Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Review


I bought this game at the same time as Melody of Memory as part of my impromptu music batch but I probably should have played them in reverse. They’re both good games but Kingdom Hearts is just on a different level in virtually every category. This one also doesn’t really have a plot so the gameplay is solid as always but it’s naturally not going to stick out nearly as much. It doesn’t have the same level of content either but if you aren’t comparing this game to another one then it holds up on its own.

The game follows a fairly strict set up which is that every main Final Fantasy title from 1-13 has 3 levels in it. One is a standard rhythm stage where you have to press the buttons at the right time in order to score points and win the level. You have the cinematic levels where there is a cutscene playing in the background and your cursor is moving so it can be a little trickier to get the timing exact. Finally there are the boss levels but they play out the same way as the standard levels, only you see enemies getting blasted in the background as you land the combos.

That comes out to 36 levels and each one is only a few minutes long so it really won’t take you very long to beat this one. I cleared it in around 2.5 hours so you will probably beat it in around the same time since I didn’t lose any levels. Not to say there isn’t bonus content though. You can try to beat all of the levels again in challenge mode or tackle some kind of shadow level set up. It seems like survival mode since there is a ticker for how many creatures you have defeated.

The game also has an internal achievement system that they call trophies so that ought to buy you a bit more time as well. I barely got any trophies during my play through so you probably have to play other modes a lot. My total gem count was also really low and it seems like you unlock more characters that way.

The characters don’t play differently or anything but I suppose it would be fun to play as your favorites. One missed opportunity here though is that the characters all sound like robots. Before each level every character says a line but the sentences rarely make much sense. It seems to me like they have a random word generator and each character says something out of that which is then turned into a sentence. Felt kind of random but also pretty pointless because as a result there is no real dialogue here.

Even the descriptions before each game are so random that they may as well not be there. You certainly won’t get what is happening and for people who have played the game, they didn’t need the recap in the first place. So this is something that could have been improved. In general I feel like the game could have used more polish. It’s really just a way to listen to the classic songs from the Final Fantasy games and it felt like the devs didn’t want to go too far beyond that.

The soundtrack is top tier at least though. Final Fantasy has always had great tracks historically and that doesn’t change here. Final Fantasy XIII still sounds very grand and operatic and Sephiroth’s theme is fantastic. You really can’t go wrong with intense themes like this. Since the game is music based, it would have been a shame if the soundtrack wasn’t amazing all the way through.

It’s actually a little harder to get S ranks then you would think so if you intend to max out the ranking everywhere then you better prepare to put in the work. You can’t just select a single stage after all, you do everything in pairs of 3 stages so that means if you mess one up then it destroys your whole set. I would definitely prefer if it was just the one level for that reason. There were many games where I got S ranks in two out of three but then the three one tripped me up. Not being able to just replay that stage right away is a hit unfortunate. Not that I was aiming to get all S ranks just yet but that immediately makes the trial that much more difficult.

I didn’t talk a whole lot about the gameplay but there are less buttons to worry about here which should help at least a bit in acing the levels. For example, you don’t use the d pad or l and r buttons here. In fact, you don’t use any buttons. Its all on the stylus which means that you never have more than one object coming at you at a time. That’s considerably different from Kingdom Hearts where they routinely would throw 3 items at once. I would say this game is easier as a result and if you put your mind to it you should get the objectives down without too much trouble.

Overall, Theatrhythm is a good game. I feel like it leaves a lot of meat on the table so if this were sold at full price I would probably have been disappointed. I got it for very cheap though which helped a lot. Additionally, I do see this as the kind of game I could go back to and play a lot if I had more time and less games to play. Back in the day I tried to 100% many games like this one on the DS. I feel like it would be a very pleasant ride. I suspect the sequels will do more with the concept but if you’re looking for a title to test the waters before you really get into the music genre then this is a good one to use. Since there isn’t a true story, you can just focus on the gameplay.

Overall 6/10

Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory Review


Melody of Memory is a game that looked pretty fun when it came out. I didn’t end up getting it day 1 but I’ve gotten low key a bit more into these rhythm type games. I like testing my reaction times and how quickly I can hit the objects at the right time. This looked like it would be a fairly high budget version of that and the game doesn’t disappoint. If you’re going to get a rhythm game then you really can’t do much better than this one. Every part of the game from presentation to gameplay is on point.

The game is effectively Kairi recounting the events from the entire series. This goes from the very first game in the series all the way to Kingdom Hearts III. Additionally at the very end of the game we also get to see some events after 3 which was a lot of fun. They put in a good amount of plot development here which feels like a nice treat after going through all of the recaps.

