Mega Man 11: The Gears of Fate Review

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It’s time to look at the one shot manga that was created to hype up the game. This one’s a little longer than the last one shot I reviewed as it’s around 20 pages. That’s a good thing since it allows for a fight and that’s one of the reasons why this artist has always been so solid. It’s nice to see Mega Man back in manga and it would be awesome if he could get a full length series again at some point. The character has had a great track record so far and I have no doubt that a sequel would fare just as well.

The story starts with Wily wrecking havoc on the world once more. This time his robots have been equipped with the Double Gear system so even Mega Man is basically helpless to stop them. Fortunately Dr. Light has one as well so he gives it to Mega Man. Still, he warns the robot that if he ever uses both gears at once he will probably die. Mega Man agrees not to use it unless necessary and hops into battle. He’ll have to go through Fuse Man though and this may be his most dangerous task yet.

The author perfectly gets across how serious of a threat this is. Since robots run the world in the future every time they turn evil it is a catastrophe. No matter how many times this may occur, there isn’t much that the humans can do since their whole economy depends on them. Fuse Man in particular is difficult to stop since he controls all electricity in the area and can turn it all off on a whim. The only way to stop his ability is to destroy him which also forces Mega Man to make some tough choices. At his core Mega Man is always a hero though and so he does what he can to find a better way.

The battle between Mega Man and Fuse Man is top notch as you would expect from this artist after the brilliant Megaman NT Warrior series. He does a good job of showing off Mega Man’s speed and then also keeping Fuse Man at a higher level. He did have to rush the ending a bit as Mega Man never quite gets past the speed advantage but secures the win anyway though. I assume that had he been given more time then the fight would have been even more satisfying. Still, the art was fantastic and the action was amazing. This manga already has a more interesting environment and atmosphere then the rest of the Mega Man series. Imagine if Mega Man 11 actually played out like this. Full disclaimer, I think Mega Man 11 looks like a lot of fun so no shots at it, but imagine it in the art style of something like Sonic Forces. That’s basically what this manga looks like and it works pretty well. I’d love to see a third person shooter for Mega Man at some point or even a beat em up. The lore of the universe would work pretty well around that, especially if we get a proper robot invasion kind of story.

Overall, Mega Man 11 is definitely a real page turner. The pacing is almost too good since the story ends so quickly and you are left wanting more. Hopefully the fan response to both the manga and the game is positive enough where the franchise gets completely revived and we see a whole lot of extra material. That would just be a lot of fun. If you haven’t checked this manga out yet then you definitely need to do so. It really shows you why Mega Man is still considered to be one of the most likable of the original video game icons and his character has stayed consistent through the years.

Overall 8/10

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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness Review

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It’s time to look at a one shot Pokemon Mystery Dungeon adventure. There is only so much that you can do in 15 pages of course so the writer has to really focus to get across a meaningful experience. There’s only so much that you can write about it as well so this will probably be a bit of a short review. It’s a fun enough story and gets you ready for the game, but there just isn’t much to it. At the end of the day it’s still Pokemon though and that brings with it a fun franchise tag.

The story starts off with a human waking up in the digital Pokemon world. He doesn’t know what is happening but doesn’t have too much time to think about it as another Pokemon shows up and lets him know that the world is in a bad place. Someone stole the time stone away from its shrine. Without it, Pokemon are slowly losing their reason and turning rabbid. If they don’t recover the stone soon then it’ll be curtains for the entire planet. Our hero can’t let that happen so he decides to save the world. Still, he may have to deal with a torublesome past if he ever does get back to his world.

I’ll give the story some kudos for making the main character’s backstory a little unexpected. I wasn’t really expecting one and just figured he would wake up and it was all a dream or something. (In the game. I don’t think the manga would end like that) Having a sob story at all should be interesting and it’ll at least give him a little more character than some of his predecessors. While that part of the plot is basically recycled from the last games, what is new is the fact that the time stone is in play here. As a main plot I think that’ll work pretty well. I do have to wonder how one Pokemon can steal it so easily and escape from the rest, but if the Pokemon are as trusting as I think they are, perhaps it was unguarded. They need to find a psychic Pokemon quickly if they want the stone back.

We’re also introduced to a villain team led by Weavile. It’s hard to say if they’re evil villains out to destroy the world or just petty thieves as we just see signs of the latter. Naturally they will still be bad guys, but at least the heroes won’t have to worry about them much yet. Weavile seems to make for a capable commander and leads his troops well. I may like him more than Gengar from the original manga at the moment. Again, these are really all just first impressions of course.

