girl both at the same time point and what looks to be a sled flying in the sky! No one else seems to notice it! The girl straightens her black cat eared had and smiles and says “I saw him” , I would nod and smile “I saw him too, twice actually but last time he was kidnapped, I wonder how he escaped team Rocket”. 

Team Rocket wakes up in their own house and finds a big christmas present under their tree. There is a note from Santa “ I got out ..as there is work to be done , I will not leave without a gift though”  Team Rocket opens their gift and  they find a large tub of Coal. James sighs when he suddenly sees something move in the tub of coals, as he digs it out he discovers a Voltorb. He gulps as he knows what is happening.  We cut back to me and Yuki waving at Santa and the others thinking we are crazy.. then a bang can be heard in the distance, three shapes shoot up past santa. “Three Rocket is Blasting off Again…..Meeeeowwwth”….me and Yuki hear Santa laugh “Hohoho!” Merry Christmas”

With just one day for Christmas I am not sure if I can still tag anybody! So I will open up this thing for everyone who wants to still give it a try! My Christmas gift to you guys! Just be sure to tag Annie in your post so she can read them all! You know a lot better if you have the time available than me so I think this is pretty fair! You ALL are nominated by simply reading this! Hohoho! I at least gave some gifts this year it seems!

Animini: That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime – Episode 22 – Conquering the Labyrinth

Sweet island guests, today’s Animi cocktail will be served in a slightly cracked coconut. It will have a few bitter tones but overall will provide a sweet experience.  My Arceus , how annoying are the female Demon Lords in this show!  If I ever get reincarnated into THAT world please let me be a rope so I can strangle them!  That being said Slime offered a fairly okay episode again this week! While not great it is certainly nowhere near as shiit(ake-soy-sauce )  as the last arc.

The Summary

Despite Shizu suffering quite a bit due to being inhabited by a superior spirit , Rimuru still things this is the best way to let these kids live longer so he travels with them to the maze that holds the Spirit Queen, to find spirits he can put inside his class, she can help him summon. When the group enters the maze they are prepared for a maze-like place filled with traps. It turns out to be a straight hallway that is heavily enchanted, maybe they will end up wandering forever. Suddenly a voice begins echoing and laughing in their head, saying they are going to die here and trying to invoke fear. It works pretty well on Chloe, but the rest of the kids doesn’t seem all that scared, much to the chagrin of the voice.  Rimuru tells  what they are here to do and the voice chuckles thinking that sounds fun.  Suddenly the  ruins light up and a kind of portal appears.. well more like a Bifrost.. but either way Rimuru and his kids are invited to a new location! There the voice will give them a test! A fight against a pink mecha thing! YAY Pink represent!

Rimuru decides to talk the spirit out of it saying if the voice doesn’t make the Golem back down he will be forced to destroy it.. the spirit doesn’t believe he can do it and makes the Golem trying to kill Rimuru , who promptly ensnares and torches my beautiful new pink friend! It was great to have you here while it lasted, Golem-Chan! Rimuru then threatens to burn down the entity in their heads as well. A pixie shows up! She tells everyone she is Demon Lord Ramiris and she is like Milim..on caffeine pills. By all means just like with Milm she should be a character I really love but she mostly got on my nerves. Rimuru thinks she is too weak to be a demon lord but after she reveals Milim visited her fellow Demon Lord to tell about her new bestie Rimuru opens up to the idea. She is a lot wiser and has more support like abilities that might make her amazing after all. A lot of talking happens and she is bribed with a lot of cookies.  Since it is revealed Ramiris is also the Queen of spirits.. and like 20 other things.. (kind of like Denny was in Game of Thrones)  she tells Rimuru she is a neutral being and she will help him summon spirits to save the kids.  Which functions kind of weirdly but we are left with the children preparing for the ritual.

The Positives

The fact that the pink Golem was one of my highlights kind of shows quite well where I am in terms of liking this episode. I liked it fine.. but the element that got me most excited was that the creator coloured in something pink! I guess it works with Ramiris personality well.  But still I was most excited about a visual choice and a one minute encounter.  That being said on the design front this episode was truly excellent. I do very much like Ramiris design, she is cute but dark enough looking to indeed sell that she is a “fallen” queen.  Her personality is similar enough for me to believe she is friends with Milim and that Milim would come brag to her as I can easily imagine them being friendly but also have a fair bit of rivalry.  The magic maze , while not a maze was designed pretty nicely and I liked the idea of Rimuru exploring a dungeon  for once. Of course the colourful pixies floating around helped as well.  Design wise great episode.

I also like , in theory , how flawed these Demon Lords are,  it makes it feel an achievable status for pretty much everyone, making me believe that Rimuru at one point will get it.. probably because one of them will stupid enough to attack and end up being absorbed.  It leaves the path of progress open for Rimuru as I really feel that to progress beyond his current limitations he will probably need to absorb a Demon Lord.   Like I said in earlier reviews I am kind of unhappy that they tossed in so many creatures more powerful than Rimuru if there are no consequences to this. I am happy if you do it and there are consequences but if nothing bad happens anyway you might as well just keep him powerful, now it just feels like the plot is treading water.. but people like Ramiris show me.. there is hope for Rimuru to evolve. One will mess up and further the plot.. eventually.  I am also quite curious to see what kind of spirit these children will get so at least I am excited for this , semi final ish episode coming up. (As far as I know the other two episodes are set in a time before Rimuru) 

The Negatives

This isn’t a very strong episode for me however. The plot stalls several times. My biggest gripe is that they do the whole Charybdis thing again.. the Golem is said to be super powerful and that it might kill Rimuru if he fails to dodge.. he dodges twice.. then pretty much One Shots the thing again.  I am fine with him One shotting the thing.. but if we first get an explanation on how dangerous this thing is and how most of Rimuru’s magic won’t be effective , you start to expect a real fight but no.. he just kills it in one hit. I still do not mind the kill but I just feel the warnings before have become wasted. There is no need to think about how to defeat a monster if you already know! It is just bad writing to draw out an episode or a manga page. I don’t like it. It happens several times as well, Rimuru explains how hard this place will be to navigate… they get invited to progress immediately, Ramiris explains it is hard to summon a spirit, if they fail they will just create a new spirit they can use. So much safety nets that contradict earlier dialogue, making a lot of the text empty.

I have not made it a secret that I do not particularly enjoy Milim, while I do feel her personality was a bit much, she at least had the oomph to back it up.. she was just used very wrong.  Ramiris is even more annoying. There is this “Boy Who Cried Wolf” element to her that once again makes all her dialogue feel a bit “filler”  I am not even sure she is actually a Demon Lord. She shows up in the intro as her own separate presence. I just find her quite unpleasant to be around with or something! Not sure the character just doesn’t really work for me!  I like her level of peppiness.. but the whole punch throwing thing has been done since Scrappy Doo.. in fact he is a perfect analogy for her and there are a lot of people who do not like Scrappy Doo! Ramiris kind of annoyed me more! Like the Scrappy Doo , from the Third Scooby Doo movie in which he becomes the villain!  Just no!

The Score

Overall I am left with a mediocre episode that is in between Fine-Apple and Okiwi to me.
I did enjoy the Pink Golem a lot, and it is a beautiful episode to watch. It is nice to see some more classical fantasy elements such as dungeons exploring pop up more , at least on the main cast.   We have mostly seen action on a large scale. For a series that references Dragon Quest so much, it felt more like Slime, Total War or Slime Fantasy Tactics than as Slime Quest to me. While I do like the village growth it is quite good to see an adventure like this happen as well and it nails the location and the looks pretty much on the head. Definitely  this is one of the prettier episodes to watch!  Battles overall do look pretty in this show even though they are quite short and this one is no exception! Great choreography as well! 

However, everything that happens feels rather hollow and I do not blame the action, I blame the poor set up.. it feels extremely contradictory for me. “This Enemy is really strong” ..Oneshot. “This maze is super dangerous”….. “Please follow the shiny lights to get to the next area where your test will begin”. It’s like looking forward to a bag of crisps, what is in there is pretty good.. but once you open it and realise that half of the bag is filled with air you also kinda feel scammed. The annoying Fairy doesn’t do this episode any favours either.  While I do like her design and I would not mind her having this personality as much if she was the only one to have it, her being basically a copy of Milim but smart instead of strong..  makes her feel more throwaway and annoying. In fact it is because of the fact that she brings so little new to the table I will say this episode is not good enough to be fine-apple!