So why does the game work so well? Part of it is just because of how polished it all is. Right when you launch the game you’re greeted with a lot of great music, top notch visuals, and everything feels very user friendly. You can immediately tell what you have to do and you can also look around in free roam to quickly see how long the game is. There are just so many great tools right at your finger tips and there is a ton of replay value here. Even after beating all of the levels, you can play on different difficulty levels and earn some PS4 trophies.

Obtaining the platinum trophy here would definitely take a very long time but at the same time it feels very doable. It’s not the kind of platinum that ever feels impossible, it would just take a lot of effort. I could see myself going for it someday but right now the game is long enough where I wouldn’t be putting that as one of my higher priorities. The normal game length is already rather solid as it is.

So for the gameplay, it’s classic rhythm style. You have to press buttons at the right time in order to score points and keep moving forward. If you completely miss by pressing the button too quickly or too slowly then you will lose your chain as well as some health. Do this too often and you will lose the level. On both easy and standard difficulties you probably won’t have to worry about losing very much but once you hit critical mode then that starts to be a real concern. I tried to do one level in critical mode and lost quite a few times.

Note that you don’t need to touch critical mode in order to beat the game although if your skills are good enough it can speed things up. See, each level grants you up to 3 stars if you can complete the level while meeting certain conditions. There are a lot of gates that block your way based on the amount of stars that you have. So the more you can 3/3 complete a stage, the less stages you actually have to play in order to complete the game. For example, there were a number of stages I didn’t have to play because I always tried to maximize my stars right from the start.

They don’t start asking you to beat the levels on critical mode until near the end. I mainly stuck with standard so towards the end I had to play almost all of the levels. It’s always a good idea to check what the stars are for before you play the stage. That way you can plan out which stars you want to aim for and which ones you will just bypass instead. There are also different kinds of stages. Most are the standard levels but then you have some boss levels. These add 2 new buttons to worry about which are the analog sticks. You will have to move them in different directions all while pressing the various buttons. The timing really gets tough.

But it gets tough in a fun way. Part of what works about this game is that the difficulty level can be intense but each level isn’t long so replaying it isn’t bad. The series also has a lot of great tracks throughout and so you don’t feel bad about having to get in there several times. It also feels fair even when it’s being very difficult. Like you know that you had a chance and just didn’t capitalize on it.

As you play through the game you’ll find out what works for you and what the most efficient way to land your combos is. For me I liked to just use the X button for all 3 sides when I could and then when 2 buttons were needed I would use L1 if opponents were on the left and R1 for the right. Some may like to keep this a bit more strict and always use L1 for the left to increase muscle memory. It’s all strategy that you can decide on your own since the game really leaves you to your own devices. Again, the levels are short so feel free to experiment and if it doesn’t work out you can just try the stage again.

Overall, Melody of Memory is a very great game. It really was nice that they used the climax as a way to continue the story and we got a cool battle cutscene out of it. Reliving the memories of the other games was also a lot of fun. The only change I would have made would be to have had some of the actual dialogue there instead of Kairi just narrating it all but I suppose that could have taken away a bit from her being the main character. It still made sense to me but that’s probably why they made that move. If you haven’t bought this game yet, I would definitely recommend changing that asap!

Overall 8/10

Jin (Hakusho) vs Freefall



Suggested by iKnowledge Freefall has some good gravity type abilities but they won’t be enough to overcome Jin’s fierce winds. Jin has enough power to stay one step ahead here and his speed is also a lot better than Freefall’s. She won’t be able to keep up and her gravity powers aren’t going to be enough to block Jin’s full powered attacks. He just has too much momentum on his side. Jin (Hakusho) wins.

Natsuo Ishido vs Ken Masters



Suggested by iKnowledge Natsuo Ishido returns once more against Ken. Now this is the closest fight for her yet but I think Ken will still be a little too much for her here. Both of them are really strong in hand to hand combat but Ken has more physical strength and better speed feats. He keeps up with Ryu a lot which is always impressive. Natsuo just doesn’t have the showings needed to defeat him. Ken Masters wins.

Natsuo Ishido vs Wonder Woman



Suggested by iKnowledge Natsuo Ishido is back but she won’t be faring much better than in the last match. Wonder Woman’s strength and speed are considerably greater than Natsuo’s. Natsuo may be super skilled at close quarters combat but I’d make the case that Wonder Woman still has greater overall skill on her side. Mix that in with the flight and it’s game over. Wonder Woman wins.

Natsuo Ishido vs Batman



Suggested by iKnowledge Natsuo Ishido is a very skilled martial artist. She learned a lot during her karate day sand can hold her own in MMA. That said, Batman’s a master in virtually every martial art and over the years he has all kinds of amazing gadgets and power ups at the ready. Natsuo won’t be a significant threat to him here. Batman should have control of the match from start to finish and turn this into a fairly quick victory. Batman wins.

