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Godot

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Hello and welcome to Godot's reviews. I'm Godot, and I'll be reviewing various works of fiction in various forms of media. Games, movies, and TV shows are all fair game here. Frankly, I'm liable to start with stuff that I know everyone here's familiar with... *cough, cough* Pokemon *cough*... And then move on to things that are less familiar or more in the general niche I prefer, such as literally anything history related (That means you, 300). That said, my reviews are all my own opinion. I'm not an expert on anything (as much as I'd like to be as far as history is concerned) so every "critique" is more likely a nitpick, and everything I type should be taken with a grain of salt (or the entire salt shaker, in some instances). Another general warning for ya'll is that I will make jokes (mostly bad ones) regardless of how much I liked or hated the material. I'll update this thread later with my first review series, which will be Pokemon (or as much of it as I can find on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime's Instant Watch). After I finish up the first season of Pokemon, I'll take a breather to focus on another show which will be announced at a later date (although it might involve *gasp* "learning", which I'm sure some folks might object to). Mythology may or may not be on the table between reviews... And I'm probably going to redo the first two reviews of Pokemon (located on Azurilland), because I was kinda cynical back in 2017 when I initially started trying to review things (and may not have been fair to the series in the second one, whoops).
 
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Okay, time for my review of Pokémon: Season 1: Episode 1. I doubt I'm the first, and considering this is a Pokémon forum, to welcome you (back) to the wonderful world of Pokémon. The review itself will be contained entirely in the spoiler below. Everything will be presented in black text, Azure is recommended. Without further ado, let's get this show on the road.

We open with the main theme, if you know the lyrics then you might want to stop and sing a while... Go ahead, I'll wait... I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was... We good? Wonderful. Look, bikes are expensive so most of us will be making this journey on foot. We open with an homage to the game, specifically the Nidorino vs Gengar battle that the game's attract screen depicts. As the battle announcer helpfully states, "Nidorino begins battle with a Horn Attack." And doesn't hit Gengar. Gengar then uses hypnosis and the shadow trainer uses an Onix instead. And Onix doesn't do much.

And then we zoom out to reveal our protagonist watching the same battle on TV... Points for style. This young man is Ash Ketcham of Pallet Town, and our protagonist introducing himself. And then our narrator ruins the introduction by repeating it immediately. Thanks, disembodied narrator that wasn't redundant or pointless at all. Our narrator spends some time explaining that people in this world are allowed to own dangerous, sentient, creatures at the age of ten. I'd say think of the children, but apparently that's been accounted for already.

"I'm going to be a Pokemon Master" our protagonist states, holding a voltorb alarm clock like a pokeball. (Remember this for later, they're setting something up) Delia (Ash's mom) walks in and shouts at him to go to bed, which causes Ash to "accidentally" throw the clock. Which Delia catches, two points to Delia. One for catching the clock and one for good parenting. Apparently Ash's bed time is before eleven o'clock. When Ash complains about being unable to sleep, Delia tells him to watch an educational program in preparation for getting his first pokemon in the morning.

Title Card... Not much to say here, it's a title card.

Hey, you got exposition in my dream sequence. No, you got your dream sequence in my exposition. Screw it, expositionary dream sequences can be fun. If you can't put two and two together, Ash is having dream sequences that double as exposition about what starters he can choose. After the first one, the alarm clock rolls into Ash's hand as he dream exposits about Squirtle... And he throws the clock in his sleep, because apparently he has a full range of motion when he's asleep... Odd, but not unheard of. A dodrio sounds, alerting us to morning as Ash continues dreaming... Specifically about Charmander. When he wakes up, we see the clock smashed to bits. That's the payoff from earlier folks, a reason for our protagonist to have oversleep... Which was admittedly rather funny.

As Ash arrives we hear Cheerleaders (I'm assuming on someone's payroll) cheering on "What was my grandson's name again?" Jacka... I mean Gree... Blue? Gary. Cheering on Gary. And the jerk himself appears to push Ash to the ground (although Ash kinda had it coming for shoving his way through the crowd. I swear the entire town showed up and then some). And the Oak kid has an ego on him, how very endearing... No wait what's the word, annoying. He supposedly got the "best pokemon" from his Grandfather. Hold on, is that a car? He's in a car with a chauffeur and everything! But all the other trainers in Pallet are traveling on foot, so Gary's getting a double dose of unfair advantage. What a jerk!

And as he drives off, the entire crowd follows him off screen... A Wild Professor Oak appeared! Professor Oak used plot advancement, it's super effective. And Ash got burned for showing up in his pajamas. With every other pokemon taken, Ash is stuck with the one no one wanted. The electric mouse, wait I can guarantee more kids would want the electric mouse than the turtle. What is wrong with the kids in Pallet? Meet Pikachu, our cute and cuddly sidekick... Which promptly shocks Ash when he picks it up.

Ash walks outside, is greeted by his mother and the half of the town that was too late to see Gary off. And she packed clothes for him, rather thoughtful. Skipping to Ash's first moment of "training", We see that Ash is learning to understand the stubborn electric rodent (albeit not very well). Cue wild Pidgey. Pikachu refuses to battle the thing, leaving Ash to make a fool of himself because he's just as stubborn as pikachu. After being robbed by a rattata, Ash is mocked by the pokedex.

Ash throws a stone at a spearow, unleashing the fury of the bird and leads to an entire flock gunning for him. Thinking that the water is his best chance for escape, he jumps into the river and then latches on to a fishing line. Somehow unconcerned about the kid, who was underwater for a while, Misty focuses on Pikachu first and foremost.

Misty's mean to Ash, despite not knowing why he and Pikachu were in the water to begin with. Points him toward a Center. And then has her bike stolen, because Ash is kind of a jerk when he's desperate. "I'll give it back someday" Yeah, Ash, I'm sure you wi... Nevermind, the bike's been charred because pikachu saved you from the spearow. So aside from charred bikes, thunderbolts, and a Ho-Oh sighting about a season early Ash is a very sub-par trainer in this episode. I'm sure he'll get better though, right?

So that's episode 1, done and gone. As the narrator gives his ending spiel and we launch into the Pokérap. Feel free to sing, I'll just wait here and give my opinion on the episode when you get back

Done? Okay. Overall this episode is fun and exciting. Although several questions are raised, mostly by the presence of Gary's car, there was nothing too absurd. It gets you sucked into the world and ready to wait a week for the next episo... Oh, right. This season isn't airing anymore and I'm watching it on Netflix. Um, it gets you ready to binge watch the entire season? Oh sweet merciful Arceus, what have I gotten myself into?
 

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Neat. Hadn't actually noticed Gary had a car, funny. This is different from your other verion, but funny either way. Enjoyed the part about exposition in the dream sequence or dream sequence in the exposition :joyousazurill:
 

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@Isa, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Just like with the first episode, we open with the theme song. Feel free to watch and singalong, but I'll personally be skipping to the meat of the episode. Because if I talk about how good the theme is, we'll be here all day.

There's also a recap. Depending on how long it's been since you watched the first episode, or read my review of it, you might want to watch this. Because I already covered the first episode, no recap for me.

Title card is a title card is a title card.

The episode proper opens with Officer Jenny announcing to the entire city of Viridian that there have been reports of possible pokémon thieves in the area. I know that she's doing this over an intercom and that repetition is necessary to make sure everyone's aware of a potential hazard. But as a viewer, the repetition is kind of annoying. Realistic, but annoying... And now I'm doing it! And Pikachu not wanting to be in the pokeball immediately leads to a misunderstanding as Ash runs towards the city with Pikachu in his arms.

Officer Jenny confronts Ash about his perceived Pokémon theft. And Ash, doing the smart thing, points out that Pikachu is his... Although he probably shouldn't have raised his voice to her. And Officer Jenny apologizes before asking for ID. Something she probably should have done before he could interject or at least before apologizing, given her suspicion.

Also Jessie and James's photos can be seen on the wanted poster in the background... And from the way it's shot it looks like the photographer was trying to be as unhelpful as possible. Seriously, the only identifiers are their hair colors (which given that this is an anime, are probably both more common than they'd be in reality) and the fact that they're members of Team Rocket. Also if Jenny knew what she's supposed to be looking for, why did the misunderstanding happen in the first place?

Ash states he doesn't have an ID. And as far as the viewer is aware, Ash doesn't have an ID. He does mention Pallet Town, and Jenny points out that he's the fourth person from Pallet that she's seen all day. So Gary's already passed through Viridian and so have the other trainers. Ash assumes Gary was third, but if he hadn't gotten out of the car we saw last episode there's a fair chance he might have been second.

"It's very unusual for someone to carry a pokémon around in his arms and not in a pokéball." Thank you, Officer Jenny, for explaining your thought process and also repeating something we learned last episode. I know I'm trying to be more positive, but I really don't like Officer Jenny especially given the wanted poster in the background and the repetition. Another assertion that Ash could have stolen the pikachu. Officer, I want to like you but the dialogue is not helping your case!

We did not need the close up on the aforementioned poster while Jenny is repeating everything the audience already witnessed aloud verbatim. She noticed the pokédex, asked about it, and swiped it out of his hands when he responded... Adding random confiscation of plot important items to the ever growing list of reasons I don't like Viridian's Jenny.

Just over three minutes in and I've written this much. By fiddling with the pokédex she reveals that it's a form of ID. A fact that I'd be more interested in with we hadn't had three minutes of what filler due to Jenny's behavior, dialogue, and background details. Expositiondex, all that needs to be said.

So while Officer Jenny drives on her motorcycle Ash (rather quickly too, are speed limits not a thing? If they are a thing do officers not have to follow them?) to the Pokémon center, we get the reveal of Team Rocket as they snatch the wanted poster. Also Misty is running pretty fast for someone carrying a charred bike, but it's funny so I'll overlook it. I love how Team Rocket makes fun of each other while casually explaining their mission statement for the audience.

"Pokémon center? It's gigantic." Don't get used to it, Ash. Pokémon centers from here on out will be comparatively smaller, although that said this one is rather extravagant... They drove in. Officer Jenny, what the hell? Couldn't you have just gotten out and walked in? "We have a drive way you know." Nurse Joy, you're the voice of reason. Thank you for being one of the many redeeming factors of the episode. And we get to see how Pokémon Centers work! Awesome.

So in the first episode Misty chewed Ash out despite not knowing the situation, in this episode Officer Jenny chewed him out because of a misunderstanding, and now Nurse Joy is chewing him out for being irresponsible... The best part is, she's not wrong. I love Viridian's Joy, she's not taking any of this nonsense. I mean she called out Jenny, she called out Ash, and she told Ash that she'll take care of everything and that he just needs to stay out of the way.

Ash calls home and we get Delia being a good parent again! Yay! And we find out that lackluster training runs in the family. Apparently Ash's dad took four days to get to Viridian... It only took Ash a day on foot (and by stream, but that's beside the point). "You can do anything you set your mind to." Delia, I know you're just being a good parent but maybe you're getting his hopes a little too high. Also these first two episodes are strangely obsessed with having Delia make sure Ash is wearing clean underwear.

So on the pokémon center wall is a mural depicting Moltres, Zapdos, Articuno, and... Arcanine? Somethin's not quite right here.

Ash calls Oak next and instead of appearing on the phone/computer screen, the monitor he's shown on is the Arcanine part of the mural. That's kinda out of left field. Is that ramen boiling over a Bunsen burner? Oak is singing Ash's praise for getting to Viridian so soon... "When my grandson Gary said that you wouldn't have a single new pokemon by the time you got to Viridian City. I bet him a million dollars that he'd be wrong." Looks like Gary's a million dollars richer than before, and his ego is probably getting worse as well. Ash mistakes Articuno for Ho-Oh, although in his defense he's not going to see either of those for a while.

The dub replaced ramen with pizza... I feel like 4Kids has insulted my intelligence.

Misty shouts at Ash for what he did to her bike. Which is justified, actually given how much bikes cost. And she falls backwards because of the weight of the thing... Funny, although I'm confused as to why it only happened now. Nurse Joy brings pikachu back out, explains that her work is done and all that's left is for Pikachu to rest in the recovery room... When Officer Jenny starts using the intercom to warn them about Pokémon thieves, specifically Team Rocket.

"How dare they act like we're criminals..." I know James probably meant something along the lines of common criminals, but I mean they are criminals by definition. First instance of the motto! Feel free to say it along with them, I know I will. (although I won't type it)

So Team Rocket cuts the power supply, and we find out that the backup generator is a bunch of pikachu walking in circles on a treadmill... I'm going to suspend my disbelief and say that this is probably just perfectly ethical. There's really no point in arguing with something so cute. Emergency pokéball transfer system. Okay, it's good that they have that and I'm going to assume Jessie and James expected that which is why they initially cut the power.

And so a battle ensues where Ash and Misty use other people's pokémon to battle Team Rocket. Or it would have if Misty hadn't told Ash to get Pikachu and get out. Although considering Misty sends out Goldeen... Well, all it does is flop around uselessly. "...a water pokémon can't battle on land" Um, what about Slowpoke, Slowbro, Psyduck, or Seel. Ash runs with Pikachu and now we have Pikachu ex machina. So through Pikachu and kid power, Team Rocket is sent blasting off. Not again, because this is the first time it's happened but you get the idea. And the center is destroyed in the process.

