Monday, September 14, 2015

FEATURED TF: Jumanji - An Old Story

There’s simply much more AR than AP in media, and most of it is comics.

Now, I don’t have anything against comics, there are so many jewels like It’s a Gas, but since we’re dealing with transformations, still images can rarely outdo the interest brought by moving ones. And, with just a handful of live-action instances of AP, that mostly leaves us with animation.

Of course, probably over 90% of those is anime, and while I might review a few of them, it’s not a style I’m overly fond of. Then there’s western animation, which being mostly aimed at kids, mostly handles the theme in a naïve and very superficial way.

But for some reason, as childish, naïve and superficial as it is, one of my favorite AP depictions ever happens in the TV show inspired by the Jumanji film (yeah, I didn’t even know that existed if not because of the AP). The episode in question is titled An Old Story, but I’ve also found it under Bark at Jumanji, and that is today’s feature.

It start with Peter Shepard and his older sister Judy. I don’t know if we ever know their ages in other episodes, but I guess he’s about 9 and she’s 11 or 13, mainly because of something she says at the end.

They’re both excited because their aunt is going out and they’ll have their house to themselves.

At least until the aunt reveals a babysitter is coming. They’re both really disappointed, especially when Judy sees the sitter…

She says it’s unfair because the sitter is only a couple of years older than she is, but the aunt argues that it’s a couple of teenage years. And that’s like 14 adult years. This is another clue to Judy’s age, since the babysitter does look about 15 or 16.

Anyway, the babysitter will only spend her time watching TV and eating from the fridge, so she sends the kids to bed. Of course, they won’t do that…

They go to the attic instead, where they have a magical board game that transports them to a jungle-like dimension. Notice the older Judy is much taller than her brother.

Once inside the game, they’re suddenly thrown into a river by a forceful tornado. They don’t give it much importance at the moment, and once outside, they fight a giant caterpillar that is otherwise inconsequential to our interests.

By next morning, they’re out of the game and back to school.

Peter bumps into the classical bullies, who threaten him and want to steal from him to buy lunch.

Peter is able to escape and enters the janitor’s closet, but he knows the bullies are waiting for him outside. He regrets being so small and weak.

After a few minutes, he looks into the highly reflective piece of metal in front of him (there is a can of brass polish in the closet, after all) and gasps at the sight of a much older boy staring back at him.

We never find out exactly how much Peter ages, but he seems like a grown man, and he’s drawn as a well-built one, with a stretched shirt and pants that only reach his knees.

Peter touches his squarer face, enjoying what has happened. He also has a new, more mature voice instead of his childish one.

He stands up, revealing his clothes are ripped on the sides. His arms and torso look buff.

He finds the janitor’s clothes on the closet and steps out wearing them. He now towers over the bullies.

He lifts them by the collar with ease. Now they are going to buy his lunch. It’s not shown where this ends, or if the bullies realize the man is Peter.

Meanwhile, Judy is at the library, and other girls from her class tease her for being childish and still having a babysitter.

Shyly, Judy starts reading a poem book.

Notice the book is at the same level of the table, and that her feet don’t even reach the floor. Her shoulders are also shorter than the back of the chair. Now we would cut back to Peter’s discovery, but I preferred to group Judy’s scenes.

I’m still surprised at the fact that they chose to reveal Judy’s transformation in this fashion. She has grown taller, so she’s now holding the book over the table, exposing her chest underneath the book. And she now has breasts!

I’m glad they drew her this way, with a mature body and not simply a taller one, as happens in so many cartoons. They aren’t that subtle either, and the breasts are clearly noticeable when other shows make it impossible to tell if they’re there.

The changes on her face are very subtle, though, but they’re present. You can see the overall shape of her face is different, as are her bangs. Her nose is also longer and her collarbone is seen in some shots, something that never happened when she was a kid.

She is too distracted by the book to notice her changes, at least until she looks at the window.

She reacts with surprise. “What?” Her voice hasn’t changed too noticeably, unlike Peter’s, but it is different.

The other girls were in the library last time we were there, but one should assume they are gone by now, or else they would have noticed something.

Everything in this school is very polished, it seems! Here’s a nice complete reflection of Judy’s transformed body.
First, she’s taller. Her shoulder are now over the back of the chair, and her feet reach the floor. I can’t tell if that white thing on her thigh is a light effect over the glass or if her pants have ripped, though we know Peter’s did.
In any case, you can see in this shot they’ve drawn her quite shapely, though this is the best glimpse we get at her during the whole episode.
When she looks at the window, her reaction is different than her brother’s. “Oh, no!”

She runs to the teacher’s lounge. This is done in close ups, so we don’t see her outgrown overalls again. She finds baggy sports pants and t-shirt and changes.

You can still tell her body is curvier, but after that window glimpse, the fact that they chose such unflattering clothes for her is among the only gripes I have against this episode.

Judy bumps into Peter, who is now taller than her. They immediately recognize each other and realize whatever happened to them has something to do with Jumanji. Judy believes they should try to fix this, but Peter wants to do whatever he wants since they’re now “actually grown-ups!” Judy answers something like “Yeah, time-warped grown-ups.” But I’ve never been able to make out that line.
Peter escapes from school wanting to experience freedom and Judy pursues him.

She rides a bus to town to look for her brother.