Cassandra Nova vs Superman



Suggested by iKnowledge Cassandra Nova is very powerful, one of the top telepaths around and she even got the Phoenix Force at one point. So it’s safe to say that she is one of the fighters that you want to watch out for. Still, Superman has the edge here. Not only is he the most powerful superhero of all time but he should be able to completely overwhelm her with pure speed here. Superman wins.

Tokyo Mew Mew Olé! Review


It’s time to talk about an absolutely brutal manga that is just awful on so many levels. Man this one was bad and I had a bad feeling about it right from the jump. The original Tokyo Mew Mews may not have been fantastic manga but they at least had a lot of fun moments and cool things happening at all times. This one? It’s trying its very best to be a nonstop reverse harem at all costs while destroying all of the characters in the process. Even having some serious fights was not enough to save this one.

So the plot starts out rather similar to the main series but in reverse. Shibuya is a rather shy guy who keeps to himself. Some think he’s cool in an aloof way while others just think he’s a jerk but he doesn’t care. Unfortunately, a mad scientist (The mother of his crush Anzu) ends up firing off a powerful energy blast that transforms 5 teenage guys into cat warriors. Shibuya is now the leader of this Mew Mew group and he has to try and hide this from the world or he will be a laughing stock.

The only way to get rid of these powers is to find a bunch of “Mew Aqua” crystals. Along the way he will also have to fight off powerful Chimera monsters and a villain group led by Deep Blue who seem to want to destroy the planet. Along the way Shibuya must now try to confess his feelings for Anzu. The tough part is that the other 4 guys are in love with her as well and the same is true for the 3 big villains. Anzu loves the attention from the 8 guys but the problem is that she is slowly falling for all of them as well. Can she choose…must she choose? She will have to handle this carefully.

The original Mew Mew series was a classy affair. The cat gimmick may have been a bit much but hey it was a classic magical girl show about fighting monsters. You had a wholesome romance with the nice guy and the “bad boy” trying his best to get the lead’s attention. The romance itself may have been super weak but the show as a whole was just classic. This series just feels desperate right off the jump. The whole series is about getting in as much shipping as possible and it’s absolutely nonstop.

The plot even curves around this for no reason. Let me give you an example here real quick. One aspect of this is how the Mew Mew formula not only turns you into a cat but it also affects your personality this time. Shibuya is forced to yell stuff like “Pleased to be of service”! and every time he tries to gag himself but it’s too late. By the end of the series he stops resisting but apparently it’s something that happens to all of the characters. Part of the transformation is a mental suggestion that forces you to strike up different poses and say crazy catchphrases. This is obviously not serving any point except to try and make the characters as embarrassed as possible. It’s not a good look.

Then there is the romance which is awful. As mentioned in the intro, everybody likes Anzu. They just can’t stop thinking about her and while it’s obvious that she will choose Shibuya in the end, did we need everyone to fall for her like this? It’s just really excessive but the absolute worst part of it is that Anzu gets her own feelings confused as well. If she was just being very stoic about it the whole time or patronizing that would help but when she actually starts to think that she likes the other guys as well then it becomes an issue.

The series could have easily tried to make Anzu better by being decisive but this was just here for the drama. At the end of the day the whole series is just here for a lot of shipping. You even have the guys showing off so much that they all start to be in awe at times. At one point they’re stranded at the desert and have to make some desperate crazy calls. The plot takes a backseat all of the time and so this ends up being a horrible manga. Every single moment is weaker than its original incarnation but not by a little, it’s by a lot. There is no reason to actually read this manga in the end. There’s just no replay value here and it feels like the worst possible way to continue the franchise. I’m glad the original show got a reboot so people can check that out instead.

So as you can see, I didn’t like Anzu as the main heroine. She’s just not decisive enough and gets kidnapped a whole lot. Anzu may have been brave to enter the villain base on her own at one point but she’s captured so effortlessly that it just makes the whole decision look bad. Shibuya is also bad as the main guy because he is way too timid. He also has no control over his cat form so he will suddenly get real serious and possessive, then back to normal. These massive mood swings don’t help his character in the slightest or help you see how Anzu could have fallen for him in the first place.

Yoyogi is the smart member of the group so expect him to be talking down to everyone all the time. It isn’t very impressive though considering that his abilities aren’t even above the others and intelligence barely matters in this series. You either land your attack and destroy the enemy or you don’t. There’s no room for big fancy plans or any of that stuff. This guy’s annoying all the way through and you know he has no shot at the romance either way. While you can’t have a team without a bunch of team members, there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to this guy. There’s nothing interesting or endearing about him.

Ryusei is the youngest one of the group and he’s very headstrong as a result. Usually I like that kind of character but of course it’s more to show him as the naïve character who gets some feelings for Anzu but isn’t able to express himself. He can be really wild in his cat form as well and is often a liability. I think he could have been a decent character if handled right but of course the series was not going to handle anything right like that so it was game over right from the start.

