This particular ep goes on my personal list of favorite episodes for a number of reasons. Allow me to bore you with a few...
First off, this is one of my favorite animation styles out of the numerous animation styles the show uses, mainly because the characters look more properly porportioned and Chiro's face and eyes are more intense in this style. Also, they barely deviated from this style; you know how in some episodes it starts out in one style and goes through several different changes before reaching the end? Incredibly annoying, in my opinion; Season of the Skull doesn't (or unnoticably, from my standpoint) do it. It remains constant through the whole ep.
Also, it has a tinge of a dreamlike feel. How many of us would've guessed that this series would put a Halloween-themed episode in there? I certainly wasn't expecting it, especially after the first annual Super Scary Skeleton King marathon (a Halloween-themed marathon, mind you, with a new episode that had absolutely nothing to do with Halloween). So it was spontaneous also, which is good.
I'm particularly fond of the details of Cryptilvania (sp?), the little Halloween-themed village. Stuff like giant black cats pulling along a pumpkin coach, the bat weathervane, scarecrows and jack-o-lanterns all over the place, "colonial" people with "magical" masks that ward off evil spirits (I'm not mocking the practice, for I believe it myself, but there's more to these people than meets the eye, as we learn in the episode). Not to mention the entire planet is tinged black and orange...a nice lighting effect. Oh, and the moon that never moves in the sky...looks like a giant cookie...
The plot itself, on top of the actual location, is interesting. I've seen similar plots played out in TV and books and whatnot, but I still wasn't expecting the villagers to be evil; it was cleverly plotted so you'd question, but it wasn't out-right obvious...well OK, maybe it was out-right obvious for most, but it wasn't for me. *shrugs*
Now, as for my favorite part: Gibson's formal introduction to magic. At the time, I made sure I had an arsenal of pillows at my disposal to throw at the television screen every time Gibson cursed or denounced the existence of magic (heck, I still do that with my sister's assistance). It was expected--considering it's so obvious Gibson is a science nerd--but how harsh he was with something he has had experience with before kinda left me taken aback. I'm referring to how stubborn he was in his insistance that magic does not exist; he's seen the darndest stuff in all his adventures, and yet still likes to say "Impossible!" Hell-ooo! Wouldn't ya think by now that nothing would surprise him?? But anyway, on the subject of the book...
The Grimoire of Necrotus. That alone has a negative connotation. Hell, it literally means "giant book of the Dead." I've had a theory for a loooooooooong time that the Grimoire would turn Gibson into a monkey version of Skeleton King, would be corrupted by the book through the influence of black magic. I've reconsidered that theory; obviously Gibson can change what was supposed to be black magic into good magic. *phew*
My fav moment in the ep: when Gibson finally masters magic and saves Chiro from getting flattened by the giant wicker Skeleton. That expression he gave when Chiro says "You did it, Gibson" just melts my heart; it's like this sheepish "Aw shucks" embarassed half grin, while clutching to the book like a security blanket. Aw jeez, Adorable! :D
Something, however, that dropped my score of this ep from a 10 to a 9...they only use the Grimoire once. Grrrrrrrr come on, people! If you're gonna stick a prop into the series, would ya at least use it more than once?! At least mention it or show it at a passing glance! But nooooooo!