Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pilot Program Subject One: Poochie (1984)

The Pilot Program is a look at various merchandise-centric cartoons that were released as specials in the 80s & 90s; while they were clearly set up to go to series, they never did.  Every entry will look at a new show, who made it, what it was selling, and whether it would’ve made a good series.

POOCHIE (1984)

SUMMARY: Poochie is a pink doggie who is owned by the mysterious EG, owner of World Now magazine who is so reclusive that no one’s sure if he’s a missing person.  While the staff thinks that the owner is so fond of her that he has named his super-popular advice column after her, it becomes apparent that she actually is the one giving advice.  From the penthouse “central command” office, she receives & answers letters with help from her translator & assistant Hermes; while most seems like typical Dear Abby-type stuff, every so often Poochie gets an “urgent” letter.  This time, she gets a letter from a boy named Danny Evans who is staying in Cairo & whose father has vanished while exploring a new pyramid.  After rescuing Danny, they find themselves falling through a series of trap doors into an underground city built around the tomb of the lost pharaoh Nikniknatun.  His subjects, the Nikkites, decree that the intruders be sacrificed to protect the tomb from being defiled, but the high priestess Khum would prefer they use the Forgotten Flower to give them amnesia (especially after she realizes one of the intruders is a child).  After arranging a jailbreak, Poochie gets Hermes to help her stage a vision from the gods to convince the other subjects that Khum’s plan is the right one.  She has the Evanses use the Forgotten Flower, but even though they’ll forget all about the city, she sends Danny off with a pendant as a gift.  Poochie & Hermes return home, as she writes her advice column again & waits for another urgent request.

MISCELLANEOUS:  This is where I note various things I observed while watching, usually in bullet format.
  • One thing that bugged me was that Osiris is referred throughout the episode as a goddess.  Look, I know this was written before the age of Wikipedia, but libraries have encyclopedias, are usually free, & would’ve helped you avoid this error.
  • Poochie herself isn’t anthropomorphic; she runs on all fours, and unless Hermes is around to translate for her, she barks like a normal dog.  She’s also able to talk to other dogs, which is how they find the way to the pyramid.
  • Hermes is 100% a clone of C3PO of Star Wars fame.  His non-disguised design is literally C3PO with a more human face & two colors; his whiny, cowardly nature is not only cribbed from the character, but he is also voiced in a blatant impersonation of Anthony Daniels.  It’s just shameless.  Her other, lesser robot assistant, Zipcode, is kind of generic in design, but his habit of reading her letters out loud by eating them like corn on the cob is kind of funny.
  • I love how toyetic Poochie’s vehicles are, from the plane with her face on the tail to the dune buggy that turns into a little rocket thingie. 
  • Because the nature of this plot reminded me of Jonny Quest so much, my notes are full of moments wherein I hold Dr. Evans up against Dr. Quest and find him wanting.  From wearing jorts to letting his son use the Forgotten Flower before him, he’s not the best adventurer-parent.
PRODUCTION COMPANY:  This is one of the earliest creations of DiC Entertainment, a company best known for shows like Inspector Gadget, The Real Ghostbusters, Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, and the dueling Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons of the 90s, along with the original dub of the first two seasons of Sailor Moon.  Since they were founded by Andy Heyward & Jean Chapolin as an intentionally cross-continental company, they had more European and Japanese style influences than were typically seen in cartoons at the time. For a more thorough look at DiC’s productions before they were swallowed up by Cookie Jar Entertainment in 2008, please see this database.

VOICE ACTING SPOTLIGHT:  I’d be remiss in my status as “loser Jonny Quest fangirl” if I didn’t talk about John Stephenson.  Dude was the original voice of Dr. Quest, and while I’ve encountered him in different roles (usually in Hanna-Barbera series, as either Doggy Daddy or an authority figure such as Fred Flintstone’s boss), he never made much of an impression; but at the end of the day, he was the first voice of a personal favorite character in all of fiction & for that I salute him.  I could pick out his voice as the de facto leader of the Nikkites almost immediately.