Nurse Joy is in a rather good mood considering her workplace just blew up. We cut to Viridian Forest and learn that Misty has a fear of bugs and bug type pokémon. Ash throws a pokeball at Caterpie and we're left on the cliff hanger of will he catch it?

As an episode, I like it... Although I did prefer the first episode. This one would probably rank higher with me if it wasn't for Officer Jenny in the early bits. Pokérap and I'll see you next time for either episode 3 or one of the movies.
 

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So back on Azurilland, between episodes two and three (if it had been reviewed before I left, it wasn't and I'm sorry) was Greek Myth synopses and reviews. If anyone remembers the last mythology review I did, it was Icarus (more accurately spelled Ikarus). Because I'll watch episode 3 tomorrow while workin' on something else, I figured why not bring these back.

Today's myth is Orpheus and Eurydice.

I'm going to assume (probably safely) that you're all at least somewhat familiar with Greek gods and their domains, if not entirely. Hades, Zeus, Hera, Persephone, you know the drill.

Our story opens with Orpheus, a demigod and son of Apollo, being gifted a lyre by his father. Orpheus was a skilled musician, and there was no one who could resist his lyre's beautiful sounds. Orpheus had recently fallen in love with and married a beautiful woman named Eurydice. Spoiler alert, this doesn't last. Eventually Eurydice died young, as most people in Greek Myths tend to do when they aren't the protagonist (and even some who are).

After Eurydice's passing, Orpheus had only played sad or melancholic music and made everyone share his grief... In other words, he was a total downer justifiably but still. Apollo, seeing his son's grief and hearing the unbearably sad music, had suggested that Orpheus go into the depths of the underworld and take Eurydice back. Yeah, the unfortunate implication here is that the Ancient Greeks saw women as trophies/property to be won, stolen, or taken back. Orpheus was promised the protection of the gods upon Olympus and so the trek began.

The first hurdle was riding the ferry of the dead, as Charon demanded payment for the ride. Fortunately Orpheus had at least one drachma on his person and payed the ferryman. The second obstacle was the mighty, three-headed, and very fluffy, Spot... I mean Kerberos (which basically translates to Spot or being equivalent to Fluffy, not so scary now huh?).

Orpheus played his lyre beautifully and the music charmed the massive good boy to sleep. With Kerberos asleep (Yes, I'm going to keep spelling it that way because it's closer to the original Greek) Orpheus made his way to Hades, the god he was already in the realm. (Yes this can be confusing, I'll use "the underworld" from here on out) He first met with Persephone, Hades' wife via kidnapping/pomegranate eating, whom he played his sad song on. Persephone would then call a meeting between Orpheus and Hades.

When Hades asked what he desired, Orpheus played his song once more... Presumably telling Hades about the tragedy of losing his wife early and desperately wanting her back. This struck a chord (Music puns are the key to any good retelling of Orpheus's story) with the God of the Underworld and he allowed Orpheus to pass. "But one condition," Hades had said, "You must not look behind you until you reach the surface". Sounds simple enough.

Orpheus had been told by Hades that his betrothed was to follow him out. But as he trekked back the way he came, he heard no footsteps behind him. He couldn't feel her breath. He couldn't smell her scent. He couldn't hear her voice. He'd thought that Hades, benevolent though he'd seemed, had tricked him. That he'd merely been walking back out of the underworld alone. Although he wasn't able to hear her footsteps or have any idea she was there, Eurydice had followed her husband silently. A mere couple feet from the exit, Orpheus gave into his doubt and turned around only to realize that she had been following him. But she was pulled back into the darkness.

Orpheus tried to go back for her, but unfortunately he couldn't enter the underworld again. Or at least not while alive. He mourned her for the rest of his life, never playing a jaunty tune ever again. One day he was heard by the maenads (women who worshiped Dionysus through ritualistic murder and substance abuse) who would decapitate him, the muses preserved his severed head so he could sing forever. Perhaps he and Eurydice met again in the underworld, reunited in death.

This myth is very depressing. Every myth has it's moral, or at least I would hope it does. This one's seems to be that you should honor your part of a bargain, lest the other half be held as well. Or something of that sort... If not Hades wouldn't lie to you, or life has its costs. Perhaps the point is just to tell a tragic story, and if that's the case they succeed. Honestly I want to think that they met up after death with Hades chastising Orpheus for his lack of trust while still allowing Orpheus and Eurydice to enjoy their reunion.
 

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Continuing on in the vein of traditional posts in this thread (yes, three reviews is enough for me to say posting reviews is becoming an infrequent tradition or habit... It's at least a trend or pattern)

I'm feeling like stepping away from Pokémon for a little. Not because I'm afraid I'd be overly harsh on episode 3, but rather because I'd prefer for these reviews to not feel like Pokémon and Greek Myth are the only things in my wheelhouse. I'll edit in the actual review once I don't have to worry about Netflix, the Switch, and the PS4 fighting for bandwidth. Unfortunately this means I'm leaving this post with a hint: It's a spectacularly saccharine show with themes not too far from Pokémon specifically the power of friendship, although it does lack electrical rodents and cars.

We open with a book and fairy tale style narration. Which reminds me I should play Thousand Year Door agai... No, must focus on the review at hand. The narration tells us of two sisters who ruled over this fairy tale land together. Oh and did I mention they're horses? Well horned pegasi to be specific, but that's beside the point. "The eldest used her unicorn powers to raise the sun at dawn" Um, Sure, "Unicorn" powers... Except soon we'll get the reveal that most unicorns don't have wings. "The younger brought out the moon to begin the night" If only the younger "unicorn" can move the moon then there are some rather catastrophic things that could happen with tides should she ever be in a bad mood for any reason.

Younger unicorn hated ponies for being Diurnal. And apparently because of this there was lashing out and lunar banishment to rival Monokuma's attempt at a space program. "Nightmare Moon" okay, I henceforth change my name to Coffee-loving Reviewer because that's the tone we're taking now. And the narration introduces the macguffin of the series. The narration shifts from one voice to another revealing that it was a fairy tale being read by Rave... Bubbl... Barbra Gordo... Penelope Spectr... This joke is getting less funny and I'd argue wasn't funny to begin with. It's a purple unicorn named Twilight Sparkle. And of course she's talking to herself trying to figure out where she's heard of the macguffins. Launching us right into the theme song. No, I'm not singing this one as I type... There are better songs in this series. It is a good theme song though, I won't deny it.

After the theme song, we establish that Twilight isn't a pony pony... Er, people person, I'm not going to do the pony's for people replacement I'll leave that to the show from here on out. If I continue this series, I might refer to secondary characters by name but for now just know that Twilight's making a mad dash to the Canterlot library. Oh, it's a play on Camelot how'd I miss that? Everyone meet the purple dragon named Spike, Twilight's sidekick. For someone living in a library, Twilight sure has trouble finding the one book she needs until Spike grabs it and is promptly pulled down to the ground by Twilight's magic.

Twilight is apparently the Princesses student and she has read an old myth about a "mare in the moon" and must inform the princess through note. Although she keeps using words that Spike, the baby dragon, can't spell. Spike is the voice of expositional reason for a brief moment, it tends to be his lot. Instant belch messaging is something I'm not sure whether to be impressed or disgusted by. Princess Celestia's advise basically amounts to "stop reading and socialize". Cut to the ride through the clouds to Ponyville. Twilight's a little disappointed but honestly if my mentor and boss wanted me to go out and make friends when I could be doing actual work I'd be just as disappointed. And considering Celestia's a literal goddess, maybe Twilight is right to be putting more stock into the content of those books.

Twilight greets a pink pony with balloons on her side, who promptly gasps and dashes away. We'll see that one again later, cut to apple orchard. And the owner of this orchard is a pony named Apple Jack... As in a reference to an alcoholic beverage involving cider. This is a kid show, what's with the strange alcohol reference? Of course she speaks with a southern accent and wears a cowgirl hat... Dang Texas stereotypes. She has an absurdly large family, each named after a type of apple or treat that can be made with apples. They really went all out on the apple theme here.

Spike mentions that someone named rainbow dash is in charge of cloud control. No, that's not a typo. Unfortunately Twilight doesn't see any pegasi overhead until... She get crashed into and knocked down into the mud by a, now mud covered, rainbow maned pegasus. Take a wild guess what her name is. Clouds don't work that way and this is the one and only time I'll object to it. Rainbow Dash is kind of a show off, which she proves by showing how quickly she can remove clouds. So far we've met the nerd of the group, the jock, and the business oriented individual.

In charge of decorations for the upcoming festival is a white pony with a purple mane. Look, if you have objections to absurd horse colors I'm not sure what to tell you. And frankly if that's your objection, there's so much magic that I doubt absurd horse colors matter. And it seems the resident dragon has a crush on her. This is Rarity, and she's kind of the fashionista of the group... Being sort of one note in this episode makes her come across as a little more shallow than she'll later be. One makeover montage later we hear more about Rarity's obsession with fashion.

So the last stop on the list is to make sure the music's in order... And the source of music is whistling birds. Conducted by a tan pony with a pink mane and a picture of butterflies on her side. This soft spoken individual is Fluttershy. Look, this episode's a two parter so I'll cover introductions in this half of the review and post the other half tomorrow. Twilight manages to catch her by surprise, not a difficult feat considering Fluttershy was facing away from the path. Fluttershy, true to her name, is really nervous in her introduction to Twilight... And being fascinated with nature, she notices Spike and immediately becomes somewhat less shy.

After Twilight makes excuses to get away from Fluttershy, and slams a door in her face, Spike calls her out for being rude. The lights inside the library are all off, Twilight wonders where the light switch is. And then the lights turn on revealing a surprise party. And we finally see the pink one again, I told you she'd be back. Her name is Pinkie Pie and if you couldn't tell from before she's got a tendency to go bouncing off the walls with boundless energy. I can relate, when I'm really excited about something I practically start talking and don't shut up. She's also the most social of the group.

Twilight absentmindedly pours hot sauce into the punch before taking a sip. And it turns out it's so spicy that she channels her inner rapidash. The noise and introductions, and separation from the knowledge she believes will help her stop Nightmare Moon, proves to be a little more than Twilight can handle. More pony culture exposition from Spike and more ominous foreshadowing from Twilight. So the ponies gather in a building with a massive skylight just to watch the sun rise. And surprise, surprise Princess Celestia's (the person who can move the sun) is a no show. And to top it off Nightmare Moon escaped from the moon as foreshadowed by Twilight earlier. Also Celestia imprisoned her own sister in the moon for one thousand years... There are no words for how cruel that is. I mean sensory deprivation and isolation in unison is evil to begin with, but doing so within the moon... Jeez. And now we get the evil plot: Nightmare Moon is going to plunge the world into eternal Darkness... I mean night. And that ends part one.

Overall I give the first part of the Pilot episode 6.5/10: It's certainly not bad, but the characters are more one note versions of themselves and I get why, it's the first half of a pilot with several protagonists so introductions take precedence over actual fleshed out personality and the like. Teen Titans would have suffered the same problem if that series hadn't started with the protagonists already being a team.
 
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Read the greek myth and really enjoyed the way you told it. I had heard it and recalled it vaguely, but I like the humor and puns that go with it. Also not sure what the moral was, except maybe he should have had more faith in his wife and in Hades.

Also, I'd guess you're talking about Digimon but won't get my hopes up just in case (I liked that anime a lot :p)
 

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Edited the previous post, by the way. Also I get ya, I just wanted to post a quick review of something that's not entirely new to me. Glad you liked the Greek Myth summary. Might do more, might go so far as to go for Norse or Egyptian next time I need filler though. Unfortunately I've never really watched Digimon and while that will inevitably change in the future I feel like the central theme of Pokemon (outside of merchandising) is friendship... Which is also the central theme of My Little Pony (Again outside of merchandising which is the real, and cynical, reason both shows exist)
 

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Oof I meant to say I enjoyed your humor and your puns when reading the myth. Don't think that was clear in my post. And ah, lol. I enjoyed the MLP series, but yeah, should probably not be taken too seriously or logically lmao. Enjoyed your narrarion.
 

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Because I can't leave a pilot half reviewed... I mean, I can but I prefer not to.
Part two opens with a recap of part 1, if you read the previous review then like me you'll skip the recap much like I am. If you haven't read the previous one (or watched the previous episode) I recommend scrolling back up for a moment. After the recap we open with the exact last scene of the previous part. Unfortunately after being told to seize Nightmare Moon, she zaps the guards and then goes about the process of turning into mist and floating out... Hate to say it, but if she could do that all along there's no way arresting her would have worked had she not zapped the guards. Unfortunately Twilight's first instinct is to put Spike to bed. Not like there's a dangerous, possibly insane, literal goddess on the loose or anything.

Exposition related arguing. Nice. Right, so Rainbow's clearly annoyed that Twilight seemed to know about Nightmare Moon's return and won't stop talking to herself about macguffins. Which admittedly is rather suspicious seeming. Applejack tries to reign her in, I swear that pun wasn't intentional. Believing (rather illogically) that Twilight's not a spy. I swear every time Applejack speaks I expect to hear a bad mispronunciation of some Spanish word because the accent reminds me of Peggy Hill. So Twilight launches into a speech about how she read all about the legend and took it at face value (because in a world with literal gods controlling the sun and moon, that's what you usually do). Pinkie randomly finds the book mentioning the macguffins and it turns out it was clearly labeled under E... Am I expected to think that someone who practically (and probably literally) lives in a library is unfamiliar with the organization style that the libraries in this universe use? I mean if I lived in a library IRL, I think I'd get rather well aquainted with the Dewey Decimal System. Putting aside how fictional libraries seem to organize by title rather than author name.

