Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Black Clover 2016 OVA Review


It’s time to take a look at a Black Clover OVA/pilot that came out a while back. It’s pretty fun to see the series going with a different studio/artstyle. Naturally almost nobody is going to be able to touch Studio Pierrot but these guys do a solid job as well. At the end of the day this is still Black Clover so it’s pretty much inevitable that it’ll be good. It’s a fun little special that adapts the first chapter of the series and also gives us a quick flash forward to the ice arc. The characters are cool and the whole thing feels pretty nostalgic.

The special starts with Asta and Yuno fighting off an enemy mage. We then cut away to their humble beginnings. Asta hopes to be the Wizard King someday but unfortunately he was born without magic so there isn’t a whole lot that he can do. Meanwhile his childhood friend Yuno is quite exceptional with magic. They were supposed to be rivals but the gap continues to grow. Yuno then receives a 4 leaf Grimoire while Asta doesn’t receive anything. His dreams may be at an end but when Yuno is attacked by a mage Asta steps in to help. Will he be able to defy his destiny and become a true Wizard King? It won’t be easy, but Asta is ready to do whatever he can in order to succeed. It’s a pretty noble calling and Asta’s determination is part of what makes him a solid character.

So for the main differences here, Asta’s hair is drawn as more of a grey so he looks rather old at times. His change in design is definitely the most noticeable of the characters but it still works decently well. It would take some getting used to, but it’s not a bad design. Everyone else looks pretty normal. While the animation is not up to Pierrot’s level it’s still fairly good. Some shots seem to have less animation and we get some stills but I’m thinking that these Festa OVAs are probably made really quick to come out on time. The important aspects are naturally the fights and I still liked the fight with the chain user. I was also glad to actually see the demon a little more in this version. It felt like we got to see more of his design. The soundtrack is fairly standard but one theme that stood out was a rock theme for when Asta’s fight began. That one was definitely hitting the right notes.

Beyond that this is basically episode 1 as you would expect. We get to see why Asta drives himself so hard. The deck has really been stacked against him. Not having magic in this world is like having an incredible curse be put on your shoulders. You can only do so much without it and you have to give Asta a lot of credit for fighting despite all of this. He doesn’t let the other kids and characters get him down. Then you have Yuno who is a fun rival. He definitely rides Asta quite a lot with all the insults and such, but deep down he still respects their rivalry. He was also willing to defend Asta at the end which is more than most rivals will do. I really like the dynamic between Asta and Yuno. It’s definitely one of the most wholesome main character to rival dynamics out there.

It was a good idea for the series to give us a brief glimpse of the fight that wouldn’t show up for a little while. It helps to spice things up and throwing in an extra action scene is always a good idea in my book. It helps give you something to look forward to instead of just watching the origin story. By starting and ending that way it shows you that big things are coming up and that’s an understatement.

Overall, The Black Clover OVA is a lot of fun. I’d definitely recommend checking it out and then you should watch the full fledged series. It’s only around 30 minutes so it’s not like it’ll take you all that long either. Ideally you should watch the main series first and then go back to this one for some nostalgia. If you don’t really have time to be watching a full anime now though then watching this one works well enough. It definitely holds up well as a mini movie of sorts and you can at least tell people that you’ve seen Black Clover. It’s definitely a lot of fun and currently the best Shounen Jump series going. You really don’t want to miss out on this.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution Review


It’s time to look at the remake to the original Pokemon movie. It’s always interesting to see a remake made to a movie in this day and age because there are now so many ways to go back and access the original right? The main incentive of remaking a film otherwise is to utilize modern effects and such that you didn’t have back in the day. That’s why it is especially puzzling to have a new film made that is technologically worse than the original. The original movie looks way better. So if anything maybe this could be a more family friendly version and I can roll with that logic. Due to the animation style it is something that would be easier for kids.

So the plot of the movie is that some scientists decided to try and create the strongest Pokemon of all time. His name is Mewtwo. I don’t really know why they wanted to make him aside from just proving that they could. Well, they succeeded and so Mewtwo blows up the island and works for Giovanni for a while. Eventually he has enough of that and decides to invite the strongest trainers in the world so try and test their mettle against him. Ash is naturally selected as one of the challengers so he heads on over to fight Mewtwo. Can Ash defeat this Pokemon or is this one fight that he is destined to lose?

Mewtwo is extremely overpowered in the film and it’s really nice to see. The film makes it evident that as a legendary Pokemon he is far above the rest and the same is true of Mew. This is how it should be. A Legendary Pokemon should be leagues above a normal one to the point where there isn’t even a contest. That’s just how it really should be. Later on the franchise would add weaker Legendaries, but at this point in time they lived up to the legends. Mewtwo also makes for a great villain. He’s got some fun goals and he has absolute confidence which you want to see in any villain.

The film continues to excel in all of the positives that the original had as well. The character cast is pretty strong and we get some solid action scenes as well. Right from the start in Ash’s first scene we are treated to a Pokemon battle. It’s always great to see those because a full Pokemon fight is pretty rare. Pikachu, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur all get to shine in the spotlight. Ash’s Charizard also looks really good whenever he shows up. He’s eager to battle and doesn’t shy away from a fight even when he is outmatched. It’s a big reason as to why he became a fan favorite Pokemon and he has definitely earned that title. Nobody is going to mess with him.

The soundtrack is a lot of fun. While I feel like it doesn’t have quite the same pop as the original version in some respects it could just be because I’ve heard that one so many times. It’s still quite solid here and I like the theme that plays during Ash’s fight. It’s very lively and a good way to kick things off. We also get an emotional theme near the end although I feel like they switched the song from the original.

