Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sushi Pack - When Will Ben be Zen? and Wharf City on the Half Shell

Both of these episodes are kind of off-beat, but I like them. Comic book heroes, Maguro invading Tako's many-headed thinking routine, a giant space clam and mukluks, what's not to like?  I didn't take as many screenshots as usual, though.  Not sure if it was the animation quality, or just that what transpired in the episodes didn't really inspire me.

When Will Be be Zen? - "If you're allowed to demolish these private businesses, then the universe is out of order!"
This one begins on a relatively peaceful day, with the Pack taking some tea with Ben.  Tako, however, isn't down with the peacefulness, since this is supposed to be a superhero show.  Ben starts to comment that "there are many ways to be a hero," but is interrupted by some guy in a hygienic bubble.  Interrupting Jones introduces himself as General Anesthetic and proceeds to give the Green Donut an inspection, despite Ben's assertion that he just had an inspection.  Regardless, the general shuts him down by condemning the whole shop due to unrefrigerated raw fish out in the open (that being the Sushi Pack) and lack of napkins.  Upon learning that the shop will be torn down the next day, Ben demands a hearing, which the general grants, but in two weeks, after the shop is demolished.  "You know the old saying, 'you can't fight city hall,'" he says, and breezes out of the shop, as much as a man in a hygienic bubble can.  Ben insists that he can, indeed, fight city hall and storms off.  As he goes, the Pack notices that every store on the block has been condemned by the general.
Later, Ben returns to find that he actually couldn't fight city hall, since he couldn't find anyone who knew what he was talking about, and dejectedly starts packing his things, much to the Pack's dismay.  Tako starts to think about what to do, but Maguro invades his thoughts to give her own opinion, although Tako doesn't take kindly to this.  So he calls for an official Sushi Pack round table to get everyone's thoughts on the matter.  Kani suggests destroying the general's hygienic bubble, but Maguro feels that the real problem is with Ben.  With his spirit broken, how can he lead them?  Tako agrees, but what can they do to help?  Wasabi, inspired by Ben's comic collection, comes up with the idea of going back to Ben's earlier, interrupted saying, and showing him just how much of a hero he really is.  Everyone likes this plan, except for the part that somehow involves Wasabi wearing mukluks.  (This is very minor, but when Wasabi goes up to Tako, you can see everyone thinking really hard in the background.  Ikura, in fact, is shaking from the effort.) 
And so the Pack confronts Ben about losing his spirit.  Ben appreciates their concern, but insists he isn't a hero and he certainly doesn't have any powers.  Ikura qualifies being a hero as being part of a team, just like the Finger Force Flyers, and we get a short sequence from one of the comics, with Ikura doing all the voices.  Ben says that isn't the same as his situation, so Tako and Maguro do the voices for an issue of Blue Flashlight, where General Contractor turned the whole town purple, the only color not affected by BF's powers  (he still wins because Contractor actually turned everything magenta, not purple).  They try to convince Ben that he, just like Blue Flashlight, can defeat a general, and the rest of the Pack deliver a pep talk, but Ben doesn't get into the spirit.  He goes to sleep on it, and the Pack go to find out more about General Anesthetic.
The next morning, the general arrives with a wrecking ball to tear down the neighborhood, but Ben refuses to move from his store.  The Pack cheers him on, but the general has no qualms about destroying Ben along with his shop.  Anticipating this, the Pack leaps into action.  Tako covers the wrecking ball with ink, distracting the general, Maguro uses her telekinesis to make the wrecking ball wreak the crane it's on, Kani severs the hygienic bubbles' tubes, sending the general flying, and Ikura launches some orange balls that bring the general back down to the ground.  They grab him and drag him to his own home and accuse him of being a slob.  The general does not appreciate this, as he claims to have a spotless home.  Except the Sushi Pack was there earlier that morning and tracked little footprints all over the place, which the general also does not appreciate.  He tells them they can't do this to a city official, but Tako reveals that they did some research and found out that he isn't a city official at all.  In fact, he doesn't even work for the city anymore, since he was fired a month ago for being a sloppy garbageman.  It turns out that this was the general 's motivation for his actions: he became completely germ-free and planned to get rehired after making Wharf City itself free of all filth.  Of course, the methods he used are far from legal, as Tako points out, and so it's off to jail for the general!
Once that's all over, the Sushi Pack congratulates Ben for standing up to Fred (the general's real name), and Ben ruminates on how social injustice can create heroes.  "And other times, lightning storms create them," he adds, the first actual reference to how the Sushi Pack came to be on the show.  Wasabi finally gets his hands on some tiny mukluks, and all ends happily.