Ayato is the rich member of the group who tries to be the mature guy who keeps everyone in line. Of course that doesn’t prevent him from falling for Anzu as well. He mainly tries to stay out of the race at least so he doesn’t complicate matters but of course it would have been even better if he could have just been a mentor figure. At least he can pull his weight more than some of the other characters and actually seems to understand the stakes. I can give him some reasonable props next to the other characters but wouldn’t say that I liked him much at all.

Finally we have Taichi who is the worst member by far. It’s not even close, the guy whines a lot and is super weak so it gets to his head and he starts to think about the dark side. C’mon now, you can’t be switching up this quickly. It’s a really bad look for him and he never really rebounds from this. It would be extremely difficult for anyone to make a comeback from that because once you’re a traitor then you’ve crossed a line that must not be crossed. Getting back from that is incredibly difficult to the point of being nearly impossible. This guy got off really easy if you ask me.

Then for the 3 Wiseman group: Latte, Chai, and Mocha, none of them were all that good. Latte was another guy obsessed with Anzu the whole time and he wanted her to love him but of course that wasn’t possible. It’s an awful motivation for a character as well. Then you have Chai and Mocha whose motivations were weak enough where they were also ready to quickly jump in and help the heroes out when things got rough. If you were a villain with a lot of convictions then that surely wouldn’t happen right? I like the title since the 3 Wisemen sounds impressive but there’s nothing particularly wise about them.

Additionally, they could have murdered the heroes so many times but kept choosing not to which was a big mistake. They’re so much stronger than the Mew Mew fighters that it’s scary. They would often win in a single blow but just let the heroes live because they can. That certainly came back to bite them later on. Then you have Dark Blue who has no conviction of her own here either.

She wants to effectively reset the world as humans have messed everything up. Okay that’s great but then all it takes is a few words for her to rethink everything? That felt way too fast if you ask me, there was just no compelling points brought up beyond the obvious. So that shouldn’t have been enough to turn Dark Blue. Not at all, it just serves to show us that she really didn’t have much drive before now.

This series probably has the most reverse fanservice I’ve seen in a minute as well. One look at the costumes and you can see how they aren’t practical at all. I’ve always said that a bad costume isn’t necessarily fanservice on its own. It’s all in how the camera zooms in or how the manga panels are meant to draw your attention. Well, here they are obviously meant to be fanservice bait. It’s a little hard to take seriously compared to traditional fanservice but I’ll still dock points in the same way because it’s yet another element that is taking priority over the plot.

When you stop to think about it, there is barely a plot here. None of the characters actively work to remove their powers after the opening chapters. The 3 Wisemen want to change the planet so they send one shot monsters out once in a while but don’t do much about that until the very ending either. Even the whole environmental theme is mostly removed from the original series. The villains own a company where they talk about going green as a front which was interesting but it’s ditched almost immediately. Going more into that could have been interesting but ultimately it didn’t happen. This series just feels like a waste all the way through.

The series works to have a bit of a body count by the end and a lot of emotional scenes but they ring hollow as you don’t like any of the characters by this point. The only consolation I can give the series is that the art was actually fairly good. There is a lot of detail put into each of the pages so I can appreciate that but at the same time a series cannot survive on art alone. A bad story will be just as bad even if the art is excellent. So the fight scenes look good at least but don’t do much to salvage the overall product.

At the end of the day, if the series wanted to be anywhere close to the original then it should have grabbed the stronger elements from the first title and built upon them. For example, the main girls there were all friends by the end and had solid banter. These guys? Well, they’re all jealous of each other because of Anzu so there’s a lot of fighting but it’s more personal and not as bantery like with the old cast. You don’t really have any scenes of the characters getting to know each other and having a good time because they have one track minds. The characters don’t have great development and again there are no big story beats or deeper themes to keep track of. It’s like the series just grabbed the concept but didn’t actually read the original series.

Overall, Tokyo Mew Mew Olé! is a really awful series. The romance here is probably some of the worst that I’ve seen since Black Bird and that one was historically bad. The whole series is really focused on the romance as everyone tries for Anzu but at the end of the day there isn’t any substance here for it. The series tries to bring you back every month with the shipping but it’s just not enough. I mean that’s probably one of the worst ways you can try to promote a series. By the time things get serious in the final chapters it is way too late. This is really a series that never needed to be made. The concept itself isn’t awful automatically of making the guys the magical fighters for a change but it feels like the series never intended to take its own premise seriously and that’s the most disappointing thing here. Definitely skip this series if you can, it’s not worth checking out.