Animini: Zombie Land Saga – Episode 1 – Good Morning SAGA

Greetings my sweet Island Guests, today’s cocktail is something new yet unexpected. One may find the taste a bit odd.. but it is pretty much in line with “me” as a brand! So I planned to start watching The Promised Neverland here! Unfortunately Crunchyroll turns out to block this for my reason due to licensing issues. So I found myself without a show to watch!  I kind of wanted something weird or something Idol like.. so when I discovered this weird Idol show ( I did not know about it before)  I was sure! Zombie Girls trying to be Pop Idols! Yes! Yes! YES! 

The Summary

Sakura is a pretty girl who is about to start her second year in high school!  She happily is watching an Idol-show planning to be an idol herself one day! Dreaming off the future she hops into her shoes and happily starts running towards school!  Truck-Kun shows up however and we see the girl get ragdolled through the air. Heavy Metal music starts playing as we see her neck twist in an awkward position and the credits are presented in blood! Clearly this girl will not shrug it off. Yet the next thing we see is her waking up in a creaky old mansion. She has no memories of how she got here!  While exploring this strange place she is attacked by a woman who looks to be a zombie! She flees into another room which is filled with other girl zombies!  Scared for her life she flees the mansion. She first spots a sign showing she is in the fairly rural Saga Prefecture  and then she  sees a cop!  When she tries to tell him of her distress, he is scared of her and even fires his gun at her!  When she sees her own reflection in one of those traffic mirrors she is revealed to be a zombie as well.  Confused, she collapses.. When the cop is about to finish her off he is whacked in the head with a shovel and Sakura passes out. Neat! I did not know zombies could pass out!

When she wakes up the guy, a man dressed in a vest and sunglasses tells her of the plot. He is a necromancer it seems that resurrected her and a lot of other girls who had an idol like function throughout the course of history. Calling her his number 1. Apparently she was the first one to awaken to a conscious, although she has no memories of her old life.. the other girls.. are still just regular zombies. When she asks what this “stimulated”  thing is.. the man who introduces himself as Kotaro Tatsumi tells her it doesn’t matter and everything is like all that other zombie media.  His plan for resurrecting these girls is that he wishes to return glory to the Saga District.. who once produced some great idols!  This Idol Project he started is given a title that is quite similar to the title of the show! Would you look at that! Not quite but close enough!  As Sakura is being nibbled on by one of the braindead girls Sakura asks how he plans to make them idols.. and he says he entered them in an open stage event Today!  

Now in full mortal make-up Sakura discovers she has been signed up for a heavy metal open stage! This won’t go well, her new friends will surely eat the crowd. Tatsumi tells her she is responsible however .. and the performance begins. A nervous Sakura almost immediately gets booed off the stage and she narrowly avoids one of her fellow zombies to eat the audience. However when their new manager begins to play some metal music a few of the girls find themselves headbanging ..flailing their broken bodies around, as if their necks were broken.. impressing the metalheads.  The blond zombie whose name I don’t know yet.. even though it was shown once..  finds a megaphone and begins screaming in it.. randomly.. it amps up the metalheads even more. Sakura sees this and just wails in the microphone as well and flails her broken body around to do some impressive headbanging.

The crowd goes wild and while staring into the stage light it seems as if Sakura remembers something.. an idol group of some kind!  She is having a fun time and decides to stage dive…. which leads to the other girls following her example and munching on the audience. As Sakura remembers her first failed performance she also thinks back on those idols she met. Then a scream is heard from the house! She runs inside and finds out nearly all the zombie girls have suddenly awakened. She has an awkward talk to make.. she starts addressing them by shouting GOOD MORNING.

The Positives

Okay long Summary! But hey that is quite usual with first episodes!  I had a great time with this show and it is a great show to watch in times like these. It’s super breezy and lighthearted but I also found the episode to be quite creative!  The show is super self aware which gives it a nice and lovely tone. It doesn’t create false expectations, it will just give you a big stupid grin for being something so silly yet charming.  I also like the visuals, it is bright despite also being washed out and zombie-like at the same time. It shows the contradiction between the world of zombies and Idols well. I also really like the voice actress so far!  She just feels so right for the part and the stress and confusion in her voice can be heard when she experiences these emotions. There is a lot of colour in that voice and that is important for an Idol show I’d say!  The design of the girls is all pretty amazing as well. I don’t know them much yet but I really love the bitey zombie!  The Blonde and the Blue haired girl really appeal to me as well.  I really like how the Blue one was depicted with a big heart on the outside.  There is a lot you can do with this.

I also love how much contrast there is in this show. We see a super cute girl running out in the street.. then I see one of the most brutal truck-kun kills yet!   Quite visceral!  Mostly because we just see her head crack against the window and then ragdolled in slow motion as slowly parts of her body seize to function, letting go of her homework, her head falling back with eyes that grow more empty! Eek! The metal music playing with that.. while not a type of music I appreciate too much unless sung by Johathan Young, really helped this scene.  The idea of cute girls singing metal on stage reminds me of the charm of BabyMetal. I like them as well… kinda!  There is a constant balance between dark and somewhat edgy with ultra cute and I really dig that.  I also like that the show knows you can’t really write this stuff well so they spoof it themselves, making a joke about not providing satisfying answers. I know I will not get those now.. and at least I can chuckle with it.

The Negatives

While I will not be terribly harsh on it, I do think the first episode misses a good song to bob to!  Love Live had the amazing Start Dash,  and while I might not expect Death Musume (Name Pending)   to do the song.. perhaps a sweet idol song from future rivals or something would have been a good way to insert a bit more idol feelings. Have Sakura sing an idol song at the beginning of the show.. a song she was working on.. forgot and through the course of the show might be able to remember.  In short I wanted a bit more of that “Pitch Perfect” Vibe. While I still got a very funny and colourful comedy, I don’t think it is that unfair to ask for at least a bit of music in an Idol show right?!   A bit more background in Sakura’s idol dream could have done wonders! It’s good as it is but it is just something that could have been done better, in my humble opinion! Who knows maybe she will remember more later.

While I do love the idea of having a super vague story that is filled with plot holes that the characters just ignore, I do want to know more about how these zombies work,  will they infect people they bite? Probably not.. given that they are dead people from across time I am 95% sure they were made by necromancy!  I don’t think those zombies infect. It might be something we will see next episode!  I also would not mind if the show leaned a bit more into that darkness. When we see the zombies attack the audience, show a bit of blood, confirm a fatality or something! I do like the mix between light and dark, but I feel the show could use a little more commitment to the dark aspects.. that being said I do think they will fade away a bit more as the girls become more aware so it is quite excusable! Though if that darkness DOES indeed fade away I think that would kind of be all the more reason to do it!  So yeah.. again not so much a negative as it would be a point of improvement.

The Score

This episode is a clear Berry Good to me!  It is a very personal Berry Good though because this show is weird and self aware . It isn’t very clean written, some things don’t make sense and there isn’t much depth. In fact if you would be able to talk to this episode and ask “Where is your Depth?” It would probably answer “Depth? Isn’t that that guy who got fired from those wizardy movies?… Oh hey look… a butterfly” So this is one of those shows that is very much not for everyone, yet I felt it is very much for me!  It is also perfect for when you are feeling a tad blue, it is just cute but kind of twisted fun! I was in the mood for that so yay! It pretty much delivered what I expected from it!  I really never heard of this before so I was happy to have discovered it!  

I do not think this anime will enter in my top 5 anime anytime soon, though  they are almost all exclusively weird shows so who knows!  It might just get there.. I already rate it higher than Code Geass  and Attack on Titan, so this is probably really a show for me!  I hope it doesn’t go deep into lewding the Zombie girls, that would completely ruin this for me but I have no idea on what to expect!  For now I kind of think it is anime junkfood. Sometimes you can appreciate that more than a gourmet meal, and while I am in lockdown, I am just a few cute songs shy of falling in love! 

Sunny’s Yellow Submarine or The One That Got Away Part 2

It is time for another Sunny Story! Just a little while ago Sunny had a big adventure encountering a Kaiju on Paradise Island, but sometimes you need the proper tools! Now that Steam Punk Month has arrived Sunny and his inventive streak are bound to yield different results! Reason enough for a new and fun story set on Paradise. So fishermen and fishy friends.. let’s see how Sunny is doing!

For days now there have been mysterious clanking and clonking and sawing and buzzing and flaming noises drifting out of Sunny’s shed. No one has been invited by for an old movie watching night, or to play a new game. In fact, the boy has gotten quite secretive. Big, heavy boxes from Amazon and eBay have arrived and been spirited off into the shed to be opened. One day a big truck pulled up piled high with a wide variety of metal junk – bits, it looked like, of cars and boats, and who knows what all. They vanished into the shed, too. It must be much bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside! Perhaps there is a basement.

