Stitch!

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Stitch!
Stitch! Disney+ thumbnail.png
Thought Japanese influences on Disney media were better than the other way around? Think again. With Stitch leaving Lilo behind, so much for 'ohana...
Genre: Science fantasy
Adventure
Comedy
Running Time: 21 minutes
Country: Japan
Release Date: Regular series: October 8, 2008 – July 19, 2011
Stitch and the Planet of Sand: June 16, 2012
Stitch! Perfect Memory: August 7, 2015
Created by: Madhouse (Seasons 1 and 2)
Shin-Ei Animation (Season 3 and Stitch! New Specials)
Distributed by: Disney–ABC Domestic Television (licensed by)
Seasons: 3 (plus two post-series specials)
Episodes: Madhouse (Seasons 1 and 2): 54 (plus two specials)
Shin-Ei Animation (Season 3 only): 29 (plus one special)
Overall (including New Specials): 83 (plus five specials)
Previous show: Lilo & Stitch: The Series
Next show: Stitch & Ai (airing order)


Stitch! (スティッチ! Sutitchi!) is the Japanese anime television spin-off series of the animated feature film Lilo & Stitch and the second TV series in the Lilo & Stitch franchise, after Lilo & Stitch: The Series. Its first two seasons were animated by Madhouse (who are known for shows like Death Note) while its third season and two post-series specials were animated by Shin-Ei Animation (who are famous for Doraemon and Crayon Shin-Chan).

Synopsis

Stitch! takes place many years after the events of Leroy & Stitch (only in the English dub). The show features a cute little 10-year-old Japanese preteen girl named Yuna in place of Lilo (who is now an adult woman) and is set on a fictional island in the Ryukyu Islands off the shore of Okinawa Island called Izayoi during the Madhouse seasons instead of Hawaii. In the third season, the characters move to a fictional city called Okinawa New Town.

Bad Qualities

  1. In the first episode, "Ichariba Chodei", one of the first things spoken is Jumba saying that Lilo has gotten a new boyfriend, which caused Stitch to become evil again. This enraged fans of the original franchise as it destroyed the whole concept of Lilo & Stitch. This is only in the English dub, which actually later states in the third season episode "Lilo" that this is not true.
    • This is mostly due to the dub's writers shoehorning that fact in. Lilo isn't mentioned at all in the original Japanese version (before "Lilo").
  2. Stitch himself has been flanderized in this anime, wherein the anime he has reverted to his original destructive nature as seen in the original Lilo & Stitch film, which completely defeats the purpose of all of the character development he had in the original continuity. In addition, in the original continuity Stitch's only wish was to have a family (ʻohana), while in the anime, more specifically the Madhouse seasons, his wish is now to become ruler of the universe and gain "ultimate power".
    • Stitch's main arc during the Madhouse seasons (the first two seasons) is to do 43 good deeds (which can be lost) to satisfy a magical stone that can grant wishes. Besides the absurdity of an alien made by a mad scientist trying to get a stone to grant his wish, the fact that he's only doing good deeds for selfish reasons (which is even pointed out sometimes in the show itself) reinforces just how much character development was lost.
    • He does eventually lose the "ultimate power" passion as the show goes on, willingly giving that wish up to stay with Yuna instead at the end of the second season, and shows that he can do good deeds without expecting to be rewarded (such as in "BooGoo" where he temporarily ditches his malfunctioning "Good Deed Counter" to go off to get something to heal an ill Kijimunaa) but that doesn't make the fact that he even had it to begin with any better.
  3. Lilo's local culture-related passion in the original continuity was hula dancing, but Yuna's seems to be karate fighting. While the hula dancing led to tons of hilarious moments and peacefully fused the titular characters, the karate is just boring.
  4. The primary antagonist, Dr. Hämsterviel, was hilarious in the original Western series, now he's just pathetic.
    • Even Gantu, the strong, intimidating antagonist, is reduced into even more pathetic than he was, being an almost complete suck-up to Hämsterviel (whereas in Lilo & Stitch: The Series, he clearly expresses when Hämsterviel isn't talking to him that he can't stand working for him and would take opportunities to either get back at him or even ditch him).
    • Hämsterviel gets worse in the third season, where he's now subservient to a new antagonist character named Delia, who looks nothing like the franchise's other aliens, being a tall humanoid woman with big ears, red hair, light green skin, and heterochromatic eyes, and yet takes over as the main villain.
  5. Speaking of that, Gantu and Experiment 625 (a.k.a. Reuben) were redeemed in Leroy & Stitch. Now they've lost their jobs and are villains working for Hämsterviel again. Gantu, in particular, loses his job as Captain for the Galactic Federation's Galactic Armada and was dishonorably discharged for a very stupid, petty, and ludicrous reason; Gantu sang badly at karaoke at a holiday party.
  6. The English dub is mediocre, with an odd script that clashes with the show sometimes.
  7. Except for one voice actor playing a minor character in one episode, none of the original voice cast reprises their role in the English dub. Not even Chris Sanders (who created Lilo & Stitch and voiced Stitch in almost every other Disney product despite his departure from the company in 2007).
    • Ben Diskin, who is otherwise a fantastic voice actor, isn't as good as Chris Sanders in voicing Stitch, lacking the genuine charm that Stitch's real-life creator brings to the character.
    • Jess Winfield's voice of Jumba could sure use some work. Winfield was later established as the official voice of Jumba after David Ogden Stiers died in 2018.
  8. Angel, one of the most popular experiments in the original series, became a jerk.
  9. BooGoo, a little purple alien insect introduced in the debut episode of the second season, is an annoying and completely pointless addition to the show.
  10. Yuna's cousin Tigerlily Sakai, who is introduced during the second season, is a beautiful but despicable woman who bullies Yuna and Stitch by forcing them to do chores yet claims to care about them, manipulates others to get what she wants (even gaslighting Yuna in front of her class when she tries to expose her awful behavior to her class, causing her to believe that she's a bad person), and inexplicably has a lot of skills and talents; in just her second episode, she already understands Tantalog, the experiments' alien language.
  11. The international edit, which the English dub uses, shortened the episodes to meet the Western standard 22-minute time frame. Some were reduced to only 11-minute half-length segments, and one episode, known in English as "Stitch Power", was excluded altogether from the dub.
    • The English dub also removed the fun "Kung Fu Dragon Pleakley" segments from the second season; even certain other dubs maintained them.
  12. Apparently, according to this Japanese blog, even Japanese audiences did not like this series. You know you've failed in producing a decent spin-off of a Western work beloved in a non-Western country when fans from that country didn't like the spin-off made specifically for them either.