I think this film really shows that if you copy a great movie then the remake is guaranteed to be great as well so long as the writing stays the same. The animation here is way worse than the original. To put it one way, it’s one of the worst CGI examples I’ve seen for a recent big media product. The Machinima Transformer shows look better than this one. Part of the problem is that the characters are drawn to look like action figures from a fan animation 10 years ago. For a fan animation I’d say that this looked exceptional but for a AAA CGI film from Netflix it is incredibly underwhelming. The only part of the animation that looks really good are the colors. I do like how the attacks really pop out at you and Mewtwo’s armor stands out as well. CGI tends to do colors really well which is why even hand drawn anime like Super typically use CGI for the aura that surrounds the characters. CG pops and blending it with 2D animation can work quite well., When you go full CGI though then it can get a little risky.

Ash is a great main character as always. This was back when he was at his best. I like seeing Ash jump into danger and have actual plans for the fights. While Charizard didn’t win, Ash had a good plan for him. I also like that he tried to punch out Mewtwo. The plan was doomed from the start but it shows Ash as basically working with his Pokemon instead of just sending them out there to do all the work.

Brock and Misty are still some of the weakest counterparts to Ash although I know they tend to be pretty well liked. Brock flirts way too much and is more annoying than entertaining. He never really has any good scenes. Meanwhile Misty is okay but I feel like she doesn’t have much personality here. She isn’t given a great deal to do in the movie. I’d argue that some of the random trainers who fought Mewtwo had more character as they stepped in and did their best in the fights. They lost of course but anyone would against Mewtwo.

I’m a big Pikachu fan but I do think he didn’t play the matchup right here. While he didn’t want to fight the fake, he still should have defended himself. If he could have escaped and aided one of the others then they could have turned the whole fight around. As it was most of the fights were total stalemates. I do consider that to be a cop out but it’s fine since the main matches had outcomes for the most part. Mewtwo vs Mew was also a stalemate although I still hold that Mewtwo would have won if they kept on going. Mew can dodge really well but you can’t win a fight by escaping. Soon Mewtwo’s hits would eventually land.

One scene that I always find a lot of fun is seeing the trainers try to cross the ocean during the storm. Seeing the Pokemon aid in real life trials like that is just cool. It shows the bond between the trainer and Pokemon as well as how strong the creatures are in a natural disaster. For sure you’d like to have a Dragonite or Gyarados for a situation like that. No mere storm would stop them. Ash and friends don’t have any big heavyweights like that but they ultimately pulled through with a little help.

Overall, Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution is pretty faithful to the original. If you really don’t like watching things past a certain time period then it is certainly fine to watch this version instead. You’ll still be able to get most of the experience from the original. It really is basically the same film if you don’t mind the animation. The main problem for me is that there is really no reason to watch this one instead of the original. The original is simply better as there is no aspect of this film that defeats the original. Even minor things like the shading and atmosphere of the original are a lot more intense than the remake. I’ll give this film props for the attempt though. If you’re going to remake a film then it’s always ideal to remake a good one rather than something average or sub par.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Batman: Family Matters Review


It’s time to look at one of the latest Lego adventures. DC has been particularly good at using this format and this movie is no exception. This time we’re back to focusing just on the Batman characters and it works out pretty well if you ask me. Batman steals the show and we get to adapt both the Red Hood and Omac sagas in one film. That’s pretty impressive.

The movie starts out with Batman really not liking the fact that he has to continue living as Bruce Wayne. It’s all just a big distraction from his true passion in life which is beating up enemies. It’s gotten to the point where Batman can’t even stay awake during a board meeting. Something’s got to give and he gets his chance when Wayne Enterprises develops the Brother Eye. In theory it can replace Bruce Wayne so Batman jumps on the idea and even decides to sell Wayne Enterprises entirely. Now he can be Batman 24/7. The only problem is that the city is as dangerous as ever. A mysterious figure is bumping off all of Batman’s allies one by one. If he doesn’t stop this guy soon then everyone is doomed. Additionally, Brother Eye may be deadlier than it appears to be. (Although it looks pretty deadly from the jump.)

One of the main reasons why this film works so well is because of how good Batman looks. He’s got that smug confidence that we’re all used to seeing at this point. Not only is Batman highly skilled but he knows it and it’s even gone to his head by this point. Only Alfred is really able to keep him in check. The others can just hope that Batman sees it their way. The voice actor has done a good job of becoming an iconic voice for the character as well. There doesn’t seem to be anything that Batman can’t do at this point. He beats Solomon Grundy with ease and always has a plan of action even if Brother Eye proves to be a formidable foe.

The rest of the Bat characters are also fun. Damian wants to prove himself as Robin but has to work pretty hard at this since Batman really doesn’t trust him yet. He does well enough when it counts and takes down a bunch of the robots with ease. Batwoman gets one of the larger roles from the allies though. She’s certainly got a lot of confidence and takes Killer Croc on with no hesitation. I like the concept of Batwoman since she’s more of a loner like Huntress. Batwoman doesn’t necessarily work under Batman since they usually have no affiliation. That being said, her skills do suffer a bit as a result since she doesn’t get that training. Here she has got that confidence that you always want to see in a hero.

Batgirl gets less to do as a result though. She holds a petty grudge against Nightwing for a good portion of the film. Her fight with Scarecrow was fun as she had to work her way through illusions and mirrors to get at him. The mind games definitely took their toll though which made Red Hood’s job pretty easy. Nightwing looks good and is the only one to not fall for the quick sucker hit. At least he gave Red Hood a good fight and that makes sense. From all of the Robins I do consider Dick Grayson to be the most skilled. After that I would put Jason Todd as number 2 and then Damian as 3. While I do think Tim Drake is a great character and a fun Robin, he’d have to round out the group almost by default. The Robins are just stacked when it comes to power.

