Near Miss, or The Episode that Completely Justified Tako's Huge Ego
As this ep opens, the Pack is already on the move, as is a Police helicoptor, which gives the dispatch and exposition: they're in pursuit of a flying pig that stole cash, but mostly coins, from a bank. As it flies, a hole rips in the bag, dropping coins all over the place. Somewhere else, Paradoxtor watches the pursuit, and waits for the pig to bring the Sushi Pack to him. As the pig continues its flight, it startles a woman pushing a piano up a steep sidewalk, and the piano goes rolling back down, heading straight into the path of a truck! The Pack pause in their pursuit to save the piano: Tako handles stopping the piano while Maguro goes after the truck, just in case. The others stay in the Sushi Craft, also just in case.
While Maguro uses her telekinesis to keep the truck from moving, Tako manages to return the piano to the lady, who thanks him profusely, even blowing him a kiss. And a camera crew that just happens to be there start taking his picture, and he obliges them heartily. The crowd sends him off with cheers of "Yay, Tako!" Back in the Craft, Tako thanks Maguro for stopping the truck and vaguely wonders why the camera crew ignored her, but there's no time to ponder that more deeply, as they stop to help a boy whose kitten is stuck in a tree. While Maguro flies up to get the kitten, the boy reveals himself as a Tako fan and asks for an autograph. Tako, ever the one to show off, not only signs his name, but grabs the kitten at the same time. To his credit, Maguro was taking an awfully long time to do such a simple task. Still, that doesn't stop her from getting annoyed, and stealing the kitten back with her powers. She and Tako go back and forth with the kitten for a while, and Maguro complains that she doesn't seem to be getting the attention she feels she deserves considering the effort she's putting in. Tako points out that he thanked her, but she tells him his actions don't match up with his words, and gives the kid his kitten. Regardless, Tako gets the thanks, much to Maguro's chagrin.
Paradoxtor, still waiting, complains about all the detours the Sushi Pack keeps making. He's especially annoyed because he wants to try out his new cage, specially made to counter all of the Pack's powers. The pig lands and starts digging, so the Pack sets off on foot to follow, only to be stopped by a crowd alreadying cheering for Tako. Tako just sends them away, since he hasn't done anything yet. This only sets Maguro off more. Tako tries to placate her with new-agey phrases either cribbed from her or Ben (I'm more inclined to think he's taking words she said herself, though), but she doesn't buy it. Kani jumps to Tako's defense, although she ends up damning him with faint praise ("Sure he has a big ego and a fake eyepatch, but..."). Tako's not sure whether to be flattered or insulted.
Tired of waiting, Paradoxtor watches an episode of Even Odds that he taped at an earlier date. He also narrates a Note to Self into a video camera (basically just congratulating himself for thinking of taping his shows, and also for getting a camera so he doesn't just talk to himself like a crazy person. What happened to his henchshrimp?). He also fills the camera in on his latest scheme: with his new Animixter Ray, he can combine two animals into one (hence, the flying pig), and demonstrates by mixing a wolf with a sheep. He's already made a few and supplied them all with masks for a reason that isn't made clear. His ultimate goal is to make an army of mixed animals, although the way he describes it, I think he's just lonely. But first he has to get rid of the Sushi Pack, perhaps because they would never allow his abominations of nature to live. Oh, Paradoxtor, isn't there someplace where you and your Animixes can live together in peace? That's something to ponder over the commercial break.
Back with the Pack, and also back in the Sushi Craft, Tako ponders where the pig is going, and Maguro snaps at him. He points out her unleaderlike behavior, but she doesn't respond. They finally arrive at the building Paradoxtor's using for his headquarters, which practically reeks of "trap." Tako splits them into two groups, himself with Kani and Ikura, Maguro with Wasabi. Wasabi protests; he wants to go with Tako. Tako points out that this would leave Maguro partnerless, but Wasabi has bought into the hype produced by
this blog the media, so Tako reminds him that Maguro is as much a hero as the rest of them. But to get the show back on track, Tako decides to let Ikura and Kani handle Wasabi while he gets some "alone time" with Maguro. Maguro is in no mood for this, however, and tells them all in no uncertain terms that she can handle the mission herself, and goes off to do just that. Concerned, the others take off after her, but with no sign of where she went, they follow the pig's trail and hope to find her there, too. As they climb up the stairs, there's a small discussion of hybrids, until they reach the top and are confronted by a penguin with the head of a crocodile.