THE MERCH:  The line of Poochie merchandise from Mattel covered a wide array of material, from clip-on earrings to paper dolls (where she was usually anthropomorphized) to plush toys.  But one of the things that seems to be unique to the line is the large number of stampers.  There were even DIY stationary kits with markers, stampers, & Poochie envelopes.  Even the toy sheets on sale have a tendency to be for stationary sets (as seen with this eBay auction) than for dolls.  The sheer dominance of stationary in marketing Poochie might explain why DiC decided to build her adventures around writing & sending letters.
After the initial draft/scheduling (as these are done in advance), I discovered an invaluable resource for these first four subjects - Ghost of the Doll.  Here is their Poochie write-up, including the more-odd-than-cute anthropomorphic lines, Baby Poochie & Poochie Pals.  No idea why, but they kind of bother me, especially the card art.  There's something wrong about it.

COMMENTS:  It seems I chose an interesting one to start this series with and not just because it was one I remembered renting on VHS as a kid.  I liked it and was surprised that there weren’t more Poochie tapes.  Looking as an adult, I can see why, but I can also see potential.

I mentioned Jonny Quest a lot while writing this, and that’s because this kind of story really felt like a reworked JQ script.  It obviously wasn’t, but the writer may have been inspired by the series.  It’s a nice throwback to the sort of globe-trotting adventure stories that have largely fallen out of favor, and it’s one wherein the players are all interesting & never dehumanized (an unfortunate tendency for the genre).

Poochie herself is a very likable character.  She’s shown to be kind-hearted, sensible, brave, and genuinely interested in helping others.  The “villains” of the episode, the Nikkites, are never portrayed as openly malicious; they really want to protect their pharaoh’s tomb from robbers and only refuse to use the Forgotten Flower because they’re afraid it’s lost its effectiveness.  Khum is sympathetic because of her efforts to navigate the gulf between her duties & her personal mores.  Even the Evanses, even if they’re a bit bland, come off as fundamentally decent people who are more interested in the educational potential of the lost city than in any wealth.  But then we get to Hermes.

Plagiarism aside, Hermes is the weakest link of the show.  I probably liked him as a kid, but now that I’m at parent age, I found him super, super annoying.  He is basically C3PO without the clenched teeth bravery and with the comic relief elements ramped up to eleven.  Within the first ten minutes, his running gag of saying “I’m not programmed to [insert action here]” is established and exhausted.  Most of the problems in the show come straight from his “wacky” bumbling, and he does only one genuinely cool thing (a flying leap into a runaway wagon) before he immediately goes into whining mode again.  If you’re over the age of nine, he wears out his welcome really fast, and that’s before you get to the sheer unoriginality of the character.  I know DiC was just starting out, but C’MON!

The animation in the “special” itself is solid – the stuff that needs to be exaggerated is, and the character designs have a bit of an anime-esque element to them that is very appealing.  However, the background music is awful – most of it is a tinny keyboard loop of the theme song that doesn’t always fit the scenes where it’s being used.  There are no less than two “wacky” chase scenes, and the last 90 seconds before the credits is all reused footage with narration about further adventures pending, which they weren’t.

It’s not a bad special by any means, even with its flaws, and if you want a solid old-school adventure with a side of cuteness, it’s a good choice.

WOULD IT WORK AS A SERIES:  Honestly, with only one glaring flaw, this could work.  “Poochie answers pleas for help & advice” is a surprisingly open-ended concept, with her using her wits and kindness to help with everything from the globe-trotting adventure we saw here to more of a life-lesson type of tale.  And if you needed an ongoing hook that wouldn’t bind the show continuity-wise but could still bring in viewers, the mystery of where Poochie’s owner EG went & why are pretty solid.  However, DiC would’ve seriously needed to rework Hermes; annoyance levels aside, he was so unoriginal and his inspiration was so obvious that LucasArts would have sued them senseless.  So really, all they would have had to do to take it to series was rework the sidekick, who was already the weakest link.

Next time, Rose Petal Place.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Magical Girl Obsession: The Princesses Are Here!

Yes, the leaks for the new Precure season, Go! Princess Precure, have been revealed via a candy company, quickly followed by an official debut on the next Precure All-Stars poster.  Here, see for yourselves.

