Posted on 17 April 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation

For most of this episode, I was a bit disappointed. This series was being all mysterious, but it was obvious that the monster of this episode was a kappa. It was just another average story about a town getting attacked by what looked like a demon. Even the twist that the creature was good natured was predictable. At first sight, at least.

However, at that time I still expected this episode to end with some sort of action-packed climax as usual. And instead, this episode ended without conflict. Everyone just accepted the kappa story and moved on. That’s pretty neat. On top of that, stories about Kappas in regular anime are always told with the Japanese audience in mind: an audience who grew up with stories about Kappas. They’re always portrayed as these silly goofballs, and I never really got their appeal. Here though, Supernatural is aimed at both worlds, and because of this, this episode was actually able to give quite a detailed description on the nature of kappas. I like that.

Nevertheless, I still don’t agree with this series’ concept of luck. This episode had this again: without the Kappa’s inference, the town in which the main characters landed would have been a notorious ghost town, with so many accidents happening at the same time. It looks more like the Kappa causes disasters, only to save people from it. This also appeared in the unlucky coin episode. Interestingly, the few clips I’ve seen from the live-action TV-series (most notably this one, suffered from the same problem.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 27 March 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation

Now this is more like it! Episode 12 was definitely the best episode of the second batch of Supernatural episodes. It not only showed a completely different perspective from usual, it also gave a lot of new depth to the overall story and on top of that, it was a terrific standalone story as well.

It really was a great idea to have an entire episode focused around Sam and Dean’s father: this episode was entirely devoid of those two, safe for one photograph. Their father (John) also makes for an excellent central character: he knows when to remain in the shadows and when to be useful and do something. This allowed the story of this episode to really shine.

I really liked the story of Grey and Lilly Baker. It’s also what really established the demons as a real threat here. They’ve got a tragic father-daughter relationship, but this episode was really genuine. For once the acting did not get in the way, and was amongst the best this series has shown so far.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: Supernatural The Animation

Another Sam episode, but thankfully this one made up for the previous episode. It’s a much better premise that actually knows that it should take Sam’s character somewhere. This episode developed his part in the storyline along with his memories of his mother and girlfriend, instead of just repeating things we already knew, like in the previous episode.

The case in this episode was a bit extreme, but still a pretty good story about domestic abuse. The victim in this case was given telekinetic powers for some reason and things completely escalate from that point. Unlike the other episodes though, the ending of the episode didn’t provide any extra twist that made that kid’s story deeper than imagined. The suicide did not make the story of this episode better than it already was. Instead though, we got Sam and Dean in priest outfits and this strange blond woman who at the end turned out to be that strange eyed demon.

I do have to say though that this second batch of Supernatural episodes has been weaker than the first six episodes. Obviously the previous episode had a lot to do with that and all, but even then I have yet to see an episode here that comes close to the best episodes (02 and 06) of the first batch. There have been plenty of series that also had this syndrome, though. We’ve reached the halfway point right now and let’s see whether or not the creators can use the first half in order to make the second half into something amazing.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Supernatural The Animation

Dean has always been the best character of this series. It’s probably because this episode was entirely focused on Sam who got a crush on a woman he only barely met that this really caught my attention and all… but what the heck is up with the moon in this series?

It’s not even the “Nya-nya-nya”-song that got to me the most here. This is just one of those stories that… just doesn’t make any sense. First of all there’s that thing of a full moon multiple days in a row. I first thought that the creators were sneakily skipping around months at a time without telling us, until that last part of the episode. I mean, how else could that wound that Dean inflicted on her arm have healed so quickly?

A few of these things that don’t make any sense are of course fine, but in this episode they just kept piling up. This also was full of those strange coincidences: when you look outside the window you suddenly see her stalker. When you knock on her door you’re just in time to prevent her from killing herself.

Furthermore, a werewolf is a vicious creature. How did it manage to sneak past Sam in the first place? I mean, I know that Sam is troubled by his hormones and all, but he should have noticed a werewolf sneaking past him, going back to bed and changing back like nothing’s happened. Do werewolves usually do that? Bending around the rules of folklore is of course okay, but this shouldn’t be done with the purpose to fill up plotholes.

I also have no idea what Dean meant when he was trying to explain why the girl didn’t change into a werewolf when they were keeping an eye on her. His first explanation makes sense: block the moon from her and she’s not going to do anything (leaving aside that most people close their curtains when they go to sleep), but why did he suddenly bring up that puddle of water? What did that have to do with anything?

On a final note, Sam took his obsession over Jessica a tad too far in this episode. I know he’s sad and all, but it’s a good thing that this episode portrayed a crazy stalker, because otherwise I would have definitely made him out for one. He was just creepy here in his devotion.
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 24 March 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation

… and now, for something completely different.

Supernatural’s episodes so far have all pretty much followed the same format: something supernatural is going on, the two brothers run into it, they research, and at the end is a serious conclusion that gives more depth to the supernatural thing in question than what it seemed at first sight. Not any more, though. This episode opts for the silly route.

This episode was obviously out of place, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing: it’s good to break up the pace like this. As long as there aren’t too many episodes like this, it’ll work pretty nicely to bring in some variety in this series. In any case this episode did its job of fleshing out Sam and Dean.

The problem with this episode was that it may have picked a bit of a dead horse to fool around with. Bad luck charms, oh dear. When was the last time we saw one of these? They were already overused ten years ago. The worst part of this episode however was that it just didn’t make any sense whatsoever: before, this series tried to be realistic and believable, but some of the things it pulls here are just downright impossible. At times it tried to get away a bit too easily by blaming everything on a god… The worst part was probably how, near the end of the episode, they just “happened” to end up this narrow ledge, right above the casino’s safe, just as people were trying to break into it. Where did that come from?

