It’s been a while since I reviewed the first series. I actually finished this one a while back and am getting closer to finishing the third series which is why I needed to get this one out. The first LBX series was a lot of fun and a great series all around. The characters were solid and we got a lot of great fights. W ups the game to another level and I don’t see any other LBX season defeating it. Wars has the best plot, but W has the best action scenes and the power levels were a blast. They were all over the place, but pretty hype all the same. With 2 arcs and a whole lot of tournaments included, W couldn’t get much better.
It’s been a while since Ban and friends won Artemis so they’re taking a long break from saving the world. Ban was hanging out at the mall when LBX robots suddenly go on a rampage and start attacking civilians. One kid is targeted so Ban quickly gives him a robot to fight with. The kid’s name is Hiro and he’s a natural prodigy at the game. It’s not surprising though since he is proficient at every video game that he has ever played, including the LBX game inside of the Arcade. The two of them fend off the robots, but at a lethal cost to Ban’s LBX from the original series. No worries though, he gets a new one and the two of them are set to save the world.
Who is threatening the world this time? A mysterious group of terrorists known as Detector are behind it this time. The stakes are quite serious this time as the terrorists are attacking countries around the world and destroying national landmarks. They won’t stop until every country bows before them. Naturally, America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, but they are sitting ducks against the legions of LBX robots that assault them. Detector has the power to take control of any LBX and since America has hundreds of them lying around, it is a sticky situation. Ban and Hiro join the government in order to put a stop to this and are aided by American representative Jessica and Japanese brawler Ran. Jin and ex villain Yuuya also decide to come and help. The heroes have a lot of members on their side, but they are still outnumbered 100-1. It also gets personal when most of Ban’s friends from season 1 are kidnapped and brainwashed into joining Detector. Ban has to stop them now…no matter the cost!
The tone of this series is certainly more serious than the first season which makes sense, but it keeps a good balance of also being light hearted. Between the super serious fights there is still time for tournaments. The animation is very sharp and I’d say that it is noticeably improved from the first season. The best fights from the original series can still hold their own of course, but this one consistently had a lot of great fights and good speed showings from the characters. We even got a space fight in this series which was certainly a treat to watch. The series also kept the recycled footage to a minimum with the special attacks so the actual fights still had good animation. The special attacks always look nice and flashy as well so I still like to see them.
The soundtrack is excellent. There are a lot of great battle themes to be found here and the music can always be heard over the sound effects. Some shows put the music on a little too low at some points or you just can’t remember the music by the end. That’s not the case with W as most of the themes become fairly iconic by the end. I also really liked the first opening. The 2nd and third openings weren’t quite as good, but they weren’t bad either. Well…the third one may have been a little bad, but it wasn’t terrible. The first one was easily the most energetic though and it was the most fitting for this series.
Ban is the main character of this adventure once again although this time he shares the role with Hiro and Ran. I’d say that Ban still is The main character in the end though and he still gets the most hype. Several fighters like Kirito and Jessica wanted to fight Ban right from the get go since he has the reputation of being one of the world’s greatest players. He does a good job of upholding that title as well. He takes a few losses during the series when the big villains start to show up, but in 1 on 1 fights he always holds his own. If his robot hadn’t been broken in the first episode…things could have been very different as well. Ban’s a great leader and a super solid main character to have around.
Hiro had me worried when he first appeared. I really didn’t care for his design as the glasses were a bit much. Luckily, the show was just trolling and after he fell into a fountain, his hair style switched and the glasses broke. Suddenly he looked like the hardcore main character that I had been waiting for. In any other show, Hiro could have easily passed as the main character and nobody would blink an eye. His personality is a little different from Ban’s as he is less serious and likes to have a good time. In that sense, he’s like Ban from season 1. Unfortunately, saving the world so many times has taken its toll on Ban and he seems to have less fun than the others. Jin and Ban both reflect on this at one point as they may not be much older than the others physically, but it sure seems like it when the two groups are together. Hiro really likes superheroes and classic anime which makes him even cooler. His natural battle skills are great and while his special reaction ability isn’t really delved into…at all in the series, it is finally explained in the third title.
Ami and Kazu may have had a huge role in season 1, but their roles are minimal here. Ami doesn’t look bad, but she simply can’t fight alongside the others anymore. Her LBX has been completely surpassed even if it used to be very powerful. Kazu has also changed quite a bit as he worked out a lot and is more outgoing. Unfortunately, he developed into a completely terrible character. It involves a plot twist that I’m about to mention, but it erases any chance of me ever liking the character again. So much for character development.
Professor Yamano is to blame for Kazu’s downfall. So, remember the terrorist group known as Detector? They went around blowing up landmarks and terrorizing people. Yamano claims that they never destroyed anyone, but I find that incredibly difficult to believe based on the first episode. The LBX robots were blasting away at the entire mall and this was happening on a large scale around the entire planet. There were definitely casualties if we’re being honest here. They threatened all of the countries around the world and used fear tactics to accomplish their objectives. The big twist behind this is that Ban’s father created the group. What was his reasoning? He needed to steal a few vans worth of some material to stop the real villains from getting it and getting to space where they could destroy the world….