Now, this is another Shibata season, so I'm not super optimistic.  But I just wanna put this out here, since it's apparently a minority opinion - I love these designs.  About the only thing I don't like is the mascot, who looks like 80s Poochie got lost trying to infiltrate the next season of Jewelpet (even then, I'm happy to see a mascot that's specifically a dog).  Here's a quick bullet point of the stuff that I like:

  • The Pink Cure (no official name yet) looks younger & less mature than her teammates, which sounds like a potential plot point.
  • In a nice break from a minor tradition, only one Cure has an eye color that matches her theme color.  This started with Yes! & sort of became an unofficial rule, but a break from this feels like a nice change of pace.
  • The girls' hair continues the proud Precure tradition of being kind of bonkers (see the hair-flower the Pink Cure is sporting) but still looks pretty stylish.  I especially like the hair streaks that each girl has framing her face, but I'm a sucker for two-toned hair.
  • The designs themselves have an old-school-shoujo vibe to them I really like.  Pink Cure in particular reminds me of Honoka from the very first Precure season.
  • I like the fact that the girls' dresses all look unique.  Granted, we haven't gotten much of a look at the lower portions of their outfits, but I like the differences in the uniforms.  Again, it reminds me of the first season, where Nagisa & Honoka had their own looks but still complimented each other.
Basically, all the stuff I like is the stuff the people on Tumblr & PCLJ hate the most.  All I've heard is "The dresses don't match!" or "The hair's too big!" or "The designs are too fussy!"  But these same people hated the vested-uniform look of Happiness Charge when it first showed up, and now they're holding that up as a pillar of good design in direct comparison to these.  Both are solid designs (except Cure Tender's secretarial skirt, but that's minor), and I look forward to seeing more about these characters once Toei officially announces them.

Now if only our inevitable fourth member will turn out to be green Cure instead of the usual purple...

EDIT: Of course after I write this Toei does the official announcement.  So now we have official names & official pictures:

So we have Cures Flora (pink), Mermaid (blue), & Twinkle (yellow) and their mascots Puff (Jewelpet Poochie) & Aroma (the bird).  I still love their dresses - in fact, I adore how they apparently switch between magical girl style & ballgown style.  And apparently, this season isn't totally set on Earth.  Hmmm... This might be as interesting as HaChaPre decided to become once Dark Cure Tender showed up.  I can't let this optimism run unchecked, though.

Friday, December 5, 2014

An Update

Shockingly, this blog isn't dead. I have had an exceptionally hectic private life right now, so I spend time off catching up on necessary things instead of doing fun stuff like blogging.

I have a special thing planned for next year called "Pilot Program", a look at the unsold pilots for merchandising toons that aired in the 80s & 90s as "specials" but never went to a full series (although the subject planned for the finale is sort of a special case).  But that won't be ready until after the holidays.

I don't anything I feel is worthy of doing a year-end wrap-up to discuss.  The same things that annoy & disappoint continue to multiply, and the handful of happy things can probably be predicted if you've read enough of my ramblings.  Smarter folks out there have sung the praises of Ms. Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy (and its amazing stinger guest star), so it's better to just read them.

In magical girl news, the new Precure season hasn't been legitimately leaked or officially previewed, and Happiness Charge continues to be a handful of great ideas emersed in a rancid gelatin mold of incompetence, so there's nothing really worth addressing there, either.  In fact, the only Precure thing I can discuss right now is that the new manga adaptation of every season looks good & I hope someone localizes it.  Sailor Moon Crystal is... good, not the best thing ever but also not the ruiner of childhoods so many say it is.  It just kinda feels... there.  I am looking forward to the new Madoka spinoffs being localized, even if Suzune Magica isn't among them at this time.  And in not-really-magical-girl stuff, I am now addicted to the feel-good world of Aikatsu! and I hope Daisuki localizes more episodes.

Western animation is still as frustrating as ever.  The usual reasons, of course - I don't feel like repeating them.  I am hoping that someone does an English version of Lolirock, as the French subs have  shown it to be Marathon's most solid show yet, and I'm excited to see Star Vs. The Forces of Evil next year, since it looks like a mix of the current style of comedies with magical girls.

Lastly, I'm hoping to resume the Omnicommentaries after the Pilot Program is finished. They aren't exactly well-read, but dammit, I'm gonna do 'em.  Alas, X-Men 2099 will be on hold until the line's mass creator walk-off can be confirmed or denied in a solid, non-hearsay way.

This... wasn't my most productive year, again for private life reasons.  Hopefully that will change in the future.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ink and Paint: Flowers for Saturdays

As of today, the major over-the-air networks have stopped broadcasting Saturday morning cartoons.  A few of the digital sub-channels have shows (my father now knows who Jerry Beck is thanks to something on, I believe, MeTV featuring him talking about Columbia/UPA shorts), but as for the main five non-PBS stations, Saturday morning cartoons are no longer a thing that will exist.