Overall 1/10

Doron Dororon Review


I remember when Doron Dororon first came out that my first reaction was to shake my head at the name. It’s a little too hard to spell or remember and that started the series off on the wrong foot. Still, it somehow manages to keep on surviving over and over again to the point where I was rooting for it on the sidelines. I wanted it to succeed…no, I needed it to succeed! It carried the hopes and dreams of a whole new era of manga readers but alas it was not enough. After finishing the series, I can say that Jump made a mistake in cancelling it. Sure, it hadn’t really come into its own yet, but it was a fun series and I think it could have been pretty good. It’s just not the most memorable title.

The series takes place in a world where Mononoke are monsters that terrorize everyone. They’re beings of pure evil with a lot of fantastical abilities and the only ones that can stop them are the Samurai. “Samurai” are people who have been recruited because of their incredible abilities or synergy with the cursed energy to stop them. Dora wants to be a samurai because these creatures murdered his mother so he lives for revenge. It won’t be easy but he is prepared to do whatever it takes to win. Unfortunately there is one problem.

Dora has no magical energy. Yes, he is completely doomed to be unable to use it at all. It’s not something you can just develop either so that means he is really out of luck and the samurai will not allow him to join. He still tries to help when a girl is attacked by a monster though and that’s when he is saved by Kusanagi. This creature is a Mononoke as well but he wants to spread friendship and harmony to the world. He believes that making the world kinder is his mission and so Dora agrees to help him. Kusanagi can turn into any object including a sword and with Dora’s impressive physical abilities, they may end up being the strongest powerhouses out there!

So there’s a lot of elements that will sound really familiar here. It’s a classic demon hunting manga with a main character who can’t use the energies of the world. Fortunately with his new monster buddy he is already one of the stronger fighters. So it’s rather textbook stuff but this is the kind of story that I always enjoy so I can’t say that it’s really a bad thing. Put it this way, the series is trying to be like Black Clover which is one of the greatest titles of all time so I’m not sad about that. If it could be even half as good as Clover then we’re in for a treat.

I will say right off the bat that the manga’s biggest weakness is how forgettable it is. The art is good, the fights are good, and the story is good. It’s just not even trying to do anything different so you’ll just forget about it fairly quickly. For example, I write down the names of the various characters ahead of time when I’m reading a series that has already ended. This way I don’t have to look through various chapters in case I forget a name so it saves me a lot of time. In this case, even with the names I couldn’t place a few of the characters which is not good.

This is the kind of series that could really benefit from an anime because often times that is what helps make a title more memorable. Of course that’s also a decent reason not to make an anime because the manga should be able to hold its own. This is still a pretty solid manga but I can see why it was cancelled. Ultimately my advice to the series on a way it could have stayed alive would have been to not have expanded the cast as soon as it did. Keep things small for a while and that could have let things get built up naturally. Instead I think it was just a bit of character overload.

Also, this tends to happen a lot lately with the cancelled titles but a bunch of new characters appear at the very end as the series is ending. By then it’s just way too late for any of them to be all that memorable. I suppose the author may not have known that it was ending by then but that’s just unfortunate. Lets talk about some of the characters though.

First up was Dora who is the main character here. He’s a solid main character and he just wants to avenge his parents and stop all of the monsters. Always a good goal and he does well in living up to it. Kusanagi gradually helps Dora stop thinking about revenge all the time. It’s a classic character arc and I like Dora well enough. He’s not quite as ultra heroic as other leads since he finds it all to be a bit cheesy but at the end of the day he makes the right calls. I don’t get why he gets so embarrassed when Kusanagi is just talking about basic hero things though.

Kusanagi is not very good though. One of my main problems with him is that he is way too naïve. At one point we get a villain who shows up and used to be his friend but has obviously turned to the dark side. All it takes is a word or two and Kusanagi is willing to help him out. It’s great to be heroic but it’s never an excuse to be gullible as well. You have to be able to tell what is going on and stay out of trouble. Otherwise you’re just creating a lot more toruble for everyone instead of just resolving it on your own. That’s not a good look for any character. Kusanagi never really grew on me and his dynamic with Dora is definitely one of the weaker ones that I’ve seen.

Then we have the main heroine Yagyu but she falls into the Rukia trap a bit where she is technically a strong fighter but loses almost immediately to a random minion. From there she works on slowly becoming more of a hype character and regaining her honor. I do like her confidence even if it isn’t always properly placed. I think the series could have handled her character better but I still did like the character type they were going for. Down the road I’m sure she would have kept getting a lot of good fights.

Then you had Heisuke who was another one of the hype characters. He reminds me a lot of Levi as he’s on the shorter side and is one of those prodigy types. He tends to speak his mind and doesn’t get along with most of the characters but his skills speak for themselves. He’s a fun character and I appreciate that he could fight really well. This is one of those series where the heroes seem to have quite a lot of powerful fighters at their disposal which is definitely important.

