Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sushi Pack - Give Peas a Chance and Chemicals Made From Dirt

I've wanted to do these eps since I saw them, since they both have the common theme of Ben not being the perpetually laid back Aesop-giver. The first story is kind of weak, but the second story has lots of Kani cuteness. You know, it's odd that Kani started as my second least favorite Pack member, but has become my second favorite (my favorite and least favorite, Tako and Wasabi, respectively, have not changed).

Give Peas a Chance - "He was wrong; feelings of others are more important than donuts."
Starting with a montage of peas being harvested and processed for sale in a supermarket, there's a throwaway line about how the crops were planted on a toxic waste dump. Skip ahead to The Green Donut ("What's good for the one is good for the hole"), where Ben gets a call from Officer Flume (ah, her name does get used again), updating her donut order. Meanwhile, Kani and Maguro are playing chess, only Wasabi tries to emulate that scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and rides the knight. Maguro sends him on his way, and he interrupts Tako working on a canvas, complete with smock and beret. Tied in knots, Tako also sends him away, and Ikura doesn't even look up from his squirrel fighting game while brushing off Wasabi.
Back in the kitchen, Ben finishes taking down Officer Flume's apparently very long order just in time for Wasabi to show up. Ben warns the mustard glob that he's busy, but Wasabi pays him no mind (probably because he knows Ben can't understand him) and creates a kitchen drumkit cacaphony with pots and pans. The vibrations threaten a large bowl of flour, and Ben's attempt to save it only send it flying, covering him with flour. In a rare moment indeed, Ben loses his cool and yells at Wasabi to get out of the kitchen and never come back, a shout that resounds around the world, or at least the Sushi Pack headquarters. Wasabi does leave, dejected, but not in tears, as I thought he would.
Later, the Pack is watching TV when they see a report about frozen veggies holding customers hostage at the local supermarket. At said market, the veggie leader, a pea, hence the title, leads the other veggies in some chanting while the hostages shiver in the chill. The Pack shows up and starts a run of catchphrases, but Wasabi is still bummed out about Ben yelling at him. Nevertheless, they head in. Tako tries ordering the veggies to let the hostages go, but they just throw cookies at him. Maguro has two plans: A, they try to talk them down, and B, they attack in detailed order (although giving these details all but guarantees their failure). Wasabi is still all bummed out, and Tako is not sympathetic. The Lead Pea starts talking about his demands, which include freezing Wharf City solid.
Hearing this, Maguro starts to come around to the Peas' way of thinking, after all, being sushi, they like it cool, too. She even goes so far as to tell the others to "give peas a chance." A viewer from Chicago, already tired of the cold puns the Lead Pea has been throwing around, chucks his ice cream cone at Maguro's head, bringing her back to her senses. So it's time for Plan B. The Pack leaps into action, but the veggies have the advantage. Wasabi, the key component in the plan, just can't cut the mustard, so to speak. Tako and Maguro comment on this, blaming Ben completely for Wasabi's lack of luster. Ikura and Kani point out that Plan B isn't working, so Tako calls for Plan C. Unfortunately, there isn't one. So there's no choice but to retreat. Truly a sad day for the Pack. The Frozen Veggies boast of their frozen superiority.
Back at the Green Donut, apparently the rift between Ben and Wasabi has ruined Ben's latest batch of donuts, so he goes to apologize, unaware that the Pack is off on a mission. Seems the Pack left in such a hurry that no only did they not tell Ben, but they left the TV on, too. Sophia Tucker is still reporting on the case, and, being a self-proclaimed Wasabi fangirl, mentions that Wasabi's "fabulous flame" has faltered, meaning all hope is lost for the Pack. Ben, putting two and two together pretty quickly, reacts like this.
Back at the store, the Pack once again inform us of the fact that Wasabi is bummed out because Ben yelled at him and thus isn't up to fighting, and once again all the blame goes on Ben. I'm guessing this is because Ben actually doing something other than being laid back and giving them advice that they don't follow until it's too late is simply unheard of. Although, if they don't follow his advice most of the time, why should they expect him to follow it, either? Anyway, that's why they keep harping on it. Maguro, hoping for a quick fix, tells Wasabi to express his feelings, but we do not get the bawlfest that such a request would usually elicit from Wasabi, because Ben steps in, wearing a non-matching mustache, but otherwise just the same stuff he always wears. This is his way of keeping his connection with the Pack a secret, he says. I wasn't under the impression that their connection was secret, but okay. He admits to being a jerk earlier, and the Pack (minus Wasabi) agree just a little too quickly. Way to be gracious, guys. Ben goes with the full apology, and even starts to tear up by the end of it. He and Wasabi tearfully make up, and even the rest of the Pack has to pull out hankies. Ben gives up the lesson of the day: "Grown ups make mistakes, but no mistakes should hurt anyone's feelings." Um, wait. Ben, are you somehow under the impression that you're an adult? 'Cause seriously, you're barely out of adolescence. But no, this scene was too cute, but at the same time unintentionally hilarious.
With the apologies taken care of and Wasabi's flame reingnited, the Pack is back in action! They launch a full out attack on the veggies, save the hostages, and day as Wasabi literally runs rings around the veggies. With everything wrapped up, the Pack asks Chief Flume what to do with the veggies, and she, wanting to get to the annual Police Picnic on time, tells them to do whatever they want with them. So they bring them back to The Green Donut to clean up the kitchen (no, really!), and even make them do the episode end pose.