At long last, Sunny appeared, a bit begrimed and smudged with grease, but smiling. He walked himself down to the beach for a dip – clothes and all.Once he seemed to think he was clean enough, he walked back up and into one of the beach showers where he rinsed off the salt and the last of the grime. Looking a lot more like our beloved space cadet pool boy, he walked jauntily up to the inn and called everyone outside.

“Wait ‘till you see this!” he laughed, “Hey, hold my beer.” He added, laughing even more. This did not inspire confidence in those Americans present who know that “hey, hold my beer” is usually the prelude to a redneck about to do something spectacularly stupid and dangerous. 

Sunny reached into his shed and grabbed the pull handle of a little red wagon. As it emerged it’s burden became clear. Well, easier to see, but much harder to understand.

It looked rather like a fish. One of those weird deep sea fish with a lantern dangling over it’s head and a retractable lure in it’s … mouth? Huge eyes, or windows, revealed cameras mounted in the center of it’s head on a swivel so it spins from one window view to the next. On each side instead of fins retractable arms are mounted. On the left a great big claw ends one, on the right, a smaller claw ends the other. Towards the middle of the body, on each side there is a vertical screw – a sort of propeller like thing – and then towards the back on either side of what must be a rudder, but looks like a tail, there are something like jet engines. 

With enthusiasm approaching shiny eyed awe Sunny explains that the little sub, dubbed the Sunfish – is actually steam powered. The little jet like engines really are steam powered uh, jet like engines. A new invention with an old time source of energy. 

Steam is produced in a mini-boiler in the rear of the Sunfish, heated by a chemical reaction that also just happens to make oxygen for the sub, too. 

The vertical screws force the sub down into the water – as it has a positive buoyancy profile. This means, Sunny tells the manager reassuringly, that if anything goes wrong, the Sunfish will pop to the top of the water and float rather than sink. Very safe, he says, patting Pinkie gently on her shoulder. Nothing to worry about.

He shows you all how the “jaw” drops open to deploy the lure – a short pole with something that looks like a big, fat worm – or a spanish dancer if you like. The lantern dangling over the head is exactly that, a light to make the whole thing even more alluring – and easier to see in the dark waters below the sparkling waves. 

I’m sure everyone remembers the episode with the monster sea serpent? A typical deep sea fishing rig was no match for that great kaiju, but Sunny hasn’t been able to get the creature out of his mind. He would really like another good look at it. Not so much for fish fillets (he’s pretty sure they would be tough as tires), as for – you know – scientific research. 

Okay, curiosity.

Sunny picks up the handle of his little red wagon and tugs it creaking and groaning under the heavy looking submarine down the beach and out the dock. Tilting it at an angle he slides the Sunfish into the sea, where, by golly, it does float! Sunny gives a merry wave and climbs in through a hatch in the top. You can clearly see him as he settles into the pilots seat between the two huge eye like windows in the front of the Sunfish. With a sudden jerk the sub put-put-putts out into the bay where it proceeds to screw itself down in the water. 

You can see the top of the lantern mounting bobbing in and out of the waves as Sunny pilots the little sub around the inner bay just below the water. He pops up again, waves to let you know he’s just fine, and burbles back down.

This time, he sends the Sunfish off the ledge and over the vast depths that surround the island a few thousand feet offshore of it’s beautiful sparkly pink beaches. The blond tanned pool boy is ecstatic with his new toy and can’t stop grinning as he watches delightful little fish of every color, but especially pink, darting past the big windows of the Sunfish. He turns on the camera, so he can share the amazing scenery with everyone up above. He thought about looking for a camera that would share in real time, but that would mean he had to drag a cable around, and he likes the idea of the Sunfish being free to move up or down or wherever he wants to go without a tether to the upper world. 

Of course, there are pink squid, and octopi, and something that looks a lot like a Horsea, and is that a Mantine? Hoping he doesn’t run into a Gyarados – but a Relicanth would be cool – Sunny pilots the Sunfish down, down, down past the pink rocks and pink coral and pink starfish, and pink and black clownfish in their pink anemones. Down into the dark.

At last the Sunfish finds the soft, sandy bottom and Sunny is happy to see that it’s PINK sand down here, too. He makes sure the camera pans around so Pinkie can see that the island really is pink right from its roots to the flowery tree tops. He wishes he could turn the engines completely off and be quiet, but then the Sunfish would float to the top. Still, he tries to just stay in one place and look all around. His little lantern glows pale yellow in the dark.

Sunny pulls the lever that will open the jaws and deploy the lure. It waves gently in the wind like a banner – here, here I am… 

It’s so quiet now. There’s no fish in sight and no coral or rocks to look at. Slowly, his eyes drift shut and Sunny dozes. 

A nudge wakes him up. It might have been a gentle nudge – if you were a great big sea serpent type kaiju – but it gives the Sunfish quite a bump. Sunny’s eyes fly open. Because, you know, he wasn’t sleeping. He finds himself nearly eyeball to eyeball with a pair of glowing yellow eyes. Another bump. A jerk. 

The kaiju has grabbed the lure. 

Sunny bangs the button to fire the jet engines and yanks the lever that twirls them around so they are thrusting in reverse. 

Of course, he’s gotten a bit fond of the old kaiju thing, and has only put a humane hook on the end of the lure.

Which is to say, the kaiju is not really hooked at all, but feels a bit of a tug on it’s lower lip just the same. It gives the Sunfish a head butt, which stuns both the kaiju and Sunny and causes the Sunfish to jerk back and start floating towards the top in a sort of less than controlled manner. Shaking his head the kaiju tosses the Sunfish from side to side, and Sunny inside bounces around like he was in a pool boy float in Kuro’s drink blender, binging and banging and bonging against the sides and windows and steam boiler inside. 

The next thing he sees is nothing but teeth, tongue, and blue-red gums as the kaiju tries to get a bigger bite of the Sunfish, not once, but three times. Sunny grabs the throttle and blasts the steam jets in reverse. The kaiju doesn’t like the burst of warm air past his face and lets go and the Sunfish darts like it’s namesake towards the surface. The kaiju in hot pursuit. 

Sunny gets the Sunfish whirled around, changes the thrust to all speed forward and takes off for the surface in the direction he thinks is towards the little bay. The kaiju probably doesn’t like the shallows and won’t follow. Right?

There’s no speedometer on the Sunfish, but however fast it is going, the kaiju can clearly go faster. It swims around the Sunfish, bumping and nuzzling the sides while Sunny clings to his seat and tries to remember what made this sound like a good idea?

Suddenly the Sunfish breaks the surface, popping out of the water like a cork and starts to steam towards the beach, the kaiju swimming easily alongside (The Sunfish is even slower on the surface) keeping one eye on Sunny. It appears the monster has finally made the connection between the pool boy in bright yellow with a  little bitty fishing rod, and the submariner in bright yellow bopping around inside the funny metal fish. 

The kaiju nudges the sub a few times. He seems to be wondering if maybe it ATE Sunny, and the little fellow may need rescuing. Sunny gets another good view of the inside of a sea serpent as the kaiju gives a few more experimental nibbles. For a beast with needle shaped teeth easily a foot long, it seems almost…gentle. 

Sunny slows the Sunfish to a stop and the kaiju stops beside him. It nudges the little sub again, rocking it gently. Sunny laughs. The kaiju nudges. Sunny laughs. The kaiju nudges and opens it’s mouth, making a sort of dolphin like chuckling noise and bobbing it’s head. Sunny waves. The kaiju bobs. 

Sunny thinks about it. He opens up the Sunfish’s “jaw” again and puts out the lure. The kaiju inspects it and looks back in at Sunny. 

To the horror of the guests waiting anxiously on the dock, Sunny pops the hatch and sticks his head, arms and shoulders out of the hatch. He’s holding a grilled cheese sandwich in one hand. The kaiju raises it’s head to be level with Sunny.

Sunny waves the sandwich a couple of times, like you would do to get a dogs attention. And tosses it towards the kaiju. Who opens his mouth and neatly catches it in midair. There follows a few minutes while the kaiju apparently moves the sandwich around it’s mouth, munching and tasting. Then a swallow. 

Blinking, the kaiju cocks his head as if thinking. Then he swims around the Sunfish and, I almost hesitate to tell you this but, he sticks the tip of his tail out of the water and…well..WAGS it. 