Yet another hype character here was Naotora. She’s one of the strongest in the business, a prodigy, etc. Her main gimmick though is that she’s super shy and acts like a stalker as a result. She tends to try and follow Dora around all the time from a distance. She can fight so at least that explains why everyone tolerates her acting so weird all the time but it’s not a very endearing character trait. I can’t say that I ever became a big fan of hers.

Of course we can’t forget the first big villain in Hidehisa. He’s a fun fighter and once he got into his super form then he could really hold his own without any problem. I thought his fight with Heisuke was really good and was the first big definitive fight of the series. It was when the manga started to really live up to the hype with its action scenes and showed me the promise of what it could have ultimately turned out to be if it didn’t end so quickly.

The most annoying villain in the series has to be Dosan. Again, this guy isn’t as tactical or smart as he thinks he is so when the guy is tricking Kusanagi you can’t help but cringe a little. I haven’t seen a fighter look that obviously evil in a long time and yet the trick still worked. That’s just a bad look for the main monster and Dosan isn’t a super good fighter by the end of it all. Take away the tricks and that’s it for him so the quicker he was out the better.

There’s a scientist named Asahi but there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to her character. She’s someone who probably would have benefited from the series being a whole lot longer. She can help examine monsters and provide equipment but that’s about it. She’s always pestering Yagyu and is like Kuroko from Index, but without abilities to fight with, you know that she is doomed from the start. If you can’t fight in an action manga then you’re going to be in for a tough time.

As for the story, the first 11 chapters is basically the pre arc which leads to Dora having to confront the monster that murdered his mother. So you get all of the character introductions and Dora beats up his first monsters. I will say that I thought the series moved with good pacing here. He fights off quite a few monsters and this helps readers get a chance to be acquainted with the series before moving on to the big plots. So I wouldn’t say the series made any mistakes by this point. The approach actually made a whole lot of sense. Then the big fight at the end as we got our first humanoid villain was a blast. It was fairly high scale for the series and was a good preview of what we could expect down the road.

As Dora trains to get stronger we meet up with Toda who used to get beaten up by Dora all the time. He’s a nice enough character and this way we finally got another good ally who wasn’t already one of the big shots in the organization. He seems to be meant as Dora’s rival. I’d say it doesn’t work perfectly since it feels like Dora has already surpassed him by the time they meet up but Toda’s still cool enough. I can’t say that I had any real major issues with the guy.

The next arc was the first real serious one for the heroes I’d say. We get to meet the villain group led by Kanbei and they decide to lure the samurai into a trap. Fortunately the squad consists of Dora, Toda, some scrubs, and Heisuke. They’re ready to take on these villains and it’s a good way for Dora to start improving his technique and for all of the fighters to get a little stronger. It’s a very classic kind of arc with the heroes splitting up to fight their opponents. One thing that was a bit different was Heisuke fighting 3 on 1. It reminded me of Gojo in Shibuya.

This was probably the series at its peak with a lot of big fights and all so it was hard to recapture that hype in the same way later on. Still, by this point you had to assume that people were really on board with the series. The first of the villains was Yoshihime and she is one of those villains who is rarely serious. She’s super sinister but does her murdering with a smile. In a way that makes her one of the cruelest fighters right? I thought Yoshihime was okay and a fairly decent villain.

Then you have Tameemon who was one of the stronger ones but he’s not very smart. We’ve all seen the type before. It works well for when the hero is still inexperienced as he has to try and dodge while getting stronger and landing a good attack. It was a good team up fight without a doubt and one of the better fights in the series. Finally there was Kanbei as the tactical leader. He is good with plans and has a solid amount of ability but I can’t say he was super solid for me. This kind of strategic villain who can’t usually fight as well as the others is always up for a tough time. He’s not bad or anything by any means but he wasn’t going to win a championship anytime soon. He does appear a lot though so there is plenty of time for you to become a fan as you read through. Being the leader by itself is a pretty good role if you think about it.

After that we get to the weakest arc with Naotora. Her gimmick just isn’t super entertaining so a whole arc of fighting with her just couldn’t match up to the others. There is still a lot of action so it’s not like it’s a bad arc or anything but it certainly wasn’t going to make any waves for the series. Of course we also had the worst villain for this arc so you could say the series hit a bit of a speedbump. It’s relative of course since it’s not like it was a big drop but if fans started to weaken on the series then I would have guessed this would be the reason why.