I'm slightly annoyed by how much the Pack rags on Ben for blowing up at Wasabi. Sure, it was unexpected, but what about Wasabi's part in it? Ben didn't yell for no reason, after all. But the Pack just kept on and on about it. "He should have known better." "But he didn't." And even Ben himself keeps bringing up how he was a jerk for yelling at Wasabi.

Chemicals Made From Dirt - "Pins and needles, needles and pins, it's the mellow crab who grins."
This episode opens at the Legion of Low Tide's headquarters, which is also a Sushi Restaurant that I've just noticed is across the street from The Green Donut! Does that mean that the sushi that became the Sushi Pack was made by Titanium Chef?! I really wish we'd get the origin episode already. The animation in this ep is bad, bad, bad, which is annoying because Titanium Chef has a big part, and having him badly animated is just wrong! Anyway, Titanium Chef is cooking, but not more sushi as you might expect. In fact, not even the Legion knows what he's making, just that all the pots on the oven are heating up the whole place, which is no good for perishable sushi such as themselves. Titanium Chef pulls out the book of Chum Chop: Ancient Recipes for Mayhem and Chaos, last seen in Wassup Wasabi, and reads the recipe for Inki-Dori, the mystery of burning ice. The ingredients sound questionable, so Fugu wonders if he's making a poison douchebag potion. However, Inki-dori is actually a shoeshine. The Legion questions this, since a. the Sushi Pack don't wear shoes and b. nobody shines their shoes in this day and age, anyway. But Titanium Chef counters that this is no ordinary shoeshine. It makes people cool, literally! He pulls the lid off his concoction and a wave of cold air washes over the Legion. But, as he explains, the cold is just an illusion. Toro suggests selling the stuff for a ton of money, but Titanium Chef maintains that they can only use the recipes in the book for power, not money. He outlines his plan: the Legion members will shine people's shoes, who will get cold and turn up the heat, bringing down the Sushi Pack once and for all!
That night, while the rest of the pack snoozes, Kani reads from a self-help book, chanting a mantra from the book. Maguro hears this and goes to see what's going on. Kani explains that she's trying to stop being crabby and start being mellow. Maguro doesn't really see why, but Kani says that "people" don't like crabs. Maguro can't think of anyone who doesn't like Kani, but Kani says that everyone will like her more if she's mellow, and then she summarizes the book's plan:
1. Smile.
2. Dress mellow (Maguro starts getting intrigued here.)
3. Live mellow (Maguro mentions meditating.)
4. Speak mellow (the hardest step for Kani.)
5. If all else fails, repeat the mantra.
Kani also mentions that being a crab isn't cool, but Maguro insists that Kani is cool just the way she is. But Kani still wants to be mellow, although she expresses this in a most unmellow way (as she said, step four is the hardest). Now, I wonder what this ep's lesson could possibly be?
The next day, the Legion is hard at work advertising "cool" shoeshines, and finally a construction worker, wanting to be cool, gets a shine, setting off a chain reaction of people lining up to get their shoes shined and leaving all cold, but with sparkly shoes. One kid, after getting his shoes shined, decides he wants to shine shoes, too, so Mochi Mochiato arranges their first franchise. Which couldn't make Titanium Chef, watching from a nearby rooftop through high-tech binoculars, happier.
At The Green Donut, Maguro takes a moment to talk with Ben about Kani's identity crisis. She worries about Kani trying to change, but before Ben can break out the advice, Kani herself shows up, dressed in powder blue and saying stuff like "Lovely day, isn't it?" Tako and the others also show up to discuss Kani with Ben, unaware that she's shown up. Although nobody asked, she points out that she's wearing a beret, although it looks more like an elf hat to me. Her mellow facade is cracked as the others ask if she's okay and express their worries, and she snaps at them, before storming out while chanting her mantra.
Finally able to get a word in, Ben advises the others to let Kani "find herself" and that new clothes are a-okay. (Especially a cute outfit like that ^_~). Then he gets set to make some deliveries and leaves them with the cryptic line: "Sometimes it takes a change to discover how to be happy with who we are."