Sunny laughs. Waves. Ducks back into the sub, and appears – with another sandwich. He tosses this one, too. The sea serpent catches this one, then dives below showing off every inch of it’s 30 feet or more of scaly loops humping over the water before reappearing on the other side of the Sunfish. It makes several quick circles around the little sub, tossing spray, nodding it’s head and making that chuckling noise. Sunny shows empty hands and shrugs. He’s out of sandwiches. He wasn’t planning to be gone down there a week, you know. The serpent lowers his head to half in and half out of the water. And sighs. 

Sunny holds up one finger. “Wait!” he says. Diving back into the Sunfish he put-put-putts right up the beach, hops out, runs to his shed, and runs back with an armload of baloney, sliced cheese, and lettuce. 

Last anyone saw, Sunny was standing on the beach tossing various foodstuffs to his new best friend, who gulps down cheese and lettuce and baloney but spit the leftover BBQ fried chicken back. The cook has barred the kitchen door.

Animini: Digimon Adventure – Episode 16 – The Jet-Black Shadow Invades Tokyo

Greetings my sweet Island Guests, the animini cocktail shot we will serve you today is two parts delusion, a dash of Groundhog day with a healthy splash of epic reunions. A strong episode of a strong series so far, yet the taste is a bit washed out by using some tropes a bit too much! Luckily the Dr Strange like action made up for a lot. 

The Summary

At the end of the last episode we saw Taichi’s group traverse a tunnel and end up in what seemed to be Tokyo and that is where this episode picks up.  The kids are back in Tokyo but things seem strange, there doesn’t seem to be any mention of the blackout and the kids cell phone will not connect. Excited however to be in the real world again the kids decide to visit their homes for a bit. Mimi being the most excited, wanting a shower and some change of clothes as well as going to a luxurious burger restaurant to have an Avocado Cheeseburger. Since Mimi lives in Shibuya the group has to split up! On the subway to their home though Koshiro and Taichi begin to feel worse. Why isn’t anyone talking about the blackout , why do they ignore the digimon with them? Things seem wrong. They are so locked into thought that they miss the next station they visit, Shibuya station.  The station they just traveled from. Meanwhile Mimi can’t seem to find the exit of the subway station and keeps ending up at the same map,  when she sees a Jack’s Burgers restaurant in the station. When the server glitches out , Mimi is pretty sure something is wrong.

The boys finally discover their train is looping as well and they get out. They find themselves in seemingly shrinking station loops happening more frequently. Relying on Greymon the group manages to collapse some of the area they are in and get out.  While it still looks like Tokyo the presence of a Digimon, who is scattered all around makes them realise they are still in the Digital world. A champion level Digimon called Eyesmon has copied it and can use it as his weapons to fight the Chosen ones. He proves to be such a formidable foe that even in their ultimate forms the digimon of our three heroes do not stand a chance. Just when  Eyesmon hurls three oil tankers at Metalgreymon, Lillymon and Atlurkabuterimon, they are held at bay by Garduamon, Zudomon comes in carrying Weregarurumon and destroys the tankers. Now united all the six chosen ones fight against a monster who can literally toss skyscrapers in their path. This champion level digimon has absorbed so much data it became this powerful. With a combined team attack they do manage to quell the danger. When the kids notice the blackout in Tokyo is still happening we see a few parts of eyesmon that did not get destroyed connect together again and it seems to digivolve into Orichimon.

The Positives

I love Mimi so much in this show! Her and Palmon’s interactions are hilarious! In this episode she also takes a starring role for me. The petty quest for an Avocado Cheeseburger is not something she gives up! No .. she let’s that desire empower her!   Seeing Palmon and herself in danger , she swears to Palmon she will take her to the real world so they can enjoy a burger together.  Giving her the strength to fight back!  Koshiro and Taichi are also  handled very well in this episode.  Taichi is becoming more of a leader noticing things are wrong in his gut, while Koshiro feels something wrong through contradictions seeing the world should not be like this.  When in trouble Taichi’s resolution is to power through and that is seen in this episode very nicely! I really love how the children are being handled here. Kari has a little cameo here which makes me wonder if she will come to the digital world. Takeru is shown with Palmon in the outro so I am pretty sure he is coming but Kari remains a bit of a mystery.. which I like!

The music and the battle here steal the spotlight in this episode. It is really great to see the group together again and see them combine their powers.  With Eyesmon shaping and twisting the city around them it is a very interesting fight as well. Metalgreymon crashes into a building so when Atlurkabuterimon leaps over the next he finds out there is a subway on top.. Lillymon gets struck by a plane.  Eventually the fight ends in complete surrealism where the city is formed into a sphere around the hero monsters. The music to accompany this all is great and it is done perfectly. It also works as a nice summary to see what everyone can do, and we see exactly how small Lillymon is next to all the other Ultimate digimon because there are a lot of great shows that offer us perspective! I do like these visual little things and it is one of the best fights yet! So on the action and personal front it was a great episode.

The Negatives

The scenario though is very bland, an illusion that keeps looping itself and where there is no escape. Star Trek Holodeck much?!  This thing has been pretty much done to death and this episode doesn’t really do anything new with it. The worst thing it does is forcing characters to be dumber than they are. I praised this show throughout for clever conflict set-up. What the characters did they were forced to do for valid reasons, here not so much.  Koshiro would never board that train without asking people about the blackout.. but no of course they have to seperate from Mimi first so questions aren’t asked until Mimi ate her burger so they could sneak in a creepy visual and get the more satisfying reaction.  I am fine with how Mimi is portrayed except that I would think she would notice her phone is dead too.. she probably would not take a subway back but ask to be picked up..if she needs that change of clothes so much. Maybe she grew who knows.. but it does feel like characters make more leaps to fit the story.

Furthermore I do think if you are going to use a location that loops, use something is a bit more visually impressive than a subway station. It does work better because everything looks alike .. but we are forced to believe this sequence of events based on a similar map on the wall. I assume a subway station has more maps. Why would they be able to travel to Shibuya but not from it.. why would the evil digimon know they are heading to Shibuya. There are several things off with the story here and while it isn’t anything horrible the show has shown it can set up conflict so much better. While the fight is very epic,  the escalation to it was very lackluster to me. It just isn’t executed well at all.

The Score

I was doubting between an Okiwi and a Fineapple here and I decided to settle on the latter. Yes it has a lot of sloppy writing, forced conflict  and even the rare character contradictions and it seriously insults the intelligence of any of the chosen ones.  Mimi doesn’t notice a Burger Restaurant just magically appears?! Okay she was hungry before.. but after she just shrugs it off.  No it isn’t nearly as well written and clever as most of the other episodes, while I think a Champion being this powerful is cool and needed to set up for Devimon later on .. it also kind of shows that you made a mistake and had to write an out!  It does show.  Yet it all feels slightly more irrelevant to me this time around because I still had so much fun.

The moments the characters DO act in character are strong, the action is sublime and the music is timed very well.  The Dr Strange like citybending and the weird eye filled version of Tokyo gave everything such an unique vibe as well. Kind of like those areas in the first three Digimon episodes that I loved  so much. I may not be convinced that this is how this scenario would play out had everything prior actually happened but I was super entertained. Like a toddler clapping at tv for seeing a fun colour combination they do not understand properly. I felt that kidlike joy that I also felt when watching the series when I was an actual kid. That in itself is also worth something I’d say. So while it is one of the dumbest episodes so far. The fact that I remember more cool scenes than poorly written episodes from anime in general makes me rule that this episode is quite alright.

The Paradise Weekly Gazette 6: 14 to 20 December

Dear Island Guests, Today’s cocktail is contained in a slightly smaller container than the previous weeks! Due to roadworks in front of my street , I had a lot of construction noise keeping me from focussing on my writing properly or following a movie.  So I missed two posting slots! Luckily Kuro stepped in this week so in the end we are only one cocktail short for this grande desert. However since the Netherlands went into full lockdown as well.. there isn’t  that much Pinkie AFK either! So let’s take a look at the events that took place this week.

The Animinis

This week wasn’t as great for anime as the week before! Cowboy Bebop was a bit of a letdown for me this week and I am not fully sure how I feel about Utena yet.  However Natsume offered a very strong episode and Samurai Flamenco ended on a high note for me!  The latter being my favourite view!  That ending came so out of left field! It was great! 

Digimon Adventure – Episode 15- Zudomon’s Iron Hammer of Lightning.

