Part 2 of my little Infiltrate the Supernatural Fandom project!
Oh! I should probably put a warning… most of these review posts will contain spoilers for both the anime episode and, if applicable, the original TV series episode!
(Remake of season 2 episode 16 “Roadkill”)
Written by Takayama Naoya
Original written by Raelle Tucker
A fiery car crash, a violent ghost, a lover’s revenge. Sam and Dean take up ghost-hunting as they probe the mystery of Molly, who survived the fiery car crash that took her husband’s life only to be attacked by a violent ghost.
The intro to this episode has just Jared Padalecki letting us know that this is based off of one of his favorite season two episodes, but that this version has a surprise twist at the end. If my memory serves, the end of the original TV episode had a pretty big twist, and, having just finished this version, I can’t say I see much of a difference. Maybe I have to rewatch the season two episode…
Anyway, the lack of Jensen Ackles continues to be disappointing. Andrew Farrar is doing a fine job, really, but he’s just not Dean Winchester.
The voice acting from the rest of cast, excluding our two heroes is mediocre at best. Molly’s voice is horrendous. This is why I don’t normally watch the English dubs of anime. The voices tend to sound extremely unrealistic and awkward and the acting tends to be terrible. Molly is a perfect example of this.
There are a couple awkward line readings from Sam and Dean as well and I think it’s due to the fact that the actors are trying to match the lip flap of the animation, which makes the dialogue come out a bit stilted.
I said that the first episode in this series was well paced, but after watching this one, I’m starting to doubt myself on that claim. Maybe it’s because I remember this episode from the TV series better than the first, but this was just so rushed. Getting rid of Greeley’s ghost seemed too easy and that took away most of the scary aspects of the haunting.
And then Greeley’s wife’s ghost attacks Molly, dragging her off a cliff and into a river. Dean goes back to the house to salt and burn the wife’s body while Sam jumps into the river to save Molly.
But… Sam and Dean are already well aware that Molly is also a ghost. Why would Sam risk drowning or getting hypothermia in a freezing river just to save a ghost? Like, Molly can’t die again. Is this the surprise twist that Padalecki was talking about? That Sam makes a stupid decision that he didn’t make in the TV series?
It’s an unnecessary bit of plot that took up valuable screen time. They already had to cut out so much of what made the original story frightening and tragic. Why cut out more for this?
In the original Sam spends a lot of time explaining to Molly how and why ghosts exist. It’s subtle enough that the audience won’t figure out that she’s also a ghost, but it’s enough to kind of ease Molly into the idea of her own ghosthood when it’s revealed at the end. To the audience, while Sam is explaining all this, it seems like just exposition used to fill time, but then we realize it was all vital information for the characters. That’s what makes Molly’s reveal so good. Because we weren’t expecting it, but if we go back and actually think about it, we probably should’ve been expecting it because Sam spent all that time explaining it to us. That’s why the original episode works.
This version didn’t have that. Instead we get this nonsense with Greeley’s wife, who was not even that important in the original story. Why not cut out the wife altogether and leave in more of Greeley’s torment of Molly and more of Sam’s exposition?
And then Molly hugs Sam? What? I mean, I would, too, in
any her situation. But it’s just a change that was made from the original that doesn’t make much sense. It didn’t feel like she bonded with Sam any more here than in the TV episode to warrant the physical and rather intimate contact.
So, yeah. I didn’t like this episode.
But to keep this post from being completely negative, I really did like the stopped time at the end. While revealing Molly’s tragic story to her, Sam tells her that it’s like time has stopped for her. As he says this, the snow and the world around them stops. It’s a beautiful and chilling scene and a perfect example of why animation is so great. Supernatural the TV series would never be able to recreate a scene like this without it looking terrible. That’s why I think this anime has such potential. They can do so much with it that just isn’t possible with a live-action show.
And the backgrounds and Sam and the Impala are still beautiful and perfect. Dean? Meh.
It’s frustrating to know that they can make this so great and yet there are episodes like this one. Such a waste.
I’m sure my judgement of this is extra harsh because I have the original episode to compare with. Maybe the anime-only stories in this series will be better for me. I still wonder what it would be like to watch this with no knowledge of Supernatural…
Dean’s voice didn’t bother me nearly as much as it did in the first episode. It’s still too deep and it still doesn’t fit at all. I still don’t like it, but I was less distracted by it. He seems more like Dean here. He even calls Sam a bitch toward the end of the episode. (In English, so, “ビッチ” (bicchi, pronounced kinda like beachy but with less of a long ee sound).) Actually, in the English version, Dean says “son of a” and then cuts off before he’s gets to “bitch,” which isn’t all that unusual, I guess, but it seems a little odd that the word would be used in the Japanese version but not the English. I’ll reserve judgment about this until I see more episodes, though.
Molly’s voice, which made me cringe in the English version, was completely fine in the Japanese.
The dialogue seemed much more natural this time around, like the Japanese writers are slowly figuring out how these characters actually talk. I have hope for you yet, Japanese version. Just de-age Dean’s voice about thirty years and we’ll be good!
Man, this review was harsh. Still, I don’t dislike the anime yet. I still see so much potential in it! I’ll just assume this episode was practice for everyone involved.
Two brief things before I end this.
Why do they have a guitar?
… LOL, Dean.