While Twilight is busy reading exposition from the book for the rest of the group, they're being spied on by Nightmare Moon in mist form so that she can glean the same information... Which she should already know given her identity. "We're sticking to you like caramel on a candy apple"... Apple related metaphors? Really? Please tell me that's the first and last one I'll have to hear this episode. So Rarity doesn't like the forest on the outskirts of Ponyville because it's ugly. And according to Applejack it's "not natural" a little elaboration would be nice, but all we get is Rainbow using the tried and true "nobody knows" line... Which just serves as a means to intentionally scare the others and causing them to back up.

Then we get a random rock slide, from which Rainbow and Fluttershy have to save the rest of the group. Twilight ends up dangling off the edge of a cliff, Applejack catches her and then immediately advises her to let go. Granted that the audience knows Applejack can see something just off screen, but Twilight couldn't know that. This will be brought up again later, just make note of it. Turns out what Applejack noticed was Fluttershy and Rainbow. After everyone's safely on the ground, we see Nightmare Moon's magic zipping toward a manticore shaped shadow. Rainbow, being incredibly full of herself this episode, recaps how she and Fluttershy just saved everyone for everyone that was there.

Suddenly the literally foreshadowed manticore lunges at them. And contrary to how you'd expect things to play out, they actually try to fight the thing first. Rarity kicks it, Applejack tries her best and gets launched back, and Rainbow gets smacked with the broadside of its scorpion tail... Considering how lethal a manticore's sting can be, she's lucky it didn't sting her. Meanwhile Fluttershy is trying, rather ineffectively I might add, to get the party's attention. Only shouting as everyone starts charging at the manticore. Just a little over six minutes in and Fluttershy's removing a thorn from the manticore's paw... I get that Androcles' Lion is a commonly known fable, but isn't this a little on the nose? The manticore roars, for no other reason than to mess with the audience, and then proceeds to lick Fluttershy's face in the least cat-like display of gratitude. "Aw you're just a little old baby kitty aren't you?" That baby kitty has a scorpion's tail, bat wings, and razor sharp teeth. Don't try this with actual lions, you'll probably be eaten for your trouble.

It's revealed that Nightmare Moon's magic created the thorn, and then it makes the trees in the forest scarier... For someone who can control the moon, she sure is loathe to actually cause them harm herself. Like what, since the manticore didn't kill them you're going to scare them into retreating? As someone who knows several Dungeon Masters, if a manticore doesn't have your adventuring party running for the hills trees with creepy faces on them aren't going to fare much better. As with how the manticore demonstrated Fluttershy's connection to the natural world, these trees serve to show us Pinkie can laugh at absolutely anything. Expository singing (honestly this is sort of something the show constantly does, if that's a deal breaker I'm sorry) and complaining from the other characters about said random musical number. It's not bad, although the rest of the party didn't want it. Bards man, just bards. (I play bards often, and Pinkie is a good example of a standard support bard)

So now it's Rarity's turn for the spotlight. And the thing she's supposed to deal with is a sea serpent with hair. His name doesn't matter at the moment, but what does matter is that he's upset because his mustache is asymmetrical. A fact that no one but Rarity and the sea monster himself seems to care about. Rarity takes one of his scales and cuts her tail, after she'd just complained about the manticore ruining her mane earlier. Which causes the sea serpent to faint. And so we come to a broken bridge in front of the destination, which happens to be useful for Rainbow's "talent/trait" test. So playing on Rainbow's narcissism and obsession with a team of pegasi called the "wonderbolts", the magic creates a team called the "shadowbolts" to tempt Rainbow away from fixing the bridge. And she practically agrees to join the "shadowbolts" (these names are incredibly dumb, but so are several actual sports team names) when actually forced to choose between fame and friendship Rainbow initially seems to choose fame. And then ultimately chooses the party.

Now for the reveal: the macguffins are... Rocks, just really spherical rocks. "When the five are present, the sixth element will be revealed" This prophecy sounds like the oracle of Delphi decided to take a day off and let one of the interns come up with something. Much like what I'd expect from Raven, Twilight sends her friends out of the room so she can focus on using magic. But instead Nightmare Moon takes the macguffins and Twilight, sending everyone into a panic. Twilight looks like she's going to charge and zap Nightmare Moon with magic, but is actually running and teleporting behind her. Charging the stones with magic sends Twilight flying backward while Nightmare Moon reacts in fear... Only to smash the stones to pieces. Sudden "you had the macguffin inside you all along" reveal, cliche but interesting considering that these macguffins are positive personality traits. So apparently that cliff hanging moment represents honesty, trust may be more applicable here because Twilight was kind of blindly trusting Applejack at the time. Helping a dangerous creature that seemingly wants to eat you is representative of kindness. Laughter doesn't fit with the other two, but I guess if something had to not make sense Pinkie's the clear choice. "Comforted the serpent with a meaningful gift" Meaningful to her and the serpent, anyway, and as explained before the tail and the mustache would both have grown back so it's kind of pointless. But this is (misplaced) generosity. Rainbow represents loyalty... She was willing to join up with a non-existent team for fame without hearing the stipulations and only after hearing the requirements changed her mind. So that's five macguffins for five protagonist, which logically means the sixth would be knowledge for Twilight because she's obsessed with it, right? "The element of Magic"... Okay, one element belonging to Pinkie being inconsistent with the rest is relatively understandable but two with the second belong to Twilight is a little weird. Or it would be if magic in this instance wasn't supposed to be a synonym for friendship (which it usually isn't). And what used to be stones become jewelry that just happen to resemble the pictures on their sides which are apparently called "cutie marks"? That's more than a little contrived.

And suddenly Celestia appears for no reason. And Celestia basically explains that this was all part of the plan. Yeah, sure, her sister's been causing mass hysteria and trying to get Twilight and the others killed or separated and that's all part of the plan. "I saw the signs of Nightmare Moon's return and I knew it was you, who had the magic inside to defeat her"... Let me get this straight, the goddess that controls the sun saw the signs of her sister's return and her evil goals and basically decided to do nothing and leave it up to six mortals. And now I introduce you to a running theme of villains being redeemed at the end of their arc. Celestia spells it out for the audience that Nightmare Moon or Princess Luna is her sister, and it somehow takes the entire party by surprise (despite the fact that Twilight could have made an educated guess given her mentor's abilities). Cue celebration for no real reason other than Pinkie having an obsession with parties.

As two-parters go this wasn't terrible, and this part is actually sorta better than the first part. Overall it's a decent start to a kids' show. Don't expect regular reviews of this one though. Between this and pokemon, I'd be liable to get cavities from how saccharine both are.
 

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I know what I said after the last review, but I'm looking at Netflix and Pokemon's not something I watched recently. Probably oughta get to watching episode 3 before I completely forget that I'm doing reviews on that series. But besides that, I just had an experience with my dog escaping and being dragged back in. So after the panic that causes, I need something either awesome or saccharine... And considering the last thing I reviewed, I'd say saccharine is right back on the menu. (I swear I'll get back to Pokémon at some point)

So when we last left our hero, Johnathon's life was basically being made into a living hell by... Wait, this isn't JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (review pending)! Okay, joking aside, when we last left the primary cast (I'm not calling them by the usual term because some people don't appreciate horse puns) they had basically been told that they are the embodiments of these different elements. And Celestia basically told them that she'd stop meddling as long as Twilight sends her letters about lessons she's learned... More or less.

This episode opens with apples, both the fruit and Applejack. Apparently Twilight's helping harvest the apples, magic is probably pretty useful for that. Applejack mentions her older brother Big Macintosh (later shortened to Big Mac, because the show will call him that later on and it's less typing for me). Spike hasn't been doing anything to help, and in this situation seems to be more of an annoyance to Twilight than anything else. Spike continues to root through the picked apples until he finds the perfect one, while Twilight mentions how hungry she is... And then he proceeds to eat the apple himself, guess he couldn't be bothered to split it. Holy belching mail delivery, Batman, I thought we were through with that.

The letter from Celestia basically explains that she's hosting a ball and Twilight's invited and one guest... Considering Twilight has five friends, I think it's blatantly obvious where this is going. And another of Spike's disgusting means of delivering mail reveals that the letter came with tickets. Thank goodness magic like this doesn't exist in reality, I'd never open another envelope for as long as I live. Spike says he doesn't want anything to do with this "grand galloping gala" (props to the writers for alliteration). Twilight and Applejack, on the other hand, are justifiably excited that they'd been invited (I would be too, if a literal god decided to invite me to a party). Of course Applejack's motives are entirely centered on selling apples to the other guests.

"I'd give my left hind leg"... That's an oddly specific thing to give up just to attend a party. And who should crash on by but Rainbow, although to her credit it's more akin to falling out of bed than crash landing... She was apparently napping in one of the apple trees. Rainbow wishes to attend the party because her idols always attend, and she wants to show off. The names she gives her hypothetical moveset are increasingly ridiculous too, which is awesome. Get used to unrealistic goals for what will happen at this dance because that's a running theme this episode. And arguing over the extra ticket ensues, just like everyone could tell from a mile away. The instant Twilight makes an excuse to leave and think this over a little more, Rainbow and Applejack get into an "arm" wrestling competition.

While walking to find somewhere to eat, Twilight's tackled by Pinkie. I would say at complete random, but that describes Pinkie in general and the plot beats of this episode are extremely obvious. And when Pinkie notices the tickets, she explains her motives behind wanting to go. Pinkie Pie being, well, Pinkie Pie the motive basically boils down to it's a party and she really likes parties. And she bursts into a repetitive song about how the party's the best place for her... And she's not wrong. While Pinkie is singing rather loudly, Rarity happens by. And of course explains why she wants to go. Her reasoning is simple, and fashion obsessed but for once that's not the point. Her motive is love, not incredibly unusual although considering she has a crush on Celestia's nephew it's not likely to happen. Also unless Celestia has another sibling, this does raise the question of why she imprisoned Luna in the moon considering this means Luna's a mother (not even taking into account how old he'd have to be considering she was imprisoned for a thousand years). Not only does Rarity's fantasy involve love at first sight, but also marriage at first sight.

While Rarity's explanation is occurring, Angel Bunny (Basically if Fluttershy was a druid, this mischievous rodent would be her animal companion) steals the ticket and shows it to Fluttershy. Angel is anything but an angel though, as will become more clear in later episodes. Fluttershy's reason for wanting to attend the dance is more along the lines of seeing the garden. Which is just as well, she's not really a people person. The use of the words flora and fauna in a kid's show is a rare occurrence and I approve. Applejack and Rainbow were just casually stalking Twilight this whole time? It's just a ticket to a dance and Pinkie's the only one who actually wants to attend solely for the party. And more arguing among "friends".

Twilight's having difficulty coming to a decision as to which of her friends to invite. And we get the reveal that a dragon's usual diet includes or consists of precious gems. And as Twilight's taking the first bite of her food we see a bunch of tertiary characters run to get into the restaurant proper. Only to discover it's raining and somehow only Twilight's table is unaffected due to Rainbow removing the clouds directly above Twilight in a bid for the ticket. This is going to be another running theme this episode. Rarity offers Twilight a makeover as her act of unwanted kindness and Spike gets roped in for good measure. Apparently Applejack was waiting until this exact moment to try bribing Twilight with food... Twilight refuses to accept the food because she knows it's a bribe. She storms back to the library she calls home to find Fluttershy pulling a Snow White and cleaning the place with the help of woodland critters. Pinkie's going to throw a party isn't she? Yup, I called it. It's almost like I've seen this episode before, well that and the character's personalities and the plot aren't even trying to surprise anyone.

And now because Pinkie can't keep a secret, at least half the town knows that Twilight was invited to the gala and has an extra ticket. Cue something that sounds similar to but distinctly different from Yakety Sax... I wish that was a joke, but that's literally what they're doing here. Now we get the first actual letter to Celestia or as I'll be calling them "Morals by any other name" because as The Bard had put it in Romeo and Juliet "A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet". I'm not going to point out the moral here though, if you were following along with the synopsis it should be obvious. This letter is undercut by the fact that another letter is sent by Celestia explaining that if Twilight had asked she would have sent the appropriate amount of tickets so no one would be left out.

Overall this episode wasn't bad, but certainly wasn't the best. I'd say it's roughly middle of the road.
 

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Eh, at this point I probably should drop Pokemon from my reviewing line up. I'm not covering it very often. Anyway, today's review is a movie. "What movie?" you might ask, well it's something that fits rather nicely into my wheelhouse and might be gone from Netflix relatively soon. I'm talking, of course, about Disney's Hercules.

We'll start with the classic Disney logo. I can't show it here for obvious reason, but you know it. It's the blue castle with the "When you wish upon a star" melody playing over it. The movie proper opens with a ton of statues and narration. "A golden age of powerful gods and extraordinary heroes." And just how many of those heroes were Zeus's illegitimate children. The narration continues this way, basically massaging Heracles... Er, Hercules's famous ego.

