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Minireviews thread

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Hi guys, in this days I celebrated my 6th Bulbaversary so in order to celebrate it I've decided to make this "blog" where I post small opinions about the media I consume. We'll start with something Pokémon-related, some episodes from Season 12 that are plot-relevant or seemed interesting. Let's start:

-DP105: A fun and harmless Rotom filler, with lots of creativity and fun chase scenes. 7.5/10
-DP106: Piloswine's disobedience comes from nowhere, and the plot is interesting but also very messy. 5.5/10
-DP107: The Rampardos vs Bastiodon fight is really bad, but I liked the father-son dynamics even if they were solved with a TR fight. 5/10
-DP108: A good gym battle with lots of action and a great role from Gliscor. I'd have liked to see a defensive Bastiodon instead of an offensive one though. 8/10
-DP109: An amazing two-parter start with drama, mystery and good roles from Barry and Riley. 9/10
-DP110: It keeps up with what happened on the previous episode with decent action, but I don't like Team Galactic giving up and Riley being the hero. 7/10
-DP112: It would have been an amazing survival episode with mystery added, but Team Rocket spoiled it with two very long fights at the beginning and at the end. 5.5/10
-DP115: Wild Jenny isn't an interesting or funny character at all and the episode follows a classical formula to a T. 2.5/10
-DP117: Great TR filler, that focus on their relationship while giving Jessie and Meowth interesting goals and gives James a chance to shine. 8/10
-DP118: A very fun PokeRinger event that gives us great battles and makes good use of the wind as a luck element. The final fight could have had more strategy and less brute force. 8.5/10
-DP119: Dawn gets good development as a caretaker, but Mamoswine...doesn't. There aren't many stakes because TR is more the villain of the episode than Aggron and it doesn't feel like the end of its disobedience arc at all. 4/10
 
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Another DP update, the last one until August/September.

-DP122: The plot was reaaaally simple and formulaic, but at least Piplup got some development unlike Mamoswine on his own episode and TR was fun. 7/10
-DP123: A decent contest with cool combinations and good roles from Barry and Kenny. 7.5/10
-DP124: The worst decision in the anime, period. The episode is just as bad, as the ping pong matches are boring and there are Out of character moments (Ash feels nervous? BECAUSE OF PING PONG?) -56/10
-DP126: A confusing "intelligence isn't everything" aesop and a boring TR fight, but Zoey's backstory was nice. 5/10
-DP127: A downgrade from the other Sinnoh gyms, the first battles are too rushed. The final one has its moments. 6/10
-DP128: An amazing concept and a great execution, you really see Paul losing his sanity. He should have had a sightly better performance though. 9/10
-DP129: It has a nice start with J being as ruthless as ever, but the second half makes so many disappointing choices like J giving up or Regigigas "bonding" with Brandon. 6/10
-DP130: Were you expecting a train episode? Or an episode that properly introduces Looker? Too bad, enjoy this generic Ampharos filler. 1.5/10
-DP131: Great concept with great execution, that gives us memorable battles with a more strategic Paul. 9/10
-DP132: The great battle continues, with an interesting ending and cool strategies from the games. 9/10
-DP133: A cool "calm after the storm" episode, with good roles from Ash, his team, Dawn and Brock. 8.5/10
 
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Two Pokemon ones:

-OS50 (Who gets to keep Togepi?): Great episode. Its first half is simple but lays the foundation for what will happen later, with is a mini tournament with amazing comedy and twists. 10/10
-OS151 (The Totodile duel): Another fun episode that shows a good side of Misty, good personality from Totodile, a cool battle and a heartwarming ending. 9/10

-Ned's school survival guide: The best teen comedy series I've seen, it still holds up. It has useful advices, creative plots, meassured comedy and very likable characters, and it's so fun to see them growing up. 11/10
 
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Thanks to the 0 people who have read this, I really appreciate it. Now, some series reviews:

  • Little Witch Academia (anime): It has a slow start that makes it look like a childish show, but eventually the characters become more likable, the plot becomes very interesting because of its twists and while the ending has some rushed parts it also feels truly...magical. Definitely one of the most feel-good shows I've seen. 8/10
  • Raising Dion (live action series, season 1): It's really cool how they blended "struggling mother" drama stories with the superhero genre, creating an unique experience. However, many characters make stupid choices, and I didn't like that the geek character was some kind of predator. 7/10
  • Drifting Dragons (anime): A very strange series, that introduces vague anti-meat topics but always hand-waves the answer (contextualizing: This world depends on dragon hunting, sometimes dragons have feelings and the other times they're the most delicious thing on the planet), and it's for the most part episodic. The characters aren't bad, and the animation is cool though. 5.5/10
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of power (animated series, season 5): Our journey with Adora comes to an end and...wow, it's the best season. The episodes are great and each mission explores the characters' insecurities and fears, and it's very plot driven. Also, unlike certain other series about a boy who prefers pink the final battle is really big, all characters have their moments, there are lots of surprises and the conclusion is earned. My only complaints would be the lack of an epilogue and that Adora's fantasies became very repetitive. 9/10
 
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Some shows and a book:

  • The Flash (season 6): Both halves have mediocre starts, but become better as episodes go on and have very great climaxes. However, both halves being so different (in terms of story and themes) makes it hard to recommend for newcomers and people who want to get back into the series again, but are fun if you are interested in the whole "Crisis" preparation and consequences. 6.5/10
  • Doom Patrol (season 1): The series had a very interesting "absurd dramedy" vibe and it's cool how it kept it from beginning to end. However, the absurd stuff provided some squicky images as well, and the characters had LOTS of angst, I think the series would work better if the characters weren't so damn depressive. However, they have good character development as a cause of that and the adventures they get into are interesting. 7/10
  • Green Eggs and Ham (season 1): I went with the expectations that this was going to be a very childish show but...wow, it turned out to be amazing. A very interesting story with twists I didn't see coming, and wonderful animation that puts many current shows to shame. Perhaps its only flaw was that the humor was a bit childish. 9.5/10
  • State of Mind: A book by John Katzenbach about a college professor who investigates serial murders and his sister in a utopical new state of the US. The first half is very boring, and mostly consists of wordbuilding and characters having panic attacks. The second half is thankfully more plot-driven, but still isn't great because literally ALL of the suspicions the main characters had turn out to be right. Where's the fun in that? The climax is fun and the characters are fine, and there's some cool word games at the beginning that sadly get dropped later. 3.5/10
Next I'll review more Pokemon episodes, from season 4.
 
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First up some shows:

  • No game No life (anime series): A very strange series, as half of it is an interesting series of battle of classic tabletop and gambling games made serious in a world that runs of them and the other half is just bad fanservice jokes over and over. The games themselves also lack some tension, as the writer decided they should never lose. But the animation is good, and I'm fine with how the things were presented so it's easy to follow. 5.5/10
  • Dark (season 3): One of Netflix's best shows comes to an end, and sadly it has many flaws. Some episodes such as 4, 5 and specially 7 (which may be the series' best) keep the feeling of the show and give impactful revelations about the world, but the others are just the same "Jonas and Martha are in love" and "Adam and Eve drive the narrative with their desires" lines over and over. Also, not much advantage is taken of the second universe and some things sadly go unexplained. But it has a decent ending all things considered, which is satisfying even if it could have been planned better. 7.5/10
And some Pokémon season 4 episodes:

  • A Goldenrod Opportunity: A very fun city introduction. The part in the mall has good comedy, the TR fight is creative and the battle is simple but is a good lesson on not judging people by their appearance. 8.5/10
  • A Dairy Tale Ending: The first half is a milk commercial. The second half I have mixed feelings on: It's cool to see Ash (and the writers) doing more elaborate strategies on how to stop an enemy move but it feels a little undercooked and simple. 6/10
  • Air Time: Unlike the Sun & Moon play, the story inside the story actually has a plot with interesting twists. The SM play does have more comedy, but this episode compensates by great roles from Chikorita and Team Rocket and game references. 7.5/10
  • Hassle in the Castle: An okay-ish episode about crossing a labyrinth with Zubat's powers. I like Brock and his Pokemon getting attention and the CotD but the execution of the plot is very simple and the massage room inside a castle plot goes nowhere. 5.5/10
  • Two Hits and a Miss: It's also a decent but flawed plot. The battles were great and the story was interesting, but two battles with TR was overkill and the beginning feels slow. 6.5/10
  • Power Play!: It's great to see Gary again and him having a better relationship with Ash. The power plant plot is a bit distracting but it was well-developed with a cool TR battle and Ash and his new mons solving the problem. 8.5/10
  • The Trouble with Snubbull: A very simple episode with a loooong TR fight, but also it's a good lesson about abusive relationships and I love seeing how Madame Muchmoney became wilder while looking for her pet. 7.5/10
  • Houndoom's special delivery: Togepi and Houndoom have amazing chemistry and their adventures are fun, except at the middle where the pacing becomes slower. Another simple but heartwarming episode. 8/10
 
