Brave Little Tailor Review

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It’s time for a retro Disney short. Mickey Mouse returns in this one as the star of the show. I’ve seen more Donald shorts than Mickey ones I believe so this will help the mouse catch up. It’s a pretty fun special and Mickey is an earnest character as always. While he may lack Donald’s charisma, Mickey’s still a likable enough guy. This short is a fairly action packed one which earns it extra brownie points.

The film starts with Mickey at his house swatting flies. He is so enthralled in the task that he doesn’t notice how everyone outside is panicking about a Giant coming to destroy them all. He thinks it’s about the flies and so he is summoned to the King to deal with the menace. A giant slayer like Mickey Mouse should have no problem with the task right? Mickey says he wouldn’t do it for all the gold in the world but when Minnie makes herself part of the prize he cannot say no. The rest of the special is his big battle against the giant.

As these specials aren’t very long there is no time for filler or stalling. Mickey heads right for the Giant and their confrontation begins. Of course, while Mickey has Toon Force on his side there really isn’t much he can do against such a powerhouse for a while. The Giant seems to have the upper hand for 90% of the fight as he eats Mickey and in general he intimidates the Mouse so much that Mickey just chooses to hide. Fortunately Mickey does remember his Toon Force and super speed just in the nick of time. You almost feel bad for the Giant since he doesn’t seem to be an intentional villain and simply didn’t think things through very carefully. Of course, I doubt he would listen to reason so taking him down was the right move. It’s not like they destroyed him either. Honestly the guy seems pretty content at the end if you ask me.

As always the animation is also really good. I never cease to be amazed at how good animation was back in the day. Then I look at some current products and wonder what exactly went wrong. Sometimes I think the newer animation programs simply are not as good as the older ones, or in this case, the natural drawing ability of the animators here. I can see how many animators may not have the same drive to spend so long animating a single scene but if you want to make something great you do have to put in the effort.

The Giant himself is fairly generic as you’d expect but the scene of him grabbing a cigaratte does give him a little character. This is a Giant who likes to do what he pleases even if it isn’t very healthy. He’s not afraid of the side effects that the smoke may have on him and embraces the risks. He’s also very laidback so once he loses, the Giant doesn’t try to escape his fate or make a big deal about it. He just lazily accepts this and goes back to relaxing. If anything, he seems to be a force of nature similar to Godzilla. He’s only antagonistic when attacked and otherwise just does his own thing. The consequences of his actions just happen to destroy nearby towns at times.

Overall, This is a nice enough special. The misunderstanding between Mickey and the others is handled reasonably well. The only part I wasn’t sure of was the very first line Mickey overheard and assumes it was the flies. I mean, you can maybe stretch the meaning into it being flies, but that wouldn’t be my first guess. Well, be sure to check the special out to see if you’re on team Mickey or if you end up feeling bad for the Giant. Little did Mickey know that he would eventually obtain keyblade skills and would have enough power to easily slay giants.

Overall 7/10

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Mickey’s Polo Team Review

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All right, I got to see a Mickey special!…sorta. Well, we’ve finally branched away from Donald and Chip, but the special wasn’t what I expected it to be. It’s basically a 4 on 4 competition of Polo Ball between Team Disney and Team Live Action. The plot is basically just seeing which team will claim victory. Technically it’s a great plot with lots of potential and I love a good sports showdown. The special just did something that I was really not expecting and I’m not sure that it worked so well. It decided to give the humans just as much of a role as the real characters and it may have even been bigger.

Here’s where things got a little tricky for me. There are a bunch of characters on screen so I’m thinking I misread the rules at the beginning and there are more teams or they just look too similar. It feels like a bunch of guys are running around the court and Disney’s side has not teamwork. Donald gets completely destroyed by one of the humans as he is humiliated and beaten up quite a bit. I felt bad for him since Donald losing to the Chipmunks is one thing, but losing to an annoying comic relief character? I don’t know about that. The game doesn’t really end so at least you can say that Donald’s opponent didn’t win, but it’s an empty consolation.