Okay, the best part (from a shipping point of view) is Maguro invading Tako's mindspace.  And I kind of felt bad for the general by the end, but fraud is not the way to go, Fred.


Wharf City on the Half Shell - "Where is your flow of chi?"  "You don't wanna know."
In this ep, we learn that those calls of "Sushi Pack" and accompanying poses that end each episode are actually the result of lots of practice.  One such practice is interrupted by Maguro, who was distracted by Kani's tools lying around on the floor, inches from the toolbox.  She takes it on herself to clean it up, which aggravates Kani, who would rather her tools be left where they are.  Neither one is willing to budge on the issue, and their fighting is loud enough to attract Ben.  He suggests they try negotiating, but as usual, doesn't explain how they can do this.  He does, however, illustrate the concept by taking a bite out of two donuts to make them fit together; giving a little to get a little.  "Was that a lesson, or was it lunch, Ben?" Tako asks, pointedly.
Ikura got bored during all that, so he's the first of the Pack to discover an unexpected total eclipse of the sun.  Sophia Tucker reports that it's way too soon for an eclipse, and goes to a scientist who explains that the object blocking the sun is not a moon, but something else. No need to worry though, the scientist says.  Until he gets new data indicating that the object is heading straight for Wharf City!  I see.
When Wharf City is in danger, the Sushi Pack will find an answer!  They take off in the Sushicraft to get a better look at the object, and find that it is a giant space clam.  The clam lands and begins devouring everything in Wharf City Harbor.  The Pack devises a plan involving horseradish, lemon juice, and oyster crackers, but first, Kani needs to build the necessary equipment.  Maguro tries to help, but Kani rebuffs her.  Once everything is ready, the Pack takes off once again and heads for the harbor, where the clam is still eating everything in sight, despite the army firing at it.  As the Pack arrives, so do three trucks full of their supplies.  Seeing the clam, the truck drivers get out of there, and the Pack gets down to work.  The Mayor and Officer Flume show up briefly, on the way home from their golf game, but like the truck drivers, they do not hang around long.
With everything finally ready, the Pack puts their plan into motion.  First, flinging horseradish at the clam, although it seems to like the taste.  Second, cocktail sauce and then oyster crackers, which it also likes.  Finally, they spray it with lemon juice, which makes the clam start making noises.  Kani, hearing this, realizes she can communicate with it, since crabs are bottom-crawlers and clams are bottom-stickers, apparently.  Turns out the space clam was on its way to eat somewhere else, but saw Earth and decided to try it.  Maguro presses Kani to negotiate with the clam, but Kani is not optimistic that a clam that could easily step on her is going to give in on anything.  Fortunately for her, it agrees to stop eating Earth if they agree not to squirt him with lemon juice.  And so the clam takes off once again.
After seeing negotiation in action, Kani and Maguro are able to come to an agreement re: Kani's tools.  Kani can arrange her tools however she likes as long as they're in her toolbox, and Maguro can keep the rest of their headquarters in feng shui balance as long as she doesn't mess with Kani's tools.  The two hug, and then the Pack puts their practicing to good use to close the episode.
Can't help but feel that Kani got the worse end of the deal here, and the kicker is that she came up with it herself.  And what's up with a giant space clam anyway?  This is just a weird ep through and through.



Max Jordan said...

Technically, that's welding torch. Flamethrowers are bigger and used as weapons. Which isn't really Kani's style.

The Zany Bishojo Evalana said...

Ah, I see. Thanks for the heads up.