Our narration is interrupted by a group of five ladies painted at the top of a vase. Ladies and gentlemen, these are the muses and unlike the myths there's only five of them. One of the muses, before we even know their names (as if they actually matter in this movie, they're basically equivalent to the Gargoyles in Hunchback) with the line "He's making the story sound like some Greek tragedy." Sure Thalia, it's not a Greek Tragedy unless one or both parties ends up dead at the others' hand by the end. So while the other muses insist on actually trying to tell the story, Thalia throws in sexual innuendo in regards to the man himself.

"Back when the world was new"... I'm sorry ladies, but do we really need to go that far back? I can give a synopsis of the myths alone because most folks know the basics of the mythology at this point. That said, I love this song so carry on. Okay oversimplifying the clash the gods had with the titans a bit, but Disney would flat out mention a man eating his children in one of their movies would they? Look, this is gospel music in Ancient Greece if you really can't handle it there's other (less mythology based) movies you could be watching right now. As the song ends, I know I was enjoying it too, we pan up towards the top of Mount Olympus and see Apollo zoom by on his chariot. Don't get used to him, he's not going to be present in the majority of this.

So the reveal, no Herac... No, bad, his family tree isn't even close to the myth he doesn't deserve to be called Heracles. Hercules is born a god in the movie, because of course he is. On the bright side, we get to see Zeus not being terrible so you win some you lose some. Small victories folks, Nike (Greek Goddess of Victory) would be proud. Not even going to mention all the gods in the background by name, primarily because there's way more than the standard twelve. Special mention to the cherubim which I think are supposed to be Aphrodite's children maybe Eros and I don't know Harmonia, Phobos maybe Aphrodite had way more than just two children.

Hermes delivers flowers to Hera... Why? And mentions that Orpheus did the arranging. Again why, if Demeter and Persephone were both invited (and considering almost every member of the pantheon was, so why wouldn't they) then shouldn't one of the goddesses related to spring or here's a thought Pan should have done the arranging. And you're complaining that the arrangement is nutty, you're the fool that had a musician arrange flowers rather than asking the botanists. "I haven't seen this much love in a room since Narcissus discovered himself" First off, Hermes, I am so totally using this line the next time I'm at a wedding. Second off who the HADES invited Narcissus? Hera's worried because Herc got his hands on a lightning bolt. Herc shocks himself while Zeus advises that Hera let her infant child have some fun with the literal weapon he's chewing on! I take it back, this Zeus is bad in a different way.

Pillars on Olympus are indestructible, well I suppose that's one way to deal with the inevitable marital issues Zeus and Hera will have. Zeus thanks all the other gods (and mortals apparently, hi Narcissus) for the presents they got baby Herc. And then realizes he waited until literally the last minute to grab a gift himself and basically goes all Build-A-Pegasus on this one. (Look, if I could build a foal that would become my trusted steed out of literal clouds I would leap at the chance and I'm sure you would too) Herc headbutts his new horse friend, in the first instance of what I'll call Jerk-ules behavior of this film. "How sentimental" Oh boy, Villain alert already! This... Let's call him a walking match, shall we. This walking match is Hades, voiced by sentient colostomy bag James Woods.

Hades is very different from the myth. Vindictive, cruel, and shall we say just grave demeanor. Hades basically tries to harm Herc at the party, which clearly doesn't sit right with Zeus and Hera. Then after some jokes at his expense (not even good jokes, c'mon Zeus you can do better than that!) he makes his way back home while the muses explain exactly how vile Hades and the underworld is. Okay, the steak thing. I know that some of us remember the steak thing. What kind of pet owner throws a small steak to a three headed dog, that's just cruel I mean at least throw Cerberus something bigger or better yet throw three steaks! Pain and Panic, the villainous comedy duo. Yay? Honestly I'm not sure how I feel about these two, their jokes are all bad and forced and obviously trying to mimic the thing Genie did in Aladdin. When they aren't trying to be evil Timon and Pumbaa.

Hades walks off to meet with the Fates (or Moirai). If you've seen this before, you know the deal these three old ladies share a single eye and are constantly fighting over it... Not sure how close that is to the source material, every time I see mention of these three it's the same shenanigans. They supposedly know everything about the past, present, and future. Let's introduce the Fates properly before I cover the inevitable prophecy. First off we've got Lachesis who was measuring the thread earlier or rather holding it up, Atropos who was busy cutting a the thread, and Clotho who supposedly spun the thread to begin with. So the Fates declare that on Herc's 18th birthday the planets will align in such a way that Hades will be able to unleash the titans from Tartarus... Why he'd want to do something like that is beyond me, also they aren't really titans but that's more of a pedantic argument. Basically the prophecy boils down to Hades can only win if Herc doesn't fight him... Sounds easy right, Hades has an easy victory because his opponent is an infant. Check the title again.

"How do you kill a god" Well geez, Hades, I don't know how did you and your brothers kill Kronos? Or how did Kronos kill your grandfather Uranos?What I'm saying is as a god you've already got the means. Why is there a skull on the mortality potion? Like turning him mortal isn't going to kill him outright, you're gonna need to put effort into this. Maybe Sparta, the city founded by your nephew Ares, can give a few pointers on baby killing considering how many infants they threw over the walls. The long and short of it is Herc gets turned mortal and is raised by two mortals whose names really don't matter to this movie in the grand scheme of things. I'm skipping the musical number for now, I'll get back to you when they're better.

Herc's a basic farmbrat at this point in his life and his super strength causes him all sorts of trouble. After way more property damage than expected, he's basically sent on a self imposed exile (and also actual exile because he kind of destroyed everything). Musical number, Herc is convinced (correctly) that he doesn't fit in among mortals. The musical number is briefly interrupted so that the farmer and his wife can tell him that they aren't his real parents (in the original the farmer's wife was Herc's mother). I like the movie, but the liberties it takes are painful to me as a mythology nut. Zeus reveals that Herc is a god, because of course he does. Musical number continues because Herc can go the distance.

Philoctetes is the first stop on Herc's journey to be a hero. Say it with me now "unlike the myths" this guy isn't human, but rather a satyr which brings with it all the problems that immediately come to mind with satyrs. Which is to say he's far more interested in chasing girls than he is in teaching Herc anything. It doesn't help that he's spying on Nymphs when he's introduced. Is there anyone, aside from Zeus and maybe Herc, that's supposed to actually be likable? Phil turns him down at first, and then explains that he's retired in a running gag that isn't worth being acknowledged beyond this point. Phil is listing the heroes he trained in no particular order, because if he was going in chronological order Odysseus would have been mentioned after Achilles not before. "He could take a hit" Anywhere but his tendon, which I'd say is meaningless if the tendon injury that killed him hadn't been in the exact same war where he slew Hector. "He barely gets nicked there once and he's history" Blame his mother Phil, she held the kid by his heel so of course it wouldn't be invulnerable.

Phil wants one of his students to be a constellation... All I'm gonna say is I sure hope Orion was one of his students. "Zeus is your father, right?" Yeah, to Herc and at least half of the Ancient Greek world apparently. Phil keeps making fun of Herc for this fact, but wasn't Perseus one of Zeus's kids? Phil launches into his own song, which isn't as good as Herc's but at least I'm not sick of it yet like with the never ending gospel music. We get a training montage as Herc gets better. As Phil runs down the rules, the movie skips from rule 6 (which it also starts with) to rule 95. Herc's getting cocky, so it's off to Thebes to resolve numerous issues.

Here we see a woman being assaulted by a centaur named Nessus. Okay two problems here, Problem one is that Megara is the wrong wife of Hercules to be put in this specific situation. Problem two is with the fact that this character was included, Nessus is far worse in the mythology and what he's doing on-screen is already terrible. After saving Megara, I use the term loosely because she's not actually in danger for most of the action scene. Phil can see Herc is lovestruck, and after Meg walks out of sight of them we get the reveal that she works for the walking match. So now Hades knows that Herc's alive, the audience knows that Meg was supposed to be negotiating with Nessus, and Herc knows nothing.

"One town a million troubles" Most of them caused by the residents and their representatives not knowing how diplomacy is supposed to work. Thebes was a political mess throughout the Peloponnessian war trying to play both sides diplomatically only frustrated Sparta and Athens. Eventually the peace treaty they were going for with Sparta broke down and they instead declared war. This is all beside the point, and honestly I'm not talking about the anachronisms here. I would but there are so many in Thebes alone that just trying might break my brain. Kids are trapped under a bolder, turns out it was actually Pain and Panic (big whoop) and the boulder blocks a cave housing the hydra. Which Herc eventually slays.

We get a montage of all the things Herc slays that would have been part of his trials that the movie didn't think was interesting enough to have as a plot point. The song playing over the montage is the one I named this spoiler after. We get an explanation of why Meg works for Hades. After Herc recaps his exploits for Zeus, we see him getting a vase painted with his image while wearing... Is that Scar doubling for the Nemean Lion? How did the first labor not get shown at all!? Herc hides behind a curtain to avoid his screaming fans... I'm trying not to address the anachronisms if they aren't plot important, this one is sort of plot important because after the fans run out Meg gives the "what's behind curtain number one" line. And ugh, this is painful to watch. Meg talks Herc into spending some time with her. "That play. That, that Oedipus thing. And I thought I had problems" Gosh Darn it, Meg, taking a date to see Oedipus Rex what in hades is wrong with you? "Weak ankles" Oh god, this is a setup for asking about Achilles Heals. We just discussed Achilles by name. He knocks the arms off of a statue nearby while skipping stones, and the statue just happened to be the Venus de Milo. That's probably an anachronism too, add it to the list. After a kiss scene being completely ruined by Phil on Pegasus back, Meg begins her song. Another of my favorites as luck would have it. The fact that the muses are singing along with her as statues is both completely in character for them and completely disturbing.

Hades decides to chew out his lovestruck employee when Phil recovers from a major bump to the head. And unfortunately Phil overhears what Hades is shouting. Of course he runs off immediately to inform Herc that Meg can't be trusted, without staying to make sure that he got the full conversation. Can you say tragic misunderstanding, because that's what we're setting up for. Pain and Panic disguised as a female Pegasus (which should be a red flag because there's only one Pegasus) lure Pegasus away. While Phil tries to break what he thinks is the truth to Herc. "More beautiful than Aphrodite" Whoa, Herc I get that you like Meg but that's akin to trying to get some one killed right there. Aphrodite is so incredibly petty she started the Trojan War simply because she was told that someone else was prettier than her. In Greek Myth you don't boast about yourself or your loved one being better than a god if you value either of your lives.

After Herc basically tells Phil that he's being absurd and Phil walks off. Hades shows up to make everything worse. Hades tries to make a deal with Herc. He (stupidly) gives up his strength for Meg's life. Hades begins to fulfill the prophecy. The gods upon Olympus do their best but can't quite fight off the "titans" and the mere mortals can't protect themselves from them either. Herc can't do much, Hermes and most of the gods have been captured by Hades' minions (surprisingly competent when they aren't wasting screen time) Basically everything's going down hill and a pillar starts falling towards the now powerless Herc. Meg pushes him out of the way dying in the process. After Herc gets his strength back he goes after the titans, defeating them easily since we're nearing the end. Meg's thread is cut and her soul goes to the underworld (where all souls go in Greek Myth). Now Herc decides it's time to play Orpheus and go to Hades for her. Herc regains godhood through risking his life to get Meg back and Hades gets knocked down into the swirling pool of souls. Herc and Meg head toward Olympus, Herc gives up godhood to be with Meg, and everything ends happily ever after. Credits roll and we're done. (Well the ending isn't so happy for Myth Meg, Herakles is cursed by Hera and kills Meg in a fit of rage which actually kick starts those labors mentioned before)

That was Hercules, and as much as I love that movie, I'm never reviewing something that is this heavily steeped in mythology ever again unless it's an actual myth. I swear this movie's fun to watch but absolutely sucks to review.
 

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Lol oof. I think Disney changes a lot of stuff and isn't meant to be taken as accurate (for example Andersen's version of The Little Mermaid has a completely different ending. Though I appreciate knowing what exactly is inaccurate about the movie.
 

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Because my last Disney review was negative, I think it's high time I reviewed something that always brings a smile to my face. And that movie is: a childhood favorite of mine.

Emperor's New Groove. So we'll start with the iconic castle, although it's not playing the usual melody. The movie proper helpfully explains that it's set "a long time ago, somewhere deep in the jungle", my bet's on somewhere in South America specifically Peru (you'll see why). Following the intro text, we see a figure sitting down and looking kinda sullen in the middle of a rainstorm. When thunder spooks the llama. "would you take a look at that, pretty pathetic huh?" I suppose it is, disembodied narrator although I kinda feel sorry for this llama. While our disembodied narrator describes how great the emperor was when he wasn't a llama, we get the reveal that our narrator is said llama. "The name is Kuzco, Emperor Kuzco" ah, I see you're familiar with a mister Bond, James Bond, Kuzco.

Kuzco complains how an unspecified "they" made his life worse "for no reason". He tells us to "go back" to before he wasn't a llama and we see a baby Kuzco playing with a toy. A toy that soon breaks, while Narrator Kuzco gushes over how cute he was. Baby Kuzco cries about the broken toy and several hands (presumably belonging to servants) offer toys that look just like it. The title comes up as we see Kuzco brushing his hair. And we get a wonderful musical number about Kuzco (done by the Theme Song Guy we'll see later). We also see that the people that work for Kuzco build a door at the snap of his fingers. It seems he's used to being waited on hand and foot.