As I mentioned, the others just don’t get much of a role. Mickey is here in the match but you would barely know it from watching the special. He is permanently relegated to side character status and might not even get a line. The rest of Team Disney is completely forgotten. It might help if I liked the humans of course, but not really. I’m still just wondering what the point of them was the entire time. It’s not that their gags are bad although they definitely aren’t as good as the Disney ones, but they feel incredibly out of place. It would be like suddenly including the Disney characters in an episode of the Brady Bunch and suddenly they’re the focus of the episode. It’s strange.

At the very least, I can say that the end was actually really good. It had a pretty good twist as the Donkeys decided to turn the tables on the humans. As I was on team Donkey from the start, it was good to see them get the props. It’s what I’d call a really happy ending and does give the special an extra point. I think if they make a sequel special I’d definitely want them to follow up on the ending. It just makes sense and I think people could get behind that. That or let Donald just clobber everyone.

Overall, I’m not sure about this special. It was certainly pretty weird and unexpected. I think they should have played it straight with just the Disney characters having a sport competition. Hopefully we still get that somewhere down the line. I suppose I’d recommend it, but don’t go into the special with big hopes. Think of it like a spinoff special that isn’t really about the Disney characters. Perhaps it is better on a second watch, but I’d definitely say that it is one of the weakest specials from these classics.

Overall 6/10

All in a Nutshell Review

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Time for the final Chip n Dale special that I have seen so far. The little guys are still up to their tricks but once again it is actually Donald who starts the fight. He’s been stealing Acorns from them again so they decide to shut down his butter corporation once and for all. Donald had actually been pretty successful so it’s sad to see him be brought down like this.

Of course, you can’t blame the Chipmunks either. What I do blame them for is wasting a lot of butter though. A lot of bottles crash and the butter goes to waste. Maybe they were too stressed out about getting the butter and being undetected, but it just goes to show you that haste makes waste.

It is the weakest of the 3 specials though because the plot is certainly the flimsiest. As it is, to buy time for the special to end we see the Chipmunks bicker a lot and hit each other. One of them takes most of the damage as the other Chipmunk always picks on him, but they both get their share of blows in. Neither one really wants to stay down. Even after getting beaten up one is still trying to steal butter so I guess you have to admire their dedication and all. The animation is good as always. It’s the same old same old as Disney has mastered this art to a science. It’s hard to believe that every frame was drawn and that they didn’t use computers to set this all up. The amount of work behind such an undertaking is just hard to fathom and will never cease to amaze me.

I have wondered how nut butter would taste though. I’m inclined to think that it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as normal butter just because nuts don’t seem like they would taste that great. It’s a pure assumption of course, but normal butter from milk makes sense. Nuts….I’m still wrapping my head around that one to be honest. Apparently Donald’s customers love it though based on how much his business was booming. If only he had gotten Chip n Dale on board with stock options or something, he’d still be a millionaire today and could have even passed Uncle Scrooge.

Overall, If you like the classic Disney specials then you’ll like this one. There’s certainly not much reason to dislike it and at least it’ll all be over very quickly either way. Donald will make or break this special for you since he’s always the most interesting character. After being with the Chipmunks for so long, I’m ready to go back to Mickey Mouse and his fun supporting cast. He doesn’t even need to steal butter since Mickey has his whole Turkey from the Christmas specials. You can’t stop a mouse on a mission.

Overall 6/10

Winter Storage Review

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Another special has Chip n Dale at it again but this time Donald starts the fight. He has started a very successful Nut Butter company by turning Acorns into butter. The problem is that he is running out of butter and business is still booming. He decides to steal the nut supply from the Chipmunks which is where all of the trouble starts. They don’t take kindly to this and initiate a counter strike where they don’t leave a single acorn behind.

To Donald’s credit he does a good job of defending himself once he knows what’s up. An intense hockey game starts up with the highest stakes possible, the nuts. Donald tries blocking the Chipmunks from slamming the nuts into their treehouse but 2 v 1 just aren’t good odds and Donald is getting roasted. He is clearly out of practice and needs to find his inner champion again.

As it is, Donald did deflect some of the nets and held his own in the skirmishes. They just overwhelmed him with the sheer amount of nuts that they were swinging around. Even then he didn’t back down and took them head in which was pretty impressive. I can’t blame the Chipmunks for their actions at all this time either since Donald is the one who stole their nuts. You simply can’t let that happen.