Now we enter the final arc where the heroes get ready to fight Hanzo. So Hanzo is the most powerful villain out there and he’s so good that if you defeat him the Momonoke will vanish. It’s clear by this point that the author was speeding things along so it’s safe to say that the series had already been cancelled. That didn’t stop him from introducing a bunch of new characters as the senior fighters among the samurai. They are fun with some hype characters like Rui and Namishiro. They just didn’t get to do enough to really make a name for themselves yet. For example, Rui is the sassy kind of character who is always a lot of fun but she barely gets a full fight before the series is over. Likewise Namishiro is a very determined character who gets the job done and has a hype fight but the series is over by then.

It’s a shame that the more interesting characters were the final ones rather than the early ones. If we had these guys from the start then that would have been a whole lot of fun. Still, the final arc gives us a lot of fight scenes and Hanzo makes for a good villain. In fact I would say he was the best villain easily. He just wants to get super strong as his gimmick. It’s not the most impressive motivation to be sure but it’s a start and I still like that as a goal. It’s very direct and to the point.

So that basically wraps up the series. If you’re looking for a classic action story then this should still be a good title for you to check out. It’s not doing much different or unique all the way through but it’s still a really fun watch. I had a good time with it at least. It could have been better and I think it deserved the chance to do so. With another arc or two perhaps it would have finally been able to break out into its own. It would have solved the issue of the series being a little on the forgettable side. Even my advice to the series on how to not be cancelled wasn’t very extensive because I didn’t think it made a lot of mistakes.

I guess cutting out the stalker plot would have been a good idea but that’s about it. It had a lot of nonstop action and the training arc was brief at only 2-3 chapters so it’s not like it slowed down the pacing much. I also thought that the art was pretty good. Not great or anything but it was easy to follow the action at all times without getting confused. The fundamentals of the manga were sound. It just needed better characters and it could have been great off the bat. Perhaps the main dynamic doomed it since Kusanagi was a very weak character and you usually want your main duo to be great.

Overall, Doron Dororon is a pretty good series and I would recommend checking it out. It may be very generic and nothing that you haven’t seen before but it still does justice to the classic tropes. I’m always up for more combat manga after all and the series tried hard. That’s why it was able to last over 30 chapters. It’s still a decent run for a cancelled title and not everything can be the next success. I doubt we’ll see this series get a revival so this will have to be the end of it. It does have a real ending though so even if it was rushed, you’ll feel like you got the whole conclusion here. We’ll see if the next cancelled title can keep up with this one.

Overall 7/10

Tiger & Bunny Review


Now that I’ve reviewed the show, it’s time to look at the Tiger & Bunny manga. It’s fairly similar to the show but end a bit sooner and so it instead expands on the Jake arc. Some characters also get a bigger role like Cyclone and his old friend. All in all, you should like it about as well in terms of story as the show. The changes hold up and I wouldn’t say either version is weaker there. What helps the manga though is that the art is better than the show’s animation. I’m not saying that the art is amazing or anything like that as it can still feel like a tie-in at times and the suits tend to look the same but it’s easy enough to follow the action scenes. In the end, it works as a bit of an advantage compared to the show.

In case you haven’t seen the show though, here’s the general plot. We now live in a society where heroes are a very hot commodity. Most people are born with some level of super powers. They aren’t very strong but as a result you have a lot of people running around and using their powers for good and evil. There is a TV media company which thrives on this as they recruited various heroes to go around saving the day. You get points based on the civilians you save and other heroic conquests.

Tiger is an old school hero who believes that a true hero should defend the innocent and stop criminals. Not because of some kind of cash award or prestige but because it’s the right thing to do. This is definitely not the common mindset nowadays and Tiger is getting old so the bosses get him a partner. He’ll now be working with Bunny, a up and coming hero who has the same power set as Tiger. They both get super strength and speed for a limited time but it seems to be coincidental that they have the same power. They don’t really get along at all as their personalities are completely different but they will have to try and make it work. Bunny is haunted by the murder of his parents and Tiger needs to try and make some time to go and visit his daughter every once in a while. Can they really find time to also do their hero work while accomplishing their objective?

I always like the superhero stories so that was already a good point for this title. Tiger & Bunny isn’t trying to do anything super fancy with the plot, it’s just really embracing the heroics of the whole thing. As the series goes on Tiger gets Bunny to really be heroic as well. I wouldn’t say Bunny was a villain or anything but he was definitely obsessed with revenge and he had to be a top ranking hero in order to find out who the murderer was. So as a result he had to “play ball” and listen to the execs even when it wasn’t the most heroic thing to do. Tiger gradually gets Bunny to be just as headstrong as he is in saving people.

The two really have a solid dynamic going on the whole time. Tiger does test his partner by calling him Bunny a lot (His real name is Barnaby and he can’t stand the animal nickname) but at the end of the day it shows how they’re close. Tiger may be falling off in terms of power level a bit but he’s definitely a great team player and I could see him leading the heroes some day. He has a knack for always being in the right place at the right time and knows what each hero needs to hear in order to get back into the zone. Also, until his powers completely fall off, he is still stronger than the rest of the heroes by far so it’s still important to recognize that he’s a power hitter here.