The art looks pretty good. The character designs are on point and the fight scene between the Pokemon was handled pretty well. It’s a shame that this couldn’t have been a full volume. I think it would have been a lot of fun. Naturally it’s no Adventures or Reburst but it would have been a solid adventure. Everything about the manga is on point so far so there were no weaknesses. The pacing is good and the characters have potential. The only character who seems a tad boring compared to the other main fighters is the lead’s sidekick and that guy is usually meant to not be very interesting.

Overall, Whether you’ve played the game yet or not this is a fun one shot to check out. It’ll only take you a few minutes to read as well so there’s no real reason not to check it out right? The manga is just waiting to be read and now you can finally do that. I definitely look forward to playing another one of the Mystery Dungeons one day. The first one was pretty solid and I’m assuming that the next ones will be just as good. After all, what beats actually playing as one of the Pokemon?

Overall 7/10

Fairy Tail: Happy Adventure

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It’s time to look at a Happy spinoff! On one hand this is good news since that should reduce the fanservice in the series. On the other hand this is Fairy Tail so we’ll see if the series can avoid it. It’s off to a decent start at best, but we’ll see if it can stay on course. I’ll have a review for the series once it is finished.

Overall 6/10

Pokemon Horizon

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It’s time to look at a quick manga for Sun and Moon. I won’t be reviewing it just yet since I have one volume to go. It’s off to a reasonable start although I think Rockruff takes way too much damage the whole time. It all ends up working out for the lead, but I don’t think he’s the best trainer. We’ll see if he improved.

Overall 6/10

Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter

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I’ve now started the Monster Hunter series! The first volume was pretty solid. It had a good array of action. It will have to be careful with how it handles the monsters, but the series definitely shows promise. I’ll have a review for it when I finish the series.

Honey and Clover Review

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There are some series where you immediately start to think that something was off. This is one of them and most of it all boils down to the art. Right from the beginning you can tell that it’s an unconventional art style and one that you automatically associate with a grittier title. It lets you know that this series will probably make some big mistakes and you wouldn’t be wrong. More on the art later.

The series has quite a few characters and plot lines. The general plot though is that there are a group of characters in a town. They all know each other through other people or directly and as such bonds have started to form. Takemoto is known as an average guy all the way through. He’s not bad at anything, but not good at anything either. One day an art prodigy known as Hagu shows up and Takemoto decides that he will be a better man. Then we are introduced to a ton of love triangles which all intersect to the point where everyone has a rival. Can they all end up as friends despite this or will their bonds be shattered?

So lets address the biggest problem right off the bat. Hagu is one of the main characters of interest as Takemoto, Morita, and Shuji all like her. The thing is, the manga always draws her to look like a little girl while everyone else is basically an adult. Takemoto was 19 and the others were older than him I believe. Hagu is around their age as well but never seems like it. I forgot in the series if it was ever stated that there is a reason why she doesn’t grow or if that’s just the art style but then the series goes a step further by making her act like a kid as well. Either way, it makes the romance hard to endure and every time it pops up you’ll end up cringing. Lets face it, it’s hard to do a good roamance at times, but even so it’s possible. This series just absolutely could not pull it off and the art destroyed any chance that it had. Hagu’s design just seems like a mistake and if the author wanted to go with this look, then she should have at least acted more mature.

I also can’t say that I liked Hagu as she made the wrong calls. So, this series also deals quite a lot with romance and the rebounds. Hagu actually does like one of the 3 characters, but she goes with a different one because he gives her the best chance at recovering her career. It’s portrayed as a good option, but that just seems fake then. She’s basically using the guy. We have several characters in the series who are totally fine with that, but it’s still not a quality romance. Even though drawing is her life, Hagu also has many different moments where she is unsure if that’s what she wants to do so I wonder if she has what it takes for the long haul.

Then another bad character is Mayama and his entire subplot. So, he has always liked Rika and has been stalking her for years. He looks through her browser history when she is gone and does a lot of crazy things inside her apartment when she’s not around. It’s all played off for humor, but the series does portray him as a rather warped individual who should be considered as more of an antagonist. Rika does lead him on and gives him one night stands to keep him entertained, but that’s no good either. Rika has a tragic past and just can’t cope with it at times. While she is still to blame, Mayama is just as guilty for ignoring this to his convenience. This was another romance that I could certainly not get behind and the guy was just a terrible character.

Then we have Takemoto who is also annoying. At one point he bails on everyone to drive around the country and re discover himself. Kind of a selfish thing to do if you think about it since he didn’t tell anyone where he was going and is gone for a very long time. When he comes back the first thing he does is confess to someone when he knows that she doesn’t like him. Fortunately she rejects him instead of playing along for a while like some other characters, but it didn’t help Takemoto’s case. Even by the end once she has made her decision he has a tough time letting her go.

