Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories Review

3463307
It’s time for the next installment in the Kingdom Heart novels. This one covers the Chain of Memories game which was always a fun follow up to the original. The story was a lot more intense as you could say that the plot finally started here. This novel is quite a bit larger than the first as it has 2 Sora stories plus the Riku one. It clocks in at a clean 400 pages and makes for a pretty epic read from start to finish.

The first novel finished with Sora, Donald, and Goofy being split up from Riku and King Mickey as the latter stayed behind the door of Kingdom Hearts in order to shut it to save the world. Sora vowed to find them once more and Kairi stayed behind on the island. Unfortunately, something seems off. While the heroes were on a road, they suddenly find themselves at a castle and a mysterious individual warns that as they go through it, they will lose their memories. At the same time, they will gain new ones to replace the old memories that they have lost. Sora decides that they must press on and so the heroes continue.

You can definitely say that this is one of the toughest challenges that the heroes have encountered. What they don’t realize is that the castle is owned by Organization XIII. They are using a girl named Namine to rewrite Sora’s memories. She deletes his memories of Kairi and slowly inserts herself into them instead. She begins deleting his memories of his friends as well to the point where Sora begins to forget everything. This starts to cause some tension between the 3 heroes, but fortunately they’ve been through a lot so this doesn’t lead to any big split like in the first novel. Donald and Goofy know something is wrong, but their memories are being tampered with as well so it’s difficult to fight back. You can’t stop an opponent that you don’t even know you are fighting after all.

One of the challenges of the Castle is that Sora must revisit all of the worlds that he visited in the first novel. Admittedly, this part can be a little repetitious. Even more so since I just finished reading the first novel a few days ago. During each chapter, I would just look forward to the parts where he would leave the world and fight with the Organization XIII members. That and the new inner monologue were the most important parts. The actual worlds progressed in just about the same way as the first time around. That’s basically the point, but it doesn’t make those challenges too engaging.

Finally, Sora also has to watch out because the villains created a fake Riku to mess with his mind even further. Fortunately, Sora deals with this fairly well. He does suffer from a ton of self doubt in this novel but considering the circumstances, I suppose it makes sense. Sora’s definitely a great lead and acts as a real hero throughout these trials. Even when he finds out that Namine has been manipulating him, he decides to aid her since it wasn’t totally of her own volition and he claims that even if he never made the promise to protect her, the memory of it (Fake or otherwise) makes it real so he’ll live up to it. It’s an interesting concept and one that I can agree with. (As long as the fake promise wasn’t anything crazy) Donald and Goofy’s roles are a lot smaller here, but they’re good sidekicks to have around. They could maybe use more character at times, but as long as they don’t betray Sora or anything, we’re good.

The Riku story at the end takes place at the same time as Sora’s adventure although it ends after the first one. Since their main target is Sora, the Organization doesn’t bother to mess with Riku’s memories. They don’t even know that he has infiltrated the castle at first since everyone thought it would be impossible to escape from Kingdom Hearts. Riku spends most of the novel trying to fight off the darkness so he can be friends with Sora again, but this is a tough challenge. It’s one that becomes even more difficult once the Organization notices him. Surprisingly, he only gets about half of his own story though. Fake Riku (Replica) gets the other half as he tries to become a real person by destroying the original and taking down Sora.

I actually preferred the Riku story to the Sora one. Since Riku kept his memories, it made his experiences in the various planets feel fresh. After all, we never got to see him there originally so in that sense it was already new. Throw in the fact that Ansem, Maleficent and all of the other villains kept jumping in and the whole thing got even better. Also, as cool as Sora is, Riku’s even better. He’s the intense rival that every good series needs and he fills the role perfectly. Walking the path of light and dark is definitely only something he could do. It was also nice to see Mickey show up even if he didn’t do much til the end. As with most things in the series, it was still a little vague how they escaped and why Mickey has telepathic abilities, but we’ll roll with it. Part of the fun with the series is that the mysteries continue to grow, but the vague statements all amount to something by the end. Since I’ve already played the rest of the games, what they’re saying makes a lot of sense the whole time. I’m sure once I play Kingdom Hearts III there will be a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense. That’s just how it goes.

Replica was also a decently good character. You can’t help but feel bad for him when the Organization forces him to have his memory wiped. At least he tries to stop them, but he was a little out of his league. The villains were also pretty good. There were quite a few of them and they all had different personalities. I do question the power levels though. The girl was able to detect Replica pretty easily, but then Sora was able to take her down for the count. I don’t think the difference in power should have been that great. At times, Sora also seems outmatched against the Organization while at other moments he seems to be out of their league. Whatever the case, it’s safe to say that he should be able to hold his own against them in Kingdom Harts III. By then he will have more than enough experience needed to take them down now…as a Keyblade Master!

Overall, This was a fun follow up to the first novel. It was definitely quite a bit more epic since the gang was already together and I really liked Castle Oblivion. The repetition in the worlds was maybe a little tiresome, but that was overshadowed by the increased amount of fights in the arc. I also felt like the fights had more stakes since Sora was up against sentient antagonists as opposed to normal heartless. I expect that the novel adaption of Kingdom Hearts II will be even better and will continue bringing up the series. If you haven’t read this one yet, I highly recommend it!

Overall 8/10

Advertisements

Kingdom Hearts Review

Kingdom-Hearts-novel
It feels like I’ve been reading this novel for months, but I have finally finished! As you can probably guess, this book covers the plot of the first Kingdom Hearts game. It does a good job of going through all of the important events and really covering the worlds. This does come at the expense of the fights which is unfortunate, but it’s a great way to catch up with the series if you’re not really a video game player. After all, the plot is fairly engaging on its own and with the movie/TV series probably not coming for a long time, this is your best bet! (Perhaps the manga as well, but the novel seems to handle it with greater detail)

The plot of this story revolves around a kid named Sora. He lived on a peaceful island with his two friends Riku and Kairi. Unfortunately, he wakes up one morning to find that the ocean has turned to darkness and a tornado is ripping the island off the ground. Riku vanishes in the waves and Kairi also disappears. Sora tries to keep himself together, but then he also fades away. He wakes up in a mysterious town where he meets up with strange people who tell him that all of the worlds are connected…and dying. Sora shakes this off and meets up with Donald Duck and Goofy from the classic Disney movies. They explain that they are looking for King Mickey and were told to travel with Sora in the meantime. This is because Sora is the chosen Keyblade Master of destiny who will find the keyholes in all of the planets and restore balance to the universe. Sora gets his game face on and prepares for this endeavor, but it’ll be tougher than he dared suspect.

