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Flint, the Time Detective Vol.4: "Can't We All Get Along?"
Bilingual DVD
4 Episodes
Hitoshi Nagao
TV Tokyo
Right Stuf
Despite some little touches, the Flint DVD misses the big picture.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Flint, the Time Detective Vol.4: "Can't We All Get Along?"
By Ridwan Khan

Flint the Time Detective first appeared on American TV via the FOX Family Channel on March 5, 2000. It later moved to FOX Saturday and has been shuffled between the two channels since.

The series chronicles the adventures of a caveboy, Flint, who was taken from the past and made a time detective. The odd little character, who is very reminiscent of kid Goku, teams up with children from the 25th century, Tony and Sarah, to fight criminals who are travelling back in time and using TimeShifters to wreak havoc. These odd monsters have special powers that can be used to alter the past. Flint ends up teaming up with the little critters and calling on them during battle. Is this sounding familar? Flint certainly owes a lot to other shows, including Pokemon and Digimon, in that respect. However, Flint does add an interesting element through the time travels, as he visits important historical figures; everyone from Leonardo Da Vinci to Nobunaga, the first Shogun.

"Can't We All Getalong" is the 4th DVD in the series. It contains episodes ten, eleven, twelve, and bizarrely on my disc, according to the disc's menus, fourteen. However, fourteen is a recap episode and this may have affected the order. However, it still seems odd to misnumber the episodes as such. In any case, in a good move, the episode count is up one from the regular three, due to the recap.

In episode 10, "Can't We All Get Along?" Petra (think Jessie from Pokemon) decides to steal one of Flint's TimeShifters, GetAlong, so she can use it's special powers to make her beloved fall in love with her. Fastforward (or backward) to 15th century Baghdad, where Flint and crew get a tip that a TimeShifter is in the area. Of course, it's a clever ploy by Petra to get a good shot at capturing GetAlong.

"Batterball" or episode 11, features Sarah and Tony traveling to America early in the 20th century to meet the the slugger himself, Babe Ruth, and the TimeShifter he has befriended, BatterBall. BatterBall can make a person more athletic and turn objects into baseballs. Of course, Petra decides to capture BatterBall for her own nefarious purposes. Flint has to play baseball against team Petra to win BatterBall over to his side. The episode ends on a very useful note; Sarah logs all the TimeShifters they have met so far into her computer, so those of us who are coming into the series late can catch up.

In episode 12, "Bindi", Flint gets word of a mysterious TimeShifter, Bindi, in Transylvania. It turns out that Bindi has befriended the misunderstood nobleman, Count Dracula. Again, Petra comes intro the picture, bent on stealing Bindi. In this episode, the mysterious young stranger, Merlock Holmes, who has been there to save Sarah on a number of occasions reveals that he is a member of the Time Police.

This is the recap episode (number fourteen according to the menu) "Miss Iknow Makes a House Call", loosely framed around the plot that Petra, who lives a double life as Flint's teacher, comes to the Bureau of Time and Space to get Flint's TimeShifters by accusing them of being a bad influence on him. Of course, the other members of the Bureau household think differently, and they have the video to back them up. The episode contains the funniest joke on the disc; Merlock and Gillian get into a smiling contest, with a little jab to the anime standard grin.

Flint is certainly a quirky little show. For example, the hungry young caveman carries around a stone axe, the blade of which is his fossilized (and loud) father, Rocky. The time travel theme keeps the show's setting varied. However, Flint straddles the line bewteen entertainment and edutainment poorly. For most children, due to it's formulaic plots, Flint isn't interesting enough to hold their attention long enough to inform. Even if it could, Flint takes many liberties with historical details, though the point was more likely to awaken an interest in these periods, rather than give informative details about them. Even so, the concept does keep Flint fresher longer. Despite all of the little touches, Flint is obviously a shameless copy of Pokemon and Digimon. The Time Bureau's social dynamic owes quite a bit to the relationship between the characters of Pokemon. As mentioned before, Petra is the spirtual sister of Jessie and her whole troupe is shades of Team Rocket. In addition, the TimeShifters can shapeshift into master forms, just like Digimon.

As for the disc itself, the menu is colorful but a little pixelated, and the disc contains only one extra, an intro to the series. This is, however, useful to introduce Flint and the cast if you haven't seen the first episodes. Visually, most of the characters are underwhelming; except for Flint and his TimeShifters, the cast is competent, at best. At worst, many times the characters look worse than fan art. Both Flint and his archnemesis Petra are quite cute and are probably the best designed characters in the series. Sanrio had a part in this series and this is evident in the various TimeShifters, as most are oppresively cute, though they don't have the strength of design that the pocket monsters do. The colors are also dull, which really shouldn't happen in a show released in 1998 and on DVD. The show looks little better than its broadcast counterpart.

All of this leads to the greatest tragedy of all - there is no Japanese track on this disc. With a subtitled version, Flint probably could have garnered a 75 or 80%. The DVDs only have the English FOX edits. To be fair, this is the norm with shows like Pokemon and Digimon and Right Stuf is certainly targeting the same audience. However, without a huge television presence or toys and games that helped popularize the other shows, Flint is left with only the hardcore anime fans for an audience, and they won't be able to get into the show without a Japanese track.

Overall, by itself, Flint is an unspectacular series, but Right Stuf stumbled in bringing it to DVD. The lack of a bilingual disc is probably the biggest issue. A little Japanese never hurt anyone, even if it's more of an extra for your "target" audience. Hardcore anime fans will go elsewhere to find cute Japanese television, and the audience that Right Stuf wanted, young children that are already fans of other monster catching shows, won't be wowed by Flint.

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