A lot of my early tastes & influences can be traced directly back to Saturday morning.  My love of superheroes?  Earliest was watching the DePatie-Freleng Fantastic Four with my father (yes, the infamous series with H.E.R.B.I.E.), but most formative was watching X-Men & Batman TAS on Fox Kids as a preteen.  Love of supernatural stuff?  Direct line to Real Ghostbusters.  Introduction to the Muppets?  Actually started with Muppet Babies.  Saturday morning cartoons really were tastemakers, at least for me, and they showed that a variety of genres & eras of animation could exist together and keep kids enthralled.

On one hand, I envy the access kids have today to cartoons.  Saturdays were it, except for maybe some UHF stations that had after-school blocks in the late 80s like The Disney Afternoon; even if you had cable, the best you could do without a premium channel was the block of Hanna-Barbera stuff that aired on Sundays (yes, kids, Disney Channel used to be a premium channel a la HBO - preview weekends were freaking holidays in my household).  You have networks with shows on the lion's share of the time and streaming services & apps devoted to making sure you can watch your favorite cartoon* when you feel like it instead of waiting for one designated day.  On the other hand, it feels like animation is pretty much limited to "comedy series from the past decade", and I would not want to live in a world where there's no Looney Tunes, Dynomutt, Jem, or Batman.

Access isn't what I feel ended Saturday morning cartoons - I tend to blame both the CTA that legally required networks to air "E/I" content & the major networks' obsession with having at least 7 hours every day of their schedule occupied by bad local news mixed with 5 hours of bad morning chat shows.  Between a law no one in TV production really wanted to enforce and the discovery that you could pass off questionable "consumer reports" from your local talking heads as "E/I" content, it was no wonder that a traditionally low-rated block would be the first shuttered.  That's a thing people don't realize - Saturday morning cartoons were a weird sort of favor that was done for families, and once it was no longer needed, there was no real financial reason to continue.

RIP Saturday morning cartoons.  Thanks for warping my generation, along with a few others, by giving us something fun to watch.  Thanks to Bill & Joe, Hal & Lou, Ken & Joe, Dave & Friz, Mr. Henson, the folks at Sunbow, Mr. Heyward, the folks at Disney, the folks at Warner/MGM/Paramount vaults, Mr. Saban, and Ms. Loesch & your Fox Kids partners.  You all made it worthwhile to get up early on a weekend.

*Provided it's not action-adventure or targeted to a female audience.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

MGO: Let the Precure specula begin!

Because it's a genre I like & talk about a LOT, I've decided to create yet another sub-category.  Welcome to the inaugural Magical Girl Obsession (MGO) entry, not the first of its topic but the first to bear the name.

Since October is traditionally when news about the next Precure series starts to be found (usually by people combing patent info), I've heard some folks start speculating what they'd like to see in the next season of Precure.  I usually reserve full judgement until I at least hear a title & see one bit of imagery (increasingly, it's from merchandise listings rather than releases), but given the past couple of seasons, I am making a short wish list of things I want from the next season of Precure.

A New Showrunner:  This one should be obvious.  Ever since Hiroaki Shibata took over starting with Doki Doki, the series has been known more for its wasted potential & gross missteps than actual decent plots/characters.  HaChaPre should straight-up be retitled Wasted Potential Precure, since it seems to take great ideas (the international Cures, Cure Honey's fight-song method, the form changes) and ignore them in favor of bad ones.  We've got everyone having a love interest or being part of a love plotline, and no one learned from Yes! that the series just cannot do romance.  We've got the wasted potential - or at least tone-deaf portrayal - of the international Cures, who apparently come from a world where everyone is pale.  We have Queen Mirage's plotline, which is a skeevy "woman scorned" cliche.  Even the stuff that's improved - like Cure Fortune settling into "kind of annoying" after being actively unlikable for so long - hasn't improved by much.  The player that had the most unique approach, Cure Honey, is a one-note character obsessed with food who rarely uses her cool singing tactic, let alone awesome giant clover from space attack.  Also, between that episode about Yuko & Phantom and the Doki Doki movie, it's pretty clear that this guy fetishizes dead dogs the same way Batiuk fetishizes cancer; it's seriously disturbing.  And that's not even getting into Doki Doki, whose reputation as The Mana Show at the expense of way more compelling characters speaks for itself.  If Precure is going to be not frustrating, Toei needs to get someone else in charge of it.  Alas, since like American execs their main concern is the sale of plastic crap, it probably won't happen unless the toys are as uninspired as the seasons.