It’s a pretty fun story that works well enough even if you switched out the Disney characters for made up ones. That being said, it certainly has more of an impact when you throw the crossover angle into the mix. It’s pretty fun to see the characters show up and help Sora out in each world. Sora gets to travel to Aladdin’s world, Peter Pan’s, Alice in Wonderland’s among others. It can be pretty nostalgic to see them and while those characters can’t fight all that much, Sora doesn’t really need any help.

As I mentioned earlier, the one drawback to this novel is that the fights are very short. Most of them are over in a couple of hits and don’t usually last more than a couple of pages. Some of them seem to be over in a single page. I hope we can get some longer fights in future adaptions, particularly Kingdom Hearts II since that should have quite a lot of fighting in it. I don’t mind if they have to skip a few worlds as a result, the action will be worth it.

Sora’s a likable protagonist and a good kid. He loses confidence a little too easily at times which is his main character flaw, but I’ll certainly take that one over most. He seemingly gets over this by the end of the novel, but it’ll be difficult to say for sure until we actually get there. There are quite a few plot twists and villains who like their mind games coming up so that could rattle Sora quite a bit.

I didn’t like Donald or Goofy though. They showed their true colors when they chose to leave Sora after the keyblade vanished. Friends shouldn’t just leave each other so easily. While they eventually went back to Sora’s side, it feels like he can’t really trust them as much as he thought. That test of loyalty was one that they failed. It’s not as if they’re great fighters either. Goofy’s shield and Donald’s magic will never be quite as effective as Sora’s sharp keyblade. It’s just the ultimate weapon.

Riku also shows up and part of the drama with him is that he has been tempted to the dark side. He thinks Sora is having too much fun as he goes on side trips while Kairi is still in a coma. Riku decides that he’ll have to save her on his own and goes through a lot of dangerous quests to get to this point. The darkness starts to overwhelm him by the end though and he loses sight of his goals to an extent. With his character arc coming full circle as Sora convinces him to join the light once more, he should make for a good ally in the coming volumes. While he may have had a point initially with Sora, he was also pretty unfair about it since Sora did try to find Kairi and just failed to do so. Riku had the advantage of having an evil witch on his side….if you can call that an advantage.

Maleficent is one of the big villains here, but her role is greatly reduced from the game. She gets to appear a few times, but comes across as an underling who was being used the whole time. Unless she redeems herself in the sequels, I’m going to say that the author probably wasn’t a big fan of hers. Ansem shows up at the end of the novel as a fun final boss and he makes for a good opponent. We certainly haven’t seen the last of him. Once Organization XIII shows up, it’ll help the series as it will finally have recurring villains who will last for a very long time.

This novel is of a pretty good length so it should last you a while. It’s about 300 words and the font isn’t all that big either. A lot of stuff happens over this time and as I mentioned, the book was able to fit in a lot of worlds. Each of the Disney worlds gets a good amount of screen time. While the Beast may have only gotten to appear without his world, he still looked pretty good since he was able to follow Belle when all of the other main heroes failed to do so. Following someone through a portal is rare no matter what medium you’re in. Characters just tend to hesitate a little too much when the going gets tough.

Overall, It’s fun to revisit the original Kingdom Hearts story and to finish another book in general. It’s been a long time since I played the first title so this is always nostalgic. I remember the series very well so it’s not as if it’s new to me, but it is fun to see how the series was before the deep plot started. Make no mistake, the seeds had sprouted for the plot with hintings all around. The writers likely had a good portion of the sequel all planned out and that’s one of the fun things about the franchise. It’s all connected and you always feel like it’s planned out well. I’ll be reading the sequel right away, but it’s a lot longer than this one so it could take a while to finish. I definitely know it’s going to be fun as well and it may even be better since Chain of Memories had a more engaging plot with higher stakes than this one. If you haven’t played the game, I highly recommend reading this book to get you into the franchise. Alternately, you should take the plunge and finally buy the original game.

Overall 7/10

Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City Review

harshmistress1
There are some series that can start out on a high note and keep that level of quality intact. Look at the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It has the super emotional song from the first film, but still managed to get by just fine in the sequels without it. That’s because the writing and characters were on point. Other titles like Skip Beat can start out decently interesting and go into the gutter. It’s not about how you start a race, but how you finish it. That’s true in life, cooking, platformers, pie eating contests, and anything else that is worth your while. This novel may have started out to be pretty good and a contender for best novel in the franchise, but crashed and burned in the second half. The title should have been a giveaway I suppose.

The plot of the book takes place in a small little town in the Titan World. The bridge collapsed so everyone is kinda sorta trapped in the town. They can go outside though so I guess they aren’t really trapped at all. I don’t know exactly how the layout is since it doesn’t make much sense, but essentially all of the other villages have left them for dead. All of Rita’s bosses end up getting bumped off so she is suddenly the leader of the military. She goes from being a really nice person to a corrupt dictator and decides that the only way to give the people peace is to murder them and anyone who falls out of line or looks at her the wrong way is subject to death. She will destroy anyone who defies her wish of a Utopia!

Meanwhile, Mathias is the other main character. He was a rich guy who never had to work for anything and was ignorant of the ways of the commoner. He was good friends with Rita, but he ended up murdering her other best friend so he had to go into hiding. He must now find a way to take her down and considers that he may have to use lethal methods. Friendship and camaraderie is thrown to the winds in this tale as everyone does what they feel they have too. Things get a lot worse before they get better and they never really get better so just focus on the first part.

This adventure is two novels long and the first one was actually pretty decent. It was a fun enough tale about Rita and Mathias and how they lived very different lives, but did their best to connect with each other. It wasn’t a bleak and gritty story the way that most Titan adventures were and it was cool to just have a happy scene for once. It figures that this wouldn’t last right? The story started to get a little more grim as Mathias made a deal with some bandits to rob his father in exchange for getting him to the town where Rita was trapped. It didn’t go very well so the bandits murder a bunch of soldiers and then Mathias panicked so he blew up one of the young workers who was helping Rita. He panicked again after that and ran off. This basically happened in the final pages of the first book so it was quite a downer.

The second novel is where it really goes off the rails though. Rita was apparently traumatized after seeing her best friend murder her other friend so she decided to go down a dark path. She forces people to get eaten by the Titan she planted in the city and tortures others until they get her some intel. Nobody is safe now and she murders her father and is prepared to do the same to Mathias if she can find him as well as her best friend Amanda. The novel shows us in great detail just how insane she has become. It gets about as bad as the main Titan series in that regard and there’s no way she can come back from this.

This is why the ending of the book is rather hard to swallow. The author suddenly tries to make her sympathetic as she was only trying to help and she’ll be a nicer person now. She has this 180 character development in the span of 2-3 pages as Titans attack the city and suddenly we’re supposed to see her as a nice person again. Mathias also forgives her for murdering everyone and putting the townspeople in jeopardy every day since it just doesn’t matter now. Never mind the fact that one of Mathias’ main allies was poisoned to death right in front of him on Rita’s orders. She may claim that it was for the greater good, but she stepped well over the line of vigilantism and became an evil villain during this book. It was far more extreme than the book and characters acknowledge afterwards and it was just puzzling the whole time. It was an even more drastic character arc than Shu’s from Guilty Crown and that’s pretty scary. It may not be in Black Butler levels quite yet, but Rita is easily one of the most evil main characters that I’ve ever seen.