We see several of the "tasks" Kuzco has to do everyday as emperor. He shows off what he can do as emperor while he (the narrator version of him) explains that everyone in his palace does as he commands. So now's as good a time as any to point out why I think this is set in Peru. First off Kuzco shares the pronunciation of his name with Cuzco which is a city in Peru and was a major city in the Inca Empire. Likewise llamas are found in the area and were sacred to the Inca.

Kuzco, if you couldn't tell from the fact that he has a theme song guy who literally sings his praises, is a narcissistic jerk. And consequently the closest any Disney movie had gotten to having a villain protagonist until Maleficent. Mid-dance, Kuzco backs into an old guy and blames said old guy for "throwing off his groove". Leading to a nameless guard giving my favorite line ever: "I'm sorry, but you threw off the emperor's groove". And the old guy gets defenestrated, in a children's movie, which is awesome (don't worry, the old man survives the fall out the window)! Fortunately there's no glass in the window, but still. And the villain song continues. Somehow the anachronism of Theme Song Guy looking like an Elvis impersonator just makes this movie funnier.

Kuzco gets called in by the royal matchmaker to choose a bride, and we can add shallow to the list of descriptors that would usually apply to villains in other movies but also applies to our protagonist. Keep a list, you'll want one. "Let me show you the people responsible for ruining my life" A peasant? I know you're self centered but a simple village man ruined your life? This is Pacha, he's just an average peasant summoned to meet with Kuzco. He bumps into the old guy, who was fortunately saved by a banner he's now tied up in. Before helping the old man down. We then cut to someone sitting on the throne that isn't Kuzco. This woman is Yzma, and Kuzco makes several cracks about her age, no wonder she hates his guts.

Next to Yzma is Kronk, a simple if kindhearted individual who works as her right hand man. I like Kronk. Yzma is just as bad as the emperor she advises, basically stating that it's not her problem if a peasant's family has food or not. Before Kuzco shows up and admonishes her for being in his chair and then fires her. When Yzma asks what Kuzco means, he lists synonyms for "fired". In walks Pacha just after Yzma's been thrown out of the room (no, not literally). Kuzco asks about whether or not Pacha's aware of his village's value. And then reveals a scale model of the village, explains that he really likes the top of the hill (where Pacha's house is). Kuzco asks where he'd get the most sun, is told that the top of the hill gets the most. And then removes Pacha's house from the model replacing it with his "summer palace".

Cut to Yzma smashing statues of Kuzco, because she can't take her anger out on the real thing. I'd like to take the time to remind you this isn't a murder mystery movie, although if it was everyone has a motive. Kronk inadvertently inspires Yzma to attempt to murder Kuzco. She basically plans to take over once she's killed Kuzco. Kronk doesn't really understand the logistics of how this is supposed to work, poor guy's too innocent I guess. "Pull the lever, Kronk! Wrong lever!" Why does she even have a lever that opens the floor directly where she'd be standing when they try to head to the lab? "Why do we even have that lever?" My thoughts exactly, Yzma. Okay, I know the rollercoaster and the secret lab are both anachronisms, but it's so good.

She initially wants to turn him into a flea, put him into a box, put the box in another box, mail the box to herself, and then smash said box with a hammer... This is an entirely way more convoluted plan than necessary. And then she knocks over a concoction that kills a plant and decides poison would be simpler. Yzma asks if everything's ready and Kronk, innocently, thinks she's asking about the dinner he prepared. Is it too obvious that I love Patrick Warburton's performance here? Kronk spikes one of the drinks, tries to offer it to Kuzco, gets distracted by his spinach puffs burning (Kronk's good at cooking, this will come up again later)

He forgets which drink he "poisoned" and goes off to poison the other two as well. By mixing the contents of all three glasses together into a vase and then pouring it back into the cups. Kronk subtly explains to Yzma that he poisoned all three glasses. They think Kuzco's dead until he starts speaking again. And grows long ears. He continues speaking as his neck elongates and his head becomes more llama like and his hands become hooves. Turns out Kronk used the wrong vial, instead of poisoning him it turned Kuzco into a llama.

Yzma wants to have Kronk dispose of Kuzco, but is convinced it can wait until after they have dessert and coffee. Kronk, while carrying a bag with Kuzco in it, starts singing his own stealth based theme. Kronk's consciences try to convince him to either save Kuzco or let him go over the waterfall to almost certain death. The shoulder devil starts doing handstands to which the angel responds "he's got a point" and the two vanish leaving Kronk (and the audience) slightly more confused. Because Kronk's not evil, he rescues the bag before it's too late. We zoom out and see a bug and a monkey. "Um, what's with the chimp and the bug" So even the narrator has no idea why the camera zoomed out that far.

Kuzco ends up on the back of Pacha's cart. Skipping ahead a little we get a brief introduction to Pacha's family. His wife Chicha and children Chaca and Tipo. Kuzco being self centered, notices that the movie is focusing more on Pacha in this moment and tries to make sure that the audience sees him as the star. Kuzco freaks Pacha out, Pacha calls him a "demon llama" which freaks Kuzco out, and then Kuzco freaks out the normal llama. Kuzco blames Pacha, for really no reason other than proximity. Pacha basically agrees to take Kuzco back to the palace provided he change his mind about the whole "summer palace" thing. Kuzco's response practically boils down to "nope, I'll do what I want" and he proceeds down the dangerous road back all alone. Only to end up lost, annoying a squirrel, and surrounded by sleeping panthers... Which after the squirrel pops a balloon only wake up after Kuzco gives a sarcastic "Ha". So now the llama emperor is chased by a pack of angry panthers.

He gets rescued by Pacha, put into more danger because they end up tied to a tree branch which breaks and go down a waterfall. Afterward Pacha has to give the llama mouth to mouth, more antics and absurdity occurs, and we find out that Yzma has basically just declared Kuzco legally dead and seized power herself. Yzma finds out from Kronk that Kuzco's not dead, so they set out to find him (because she wants to ensure his death). Tipo and Chaca point out that they both had dreams about what Kuzco and Pacha just went through and then argue over which is more implausible.

As expected something goes wrong on the trek back towards the palace, again, and Kuzco basically turns on Pacha, again! After getting themselves out of that mess, the movie cuts to Yzma and Kronk's search. Kronk starts speaking to the squirrel from before, gets an explanation of where Kuzco went, and they follow the trail. Meanwhile Kuzco and Pacha arrive at a diner (don't ask, it's just another hilarious anachronistic set piece) that doesn't allow llamas. So they pose as a married couple when Pacha notices that Yzma and Kronk are at the same diner discussing their plan loudly.

Kuzco and Yzma both annoy the chef and Kronk takes over when the chef quits. Then Kuzco and Yzma rotate through the kitchen not really noticing each other until they agree on a dish for Kronk to make. Pacha explains what he overheard, Kuzco doesn't believe him catches up to Yzma and Kronk and overhears the same plan. Now that Kuzco understands he walks back into the forest and sits in the rain, at which point the two Kuzcos start discussing the fact that the recap can stop. Kronk is sleeping outside when he wakes up with the realization that Pacha was the villager pulling the cart Kuzco landed on earlier. Kuzco tries to fit in with the other llamas, conveniently among the herd Pacha tends to.

The pair are reunited and make their way to Pacha's house in time to find Yzma and Kronk there posing as distant relatives. Pacha arrives back at home with Kuzco in tow and explains the situation to Chicha, who knocks out Kuzco. The family basically rube goldbergs the villains causing Yzma to be mistaken for a pinata while Kronk is allowed to walk out normally. Chase montage over a map leading back to the palace.

After getting to the secret lab our heroes find that the villains beat them there. And no one's quite sure how, also Yzma has the potion that will turn Kuzco back. Yzma throws Kronk what looks to be a sacrificial dagger, I'm not questioning it. Yzma basically explains everything she dislikes about Kronk while he's busy talking to his conscience. Although the straw that breaks the llama's back (I would say camel, but this ain't Aladdin) is that she doesn't like his cooking. Kronk cuts the rope holding up the chandelier causing it to fall and miss Yzma because there's a hole in the center.

Kronk gets dropped through the floor. Yzma fights with the remaining two before knocking over her potions cabinet and making it harder to figure out which potion is which. She calls in the guards who chase after the duo. The duo keeps using potions, hoping they'll find the one to make Kuzco human again. Eventually they're left with two, some wrestling happens and Yzma becomes a cat. Pacha falls but grabs a ledge, Yzma has the potion and explains exactly what she'll do after drinking the thing. Fortunately lack of thumbs makes it difficult for Yzma to pull the cork out of the vial. Both Yzma and the vial fall, and Yzma conveniently bounces back up because of a trampoline. While the vial is stuck on a ledge. Kuzco rushes down and is briefly forced to choose between the vial and Pacha.

Kuzco saves Pacha, they work together like they did earlier when they'd needed to get themselves out of trouble. And just as they're about to get the vial, Yzma grabs it. And then Kronk opens an unexpected porthole and flattens Yzma (non-lethally). Causing the vial to fall out of her paws and into Pacha's hand. Kuzco drinks the potion, turns human, finally honors the deal to not replace Pacha's home with his summer palace. We see Kuzco living as Pacha's neighbor swimming with Pacha's family, and then we see Kronk and cat Yzma teaching children to speak squirrel. Credits and we're done here.

How many ways can I say "I love this movie"? I mean it's fantastic and hilarious. I'll give it a 7.5 out of 10, it's great but not perfect. That said it does always bring a smile to my face when I watch this one, so I'll bump it up to a full eight.
 

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Well I knew this would happen eventually. I also knew I'd inevitably keep putting it off, honestly I probably should have done this sooner rather than later. It's time I reviewed Pokémon episode 3.

Also thank you episode title, I would have never guessed he catches that Caterpie we saw at the end of the last episode. At the very start of this one, Ash throws a pokéball at the Caterpie without weakening it first. (I thought he would have learned something since the pilot, I was wrong) And he caught it immediately, guess that makes this a really short filler episode let's move o... I kid, I kid. Ash starts celebrating his catching of a pathetic bug pokémon, which is actually rather endearing as opposed to annoying.

Although Misty gets roped into this joyous running around in circles, despite obvious annoyance at Ash's outburst. Pikachu gets dizzy and we get the title card. You're too late, title card, Ash already caught one... Okay, I'll stop playing dumb. Misty tells Ash he's making a fool of himself and then gets uncomfortable when he brings the pokéball too close to her face. Misty's reaction is due to a distaste, or fear, of bug types even if she knows they're in a pokéball. I have no words (does entomophobia actually effect people to this extent? I feel uninformed on this topic). Ash and Pikachu, on the other hand, are completely overjoyed. Ash releases the harmless caterpillar and Misty runs away in fear to hide behind a tree. Misty's phobia makes Caterpie feel bad, to the point that Misty suggests that Ash can befriend the insect and she'll befriend Pikachu.

When Ash tries to point out that Pikachu has zapped everyone else that has held it up to this point, he's immediately disproved when Pikachu refrains from shocking Misty. Misty gets creeped out by Caterpie again and explains her other phobias while beating Ash senseless. For those wondering her three fears are and I quote: "Carrots, Peppers, and Bugs". Also keep in mind that she kicked Ash, this will be relevant soon due to something 4Kids changed. The group keeps walking through Viridian Forest when Pikachu stops Ash to attract his attention to the fact that Misty is walking quite a distance behind them. Ash and Misty start arguing and Misty explains that she still holds Ash responsible for what happened to her bike, Ash doesn't think much of it but those things are expensive.

Ash, Misty, and the pokémon camp out for the night. With Ash and Misty's sides of the campsite separated by a tree stump. The two continue to argue, to Pikachu's dismay. The two pokémon seem to be communicating while Ash and Misty sleep. Gazing at the moon in the process. While I'm sure the conversation is riveting, I can't understand the meaning because all pokémon do is say their names over and over. Adorable creatures done being adorable, the scene shifts to day time and we see Misty waking up to find Caterpie sleeping near her. Misty shouts at the bug, tells it to get in the pokéball, and it does as Ash chews her out and then slithers along with the thing. (Seriously though, it's hard to take Ash seriously when he doesn't get out of his sleeping bag at all during his rant).

Noticing a random Pidgeotto is enough to get Ash out of his sleeping bag. And because this was before the series had Pokémon replace every animal, Pidgeotto is eating a worm. Ash makes the same mistake he'd made earlier with Caterpie and Misty tells him why it failed this time. Ash then makes the (only slightly) less boneheaded mistake of using Caterpie against its natural predator. After having pikachu shock once Misty told him to call back Caterpie, he throws a pokéball and succeeds. As states that he's the greatest and Misty calls him out for his stupidity while we hear the sound effect of her slapping him. 4Kids removed the actual slap for some reason though, I don't know their reasoning but it does seem incredibly stupid that they'd remove the animation for Misty slapping Ash and then leave the sound effect in.

