The first story's lesson is all about Pride Goes Before a Fall, making it one of the oldest ones in the book.
But is it Art? - "A genius never tidies. It's beneath him. Or her."
This ep starts at the Wharf City Art Museum with Sophia Tucker talking to the curator about the new exhibit, opening tomorrow, showing off both old classics and new stuff from local artists. The curator is not very funny, sorry to say, but both he and Sophia are appalled by one of the local artist's pieces. Which artist? Funny you should ask, as we cut to...
Tako, making noise, art, and a mess on his latest canvas. Unfortunately, Maguro was in the line of fire and ends up covered in red ink. Tako calls for silence while he creates, but Maguro uncharacteristically loses her cool and yells at him for the mess. Tako, however, doesn't see it as a mess, but as art. Ikura comes out of hiding to make a snappy remark, and Tako leaps into action, appearing to spear Ikura with a paintbrush, but missing him at the last second and applying a tiny pictogram of himself to the canvas as a signature. He proclaims it done and calls for all to bask in his greatness, but instead, Maguro calls for him to clean up his mess. He refuses, and Maguro has to call on all her inner strength to keep herself from pummeling him.
Later, Kani examines Tako's paintings and Tako pops up to get her opinion. Although she says she likes it, Ikura points out that she's a total deadpan, and she blames it on her crabby nature. While cleaning up Tako's mess, Ikura asks Maguro how she got the curator to accept Tako's paintings. Maguro admits nothing, but we see a flashback of her using her mind-control powers to brainwash the curator into hanging Tako's stuff. Tako's so excited about tomorrow that he breaks the fourth wall, coming right up to the TV screen to tell us that soon the world will see him for the genius that he really is. Ikura blames Tako's self-centeredness on Maguro, and, seeing him prance around like a ninny, accepts the blame. Also, Tako fails at maniacal laughter.
The next day, as the Pack heads to the art museum, Ikura notices a crowd, which Tako assumes is there to meet him. Until the police show up, that is. Inside the museum, the curator bemoans the stolen paintings, but Tako is relieved that his paintings are still there. The curator clarifies: all the GOOD paintings were stolen. Tako runs through his many thoughts (including a line I particularly like, "I must not let the juices of shame seep from my eyeballs,") at hearing this--could he really be a bad artist? The rest of the Pack figures that Tako will chill out now, but no, he summons all his powers of denial and insists that his art is supreme. Meanwhile, Kani finds a clue: a pebble from a rock found only on the coast. Hearing this, Tako demands they go and find out why whoever stole the paintings left his behind.
After the break, the Pack lands on the roof of an opulent mansion and Ikura jumps out, ready for action. But Tako stops him, saying first they have to teach the thieves a thing or two about art, since he's been wronged here. His decision is final. Ikura asks who died and made him king, and aren't they supposed to be getting the art back to the museum? Kani and Wasabi concur: there's more to this than just Tako. Maguro reminds him that they're all a team, but this is really just an excuse to hand out color-coded strategy plans. Wasabi just eats his, and Tako and Ikura leap into action with barely a glance.
The Pack bursts into the mansion, but Kani walks across the walls for some reason. This is the only instance of her doing this, btw. The Pack finds the paintings easily enough, but Maguro warns against taking them in fear of ruining the perfect feng shui of the room. Kani disagrees, but Wasabi is quick to point out that the central figures from each painting is missing. Where could they be? Why, right behind the Pack, somehow fully animate and able to shoot energy beams. They attack the Pack, but Tako is too consumed with finding out why they were stolen and his art wasn't (I'm guessing because it was abstract, hence no figure to bring to life), so much so that Maguro has to swoop in and save him (shippy moments even from the beginning!). Driven under a chair, Ikura wants to attack, but Tako warns him not to harm the artwork, despite the fact that the art is trying to harm them. Tako claims his right as an artist to handle the situation.
The girls are cornered, so Tako leaps in and tries to reason with the artwork, but to no avail. Suddenly, heatlamps lit up overhead! Seeing the girls losing their cool (and their powers), Tako realizes that he's only been thinking of himself and that prevented him from seeing the trap for what it really was. Meanwhile, Kani and Maguro are so melodramatic that one might think this whole thing was staged just to make Tako stop being so annoying. But this is not that case, as a mysterious voice sends the artwork back to their canvases. An organ rises from the floor, revealing a guy who is really ugly despite having a monocle. In Bond Villian tradition, he addresses the Pack civilly and introduces himself as The Collector (real original there ¬_¬). He tells them of that he found a way to bring art to life (although he doesn't elaborate on how he did it), and details his plot to control all the great masterpieces in the world.
While he's monologuing, Ikura and Wasabi make their move. Before we can see it, Tako again demands to know why his paintings weren't stolen. The Collector cooly informs him that he is indeed a bad artist, and Tako wilts. Meanwhile, Ikura and Wasabi make it onto the Collector's organ and hop around until they find the note that controls the heat lamps. Ikura turns the lamps off and Wasabi turns up the AC, and the Collector calls for his art zombies to attack! A semi-epic battle ensues between sushi and art, but it is only Maguro's forcefield that keeps the art at bay. Tako, still stung by the Collector's words, once again retreats into his mind (which means he isn't helping with the fight) to berate himself for his foolish pride and for forgetting that the important thing is helping the others, just as the others demand his help. Tako asks why they put up with him, and Kani replies that they have no choice; he's part of the team.