A Popular Theme Used:  Nearly every fan (guilty as charge here) has used a theme built around jewels, desserts, and/or seasons for fan Cures.  These seem like obvious choices for a magical girl theme, but they haven't really been used by Precure officially yet.  It'd be cool to see them use these themes, since they're (a) full of built-in potential and (b) already popular.

Singing Cures:  Maybe it's because I'm bummed Cure Honey hasn't used singing as her primary fighting method or maybe it's because I've gotten hooked on shows like Aikatsu & AKB0048, but having Cures who are singers & have to balance their careers with their superheroics or integrate music/dance into their attacks properly would be pretty fun.  And there's your tie-in, Toei - singing Cures equal music sales.

Underused Colors:  If nothing else, I'd appreciate it if we had another green Cure.  We've had two.  Both have had the worst hair of their seasons, too.  I'd love it if they used an under-represented color like green or orange or aqua/teal for a change and not as an accent color like Rosetta had.

Precure is the Super Sentai of magical girl shows; if you love the genre, you have to at least respect it and want it to keep going.  I'd like it to do so better (see the first item on my wish list), and seeing it just be good TV is really what most viewers want, even if they don't say it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Not-So-Brief Update

Huh.  It's been since June that I've had time to update this?  Yikes.  How do Gentlemen of Leisure do it?

My life has been its usual mix of mundane craziness that leaves little free time, so now I'm going to make some time for a brief to-do list.

I am still continuing my Legionnaires Omnicommentaries.  I wish I had a scanner I could trust to show you why the next few issues are going to be a slog, but they are (I'll do my best the next time I get actual non-pseudo-emergency time to myself, which is rarer than any commodity).  I plan to do Legionnaires through the Zero Issues (a.k.a. the start of the Archie Legion), along with a few annuals.  Then it's on to something that's at least fun-bad - Howard Mackie's Mutant X!  So many missed opportunities, so much bizarre dialogue... Unlike the waning days of Legionnaires, this one might actually be fun.

I've been trying to get some original stuff written, but my brain keeps going back to something I had hoped to accomplish by now.  Back in high school, I read Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic, which was last revised around the time The Great Mouse Detective had been released.  In the original edition (which was available at my library), he had expressed a desire that this book about theatrical animation would be the first in a series that would also cover TV, independent, & foreign animation; however, by the time the revised edition was released, Mr. Maltin had decided that these other volumes would not be written and expressed hope that someone else would one day write these volumes in his stead.  In my high school naivete, I declared "Challenge Accepted!", having been raised on TV animation & been disgusted with my first animation history book's utterly dismissive attitude towards it, and made writing the definitive history of TV animation a life's goal.

It's a life's goal that I really should've completed by now.

The thing that people don't realize when you talk about "TV animation" is that the simple term covers a vast range of topics.  It would, no doubt, have to be a multi-volume series that would either have to be divided by subject (animated ads, prime time shows, syndicated shows, cable shows, and/or SatAm shows) or maybe by studios (bigger ones like Hanna-Barbera would need more than one volume).  Or even divided by decade, so that wider trends of those eras could be traced.  And me being me, I'd want to do a bit about puppetry & "costume" shows, since they've always felt like a cousin to animation in my mind.  It's a daunting task, and that doesn't even get into the topic of stuff being readily available even with the brass ring of rightsholder cooperation.  So now that I'm old enough to complete it, I'm old enough to realize how damn near impossible it might have been.

Besides, how could my hobbyist self try to compete with real animation historians?  Let's face it, I'm no Jerry Beck.  It probably would wind up being a series with an "editorial history" bend, but I would definitely not be as dismissive towards works/studios I don't care for as much as the book Serious Business was towards, oh, the entire careers of Bill Hanna & Joe Barbera!  That's just disrespectful & unprofessional.  I might not be a Seth McFarlane fan, but I'd still make an effort to see what in his work connects with others instead of one paragraph of insults & then done.