And mid-rant Team Rocket shows up, I'm not going to do the motto this time but if you want to feel free. Team Rocket explain that they want Pikachu this time and then when pressed Meowth reveals that Pikachu is more powerful than usual. Ash refuses to battle them with two pokemon, because it's against the League's rules... Considering that Gen 3 introduced double battles, this line should be excusable. (If this were Pokémon Advanced, I'd be a lot less likely to give the line a pass)

After a long, but enjoyable, battle with Pikachu left temporarily blinded by Koffing and Pidgeotto nearly fainting Ash finds himself trying to fight Team Rocket without use of pokémon. Which doesn't do him much good with James keeping him at arm's length. Meowth points out that this technically breaks the rules Ash was trying to follow so strictly a few moments ago. As a last resort he sends out Caterpie and wins with string shot somehow? Team Rocket runs off using the phrase "Blasted Off" for the first time ever. Hope you weren't getting too attached to the Caterpie, because now it's a Metapod. A sudden Beedrill passes by and Ash leads Misty deeper into the forest exclaiming that there's still more to catch.

So that was episode 3. It's filler, but it's good filler. That said I'm not sure how to feel about the upcoming episode. The next one is memorable, but for rather immature reasons. If you don't know why, the next episode is Challenge of the Samurai. I'll cover that one at some point.
 

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Warning: The next review is of a noticeably darker series (darker than MLP, Pokemon, and Disney movies is an easy feat actually). Be prepared for mention of, among other things: Murder, Child Murder (which is separated from the previous due to being far worse), Plots to take over the world, and willingness to do whatever it takes to make the world a better place regardless of the cost. It should be noted that very few if any of these characters are actually good people.

We open with ominous music as the credits inform us that this is presented by Aniplex, Seikaisha, Notes, Nitroplus, and ufotable. It's also an ufotable production, which should tell you exactly what I'm watching. The show proper opens with an offscreen voice referring to a man onscreen as "Master Kiritsugu" The individual states that his child has been born. Kiritsugu's wife gushes over how adorable their daughter is. "She has your eyes" No, she actually doesn't but that won't be relevant until much later probably well after this series has ended.

The Dungeon mas... Er, McCree... Chrom? Kanj... You get the idea, Kiritsugu is voiced by Matthew Mercer. Anyway because of Kiritsugu's line we now know that his wife has a name that shortens to "Iri". This red eyed woman (again, it will be relevant later) is Irisviel von Einzbern and if that sounds vaguely German, it probably is. Kiritsugu states matter of factly that he will be "the cause of your death". Our primary protagonist everyone, not even a minute in and he's already stating he'll kill his wife. I don't know what's worse the fact that he states this so plainly or the fact that Irisviel's reaction is to state that it's "the very reason I exist". If the red eyes weren't warning enough, this is supposed to be the hint that she's not exactly human.

As Kiritsugu states that he has no right to hold his own daughter, we see a close up of his hand. There's a strange marking on it, but that's probably not relevant right? "Don't forget you're striving to create a whole new world where no one cries" If that's his wish I can see a couple hundred ways that can go wrong. We get exposition about how the Holy Grail will grant his wish... As Kiritsugu is finally convinced to hold his daughter we pull back to the title. After the title, we get exposition about that mark on Kiritsugu's hand from a couple of the other focus characters. It's called a command seal and it's important to what they're calling "the Holy Grail war". These marks show that you're a competitor and that you command a servant.

The guy standing next to the table calls the younger of the two men across from him Kirei Kotomine. Kirei is a very important character, expect his name to come up a lot in following episodes due to his command seal. The man speaking to Kirei also has a command seal and his name is Tokiomi Tohsaka. Pay attention to that surname. Their conversation reveals that these Servants are the spirits of ancient heroes. It's also pointed out that a member of the church is required to watch over the Holy Grail War and act as officiator. Apparently this Holy Grail and the one you'd typically think of are not one and the same. The characters refer to it as "The Fuyuki Grail", I'll continue calling it the Holy Grail, because the other one isn't brought up again after this point.

Kirei and Tokiomi begin the start of their alliance, designed to look like animosity to those outside of it. After the explanation that most people have a reason to seek the grail at this point, and Kirei being an exception, we cut to Tokiomi's wife Aoi having a discussion with the fourth participant in the war a year earlier. This man is Kariya Matou, he is seen as honorary family by Aoi and her daughters. The child in this scene is named Rin and her sister Sakura is mentioned as being adopted by the Matou family. After this conversation Kariya returns to his family home to have a conversation with his uncle Zouken Matou. Kariya basically makes a deal with his uncle stating he'll bring back the grail if Sakura is spared the treatment of being possessed (through use of crest worms, no I'm not explaining how that works because the anime implies it's terrible) by Zouken.

We cut back to the present with Kiritsugu doing research on his opponents. Here we learn the name of another of the seven participants in the war. Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald, a professor in the Magi Association. As we learn from his first actual scene: Kayneth is an elitist, an asshole, and above all else full of himself. In addition to this we're introduced to his student, whose paper he just tore up in front of the entire class, Waver Velvet. Waver, justifiably pissed off by his teacher being terrible, then bumps into someone delivering a package to Kayneth from Macedonia. This is incredibly relevant. Waver takes it and starts reading up on the Grail War, so we get some exposition about its origins and stuff of that sort. We also learn the names of the different classes of Servant. Archer, Caster, Assassin, Saber, Rider, Lancer, and Berserker. There are more listed elsewhere in the serious, but those aren't especially relevant right now. In order to summon any of these, you'd need a relic one of which was contained within the package Waver purloined.

Kirei has Assassin as his servant, which reveals themselves as watching over the manor where he and Tokiomi are talking. Through their conversation we learn that Kiritsugu's surname is Emiya. As with almost every surname mentioned so far, this is one to pay attention to. For a brief scene we hear Kiritsugu and Kirei's inner monologues, both perplexed by each other's involvement in the Holy Grail War. Then we cut back to Kariya and Zouken, although Kariya's in worse shape than before so it appears Zouken's worms are taking their toll on Kariya. We then cut to Waver looking at the back of his hand. He's just ecstatic that the Grail recognized his magic potential. As Waver walks into the dining room from the bedroom, we get a close up of the TV talking about serial killings... Surely that's not, okay I'm done pretending. This is going to be relevant sooner rather than later. It turns out these old folks Waver is living with aren't his grandparents, but rather innocent civilians that he'd hypnotized so that he could use their home as a hideout.

Kiritsugu is admiring the relic that has been given to him by the Einzberns. Which as it turns out is the scabbard of the legendary sword Excalibur. Meanwhile Kirei is busy getting yelled at by Rin, she seems to hate his guts. Tokiomi has a snake skin as his catalyst for the summoning. Kariya gets some insight into the psychological side of the torment Zouken's subjecting Sakura to. All of the characters introduced so far start summoning their Servants at the end of the episode, except for Kirei. Although you may have noticed that there's one more Servant class than there are participants. The last line of the episode proper is Saber asking "Are you worthy to be my master". The ending theme plays and after the credits we get audio spoilers for the next episode, which I won't detail here.

Over all Fate/Zero's first episode is a very good introduction to the setting. Although I really could have done without Zouken, because of what the crest worms are all but stated to be and do. That said as I warned before this show is far, far darker than anything else I could have selected short of a horror anime or Berserk.
 
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Following up on the last episode of a thing I reviewed that was written by Gen Urobuchi. Here's another review of an episode of that thing he wrote. Maybe after I finish reviewing this series I'll get around to finally watching Madoka Magica. Same warning I gave before applies here.

We open on a statue before cutting to Waver's eye. Why? Because why not. We cut once more, this time to a wall being punched repeatedly by something or someone behind it. And then whoever was punching the wall literally tears it away just to walk through the hole... While there was a perfectly good door in the shot. This is a red haired man, whom Waver refers to as Rider. Remember that list of servants from the last episode? You should because it's relevant folks! Waver yells at Rider for breaking down a door. Rider calls Waver out on hiding like a common thief, provoking Waver to ask what Rider thinks he is. Revealing that Rider's a "conquering king", which could be considered a hint at his identity if you remember where the artifact Waver used came from. Rider basically has Waver carry the things he'd grabbed before vanishing and we move to the OP.

After the OP, which if your interested in the show I'd recommend watching and listening to at least once it's beautifully handled, we see Waver heading towards a bridge. As Waver stops to question why he's doing this, we get a blink and you'll miss it look at Rider's books he'd procured. One is Homer's Odyssey and the other is what looks to be an atlas. Why he wanted the French translation of The Odyssey is beyond me. Rider explains that the atlas is important because "We are preparing for war and one cannot wage war without having proper maps". I love Rider, so these reviews might use a couple direct quotes from him. As he looks at the maps, he asks Waver where Macedonia and Persia are... If you still don't know who he is, you've got all the clues you should need. He wants to know about where his old territories are. The anime's definitely spelling out the obvious in these first few minutes. Waver helps Rider with geography for a moment. Rider wants to know Waver's motives for obtaining the grail... After Waver snaps him out of his world conquering fantasies anyway.

And Waver's about to use one of his command seals (these things have a limit of three uses) on the most petty thing. Before realizing that it's a waste and letting the time limit on the spell run out. However in the process we learn Rider's true name is "Iskandar", although I'll be referring to Rider as Alex from this point on. Because it's a shorter version of his English name and also because I'd prefer not to use his famous epithet. "I'm Iskandar, king of conquerors" You sure are, Alex, and of course the guy who named several cities after himself (including Alexandria) would have a major ego. As you'd expect, a rider must have something to ride on and Alex's ride is a chariot that creates a storm when summoned because it was offered up to Zeus...

After that wonderful introduction to Alex and his sweet chariot, we cut to Illyasviel von Einzbern walking with her father through the snow. Apparently their looking for something as a contest, which Illya insists she's not going to lose. Right before Kirisugu states that he found one of whatever they were looking for. And we find out this competition is to find chestnut buds. Adorable. Although it turns out Kiritsugu's breaking the rules a little by saying that wingnuts count as chestnuts. While this is going on Saber, whose identity I really shouldn't need to explain, is looking out the window. Apparently she thought Kiritsugu was more callous than he's being. And yes, I said she. Saber had apparently pretended to be a man when she was alive. So she's not Guinevere. Irisviel confirms that Saber is in fact King Arthur, or rather Artoria Pendragon. Artoria thinks that Kiritsugu underestimates her, but according to Irisviel Kiritsugu apparently feels sorry for Artoria.

Artoria wants to save Britain, because she couldn't protect it while she lived. She approves of Kiritsugu's wish, although she doesn't approve of Kiritsugu himself. Illya, completely unaware of the Grail War outside of the fact that it means her parents are leaving home, wonders when Kiritsugu plans to return. Although it seems Iri has already told Illya that she won't come back, although the poor child doesn't understand exactly what her mother meant. Kiritsugu, on the other hand, promises he'll be back in two weeks time. He asks Illya to wait for him to come home, knowing full well that he might not live to see the end of this. I know he doesn't want her to worry, but this just feels like it's unnecessarily cruel.

After that, heart wrenching scene we cut to some guy's foot being brushed against the ground as he repeatedly chants the word "fill". You might recognize his voice, considering he's also Vash the Stampede and a Power Ranger. This is Ryuunosuke Uryuu, the serial killer mentioned last episode seen just now painting with his foot. According to the news cast behind him, he's known to leave pentagrams of blood at the scene of his murders. After he hears the news, he asks a dead victim if he went too far. And then tells a tied up kid, who's almost certainly going to die, that the news is painting him as a demon. And he summons a Caster mid-speech about how he's going to let a demon he summons kill the kid. Caster frees the kid, tells him which way to go, and promptly uses his powers to kill the kid. These two are ****ed up. Caster opts to call himself Bluebeard for now, although that's not his true name and he lacks a beard.

Kirei Kotomine and Assassin stand on a cliff overlooking the Tohsaka manor. Kirei and Tokiomi's plan begins to come to fruition. Through Assassin making his way past the magical barriers Tokiomi Tohsaka had in place in the most awesome way possible. And just when Assassin thinks he's done his job, Archer shows up flinging spears and swords. Archer states that Assassin isn't worth his time and the episode ends.

Well it's time to give this episode a rating: Overall it's dark, gruesome, and serves as a good introduction to The Servants. Although the best parts of this episode involve Illya, Alex, or Assassin. But Caster's entrance and methods chill me to the bone. This episode is a good example of why I love this show.
 

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You know the drill at this point. This is a really dark series, no one really has the moral high ground, and there will almost certainly be death. While I'm trying not to mention any of the specifics about the terrible things that are done in this show, it should be noted that even the reviews I'm writing aren't necessarily for the faint of heart. If anything previously warned about in the last two reviews isn't for you, not only do I understand but I'd recommend taking a break from reading my reviews until I've finished with Fate/Zero.

This episode opens with Tokiomi and Archer conversing. Tokiomi has basically just said that his plan's coming to fruition. Archer doesn't approve of these tactics though. Archer specifically refers to Tokiomi's plan as a series of games eating up his (Archer's) precious time. We then get Archer's true name while Tokiomi apologizes and strokes his ego. Ladies and gentlemen, the Archer heroic spirit is none other than Gilgamesh. Tokiomi asks Gilgamesh to "stay your hand if only for a little while longer".

Now that we know most of the servants names, it might be a good time to mention that the older a spirit is the stronger they are. And we're not going to see a spirit older than Gilgamesh. At least not i this show, because if anyone remembers The Epic of Gilgamesh you'd know it dates back to the civilization of Sumer. The only way we'd see a spirit older than Gilgamesh is if the grail summoned one of the Sumerian gods or first or second dynasty pharaohs of Egypt (most of which you wouldn't know the names of, heck I don't really know their names either) which it doesn't. Gilgamesh is obsessed with treasure, much like how he was in the Epic.