Tiger just makes for a really solid main character. I also like Bunny quite a lot. His serious plot is always interesting to read and he’s a good foil to Tiger’s character. The series wouldn’t be the same without these two at the top. As with the show, there isn’t a lot of time for the other heroes but the series does its best to give them each at least one big moment. For example, Rock Bison actually gets a solid moment against Jake here. He holds off the villains long enough for Tiger to escape and even comes close to death at one point.

Rock actually got to show off his super strength which was really great because otherwise it felt like his reputation was just for show the whole time. I was pleased with this. Fire Emblem is still a character that can’t really be saved. I felt like the manga did reduce his screen time a bit though and he got to mess with Rock less but it still happens and each scene is still awful. I don’t know how this guy managed to become a pro hero.

Sky High doesn’t do a ton here but he is the top ranked hero so you have to give him his props. I still think his character holds a lot of untapped potential if the series ever wants to get into it. After all he’s a nice guy with good powers. That’s already some really solid stepping stones into being a major character with a full plot to himself right? Dragon Kid has the whole plot with her parents and gets to actively help in the Blue Angel plot where they are babysitting a kid. That mini arc was fun enough and they each got to have a decent role. Blue Angel doesn’t stand out a whole lot as the heroine but her plot of having to choose between being a singer or a hero is decent. I can also totally understand why the parents would be concerned about her being a hero since it is fairly dangerous.

Now for Origami Cyclone, he gets a fairly big role like in the show. Additionally we actually get a little more to this in the manga as his friend Edward get a full redemption arc. While in the show he was mostly just a one off character to show Cyclone the darker path, here we get a lot more of his inner thoughts and goals. It was nice to see because I did like Edward back when he was a full hero. He just had a really rough break and it ended up completely destroying him. So at least this way there is still something of him left to keep on going. Then for Cyclone, I think this should be a good boost to his confidence as well.

I’d like Edward to become a main character for a future installment. It’s perfect if you ask me since the series needs another big hero. This guy could really hold his own in that role. The odds may not be amazing but I think it would be a really good option for the series to try and pull off. He’s a lot more interesting than the next generation cadets with their weak powers. Edward has at least proven himself in a real fight already.

As for the Jake arc, it’s definitely a solid one through and through. It’s fun to see him basically taking on the entire group of heroes tournament style. That’s a good way to not only test your own abilities but to also put the world on notice. It’s a lot easier to scare the world into thinking they can’t fight back against you if you take out all of their heroes first. After all, they were counting on the heroes to protect them so this is sort of like a wakeup call. Jake may not have been the most interesting villain but his powers were very dangerous and so he worked as an obstacle.

His sidekick Kriem was also good and stayed loyal to her duties throughout the series. Lunatic gets a bit of a smaller role here than in the anime or at leas it felt that way but he’s still the standout character. He’s doing his best to punish the villains for good and remove any heroes who are only in it for the fame and glory. He’s the kind of villain that’s easy to root for because he has an honor code and his own view of justice. It’s better than having a villain who is aimless.

It’s also easy to see why this kind of villain tends to be really popular. After all, he is making the world a safer place. Certainly in an unethical way which is why he has to be stopped but put yourself in the shoes of the average joe in this world. People with powers are always going around and throwing their weight but at the end of the day when someone breaks out of jail, you’re the one who feels the fear and takes in the damage. So when the villains are being destroyed, you know that you’re safer than you were before.

Objectively there are less murderers running around now so your quality of life improves. It’s why these villains are tough to stop as well since public opinion can quickly get behind them. There’s still a whole lot they can do with the Lunatic plot so I hope that continues. As it is, the world building was already really on point. This is the kind of title that could become a really big franchise if it wanted to.

I imagine most people who read the manga will have already watched the show but either way this stands up on its own. It may not cover everything but the series still did a good job of getting all of the critical moment. You’ll be able to follow the story all the way through. Hopefully they make the suits a little more different for a sequel though so it’s easier to follow each individual action. There’s never any real good reason for having multiple suits look the same. It’s the only real issue you can have with the Ultraman manga at times and at least there you could make the case that it’s because they all have designated costumes due to the crossover nature of the manga.

Overall, Tiger & Bunny is a fun manga adventure. It doesn’t go as far as the anime does but if you’re a manga only fan I would still say that the ending is fairly satisfying. Are there still open plot points? Yes, but what superhero story doesn’t have more things lined up for the future? The idea is that the adventure will always continue and from that point of view I thought it all worked out really nicely. You won’t regret checking this one out as it’s just a fun read.

Overall 7/10