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Hassle in the Castle: An okay-ish episode about crossing a labyrinth with Zubat's powers. I like Brock and his Pokemon getting attention and the CotD but the execution of the plot is very simple and the massage room inside a castle plot goes nowhere. 5.5/10
The best part of this episode was the dub TR motto:
Jessie: To protect us from all this chaffing and itching
James: It might finally stop all of Jessie's complaining.
That's at least a point to it's score in my books.

The Trouble with Snubbull: A very simple episode with a loooong TR fight, but also it's a good lesson about abusive relationships and I love seeing how Madame Muchmoney became wilder while looking for her pet. 7.5/10
When I got older I really appreciated the karma of the Snubbull running joke. Meowth got to enjoy a small taste of having a stalker chasing him across the countryside. However it's a good thing they ended it here instead of keeping it up too long.
 
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First up some shows:

  • Arrested Development (season 4): I started watching the first run series on December so it was fun to compare how the series evolved during those 7 years, it actually kept most of its charm and humor intact. Having more continuity is always welcomed and the story surrounding each character and how they crossed over each other was very interesting. However, the episodes who lack your favorite characters feel a bit stale, and the story's ending is very rushed and many questions go unanswered. It was an interesting experiment, but I vastly prefer the older seasons. 7/10
  • The Last Kids on Earth (season 2): The show first real season, and it's another of those shows that starts of as very childish but quickly focuses on character development and has a simple but fun story. I can't think of any flaws besides that the secondary characters should have appear more. 8/10

And some Pokémon season 4 episodes:
  • A Ghost of a Chance: Not as good as Goldenrod's introduction, but still good. It's cool to learn more about Ho-Oh, see a badass Morty and a funny Dowsing Machine subplot by Team Rocket. 7.5/10
  • From Ghost to Ghost: A great battle with an amazing role from Noctowl, I do not get at all why most future Johto battles were 2vs2 when we had these. The ending was a bit rushed, but that was more the fault of the writers than a timing issue. 8.5/10
  • UnBEARable: A simple but fun plot, that shows the original trio as a family. I also like how manipulate Teddiursa is and how it takes advantage of even Team Rocket. 7.5/10
  • Moving Pictures: I like the COtDs, their humor and how the plot is related to Articuno and Todd's pictures. However, there's very few scenes and some idiotic moments (like Ash using Bulbasaur's Solar Beam to clean the snow instead of Cyndaquil). 6/10
  • Spring Fever: An actually great "Let's chase Team Rocket" episode, with great chase scenes, cool humor and a badass battle with the Swinub trio. Todd could've done more. 7/10
  • Freeze Frame: The arc comes to an end and it's a very average one. It's not bad, as we get to know Articuno via legends and physical appearance, but contains a terrible decision from Team Rocket as they betray the Pokemon that saved their life. It's cool that Todd got the picture nevertheless. 5.5/10
 
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Oof, you're in middle Johto. This is where the show was in a sea of almost endless filler. This is probably the most boring part of the entire series for me and why Johto gets so much dislike as a saga. Luckily Master Quest was the best season of Johto, so the saga did improve in its last year.

So many of these Johto eps follow the same boring formula, and with Ash barely using his Johto pokemon, and Misty/Brock being treated like background characters outside the small handful of eps that focus on them, it really was the most stagnant part of the entire anime. Whenever I think about the anime over these last 20 years, I think of how much the show had improved from this era.
 
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@Cybersai Yeah, I wonder why did they overuse the Pokemon of the Week ideas so much when they could have given some development to Ash's team or introducing new characters. And of all the episodes I saw only 3 or 4 didn't have Misty and Brock watching the plot happening.
 