"Everything of value belongs to me." Well, you heard the heroic spirit, give all money to Gilgamesh. Or David Vincent, they're pretty much interchangeable in this situation due to one providing the voice for the other. Gilgamesh basically tells Tokiomi that it's his job to figure out the plan before vanishing. And now for the beautiful OP that I'm skipping. And we cut to Waver explaining that Assassin's dead while Alex just watches TV and eats cookies. Alex doesn't care about the fact that Assassin's gone and then he explains that he really wants an expensive plane. Going on to state that if there were a major city nearby they could plunder it... And that's the Alexander The Extremely Petty that we know and tolerate.

"This Clinton guy will pose more challenge than Darius the third." Um, Alex, that's not why you're here... Also what's Bill Clinton doing in my anime?And now he's on about tomahawks... To Waver's annoyance. "Everything was bold and bright and flashy" That's a rather good description of Assassin's death, Waver, although it does nothing to calm Alexander The Furious. "Why weren't you paying attention to how he won" Good question Alex, but I think the note about Archer being overly flashy still counts. Yay, noble phantasm explanation. Basically a noble phantasm is a power based on the hero's most famous tale or exploit. Alex decides it will be easier to figure out who the other servants are as they encounter them, while we as the audience are privileged to have that knowledge (for the most part).

"It'll be more fun. Food, Sex, Sleep, and War. Whatever you do, you must enjoy it to the fullest." He takes Waver outside to try and find other spirits. After this we cut to Kirei Kotomine talking with his father and explaining that he's out of the war. And is given shelter within the church, which according to the rules of the Holy Grail War can't be watched. Kirei tells Assassin, whose death was faked, to keep watch over the church just in case.

Meanwhile Artoria and Irisviel arrive in Fuyuki by plane, apparently without Kiritsugu. Artoria apparently can't change from physical to non-physical like the other servants can. Kiritsugu has apparently been in Fuyuki for twelve hours at this point and Irisviel assures Artoria that he'll meet up with them later. And we get yet another hint that Irisviel isn't human, she's never left Castle Einzbern. And then she flat out states that she's a puppet created for the war. Saber tells the driver to stop, gets out of the car, and helps Irisviel out so that the two can walk around Fuyuki for the first time.

Then we cut to Kiritsugu, staying in a hotel with his assistant who recorded the fight at the Tohsaka estate. Kiritsugu is using his assistant as an informant to break one of the rules of the war without actually breaking the rule himself. We see Kiritsugu getting his guns ready. And he reloads in only two seconds. Irisviel dances on the beach while Artoria watches. Artoria notices an enemy servant, having sensed it and grabs Irisviel's arm. Waver and Alex are on top of that bridge from last episode. Lancer shows himself, finally, and challenges Artoria to a battle. Lancer wields two wrapped spears. One spear has a yellow tip, the other has a red one. This might be a hint as to his identity. And so the episode ends with both spirits holding their weapons, Artoria's is invisible to prevent the opponent from knowing that it's Excalibur.

Over All this episode is the best so far. Not as dark as the previous ones, but it serves as a glimpse into some of the characters personalities. Which is a blessing considering that we need to get attached to these characters before anything big can happen to any of them. And if you know anything about the source material (meaning history or mythology, although also if you know anything about the show or manga), please don't mention who Lancer really is yet. I'll reveal that when it's mentioned in the show.
 
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Godot

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Yada Yada Yada. Warning as usual. Dark series, violence, murder, yada yada yada. Read previous warnings please, because otherwise this warning comes of as uncaring. And it's not that I don't care about giving the warning, by all means don't read it if you don't want to. But writing roughly the same warning four times in a row is a little draining. Especially because this is Fate/Zero we're dealing with and I want to try and rephrase the warning every time because I'm an idiot. And there's twenty-one more episodes of this after this review's done. That said, at least I'm further into reviewing this series than I am into reviewing Pokémon.

We open with Artoria and Lancer staring at each other. Artoria mentions that Lancer has a "charm spell". According to Lancer it's a curse he was born with. Lancer has a mole right under his right eye (we see it when the camera is angled from Artoria's perspective). Artoria is unaffected by Lancer's magic, which is apparently a good thing because Lancer wants a fair fight. This fight scene is badass, Lancer's using both spears and Saber's wielding an invisible Excalibur. As Lancer successfully parries Lancer's strike, we cut to Kiritsugu who states that "It's started" referring to the Grail War. Kiritsugu has noticed a barrier, his assistant states that it's probably Lancer's master whose position might be visible from up on the crane.

We see the OP again, I'm skipping it again. And then we're back to Saber and Lancer's fight. Saber and Irisviel both comment on how difficult it is to figure out which spear Lancer will attack with next. Going so far as to wonder which one's the noble phantasm. In trying to take a shot on Lancer's master, Kiritsugu finds Assassin in his sights. Kirei is getting visual on the first real battle from Assassin and relaying that information to Tokiomi. And through exposition, we learn that Irisviel is a homunculus. As the battle winds to a close, Kayneth El-Melloi orders Lancer to kill Saber and use his noble phantasm in the process. He promptly drops the yellow spear, revealing the red one is his noble phantasm.

This fight scene is even more amazing than the previous one. Lancer's rather strong once he's dropped the yellow spear and Saber's fighting defensively. All the while there's occasional sparks of light coming off of Saber's blade. Lancer has stabbed past Saber's armor without damaging it although he did wound her. Apparently Lancer's spear can bypass magic. And using Excalibur to propel herself, Saber realizes a little too late that Lancer's noble phantasm is both spears. Saber is wounded by Lancer's yellow spear, while managing to land a hit on Lancer.

Cut to Waver and Alexander the Reckless atop the bridge. Alex is paying close attention to the fight. But he's concerned because Saber might die and then he wouldn't have a chance to fight her. Alex really wants to fight all the other servants. When Waver points out the flaw in this reasoning, namely that the smart option is to let the other servants kill each other and then pick of whoever remains, Alex hits him. Alex summons his chariot with the intent of getting involved in the battle. And Lancer reveals the name of his red spear as Gáe Dearg and his yellow spear is Gáe Buidhe. Saber then reveals she knows Lancer's true name at this point. Lancer is Diarmuid Ua Duibhne, a hero from the Fenian Cycle of Irish Celtic mythology. And Lancer knows Saber's identity. Just as the two are about to start fighting again, Alex crashes the party. And being Alexander the Pompous, he doesn't hesitate to tell everyone his true name. And that's where the episode ends.

Overall this one was much less brutal than the last three. And now that almost all the servants and masters are aware of each other the real fun of the Grail War can finally begin. I don't know about ya'll but I'm lookin' forward to reviewing Episode five.
 

Godot

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Been a while since I last reviewed something... I blame education and stress. I'm thinking of branching out at some point and detailing my experiences with video games. Unlike what I do with movies (where I rewatch them as I type) I'd have to consistently play and replay the games numerous times in order to recount the plot. This shift will probably occur sometime after May 9th (and I'll probably post that in a new thread assuming I can't figure out how to work a video capture program), because I'll have not much else to do besides gaming. First game will probably be 999, the first one from the Zero Escape series (because I'll be buying the Nonary Games again on Steam this time, for post-surgery entertainment). But enough about future projects, let's get into the real reason you're reading this.

So last month I was covering Fate/Zero, but I'm going to leave those reviews on hiatus for a bit. It's a good show, but it can be depressing at points and I'm already dealing with pre-surgery stress. So I'll be covering something much more relaxing. I need something I've seen before that just keeps me calm. I need to review something self contained that I've watched when I was young and need to revisit at every opportunity. I'm talking specifically about: Pokémon the Movie 2000 (also known as The Power of One). I'll do something Disney later on, but since Pokémon TV has chosen to stream the second movie that takes priority at the moment.

I should open this review with a note that you don't need to rewatch the entire series to go into this one. Thank goodness, considering I've reviewed only three episodes.

We open with a nice shot of three islands before panning backwards to reveal the fourth and we can just make out something on this island. We get a beautiful melody playing on some sort of wind instrument as the camera pans around the island showing the surrounding beauty while also giving a better glimpse at the Slowking. "Disturb not the harmony of Fire, Ice, or Lightning. Lest these titans wreak destruction on upon the world in which they clash. Though the waters' great guardian shall arise to quell the fighting, alone its song will fail. Lest(?) the earth shall turn to ash." This prophecy seems important, but I'm not sure why. Although I wish we could get a look at the guy reading it.

And the camera shifts focus to the interior of some kind of ship as our mystery reader finishes the prophecy. Then it zooms in on his face, although the angle only reveals the lower portion of his face and some of his hair. "Now it begins" that line doesn't sound ominous or villain like at all, I'm sure this guy who's face I haven't seen in full is entirely benevolent. His ship's computer helpfully informs the audience that the "titans" referred to in the prophecy are the legendary birds: Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos as referred to in that order by the poem-phecy. And we also get a helpful introduction to where we are: The Orange Islands.

"Any one of them would be a priceless addition to my collection" Ah, he's just trying to fulfill a living dex run. Nothing inherently wrong with that, several players (myself included) have the same lofty goal. "But together they are the keys that unlock the ultimate treasure"... Okay, now I'm worried the guy I'm sticking up for might be a villain. This unnamed man is going after Moltres first, because it's closest, in his airship that resembles a flying saucer. And a villain intro wouldn't be complete without ominous music. And how does he expect to lure the legendary fire type out? Ice bombs of course, Mister Freeze must have lent him those back when Pokémon was still on Cartoon Network.

Surprising nobody, the fire type emerges from a cave that was covered by the blast from one of those cryo-bombs. After that our villain starts pelting the poor thing with ice. Although seeing as it's not very effective, I'd switch to normal type weaponry just because it would do more to weaken it. Oh boy, flying rings and I've been caught without a Sonic joke. Eventually the rings capture Moltres and carry it into the ship. One down, two to go, protagonists presumably elsewhere.

"Like a game of chess" I like chess, mister villain, but last I checked there were more than four pieces even if you exclude the king. This guy's really after Lugia and an avid collector at that, like most pokemon fans. I don't see why what he's doing is evil, anyone who's played a catch them all run has done exactly the same thing. Title screen and music that I don't remember from my childhood. Not bad, just not what I remember but then again I grew up with the VHS version. Also there was no pikachu short before it here, unlike the version I grew up with. Consider me slightly disappointed.

Ah sweet naration over our protagonists on a boat. There's pikachu, Misty, the other guy, and of course Ash... Who was that doodling guy again? Oh right Tracy, the guy that replaced Brock in the Orange Islands (not that people usually remember the Orange Islands arc). Opening credits and a quick look at everyone's pokemon. This song is good, but it's just filling dead air as the credits scroll so it barely matters.

And their sailing into a storm. Again. Seriously this happened in the first movie too, although I haven't reviewed that one yet. Might get around to it at some point though. A couple scenes of them silently sailing through the storm and then we get a look at Lugia's silhouette under water. "We're way off course" Of course you are, no one escapes the plot especially not the protagonists. And considering it's not a pokemon movie without Team Rocket forming the B-Plot, they're coming along in their magikarp sub. "Do we have carp insurance?" Really? No wait, I can't judge. My puns are equally fishy. And they crash, because Team Rocket is also the source of most slapstick in the Pokémon movies.

Cut to Pallet Town, Delia and Mr. Mime are in the front yard. When Professor Oak bikes over to check in. "But this is summer how can it snow" Delia, there are pokemon that can create blizzards and some of them reside in Kanto. What I'm saying is I'm surprised spontaneous and strange weather patterns aren't more common... Is that an aurora? And now a swarm of diglett kidnap Oak's bike. "Pokemon are more in tune with nature than we are" Oh you mean they're like animals in that sense, Oak?

We cut back to the protagonists just in time to find that they've been beached on the island. And are promptly greeted by the natives who are from the looks of things partaking in some sort of ritual. One of them calls the boat's driver by name. "Annual Legend Festival" that explains everything about those birdlike masks and yet also explains nothing. And we're introduced to the seemingly pessimistic "festival maiden" for this year's celebration. This is Melody... I see some foreshadowing in that name, trust me we'll see why eventually. Everyone starts celebrating at the mention of Ash being a trainer. I don't know why, but I'm getting the sense they don't get tourists very often. "In your hands rests the world and its fate." If this is because his name is Ash, I hate to break it to you but this trainer is incredibly bad at the one job he has under normal circumstances.

Melody kisses Ash, under the pretense of tradition (I call bull because she was scoffing at tradition just moments ago), and Misty is put off by this. I get the sense she's jealous. Melody guesses first that Misty is Ash's sister, which Misty immediately points out isn't the case, and then guess that Misty's his girlfriend. A theory that Misty shoots down. They get led up to the actual celebration, Misty looks particularly pissed off in this shot. And then cut to the ceremony proper.

"And she says 'no, but I have krabbies'"... How did that punchline (orphaned though it may be) get into a movie for children? Seriously, how does a pun about an STD make it into the dub of a Pokémon movie? If that slid by, what lines did they censor? And that joke was made over dinner? Just focus on the main cast please, movie, the less I have to think about that line the better.