It goes without saying that I didn’t like her. Regardless of how good she was in volume 1, she nullified it all in the sequel. I didn’t care for Mathias either as there is no way he should have panicked so much upon seeing the scout and he handled the situation as badly as possible. It was hard to take him seriously as the rebel leader since he was always terrified of everyone and got tricked so many times. He was just annoying to see. The rebels were also a bit much as they were all too overconfident and full of themselves even though they could never do all that much when it came time to fight. The super hyped leader of the Rebels went down in the worst way possible as his drinking habits finally got to him and poison ended his career. You’d think that he would have been a little smarter about something like that.

In the end, the only real good character was Amanda. Even she was a little fishy as she took forever to make a move and just allowed people to be tortured and eaten. At least she did something about it though. She also got a lot of hype as being the best fighter in the squad, but naturally once she turned good, Amanda was surpassed by Rita. So much for the hype eh? She still put up a good fight though and was probably the only character who actually stayed true to herself. Again, the book kind of glossed over the fact that Rita was so evil in the end as she gets Amanda back her gear and they team up again. It just shouldn’t be so smooth. If anything, I think the ending should have kept Rita as a villain, it certainly makes more sense than suddenly making her a hero again.

Even the ending doesn’t offer much hope though as the heroes lost their town to the Titans. Their plan is to head to the next town, but they already know for a fact that the Town doesn’t want them and will attempt to slay the group. It’ll come down to yet another fight and that should give the Titans an opening to move in and take them all down. It’s Attack on Titan though so you should never expect anything even remotely happy for the conclusion.

Overall, What started as potentially the best Titan novel ended up being the worst one. It’s why I always say that you can’t really tell these things ahead of time. A whole novel (or 2 in this case) is more than enough time for a story to turn rotten. You won’t even recognize the characters by the end as they could basically be other people. In the end, what really destroyed the book was that it was way too dark and violent. If you thought the other novels were gritty, this one is far more intense. The novel could have made Rita’s character transformation a little less drastic and it would have worked a lot better. There’s no good reason for her to become a full fledged mass murderer. She should have just gotten more obsessed about the rules and we could have had the town be under a curfew with a lot of punishments handed out every day. The situation didn’t need to jump all the way to 10 so suddenly. Had the book showed some restraint, it would have been a lot better and glossing it over so much at the end didn’t help either. If you want a good Attack on Titan novel, I suggest checking out Before The Fall. It’s the only good one at the moment and shows you what Titan novels should be like.

Overall 1/10

Attack on Titan: Lost Girls Review

9781942993353
It’s time for another Attack on Titan novel! After that last one, I prepared myself for just about anything. This one splits into two very short stories which end up equaling a novel that is still 100 pages shorter than the last one. As such, it goes by fairly quick. On the other hand, it doesn’t stop the first story from severely holding the whole thing back for basically the same negatives as the last novel. Lets dive right in!

The first story is about Mikasa and how she first met Eren. It turns out that Eren was a lot meaner and more unlikable than we all remembered. Mikasa had been pretty bored at the time and only got to spend time with her parents on rainy days. One day, her doctor showed up and brought his kid along. Eren didn’t like to play with dolls and immediately started helping Mikasa break rules that she had never questioned. The two get to be friends, but Mikasa is always worried that one day Eren is going to go too far and anger the wrong people. This could end up being a fatal mistake.

At least Mikasa is a likable heroine here. She helped out around the house when her mother got sick and was always courteous to those around her. She stood up for Eren when he was getting bullied and didn’t give up even after he kept ditching her. Whether that was the right move or not if another story. Mikasa ultimately did grow up to be a very likable character as well as one of the best fighters in the series so she’s certainly never strayed from that path.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Eren. He could be a likable main character at times in the anime although he ultimately dropped off quite a lot in the manga. In this book Eren is not even close to being a good character. He starts off very quiet and reserved and comes across as just very aggressive and mean whenever he talks to Mikasa. He compares her to a Chicken multiple times and even predicts that she will one day be destroyed. He picks fights with just about everyone and gets beaten up multiple times. Even though Mikasa is the one who helps him out of these situations, he refuses to visit her and spends all day hanging out with his new friend Armin. The way that Eren handled the situation was terrible. Whenever he appeared, you knew that Mikasa was going to feel sad again since that’s what Eren does best.

This series continues to enjoy upping the grittyness factor as much as it can and this story is riddled with it. For starters, a grown up beats up Eren for many, many pages. Keep in mind that Eren is only 9 years at the time and the beat down is very brutal and descriptive. It just keeps going on and on and on. This isn’t even the only time that Eren is beaten as a group of kids also took him out. It’s a scene that we really didn’t need in the volume, but it’s meant to show how corrupt the world is. Nobody is going to stop these guys and by the time the heroes investigate, the criminals are already dead via car crash.

There’s also a random magician who tries to get Mikasa to murder him and succeeds, but the twist is that it was a trick knife. The point of it was to show that ultimately anyone can be corrupted and convinced to murder someone. Before that, a mob ended up beating up Mikasa a bit by mistake as she was shoved to the ground and hit a few times. I believe that one aspect of the series which continues to bring these situations up is the overall locale. The slums are shown to be in extremely poor condition with people doing their business in the streets and the place just being in shambles. It makes for a lot of unnecessary details that don’t help the book, but just remind you of what a tough world the place is. Eren and the others will never get too much peace because they are defying the system. A bunch of people will die to the Titans and the other humans. It makes for a very somber piece.

Mikasa’s story was basically just a tale of grit and how you can’t trust anyone with the actual plot being on the backburner. The other story was about Annie which took place the day before she attempted to kidnap Eren. She needed her roommate to explain that she could not make it the next day but in exchange Annie was told to try and locate a missing person. The case is 10 days old with nobody actually looking so Annie would have a tough challenge ahead of her. Luckily, she is fairly determined and does have some time to burn.

This story was a considerable improvement over the last one. I’m always up for a good mystery. Some lingering elements of the Titan writing style remain as the areas continue to be described as being excruciatingly bad and it seems like everyone is either a drunk or a criminal in this world. Nonetheless, there is less time for grit and less opportunity for it since Annie does have her Titan powers and regenerative capabilities so she is never in any real danger. It really is handy to have powers like that right?

