Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

My Little Pony: The Crystalling Review


It’s time to take a look at a comic adaption of the Crystalling two parter from the TV show. This is one of those comics that is basically a screenshot version of the show. It was always an interesting concept even if I don’t totally see the point of it. I suppose it’s a good way for fans who are unable to actually watch it live to still experience what the episodes are like. As a result it’s almost like I’m reviewing the two episodes. It’s a solid comic and if you did have to read this instead of watching the episodes you won’t be missing much. The key scenes are all here.

So Twilight is getting ready to head to Cadence’s palace for the Crystalling of the new baby. It’s effectively a ceremony using the heart of the kingdom. She also needs to give her student Starlight Glimmer a first lesson and figures that she can knock out two things at once. She instructs Starlight to seek out Sunburst as they used to be best friends before Starlight turned evil. Starlight isn’t thrilled with this mission, but she doesn’t want to let Twilight down. As such, she gears up for the meeting. Will she really be able to re-connect with Sunburst and will the Crystalling go as expected?

There are really two plots here which eventually merge into one. For the Starlight plot, you can definitely see how this is a hard mission. It’s hard to reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in many years. Twilight making this into a friendship lesson also puts a ton of pressure on Starlight. I think Twilight’s heart was in the right place, but I don’t think this was a great thing to turn into a lesson. Starlight did a really good job of adapting either way though. She went and met up with Sunburst even though it was hard on her and from there she went and helped save the kingdom.

It’s easy to see why Starlight would go on to basically become the leader of the group. She’s definitely the strongest pony around and she took to the friendship skills pretty quick. I was definitely a big fan right away. Meanwhile I was less impressed with Sunburst. I dunno, I never really liked the guy much. On his side he had far less reason to be cryptic about his past which inevitably leads to him blowing a fuse and not even trying to help save the world. It was a lot of pressure but it still would have been nice to see him stick up for the others and try to help even if it meant pretending to be a magician for a little longer.

The other plot had Cadence and Shining Armor being out of their depth once more as Flurry Heart took center stage. It’s always nice to be born with incredible powers and that’s exactly what happened for Flurry. This time Pinkie Pie did a good job of distracting her while the others went to work. Twilight may not have been able to solve this by herself this time, but she was definitely necessary in saving the world. Without her the heroes wouldn’t have even had a book to start solving with in the first place. We also got to see Celestia and Luna fight off the clouds a bit. Not the most exciting action scene, but it’s still an action scene nonetheless.

The writing is sound here and the cast of characters are good. There’s not a whole lot more to say because the comic is so short. You’ll be done reading it in the blink of an eye and then you’ll be ready for the next saga. In retrospect it is a little surprising that no villains were present in this story, but I suppose you can always get a little tension in with natural disasters rather than relying on a villain to get things moving every time. At the very least it makes sense why you would want to mix things up every once in a while. I would have been game for a quick Twilight vs Starlight battle due to a misunderstanding or something though.

Overall, The Crystalling is a fun two part event. There aren’t any villains here, but it’s just a fun story where we get to see the whole gang of MLP fighters. All of the ponies contribute to the plot and make for a fun team up issue. The Mane 6 certainly have less of a role next to Twilight and Starlight, but they still get their contributions. The format of the comic makes it easy to take on the go and read. It’s also a decent enough size where it’ll last you a good batch to read through. I don’t expect I’ll be getting more of the episode adaptions (I got this one by mistake) but they are good. They’re as good as the episode versions and most of those get a 7 as well. It is always nicer to read a brand new story, but nostalgia goes a long way. It’s been ages since I saw this episode.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans Review


It’s time to look at the most recent Teen Titans Go! movie. This one brings back the classic Teen Titans for a quick crossover event. While the film doesn’t manage to be quite as fun as the first Titans Go movie it’s definitely still a quality film in its own right. You’ve got action, comedy, and a final boss. What else would you even need right? One thing to watch out for is the opening credits makes the interesting decision of spoiling the entire film. It literally goes section by section from start to finish and shows all of the big scenes. It’s a very odd choice.

The movie starts off by showing us that the Teen Titans have still got it as they beat the Gentleman Ghost. People may doubt their abilities, but they shouldn’t because these kids are the real deal. Things get a little hectic when a portal appears and they’re all kidnapped. It turns out that the Master of Games is kidnapping Teen Titans from various universes to make them fight. The Go Titans are eager to start the battle while the modern ones just want to find a way to save their world. It looks like both of them may have to team up, but can the two groups possibly learn to work with each other in time?