I’d definitely like to see some more sports with Donald and the crew. Honestly I’d probably say that Donald would even outrank Mickey in this area since he just seems the most agile. Donald definitely has the most competitive spirit as well so he wouldn’t mind roughing Mickey up a bit during the plays which would give him the edge. As long as he isn’t unfairly outnumbered like in this special, my money is always on the duck.

There’s not much to say about the animation as it’s basically the usual. Solid and streamlined as always with a lot of heart out into it. I’d expect nothing less from Disney since they always deliver. I’ll give a shoutout to the fact that they always manage to put a lot of plot into the special even with no dialogue. They definitely mastered the art of show don’t tell.

Overall, This was another pretty fun special. The Hockey Game was definitely the highlight and just made the special a blast to watch. Donald also did get the last laugh even if wha he did still helped his opponents. At least he got to go down on his own terms which isn’t something that just anyone can say. I still say that 1 on 1 Donald would have claimed victory here. He doesn’t hold back against any opponent and would have used his size advantage and competitive intensity to control the court. Nobody stops this duck!

Overall 7/10

Out of Scale Review

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This is the start of the Chip n Dale triple feature. The two match wits against Donald on 3 occasions. Naturally you know who I’m rooting for as Donald just seems like a good guy…sometimes. I’m not really a big Chip n Dale fan with all their infighting and constantly getting in Donald’s way. Donald does start the fight in two of the specials but let’s put that to the side for now.

The two chipmunks were heading home for the day when they realize that it has gotten a lot smaller somehow. Little do they know that Donald has removed their tree as it was deemed to be too big and he replaced it with a much smaller one. He is trying to build a tiny sized world that he can rule. The Chipmunks enjoy it for a bit but eventually Donald goes mad with power and takes it too far. Can the Chipmunks stop him or is it game over?

The special was pretty good and squarely in the middle of the 3. For once Donald and the Chipmunks basically got along the entire time. It seems like Donald just can’t resist making a prank and that’s when the tensions start to rise. The Chipmunks do make a great peace offering at the end though so for once it ends on a happy note for everyone. I can tell you that this is certainly a very rare event indeed. The animation is pretty smooth as always. The character designs are on point and the backgrounds look realistic and cheerful. It is able to make the plots work on screen as all of Donald’s gadgets can be instantly recognized. Disney was still ahead of its time in animation at this time.

The Chipmunks almost should have kept on living under Donald’s care. They would have had a home in the winter and enough food to live comfortably. Sure, he’ll have his pranks and all, but I doubt he would do anything to wreck the house so they’re only in trouble if they go outside. It may not be an exciting life, but it could be a pretty solid one all the same. That being said, I’m sure Donald would get bored after a while so it’d be more like a hotel stay. Once the service ends it’s time to go.

Overall, you can’t go wrong with this classic short. It’s only a few minutes so the pacing is pretty tight. Even if you didn’t like the special it wouldn’t be all that bad for the same reason since it finished very quickly. I still prefer to see Donald hanging out with Mickey or Scrooge but he certainly does help Chip n Dale be more interesting as well. Donald can hold his own specials easily so throwing him with other characters is a way to bring any special up. Now a Goofy and Chip n Dale team up….let’s not even think about that!

Overall 7/10

Lonesome Ghosts Review

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I always tell myself that I’m not afraid of ghosts, but watching shorts like this one reminds me that they could be deadly if they were real. Intangibility, Invisibility and reality warping are just the tip of the iceberg for this trio of ghouls. It’s really hard to deal with opponents that are this versatile and skilled in combat. It naturally makes for a good adventure though and this may be the best of the classic Disney shorts. It’s nonstop action as we get the hyped team up of Donald, Mickey, and Goofy.

The three of them are called to a haunted house to deal with a ghost problem. Mickey eagerly accepts the mission and brings along his squadmates, Goofy, and Donald. The three of them are ready to tackle any challenge that comes their way, but they’ll definitely have to use every skill at their disposal if they want to come out on top. Once they get in the house there is no turning back. Not that our brave heroes would run though, the only one who would beat a hasty retreat is Goofy and even he claims that he isn’t afraid of ghosts.