The end of the case may not be the most satisfying, but there were a sufficient amount of twists along the way and it was an interesting one. I liked how the rich father of the missing girl was actually smart for a change and was good at telling if someone was lying or not. It may not have helped him much in this scenario, but at least he wasn’t just oblivious to the whole thing. I’m a little skeptical about Annie transforming into Titan mode to take out the villains though. It’s not a question of whether it was necessary or not, but I feel like someone would notice even if the place was fairly deserted. It’s hard to miss the explosion and the light blast that hits the Titan to start the transformation right? I definitely wouldn’t mind a novel adaption of the actual mission to get Eren from Annie’s point of view. She’s a fun main character and has always been an interesting villain. Learning more about her background could help solve some mysteries in the long run.

There is a bit of an epilogue where Mikasa and Annie meet each other. I’m guessing it relates to the actual TV special/OVA content. It’s always cool to see veiled threats being hurled at each other and then the novel ends with Mikasa striking Annie down. Those two were certainly good rivals and if Annie ever breaks out of the ice that she’s in, I wouldn’t be too surprised if she ended up joining the heroes. It would make sense in a way as she was never too committed to the villains and seems like someone who could make a turnaround.

Overall, This novel had two very contrasting stories. On one hand, the first story was pretty terrible and had just about everything that’s wrong with the franchise as a whole. The second half was good and is certainly one of the better attack on Titan products, but still doesn’t exactly fall into great territory. Respectively, the first story would probably score a 2 while the second would get a 6. If we go halfway, then that’s around a 4 although the halves aren’t necessarily weighed equally. It’s like how a negative review always seems to hurt more than a positive one helps an item. In this case that’s the score that the novel gets though. I’d just advise to skip the Mikasa story when you get the volume and just read the Annie one. It’s still worth a purchase even if the book is a little small in that case. Alternately, buy the first Before The Fall novel. That one’s a solid story and easily had the least amount of grit from the Titan novels. I’m finally reading the last two part adventure for now and then the Titan novel marathon will be over. It was a good run even if the scores started to fade out. At least it’s always interesting to read, whether for good or bad.

Overall 4/10

Attack on Titan Kuklo Unbound Review

4583993-01
After that last Titan novel, I was beginning to wonder what had happened to the franchise. It’s not exactly known for churning out quality content so was something changing here? Apparently not as this novel goes back to the Attack on Titan that I grew up with. Violent, Edgy, and Unfair. While the story is fairly engaging, the novel gets off to a very bad start and a scene near the middle reminds you that things will never turn out too well for the heroes. The place is just too corrupt.

This story takes place a few years after the last novel. The Titan who broke through the city last time ended up murdering someone, but her kid lived on. People began calling him the Titan’s son so he was sold into slavery and endured a rough life. He eventually escaped thanks to the help of Sharle and now calls himself Kuklo. He wants to join the Survey Corps so that he can murder the Titan who tried to eat him, but many obstacles stand in his way. Does this kid really think he can handle the pressures of the outside world?

Lets get into the basics of why this novel was just no good. First off, the start of the book is just way too dark. Kuklo is trapped in a cage for years and tortured the whole time. By the time Sharle is able to save him, it’s basically too late for his childhood. Attack on Titan does love its edge though and that continues in the next novel that I’ll be reviewing soon. It’s just not a fun way to start a novel and the staff behind Attack on Titan are just too obsessed with giving everyone tragic backstories. You can make a character have an emotional backstory without making it quite that bad.

The main bully through these years was a guy named Xavi. The novel doesn’t handle his plot very well either. For starters, he doesn’t really get any consequences for his actions as he just gets promoted higher and higher through the ranks. When Kuklo finally makes it to the army and finds Xavi, it doesn’t go over so well. Xavi’s flunkies hold Kuklo down while he gets beaten to unconsciousness once again. Keep in mind that these are the heroic soldiers that we’re supposed to be rooting for. Where were Kuklo’s friend and his boss? They were just watching and basically said that Kuklo was asking for it. There were dozens of witnesses, but they all just stood by and let it happen. Again, there’s no consequence for Xavi and Kuklo just has to endure the whole thing. The novel tries to paint the situation in a way where Kuklo was in the wrong there, but I’m not buying it.

This continues as Xavi sneaks into Kuklo’s locker and sabotages his equipment. This leads to Kuklo almost dying during a training exercise. His response to this? “It doesn’t matter” Kuklo was just happy that he lived through it and it helped him improve his balance. That’s okay, but he should have told the commanders about this so they could punish Xavi. Instead, Xavi is free to make another attempt on Kuklo’s life as he takes out a knife and tries to finish him off old school. Kuklo beats him again and decides not to mention it. Ultimately, Xavi somehow turns good and after nearly getting the whole team knocked off by going on a crazy charge against a titan…the others are cool with him. Kuklo’s even going to teach him how to fight.

It was definitely a very unsatisfying resolution to a poorly handled plot line. The less said about it the better. Still, Attack on Titan is a series that thrives on the notion that humans are just as bad as the Titans, if not worse. The manga has a lot of speeches about this were the characters are proud to be evil if it means that they can win. It’s easy to see why there are so many bad apples in the series, they’re encouraged to be like that from all of the speeches and pep talks.

While he may be lacking in common sense, Kuklo is a good main character. He still makes most of the good calls and does his best to help people out when they need it. While his goal for revenge may not be the most heroic out there, he is helping the cause in the end. His physical abilities are pretty impressive and while he is certainly not meta human at all, he’s one of the better fighters in the series by the end. A little training can definitely go a long way.

You already know my thoughts on Xavi so we can skip that. Sharle is a good heroine. While she almost made a pretty big mistake, she logically thought the situation through fairly quick and came to the right conclusion. Her dagger came in handy quite a few times during the novel. Another heroine appears towards the second half as the third main member in the Kuklo squad. She’s pretty tough and makes for a good training rival to Kuklo. While she isn’t as crazy about breaking the rules as he is, she isn’t a super stickler for the rules either. Once the main character gets into danger again, she brings the squad out to help. Cardina is a good ally as well, but one that tends to get on your nerves a lot. Not helping Kuklo against Xavi and the others was pretty bad. It was hard to get over that. Beyond that, he’s a good Yes Man type character as he goes along with whatever Kuklo is doing without too much resistance. He’s a little quicker on the uptake than Kuklo when it comes to government matters so it certainly is handy to have him around.

One thing I still like about these prequels is that the author makes it a point to say that the Titans don’t really bleed. Whenever you slice a limb off, only steam comes out. If the anime had followed this logic, season one could have easily been a 7. The novel is decently long at around 300 pages and that gives it time to include a lot of events. As you may know, the manga version of this is quite long. I’ve been reading it as well and can’t remember almost any events from the book. It’s either an incredibly loose adaption or that’s how much they’ve stretched it out. Either way, reading this book will save you a lot of time over reading the whole manga.