Red Hood definitely looks really good here. He gets a lot of hype and seems to be the smartest character next to Batman. The film has no shortage of emotional moments like this plot line as well as the reason why Brother Eye is so sore. Red Hood’s identity may not be much of a secret and I don’t think it was supposed to be, but it’s still nice to have the reveal later on. It’s just a good arc in general whether it’s through a film or a Lego adventure. We didn’t even need the Omac subplot and the film would have still been great but it made for a solid climax.

It’s always good to round things out with some big action scenes and Family Matters didn’t forget about that part. I can’t really say that I had any issues with the film. As far as animation goes there isn’t really anything to say because it’s the same as always. Either you like the Lego style or you don’t. This film wouldn’t be changing your opinion one way or the other because it’s not trying anything different with that. I don’t think there is much you could try either. Legos will always look like Legos or it wouldn’t be a film in that style. That’s the way I see it at least.

A Lego film will usually live or die on the writing. If the writing is bad then the jokes won’t really land and the whole thing will fall flat. What the film is hoping for is that the jokes will be pretty funny and this one succeeds there. Right from the gate we get a lot of great lines. I wouldn’t even mind a whole film about Bruce Wayne just mocking everyone and trying to make it a whole film without people blowing his cover. Batman may not be as cautious when he’s Bruce Wayne like when he’s talking about his Batman job on the phone, but it goes hand in hand with his contempt for everyone. Batman doesn’t think it’s a security risk to be on the phone because nobody’s smart enough to stop him. The arrogance makes for a lot of comedic moments.

Overall, Family Matters is one of the stronger DC Lego specials. The dialogue is some of the best I’ve seen in the franchise and there’s a lot of action here. If you mentally switch the animation out this could legitimately be one of the big DC animated films. The fights are good and the pacing is tight. The film feels like it ends pretty quickly as a result. If you like Lego or at least don’t mind the format then I highly recommend checking this one out. You really can’t go wrong here and it’s always fun to see Batman getting his hype. Even if his scenes may not all be meant to be taken seriously they’re still hype.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Hero Academia: Heroes: Rising Review


It’s time to take a look at the new My Hero Academia film that came out. My Hero Academia (Although I usually just call it My Hero Academy) has become a really popular series and is now one of the big 3. Gone are the days when Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece were the 3 kings. While One Piece has remained in existence we’ve got a new generation of titles. My Hero Academia, Black Clover, and Demon Slayer are definitely those titles and MHA is the only one to currently have a film. Demon Slayer’s is coming up soon but now MHA has 2 so it has been on a nice roll. This one improves upon the first film and makes for another great experience.

The film takes place right after the Overhaul arc. The heroes are on high alert since the League of Villains now have bullets that can erase a person’s quirk. The Pros stop them from delivering more cargo but this results in a villain known as Nine escaping and joining back up with his friends. The 4 of them decide to take down the planet and since Nine can steal quirks he is a pretty big threat. In his first big scene he basically takes down a city in the span of a minute. The last quirk he needs is on an isolated island known as Nabu.

Meanwhile, Class 1A is currently on a vacation of sorts in Nabu. Calling it a vacation doesn’t really do their mission justice though. This is their chance to show that they can operate as real heroes. No pros or villains should be around so they work on smaller errands. The town loves them except for one girl named Mahoro. She wants to prove to her little brother Katsuma that heroes are all fake. Deku and the others will have to convince her otherwise, but it’ll be difficult because Nine and his partners won’t lose so easily. They are here to take names and their target is Katsuma. Can the students protect these two kids until back-up arrives?

I’m glad that the heroes have their provisional licenses now because it’s always annoying when the pros tell the students not to help. This time Deku and the others can go full blast from the start. Deku is stronger than most pros at this point anyway so it makes sense. The vast majority of the film takes place on the island with a lot of battles so that’s definitely pretty awesome. The opening scene is also a lot of fun though. We get a pretty quick skirmish with the League of Villains and Endeavor also gets in on the action. Dabi gets a good amount of hype here since he is able to block Endeavor’s first blow although he is ultimately defeated. We don’t get to see the pro heroes do anything after this so it was nice of them to get a solid scene here.

There are some brief interludes with Hawks and All Might during the movie but they never actually amount to anything. I suppose just seeing Hawks was hype for his fans but he really had no impact on the film so I don’t think he even needed to be here. If you cut him out than nothing changes. I was expecting him to get a mini fight at the end of something. Something sort of like Shigaraki’s role at the very end of the film. It was brief but pretty hype. Admittedly the other character in the scene looked pretty bad as I don’t know what he could have expected here, but his end was inevitable. This also served to help Shigaraki’s hype.

All right, let’s go back to the island. One fun thing about the set up here is that every hero gets to help out this time. Class 1-A all chip in even though not all of them are big fighters. At this point in the series there are some characters who have heavily surpassed the others like Deku and Bakugo then Todoroki, Kirishima, and Tokoyami. The rest aren’t necessarily combat types although they can fight when needed. There are 4 villains running around here and they’re all pro level which makes for some pretty tough battles. The fight scenes are pretty great. I’ll leave the best one for last. The guy with the puppets against Bakugo and the others was pretty fun. My only complaint there would be that Kirishima was heavily nerfed.

In this film Kirishima and Todoroki were given a lot of shade. Both of them are way stronger than how they looked here. Everything Todoroki tried was completely useless against the wolf’s attacks and Kirishima didn’t even get to put up a fight against anybody. His only good moment was blocking the energy blast at the end but he should have been using Red Riot from the start. Meanwhile Tokoyami looked pretty good here. While he ultimately did need some help against his opponent, he was the only student to hold his own even if briefly against one of the 4 big enemies. His quirk has a lot of room to grow and so I could see him becoming a pretty big fighter by the end of the series.