The same thing is true for Yamada. She likes Mayama, but he has chosen Rika over her. So, Yamada decides to rebound with Nomiya, but even at the end of the series she can’t get over Mayama. Nomiya is fine with that, but that still means that he will just be the rebound. It’s not a very fun role and even if he doesn’t mind it, once again I can’t call this a quality romance. By the end of the series it felt like every character had to settle for the backup or being forever alone. Takemoto wanted Hagu and ended up with no one. Morita wanted Hagu and got no one. Hagu wanted Takemoto but got Shuji. Yamada wanted Mayama but got Nomiya. I guess Mayama and Shuji got their picks though.

Morita is another bad character. At least he is rather quirky and eccentric as he runs around doing his best to annoy everyone while getting rich. He actually is a genius and knows how to succeed which is good, but then he goes around causing trouble for everyone. Rather then talk to Hagu openly he runs around calling her a creature and doesn’t get serious until the final volume. It’s way too late by then if you think about it. As mentioned earlier Yamada is basically using Nomiya which doesn’t help her case. It’s fine if she can’t get over Mayama, but then just staying by yourself until the feeling has passed is the right choice.

Nomiya’s no good as he approaches Yamada once she is in a vurlnable state which basically just seems like it will help his odds. That’s not the heroic sacrifice play that I would have liked to have seen. At leas stay in the friend zone or something. Rika’s no good since she can’t make up her mind. She clearly likes Shuji more than Mayama, but ultimately needs Mayama for work so she makes compromises. She should have kicked him out once she found out about the shady stuff he was doing. Shuji’s also no good because his romance comes out of nowhere and he seems way too old to be honest. The guy’s been a teacher for a while so no matter how you slice it there is an age gap here.

Going back to the romance themes, one of the issues that the characters keep struggling with is the fact that they can’t get over their initial pick. At the end Takemoto gives a monologue wondering if it was all pointless or if it was a good thing. At the end he decides it was a good thing and finally moves on. He’s the only one who made the sensible choice in the end. See, if you fall for someone who’s taken or who simply doesn’t feel the same way, you don’t just keep pestering the person until they finally give a half hearted okay and get together with you as a last resort. You also don’t just use someone as a rebound while mentally picturing that you’re with the other person. No, the best thing to do is get over it as soon as possible and if that’s not working then create some distance. Eventually you’ll be over it and until then just bluff for a while and put on a tough face. Not letting the other person find out is the right thing to do because that will just put that person in an awkward position. The thing is, most of the cast is too selfish to go along with any of that and they all end up doing their own thing.

As mentioned, one of the reasons why this manga scored so low is due to the art. It just looks utterly terrible and is one of the worst art that I have ever seen for a manga. It’s not dead last, but it’s probably bottom 5. The art looks unfinished and everyone appears to be constantly blushing. That’s something you’d expect more from an anime which also doesn’t work. I’ve already mentioned the Hagu thing to death, but changing that would have certainly helped the score as well. The humor doesn’t work either since the characters are so unlikable. Even though the series is 10 volumes it definitely does drag for quite a bit. The commentary on romance in general was ambitious so I’ll give the series some props there, but it was just incorrect the whole time.
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Overall, Honey and Clover is a series that I highly advise staying away from. It’s just not a good series but you could probably guess that based off of the synopsis. If you like a lot of drama and romance then you may enjoy it, but if you don’t then you’ll know to stay away. I’m not a big fan of those two genres mixing myself so it’s not really a surprise that I didn’t like it. Still, I can certainly say that the series was a little worse than expected. It certainly would have been better as a romance comedy than a drama in this case as it takes itself way too seriously with all of the wrong choices. There is a lot of dialogue, but often times it is about nothing in particular. It’s just characters hanging out, but they aren’t saying anything exciting.

Overall 2/10

Noragami Stray Stories Review

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It’s time to look at the Noragami short stories volume that came out recently. It may get a follow up at some point but seeing as it has been several years I think it’s unlikely so I may as well write the review right? It’s not that good unfortunately as it’s an anthology series which is already difficult and it forgets most of what makes the main series good. It could have been better if it didn’t rely on fanservice for quite a few of the jokes as well.

Let’s start with the stories! One adventure starts off with a guy who is down on his luck so he has decided to jump off of the largest skyscraper in the world. He ends up calling the main character accidentally so Yato jumps off with him to listen to the story. This guy has been using up all of his money to please the whims of a girl he just met since she is broke. The problem is that he gave all of his money to this cause including rent and such. Now he has nothing. Yato helps set him straight and we find out that it was one of the gods messing with the poor chap. It was a bit of an unexpected twist but it makes the girl look pretty mean. Perhaps she didn’t realize I guess. It’s a decent story even if you can’t feel sympathetic to the guy who was wasting his money since he made his choice.