Samurai Flamenco – Final Episode – Naked Samurai Flamenco

That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime – Episode 21 – Shizu San’s Students

Revolutionary Girl Utena – Episode 3 –  On the Night of the Ball

Hikaru no Go – Episode 26 – Welcome to the A-League

Natsume Book of Friends – Episode 6 –  Sparrow at the Bottom of the Lake

Cowboy Bebop – Episode 6 –  Sympathy for the Devil

STAFF Posts

The staff is very busy this week! Not only did Kuro post a teaser for their very own novel , Sunny and  Indigo have also started working on their drafts. Sunny’s post was even finished.. right after I planned out the rest of the week content so tomorrow you will see a brand new Sunny story! This week however we are treated to Kuro’s amazing teaser for a big story they are working on!  Let me know what you think about it in the comments!

Pinkie’s Other Post

Due to a lot of street noise, the mental stress of the lockdown and mostly the negative reception of the people trying to do what is the best for everyone, I did not get that much done this week!  A second reason is.. I  stumbled on a few Steampunk games I just can’t get myself through. I would not call it bad.. But no matter how hard I try, Dishonored doesn’t do anything for me. A Gadget post did not work out because I could not find any gadgets that are steampunky enough that I did not cover yet in either my Zombie survival plan or that just do not fit steampunk! Eeek! So what DID I do!

I played a video game that feels very much like a D&D .. to a fault even! But it sure is Steampunk!

I watched a great steam powered movie by the director of Akira!

Camp Coconut Updates

Big news on the camp Coconut front! Let’s start with the adventures of our little guys!  The Shy coconut went shopping and came home with a new skirt inspired by Alice in Wonderland. It doesn’t fit perfectly yet because it is rather hard to dress up a coconut in a skirt!  Still it fits so much better than just those little horns!   The Buddy Coconut came out and helped the island get ready for christmas. Bringing a lot of ribbon so we can wrap all the presents!  So that is very much appreciated. Thank you very much for the help Buddy Coconut.

King Coconut saw that his subject was working hard to get the island ready for Christmas and decided to chime in. Bring us some nice sets of wrapping paper.  It is quite funny to see King Coconut lug those  rolls of paper along! His crown nearly fell off his head and the trew a little tantrum. After sipping some coffee though he calmed a bit down and remembered he wanted to look cool and edgy! ..which resulted in us having a lot of black wrapping paper! Thank you very much for the help King Coconut!

Now Camp Coconut has evolved! No longer do we only rely on Kofi for donations but we also have a Patreon now! By supporting this you can get an additional.. or a first of course Coconut on three separate levels. Villagers, who are much like the Kofi Coconuts and get the same benefits only.. “monthly”.. Adventurer Coconuts, who will be invited ot a brand new discord server filled with games and influence on this blog.. and Hero Coconuts who can participate in the upcoming (starting in January)  Paradise D&D where we play Dungeon and Dragons 5th Edition.. with a twist! Everyone is A Coconut and items, monsters and encounters will all be based on your small statue! Think Honey I shrunk the kids.. in Paradise..the roleplay.. but with coconuts instead of kids!  Of course there are a few more benefits but you can check those out .. by clicking on the picture below!  We already have one Hero Coconut which also happens to be King Coconut! Will he remain the king or can the Kofi followers throw him off the throne?! Let’s find out!  Will the hero king make it through our upcoming adventures?! You will all be informed later!

Posts that Impressed Pinkie

You can visit all the following posts by clicking on the sub-sequent images!

It’s almost Christmas time and with everything going in lockdown here I am not getting any gifts this year! We planned gifts but since everyone went crazy and  the post office basically is backed up so hard, there is no mail ordering gifts as well! So instead me and mom decided to spoil ourselves in January.. save your money for gifts, just be there for each other and christmas and spoil ourselves when the world becomes a bit less crazy.  So this year I am looking at gift for myself. Heather from Geeking By  shows a lot of pins that are quite amazing!  Maybe I will buy one of these! Which one do you think would fit me the best?!
For a image that links to her site I did not know what to do! So I turned her into an enamel pin herself…I am not a great artist!

Enamel Pin Heather!

I am always trying to make original content. New Blog tags, like the Kore Wa Watashi Award which is really making its way around right now! I thought it died a while ago! So whenever another content creator does something similar I am all for it. Annie created a delightfully fun new blog tag focussed around Christmas!   How would she spend her time with anime characters?! So adorable!  I squeeed a bit! She also did one for K-pop but that could have used more cute anime animals eating cookies! I know nothing about the genre though so perhaps people eating cookies is cute as well?

Annie Wins a Contest

Mallow is like the Good Guy of Anime Blogging, along with Raist who has sadly become absent again, let’s hope he recovers soon and has a great christmas. Mallow however is the more hidden good guy.. the type that picks you up and advises you a good shoe-store so you don’t trip on those pesky heels anymore. Raist is more the type that picks you up and compliments you on how funny that fall was or how graceful you hit the deck!  Anyway Mallow saw a post he liked about the top 10 anime openings and endings of 2020 and he decided to do it himself.. shortened to a top 4. While I do not share his taste in music I think, I am absolutely and pleasantly surprised by his idea to turn it into a blog tag!  Just so he can help other people to write!  I really commend him for finding a way to make something simple as a top 4 into a good guy, community engagement thing! We need more people like this in the world!

How I view Mallow’s Post

Watching anime in a weekly format instead of binging the heck out of things has given me a lot more of appreciation for the finer details. I still don’t like watching seasonal anime because then I get stuck in the hype or hate and it taints my personal experience. However older the series, I am having so much fun watching them in a weekly format! ..Not all.. but a lot of anime are just so much more impactful if episodes can breathe a bit!  Biblyonyan is much more eloquent about this than I am though so check  that amazing post out!

I did not have a creative image idea here.. so I made the avatar do a sneeze tease!

Pinkie Away from Keyboard

So this leaves me in a bit of a pickle! We went into full lockdown since Monday so there isn’t too much to do so my away from keyboard news isn’t actually away from Keyboard. It’s stuff I did besides blogging or stuff I haven’t blogged about. So with that being said! I reached a milestone! Back when I started as Pinkie’s Pokemon, I encountered a blog called Pokémon Blog.  WordPress biggest Pokémon blog.. but all it did was news reports.. it has several bloggers but they all just copy paste news  reports, there is no community interactions and overall they are very much what I do not want to be! I always set my goal to one day surpass them. That day was this week! I surpassed my “rival”   and so the end of that arc has been completed. Of  course I did not do that by just blogging about Pokémon.. but hey I chose a  different route! In a way it was THE goal  I needed to achieve before I could give this blog up! I am not quitting my blog.. but i feel I beat my final boss!  Time for a sequel!

Other than that I have been keeping indoors to the extreme! If we are in Lockdown I will go in lockdown I will try to minimise my contact with others as much as I can! Sometimes I will need to see people .. just because I am human but I try to limit it as much as I possibly can without losing my sanity! As a result I have been a bit more active in the streaming community. Following my favourite Pokétuber Patterrz. I have also been watching DeeBeeGeek’s Breath of the Wild playthrough!  They are both very fun and nice people! Their chats are medium sized, mostly Patterrz,  really responds well to chat!  It is nice to get this form of human interaction. I have also softcore become fascinated with V-tubers. I am not watching their streams.. but I am watching a lot of clips!

However… I had a bit of an annoying week! They are fixing the street up right in front of my new building so I have a lot lot LOT of construction noises which is driving me slightly nutty! I do not have to pay for massage seats because my house is shaking all day anyway! It left me a bit anxious and withdrawn.. keeping my windows closed so I don’t at least see that metal monstrosity swinging close by window all day! Not fun!  Yet we do what we gotta do! Next week will be nice for sure!

Plans

For the coming week we got a Sunny post coming up on the blog! A brand new story about an aquatic adventure! I will also post my review of Wild Wild West, one of the campiest steampunky movies ever. Then I want to do a smallish post for christmas. That being said I might choose not to post anything , including Animini’s on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, perhaps even leading into boxing day depending if the roads are slippery or not and I will need to stay at my moms on Christmas day.  It really depends.  Reasons is that in combination with the traffic issue and people en masse being away or with family with christmas I doubt content would be missed that much. I might be mistaken but I kind of want to avoid me tripping over content that isn’t read anyway and I want to be able to have a nice dinner with my  mom and with a friend on christmas eve without constantly getting alerts of likes and  reactions. I am not going to be able to interact anyway so maybe I am just not doing anything! We will see!