Nevertheless, it’s another good example of how an original scenario can make up for a cliched premise: something may be overdone, but if you bring it in the right way it can still be fresh. Dean was really funny in this episode, but what really saved this episode was the ending. That really made up for a lot by just how completely out of left field it was, breaking quite a few tropes around the “sexy dealer” in the process.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 23 March 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation

The acting in Supernatural isn’t the best, so in each episode it’s going to have to balance this out with its storytelling. This episode was an example of how to do this right. The build-up made what could have been a cheesy story a very haunting one.

This IS really one of those examples of how cliches can be done right if the execution is good enough (resurrecting your dead wife is a staple in science fiction), but the way in which this episode started slowly, but subtly built up everything it needed, it really paid off in the end when it put each of the pieces of the puzzle in its place. It also helped that this episode wasn’t just waiting on one major twist, but instead had the climax consist out of many small twists that together made the whole picture. The way in which this was done was much more subtle than usual, even though the acting was the same as it had always been.

So far, this series understands what makes a good episodic series: strong individual episodes, plus using its cases to build up its setting and main plotline. It does the latter by slipping in a bunch reference to either their father, mother or Jessica in at least every episode.In any case it’s a good start.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 22 March 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation

There are a few flaws to Supernatural. The first is that recap that they always do at the start of each episode: it’s just pointless and fails to really create an atmosphere (by the way, for an example of this done well: Gankutsuou). The second is that the drama keeps nudging towards cheese at times. It’s never really cheesy, but it gets dangerously close at times.

This episode was a good example of that: it had moments that were really genuinely good: the woman who sold her soul to the devil made an excellent story with an especially tragic conclusion at the end. The creators made good use of her faith in Christianity. It all gave a nice twist to the “repenting to your sins”, though the acting tried a little too hard at times to be tragic, which wasn’t really helped by an angsty Sam (“Jessica! Jessica!”).

Also, you could see that this episode was rushed in the way that that woman conveniently lost her Rosary when she paid a visit to Bobby.

Overall though, I still give props up to this series; the good parts really outweighed the flaws here. For a show that has had to cut its episode length in half, it’s doing a pretty darn good job of still making each episode count by making each episode short and to the point. The way in which each episode turns out to be much deeper than you’d initially expect really works. Nevertheless, the stiff acting still remains a problem and the creators needs need to take advantage of their strong points and use those in the big picture.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 1 March 2011 with categories: Supernatural The Animation

Whoa. With the way that the previous episodes were building the back-story up here, I thought that this father of them left Sam and Dean to fend off for their own for more than ten years ago, in typical anime fashion. Of course, this isn’t an anime. This episode revealed that at least three years ago Dean was working together with his father, while Sam was still in college. Looking back, this explains why Dean seemed to be much more… passionate (if that’s the correct word) to any developments regarding their father: he always was the older brother who spent the most time with his father, while his younger brother was still much younger. This episode also hinted that Dean was always with his father, while Sam spend a few years away from him. A few episodes back, I remember how Sam said that Dean was their father’s favourite.

So, six episodes in, and this show is really good. It’s episodic, yet every episode has its purpose. In this case, every episode added new stuff to the main characters’ back-story. Six episodes in, and the pieces of the puzzle are starting to stick together. This episode also introduced the mysterious Jessica. She hasn’t died yet, but the previous episodes are really hinting towards the fact that the same thing that killed Sam and Dean’s mother killed her.

Also, throughout the past six episodes, I noticed that this show likes to use subtle humour once in a while. It’s often just one or two laughs every episode, like how in this episode Sam and Dean’s father delivers a few witty lines about why he didn’t tell Dean that Sam was dating Jessica, but they work surprisingly well. They don’t break the mood, but they nicely flesh out the different characters. In a series that is serious as this one, having a tiny bit of comedy once in a while gets an interesting effect.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Supernatural The Animation

This episode seemed to introduce what looks like one of the major villains of this series. A vampire hunter, who know both the lead characters and their father in the past. At the moment he’s still a tad too one-dimensional for a villain, but with enough work he can get interesting.

Meanwhile, I like how this episode again managed to relate its story back to Sam and Dean’s father, and how it used this chance to again tell a small part of their past, and who their father was to them. In this episode we learn that Dean has received quite some harsh training from his father, and how he once got to the point where he really hated him after he got scolded.

On the technical side, it is a bit unfortunate that the graphics budget dimmed in compared to the first two episodes. The animation wasn’t as solid, and the climax didn’t look as amazing compared to a few episodes ago, and especially the vampires looked a bit uninspired. Also, what’s the point of including a recap of the previous episodes… on episodes that get released on the same DVD Box set. I’ve hardly ever seen previous-episode-recaps like that done right, and this unfortunately wasn’t one of them. It’s not the worst I’ve encountered, though.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Supernatural The Animation

So, this is supposed to be the first of the original episodes for this series? Well, I’m impressed. It was a random story like all the previous episodes, but it did fit into them very nicely. There was a story about two brothers that nicely allowed us to relate this back to the lead characters, we learned something new about Dean (his car obsession) and the characters of this story were also quite good and inspired.

The story was quite interesting with the ghost of an innocent police victim, and the police officers’ attempts to cover it up, and how they’re still haunted by it after years. It’s quite straightforward, but worked out quite well.

The climax was the weakest one so far, mostly due to the CG cars that just didn’t look as good as the previous three episodes. Also, in terms of the continuity, I would have preferred to have seen Dean cleaning his car from the paint that Sam put on it, along with him getting angry over the damage that that climax caused.
Rating: * (Good)

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