So the show is trying to say that Yamano…with his political clout with all of the high ranking officials, couldn’t have simply explained the situation? Even if he thought that the government was corrupted, he could have told just about any smaller security group or even have hired Ban and friends to secure it. Creating a global terrorist group and actually attacking all of these locations just to legitimize his group as a serious one is inexcusable. I don’t care what his excuses were, Detector did way too many horrible things to be forgiven. The twist made no sense and Yamano should have been arrested. No matter the reason, he caused a lot of large scale destruction and likely many murders. He shouldn’t be walking around the world carefree after all of that. I was really hoping that the final scene of the show would be him in jail. Even the cops and his friends barely seemed to care. Kazu knew about this and joined anyway…so he’s just as guilty. This is a good way to destroy 2 characters in one easy step.
Cobra is the American liaison who helps the characters get flights and whatever resources they need. He doesn’t really add anything to the show though. If he had been cut out, I wouldn’t have minded at all. A lot of the season 1 supporting characters show up during this title as well. Most of them don’t get much of a role, but it’s always fun to see the Power Rangers return. Otacross would have been better left to our memories though. Gouda and Sendou get decently large roles here. Surprisingly, they can still keep up with the new robots. Sendou isn’t too surprising I suppose since his Joker was all about speed and that keeps him relevant. His skills are actually pretty good and I find him to be significantly stronger than Gouda. Gouda feels like a parody at this point. His LBX is extremely slow and all of its attacks are predictable. How he manages to win anyway is beyond me. It’s a good thing that the show doesn’t really care about power levels. It’s fun to see them, but most of the new supporting characters are more likable.
Ran is the third main character of the group. She’s always eager for a fight and likes to brawl without a weapon. That’s certainly not how most LBX fight so it’s fun to see the hand to hand battles. Unfortunately, her LBX does start to get seriously outclassed by Ban and Hiro’s after a while, but she managed to keep up with them for most of the series. She’s definitely a likable heroine and a solid addition to the cast. I ended up liking her more than Ami from the first series. It certainly does help that she is a fighter.
Jessica is the other heroine and I feel like she had potential that was never reached. For example, she is very confident in her abilities. She believes that nobody can beat her 1 on 1, but why does she think this? Jessica never gives the viewers a reason to buy into this self hype since she never seems to be nearly as strong as Ban and Jin, let alone worthy of the title World Champ. Her gun skills are good, but her LBX doesn’t seem all that impressive otherwise. Ah well, I still like to see the characters have confidence. She just needs to prove herself a little more and since she missed out on the third season, she may not get that opportunity.
Jin may have been the big rival in the first series, but his role is a big smaller this time around. He’s a main supporting character, but his robot never got any real improvements so he is no longer to fight on par with Ban. It’s a shame, but you could tell as soon as he appeared that he wouldn’t be much of a threat this time. That’s because the design for his new LBX simply wasn’t that good. It had a throwaway feel to it and the writers didn’t even try this time. He still talks a good game and comes up with good strategies though. With some plot hax, he was even able to take Ban down once. He’s a fun character, but much like Zoro from One Piece, the time skip seems to have dulled his competitive flame. Jin is now content to just be an ally, as opposed to trying to surpass Ban.
Asuka is one of the new rivals who shows up. She was able to take on Ban and Hiro at once so her skills are certainly for real. I don’t believe she should be portrayed as quite That tough though since Hiro and Ban were given custom LBX robots that should be the strongest on the planet. How is Asuka’s so much better than theirs? I do like the design of the Vampire Cat though and Asuka certainly lives up to her hype. She even steps up to aid the heroes against the villains and ends up being one of the better new characters.
It was fun to see Yuuya return in this season, but I was never a big fan of the guy. His character is certainly very different since he isn’t being mind controlled anymore. He is just too serious and I typically disagreed with him whenever he was on screen. I wouldn’t have minded if he didn’t join the others as a main character and would have preferred that. Another old face to show up was Kousuke. He was a surprise stand-out character from the first series. He really just appeared as a cameo and got wrecked by Hiro, but it was nice to see him. I do think that the character was nerfed though as he should have put up a better fight.
Kirito had an intriguing plot during the series. He wanted to use a program to help bring his sister (I think it was his sister) back to life, but naturally this kept leading into dead ends. His journey was a futile one, but at least he learned how to like the LBX game again by the end. He is one of the stronger players and he made for a nice rival to Ban. Since Jin no longer counts, Ban needed someone who could compete against his skills. While Kirito may not live up to his name compared to then more popular Kirito, he is still a solid character. The fact that he is proficient with just about every robot is quite impressive as well.