Donald is still my favorite member of the 3 and he does the best against the ghosts. He actually lands a solid haymaker. While the ghost may have quickly bounced back to mess with him some more, it was a satisfying moment. Donald also doesn’t show as much terror as the other characters. Goofy does the worst of course. While he looks so bad throughout that it is pretty funny, you just wish he could be a little more useful at times. Stabbing himself is not the way to win fights. As for Mickey, he’s determined, but he definitely felt outgunned the whole time. He’s a good team leader, but we know his group wouldn’t do too well without Donald.

The animation is consistent and looks really good. Especially when you consider just how old this special is. Disney was certainly ahead of its time in the animation department. The music is also fairly good. Perhaps it isn’t very memorable, but it gets the job done and sets the stage for the hype encounters with the supernatural. The special is only a little over 10 minutes so it definitely ends pretty quickly. While that means we don’t get to see as many pranks and shenanigans as I’d like, it also results in the pacing being quite fast. It doesn’t slow down for an instant and there is really nothing negative to say about this special. It’s a fun way to spend 15 minutes and the premise was just really good. I think it’ll be tough for a Disney short to pass it anytime soon.

Overall, If you haven’t started watching the classic Disney shorts yet, now is a good time to start. This one is very accessible for new viewers and you’ll be able to get the character personalities right away even based on just a few minutes of action. It’s also good to start with this special since you see the three big characters right away as opposed to seeing them separately for a while. It’s hard to name a more iconic trio than these guys.

Overall 7/10

Hanazuki: Full Of Treasures Review

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There was a brief theatrical short that played before the MLP movie so I figured I’d review this as well. It was very short so it’s not as if there was much time to get used to the movie. If the point of the special was to get me interested in the film then I can’t really say that it worked. It seems like a pleasant enough series though and I’m sure that it’ll get better but it just didn’t hook me.

So there’s this little girl who is babysitting 4 stars. One of the Yellow stars is really petty and decides to steal Hanazuki’s gem that she got from a sleeping fairy and dashes off faster than you can say “Wakka Wakka.” Hanazuki chases after her mischievous friend and they land on the forbidden side of the moon. They are chased by a giant monster and nearly fall into the lava, but the monster has been moved by the power of friendship and saves them. Hanazuki then scolds the star by giving it a turn on the slide and everything is happily ever after.

I mean, there wasn’t too much crude humor here aside from the monster drooling on the heroes every once in a while so that’s a good start. I think that the main problem here in the end is simply the fact that the characters aren’t as charismatic as the ponies. Whether you think My Little Pony is amazing or simply spectacular, the concept is fairly original. You can already get sold on the show by the fact that the characters are ponies and unicorns with mysterious powers. We’ve had a lot of human shows so one about them having fun in space can be fun, but it’s been done before. I think the characters are supposed to have powers as Hanazuki glows when she’s happy, but I’m going to need more moments like that to really sell the concept for me. Also, I already don’t like the mini stars. They just come across as really petty and are just dragging Hanazuki into trouble. At the end of the day, there wasn’t really anything wrong with the special though. At least it was over in a matter of minutes and didn’t drag on. It’ll be a pleasant enough series.

Overall, there’s not much that this special can do for you one way or the other. The animation isn’t bad, but it’s a clear step down from My Little Pony and doesn’t feel like something out of 2017. You can’t really tell if the series has a plot from this either. I hope fans of the show enjoy it as it gets longer and the lore gets explored more, but I won’t be taking that journey at this point. I wouldn’t mind if theaters started doing this more often though as having a short before a movie sounds pretty good to me. It just makes you that much more hyped for the film as you get a few extra minutes to shoot around theories in your head.

Overall 6/10

Attack on Titan: A Sudden Visitor: The Torturous Curse of Adolescence Review

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It’s time for another Attack on Titan OVA. You’ll be happy to know that this one is the best yet. It approached dangerous territory when the characters decided to go hunting, but the special did a pretty good job of handling it. It wasn’t perfect, but it managed to save itself as there was no blood or anything. It would be a little dicey if this was a long show were that kept happening or a movie with repeated scenes of this, but as a one off it wasn’t fatal.