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Johto was the first time they had to stretch a region out over 3 years, so they weren't sure what they were doing. Couple that with Misty not having any real goal to follow like most of the later girls, Gary barely showing up so it felt like Ash had no rival 90% of the time, and just a lack of recurring storylines, there just wasn't much. It also didn't help his Johto pokemon were so mishandled, Bayleef was handled fine but not getting to see Cyndaquil evolve here and Totodile was underused. Plus Noctowl, Phanpy and Heracross barely did anything in their own region.

It's weird to think Johto itself was 156 episodes, that means it was longer than BW, XY and the SM anime, and taken alone it was also longer than Hoenn (if you count Battle Frontier separate). It's too bad because it was the last saga with the original trio and they could have used that time to give Misty or Brock bigger roles in the show and develop them more but they didn't do it.
 
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@Cybersai Yeah, I wonder why did they overuse the Pokemon of the Week ideas so much when they could have given some development to Ash's team or introducing new characters. And of all the episodes I saw only 3 or 4 didn't have Misty and Brock watching the plot happening.
I read a theory on Tvtropes that the reason mid Johto was so filler heavy was because of the sudden decision to make Celebii a movie instead of an arc, leaving them stranded for a year with the intended storyline gone.
 
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I read a theory on Tvtropes that the reason mid Johto was so filler heavy was because of the sudden decision to make Celebi a movie instead of an arc, leaving them stranded for a year with the intended storyline gone.
The problem with that theory is that Pokemon of the week episodes actually start around the 2nd or 3rd Johto episode and never stop until around the 7th gym. Also, even in recent series story-driven arcs compose less than 20% percent of the series.
 
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The thing is Kanto was only 83 episodes and Orange Islands only 32 episodes, the two previous sagas were very short. As I said Johto was the first time they had to stretch a region over 3 years, and since it was the first time they did it, they didn't really know what to do to fill all the extra episodes with besides the usual filler formula.

It was always obvious when the show was revamped for AG the writers took the criticism and waning interest in the show during Johto quite seriously. I really don't think May and the Contests would have become such a major part of the show otherwise. In the games Contests are an optional sidequest a lot of people don't even bother to do, the writers generally had no reason to make Contests such a big deal in the anime. Look at how every other sidequest from the games is just given a filler or two and then forgotten about (like Pokeathlon, Musicals, Poke movies, Sky Battles, etc). They even included battling in the anime Contests because the writers knew if they kept them similar to the games people wouldn't care about them (hell that's one reason Serena's showcases weren't as well received later on).

Besides that Ash's Hoenn team was focused on and developed more, May became more of a major character, etc. Of course Hoenn still had a lot of filler, but it never really felt like nothing was happening for too long a time. Then when DP started they went even further with it, making Dawn a full co-star, bringing in Paul, DP had a lot more story arcs, etc. And then so on and so forth for every series that came after, even if some were better than others.

I get the feeling if the writers could go back in time and re-write Johto, they would have handled everything completely differently. Especially in regards to Misty, Gary and Ash's Johto pokemon, all of which wouldn't continue past the saga. Brock probably would have remained more or less the same, since he didn't do much in AG/DP either.
 
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  • Final Space (seasons 1 & 2): The show has a very quick pace that's hard to follow, and many of them focusing on repetitive missions doesn't help. But it has an unique charm, a very interesting universe and very likeable characters. It doesn't have the best story in the world (specially after that sudden villain change between seasons 1 & 2) but I definitely want to see more of it. 7/10
And here are the final Pokémon episodes for now:
  • Ring Masters: An episode featuring a creative competition with interesting rules, good battles, limited and funny roles from Team Rocket and a great return from an Ash reserve make this episode easily the best one of this batch. 9.5/10
  • Control Freak: The first half is a decent archaeological adventure, with decent stakes and good Brock & Golbat focus. But then it tosses its potential out of the window with a plot convenience and gives us a generic TR fight. Sheesh... 5/10
  • Turning Over a New Bayleef: Ash is made a douchebag, but so would I if I were constantly tackled by a dinosaur of my size, so it's understandable. Also, this provides him with an interesting conflict and the garden scenes are great as he finds a way to apologize. Sadly, the TR fight doesn't live up to the rest. 8/10
  • The Screen's Actors Guilt: An interesting and cute "Don't be afraid of what others think of you" plot, with actually good and useful TR battles and some humor that gives it a Kanto feel. The manager went karma-free though. 7.5/10
 
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