Dr. Mummy is a villain that I couldn’t take seriously. I didn’t like how he had to take a deep breath between every sentence. That gimmick got old incredibly fast. The character gets a pretty big twist at the end. I can’t say that the twist really mattered all that much though and didn’t help the character much. It did get rid of the gimmick though so I was super glad about that. At least Mummy had more of a purpose here than Gojou though. I always like seeing villains betray each other and Mummy pulled that off. Gojou is an Egyptian LBX player who randomly shows up, gets wrecked, and then shows up again. There’s no real rhyme or reason to the character and he is really pointless. As you can tell…I’m not a fan.
While not a character, Achilles Deed was a fun villain to have. Someone is operating him of course, but the mystery of it all was neat. Achilles was such a fun robot from the original series and I was always a little sad that Ban never got him back. Seeing a new and improved evil version of the robot was definitely a lot of fun. It could fly as well, making Deed one of the most powerful LBX robots of all time. I was definitely very impressed with it. Another robot that got a lot of hype was Killer Droid. It’s not an LBX, but it is a robot that was created to destroy them. It is rather large, but I don’t consider it to be that fast. The problem is that it is incredibly difficult to injure the beast at all. Speed is great, you don’t get hit by Killer Droid, but if you can’t hit him, then it is an endless stalemate. He does get a weakness by the end though so suddenly everyone can beat him.
An underrated character is Jack Gelato and his LBX Proto-1. It was one of the original LBX robots and it is so powerful that it was able to take on the hero group. Hiro, Ban, Ran, and possibly some others were there, but Jack was handling them all rather well. He’s a great character and a government agent who is actually portrayed as really competent. His Proto-1 can hold his own against any robot based on that impressive fight and it’s good to have a government agent who can rank that high. Sadly, he only appears a small handful of times, but his opening fight is what really sold me on the character.
There was a random episode to tie into the Izuma 11 Go vs LBX movie. It was really good though as aliens suddenly show up and challenge Ban and Hiro. Surprisingly, the duo is completely overwhelmed and the aliens leave right before the heroes would have been destroyed. If that episode is any indication, then the movie must be incredible. I love the concept of alien LBX robots showing up and just dominating. Aliens are always a good story device to use in order to give the series some fresh and powerful villains. It was easily one of the best episodes in the franchise and I’d say that it was the best movie tie-in episode of all time. It was straight to the point and the whole episode was basically just one big fight.
After the initial arc with Detector, we get a mini arc after that. The LBX robots are on a rampage again and this time it is because of an A.I. program known as Mizel. The arc felt like filler and it didn’t really serve much of a purpose, but we got some more good fights so that is always a plus right? Mizel’s robot can infect other robots so you must defeat it without making any kind of contact. That’s incredibly tough, but it made for some good fights. The arc itself is rather bland, but I don’t think it could have passed the first arc anyway. At least Mizel has a good character design. We also get to see what a giant life sized LBX would look like. That made for a fun villain and even Godzilla may have had to back away from this foe.
One thing I have to say though is that the Chief of Security wasn’t too smart in the series. At one point, he finally figures out that the Vice President is one of the big traitors who is working for the villains. So…what does he do about it? He tells the President while the Vice is still in the room. Naturally, this results in the President getting kidnapped along with the Chief since the foot soldiers were also in on it. Aside from how terrible a decision that was by the Chief, I also just can’t buy it. I don’t care how much corruption there is, not all of the guards would be bribed and the President was in the White House. I don’t think you could kidnap her so easily. The whole thing just screamed plot hax.
Also, as mentioned earlier, the power levels are all over the place. At least the show doesn’t even pretend that it is logical though. Characters just fluctuate constantly with Ban having trouble against light-weights and then going on to fight the strongest villains. Everyone gets speedblitzed from time to time and the characters have to keep upgrading their robots to stay relevant. This typically happens with toyetic shows though so it’s to be expected. Just look at the first fight between Bass and Slur from Stream. That was lunacy!! It’s not something that would hurt the score though. It can still be entertaining although I admit that I would love to see the power levels be straightened out. It would make the villains more impressive when they beat Ban and Hiro. Instead, it happens so often that it becomes expected.
Overall, LBX W is a superb title. With its constant action and great characters, it’s virtually a perfect anime. There is no fanservice, language, or other such negatives that plague the average title. It’s a blast and a half from start to finish. It always remembers how to be a fun show and there are only 1-3 episodes that may have not been all that entertaining. For a long show like this one, that’s mighty impressive. The fights are so good that something should always be happening. I highly recommend this show to anyone who likes a solid action scene. One of the best fights in the series is the 5 way free for all at the Artemis finals, but there were dozens of awesome fights so I couldn’t even say which one was the best. Even fights that seem like throwaway battles have a tendency to be awesome by the end. Just look at Jack Gelatto? That didn’t seem important, but ended up being epic anyway. This has definitely been a fun franchise to get into and I look forward to reviewing the final installment in this series!