Surprisingly, Angel from the first volume doesn’t show up here. I thought he’d have some kind of big moment, but instead only the rival showed up. The rival looked pretty good as he openly defies authority and fears no one. I can certainly get behind that character and it’ll remind you why the last novel was more engaging. It easily had the superior cast. The two commanders here weren’t great either as they constantly put the heroes at risk for no other reason than to test their resolve. It’s no wonder the Survey Corps were disbanded for so long.

One thing that I have to note is that the Titans shouldn’t be seen as a huge threat anymore after this volume’s climax. Now that the heroes have finally mastered the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment and can slay Titans, that should have completely changed the dynamic of the series. In the main title, the Titans still outnumber them greatly and the heroes never make any strides, but it doesn’t make sense to me. If you’re taking them down so easily, it should be a simple matter to start reclaiming the Earth. That would stop once the Colossal and Armored Titans show up of course, but the normal ones shouldn’t be a threat at all. I dare say that the series could have ended with this novel if not for the super types.

Overall, Attack on Titan is a series that is usually doomed because it loves being grim dark way too much. It goes out of its way to show you how rough life is under these conditions because you have to worry about Titans as well as your fellow humans. It’s hard to root for either side when you know that the majority of the citizens are also pretty bad. While it’s an interesting read, the negatives are certainly large enough where it ends up making the novel bad in the end. I’d highly recommend reading the Before The Fall novel instead. At this rate, that one could end up being the best Attack on Titan novel. It’s just going to be hard for the series to top that one although I’m sure that they’ll try. I’ve still got more novels to go so things could change…possibly. It is cool that I’m finally reading more books though, it feels good!

Overall 3/10

Attack on Titan Before The Fall Review

180462
Attack on Titan is a series that I definitely am not much of a fan of. I’ve gone on record to remind people that it’s a series which could not live up to the hype and is riddled with flaws. The manga ranks among my least favorite titles and while the anime notched a 5, that is certainly low compared to most of the titles that I watched. Luckily, a franchise can always turn things around or at least get a good product into the mix somewhere. Attack on Titan managed to do that with this novel as it’s actually pretty decent. It’s still dark and violent, but in book format it’s just not quite as bad and books have always had this edge over other forms of media. It’s a fairly interesting tale, even if there isn’t much of an ending since it continues on into the next novel. (Would have been 2, but I got the fancy omnibus at the ready)

This book takes place before Eren’s adventures in the main manga. It’s a prequel that shows us how the humans first learned about the Titan’s weaknesses and it’s far back enough where the status quo may already be in place, but people still talk about the old days. If you want the true backstory, you’ll have to actually go and read the manga. The story follows Angel, an inventor who does his best to make weapons and equipment for the rest of the fighters. He has a friend who is in the corps and another one who is on the wall. The three of them look out for each other and Angel wants to eliminate the Titan threat so they can see the ocean someday. This is Titan though…so expect some major casualties sooner than later.

The main cast is relatively small so lets start with Angel. Angel’s a fairly good main character. He may not be as headstrong as someone like Ichigo, but he has his moments and definitely does get his shots in. He does his best to help out his friends and doesn’t stay paralyzed in fear of the Titans for very long. He becomes a more outspoken and dependable guy as the book goes on and he certainly spared no expense in working to eliminate the titans. It’ll be interesting to see him as a supporting character in the next volume since he had such a big role here, but time does go on and he has to get old eventually. While he may have made a mistake in judging the weak point of the Titans initially, Angel did a good job in noticing the general area at all. He can also be said to be one of the first humans to take down a Titan. He wasn’t literally the first as his friend also took one down and there may have been others in the past, but certainly not many.

Maria is the main heroine of the story and she’s a good character. She stays strong even after the Titans increase the body count. She’s certainly good at surviving and was encouraging for Angel to have around. She may not have been on board with some of his crazier stunts, but she came around. I’m glad that they also didn’t try pushing any kind of rebound romance here as they just stayed as close friends. Xenophon was essentially Angel’s rival. The novel makes sure to keep mentioning how they don’t get along, but I can’t say that I really understand why. They seemed to get along just fine whenever the two of them were on screen and their personalities don’t really clash. It’s hard to see why there would be any bad blood between them at all. I felt like the author maybe didn’t think this part through, but regardless, it’s good that they got along after that. None of them ended up being petty and suddenly turning evil or anything like that.

I also liked the general of the Survey Corps. Jorge is certainly a much better character than Erwin or the old Pixel guy from the main series. Maybe he also made some morally dubious choices at some point or other, but we don’t see any of that here so I like to think that Jorge didn’t cross that line. He certainly did a good job in the hand to hand fights and considering that Angel had a cool new weapon on deck, Jorge did quite fine. He kept his cool under pressure and also came out to help even when he wasn’t allowed too. Wars are won on the battlefield after all and someone had to make a move against the Titans.

One very interesting difference in this novel was that for the most part, Titans didn’t bleed. When they were slashed, smoke would simply come out from the wound healing back together so quickly. I think the only time there was some blood was when they were blowing up a titan to find out if he had any weak points. Titans didn’t feel any pain or seem to have much intelligence at all. It was certainly an interesting look at them, but I still would have felt iffy about the humans doing a lot of experiments on them like in the manga so I’m glad that didn’t happen.

While the novel is technically not all that long, it still seemed longer than the average light novel. Perhaps it was because the text was a little more dense with all of the terminology and plans as opposed to yelling out attack names and just slashing away at the villains. That…or I was just imagining things, some novels can just feel longer than others. I know for a fact that the Naruto novels seemed to be the smallest ones that I read, but that could be because those were related to Naruto so I was able to blast through them because I’m a big fan of the franchise…even if the first novel was a little dicey.

Overall, This novel was surprisingly good. It’s still the normal Attack on Titan fare in many respects, but in book format it just works so much better. After all, I do find the concept of Attack on Titan to be interesting and that’s why the anime actually wasn’t that bad. This book had an engaging plot and the characters were pretty reasonable. We didn’t have a lot of morally dubious characters or iffy moments where you have to remind yourself to root for the humans. There still were opposing factions and a lot of crazy guys running around, but they didn’t invade the main cast so that’s a good thing. I look forward to seeing what the sequel does with this and now that we’ll be catching up to the manga version, it’ll be neat to see how much of it I can recall. The next volume is double sized since it merges 2 and 3 so it may be a bit before that review pops up, but no worries…it’ll definitely be coming! It’s still pretty surreal to be reading about manga and anime characters in novel format, but it’s definitely a good feeling.

Overall 7/10

DC Superhero Girls: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High Review

Wonder Woman at Super Hero High
It’s time for another book review. I haven’t read a whole lot of books lately so it’s always fun to go back and finally read through one. The DC Superhero Girls lineup always seemed pretty interesting. The comic I read on Free Comic Book Day was fun and it seems like a nice piece of the franchise that people of all ages can enjoy. The book is also fun although Wonder Woman herself can be a little annoying. I look forward to seeing how the sequel fares.

