My Batman the Animated Series reviews continue with episodes 41-45! My reviews will use an A(Great), B(Good), C(Ok), and D(Bad) rating system as well as my thoughts on the episode.
41. Joker’s Wild: If you can get past the distractingly piss poor animation, we get a pretty fun Joker story. The Joker and Poison Ivy argue over the television until Joker hears about the Casino being built in his image by Kaiser and he decides to escape to destroy the place. Batman investigates the mysterious casino and discovers Kaiser’s plan was to provoke the Joker into destroying the casino for the insurance money. The episode has some fun moments, like Joker and Ivy’s interactions in Arkham. It establishes the rivalry between the two characters that will come into play over their relationships with Harley and gives us a peek into life at Arkham. The Joker escape scene is fun, but too long and a little confusing. Why did that guard let him go? The interaction between Bruce Wayne and the Joker was a lot of fun! It was cool to see the Bruce side of Batman interacting with his nemesis and provoking him. The entire episode felt squished into the half hour, and some parts could’ve been shortened for a more fleshed out plot. Not a bad episode but that Animation was atrocious, the faces were so poorly animated, the character movements were sloppy and bulky. Excellent story by Dini, but it gets a little lost in the animation. Rating: C+
42. Tyger, Tyger: Selina Kyle is kidnapped by an ape-man and taken to a mad scientist on an island outside of Gotham. Batman investigates her disappearance, leading him to ask Langstrom (Man-Bat) for help. He ends up on the island and finds Selina has been turned into a half-cat hybrid to act as a mate to Dr. Dorian’s man-cat creation, Tygrus. Batman is hunted by Tygrus in the woods until Selina escapes and gets through to the creation about the morality of his actions. They team up and destroy the lab, allowing Batman and Selina to escape. This is an alright episode, it’s got an interesting sci-fi element of genetic manipulation going on, with the continuation of the Batman/Catwoman romance but it falls short on excitement and Selina Kyle is still a bit of a boring animal-rights activist who just loves too much. The story is a little reminiscent of the Deadliest Game and it’s cool to see Batman out of the city-element but I feel like the episode was lacking in heart and turned Selina into just a melodramatic female. Tygrus is an interesting character, conflicted about his existence which is probably the most interesting part of the episode. I think I’m missing something with the poem, that there were themes I’m just not aware of. Overall, the episode is good, not great, but not bad either. It had a lot of potential. Rating: C
43. Moon of the Wolf: A bizarre edition to the Batman anthology. Other than feeling a little out of place in the Bat-mythos, the episode is only sort of watchable. A werewolf is stalking Gotham and Batman defeats him and the mad scientist manipulating him. That’s basically the plot. The werewolf is actually Anthony Romulus, an olympic athlete who came to Professor Milo for steroids and ended up becoming a werewolf. The plot is paper thin and disjointed, the anti-drug sentiment is groan worthy, and the mystery is shaky and lacks any intrigue. Bullock and Gordon don’t really serve much purpose to the story and the animation wasn’t great either. A Batman vs Werewolf story could be really cool, but this episode was not. There’s not much to even write about it other than acknowledging that this episode exists. Rating:D-
44. Day of the Samurai: The sequel to Night of the Ninja, Day of the Samuraifeatures the return of Kyodai Ken, the Ninja. Kyodai has kidnapped Bruce’s old master, Sensei Yoru’s prized pupil, Kairi and plans on using her to learn the location of an ancient martial arts technique. Unlike Night of the Ninja, Day of the Samurai is a really good episode that uses Bruce Wayne’s back story to create an exciting and interesting narrative that has suspense and action. The secrets of Sensei Yoru and the nature of Ninja and Samurai are really interesting elements that add a cool oriental vibe to the story. It feels very much like a Japanese martial arts saga. The animation was better than in Night of the Ninja, and it had a much better flow, but it wasn’t amazing. The episode has a lot of drama and digs into Batman’s inner conflict about his own morality but proves that despite being a creature of the night, Batman is a noble hero. Also, in my mind, Kairi is totally Cassandra Cain. Rating: B
45. Terror in the Sky: Man-Bat returns, but nobody, especially Dr. Kirk Langstrom knows why. While investigating, Batman discovers that it is indeed not Langstrom, who’s having deepening marital issues, but another Man-Bat. Eventually Langstrom goes to win back his wife Francine and follows her onto a plane as Batman discovers that Francine was accidentally exposed to the formula, causing a dramatic airplane crash scene. Eventually the She-Bat is defeated and Batman is able to give her the antidote. On Leather Wings is a difficult act to follow, and this episode does not reach the standard set by it’s first act. Though the mystery was interesting, and the twists were cool, the episode feels a bit lacking. I feel like there could’ve been more done with the She-Bat idea, like a pregnancy or something, but the episode was still pretty good. I am a little confused as to why Kirk was having nightmares about Francine’s adventures as the She-Bat. That seems like a large plot hole left empty. Overall, it’s good to see the Man-Bat character return and it’s a good episode but it doesn’t quite measure up to On Leather Wings. Rating: C