That being said I wish everyone some happy holidays even if we might not get what we have come to expect by now.. and this year Christmas might be a bit bleak, all that matters is that we are safe, healthy and have a merry day… regardless if  that includes festivities, anime, games or whatever else.. I’ll leave up to you! I am not saying having a killer christmas.. I am just saying I hope your days will be merry and bright! 

Animini: Cowboy Bebop – Episode 6 – Sympathy for the Devil

Greetings my Dear Island Guests, today’s first content cocktail contains a lot of preservatives as we look at those who do not age!  These are served in a somewhat darker cocktail. Packed with both sweet and bitter flavours. This cocktail is best when you drink it at our poolside on a moonlit night! The episode in question is strong in atmosphere but doesn’t have the kick some of the others had so far! So let’s take a sip and enjoy our content cocktail.

The Summary

A nightmare , of what seems visions of the past,  place Spike on an operating table! It isn’t a very hygenic operating room because I am pretty sure I saw fish float with the organs.. or they put a tube with live fish between it.. which is just plain weird.. message received either way… these are probably not good guy doctors.  When Spike wakes up he is in a blues bar. A kid is playing Harmonica on stage, it almost seems as if he is cosplaying Lupin the Third.  The bar is seedy and smokey and just the perfect amount of grime! Yet then a horrible crime happens! Faye , who is back at the Bebop, is rifling through the fridge to find it empty, showing the group is still out of money.. The only thing in the fridge is dog food for Ein, who happily barks to receive this blessing!  Then Faye eats herself! She tells Ein to work for his food and looks at a bounty..pondering if she can make the guys get that money for her!  Faye loses lots of points from me.

Back in the bar Jet has joined Spike! It seems they are indeed after that Bounty… a man nicknamed Giraffe , he doesn’t have a long neck so it is quite random.   Another Bounty Hunter named Fatty River (yes I remember these types of names) , who IS fat is one the case as well. Leaving Spike to deal with Giraffe.  Giraffe is following the kid and some wheelchair bloke. Spike decides to pursue them in his fighter. Yet when he gets to the hotel they were heading , Giraffe ends up falling through a window with a huge gunshot wound. While Spike catches him.. he can’t prevent him from falling, the man dies anyway but not before handing Spike a ring and telling him to not be fooled by his looks and to protect him.

Having failed yet another Bounty Spike and Jet decide to do some more investigation into this. Apparently  the wheel chaired man is called Zebra.. they were partners in leading a group of raiders. While on a terf dispute.. things went awry and Zebra was said to have betrayed Giraffe. Thus him wanting revenge.  This happened ten years ago.. but when Zebra showed up again he was wheelchair bound and with this harmonica kid. When looking for info about the kid, Jet finds him in a 30 year old magazine. Spike follows them after a new concert and discovers the boy named Wen is actually well over 50 years old. Something in his body got changed when something called “The Astral Gate” accident happened. An event that seems to have devastated earth. The Astral gate blew up the moon and high powered meteors showered the earth charing Wen’s mother and father.. but their corpses shielded him from dying.

Now he is completely immortal.. even gunshots do not kill him, so Spike is out of his league. In a chase Wen dumps Zebra on him..showing the man to be in a completely catatonic state.  He is hooked up to a machine that can read his memories and we see Giraffe was trying to save his friend from Wen..instead of getting revenge. The ring is deduced to be a meteorite piece and with it..Wen can be killed..or so they theorise. A Bullet is made and Spike chases Wen into the desert by blowing up his taxi! The boy is completely unharmed. Spike uses the special bullet after being shot at a few times and shoots the boy in the head. The boy  rapidly ages (way more than 50 years)  and dies. Spike tosses his Harmonica and yells BANG.

The Positives

I have very mixed feelings about this episode,  which makes sense, coming after the incredible 5th episode. Self contained this episode was pretty great. There was a neat little mystery to unpack in the form of what’s going on. The Whole Zebra , Giraffe, Wen situation is pretty interesting.  Though somewhat obvious as well. It might be me.. but when I see a kid with raven black hair, cold eyes playing a Harmonica in a smoked up blues Café.. at the skill level he does…  you know he is evil. Blues should only be played if you have a pained heart and have experienced something..and he did. Yet that does show the power of this shows music. Regardless of the obviousness it was a pretty sweet little adventure to see unfold. I was fooled into believing Giraffe was just working with Wen so finding out he is basically a vegetable to be used as a doll to make the boy have a parent so he can get into places sounds quite cruel and exactly the type of stuff I want to see in Cowboy Bebop. Atmosphere 10/10.

I also liked the idea of the Astral Gate accident. Telling us what happened to earth by making it relevant to the plot is one of the better ways you can do exposition. The incident seems pretty gruesome and it opens up possibilities for some interesting effects. I really digged how gruesome it was depicted with Wen popping up on a devastated earth by having his fathers charred corpse on top of him. It shows both love and sorrow and makes the situation quite real. A parent would probably shield their kid, even though I would use kids as a shield, such trauma would cause the boy to go pretty bonkers.  I get where his Blues capabilities come from. It also gives so much flavour to earth!  Which I assume is mostly desolated.  I am not sure I have seen it yet.. I don’t think so.. but then we saw a lot of desert so maybe one of those. Unsure! Regardless, a very cool world event and credits for the amazing world building yet again. It makes sense that people would fan out after such an event resulting in this more nomadic and .. settlement based,  living style we see in Bebop. Pinkie is impressed.

The Negatives

That is also why this episode annoyed me quite a bit.  This show is great at it’s writing but Wen I found a pretty terrible character. Sure he is a pained “antagonist” of the episode.   But he acts as if he is hundreds of years old. In the end when he says “I can finally die” .. he is only like 60-ish.  Maybe late 50’s or early 60’s.  He lost his parents sure.. but so did many people seemingly.   He doesn’t seem to be off THAT bad that he has this deep desire to die at age 60 to me.  The heck is going on! It really confused me a lot.  Maybe being an 8 or 10 year old or whatever he is forever makes things annoying but I am just not buying he is this tired of life already. Even if he was , it made no sense to kill Giraffe who had the ring, let him kill you with it then?! I might have missed something here but Wen did not make sense to me at all.  The way he mummified at the end.. that’s not what a 60 year old looks like!! It seemed like they forgot just how old he was and just made him like 300 or something. I really did not believe the character.. I believed his music.. but something felt really off for me.

For some reason I also could not escape the idea that this episode was solely created to tell the story of the Astral Gate Incident. As much as I love this way of exposition I really got a feeling this episode happened for expositions sake. As if one episode later will be set on the moon or a destroyed earth and you need to tell us why it is in the state it is. I can’t fully explain it but this episode felt a bit cheap to me.  Giraffe and Zebra really felt throwaway.  The other bounties so far at least had connections to bigger gangs, or organisations this one feels so “random”.  Besides Giraffe , Zebra and Wen there is nothing behind it.. or at least we don’t get to see it at all. While Giraffe trying to get Zebra back is charming to see we never had any memories of how the two were buddies so his good guy act did not have THAT much impact either.  I love myself a good Bromance.. but when we have to assume Bromance solely on the line “give him back” it lacks that spark! I wasn’t even in a sour mood or something when I watched this episode.. I felt it was good on some levels but it just felt as SUCH an empty episode to me. I felt nothing for the trio this episode was about.

The Score

That is why I score this episode , just an Okiwi. I liked the elements in there and for the series a lot of cool things were established. I loved the music, I loved the lore but as an episode this did absolutely nothing for me. I wasn’t bored , I wasn’t THAT annoyed I just experienced nothing.  I saw some cool sets.. I do liked the headshot.. and the Bang in the end was enough to kind of make me smile but in comparison to all the other episodes this wasn’t it! It is weird though because I don’t think of this show any less. Normally I wonder stuff like.. could I be falling out of love with this show.. is this a turning point for me.. No.. this episode literally did that much of nothing for me. 

Had they just have Wen be dead by the headshot.. had he shown an intention to die or  something to make this tale feel more consistent this would probably be up there with my favourite episodes so far. I could just not get over that thing that I feel like he was overly aged.  Maybe because I watch so many vampire shows. 50 years feels so little. Heck even in anime we have seen so much older girls and boys who don’t complain about being 60. I just did not resonate with Wen.. . I did not understand him at all and it completely tanked this episode for me! Luckily.. I am pretty sure.. he is dead!

Steampunk? Steamball? Steamboy!

Welcome back to Paradise my dear Island guests, I am dropping the steampunk greetings because I ran out!  So instead I will go with: “Good day dear guest, welcome to another beautiful day in Paradise, today we serve you this special blend of Anime-Spritz and the Movie-to.  Two parts Steampunk with a solid dash of Katsuhiro Otomo one part Star Wars and expectedly garnished with a bit of Akira.  This review will take you through my experience with Steamboy!