Another story has the main cast chilling at a cabin in the middle of nowhere but someone appears to be trying to assassinate Yato. Someone knocks him on the head with a blunt instrument, poisons him, etc. Of course the main character is a god so he can’t die through mortal means but this killer must be stopped! I think the villain gets off rather easy here as it was an aspiring writer who just wanted to see what murder was like. That’s an interesting justification but the guy should still be locked up if you ask me. Instead he is taken to an institute though so at least he’s not running around scot free. It’s definitely the most fun story here. While Yato is never in any danger or anything like that, it’s still pretty fun to see him try to figure out what’s happening.

Following up on that we have a story where Yato wants to join the main group of gods so he can get rich and famous. The problem is that none of the other gods like him. They have all either dealt with him before or just don’t see what he has to bring to the table. That’s when he decides to possess the main heroine to make it instead. This gets dangerously close to succeeding. It’s a fun story for the first half but you always end up feeling bad for the heroine when she is thrown into these scenes. Yato always crosses a line when he unexpectedly takes control of her like that. He needs to respect the boundaries.

In another story Yato is tricked by a clever fortune teller. The guy tricks Yato into giving away his secrets and then the guy “predicts” them in exchange for money. Yato decides to get revenge by turning the tables on him. It’s a fun enough story and maybe the best one in the batch. It was a little sad to see Yato get played like that but he evened the scoreboard before very long which was good. The guy doesn’t just crumble before a loss, he embraces it! Yato is certainly petty, but that’s part of what makes him such a fun character at times.

One of the shortest stories is when Yato’s sword finds out that he can actually apply to get a real job instead of just hanging around Yato all day. The lead tries to stop him at every turn, but at the end of the day it’s his sidekick’s decision to make. The kid decides to stay with Yato which is the smart thing to do since none of the other gods can be trusted of course, but at least he pretends to be tempted for a while to mess with Yato. Considering how much Yato messes with everyone all the time that is definitely a reasonable thing to do.

Finally we also have the story where someone appears to be stalking Yato. Naturally this is a little distressing to him for 2 reasons. 1 is that mere mortals can hardly even see him and then tend to forget about him entirely a few minutes later. The second is that tracking him should be nearly impossible since Yato is always teleporting around quite frequently. As a result he is quite terrified, but it turns out that the stalker is fairly harmless. Having an internet god makes sense with how big it is and it’s almost too bad that she’s not in the main series. Cyber powers can always be interesting.

The art is pretty solid as always which is good. All of the character models are on point and the art is clear so it’s easy to read. Noragami in general is pretty consistent in that regard. The only time the art tends to get tricky is when there’s a large scale action scene but naturally you won’t be seeing something like that here. It’s just consistent from start to finish.

At the end of the day your enjoyment of this series will largely depend on if you’ve read the main series. Without it you’ll have no reason to care about these characters and most of the gags are based on character traits that we know about the characters through their adventures. At the same time, as this is a pure comedy you won’t care for it either way if you mainly enjoy Noragami for the action scenes. The cast can lend itself well to comedy so a spinoff like this would have potential but the series has definitely got to curb the fanservice if it really wants to get ahead of the crowd.

Overall, The stories here are fairly entertaining but they are brought down by the fanservice that tends to show up. If the series had played it straight then it would have been a solid comedy one shot that I could recommend. As it stands I’d say that you should just read the main series instead. It has its share of issues as well but it has big fight scenes to distract from them. It’s still surprising in general that this series got a spinoff but the more the merrier right?

Overall 4/10

Shaman King: The Super Star

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Now I’ve gotten to start the other Shaman King manga. This one’s definitely more of a direct sequel with Yoh and Hao getting involved a bit. I’m glad that it’s cutting to the chase quicker than Flowers. Should be a fun series and the art is pretty solid. I’ll have a review up when the series concludes.

Overall 7/10

Shaman King: Red Crimson

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Shaman King is finally back with a bunch of new content for the fans. This spinoff starts out pretty strongly as we get a lot of action and a pretty large chapter. Seeing as how a tournament is being hinted at as well, I predict that this series has a promising future ahead of it.

Overall 7/10

Zero’s Tea Time

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This latest spinoff to the Detective Conan series is pretty fun. It’s definitely a more slice of life type series than the others with no actual villains or anything, but it’s a pretty good look at the inner workings of Zero’s life. The guy is definitely pretty busy. I’ll have a review for the series when it finishes, but I imagine that this could be a long while from now.

Overall 7/10