Wonder Woman is finally joining Super Hero High and she looks forward to meeting everyone. She hasn’t really left the Amazons…in forever. Unfortunately, this means that she takes everything literally so expressions and jokes always tend to go over her head and result in awkward situations. No matter, that is not enough to deter Wonder Woman and she aims to help her school win the big Olympic Style event against the rival team…the Bad Boys!

I like the style of numerous short chapters as opposed to a few long ones. Maximum Ride did this as well and it makes you feel like you’re constantly accomplishing as opposed to once in a while. I believe the same is true of video games as well. You can finish the actual novel in a decent amount of time. It’s not short, but it’s not very long either. You can say that the size is just right. Books are interesting though in the sense that the first half of the book can usually all go to set up and development. You’d think that there wouldn’t be much room for the plot then, but it all evens out somehow. Either way, this book didn’t need to worry about a plot all that much as the main focus was on introducing Wonder Woman to the rest of the class.

As I mentioned earlier, this is the only real annoying part. Wonder Woman’s naivety is a little too extreme if you ask me. Do the Amazons not have any figures of speech? Her mother went to the school and clearly knew how to socialize so I’d expect Wonder Woman to have picked up on some of that. Even just a small bit would do. Wonder Woman means well and she’s a good hero, but I think that the story would have worked just as well even if she had known how to deal with everyone. They could have just emphasized how nice she is and the plot lines would have still worked. She still wouldn’t accuse the others all that much and would have rolled with all the tricks and media coverage just to be considerate. So, that’s why I think she could have been a better written character.

Of course, she makes some good friends during her stay at the school. Poison Ivy, Katana, and Harley Quinn seem to be her main friends. Quinn’s an interesting case though as she is still quick to humiliate everyone around her including Wonder Woman. Her rationale appears to be that it’s okay since she does it to everyone and they are still students so some mischief is fine. For the most part, I’d say that she keeps it to reasonable limits…except for when she threw all of Wonder Woman’s stuff away. That was a bit much, but she’s a fun character otherwise. Poison Ivy’s all right. She’s the very timid character of the bunch so she’s not my favorite character, but is fine overall. Katana’s one of the more likable characters as she is always eager for a fight and also tells it like it is. When she suspects that someone is trying to sabotage WW’s costume designs, she speaks up about it, which is more than most of the cast is willing to do. She’s a good friend to have and she will ensure that Wonder Woman isn’t subtlety bullied by the others.

Lois Lane has a fairly large role here as well as she helps Wonder Woman find out who is sending her the mean letters. Ultimately, she doesn’t find out a whole lot, but it’s hard to do much when you only have some letters to go off of. I thought that the book did a decent job of constantly misdirecting you as to who the culprit was. There were only a few people that it ever could have been anyway, but from those it was hard to pick one with total confidence. Steve Trevor shows up, but his role is pretty sad the whole time and the plot could have definitely been cut out. He just had no purpose in the story and the whole time you’re just wondering if the book is simply going through the motions.

Superman had a cool cameo though as he decided to root for the main team even though the media was probably hoping that he’d be impartial. Still, how could Superman root for a team like the Bad Boys right? It’s just not his style. It’s also cool how he’s still an adult while most of the other characters are teenagers. It’s an interesting AU in that sense as you never know where everyone stacks up when it comes to age. There are a lot of different stories that you can tell about the heroes being at school so this series can certainly go on for a while. It’ll just need to be careful not to be repetitive, but that shouldn’t be all that difficult of a task.

Overall, This was a fun start to the Super Hero High adventures. The cliffhanger has Supergirl joining the school so it’ll be fun to see her become one of the gang. In a sense, she’ll be Wonder Woman, but potentially a more likable version. I’m also waiting for some of the villains to show up and cause some mayhem in future volumes. The rival school already got school’d by Wonder Woman so we’ll need new threats if we want to take them seriously. I’d recommend checking this out if you’re looking for a fun little Superhero story. Even if you’re not usually a superhero reader, you can swap out the names and it’d just be a fun school story. There’s really not much to dislike here and my only real complaint is Wonder Woman. It’d be cool if Superman appears more in the sequel, but it’s not necessary…it’ll just give the story an extra bump up.

Overall 7/10

Naruto: Sakura’s Story Review

ADKG-NEW3media-SB
It’s time to review the final Naruto novel that I’ve read so far. Sakura gets to be the main character of this adventure. While she is probably the weakest of the three personality wise, (The first two novels were led by Shikamaru and Kakashi) Sakura manages to have a pretty good novel. The villains are nothing to write home about, but they do their best to cause some destruction and mayhem. It’s a fun little story in the future of Konoha.

Sasuke is as distant as ever and Sakura has been having doubts about how their situation is going to work. It never made any sense from the get go and was squeezed into the lore for no reason anyway, but now Sakura is finally being forced to deal with all of this. It gets worse when Sasuke is framed for murdering a bunch of people and declaring war on Konoha once more. Sakura believes that there is no way that Sasuke could do this and Naruto doesn’t buy it either….but what if it is him? Sakura will be forced to slay him and that would definitely make her home situation very complicated.

Considering that Sasuke is being framed, nobody is taking it too seriously. Some villages are getting into a fuss as usual, but lets face it…what are they gonna do about it? If Sasuke truly is evil once again, he could destroy them all rather easily. By the end of the series, Naruto and Sasuke were light years ahead of everyone else. A confrontation involving one of them and anyone else would not even be close. There would be no fight, only a massacre. Luckily, the Sasuke impostor is not nearly as powerful as Sasuke. Sakura and Sai are able to handle the villains easily enough. It’s a good chance for Sai to save his rep considering that he didn’t look very good in the Shikamaru novel.

Kido is the main villain here and he’s mainly able to be a threat because he has his own 9 Tails Cloak. It’s mostly fake as he got it through DNA and a lot of science speak, but it does give him a very real power boost. It’s enough to almost put him on Sakura’s level, but she’s gone through a lot of training of her own and is ableto handle him. It’s a fun climax and it is always good to have an actual fight to finish things off. The first two novels had some issues with this. It’s why I’d like to see a Sasuke or Naruto novel at some point with more aliens like Kaguya which could make for epic fight scenes.

Aside from Sai, who did most of the heavy lifting here, the other supporting characters didn’t help much. Tsunade was just around to make Sakura more insecure and gave out bad advice. Ino mostly just fueled the romance angle and Kakashi didn’t really do anything. All he could do was talk a good game from his throne. The other villages spent their time panicking so in the end, it was really up to Sakura. They say that times of peace can make a place a little sloppy, that may be happening to the village. All these small villains are popping up now. They’re no threat in a face to face fight, but from the shadows they can be tricky.