Elsewhere, Maguro searches, but she leaps into action when she hears the others' cries of distress. It's too late, though, as Paradoxtor already has them in his new cage. He dares them to escape, and they go at it with glee. But Kani's pinchers are thwarted by the cage's plastic(?) sides, Wasabi's fireballs just bounce off the walls, Tako isn't able to break through, and Ikura doesn't even try. Paradoxtor tells them of his plans for them, now that he's proven his cage is inescapable. First, he'll use his Animixter on them, and then feed the resulting creation to his Animixes. Fortunately for the Pack, Paradoxtor didn't notice Maguro wasn't there, and all his spieling gave her the chance to move the cage with her telekinesis. Paradoxtor sends his Animixes after her, and there's a bit of a chase before the cage finally breaks, releasing the others just in time for a proper battle against Paradoxtor and the Animixes. In the heat of the battle, Kani uses a table to smash the Animixter, and Paradoxtor has a Big No moment.
Tako finds Paradoxtor's VHSes of Even Odds and the DVD back-ups, and Paradoxtor starts to rebut, but has another Big No moment when the Pack destroys the videos and DVDs (either that, or he really did mean, "Didn't you hear my Big No before?" I'm really not sure which it is). They attack him, too, and Paradoxtor is finished. Ikura points out that with the destruction of the Animixtor, all the Animixes are back to normal, and Maguro notes that's it's like at the end of the movie where there's the "no animals were harmed in the making of this film" disclaimer. Tako, on the other hand, notes that Paradoxtor did not change back to normal, meaning he isn't an Animix, but something else entirely. Tako doesn't stop to consider the implications of this, though, since he has to give Maguro her due for saving them all this time around. The others agree and give her three cheers. Later, as they return the money to the bank (bet you forgot about that, didn't you?), Maguro reveals that she actually learned a lesson (apparently she was being jealous, and now she knows that they all get praised in turn), although no one points out the fact that her storming off actually allowed her to save the day. Or maybe someone would have if they hadn't been ambushed by another cheering crowd, fortunately just giving a generic "Sushi Pack!" cheer this time.
I really felt bad for Paradoxtor this time around. I mean, all he wanted was some friends that were like him (maybe the henchshrimp dumped him or something), and he knew that the Sushi Pack would stop him somehow, so he just wanted to get them before they got him. Is that so wrong?
All through the first part of the ep, I couldn't help but think my blog had some influence on the writing ^_~ Also, this ep, while seeming to have all the marks of a Tako/Maguro-shippy episode, really wasn't that shippy at all. What a waste.
Mirror, Schmirror, or Nothing is Solved by Perfectly Symmetrical Violence
This episode starts with Ikura attempting to backseat-drive the Sushi Craft (apparently a different one than their usual, since it has fewer seats, meaning Maguro and Tako sit next to each other in the front), but his direction-giving skills need some work. It turns out that they're trying to get a pre-release copy of the latest Aquabot-boy video game for Ikura, although the others all think he has plenty of games already. Ikura maintains that he's a collector, hence why he needs this game. No one points out the obvious parallels to be found with The Collector (as in, Ikura shouldn't be needing to learn this lesson), but Maguro does point out that a secret warehouse is a pretty odd place to get a video game. They park on a crate, and Tako lends everyone a tentacle getting down (literally), but Maguro, still a bit miffed from the last story (or not wanting to think about the implications of walking down Tako's arm, as it were), turns down his offer and simply floats herself down. As soon as they're all down, the suspicious-looking parking meter they parked by morphs back into Uni. Oh ho ho...
As they approach the warehouse door, Maguro airs her suspicions again, but Ikura simply tells her that it's a special for members of the Aquabot-boy Video Game Fan Club. As Ikura does a secret knock, the members of the Legion of Low Tide all signal each other, ending with Toro pulling a rope that opens a trapdoor under the Pack. Tako manages to grab onto the edge of the platform and grabs the others, and tells Maguro (again floating under her own power) to save herself once a powerful suction starts up. Maguro attempts to break out of the suction, but she, and the others, quickly succumb. They fall down a tube and are deposited in a glass cage. Titanium Chef is quick to show up, gloating about how he knew his fake message would reach at least one of the Pack's need for more things. He starts to figure out who it was, ruling each member out for different reasons (Maguro has no interest, Kani is too "hands-on," Wasabi is too naive, and Tako has too large of an ego) until he gets to Ikura and rightly hypothesizes that it was him. Truth be told, I'm not sure what Titanium Chef's theories about Kani, Wasabi, and Tako have to do with them not taking the bait. Ikura tells Titanium Chef that he'll never keep them down, but fortunately, the Chef has an entirely different plan in mind. He pulls down the book of Chum Chop (this time subtitled "Recipes of Darkness") and instructs the Legion to start chanting a mantra that will send the Sushi Pack away. As they chant, the side of the Pack's cage starts getting swirly, and the Pack tries to understand what's going on. Tako asks Maguro for a reality check, and she tells him about the research she's read on Parallel Universes. It seems there's a yin and yang to everything, even worlds.