With Tako's head back in the game, he easily sees the answer: get rid of the organ! While Ikura, Maguro, and Wasabi keep the Collector occupied, Tako and Kani destroy the organ, and the art zombies go back into their respective paintings. The Collector tries to make a break for it, but is successfully detained by Tako. The Collector goes to jail, Tako makes a bad joke, and there's a scene transition just for the Pack to do the Ending Pose.
Rewatching this episode after so long, I was surprised at how much of a pretentious ass Tako was. He still kinda is, mind you, but here it just overflows. Now it's clear that he just needed to learn his lesson, but back then, how were we to know he wasn't like that all the time? Just not the best choice for a first episode is all I'm saying.
Wassup Wasabi? - "Do you know what you must do?"
This ep starts with a Sushi Pack/Low Tide face-off right off the bat, but no banter. Later, Sophia Tucker reports from the scene about how the Sushi Pack prevented the Legion from messing with the city's electrical grid, and openly fangirls over Wasabi. Tako takes offense at this, since the rest of the Pack's part in saving the day was belittled as a consequence. Ikura makes fun of how Sophia called Wasabi "so cute!" and Tako and Kani comment a little on this, pointing out that technically wasabi is a condiment, not actual sushi. All this hits the way-too-sensitive Wasabi right where it hurts, and he runs off crying. Although the rest of the Pack calls out after him, he leaves the Green Donut entirely. Ben shows up to accuse them of teasing, even though if anything, it was only Ikura who did any actual teasing, and gives them the aesop of the day: everyone has feelings. Amusingly, the animators have everyone look contrite, except for Maguro (who made no comments during the earlier discussion), who looks smug instead. Heh.
Wasabi, wandering the streets, howls like a wolf and is instantly noticed by Titanium Chef (first appearance, yeah!), who spies on him via periscope. He makes an "opportunity knocks" comment to the other members of the Legion, and then gives a fake call for help. Wasabi, like a dummy, rushes right into the sushi restaurant that he really should recognize as belonging to his archenemy. Unless the Pack doesn't know where the Legion's hideout is? Could it be like in Dokkoidda?!, with the Pack and the Legion living across the street from each other and never knowing it? No, wait, Mochi knew where the Pack lives in Deep Freeze, so yeah, Wasabi's just stupid or naive, or both, and is captured immediately.
The rest of the Pack are currently flying around, trying to track Wasabi's mustard spice level, but so far, nothing. Maguro seems to be the one the most touched by this, though. Back with the Legion, Wasabi is inside an ice cage, while Titanium Chef explains that while the other Pack members lose their powers in the heat, Wasabi is affected by the cold. He also cruelly places a photo of the Pack that he just happens to have in front of Wasabi to further break his spirit. While he waits, he pulls out the book of Chum Chop (described as Ancient Sushi Recipes for Mayhem and Chaos here) and prepares the recipe
The Pack unknowingly picks up on the copy Wasabi's signal, and head for the power plant. Back at the restaurant, Wasabi shivers in the cold while Titanium Chef rubs the Pack's impending failure in his face. Once he leaves, Wasabi sheds tears as he looks at the photo and remembers the others telling him they love him. This gives him strength! After a few false starts, he gets his flame back to normal size and bursts free of his bindings. He torches the restaurant door (I hope Titanium Chef has fire insurance...) and heads out.
The Pack follows a radar straight to the copy Wasabi, who immediately opens fire. The Pack takes cover and assumes that "Wasabi" is still mad at them. They come out, all contrite, but before Copy can attack again, the real Wasabi shows up and starts attacking his clone. The rest of the Pack is suitably surprised at seeing two Wasabis, but have no clue how to tell them apart. The two Wasabis fight, but they are too equally matched. Maguro calls on Tako to think of something, and so Tako goes into his multi-head thought process, but gets distracted by his good looks. But he gets it together and comes up with a solution: they need to apologize to Wasabi! The rest of the Pack is surprised by this, so Tako explains, and even imitates Ben, that if they apologize for hurting Wasabi's feelings, the real one will be touched. So they step into the fray and get both Wasabis' attention. Everyone adds to the apology, and indeed, the real Wasabi bursts into (happy) tears, leading to hug time all around. The Pack, whole again, gets ready to lay the smack down on the copy Wasabi, but before they even leap, the copy starts to disintegrate. This isn't made very clear, but after watching this a few times, I think what happened is that Wasabi's tears hit the copy, and that's what destroyed it. Maguro comments that "without feelings or emotions, it didn't stand a chance," but I don't really get why... No matter, the rest of the Legion shows up to finish their earlier job, but are beaten even more easily than at the start. They make a run for it, and Titanium Chef, watching through old-fashioned binoculars, gnashes his teeth so hard that he cracks one.
Back at the Green Donut, Maguro lays down a new rule: no more teasing (Ikura and Kani don't seem to jibe with this, but that could just be the animators). Wasabi says something, so Ikura comments "Wasabi, you really are amazing," and Maguro maintains that they'll always stick together from now on, and then it's time for the end pose!
I've come to the conclusion that any summary I write that involves Titanium Chef is instantly ten times as much fun to write. Although in this one he's definitely more schlocky than he usually is (again, why it feels like a pilot). Also, it appears that Tako's many-headed thinking routine was going to be a regular thing, and while it has shown up a number of times since, it's hardly in every episode.