SPNA – Rising Son & Crossroad

Wow, I had never gotten around to reviewing the last disc of the Supernatural anime.  Well it’s hellatus time so may as well!  Last time we left off with an adaptation of Season 2’s premiere episode, today let’s look at 2 more adaptions that are a bit unusual.

Rising Son

I am actually VERY shocked I never reviewed this because when I first watched the anime THIS was the episode that convinced me I would have to because this episode is so anime anyone watching it becomes at least 1/16th Japanese.

Ok, quick background.  This is NOT an adaptation of anything from the TV show BUT actually one of the Supernatural comic books (and yes I’ve reviewed it).  Of the comics that have been done, I would rank them as Origins and Caledonia as the best, but Rising Son is just… the most crazy insane read.

So of course the anime took the comic AND CRANKED IT UP TO 11!  Both of the following are 100% true, but in this episode we get to see:

  • SAM EXPLODING A WILD MOOSE WITH HIS MIND.
  • DEMONS CREATING A HUGE MECHA OUT OF JUNKYARD PARTS.

At some point you just have to throw up your hands and let the madness take you.

Since the story takes place when Dean is 11 and Sam 7, the anime frames the narrative by Dean mourning over his father’s death and reminiscing about a moment.  This particular time when John took him hunting for the first time, except it’s not a monster, but just a moose.

A moose with glowing read eyes – oh and it growls.  (Because I think Japan believes Canadians are hardcore.)  Of course father and son can’t hunt it like actual Americans but must hunt ANIME STYLE which means wandering the forest until they find the moose, wounding it, then running it down on foot (seriously, I don’t hunt, but I know it enough to laugh like crazy at this scene).  Dean trips is about to have revenge visited upon his tiny body when Sam straight up EXPLODES the beast.

Of course Supernatural fans will have a field day with the symbology given that “moose” became one of Sam’s nicknames (I think after this had all been written but I’ll have to see).

John gets shot at by a hunter (of course he survives, bullets just make John Winchester mad) and when John goes after the guy, the nice lady that had been visiting the house suddenly kidnaps Sam.  Except Dean tags along literally by hanging onto the back of the car while on a skateboard like Marty McFly.  They eventually reach a junkyard where demons (or possibly just 1) assemble the twisted bodies of cars into a GIANT, 2-STORY TALL MECHA MONSTER!  Meaning it’s just Sam & Dean vs the [demonic] Power Ranger until John shows up with Baby and proves the demons never stood a chance.

Then the episode ends on a surprisingly heartwarming note after a such insanity.

What else is there to say? How can you not want to watch this?

It also helps that with most of this episode in flashback, we hear kid versions of Sam & Dean voices so the English contrast isn’t as unnerving. (seriously guys, go back and re-release this with Jensen doing the voice work already)

Ok, quick comparison to the comic book.  Believe it or not, a few things were cut.

  • John and the Teacher get it on in the comic and he reveals that it’s the first time since Mary.  Which means that like Sam, the first thing John screws after his girl’s death is something he would normally kill.
  • In the comics John spent some time running down and killing other hunters that might threaten Sam.  I like the anime cutting this out as the way it was originally it seemed too cold even for papa Winchester, crossing a line that it’s hard to see him ever doing so.
  • The car/chain sequence in the junkyard is much shorter, which always disappointed me.
Crossroad

BOBBY’S BACK for this adaptation of an original show episode.  You know I have to admit I don’t mind Bobby not being voiced by Jim Beaver (though it would be fun to hear him do it); I guess because the anime version looks so different it’s easier to accept.

Which is pertinent because this is probably the episode where the English voice switch is hardest to stomach since Dean has to do some of his most powerful acting ever. (seriously, who do I have to throw money at to hear Jensen read these scenes?)

Most of this is because while the episode follows the outline of the original episode’s plot (albeit truncated), Dean himself goes through the major character arcs of episode 2.02 and 2.04 here.  All this ends up giving you an appreciation for those additional episodes and run times that gave the plot and characters room to breathe.

So while the original episode is a classic of the series, this version of it remains as strong as it can be thanks to the writing (and incredible visuals), but falters because of the format.  So I give it:

The incredible visuals push this above average whether the otherworldly deal scene or the terrifying attack by the hell hounds (but they remain invisible).

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