Season Two Changes

.....The 1986-1987 Season saw Sunbow quite literally at its breaking point, even as the writing continued to soar. The budgets for episodes, which were already tight, became squeezed to the limit with three weekday shows and a weekend show (and that's without counting the shows that Marvel produced by themselves, or that Marvel and Sunbow's primary animation provider, Toei, had in production). As a result, there were next to no re-takes, and minimal chances for Rhino to screw up G.I. Joe's second season.

"Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" Part 1-no changes (verified using FHE's "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" tape)
"Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" Part 2-no changes (verified using FHE's "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" tape)
"Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" Part 3-no changes (verified using FHE's "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" tape)
"Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" Part 4-no changes (verified using FHE's "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" tape)
"Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" Part 5-two changes (verified using FHE's "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" tape)
Change #1-20:51



Change #2-20:54

Description: This sequence fills in the crucial dialogue between Serpentor and Cobra Commander with video-edited footage from elsewhere in the episode, and while Rhino nailed the first shot, they failed to uphold the freeze frame in the second shot or get Cobra Commander's head movements in the third and final shot right.

"Last Hour to Doomsday"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Computer Complications"-one change (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-8:46

Description: The red Serpentor here in the original version is an artifact of early ads for the character, which featured a red Serpentor. Also of note is that the original airing of this episode (the one widely available on the bootleg circuit) seems to have aired with an ad promoting the upcoming Season 2. However, to make the promos fit, the episode itself was sped up, at approximately half the rate of that seen in PAL-format transfers. This saves any noticeable distortion in pitch, and also explains why my verification tapes of "The Gods Below" and "Primordial Plot" have the same speed-up effect.

"Sink the Montana"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Let's Play Soldier"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Once Upon A Joe"-one change (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-6:07

Description: "Once Upon A Joe" has one of the more notorious errors in the series (two of the orphans disappearing, complete with sound effects, from one shot for no reason), so it came as a big surprise to find this re-take, initiated because of a botched pan of Zartan's swamp. Ironically, the animators miscolored Polly in the re-take.

"The Million Dollar Medic"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Cobrathon"-three changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-4:19



Change #2-6:12

Description: Again, Rhino goes on autopilot in a scene where Sunbow tried to hide examples of Red Serpentor by zooming in the picture.

Change #3-17:25

Description: This is a hallmark of sloppy restoration work. Even if the red and green flashes actually existed on the negatives (which I strongly doubt), they could have and should have been fixed easily.

"The Rotten Egg"-one change (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)

Description: This episode, in its broadcast version, plays about 10 seconds slower than the DVD version, with no noticeable cuts. Therefore, for some reason the episode was slowed down, and in order to avoid a notoriously "slow" act a la "War Dawn", the entire thing was subjected to a change. (As with the episodes sped up for the Season 2 promo, I believe the rate to be about half a frame of film per second.)

"Glamour Girls"-two changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 5, "Dr. Mindbender's Madness")
Change #1-8:25



Change #2-8:43

Description: You know how I angrily called Hasbro hypocrites for censoring "There's No Place Like Springfield" Part 2 on the Season 1 page? Well, here's your hypocrisy, front and center. These shots were reframed on the Sunbow video editor before broadcast because, quite frankly, the FCC looks down on nude women, even in non-detailed animated form.

"Iceberg Goes South"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"The Spy Who Rooked Me"-no changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 9, "Nothing But Lies")
"Grey Hairs and Growing Pains"-no changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 5, "Dr. Mindbender's Madness")
Change #1-1:06

Description: Layout.....check. Correct fonts.......check (well, closer than Rhino-give some shred of credit to Shout! Factory for this). Both sets of names........not check.

"My Brother's Keeper"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"My Favorite Things"-no changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 3, "Crime Doesn't Pay")
"Raise the Flagg!"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Ninja Holliday"-one change (verified using bootleg of a time-compressed broadcast and a Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-5:02

Description: A rare re-take at this point to eliminate a blinking in the color of the cashier's outfit. He also gets a little chunkier, as well, it seems. Perhaps more annoying is that the most common bootleg these days is time-compressed.