Uravity also looked really good here. We got to see her look a lot more determined than usual as she used her gravity powers quite a bit. As I mentioned, the class just got to shine here a lot more than usual. While Deku and Bakugo are clearly the power hitters, but the others are at least making contributions. From the villains Mummy gets the smallest role, but still has a good fight to himself. Then we have Slice who seems a lot more rational than the other villains and doesn’t panic very easily. Her hair abilities are quite lethal in a fight. Chimera is the most impressive as he was a beast in combat. He easily exceeded the kids in battle. Their plan to use the toxin to paralyze him was quite good but Chimera surpassed even that. He was probably a little too strong as this was the only battle where it was hard to see the heroes taking him down. It was still a clever move from Todoroki and Kirishima though. Chimera was my favorite villain next to Nine.

Nine is the standout villain here. He’s got a lot of determination and his reasons for wanting to change the world seem pretty personal. What I like is that we don’t really get to see much of a sob story though. Villains really don’t need one. All we need to know is that Nine has to be stopped, but that he won’t make it easy. The fact that he can absorb quirks through combat makes him scary tough and he gets more and more broken as the film goes on. By the end he’s clearly one of the strongest villains we’ve seen in the whole series. I dare say that only All For One would likely surpass him here. The villain from the first film would be close but I’d put him under Nine.

When you watch the film you get a really good look at how powerful the guy is. He keeps on getting up long after the point where you figure he would have been down for the count. He only has one weakness and his pure drive is able to help him get past it by the end. The final fight almost gets meta with how everyone’s fading out and moving across the terrain. Nine being able to comprehend and block such moves is totally crazy.

Bakugo is one of the main characters here and he definitely looks great. The guy’s as brutal as ever as he constantly talks about destroying the villains. Bakugo takes each fight seriously even if he doesn’t really see the value in the less exciting parts of the job. He’s always got a bit of a point behind his actions although he never bothers to share them. The film has a good Goku and Vegeta dynamic with the two of these characters. This film really seems to paint Bakugo as the more talented fighter while Deku’s sheer stats are higher. I’d say this seems pretty accurate since Bakugo trains on his fighting style so often.

Then you’ve got Deku who is still quite the contrast from Bakugo. He just loves being a hero and will take on any task no matter how small it may seem. Deku doesn’t take things personally and just rolls with each insult. This doesn’t mean he’s a pushover when it comes down to a fight though. Since he has One For All, Deku’s powers are always at a high level. He can only use 20% of this power and yet he is already a heavyweight. Once he gains 100% mastery he will really be impossible to defeat.

As you can probably tell from how I described the fights, the animation here is top tier. All of the energy attacks look fantastic and the animation is always moving. There are no shortcuts to be found here and it’s all very theatrical. The battles with 9 are particularly impressive as I liked how his energy barriers were used. Through dialogue we know that the characters can’t see these fields so they are animated for our benefit. It’s also a way to show us the contrasting styles between how Bakugo and Deku fights. The soundtrack is also a lot of fun. While I didn’t notice any new themes, the themes from the show work as well as they ever have. I probably would have chosen a song that’s a little faster than Eri’s for the final fight, but it’s a pretty emotional song so they were going for a different angle.

The film’s ending will vary for some. I’d say it was on the weaker side. The film comes close to making a pretty big decision and then cops out on it. I understand why the film backpedaled on that one, but they definitely should have just gone with it and lived with the consequences. That would have really made the film incredible and people would have lost their minds walking out of the theater. The ending slightly weakens the emotional impact of the film but it’s not something that ultimately limits the film much. We still had a great ride with terrific fights all the way through. Even the kids were pretty reasonable for a change. I thought the sister did a reasonable job in trying to turn her brother against the heroes without going overboard as the kids usually do in these kinds of films.

Overall, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising is a pretty great film. The opening may take a little time to get to the good stuff but once the fighting starts there is really no turning back. The onslaught of nonstop fighting is great and this film will have a whole lot of replay value. The final fights with Nine are particularly impressive. The animation is stellar and no matter which student is your favorite you’ll have a good time. I can’t think of any other recent film that was able to juggle so many different characters at a time. The power levels may not always be perfect, but the film did a good job of keeping them pretty well balanced the whole time. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should definitely check it out. It’s the kind of film that is definitely a lot of fun in theaters.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

A Certain Magical Index: The Movie – The Miracle of Endymion Review


It’s time to look at the Index film that came out a while ago. The series has definitely expanded quite a lot with three different shows coming out. Two of them already have 3 seasons which is quite impressive. While the series is mainly an Index film it does bring together the leads of all 3 titles. Unfortunately the film doesn’t really plan out many things for them to do and falters with some fanservice issues which limits how solid the title could ultimately be. It’s an interesting premise with a solid opening act, but it just couldn’t stick the landing.

The film starts off with Touma and Index meeting up with a singer named Arisa. She’s quickly become mega popular over her songs lately and even someone like Touma who doesn’t really listen to music much is a big fan of hers. The three of them get along well enough, but then Arisa is attacked by 3 mages working for Stiyl. Touma tries to figure out what is going on, but Stiyl gives no answers and the heroes are saved by the arrival of a mysterious group of robot riders led by Shoutaura. After everyone leaves with no explanation Touma invites Arisa to stay with him and Index for a while until they sort things out. Everyone is after Arisa and Touma aims to protect her for as long as he can.

Everyone going after the new film character isn’t really a new concept. It’s a convenient way to get everyone in on the action from the jump and works well enough. Arisa is also a likable character who just wants to spread the joy of music to everyone so I have no complaints with her. She also stays strong and sings her song for as long as possible even when the circumstances are getting quite dodgy for her. She never gives up and that’s good since not all of the characters here can say that. There are 2 other important new characters.

The first is Shoutaura who has a personal stake in this. She does not like miracles at all and brings this up quite a lot. Shou is a solid fighter and her group comes in handy on more than one occasion. For a while she was my favorite character but she cracks quite a bit by the end and makes more mistakes than I could allow. I understand her being generally upset and not liking the main characters but by the end she becomes totally crazy. She should have just stopped at trying to murder Ladylee for a while. At least that made sense. Her final target made 0 sense and destroyed her character.