Akira but with Steam

Steamboy came out in 2004 and is directed by the man the legend Katsuhiro Otome himself. He is known as the man who revolutionised anime with his iconic flick.. Akira! This movie cost 20.2 million dollars and is one of the most expensive animated movies of all time. Certainly at that time. A Blueray these days costs you about 19,90 which I assume will be the dollar price as well as you guys tend to get that stuff cheaper than us. My version at least offered me the chance to choose between sub and dub and this had me pondering for a bit.  I am a sub girl.. very much but the dub cast consists of Alfred Molina, Patrick Stewart and Anna Panquin among others and it sounds absolutely phenomenal.  However the matching lip flaps stuff isn’t done as well.  As a sub-girl I watched the movie subbed. For two reasons. Anna who plays Ray, our main character fakes a british accent, and while she does it pretty good it is a fairly thick accent.. making it slightly harder for me as a non native english speaker to understand being the most important. The second the main characters being the Steam family. In Japanese their name is not translated.. so Steam and steam .. which both appear in this movie a lot.. are more separable.  Watching the dub however I think is completely justified!

The movie tells the story of James “Ray” Steam. Son of the great Dr Edward “Eddie” Steam and grandson of the legendary Lloyd Steam. Unbeknownst to Ray his father and grandfather make an invention that can propel the world into the next age of science. The mysterious Steamball. However after a workplace accident Eddie and Lloyed now follow very different beliefs. One seemingly took the side of the Americans and the O’Hara foundation.. led  by the Child-Ojousama Scarlett O’Hara St Jones and the weasley CEO Simon. The other takes the side of Robert Stepehnson, a british nationalist and fellow inventor.  When Lloyd mails Ray one of the three Steamballs, he quickly finds himself marooned between both sides and has to fight his way out of many dangerous situations so that the true philosophy of science can survive. In doing so however war between America and Britain almost seems unavoidable as Ray quickly finds out that power corrupts. It’s a fairly interesting story that does have its flaws. With the runtime of slightly over two hours this movie outstayed its welcome just a bit. For me one of those moments happened at the 45 minute mark and the second near the end. I never would have turned it off but there were points where I was like… hmmm we are treading water a bit.

America vs Great Britain

The set piece for this movie is great. An alternative take on Britain in 1866. The concept of steam having reached its limits and people trying to break it is intriguing. The quasi science behind is that people found a liquid water-like element or material that can both solidify and turn to steam within a small margin or something..with a denser base one can cram a lot more steam in small containers and make it more productive. The money hungry Americans want it to make MONEY and lots of it while the proud british want to use it for Queen and Country and to subject those who would oppose them. One of the scientists believes that we should explore all facets of science.. even the ones that can be used for nefarious gains, it is up to humans to handle them responsibly and the other beliefs mankind can not be trusted with power like  this. Science is meant to serve man not rule over them.  Ray works as a neutral perspective; he just loves gadgets and tech and thinks a tank is really cool when he sees one. He does however think a tractor is pretty dangerous because one nearly destroyed his house.  It’s where one of this movie’s greatest strengths yet also it’s weaknesses lie. It doesn’t really choose a side… until very very late in the movie. It does keep the plot exciting and shows us some amazing steampunk tech, pretty cool utilities and wonderful locales.. yet we also see a main character that doesn’t know very well what he is fighting for or who he is running from.

I do not mind this neutral approach but they back out of it hard, at one point one side is revealed to be pretty evil.. and then near the end they are not..or they regret it and flip.. I am not sure how to explain that. A lot of characters have ulterior motives, lie about their beliefs and or change them as the movie goes along  and a two hour movie is kind of too short  to tell that.  It results in a lot of idealistic speeching to get the point across the movie is trying to make but that sometimes doesn’t make sense.. like speaking about your ideals against what is essentially your boss. Or telling a kid waaaay more than you would tell a kid. As a result some of the speeches feel a bit forced. So Ray  talks to person A, maybe he can’t be trusted, Person B explains his side, Person C tells Ray to be careful and why science should be treated with more care.. but the person is confused.. so maybe it’s person D who has the right vision..who of course also speeches. In the end they are all kind of assholes..but also not?! It’s a tad much.

When action is happening however this movie is great!  The Steampunk inventions work in a really mechanical and realistic way and a slew of interesting gadgets is pulled in. Very early Ray for example has to flee from some bad guys on his steam cycle.  It as an invention that has not fully worked yet so before he can fire it up properly he has some issues and tumbles around in the wheel (it is basically one large steam propelled wheel )  .. in  trying to flee he tries to lose them by quickly hiding behind a Steam train that is coming their way..but the way rails are designed keeps the cycle locked on track. (He had a ramp to get in before)  every scene has tiers as it were. It is not just throwing punches… it is feeling out what the problem is, finding a solution and making it happen. All the fights and action scenes are conquered by clever thinking like how a scientist would.  Yes there is a powerful mcguffin but it doesnt give power as one would in Shonen.. people almost never overpowered…except for a war going on in the background..  but the action fits the tone of this movie so much. Then there are the more comedic scenes and discovery scenes that pack so much charm.. it only has too many speeches.

Well put Together

What stood out to me most is how absolutely stunning this movie is! It looks gorgeous! This is a 2004 movie so it’s 16 years old but it looks so clean!  Yes it is really brown and grey like all steampunk movies and most period pieces, yet the movie knows when it is enough and treats you to a beautiful coloured scene as well.  The details look amazing and this might be the only movie where I do not mind that they used 3d graphics in a 2d movie. It blands in so well and gives everything “mass” Wind effects, steam effects they all look SOOOO great in this movie. I am not a big visual type of person but this , this wowed me! It looks 80’s in design , quite close to Akira but  with all the commodities of modern animation. I would not describe it as realistic.. but just by looking at it you can add adjectives to every item. The heavy lever, the creaky crank. Just by looking at some parts you know how much force you would have to use to  pull it down or make it move. Pipes twist shapes from having too much pressure little glass cracks from shockwaves nearby. Ray’s aviator goggles shatter after his first crash landing.. there are so many small details

The characters are also great. Scarlett O’Hara St Johnson, who is indeed based on the character from Gone with the Wind for example seems like your typical Oujousama , she feels too good for everything.. she is super shallow but rather than having her completely overcome this it is because of said shallowness she discovers some of her beliefs or some stuff her company does doesn’t work for her.  Per example.. she talks to a person she has warm sentiments for seeming worried.. however once she founds out it will give her less money .. she thinks of him as a bad element.. influencing something else she likes..  She really wants to keep that..so her mind finds a way to explain how she can have her way.  Later on however she sees one of her machines is causing destruction.. the CEO spins it to her as a marketing tool.. so people can see what they will buy! She is against this however because she doesn’t want the “pretty things” to be broken. We see growth, as in the person learns what they want and do not want and what is more important for them.. but they do not morph into a great hero who learned their lesson.

Ray and both Lloyd and Eddie get plenty of similar obstacles in their way. Ray wants to do right.. but he is very idealistic.. he isn’t in this to do right by some or to do right by the good side.. he wants to do right for all. He also believes man is good.. and those traits get him in trouble.. but he doesn’t give up on that. He stays who he is and sticks with his choices, even if that choice is not making a choice. Eddie and Lloyd also make decisions based on this and even Simon who is but a minor character can’t help but showcase his dominant character trait .. being Greed even when it endangers his life. Yes he is weasley, yes he is your typical  “snake man” archetype..  he doesn’t do the whole chickening out thing , not really at least, however he is not stupid enough to die for his greed either. Characters stay themselves rather than being a stereotypical movie role. That can lead to a few eyeroll moments, as “in other movies, the hero would have learned by now” .. but that is just the point.. these situations happen because it just so happens to be these characters that were put in this situation and I love that so much!

Soaring to the Skies

The movie does fall in the pitfall of having too many finales, the final encounter has so many tiers that it stops being interesting in the final step or so. It’s still amusing but I reached a point where I would be fine with any outcome as long as it would end.  It’s not quite “you haven’t even seen my final form” levels.. but there are definitely too many elements in the end. Reason is once again those shifting alliances and believes. What starts as Small guy versus big corporate evildoers ends up as England versus America and that ends up in..  about 8 subgroups or so each doing their own things. It makes sense.. but it all is a bit convoluted and it means some plottreats do not go anywhere. There is a big thing about scuba divers in steampunk suits but one falls off the stairs because he trips and that ends the entire thing with the Scuba divers.. We see a character be built up as super important in the conflict and at one point he just stands there and watches.. while he technically was still doing things… and of course for some reason each side has the perfect counter for the other teams surprises packed and loaded on their ships.  Air Travel is still unheard of yet  when America shows something in those veins. and Brittain goes.. what the F is that thing.. they also go like “Hey now we can test out that weapon we made in case people made such a thing we were just so utterly surprised by”  It dulls the background conflict significantly.