Change #2-7:45

Description: I don't know how I missed it the first time through, but I caught this while checking to see if my crusty old VHS bootleg was the proper speed. The entire second act is zoomed in on the Shout! Factory set, causing all sorts of framing issues along the way. (It can't be a re-take, as there's anamoly with how a cel of Low-Light was shot during the ninja fight that would have been different under a re-take.)

"G.I. Joe and the Golden Fleece"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"The Most Dangerous Thing in the World"-seven changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-10:52

Description: There must have been a huge fight with Hasbro over this, as the point over the re-framing is to eliminate Duke, who (along with Flint) is obviously not scripted to be in the episode. After all, if Duke had really been there, he would have led the battle himself-and won.

Change #2-15:00

Description: More Duke removal, this time using footage from a few moments later in the original cut of the episode.

Change #3-16:33

Description: A pan (which matches the voice acting, but not necessarily the sound effects) is eliminated for footage from later in the episode, again in the name of scrubbing Duke from the episode, but at the cost of contuity and timing.

Change #4-18:14

Description: A video zoom to cover up the most prominent view of Duke yet.

Change #5-18:15

Description: And a crowd shot (including, ironically, Duke) from moments earlier to cover the prominent action of the series' star following Hawk into the air ducts.

Change #6-18:17

Description: A bit of zoomed in footage of Bazooka to cover up Duke. Oddly, once Duke is gone, the footage snaps back to the original cut, causing a slight timing error (as Bazook starts the shot partially off-screen).

Change #7-19:05

Description: Footage from moments later (again with Duke in a crowd shot) is used to cover up Duke following Bazooka down into the lower floor.

"Nightmare Assault"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Second Hand Emotions"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"Joe's Night Out"-one change (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-5:10

Description: This one smacks of Shout! Factory re-framing the shot to match a similar shot that appears moments later.

"Not A Ghost of A Chance"-no changes (verified using Rhino's Volume 4, "Dealy Lies", er, "Deadly Lies")
"Sins of Our Fathers"-no changes (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
"In the Presence of Mine Enemies"-one change (verified using bootleg of Season 2 broadcast)
Change #1-11:35

Description: Let me get this right: there are many, many errors in G.I. Joe involving minority characters who are miscolored (including the errors in "The Traitor" Part 2 that were cropped before airing by Sunbow), but this is the one where Shout! Factory and Hasbro decide to fix it digitally, even though it aired that way? Worse yet, the darkening is done sloppily, as there's a dark "halo" around Raven's face, which is particularly obvious when the BAT is strangling her. And, worst of all, there's a similar shot where the miscoloring of Raven (who, by the way, was voiced by Liz Aubrey, completely leaving behind Cover Girl for the first-and only-time in the series) happened, and was not touched.

"Into Your Tent I Will Silently Creep"-one change (verified using Rhino's Volume 3, "Crime Doesn't Pay")
Change #1-4:15

Description: This brief moment, where Cross Country declares, ".....but I know there's a bunch of music critics!" was censored at some point after the original broadcast. However, when released on VHS by Rhino, the snippet was kept intact (possibly explaining why the episode as presented on the tape looks so awful), and one of the few special features on the Season 2, Part 1 DVD set was a snippet comparing the edited and unedited broadcast masters. Given that Shout! Factory's producer, Brian Ward, revealed on their boards that the versions of certain episodes on the DVDs were the way Hasbro wanted them released, one has to wonder if the final G.I. Joe and Jem DVD sets were pulled because Rhino revealed this edit. As a final aside, this edit, besides heavily altering the tone of the scene, marks a point where censorship may very well damage history, for the master tape is damaged at the edit point, at least based on the VHS release from a decade ago.

Notes: Most of the alterations in this season are the result of inaction by Rhino and/or Shout! Factory. Also of note is that the episodes released first on DVD by Shout! use fonts for the opening title cards that match the originals a lot closer than episodes in other Rhino sets (except for The Transformers' third season). On a more positive note, half the affected episodes were officially released on home video, all by Rhino. (Hellooooooo, Irony!) However, one episode, "Ninja Holliday", is unavailable at present in a proper form on the bootleg circuit.

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