Good Qualities

  1. It's the first dubbed anime to ever be set in Okinawa.
  2. The anime contains darker and more mature content compared to the film and the series.
  3. In the episode "Lilo", we learn that Stitch left Lilo over a misunderstanding, which is incredibly emotional.
    • The fact that unlike the later Chinese series Stitch & Ai, Stitch still remembers Lilo and still values her, even if they're now separated. (The Chinese series makes Lilo more of a footnote in Stitch's life and he hardly even remembers her.)
  4. The introduction of new experiments never seen before, like Wormhole and Witch, and they are faithful to the style of the original series.
  5. The experiments, one of the most endearing aspects of the original series, were given more roles and stories. Some even became recurring characters, like Angel, Sparky, and Felix.
  6. Rocky McMurray, the voice of Clyde in Lilo & Stitch: The Series and Leroy & Stitch, reprised his role for Experiment 150's only episode in this show, making him the only returning voice actor in the English dub.
  7. At least Reuben was referred to by his name, unlike Lilo & Stitch: The Series (even though he wasn't given a name then anyway until that show's finale film Leroy & Stitch).
  8. Angel, despite her change of attitude, is more prominent and appears more often, making up for her minimal appearance in the original series. (Unfortunately—contextually speaking—for American viewers, the anime was quickly pulled from Disney XD before her first major appearance in this series, denying them from [legally] seeing more of her in their country.)
    • Also, at least the Japanese production team tried to give her some much-needed character flaws, which her original portrayal severely lacked. It wasn't the best since they focused too much on comedy and overdid her negative traits, but points for trying nonetheless.
    • Even with her behavioral changes in mind, Angel's relationship with Stitch is still adorable.
  9. The anime went out of its way to watch Leroy & Stitch to get the list of all experiments it can introduce and show. This is notable when the aforementioned Wormhole and Witch are actually in the credits of Leroy & Stitch, as well as Shrink appearing in character for the first time despite having minimal screentime and mention in his original movie appearance. Carmen, another experiment who briefly appeared in Leroy & Stitch, also appears in one episode with her abilities fully shown.
  10. Despite the script issues, the English dub's voice acting is better compared to the much more lackluster and annoying voice acting that Stitch & Ai has.
    • While Ben Diskin's vocal performance of Stitch doesn't hold a candle to Chris Sanders and the character's increased English fluency and dialogue (quantity and quality) in the dub is a base-breaker for fans, at least he sounds more like the nasal, high-pitched, and energetic Stitch in this series compared to Stitch & Ai. (Diskin reprises his role in that series but ends up doing a worse performance despite trying to sound more like classic Stitch there, sounding too deep and more phoned-in.)
    • Ted Biaselli's Pleakley voice comes quite close to Kevin McDonald's Pleakley, to the point that he could be taken as McDonald's understudy, and he's much better at doing Pleakley's voice than Luicen Dodge (Stitch & Ai) is by far.
  11. The animation is very vibrant and colorful, staying in theme with the Lilo & Stitch movies and The Series.

Videos

Trivia

  • There is an Internet urban legend regarding this show similar to the one that falsely claimed that Hey Arnold! creator Craig Bartlett supposedly hated the Arnold Betrays Iggy episode. Due to how Stitch! was so hated by the franchise's fans, said fans supposedly claimed that even the creator and the original co-director and writer for the first film (as well as Stitch's real-life creator and original voice actor), Chris Sanders, hates the anime so much as well that he declared it non-canonical to the franchise by asking Disney to write the show off out of existence. However, like the previous urban legend, there was no evidence of Sanders mentioning or saying it anywhere on the Internet or on television, let alone even knowing about its existence, and before February 2022 (when he started a TikTok account), he tends to use his social media accounts for self-promotional purposes only. (It's entirely likely that he does know about the spin-offs but deliberately avoids acknowledging them, not out of hatred, but to avoid being pestered by desperate fans who want to know his thoughts on them or provide explanations relating to them that he cannot give due to his lack of involvement.) Even then, The Walt Disney Company (from which he left entirely in 2007, a year before the anime aired) has 100% control of his film and the franchise's IP rights, so his declarations have no bearing on the franchise's canon. Not only that, but he also made no creative contributions to the franchise's sequel and spin-off material beyond voice acting as Stitch and a couple of one-shots during the franchise's 2000s heyday.
  • This show is currently unavailable for streaming on Disney+ except in Japan, which uses their original version of the show. Amusingly, despite being geo-blocked outside the country, there is metadata and logos for languages other than Japanese on the service (including English), even for episodes in the Madhouse seasons that were shortened and merged with other episodes for the international cut.

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