Meanwhile Ladylee is the main villain. She is cursed with immortality and isn’t having any fun so she is trying to get Arisa to fulfill her plans. I don’t think her plan is all that good because there’s no reason why it should erase her immortality. I suppose she needs to try something but ultimately this is a long shot. At least in the meantime she built up a pretty solid reputation and succeeded in life. Even if things don’t pan out nobody should be any the wiser so in theory she can continue her existence.

So, why did the film’s plot not work out so well? Well, as I mentioned the beginning is pretty interesting. You have the magicians and science users all going after Arisa. There’s gotta be a good reason for this right? Well, it’s a bit underwhelming. Basically Arisa has the potential to become a very powerful Angel who could throw the world into chaos. That doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to be hunting her. If anything all this does is make it a whole lot easier for the villains to try to get a hold of her. It also makes Stiyl’s group impossible to root for because they are hunting an innocent girl with no proof that she is bad. If anything they know that she is a nice person in the present and don’t care.

I’ve never been a big fan of Stiyl so it’s not super surprising so much as it’s just disappointing on his part. Meanwhile Kaori also appears briefly and while she is more sympathetic to Arisa’s plot, she isn’t exactly trying to stop her group either. She gets a decent scene trying to stop some rockets but there is no reason why she couldn’t stay to help in the climax except that the film didn’t want her there. I’m also dubious that her slashes could not cut through the random mechs that the villain group was using.

Another problem here is that the film sets up a lot of big fights and character moments only for them not to happen. One case is Accelerator as we see him fairly early on in the film with Last Order, but then he does nothing until the very end. He at least gets a fight right? No, he just gets to slam a tower, but that’s it. There was no real point to his inclusion then but he deserved to do something since he’s such a big character. You can’t throw someone like that into the mix and then not use him. Last Order was fun as always though and did have a good line about why Accelerator should care.

Then you have Misaka who falls into the same boat. She appears early on with her friends and even escorts Arisa through the villain base. (Although they didn’t know it at the time.) After that she doesn’t do anything until the end of the film where she zaps some robots and breaks a tower. This is another case where the whole thing is a missed opportunity. Misaka has broken the law before and has experience being a vigilante. The film should have gone into that as it would have been a pretty interesting plot line. Have her finally get to work with Touma and pals. That would have been really cool instead of doing nothing.

The weirdest part is that Ladylee has two main henchmen who work for her. You’d think that each character would get one right? Well, one of them dies at the very end without being able to fight while the other one is busy dealing with Shou. Both of these characters got some nice build up so it was an odd way to end. At least the main robot got a few fight scenes before he got blown up so it felt like he had an important role. The others…not so much. It just made so much sense to have all of these characters get some action. This is probably the single biggest way in which the film limited its potential. The setup was perfect for a big 3 on 3 fight and it just didn’t happen.

Now, the film wasn’t devoid of fight scenes or anything like that. We got quite a few good ones with solid animation. Stiyl and friends vs Shou was solid as well as Shou’s fights against the robot. The movie’s animation was consistently very solid with the character designs looking good and the energy effects being on point. The soundtrack is also good with a lot of the classic tunes thrown in. Unfortunately my favorite theme from the show didn’t show up but you can’t win em all. That would have helped enhance any scene you throw it into though. We do get a few insert songs from Arisa though which are a lot of fun. Her songs were actually translated in the English version which is cool. Those scenes are definitely a lot of fun.

One area the film struggled with was the fanservice as mentioned earlier. Characters just randomly walk around with nothing on for no reason. Mainly Shou was guilty of this and after it happened multiple times you can tell the film was just being cheeky. It had to throw in random bath scenes and Touma walking in on people too so in general the film was squeezing in as much of this as possible. It’s not as if any of the scenes themselves are all that terrible, but they’re consistent which is still a big problem.

Accidents aside, Touma looked good here. The accidents here weren’t actually his fault. Sometimes they are, but in this film they weren’t so I don’t hold it against his character. He’s quite patient despite being put in a few tough situations like having to pay for large meals that Index likes to eat. You’d think Index would contribute once in a while, but she never seems to help out financially. Touma also does his best to help out during the fights and is in general a good lead. Index isn’t nearly as solid as she just tends to get in the way all of the time. She is certainly not quite as helpful or charismatic as someone like Misaka generally and Arisa looked better in this film.

Overall, A Certain Magical Index: The Movie is decent at best. You’ll get a fun enough story that feels like it could be a two part episode of the show. All of the characters show up and since the music is the same as well it easily fits in with the series. Unfortunately it would be adapting some of the weaker stories with a plot that isn’t particularly strong and more fanservice scenes than some of the episodes tend to have. If you’re a big fan of the series then I imagine you’ll want to check this film out. It still is pretty fun and you’ll be engaged while watching. The weaknesses of the film don’t become as glaringly apparent until you’re done with it. While watching you just keep seeing scenes where you’ll shake your head and think it should have gone another way but there’s always a chance it could change by the ending. Otherwise you really aren’t missing much and you can definitely just go ahead and watch Railgun S instead. That’s still the single best part of the Index series with Misaka showing why she is a one woman army.

Overall 5/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis Review


It’s time to look at the next big LEGO adventure. This time Aquaman takes the center stage as he tries to prove himself. It’s a pretty fun LEGO adventure and while it can’t quite match up to the best ones out there, it holds its own pretty well. We get some decent fight scenes and it’s always fun to see the Justice League return no matter what format it is. So without further ado let’s dive into this.