These novels are fairly short and easy to read. You can easily finish in a day as you just cruise through the chapters. That’s a good sign that the novel is good since you’d otherwise be forcing yourself to get through it. The writing may not be great at times, but that could also just be because the characters are a little annoying. If the book has a weakness, it’s that you can’t really get attached to any of the characters. Sakura is too distracted by Sasuke the whole time and Tsunade really does her best to put Sakura on the wrong track. Kido’s as generic as they come, but there’s only so much you can do in just one novel. That’s why you should take that into account as you read through the book.

Overall, Sakura’s Story is a good way to wrap up the Naruto novels for now. It had more action than the Shikamaru adventure and less comic relief than the Kakashi story. It’s a better all around book and we’re getting closer to the action that I want to see from the Naruto series. I definitely recommend checking it out if you’ve finished the manga. It expands the universe and allows you to see the characters again. Any chance to revisit an old universe is usually a good one to utilize. The characters also look less shady and semi evil here than they did in the Shikamaru novel, where they decided to do things right under the Hokage’s nose. That’s not the best way to operate a village since you need to have trust in order to succeed. Things were done more by the book here, which was definitely an improvement. Nobody would try sneaking past Sasuke if he had been Hokage…I’m just saying…

Overall 7/10

Naruto: Shikamaru’s Story Review

naruto-shikamaru-s-story-novel
It’s time for the second Naruto novel! Shikamaru is definitely quite the improvement over the Kakashi one. Unfortunately, Shikamaru himself comes across as rather petty and completely unlikable, but sometimes side characters shine best when they’re on the side. It’s possible that looking at the world through his perspective just makes him appear to be a bad character. Regardless, this novel didn’t need Shikamaru to succeed so he doesn’t ruin the experience. Of course, this is why I want Naruto to be the main character for a novel at some point. I think you would be able to see a noticeable improvement if that happened.

Shikamaru was trying to enjoy a normal day for a change when he sees one of Sai’s birds approach the village. In it, a message states that he has lost sight of his own identity and the rebellion in the Land of Silence is growing worse. If nothing is done soon, Sai writes that this could become a very large problem. Kakashi is tempted to go himself (Or just posturing) but Shikamaru decides to volunteer. He figures that this is the best way to secure a bright future for Konoha and especially since some of the other Shinobi like Naruto would be averse to outright assassination. Shikamaru’s not as heroic, likable, cool, or as good as Naruto so he figures that he’ll take the job. He never had a problem with murder after all. Kakashi assigns 2 Anbu Black OPs, Ro and Soku, to accompany him. Together, the three of them set off into the Land of Silence and prepare themselves for what is to come….or not.

Unfortunately, Shikamaru seems to have lost most of his intelligence during the years of peace. They know that the leader of the rebellion is incredibly charismatic and that Shinobi have been deserting from every one of the great ninja villages. Even Sai has been turned to the other side. Does Shikamaru suspect even for an instance that mind control or genjutsu is involved? Nope, he just walks into a villain meeting with no concrete plan around that and listens to the guy’s speech. He begins to feel its effects, but decides to ignore this and lets the guy keep talking. Eventually, the leader calls him out so Shikamaru attacks, but by then the genjutsu has been way too strong.

Shikamaru really left his team out to dry with that kind of plan. Of course, as “experts” the two Anbu Black Ops should have been able to resist this technique as well. Shikamaru also came across as petty when he continued to refer to Soku by her real name even when she made it clear several times not to call her that. They are on a mission after all and Black Ops must keep their identities a secret to that nobody can find out who they are. Moreover, she just doesn’t want to be called by her real name, is that a problem? Apparently it is since Shikamaru intentionally uses her real name at every opportunity to annoy her. It’s just very self centered of Shikamaru.

Finally, I also didn’t like Shikamaru because he’s way too full of himself. He spends a few pages insulting Naruto, Sasuke, and Kakashi and questions why they should be regarded as heroes. He acts as if they don’t deserve this title despite saving the world. Where was Shikamaru during the climax? As far as I can recall, he was hiding with the other ninja and talking a good game while doing nothing. He really has no room to talk and Naruto really shouldn’t even have him as an adviser. He seems like the kind of guy who will give you the wrong advice each and every time. Plus, he hints that he would keep things from Naruto to shield him from the darkness, but that also means that he’d probably keep on doing assassinations and such. Part of why the Third Hokage’s rule wasn’t so good was because Danzo and the Anbu elites rose up in the background as well. Having two factions will simply fracture the village as a whole. Well, regardless of all those technical elements, Shikamaru just wasn’t cool here.

Ro and Soku don’t get a whole lot of character since they’re only around for a little while (The book is fairly short after all and the team doesn’t get to the villain base until around 1/3 of the way in. Book pacing has always seemed rather intriguing that way. It always feels like the prologue takes a really long amount of time, but I suppose that there is still time for a lot to happen since each page has so much dialogue in it) Ro likes to make puns with words and mixes his old way of talking with modern day slang. He’s not much of a fighter, but he can alter how a person’s chakra looks. That sounds like it would only be helpful once in a while to be honest. Soku is really snappy and aggressive. I don’t blame her for constantly threatening Shikamaru though. Her chakra needles definitely seem like a handy ability to have, but one that wouldn’t help quite as much in a direct fight since they seem to rely a lot on the element of surprise. Physically she is definitely a capable ninja though as she speedblitzes..you guessed it, Shikamaru, towards the beginning of the book.

While Shikamaru’s team may have ultimately failed 100%, (They were turned into traitors as well) it’s good that Temari and Naruto aren’t quite as weak willed. With Gaara and a lot of other ninja around as well, the whole uprising was over in an instant. In the end, the villain wasn’t much of a fighter either. He was able to hold Shikamaru off, but that’s not saying much and together with the two Anbu Black Ops for a fair 3 V 1 fight, Shikamaru’s team managed to pull in a win.

I was definitely glad at the ending of the book though. Ultimately, the heroes spared the leader of the uprising and imprisoned him. There was certainly never a need for an assassination and while the heroes didn’t want another war, I think they severely overestimated the Land of Silence. Naruto himself could have easily walked in and ended the whole situation with minimal casualties. So, the plot in and of itself was a bit of a stretch there.