This special should really be called Attack on Jean. He’s a pretty minor character in the main series, but he effectively got his own special here. Jean wants to get a cushy job in the Interior so he won’t have to fight Titans for a living, but this is proving to be difficult. His best chance is to do well in a training exercise, but then his teammates destroy this chance by just being better fighters in general than him. Jean doesn’t take this too well and hastily accepts a cooking challenge against Sasha. If he wins, she’ll have to stop up staging him every day of his life. The battle is on, but can Jean really win?

I do have to say that the remixed opening was handled pretty much perfectly here. We see a lot of shots of Jean running around and trying to be relevant and then at the end when the music is ramping up we just have him walking around since he usually doesn’t get to do much during the climax. It’s emotional yet also very fitting for the character. The soundtrack in general is easily 5 star material as we get most of the show’s famous themes from the first season. It’s just consistently amazing. The visuals are also pretty good. You’ll recognize the green energy effects the show loves to use and all of the character designs are on point. It’s not an action this time around so it’s hard to say just how good it is in the end, but it’s certainly good enough for me.

One thing that is interesting to note is that Jean is a whole lot meaner than usual. In the main series he’s not the nicest of guys, but he’s still pretty even tempered as he just tries to get promoted to a safe job. In this special he’s mean to his Mom for no reason and even threatens to punch Sasha. He resorts to stealing/cheating and just has absolutely no moral compass. I suppose it’s part of the humor, but I can’t imagine his fans would be too thrilled about this. The Mom subplot in particular felt random since in the flashbacks Jean was actually a nice guy and I suppose we are led to believe that joining the army corrupted him. He’s just not the nice guy that he used to be anymore.

The ending is also really cheesy so I wasn’t thrilled with that. We all know who should have won the cooking contest based on the two dishes. On the other hand, we can also assume that the wrong choice was picked because the judge was incredibly drunk. At least he was in character as I’ve never liked this guy. He has some hype but never does anything with it and is content to boss everyone around from the sidelines. Not the kind of guy you really want on your side.

As I mentioned before, there was one tricky scene where the heroes decide to hunt a boar for no good reason. Unfortunately they do nab him, but it was at least not done in a violent way. It’s a nice consolation. That’s really is for negatives and minor gripes. Beyond that, the special had really good pacing along with its soundtrack and graphics. It did a good job of embracing its comedic nature without going too far. For example, a good scene was when everyone transformed into Titans and could only watch as someone started taking everyone down. It was a nice high budget action moment that was certainly one of the highlights. It was just a good amount of fun.

I also liked Eren’s cameos as he called Jean out and also didn’t let Mikasa do all of his work for him. Eren likes to contribute so he will get strong enough to stomp all of the Titans. It would have been cool if the special could have kept in the scene where Eren beat Jean up, but at least the highlight is up on Youtube so you can always pause the special and quickly watch it during the beginning where it would have been perfectly thrown in. In case it wasn’t too clear, I was on Sasha’s team for this mission as Jean just didn’t do anything that made me want to root for him. He was basically the antagonist in this one after all.

The special also added some clever homages to the main series like when Sasha hit Reiner with her elbow in the same way that Eren attacked him in the forest. It was the same exact shot and I seem to recall 1 or 2 other instances of this. It was a nice bit of foreshadowing for the people who had already read the manga. Fans of the series will definitely get more out of this than average viewers, but both should still enjoy it quite a bit. It’s ironic that the best Attack on Titan special would be the comedy one, but now we know what the series could have been if it was a parody.

Overall, Attack on Jean was pretty fun. I wouldn’t mind if the series followed his adventures, but I have a feeling it would still suffer from the same problems as the original and a big problem would be that there would be fewer Eren scenes to try and bring it back up. The ending may be a little disappointing, but I’d still recommend checking the special out. It’s just pretty fun and quite possibly the only time you’ll be able to see Attack on Titan like this. It’ll truly go down as a collector’s item.