Riding his bike down the street, Ben is nearly blinded by everyone's shiny shoes before being accosted by the Franchise Kid to shine his shoes and be cool like everyone else. Ben, surprisingly, succumbs and gets his shoes shined. Now, when I was watching this ep for the first time, at first I thought that Ben would be immune to shoeshine because he never leaves the shop. And then I thought he'd be immune because he, being the advice-giver, would obviously not fall for the line of "everybody's doing it." And then I thought he'd be immune because he wears sneakers. But no, he succumbs and somehow the kid shines his sneakers, even though this shouldn't work at all. However, if it had been a Legionnaire and not Franchise Kid, Ben probably wouldn't have fallen for it.
Meanwhile, Kani isn't convinced by her powder blue duds, and decides to switch to yellow. Also meanwhile, Titanium Chef revels in the shiny city, proof that his plan is working. "Soon the world will see I'm not a so-so sushi chef," he crows, "I'm a so-so evil genius!" Meanwhile again, Ben returns to the Green Donut, freezing cold, and turns up the heat. The Pack is confused this, since a. it's hot out, and b. Ben knows they're perishable. Tako is blinded by Ben's shoes and Kani (now in a yellow dress, so cute) runs from the shiny shoes, proclaiming they're "not mellow at all!" Wasabi points out everyone outside dressed for winter, but why? To find out, the Pack turns to TV, which just happens to turn onto a news report about the sudden cold spell. The cameraman helpfully pans down to show Sophia and the mayor's shoes, leading the Pack to figure everything out. Realizing what this means for Ben, they rush to his aid. Maguro uses her telekinesis to remove Ben's shoes, and Wasabi burns them to ashes. With the shoes destroyed, Ben comes to his senses and turns down the heat. Unfortunately the A/C dies, and Ikura freaks out. Tako wonders why, but not for long. It's obviously the work of the Legion of Low Tide! (and not any of the other recurring villians :p)
Tako orders Kani to get the Sushi Craft ready, but Kani demurs; fighting isn't mellow! (Don't give me that look, you all knew this was coming.) Tako points out that if they don't do something, they'll perish, and Maguro adds that everyone in the city will die of heatstroke, since they think they're cold. Faced with these facts, not even the mantra can save Kani's outfit, which she rips off in a crabby rage. With that, the Pack is off! First, they go to beat up the Legion of Low Tide. The Legion tries to run, but is cut off at every turn by a Pack member, ending with Kani. While she takes care of the Legion, Tako and Maguro gloat that Kani is back to normal, "just the way we like her." Coupled with the looks they gave each other in the previous scene after Kani ripped up her clothes, these two seem to be more manipulative than previously thought. Hm...
Seeing his minions defeated, Titanium Chef wonders if he shouldn't try another career. The city makes public announcements for everyone to remove their shoes, which are then hauled to the city dump. Back at the Green Donut, everyone tries to figure out just what the heck lesson this episode had. Ben thinks it's about peer pressure (and rightly admits that he should have known better), Kani thinks it's the warped aesop of Don't try to change yourself, although she bases this on the fact that nothing blue is cool. Tako, of course, takes offense at this, but instead of confronting Kani, he teases her instead. Ben tries again with "It's better to be cool than to feel cool," (um, what?), and Kani adds that it's better to be happy with yourself. Maguro, however, has the real lesson, "Everyone makes mistakes." Tako, needing the last word (or perhaps building rapport with Maguro) adds "And learning from our mistakes is cool." And that's that.

I've been wondering this all day: where did Titanium Chef get the book of Chum Chop, anyway? That seems to be what fuels his designs at being a villain, but how did he get a hold of it and not somebody else?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope this isn't too random but...Great review! :3 (This is that ToxicEvie chic from the forum BTW...)

I loved it when Ben exploded in rage. XD;;; The whole situation was *extremely* funny to me. 0_0
And I was just starting to not hate Wasabi. :P There's too many episodes based around him anyway...

I personally liked the second episode better. Kani is totally my favorite character and seeing more episodes with her in it make me smile. :3
And but yeah...The animation was horrid. XD;;;

Look forward to the next review! :3