Overall, This novel was fun. It’s just too bad that Shikamaru was such a bad character. I felt bad for his partners since they got beat up quite a bit as a result. Naruto and the others should probably start to doubt his leadership skills right now. The only part where the novel gets a little dark is when the two Anbu members are kidnapped. Besides that, it felt like your standard Naruto adventure and had a good blend of sneaking around and action scenes. Now we are approaching the final Naruto novel for now. Let’s see if the Sakura volume can continue the novel’s acceleration through the rankings or if it’ll take a step back. One thing’s for sure, Sakura should be more likable than Shikamaru. (Although she was annoying in this book and ended up being wrong in the end)

Overall 6/10

Naruto: Kakashi’s Story Review

91lG+yVucqL
I finally got around to finishing the first Naruto novel! Reading the next two should definitely not take as long so you can expect reviews to be published for those much quicker. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the Kakashi story sets them off on a high note. Crude Humor, large amounts of plot hax, and sketchy writing hold this one back from being a hit. I honestly wouldn’t really want to see this one animated unless some significant creative liberties were taken. That being said, the anime writers could be up to the task since I’m sure that they’d be tempted to change things anyway.

A long time has passed since the end of the Naruto manga and people are pressuring Kakashi to take on the mantle of Hokage. He doesn’t want to do this though since being Hokage is a large responsibility and he’ll be held accountable for everything. Nonetheless, the choice isn’t his and the whole village continues to pester him about it. To take his mind off of this, Kakashi goes to guard a large boat. It will be the first ever flying boat (Blimp basically) in the world. The builders want to use it to revolutionize travel, but at the expense of a whole industry which will result in thousands of people being out of business in the long run. That’s a bit of a heavy price to pay, but at the same time, innovation always replaces the old way of doing things. If people resisted change because of how it would affect the job market, many inventions would simply not exist at the moment.

However, the main villains of the novel aren’t pleased. Kakashi notices that someone has sneaked into the blimp and gives chase, only to find out that it is Might Guy. He really wanted to go for a ride so he snuck in, but unfortunately, so did the villains since there weren’t any real guards around by this point. The Leaf Anbu Black Ops are taken down instantly so Kakashi and Might Guy will have to save the hostages in the Blimp and defeat the Rogue Shinobi. Time is not on their side either as these guys aim to free their master from Hozuki Castle and the other neighboring lands ar weighing in on the conflict. If the Blimp isn’t back on the ground before it crosses the border…then it will be destroyed. Moreover, Tsunade wants Kakashi to destroy the Blimp if it gets to close and murder every last one of the passengers. Kakashi’s not a cold blooded killer like Tsunade so he aims to find another way.

This should be easy right? Kakashi is one of the strongest fighters in the Leaf so he can crush some random rogue ninja. Not to mention that Naruto’s just a phone call away. With his final form abilities, he can move at hypersonic speeds and virtually fly. He can use his arm extensions to gently force the Blimp down or simply grab all of the villains and then escort them all away. Well..the first moment of plot hax happens here as Tsunade forbids anyone from telling Naruto about this. In her defense, everyone else goes along with this terrible plan including Kakashi. All right, back to the Kakashi plan right?

Wrong I’m afraid. Kakashi decides to go for a frontal assault and walks up to the villains. Guess he forgot about the hostages right? The main villain destroys a handful of them and then breaks Kakashi’s fingers so he can’t pull off any real ninjutsus. To add even more injuries, his right hand woman freezes Kakashi’s chakra so he can’t do anything with his ninjutsu or he’ll freeze over. Rahyo is the leader of the villains by the way and Kahyo is the ice ninja. Kahyo’s abilities are fairly impressive as she just needs to make contact with someone once to freeze their chakra whenever she pleases. Rahyo is more generic as he can punch people with super strength.

Kakashi is at a disadvantage from the start because Kahyo already made contact with him at the very beginning of the book when she pretended to fall and Kakashi helped her up. Unfortunately, Kakashi was already out of character as he fell for her instantly. So much for professionalism. As for Rahyo, he should be easy to defeat, but Might Guy looks incredibly bad here. Due to his injuries at the end of the series, he is still not at full fighting strength and I guess he’s back to being around Chunin level or something. Plus, his motion sickness has gotten even worse and it is at Natsu levels of terrible now. At least Natsu has a good reason for it though, Might Guy should be able to pull himself together.

His fight scene with Rahyo is actually very bad and even involves puking as a distraction. Might Guy’s also the reason why Kakashi’s first plan went so badly as well. If he hadn’t been around or if he could have just went to sleep for a while, the novel would have been very different. He’s comic relief, but not the good kind and he just holds the book down. Kakashi’s plan to throw up later on to trick the villains was also gross and definitely a large stretch of disbelief. These two scenes are the main reason why the book couldn’t get a positive rating in the end.

The fight scenes were good when Might Guy wasn’t around at least. Naruto’s fight in the intro was fun and I’m glad that only his Shadow Clone was hit since Naruto should be able to easily fend off these villains. In his current state, he should never lose to anyone ever again. Only aliens would be acceptable like in the movies, otherwise it is just too much of a stretch. Kakashi vs Kahyo was brief, but good as well. Hopefully we’ll get more action in the next novels.

Finally, my last complaint with the novel is just the fact that all of the characters are terribly unlikable to the point where I have to say that they are out of character. Not literally every character as Naruto is good, but everyone else is simply unreasonable. Everyone taunting Kakashi at the end of the novel is simply mean spirited. Shikamaru wanting to see if Ino has the same reaction while in another body is a really crazy scene that has no place in the novel and just makes him look terrible. Tsunade comes across as incredibly ruthless. Deciding to execute an entire group of civilians just to avoid an international incident is quite bad. It’s no wonder why Kakashi knows that he now has to accept the title of Hokage. He can’t let someone as unfit to lead as Tsunade take charge.

As for the two villains, they both want revenge on the cruel society. It’s easy to see why, but they really do lose themselves in the mission. They claim to not want to indiscriminately murder people, but that’s what they do the entire film. Both of them show remorse by the end and Kahyo always seemed to have more of a heart than Rahyo, but the latter’s big turn around I could not buy at all. He was way too evil and too unrelenting for me to believe that he simply lost sight of his original goal. At least for Kahyo there was a lot of foreshadowing and she did help the kid who really needed it while Gahyo was just going to let him die. I suppose that it’s still good to see Gahyo turn good, it just felt forced is all.

Overall, Kakashi’s Story was a weak first installment, but it shows signs of promise for future novels. There is still a lot more that can be done in these stories although I wish that Naruto or Sasuke would get one. Those two can easily hold their own stories. The next book is Shikamaru’s and since he isn’t much of a fighter, I’ll assume that the villains are even weaker than these two as I think that they probably would have crushed him. So long as the characters aren’t all super annoying and unlikable, the next novel should definitely knock this one out of the park. No more puking on the villains either since that was sad. If you’re a big fan of the Naruto franchise, then this is probably a good story to check out to make sure that you know all of the mythos. That being said, you may just want to skip this story. You won’t miss much and it tries to make Blood Prison canon which makes all of the characters look even worse so it’s best that the movie doesn’t become canon. Naruto’s chapter is definitely the best one in the book so at least you’ll start off on a high note.

Overall 5/10