Meanwhile, the still-chanting Legionaires start blinking in and out of the picture, and a vortex opens in their cage. Titanium Chef tells them to go through it, and when the Pack refuses, he pulls out something on fire (I'm really not sure what it is) to convince them. As he sends them backing toward the vortex, he takes a moment to gloat ("Maybe next time the little orange guy will think twice before wanting more than he needs"), and then with one final push, they're outta there! The Pack falls through the vortex and lands in a super-sparkly kitchen that smells of fresh-baked cookies. Although Maguro insists that they are in a real parallel universe, she still appreciates Tako's ribbing on the Titanium Chef. Their levity is short-lived, for they encounter the mirror-version of the Legion of Low Tide, who all have visible fangs, and the male members all have goatees. They cower before what they think is their world's Sushi Pack, for this is a world where the scale of good to evil is reversed. Thinking it might be another trap, the Pack starts heading out, when who should show up but the mirror-Titanium Chef! Just as the scent indicated, he bears cookies fresh from the oven. Freaked out by a happy homemaker Titanium Chef, the Pack beats a hasty retreat.
Out in the open, the Pack is greeted with cries of "Sushi Pack! Run!" as they look at the a Wharf City in disarray. As they gawk, a police car drives up and a very sparkly Mirror Mayor Martin arrives. Tako greets him as he usually would, prompting laughter from the mayor, who thinks it's a joke. But then he gets down to the business of bribing the Pack to get him re-elected. He gives them the keys to the city, his pinky ring, and even his shoes, and then drives off. Tako has no clue what's going on, so Maguro explains about the parallel universe thing again. It's quickly illustrated by the arrival of the mirror-Sushi Pack. In addition to the fangs, mirror-Kani and Maguro also have eye shadow (Tako decides he likes the goatees on the male members, though). Faced with their doppelgangers, the Packs attack! Like most battles of this kind, they find themselves too evenly matched (I would like the note that there is Tako/Maguro-shippyness even in the alternate universe ^_~). Unsure of what to do, Wasabi suggests going to Ben for advice, but what kind of advice will a mirror-Ben give? Maybe something they'll actually listen to.
The Mirror-Pack claims the stuff the mayor left (since it was for them anyway), and start to fight over who gets what. All except for Mirror-Ikura, who admonishes them for their greed. The others refuse to listen to him. Tako notices Ikura watching this, and obliquely comments on the parallel to him. A little too obliquely, as Ikura thinks he talking about the others, and points out that the mirror-him is trying to help the others. Then it hits him that if the mirror-him is his opposite...oh yeah. Tako is obviously enjoying this little epiphany, but Maguro assures Ikura that he's changed now, and urges the others to get a move on. Over at the mirror-Green Donut, Ben initially thinks that the Pack is just a shaved Mirror-Pack (and Tako agrees with him that they look better with goatees), but Maguro explains that they come from a parallel universe. Kani adds that they need to get back to their world to stop Titanium Chef from doing who-knows-what, but who-knows-what sounds pretty good to Mirror-Ben, and he's no use at all. In light of this, Maguro gets another idea, and the Pack is off again.
They go back to see mirror-Titanium Chef, who is glad to see them again. Maguro reasons that he must have a copy of the book of Chum Chop, and it turns out he does, for study purposes only. But he obliges the Pack and finds the recipe that Titanium Chef used in their world. Before they all start chanting, Maguro asks what a nice guy like Mirror Chef is doing in a crappy world like this. Mirror Chef chalks it down to irony, and tells them that they all have to make the best of what they're given, a lesson Ikura has learned, but in regards to stuff, not situation. Although Mirror Chef wishes he could go somewhere where right prevails in the end, he wishes the Pack luck.
Back in the real world, Titanium Chef apparently spent the whole time giving the Legion of Low Tide a pep talk, as the Pack is back before they've had time to do anything evil at all. Faced with the Pack, Titanium Chef and the Legion run away. As the Pack laughs at them, Ikura declares that they have something else to take care of... The scene cuts to some restaurant somewhere, where Ikura remarks on the lesson he learned via the Mirror-Pack. Mirror Chef shows up with cookies, and Maguro declares their mission over. She looks over for Tako's approval, only to find he has a goatee! Everyone gasps (but Kani looks pleased), but Tako just rips it off--it was a fake all along. And the episode is over.
So wait, did they go back and bring Mirror Chef to their world? Does that mean that there are two Titanium Chefs running around Wharf City now? Will they meet up in a future episode? That would be pretty cool, actually. Sadly, Titanium Chef's animation was not good enough for him to be truly awesome this time. And is it just me, or should this ep have been longer? I mean, you just can't do justice to a parallel world plotline in only 10 minutes. They got there, they looked around for a minute, they went home.
And shouldn't Mirror-Tako's eyepatch have been on the opposite side? What's up with that, huh?