The action with Ray and Scarlett amidst that war is finger licking good!  The story is descent with flaws, the action only has that one bigger setback. Critics rate this movie with about a 6,6 out of 10 and a 6,9 on IMDB. However I do feel those scores are way too low.  On Metacritic this movie scores an 8.7 out of 10  from the audience and that I find is a much fairer score. I would put it slightly lower due to it’s chunky runtime and excessive speeches, which I could forgive if the finale was a BIT more on point but for a movie about the glory of science, for a movie about steampunk I could not wish for much more than what I have got.  Even after finding this movie too long I kind of want  to rewatch it dubbed sometime.. not right now , not even this year anymore but I really want to watch the dub as well at some point and that has to be a seal of approval right there. A sub-girl who liked this movie so much that she would like to see if the dub would make her appreciate it even more!

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Animini: Natsume Book of Friends – Episode 6 – The Sparrow at the Bottom of the Lake

Sobby and Sniffly Salutations my Island Guests! Natsume let me feel stuff again! I kind of cried for a character I saw in a single episode again! Well not really cried but I was misty eyed nonetheless. This might be the first thing I am not giving a perfect score despite making me cry! It came very close.. but it just missed out! In this blog I will discuss the 6th episode of Natsume Book of Friends.

The Summary

Natsume and his friends, I think,  are taking a bike tour when they come across a “drowned” village.  A village that got flooded and abandoned by building a dam. Of course Natsume sees a present but his friends, I think,  do not.  The addition to the “i think” comes from  the fact that I don’t really know anything about them. They are always around him and interact with Natsume regularly but he doesn’t really seem to hang out with them.. except for this time. I assume they are friends but they also could be a study group or something!  Regardless, Natsume sees something.. it fades.. then with a whoosh of wind he is knocked out. He wakes up at home, the doctor tells he has a heat stroke but we soon find out he is possessed. He finds this out by returning the names of a few Yokai who dwell in the drowned city. In return for helping him they give him a magic mirror that allows him to discover the possession. Nyanko pushes off the spirit and as it leaps for Natsume.. Donned in a Swallow mask, Natsume punches it. The mask breaks and it is revealed a girl wearing an eye veil is underneath..with pure intentions.

She wants to see someone again, for one final time before her spiritual energy grows too weak and she fades away. This is her dream and Natsume takes a liking to her and decides to help Madara/Nyanko’s Chagrin. His “friends” help him get an address for this man and while Natsume and the girl yokai go look for the man they begin to bond a bit. Natsume learns this girl named Tsubame (meaning Swallow)  was once a Baby Swallow who fell out of the nest.  A kind human put her back in the nest…but since it now was tainted with human scent the parents abandon the nest and Tsubame cries for food..while seeing her brothers and sister starve.  Blaming herself the resentment caused her to transform into what she calls a demon. This demon hid from the world.. but a kind man kept feeding her every day.. this is the man she wants to meet again. She does.. and while waving at him happily and talking to him he ignores her.. unable to see her. Tsubame says she is super glad she got to do this but it is not enough for Natsume.. he wants her to actually talk to the man. To help her he attends a festival  of Yokai .. led by the guy who gave him the magic mirror earlier.   The Yokai can win a Yukata that allows them to appear as humans for a day. Even though the spirit plans to eat Natsume he is determined to compete and win for Tsubame’s sake.  With the help of Madara he does so. He gives Tsubame the yukata and says his goodbye.. never seeing her again. A few days later he asks the man if he ever saw Tsubame and the man shows him a picture of them attending a festival together. Natsume sobs a bit.. glad his new friend got what she wished for and looked happy..but also clearly sad he will never see her again.

The Positives

I loved Tsubame myself.. and the last line.. to think that she is gone already made me super sad.  She is voice acted great and drawn great and written great. You just start to care for her. When Natsume tells she is slowly losing strength I genuinely was genuinely worried for her.  The way she waves to that person that is so important to her.. telling him all sorts of things with a smile on her face while clearly she must know he can not hear her really pulled my heartstrings!  It is also good to see Natsume form an actual bond for once. This is not an act of convenience,  or because it is right or because he wants to figure out more about his grandma.. no Natsume has taken a shine to this “person” and enjoyed her company and spirit and wishes to see things end well for. Much like with the tiny guardian. I found myself quite infatuated with this swallow girl and her story.. despite being quite generic and birdlike made me look at it from the fletchling perspective. Poor little birds slowly starving. The idea of seeing your brothers and sisters get abandoned because you messed up.. and got greeted with an act of kindness.. it really worked for me and became something bigger.

I also like the idea of Natsume acting with the spirit world a lot. He punches the spirit, he races against them,  he gets a magical item from their world and uses it to further his agenda.. (though selfless). It makes the world of Yokai a lot bigger  than just the names in the book. Where I compared  it with an inverse Pokemon after the first episode I now realise that analysis is incorrect because these Yokai are much more people with their own little world for us to understand. Their own bonds, their own emotions and now even their own items and culture! Do take note though that I like the idea.. not the way it is executed, more on that in a little bit. The series is working towards expanding its possibilities and does so early on so it can not fall into a hole and I really like that. The hug Natsume got also feels like the first reward he really got.. it might seem tiny.. but it is something and I really needed to see that.

The Negatives

Had this episode only featured Tsubame I would have easily given this my highest rating yet! I really love that character A LOT more than I should do for a one episode character. The other Yokai in this episode though.. are a problem. They aren’t bad persé.. but it is like  putting Merryl Streep in a movie with Tyler Perry or with Will Arnett.  You know the latter two will be completely blown away by the former. The tournament host and magic mirror guy feels a bit forced.. he transforms into the same type of demon Madara is and they scuffle for a bit but it isn’t that interesting. It feels a bit soap-opera-like .. exposition needed to tell the real tale. I like the Kimono as a magic item, the race kind of feels forced however.  There is a Kimono stuck in a tree and all Yokai must race there without using their Yokai powers.  Natsume goes undercover but has too short legs  to win.. it all feels a bit nothingy.. while I do get we see Madara start to care for Natsume here.. I feel this could have been done in a much more interesting way.

The race also offers another problem, the plot feels a tad messy. This is in part due to the fact that Natsume has to attend a Festival one day, so Tsubame can attend another. Kind of like forcing Cinderella to win a dance-off to win tickets for the ball. I didn’t really like that structure. Also how did Natsume know where the other guy is while he was out racing Yokai, I doubt he could track the guy during all that. It just felt really weird and awkward to me. The other spirit is just so weakly written. I give you a peek in this magic mirror. .. which turns out just the thing to start the plot. He is an engine and not a very well written one and it takes some serious shine out of an otherwise amazing episode.

The Score

I loved half of this episode and I truly mean loved!  Man if I ever become a mother I am gonna starve all my kids hopefully the last survivor will be as great as Tsubame. It is great to see a more alive and emotional Natsume, even though seeing him cry made me get some tissues.  I love how this show can invoke those feelings and this is the third time it did.  It did it in a much more raw way then episode 2 and 4 as well …  jeez even numbered episodes rule in this series so far.   Had this episode been pure between Natsume and the little Swallow I would have had my new favourite episode of the show. The good in this episode isn’t just good!  It really is amazing.

Unfortunately the rest of this episode kind of feels half baked. The rest of what we see is not that much more than exposition or plot convenience.  I am super happy they chose to keep these events separate from Tsubame but in a way that also makes it worse.. you know.. as if they are aware of the fact that this part of content isn’t as good.  The pacing in the Tsubame bits is great and I LOVE the idea of Natsume never seeing her again.. and being insecure ..but so curious he talks to a stranger, which seems very against character.. it shows how much he cares.  Yet the pacing with the other spirit is quite poor. The race had no Oomph what so ever and even Nyanko/Madara’s decision to help Natsume was overshadowed by its “let’s get this over with.. we have a better story to tell” pacing. It’s like having a delicious meatball and some vegetables but not really a way to call it a dish so you pour on some water and some noodles and call it ramen.  The meatball is still exceptional but now that is part of a dish it will only be described as good.