The film starts off with the Justice League sending out a call for help to Aquaman. He is delighted to hear this, especially because the villain is attacking a river so he’ll be able to do some real damage. Unfortunately this area is just called a river but it’s totally dry so Lobo beats Aquaman up. Aquaman struggles to hold onto his confidence but even the Justice League can barely defend him in faqront of the media and Ocean Master has now taken over Atlantis. If Aquaman doesn’t regain his confidence really soon I’m afraid that it’s going to be too late for him.

DC’s been doing quite well with the Lego adventures and this one continues the run of solid titles in the franchise. While Aquaman can’t hold his own film nearly as well as the Flash, he’s a fun enough lead. We really hadn’t seen him in the other specials so this was a good way to give him some focus with the league. Naturally a lot of his scenes are played for laughs. Most of the characters land a lot of burns at his expense but Aquaman does his best not to let it get to him. He still keeps on trying to be the best and after he gets drunk Aquaman finally experiences some clarity on what he has to do next. It took him a while to get to the answer, but better late than never right?

The Lego animation is fairly consistent with how all of the others were. Lego in general still isn’t my favorite style but this one still gives us some pretty good fight scenes. Superman surprisingly (well maybe it’s not too surprising) doesn’t look great in the battles though. Lobo is just too powerful and really deals out the pain to everyone who goes up against him. It’s always nice to see him looking good though since Lobo is often one of my favorite DC villains. I like his biker theme and the fact that he actually can fight with the likes of Superman. His appearances in the DCAU is really what got me into being a fan.

Meanwhile the humor is pretty sound as you’d expect. My favorite humor scenes are admittedly the ones that are poking fun at Aquaman a lot. It’s the low hanging fruit of course, but you can’t help but smirk when Ocean Master shows his little compilation video of Aquaman getting wrecked. The humor scenes that don’t work quite so well are the more over the top ones like when Wonder Woman gets dazed/confused for a while. Damian trying to act like a kid also doesn’t work quite as well. I was surprised to see him and Batgirl since they basically come out of nowhere, but the more guest stars the better.

Ocean Master makes for a fun villain. He may not always be the biggest mastermind but he did convince Aquaman to give up the throne without a fight which does take a good degree of skill. A lot of villains would love to be able to say that they took over Atlantis without having to lift a finger. It’s usually just not that easy though. Things may not have worked out well for him in the end, but if not for the rest of the heroes being around he probably could have pulled the whole thing off. There’s also the slight sympathy angle that any story with Ocean Master comes equipped with because Aquaman tends to put him down without realizing it. “It’s good to be king!” was definitely something that Ocean Master doesn’t need to hear from Aquaman on a daily basis. Still doesn’t make him any less of a villain though.

The most tragic part for Ocean Master though is the fact that he starts to be overshadowed by the other villains here like the Red Lanterns. How can he really hope to compete with powerful foes like that? Dex-starr and Atrocitus both get fun roles and you don’t really doubt that either one of them would be able to clobber Ocean Master. It was a cool team up though because that’s one of those out of the box pairings that seems like it would be interesting.

Meanwhile we have a full subplot about Jessica Cruz working to find confidence in being a Green Lantern. It’s not as good as the main plot, but it’s decent. Most of it involves her ring giving her a lot of snark as it constantly mocks Jessica and makes things tough for her on purpose. Honestly Jessica has enough trouble trying to be a fighter, the ring doing its thing really doesn’t end up helping matters at all. It just ends up getting in the way and making trouble for both of them. I lost a lot of sympathy for Jessica when she started making fun of Batman’s utility belt though. The first time you can write off as an accident, but after that it has to be intentional. It may have been a humor plot, but it still hurt Jessica all the same. Especially since Batman was the best character in the special. One simply does not disrespect the Dark Knight like that.

Overall, Rage of Atlantis is a fun DC special. There’s not a lot more to say beyond what I’ve already mentioned. If you like Aquaman or the new Green Lantern Jessica then you should enjoy this one. Quite a lot of characters show up and so the special is able to make the most of its longer run time. I wonder which hero will get a lego special next. I dare say that Green Lantern has earned his, but I wouldn’t mind another Batman centered JL special either. Those are always fun.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit Review


It’s time to take a look at another Lego Jurassic World special. This time it’s a two part adventure so there is a little more content here as we get time for two little adventures although both parts are connected to the same plot. I’d still have to give the edge to the last special I saw in the series, but this is a good follow-up. I think you’ll have a very tough time trying to guess what the secret exhibit is so the movie did a good job of hiding that.

The movie starts with Owen flying in some dinosaurs for Claire who is working on new projects in Jurassic World. It’s pretty tough for Owen to land safely, but he pulls it off and prepares to get paid. Unfortunately Claire hits him with the technicality that he won’t get paid until the dinosaur is actually on the right section of the island. In all fairness, she does have a point that he only semi delivered the dinosaur but I think there was a breakdown in communication between them early on. Now Owen is going to have to help Claire get all the way through but with the deadline getting crunched and some dinosaurs on the loose, they may not be able to make it in time.

The main focus of the special is really the banter between Owen and Claire. The two of them are bickering and debating throughout so you get to choose whose side you’re on. Either way it is entertaining though which does help the film maintain a fun tone as the adventure goes on. The special really feels like it goes by in a flash even with two parts although I did watch one part as a time so it felt like a good miniseries.

I was with Owen for most of the film, but ultimately I had to side with Claire. What gave her the edge here in the end was the fact that she was so close to making it back to base in time, but then Owen had to take a shortcut and of course it didn’t work out and nearly sabotaged their entire adventure. That is completely 100% on Owen and it’s not the kind of thing where you could say it was a misunderstanding. He simply messed it all up and when the stakes are this high (Claire could be fired) he probably should have reigned it in a bit.