Overall 6/10

Azumanga Daioh: The Very Short Movie Review

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I recently saw the Azumanga Daioh show so now it’s time for the short movie pilot/intro special. I enjoyed it more than the show because of its impressive pacing and improved animation. I suppose it’s easier to give a 4-5 minute short a high budget because of how short it is, but it would have been really neat if the whole show could have been animated at this high level. Aw well, it is what it is.

So, the new girl on the block has entered the school. Her name is Chiyo and her hair is detachable. One of her classmates finds this out the hard way as her hair tries to escape the building when Osaka pulls it out. This leads to a big chase scene where Chiyo gets pretty upset and Osaka realizes that it’s all her fault. Yukari makes fun of the students in another scene and Sasaki remembers that one time she got bit by a cat. A lot is constantly happening and this could have worked very well as the first episode. Everyone is still in the same class and everything, but none of them know each other yet (Except for Tomo and Yomi who were already friends) so it’s a way to introduce the characters before they all get to know each other. You see a bit of their personalities, quirks, etc. In the show they all got together almost immediately so we didn’t have much time to meet them.

As I mentioned, the animation is quite sharp here. There’s a lot more movement than in the show and all of the designs feel more modern by a few years. The colors really pop out of you and everyone is extra shiny. I’ve always considered J.C. Staff to be one of the better animating companies out there so I was surprised at the full show. This shows that they’ve still got the talent, I guess they just had to rush too much to really use it on the main show. There’s not much to say about the music. I suppose you really can’t hope to use much when you’ve only got around 4 minutes to show off.

Overall, This special is only about 4 minutes long so it’s not as if you can really say a whole lot about it. That being said, it was fun and none of my negatives from the show apply here. It’s not repetitive and none of the really unlikable characters got to appear either. Right away that was nice to see and since the special tried cramming in as many jokes as possible, we didn’t get to see any of them repeat. It was all pretty original and the pacing did a good job with that. It’s 4 minutes that doesn’t feel long but covers a lot which is always the final goal in this. I definitely recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Good Scouts Review

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It’s been a while, but time to finally check out the next Disney special. Donald Duck always makes for a pretty good protagonist and this time is no different as he tries to survive the harsh elements of the great outdoors. Unfortunately, he doesn’t tie up his tent correctly so he gets splattered with honey and then a bear attacks him. Can Donald stop the bear and get back to teaching his nephews what being a professional is all about or is he doomed?

The special is super short as always, but it manages to capture the adventure rather well. The plot/pacing felt a lot tighter than usual which was really good as all of the scenes really had a purpose. When you have to tell a full story in roughly 10-12 minutes you really have to think through every scene to decide if it should be there or not. I can’t think of any scene that should have been removed. Donald was perhaps even more sputtery than usual as it could be hard to hear what he was saying, but it just increases the “Donald” effect that you like to see in his specials. His nephews were pretty solid this time around as well. They did at least try to stop Donald from nearly breaking his back on the stone tree. Perhaps they could have tried a little harder, but they did enough.

Donald also recovered from it pretty well which is why he’s such a good character. He took the whole thing in stride and even decided to play a practical joke on his nephews. It may have failed in every sense of the word and I’m not sure about the spelling of the ketchup (Was the word copyrighted back in the day?) but it showed that Donald was ready to spread the chaos. It just didn’t work this time around.

The animation is pretty fluid and consistent like you’d expect it to be. I do like these simple hand drawn days. You can tell that the animators put a lot of effort into it and I still can’t imagine drawing frame by frame. That just sounds like soooo much work. There isn’t much of a soundtrack in this one, but we get all of the classic sound effects for the chase scene. You could feel the desperation in Donald as he struggled to escape before realizing that it was all ultimately futile. There is just no running away from a big bear.

Overall, I enjoyed this special quite a bit. It’s easily one of Disney’s best shorts. The cast may have been a little smaller than usual, but it just meant that we got to see Donald more. I’m waiting for a special where he challenges Mickey to something like Basketball or Hockey so we could see his competitive side come out a little more. We know that Donald never gives up and is always bursting with confidence after all. Putting him in a situation like that would absolutely make for quite the spectacle. If you haven’t seen this special yet, then I’d advise you to do so ASAP. Prepare yourself for the somber ending though. Donald knows that he’s got to keep running because if it catches him….it’s game over.

Overall 7/10