Episode 4! Our first anime original story!
04: Ghost on the Highway
Written by Inamoto Tatsuro
Laissez les bon temps roulez! The brothers are arrested in New Orleans on charges related to car accidents caused by a mysterious Impala. With help from the police chief’s brother, they solve the mystery of a bank robber who died in his getaway car.
I… I have so many questions.
This is the first anime-exclusive story of the series, so I was pretty excited and hopeful for it to not suck.
And… I think it sucks? I’m pretty sure this sucked?
The premise of the episode is just bizarre. So, cops were after some guy in a black Chevy Impala (presumably 1967? Or at least late ’60s?) When they found a guy in that car, they chased him and he ended up accidentally driving off a cliff. But it was the wrong guy. Now the ghost of the guy and his car are causing crashes and killing the townspeople.
Cue our heroes, driving into town in Baby, and the cops immediately pull them over, suspecting they’re the ones causing all the accidents.
My first issue here is that, if this Impala is crashing into other cars and such, why would Dean and Sam even be suspects when their Impala is in such pristine condition? Our first glimpse at the ghost Impala shows that it’s in terrible condition. There’s no way the ghost Impala and Baby are the same car. I mean… Has enough time passed since the most recent incident for all damage to the car to be fixed? Or do the cops think Dean has a parking lot full of black late 1960s model Chevrolet Impalas at his disposal to cause all this destruction and have a different car each time? Essentially, they were arrested and thrown in jail with absolutely no evidence against them other than the fact that they happen to be driving through town with a similar car as the suspect.
And then there’s Michael. I don’t even know where to begin. This character is a walking stereotype, which is so so disappointing. But he does managed to bust the Winchesters out of jail.
How does he get the boys out of jail, you ask? Michael steals the keys from this cop’s front pocket while the cop is looking down at Michael’s hands and HOW DID THIS… WHAT?! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! HOW WAS THIS USELESS COP NOT FIRED YEARS AGO?! HOW DID HE GET A JOB IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?!?!
Dean has a mini blowtorch in their cell. Where was he hiding that?!
Michael tells Dean and Sam that he didn’t want to be a cop, but it was a family thing. So he asked his brother if he could be a female cop, but apparently that would get him beaten up. (I love how Dean can’t even pretend to give a shit about Michael’s life story.) Before Dean and Sam drive off, Michael says to them, “I just find the two of you incredibly yummy. And you’re both totally my type, too.”
Does awkward and stereotyped LGBT representation still count as LGBT representation? *sigh*
I agree, though. Sam and Dean are VERY yummy!
In order to sneak back into town without getting arrested again, Sam has the brilliant idea to temporarily paint the Impala white (with water-based paint). Dean, my heart breaks with you.
How did they do this? Where did they go to do this? What sort of place offers temporary paint jobs for cars? Is… is there a market for that?
And how much time has passed? This is an issue I have with the TV series proper, not just the anime. How much time passes between hunts? I have some idea how long it takes to get from one place to another in this country, since I’ve made the cross-country road trip myself, but seriously, give me a time frame! How long does each hunt take?
How long was it between when they drove away from Michael’s awkward flirtations and when they rolled into town in their newly white Impala?
Regardless, the ruse doesn’t work anyway and Rod, Michael’s brother, chases them out of town. This time, they’re in Michael’s patrol car, on their way to where the original Impala drove off the cliff. Rod catches up with them and there’s an argument between the two cop brothers over what to do with the Winchesters. And then ghost Impala attacks. Michael acts as a decoy and lures the ghost away, driving into a tree himself and dying.
(Oh, and somewhere in all that, this exchange took place:
SAM: Dean, get over it. It’s a car.
DEAN: It’s more than that. It’s the closest thing I have to a girlfriend.
Heh. After this exchange in the Japanese version, Sam calls Dean an otaku. (オタク (otaku) is a geek/nerd who is obsessed with whatever they’re nerding out over. Obsession possibly to the point of interfering with one’s life, though. Otaku is kind of a derogatory term.)
As this point, Rod finally seems to see the error of his ways and leads Sam and Dean, in a newly black Baby (so what, just a trip to the car wash to get all that white paint off?!), to the site of the original crash.
They salt and burn the crashed car and driver. But… Why was this never cleaned up?! Why is this car and with a dead man in the driver’s seat still sitting there untouched after two years?! Was nobody looking for this guy? Family? Friends? Wouldn’t somebody miss him? I realize the cops wanted to bury the case to cover their shame, but did nobody else get involved with the disappearance of this poor guy? Did nobody wander through the woods at the bottom of the cliff and find him?
Why did nobody fix the guard rail?! Why are there still skid marks on the road?! AFTER TWO YEARS?!?!
Ghost Impala attacks! AS IT SHOULD because there is so much fail going on here that something needs to be done. I’d be a pissed off ghost, too, Random Victim! Oh, yeah, apparently the salt and burn didn’t work because the skid marks were still there and that’s what was holding the ghost back. O…kay? I’d be absolutely willing to go with that if the skid marks weren’t TWO YEARS OLD!
ANYWAY. A chase breaks out, just as Jensen promised, and every time Baby gets hit, my soul dies a little. This happens in the TV series, too. I genuinely care about this car, even when it’s just drawings on a screen.
Just as the boys are speeding toward their doom, the ghost of Michael and his patrol car T-bar the ghost Impala and together they burst into a brilliant white light. The day is saved!
Dean finally salts and burns the skid marks (what?) while Rod apologizes to the ghost of Michael for being a gigantic moron. The end.
This whole episode was a mess.
According to the description in the little booklet that came with the bluray, this episode takes place in New Orleans. The episode itself implies is a town near New Orleans. Yeah, that landscape looks nothing like what I remember of the New Orleans area.
Well, since I’ve ranted for miles about this episode already, I don’t have much to say about the Japanese version.
I need to step away from this episode before I find something else about it that irritates me or makes no sense.
Here’s a random picture of the ghost Impala before it died!
Onward to the next episode!