Beyond that he was definitely a fun lead though. I always like his confidence and how he just jumps into every adventure. You always want to have someone like that on your adventures even if he won’t necessarily think things through all that well. Meanwhile Claire is definitely the more practical member of the group. That means she isn’t always as entertaining, but she does have some gusto. She does her best to be a go-getter from the start and is always trying to accomplish the mission and impress the boss. Claire does use a little deception to get her way which is a bit tricky so I can’t defend that, but it’s still a fun move. At the end of the day her boss is pretty crazy so it’s probably the best way she could have handled that anyway. She also had a good line at the end to satisfy the boss while also technically not lying about anything.

Meanwhile the boss definitely looks pretty bad although it was certainly intentional. He’s the comic relief character who is very absent minded and doesn’t really think things through all that well. Giving the villain the password to his computer was definitely his biggest mess up. I liked the boss’ enthusiasm but he definitely isn’t doing a great job of running the park. He really needs to step up his game or that’s really going to be it for the place.

Finally, the reveal of what the secret exhibit was turned out to be pretty fun. It’s definitely not exactly what I was expecting but it worked all the same. It actually made sense with the other bits we knew about the boss such as the fact that he thought the dinosaur cookies would be a really good idea. The whole time he was aiming the park towards kids so this exhibit/ride made a lot of sense. It doesn’t seem like the safest option out there, but since they’re all made of Legos I wouldn’t say it was a huge risk either.

Overall, The Secret Exhibit is a good follow up to the first special. It’s always nice to see the characters trying to navigate through this dinosaur infested world and the dinosaurs even try to help Owen and Claire out this time which was very wholesome. If you enjoy the Lego specials in general then you’ll definitely like this one. It’s got good humor at the ready and there’s even a cliffhanger for the next one. I’m not sure how serious the cliffhanger is, but I’d definitely be up for some more adventures.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego Marvel Spider-Man: Vexed by Venom Review


It’s time for the next Marvel Lego special and this time we get Spider-Man as the lead character. One nice thing about these lego adventures is that they always feel like they could take place in the real show. The Black Panther special was like something out of Avengers Assemble and this one is pretty close with the current Spider-Man title. It may not be exact and it certainly isn’t officially in continuity, but it does help make the whole thing gel together pretty well.
The plot of the special is that Venom and Green Goblin have joined forces to get this mystical key item. Spider-Man is on the scene right away, but isn’t able to take them down in his first encounter. He may need some extra tech to win in this round but he’ll have to move fast because these villains are not going to be waiting for anyone. He also may get some unexpected assistance.

Green Goblin and Venom teaming up is an interesting concept and I don’t believe that it has happened before. It makes sense for them to pair up as they are some of Spider-Man’s most dangerous adversaries, but both of them have a lot of pride and like to work solo so that’s probably why it would be difficult to get them on one page. From the two I’d say that Venom definitely gets the bigger role although you may have guessed that from the title of this special.

Green Goblin doesn’t look bad, but he just doesn’t seem to be much of a threat to Spider-Man. Spidey even mentions that he can dodge the villain’s attacks all day and never feels all that threatened. At least with Venom Spider-Man had to bring in his Spider Bot to try and get the upper hand. I didn’t see any of that tech against the goblin.

This special did a good job of really using the lego format to its advantage here by having so many different upgrades for Spider-Man. I liked all of the vehicles and they looked pretty good in their brief screen time. The fights are also good, considerably better than in the last special. A good reason for this is due to the special taking the action scenes more seriously. It’s a bit ironic but this special had more of a serious tone than the Black Panther one. The fights here are just so much better like with the climax as Mecha Spiderman and Ghost Spider take on Venom. It’s real solid.

We still do get some good humor though and Spider-Man is always able to pull that off pretty well. He gets a lot of good one liners and does his best to annoy and mock the villains as much as possible. Spider-Man also looks pretty experienced here and it’s got to be one of his more impressive portrayals recently. He thinks fast to protect civilians and even has a good moment where he uses his webs to stop Venom’s bearhug drop and turns the tables. Spiderman still does whine a lot, but I like to think it’s to get the villains to drop their guard. He’s not actually all that desperate.

At one point in the special Spider-Man decides to take Goblin’s lair for his own. It’s actually a pretty interesting idea that makes a lot of sense. As Spiderman mentioned, it’s not like Green Goblin will be using it anytime soon right? Why let a good lair go to rest? I’m thinking that the only big risk here would be if the villain bugged it with a lot of weapons and traps or some cameras and the hero ends up giving away key information. You’d definitely need to do a clean sweep of it, but otherwise it’s really not a bad idea.

The rest of the characters here are all solid as well. Ghost Spider definitely ends up helping out quite a lot in the end. Without her Spiderman would have definitely been in trouble. Then you have Spider-Man himself who was very solid as I mentioned earlier. It’s always nice to see him as an experienced veteran. Finally there’s Venom who is a very imposing villain with several forms. The voice for him was also quite fitting as it was very intimidating. Yeah, Venom was handled perfectly!

Overall, Vexed by Venom is a fun special. It’s got a good blend of plot, action, and humor. It’s easily one of Marvel’s better lego specials and as always the pacing is on point. This is the kind of special that probably could have been extended into a full film and been quite solid. Sometimes it’s best not to push it though. The 20 minutes were filled out quite well. If you haven’t checked this special out yet then you should do so. It’s pretty fun.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego Marvel Super Heroes Black Panther: Trouble in Wakanda Review


It’s time to take a look at a Marvel Lego special this time around. Historically they aren’t quite as good as the DC ones. The DC ones tend to have better fight scenes and more of a solid all around cast. The characters lend themselves to the Lego format really well partially because the core members of the Justice League are so well known. Guys like Batman and Superman basically write themselves. Still, this lego special still holds its own and makes for a fun watch.

The special starts with Black Panther giving an interview about how talking is great and all, but we need action. He intends to walk around in his Black Panther suit all day to get this message across, but he is interrupted by an attack from Thanos. Fortunately, the Avengers were eating nearby so they beat him pretty quickly. Looks like things are coming out all up for the heroes now right? Well, little do they know that Klaw and Killmonger have found Thanos and enlisted his aid for their upcoming conquest of Wakanda. The Avengers already had a lot to deal with facing Thanos, can they really beat this group of villains?