Misty is still mad about being assumed to be Ash's girlfriend. Melody starts dancing and playing the ocarina, specifically that opening melo... Oh damn it, I foreshadowed her name earlier with my word choice. "You must climb to the shrine to right what was wrong and the world will be healed by the guardian's song." More foreshadowing... Or is it just lazy writing? "Almost all the chosen ones come back alive." This is a case of Melody intending her statement as just another joke. Ash has to obtain glass balls from the islands.

Ash taking the celebration more seriously than he should given what he knows, or doesn't know as the case may be. Misty is still really bitter, refusing to go while insisting that if Ash wants "someone to do what you want when you want" he should get himself a girlfriend. Two problems with that statement. One it doesn't work that way people have free will. Two the amount of denial looks like the writing staff were trying, and failing, to set up Ash and Misty falling for one another. (I like this movie, but I never said it had quality writing even for Pokémon's standards)

Meanwhile Team Rocket pedals their boat to shore. Or try to before being knocked into the water by the waves coming from the boat Ash is on. "Disturb not the harmony of Fire, Ice, and Lightning." I know I should be more amazed that we're seeing another talking pokemon that's not Mewtwo or Meowth, but I don't think we needed a recap on the prophecy. Thanks for nothing, Slowking.

Melody blames herself for getting Ash caught up in the plot. Honestly even without her involvement Ash would still be caught up in the plot, every pokémon movie finds a way to shoehorn him in somehow. Melody, a begrudging and still denying Misty, and Tracy all run off to get a boat and follow Ash. And Team Rocket stows away on the same boat, in order to get their hands on Pikachu... I'd point out that Viridian Forest has tons, but they're in the Orange Islands so their options are limited.

And the film cuts back to nameless in the first time in an hour. Jeez for a villain who's supposed to have a big impact on the plot, this guy sure doesn't have a lot of screen time and we haven't even heard his name. Legendary pokemon being captured apparently has a global warming effect. Quick all players release your legendaries into the wild it's the only way to stop global warming! Bull aside, things are getting worse and No Name is closing in on Zapdos. Ivy calls Oak delivering her lines about needing assistance with her pokemon behaving oddly in a monotone while Brock bumbles around in the background with various pokemon.

Rule one of sailing in a Pokemon movie: If you can do it in a reckless and obviously life-threatening manner, you'll be fine. Don't try this in reality, this could be deadly... If you're on dry land during a massive storm, stay on land don't sail. Especially don't sail for the epicenter because that's just stupid. Everyone survives a collision with a rock that removes the rudder and then miraculously survives the boat being sent skyward before crashing on rocky terrain.

And now we see the path Ash has to walk... It looks like a long one, I hope they'll cut to something in between this trek. Pikachu runs up the stone stairs and Ash follows. Self preservation is not one of his strong suits, clearly. And we cut to Misty, Melody, and Tracy as they drive toward the island. Only for their boat to flip over and send Team Rocket flying. Don't worry, this is a cartoon they'll be fine. And Melody's boat ends up equally beached. Great track record from Orange Islands locals, perhaps sailing towards the center of the storm was a bad idea.

Melody deploys the sail... And drives the boat on land. How the hell? Meanwhile Nameless takes his time to gloat and give a Bond villain style one liner to a captive Moltres. Look buddy, I doubt it can understand the actual words your using. And if it can, taunting a flaming god bird is the last thing you should ever do. Fortunately for Team Rocket they landed on the same island as everyone else and caught a glimpse of Pikachu as it dashed up the stairs.

Ash obtained the fire sphere... And the fact that he calls it that in-universe means I miss out on a joke about fire balls. "Guess who, Pikachu" That sounds like something that would require Hasbro and the pokemon company to team up or at least for The Pokemon company to allow Hasbro to make a Pokemon edition of Guess Who. And it would probably make a lot of money, considering Pokemon's target demographic... This tangent was brought to you by my love of board games.

Oh good, the movie has its own variation on the Team Rocket motto. I love this variation, but it's not quite the classic one. "Our luck's changed and our ship has finally come in" I love the irony in this line being delivered while Jessie's entirely unaware of the ship containing Melody, Misty, and Tracy appearing right behind her. The girls are both mad at Ash for being stubborn, oh come on this is nothing new. Meowth gives a verbal barb to his two sidekicks (look, they're effectively all a pair of sidekicks to each other, it really doesn't matter who's the leader of whom because they're all going to take credit for success... If they ever had any). And Zapdos appears shocking the rocks and surprising the cast.

Pikachu and Zapdos trade shocks, then Zapdos perches and everything glows blue while it seems that Zapdos is unaffected by the next few shocks pikachu sends its way. Pikachu and Zapdos are communicating through the electrical currents. And apparently Meowth speaks electricity because he's translating perfectly. "I guess Moltres flew the coup" Okay, that's far worse than any pun I could come up with. Zapdos, and everyone else, is captured and taken up to No Name's ship. Yes, I know his name is Lawrence III but because the dub of the movie doesn't call him by name ever neither will I.

No Name now gloats about his plan and Misty calls him out for his behavior... Although Misty's criticism falls very flat considering that the entire game franchise is based on doing exactly what No Name's doing. The tagline for the franchise as a whole at this point was "Gotta Catch 'Em All" anyway, so it's a bit hypocritical for the movie to have the opposite message. Perhaps this line was different in the original version, but the dub just makes it sound unbelievably stupid.

So our protagonists and two of the legendary birds are captured. Logically next the film would show us their brilliant escape. Nope, just exposition that no child in the audience paid much attention to. And Oak's contribution to all this is psuedo-science, which we really didn't need. The show already muddles children's understanding of evolution as it is. I'm getting sick of this exposition, especially since it rehashes itself throughout the entire film's run time. I get it: imbalance between Fire, Lightning, and Ice is bad. For crying out loud, show don't tell damn it!

Melody starts reading the prophecy again. Did we really need to rehash that again? I feel like I'm being condescended to. More exposition, Meowth calls James an idiot without actually saying it. "We have to do something" The more you stand around re-explaining things the audience already knows the closer everything draws to impending doom.

Following a trend set by the first movie, Ash sees a problem and immediately dashes towards it head on. He does this with frustrating frequency throughout the films. No Name continues to try bombing Articuno into submission which annoys Lugia. Really the action scenes are being rehashed now? Somehow Ash figures out that he needs fire, water, and electricity in addition to Bulbasaur's grass to break the cages... The dub makes this seem like desperation. Moltres frees Zapdos on its own. The two wreak havoc and destroy No Name's ship which crashes, extremely slowly given the rate it moves right before shouting mayday, into Lightning Island. With No Name Given rendered pointless (honestly he was kind of a flat character and already rather pointless as an antagonist to begin with), the Legendary Birds duke it out in the skies.

Meanwhile the protagonists dash for the island proper, because Ash needs the lightning sphere and Team Rocket has motivation to stay out of the way. The lightning shrine is destroyed when the ship collapses onto it, but fortunately it sent the lightning sphere flying towards the snow right in front of Ash. Talk about lucky breaks, or deus ex machina whichever you prefer. Ash collects it and now it's a race to get to the ice sphere before everything goes sideways.

The boat goes flying with everyone in it and just when it seems like everyone's pretty much screwed, a waterspout containing Lugia saves the day. Team Rocket takes the only life raft... Hold on, why's there only one life raft? If you expected to have to safe Ash, and accounted for the worst case scenarios, you'd need two of those things.

"Take the treasure and put it there" Slowking, I'm starting to hate you. Ash is surprised that Slowking speaks, but given the scenario I think he's got a few more pressing issues to worry about. He puts the orbs where they belong, but he's missing one. Also I was going to wait til the end to point it out, but the nameless guy was reading the prophecy wrong earlier (dub induced problem, I'd bet). The line is "thus the world shall turn to ash" and I'm sure everyone sees where this is going.

Lugia appears so that everyone can see it. Turns out No Name is not quite irrelevant yet, unfortunately. Air battle between all four gods, Ho-Oh not present for obvious reasons, which looks impressive but gets me no closer to the end of this movie. More Prophecy exposition BS! "This looks bad" Thank you, Captain Obvious. Lugia's removed (temporarily) from the picture by a combination of attacks from all three and then the hole it fell into being frozen over.

"What are Ash and his friends doing out in this terrible weather?" Good question, Delia, but what are you guys flying into the disaster area? More exposition delivered in monotone from Professor Ivy. Professor Ivy sounding bored is the least of this movie's issues, but still I find it odd. Somehow Misty and Tracy jump straight to the conclusion that the "thus the world shall turn to ash" line is referring specifically to Ash himself. Rather than the more logical conclusion of "everyone's gonna die". It sounds to me like someone pulled the prophecy right out of their rear, because this whole "chosen one" thing is so contrived and cliche.

Also raises the question of what would have happened if Ash was named anything else. I'd like to know what the prophecy says in Japanese considering his original name isn't Ash. More complaints from Melody about how she "dragged Ash into all of this" and the realization that Lugia's song and the one Melody played earlier are the same. I swear it feels like this movie's exposition lags behind the audience's understanding.

After Melody plays the song, Lugia rises from the water and starts speaking telepathically. And from this we gain more exposition. This exposition basically amounts to "Get the ice stone and put it where it belongs". Ash begins the trek and right when he's about to give up decides to turn part of the wrecked boat into a sled. Which his pokemon pull. And Team Rocket gripes about never being the heroes, oh come on you three are better as villains. Oh and the helicopter crashes.

Moltres and Zapdos decide to attack Ash for whatever reason instead of each other. Pikachu and Charizard manage to hold them off though. Lugia fights off the other three to protect Ash from any further attacks. Although Ash loses his sled in the process. When all seems lost Team Rocket rides in on their life raft... Using one of the propellers from the crashed helicopter to move the thing forward. Two variant Team Rocket mottos in one movie? That's awesome.

At least that trio has a consistent reason behind their involvement. If everyone's dead they've got no one to rob, they also wouldn't be able to rob anyone because the term "everyone" includes them. In fact through their assistance, Ash is able to avoid several attacks. And the ones they can't avoid are blocked by Lugia. This snow covered area is reminding me of Wako's Wish (another review I may have to do at some point). Eventually they reach the ice shrine and Ash grabs the ice sphere. Now all they have to do is get back.

And avoid the attacks of the three gods. Fortunately the birdbrained antagonists seem focused on attacking each other rather than the protagonist and his band of unlikely allies. Lugia carries Ash and Pikachu, along with Team Rocket who nearly missed their opportunity, on the next leg of the journey. (Minor pun there, because Team Rocket grabbed one of Lugia's legs)

There is a lot of evasive flying in this next scene, Han Solo would be proud. Team Rocket makes a Weight Watchers joke. Team Rocket, realizing that they might be slowing Lugia down, make a "heroic sacrifice". Oh come off it, movie, you know as well as I do they'll be back in every movie and series after this point. They're so iconic they can't be killed off and Pokemon hardly has the body count of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure or Berserk.

Yeah, this movie's not going to kill its comic relief. It's not like Fate/Zero, JoJo, or Berserk. Team Rocket lands in the ice water below and swims up for air. Lugia gives more exposition due to Ash's prompting. No Name's disc/ring/things come out of nowhere and capture Lugia and Ash. Lugia, which I'm going to remind you is a marine pokemon, frees itself and swims down, Ash is left to float up to the surface. Misty swims out to rescue Ash before he drowns, thank goodness.

The nearly drowned idio... I mean "chosen one" makes his way up the stair case, not without requiring Tracy and Misty to help him stay upright. And he places the final treasure in the correct spot, which causes all the spheres/orbs/balls to glow. This causes the shrine to reveal it's really a fountain. Each of the surrounding pillars turns to ice. As Melody plays the song, the ice pillars light up in a pattern I assume is supposed to match the notes of the song. The storm finally subsides and the water for miles around turns green. Great, although I'm not sure how the pokemon feel about swimming in green Kool-Aid. Balance is restored, the three birds fly around in circles and are joined by Lugia. And then the surrounding ocean is restored to its proper color. Lugia then carries Ash on its back while flying alongside the other three birds. Worth noting this scene lacks dialogue, so we're treated to some really nice music. With everything as it should be, the bird trio returns to their respective islands. Status Quo exposition, seriously we just saw things return to normal, you don't have to tell us everything's fine now. Lugia takes a moment to stroke Ash's ego and then plunges back into the ocean. Delia gives a heartwarming speech, but it kind of undercuts what just happened. Oak insists that they must tell the other researchers about this, but considering this event is never mentioned again in either the series or the movies it's safe to assume he didn't share this knowledge.

So that's the movie. And for all the crap I give it, especially over the unnecessary exposition, I enjoy this one quite a lot. It's not the best, in my heart that's a title still reserved for the third movie, but it's also not the worst. The exposition is a little heavy handed, to the point of repeating itself. The villain is pathetic having no real motivation (IN THE MOVIE) beyond greed. And everyone seemed way more one dimensional. We also don't benefit much from Ash being the sole focus of this movie. Overall, I'd give it a five out of ten as a pokemon movie, very middle of the road but not excessively just cheesy in places. As a movie in general, I'd rank this (and most pokemon movies) rather low. I'd say compared to the Disney movies I've reviewed, it's just above Hercules but far below Emperor's New Groove.
 
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