English Dub Review: Release the Spyce “Phantom Protocol”

Actually, Frankenstein was the horrible anime abomination, not the doctor.

Overview

The Tsukikage follow through with their plan to investigate one of the Kyuten Science facilities to find their attachment to Moryo. After finding nothing, Hanzo is surprised her hunch about Kyuten was wrong. Meanwhile, she notices Momo is forgoing a lot of her social life for the sake of being part of Tsukikage.

The standard Mysterious Faceless Main Villain then reveals the Moryo HQ is in a secret chamber at Kyuten Science. However, to take precautions and divert Tsukikage’s attention away from Kyuten, she teams up with a standard Italian Mafia King Stereotype named Emo Piccino (yeah, seriously.) She takes him and his crime ring under Moryo’s umbrella, bribing them with a ton of control over the city.

The Tsukikage find a drug dealer that may be linked to Moryo’s previous engagements, so Hanzo and Momo track and tranq him. Suddenly, the cryptic, genetically-altered horror soldier from Moryo attacks — finally revealing itself to the audience. Its hulking resistance to attacks makes it hard to defeat, but Hanzo takes care of it. Momo tries to focus even harder on training, which causes her to nearly burn out. After some friends convince her to actually celebrate her birthday, she agrees and comes back to Tsukikage feeling 100%.

When the Tsukikage uses the drug dealer’s info to find Emo Piccino’s base of operations, they infiltrate and knock out every mobster in sight — and then eat their food to celebrate Momo’s birthday! But after the mission ends and Momo heads home, the Moryo monster returns with a vengeance. Hanzo and Katrina — the shopkeeper who definitely isn’t the Moryo spy — take it out.

When Momo awakens, Hanzo’s impeccable hunch guesses that the mafia ring was just a distraction for Tsukikage, and that the Kyuten Science building is attached to Moryo.

After the credits, the spy was revealed to have apparently disclosed Tsubone’s identity to Moryo.

Our Take

There’s no dancing around it: the big, scary, top-secret weapon Moryo had in store was no more threatening than a Party City Halloween mask — and just as cheesy. Granted, there’s not a ton of ways to make a generic hodgepodge of flesh sound inviting to listen to, but the voice acting was pretty bad on this mistake of nature. It truly sounded like they’d gotten just anyone to go up to the microphone and do their best monster impression. Heightened by lines that didn’t get any more original than, “The scent…the SCENT,” the monster’s long pauses during moments where it should have been mercilessly attacking made it less threatening and more embarrassing to watch.

The post-credits scene picked up some slack on where the episode lacked, now presenting an immediate threat to the main cast with Tsubone’s identity being compromised. But who on earth could the spy be? It would have to be someone they don’t dedicate a lot of screen time to…someone who is part of the Tsukikage, but not beloved enough to cause any riots with all three fans of the show. Someone who’s there, but more in the background. Someone nice, because there haven’t been any mainstream movies within the past decade that ever had such a groundbreaking plot twist.

Anyway, it sure was nice of Katrina to tell Momo to “get home safe” the night she was attacked!

The other main nonsensical thing in the show (in a series that bases itself on nonsense) was Hanzo’s perfectly on-target guess as to what Moryo’s distraction tactic was. There’s some leeway to be had for this here — considering Hanzo’s extensive history as a spy — so perhaps it wasn’t entirely magical of her to theorize about Moryo. The show does do a decent job of bringing the Tsukikage’s spy knowledge into the light, peppering in small details like how a train car would be too small to sword-fight in, in this episode. Perhaps in a show based on pop science and fan service, it’s easy to be jaded to its good qualities and privy to its bad ones over time. At the stage of being halfway through the season, now, this reviewing viewer is admittedly starting to taste a lot less spice and a lot more salt.

Score
5/10

Kayla Gleeson

Kayla Gleeson is an entertainment writer and media player, with work involved in shows such as Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" and Chicken Soup for the Soul's "Hidden Heroes." In addition to her work on BubbleBlabber, she also has dozens upon dozens of published articles for RockYou Media. Aside from immersing her life in cartoons, she loves to write and read poetry, be outdoors, go to conventions, and indulge in Alan Resnick stylings of comedy.

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