It must be tough being the ruler of Wakanda because it seems like everyone is always trying to get inside to steal the Vibranium. The place just never gets any peace. Panther is also the only really strong fighter there so without him everyone tends to get captured and kidnapped. He can’t be in two places at once after all so in a way I can see why he usually doesn’t want to be an Avenger since it would mean being away from home more.

Naturally the special is more comedy oriented than the main shows would be so it pokes fun at the villains a lot, but the general idea isn’t all that bad. They break into Wakanda to power up Thanos and in exchange he’ll let Killmonger rule the land. Sure, the odds of Thanos actually doing this are pretty slim, but he is one of the more honorable Marvel villains at times. Perhaps he actually would keep his end of the bargain and help the guy out. Considering that Thanos wants to end the planet though I find this to be pretty unlikely.

It’s nice to see Killmonger since he’s a pretty fun villain. The guy makes for a good antagonist to Black Panther and I could definitely see him appearing more frequently than he used to since he had his appearance from the film. Klaw is significantly less interesting though and I can’t say that any of his scenes were particularly engaging. Thanos is fun as always although he’s probably the biggest parody of himself. It’s hard to take Black Panther overpowering Thanos 1 on 1 very seriously in any context, but hey….Thanos finally met his match.

As always I’m not the biggest fan of the Lego animation but I do think it’s a little crisper than it used to be in the original days. It may not be as smooth as DC’s but it gets the job done. We do get real action scenes which is always good. The legos make for good destruction effects since they all break down so easily. The city environment is also good.

We get some nice humor scenes as well. While the more obvious ones like the villains not being very smart don’t pan out, the wording jokes are always the best. For example Iron-Man says it’s time to wrap things up…before getting the server to wrap up his sandwich rather than entering the fight. Puns and quick banter are always the best forms of humor if you ask me although you can get any kind to work if you achieve it properly.

Overall, the special is pretty quick so it’s all over before you know it. The special never drags on so that’s always a good sign and it was enjoyable. It felt like an episode of the recent Avengers Assemble show, especially since Black Panther was the main character. At this point it would almost be odd if he wasn’t a main character. This special probably won’t be blowing your mind away or anything like that, but it’s definitely a solid installment and stands up on its own. If you like the Lego specials then you’ll enjoy this one.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego Jurassic World: The Indominus Escape Review


It’s time to look at a quick lego adventure. I’ve seen quite a few back in my day, but I actually hadn’t seen the Jurassic World one yet. It’s a fun adventure and one of the better Lego adventures. Perhaps it’s because there hadn’t been a dino one before, but this special does a great job of bringing in some new humor and situations rather than going for the same old stuff. It’s also just nostalgic to see the events of the movie even if it’s a little different.

The special starts off with a fun scene as the pilot trolls Claire by intentionally driving quite erratically. It’s good she’s made of legos or she probably would have had a concussion out of that because she hits her head a ton. The pilot ends up paying for this quite a bit though as he eventually latches onto a cage and falls out of the sky. At least he was playing Tetris so maybe he had fun. Owen manages to round up his flying dinosaurs and saves Claire from her fall out of the sky. There’s no time to waste as she wants to make a new dinosaur, but Owen thinks this is a bad idea. Will this new dinosaur really save Jurassic World or doom it?

The special is around 30 minutes so it definitely goes by very quickly. It does do a good job of abridging all of the key scenes while having some fun. All of the characters here are a blast and the writing is a lot of fun. There are a lot of scenes that aren’t trying too hard to be funny and so end up being fairly humorous. Typically I tend to like the subtle background gags of the dinosaurs just wrecking the humans. After a while it’s not so subtle but it still works out pretty well. Additionally the heroes being pretty oblivious in putting the other workers in danger works out pretty well.

Lego animation may not be my favorite style but it works out well enough for this. This special is more of a comedy than the comedy/action mix you see in the superhero ones so they don’t have to worry about fight scenes. Lego can give good action scenes as well, but especially in a comedy movie you can just brush past the fact that they’re all legos. The level of detail in the lego pieces is quite solid. Mix that in with the solid writing and pacing and you’ve got a pretty fun way to spend 30 minutes.

The character cast is also strong which is always important. Owen checks all of the boxes for the confident lead you want to see in this kind of movie. He doesn’t bat an eye at having to work with a bunch of dangerous dinosaurs and even when he’s wrong Owen speaks with confidence. Then you have Claire who may be a little out of her depth at times, but all in all she just wants to make Jurassic World as fun as can be. If it means she has to make a dinosaur then that’s exactly what she’s going to do. On paper it’s a fairly decent idea……right? You’ve got to give her points for persistence.

One character in the special is a pushover though and that’s definitely the hot dog man. He lets the heroes put him in a dinosaur costume for a while, but then he nearly dies every time so then he puts on a hot dog costume and nearly gets eaten. It’s his job and at least he is getting paid for it, but the guy should have made sure that nobody would take advantage of him in this way. The guy is easily manipulated. The Dinosaurs are all fun as expected. They’ve got a lot of personality and brighten up every scene they’re in. The Dinosaurs are part of what makes the special so much fun.

Overall, There’s not a whole lot more to say about the special because it is pretty short. How much you enjoy it will really depend on how you enjoy the humor. I personally enjoyed it. They do a good job of making the funny scenes feel natural and not over the top. A lot of it is visual humor and dialogue based jokes which are solid. Quick wit can really make any phrase work quite well. I look forward to seeing some more Lego Dinosaur adventures to see how they stack up. This is a combo that is definitely working so I’d recommend checking this one out.

Overall 7/10