You wonder if she also found a bra in the teacher’s bag.

Meanwhile, Peter is having fun pretending he’s going to buy a car.

During her search, Judy stumbles upon a bookstore.

She looks at an older boy inside and seems quite taken.

The guy notices her attention and walks to her. She’s not much shorter than he is. He gives her a book he’s written, and she discovers it’s the same one she was reading earlier.

Night arrives and Judy is still a young woman. She finally finds Peter watching a restricted film he wanted to see earlier. She pushed him out of the theater.

When they step out, you can see something is different, but it might be the lights.

Oh, no, they’re even older! Judy still sounds young and just a bit different, but Peter’s voice changes again.

Judy is now a mature woman probably past her thirties. Look at the new lines on her face and neck. For some reason, her braids are gone now.

Her body has changed a bit too. Her waist is less narrow.

They examine themselves in shock. Things are about to get worse, though. The police arrives right there and accuse them of being involved in the dissapareace of Peter and Judy.
This is obviously stupid, since just a few hours have passed, and besides, why would these two unknown man and woman be suddenly suspected. Well, let’s shrug it off…

Despite not being on their prime any more, they athletically outrun the policemen b climbing inside the theater. Maybe those adventures in Jumanji made them strong and agile. They sneak back to their house.

They climb up to the attic. Agile indeed! Peter complains about it being more difficult than it used to, though.

They’re back to the game and they find their friend Alan there. He’s a savage jungle man who guides them when they play.
He wakes up to the sight of these unknown people, who introduce themselves as Peter and Judy. Alan realizes they fell into the Pool of Ages (a “reverse Fountain of Youth”) during the last time they played, and that they’ll keep getting older and older.

They go to see Trader Slick, who sells them a compass that point to the Golden Goblet of Jumanjicon, a legendary cup that can help them regain their youth.

They’re joined in their expedition by an explorer, Ashton Philips.

Judy is taller than both men.

Next time we see the kids, they’re quite old.

They tire easily.

Judy is forced to walk with a cane.

For the first time, we see a transformation on-screen, though they do it with just a fade effect.

They become ancient.

Luckily, they arrive to Jumanjicon and find the Goblet, but Philips betrays them and drinks alone.

He drinks more than he should, though, and ends up a little kid.

Peter gives the cup to Judy first. She was older, after all.

She reverts on screen, also with fade effect from one form to the other.

Judy leaves old age behind, becoming an adult woman again…

And then returns to the age she was when she discovered her transformation. Notice her body is indeed more slender. Her braids are back, which makes no sense.

Bye to her womanly figure, but she’s still taller. We never saw her at this stage earlier.

And back to her regular age. These shots are great for comparing both the changes in height and shape.

Peter reverts off-screen. He’s really pleased to be a kid.

Back home (we never see the resolution of the vanishing plot), Judy is reading her new book, her regular clothes restored. There’s a knock on the door.

It’s the guy from the bookstore, now too tall and old for her. He asks for Judy, and the girl pretends she’s gone, though he might bump into her in “5 or 6 years”. I guess that means the young adult Judy he met was around 18 or 19, which sounds plausible and reaffirms the idea she’s 12 or 13.
Judy sighs dreamily once he’s gone (seriously, can’t girls in media think about anything else than boys) and the episode ends.

That’s all. It might not reach the heights of the kind of AP we make in blogs or other dedicated sites, but as far as a kid’s cartoon goes, this is quite good.

I’m not completely in board with the artwork, though it showcased Judy’s change better than you usually see in these portrayals.

I give it 4 TF STARS out of 5, if only because it was one of my first APs and I’m biased.

I might add the episode is in You Tube if you haven’t seen it yet.

Now for a bonus real life AP.

In the live action film, Judy was portrayed by a very young and cute Kirsten Dunst.

Of course, she has since grown in a very famous, talented and lovely celebrity.


  1. To borrow a catchphrase from Peter, cool beans! This was a great TF to show and it really needed to be rescued from obscurity. I've watched this episode and really liked it at the time. Heck, I've watched all of the Jumanji episodes (which are available to watch on Netflix) and that show is great and I highly recommend that people should watch it. Though I should say that whoever made that game was a Grade A psycho and it constantly shows.

    This was definitely a good choice to showcase and I hardly blame you for picking favorites. By the way, didn't you write an adaptation and unfinished sequel for this episode?

    1. Yeah, my very first attempt at an AP story was an adaptation of this, back when I could speak a word of English and before I created this blog. It's horrible, and thus I didn't mention it.

      Nice that you have seen all episodes. Any other worth mentioning?

    2. I think you're being a bit hard on yourself. Yes, the way they were written made it obvious that English is not your first language, but asides from that the story wasn't that bad. I was a little disappointed that you didn't finish its sequel.

      It's pretty hard to pick out particular episodes, not without going into long-winded discussions. Though I think I would recommend the episodes featuring the Sand King, the Jamazons, the love potion, the Stalker, and, of course, the finale. I could go on in length about this, but I think it would be more rewarding for people to just watch the show itself.

  2. I love this kind of "kid friendly APs" since they make it in a way that both surprises children and makes fanatics like us to look at every detail of the phases...I miss this kind of APs XD

  3. Love this one. There's also an episode where Peter and Judy switch bodies and another where everyone on the city transforms into animals, but nothing as good as this one.