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- Published on Amazon.com
Season Two, barnone, is my favorite season of "Danny Phantom". After the first season established the characters and stories, this one takes them further and creates a deeper, more complex offering that culminates in a satisfying season finale.
The season starts of perfectly with a large tribute to the first 20 episodes by telling Danny Phantom's origin and large continuity nods to past episodes. Outside of a forced Danny/Sam romance (and a haphazard way of throwing in his "DP" logo), the episode wonderfully starts off Season Two. "Doctor's Disorder" presents a nice boost for Tucker and a mysterious plot centering on Spectra remains engaging, but is nothing to speak about. "Pirate Radio" is an excellent character development story for Danny who takes full responsibility by concentrating on the weirdness going on with the adults' sudden disappearance despite his friends and peers partying away. "Reign Storm" continues forth by wrapping up what "Public Enemies" started as Danny risks his very life to save his town despite their constant accusation. Along with it, the romance plot moves and Sam has a rival in the form of Valerie. There's also a keen team-up from friends and foes alike to battle a powerful enemy. Under slightly different circumstances, I would have liked this to have been the series finale then the mixed, abysmal "Phantom Planet".
"Identity Crisis" provides a lighthearted breather with antics from two split Dannys - one fun, the other all hero - in all its Looney Tune-ish glory. "The Fenton Menace" isn't the best Jazz-episode, but it again supports her character growth and lets her know she doesn't have to be such an uptight "adult" all the time, as well as realize her younger brother is growing up. He doesn't need to hold her hand anymore. "The Ultimate Enemy" is an excellent look at the kind of person Danny can be if his powers got out of hand. Starting from "Splitting Images", Danny's struggle over the darkness inside him over his ghost powers ends in full when he refuses to give in to it. It's a roller coaster ride into time with the only major problem being that it should have been half an hour longer; some plot holes could have been answered better, especially why Danny Phantom overshadowed Vlad Plasmius in the alternate timeline. Either way, it's one of the biggest highlights of DP.
"The Fright Before Christmas" is typical holiday nonsense complete with peace and love and all that corny fluff. It's nothing bad, but I can't say it's good either. "Secret Weapons" may have turned Jazz into a total goof, but it otherwise does an excellent job wrapping up her character. Incidentally, it's also my favorite animated of DP, the ending battle between Danny and Jazz are beautifully-colored. "Flirting With Disasters" is an emotional battle between Danny and Valerie's feelings as well as their unintentional conflicts as enemies from their alter egos. An epic battle in space is made all the more better when Danny accidentally hurts her; a rare powerful scene for this show. Too bad they don't last beyond this, I would have liked to have seen more romantic bond between the two before they caved in with the predictable Danny/Sam.
"Micro Management" would have worked better as a Season One episode, this felt too much Aesop then I wanted, Danny Fenton, even as a human, should not be this weak after months of fighting (and after showing he CAN fight ghosts as a human in the earlier episode "Pirate Radio"). Along with needless abuse for Tucker, Sam herself comes off as a severe Mary Sue here. "Beauty Marked" continues the Mary Sueish path for Sam by making Danny degrade in personality (him surrounded by girls an episode after his feelings for Valerie? Bah!), but at least they show off her beliefs and actions very well, proving she isn't the damsel in distress type. "King Tuck" is a continuous of Tucker's inferior complexity first seen in "What You Want", but it's a poorly made episode with a boring villain whose betrayal I saw coming a mile away and Tucker again getting the short end of the stick despite the Aesop of the day being, "listen to your friends." "Masters of All Time" is an excellent "What If" look if Vlad had married Maddie. The fact that he behaves exactly the same as his canon counterpart is chilling and makes him, ironically, more sympathetic and complicated.
"Reality Trip" makes a good summer action flick as it boils down to a nice 45 minute chase scene, but they don't take advantage of the key plots as Danny erases his parents for no reason (grr) and Valerie remains absent despite such a plot begging for her. I liked "Double Cross My Heart"...back when it was called "Flirting With Disaster". It's essentially the same as that, only role reversed, this time Danny being the jealous one as Sam dates someone else. It isn't a bad episode, but it's got nothing on "FwD" outside of establishing that Danny finally realizes he likes Sam. Again, I wished Sam had continued dating Gregor (despite who he really is) to add some form of "oomph" in the weak love triangle. "Kindred Spirits" host a pointless Tucker and Sam subplot that makes Danny come off as an unnecessary jerk and Danielle Phantom is a useless, pointless, unforgiving plot device, but Vlad's emotions and insanity after months of rejection and fear of loneliness drives this episode as one of my personal favorite, if not my all-time favorite episode.
Now that the DVD contains all 20 episodes, there's no excuse not to grab it. However it'll be a frustrating endeavor. The series has continuity and story arcs - especially this season, so it's preferable to watch in chronological order (though there's a few episodes you can watch standalone), however the DVD boxed set made the tremendous error of putting the episodes in random orders. It's an absolute mess and inexcusable that they got so careless to just stuff them in without checking how it properly goes. People not as familiar with the stories may be confused watching it, wondering what plot point they missed because of this. Despite it, a simple research online on what the right order is can save a lot of hassle and if you don't mind switching disks back and forth, then I recommend this. At least all the episodes are there. Again, do not expect any extras or subtitles; the DVD only contains the episodes, but with clear DVD-quality images.