So yeah, I'm realizing that my life dream was really a pipe dream.  But still, I'll try to keep to my review schedule in lieu of this ridiculous nerd endeavor.

UPDATE: Attention reading-comprehension-deficient deleted comment poster - I am not a Baby Boomer.  I am not a fan of Baby Boomers.  Being a fan of media that existed prior to my birth is not an indicator of my age.  Save the rants for Facebook, child.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ink and Paint: In Which I Get Angry at Magical Girls

The last couple of seasons of Precure have been... rough.  Doki Doki was a carnival of wasted ideas that were thrown out throughout the series (Cure Sword's world having a standing army of Precures to defend it, the existence of Cure Empress & her unnamed teammates spring most readily to mind), and it chose to focus on a main character in Mana who was dully infallible.  And while Happiness Charge started strong & has addressed many of the character problems with The Mana Show (along with giving fandom a gift on a silver platter as far as creating new fan Cures), one character & said character's impending story arc has more than soured me on watching the rest.  But then I encountered this translated interview and one quote in particular:

...Speaking of which, Pretty Cure is separated into three periods by which producer is doing the show. 
First is the Washio era, starting from Futari wa to Yes! 5 GoGo.
Second is the Umezawa era, lasting Fresh to Smile (currently, the producer of Sailor Moon Crystal, if you are curious). 
Third is Hiroaki Shibata's era, which is also what we are currently in and began from Doki Doki onwards.
Okay, this explains quite a bit.  I would argue that Washio's signature is how grounded his three continuities feel; everything in there feels like an attempt to reflect the lives of the audience, aspirational or otherwise, while still telling a fantasy superhero story.  Umezawa seems to focus more on character showcases, either by highlighting growth or just letting the fully-formed characters react in dramatic situations; notice how two of his seasons, Fresh and Suite, have major redemption arcs, how the "minion" villains in all of these seasons turn out to be decent people by the end, and how much these series are remembered for their characters and drama as much as, if not more than, anything else.  Shibata's theme is simple - characters who put Mela's teeth on edge.

You think I'm kidding?  Until his run started, there was never a character I actively hated in any Precure season.  No matter how whiny Nagisa got, no matter how bratty Milk was, no matter how much Kanade was sidelined into being Hibiki's naggy girlfriend, I didn't hate them; sometimes they made me laugh, and sometimes I even related to Nagisa's "why me" annoyance or Kanade's eternal frustration.  But Doki Doki gave us Cure Ace, a joyless scold of a 10-year-old whom everyone just rolls over to obey & who straight up wants to murder her "dark" sister Regina until Mana talks her out of it.  And then there's Cure Fortune, a.k.a. Cure Bully, a.k.a. Cure Selfish Asshole, a.k.a. Cure Lack of Basic Empathy.  Horrible character.  She wages an out & out harassment campaign against a girl who is the last survivor of her people, both as a Cure and as a civilian, and actively tries to turn Hime's friends against her.  Why?  Y'see, the villains who are causing chaos & destroyed Hime's homeland/people were accidentally released by Hime in a Pandora's Box sort of situation; Cure Fortune's sister was another Cure who tried to fight them but got caught by the villains.  So in Cure Fortune's rat brain, her pseudo-dead sister trumps everything Hime has lost & any/all efforts at making amends that Hime is doing; it also justifies trying to drive her into alienation.  That they're setting her up to be a proper member of the team and have everyone just... forget her complete & utter lack of empathy/decency/heroism/redeeming character traits has made me rage quit a Precure season.

A bit of perspective.  I didn't quit Max Heart or either Yes! season because they were boring.  I didn't quit Smile when I started to lose patience in the stock attacks.  I didn't even quit Doki Doki when it was clear that the showrunners weren't going to do anything with their best ideas and continue to dwell on their worst instead.  But none of those have a character who is downright offensive.  Anyone who has ever been the subject of bullying & gossip campaigns or knew someone who was will recognize Cure Fortune's behavior and should be appalled that Shibata & Co. are basically giving it a pass.  I know Japan has some... wrong-headed ideas about bullying, but this is beyond the pale.  Hopefully this showrunner will move on relatively soon, because if he stays longer than either of his predecessors, I will not hanging around.  It's clear that the "character who sets teeth on edge" will simply increase in unpleasantness if this continues.

Life's too short to hate-watch, in my view.