Going forward I’m going to call the original Titans the Gen 1 crew and the others will just be referred to normally since they are the main characters here. The Titans act about as well as you’d expect them to. They’re still treated like comic relief because even they acknowledge that they aren’t serious the way that the Gen 1 guys are. They can’t help but constantly be at the center of the gags. The only one who tries to be serious is Robin and even then he is constantly overshadowed by his Gen 1 version. I’ll give him points for effort though and he’s the only Titan who really understands the gravity of the situation. He needs the portal device and he needed a win to secure the team’s confidence. It’s just a shame that he isn’t able to fight quite as well as the others. The other Titans are all on point except for the fact that Starfire was not taking this seriously enough. None of them were all that serious, but at least they tried in the tournament. Starfire was too busy trying to make friends to do much of anything which was disappointing.

As for the Gen 1 crew, it was fun to see them again. Robin and Raven probably get the most to do here. Raven has a lot of experience with the demonic realm so she coaches the kid version on this. Meanwhile Robin is ready to lead the team and he definitely does not like the baby titans. He’s constantly belittling them and when they don’t listen to reason he is quick to put them down. Gen 1 Robin certainly enjoys being the leader and makes sure to stretch things out when possible. After all this is his chance to lead two different teams to victory so you can bet that he is going to milk this as much as he can. It’s just an opportunity that he cannot miss.

The movie moves pretty quickly through the different phases to the climax so it never drags on. I didn’t feel like any of the humor was all that bad either. I would consider this to be one of the stronger Teen Titans Go episodes if it was on TV. The return of Santa Claus was also a lot of fun. It’s always great to see him as an antagonist and he is one of their tougher opponents. Of course taking on a group this large would be difficult even for the greatest of villains.

Then we’ve got more crossover appeal towards the end of the film. If you managed not to see who was included already then I won’t spoil it for you. Needless to say it’s a pretty solid lineup. I would have liked to have seen them all a little more to be honest, but what we got was pretty neat. Imagine if the whole film was the tournament though and we got to see a lot of different verses duke it out. That would have been really cool and then this probably would have beaten the original film. The animation here does look pretty good, but more standard than the first movie. The colors are a little brighter and there is extra detail either way. There’s no super catchy theme like we got in the first film, but I guess it’s hard for Lightning to strike twice.

Where the film really shines is in how absurd the whole thing is. The Go characters are in full parody mode and they just don’t care what the Gen 1 group thinks. They’re here to have fun and nobody’s going to stop them. That straight forward goal really keeps the film going and it’s why you don’t even need the crossover aspect for this to be a success. The group can hold their own as is. If anything I’m just glad that the Gen 1 group weren’t too obnoxious in trying to question the Go characters at every turn. They quickly learned that the Go characters weren’t going to change and just rolled with it.

Overall, Teen Titans Go vs Teen Titans is a fun film. While it’s a versus title there isn’t a lot of action between the two teams. A good chunk of the action scene is just comedy, but to an extent that is to be expected with these guys. It’s probably the only vs title I would give a pass to because of that. Whether you’ll enjoy this film or not is completely dependent on whether or not you enjoy the Go series. If you like the TV show then you’ll like the film and if you don’t like the show then the movie won’t be for you. This basically feels like an extended few episodes and it’s really a movie for the fans. It brings all the best qualities of the show together.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

River City Girls Review


It’s time to look at a pretty recent beat em up game for the PS4. The game always did look pretty solid ever since the first promotions for the game came out. WayForward and Arc SYS working on the game also ensured that it was going to be a great title. It does not disappoint. The game may be rather short but I think you could reasonably expect that based on the arcade style. It’s definitely a really fun game that doesn’t cut any corners.

The plot involves Kunio and Riki getting kidnapped by someone. Their girlfriends Misako and Kyoko get a text letting them know what’s going on so they quickly break out of school and will stop at nothing to find the guys. They may have to tear down the entire city to find them, but that’s fine by them. Whatever it takes they aim to get to the bottom of this. You’ll get a lot of fun backdrops as a result. The heroes go through the school, a mall, a boat, a music show, and more. Each location brings new enemies to beat up.

The gameplay is a very classic beat em up. You won’t have a ton of different moves so it’s about making the most of the ones that you do have. I bought a few moves near the beginning of the game, but I didn’t get anything after that. I’m sure the extra moves after that can be handy, but at the same time some moves will hold you back so watch out. I’m not sure if this is intentional, but take the move where you can pick someone off the ground and hit people with him. This one’s more of a hindrance than a help because it’s the same button as your standard punch. A lot of times I would be getting ready to punch someone and suddenly I’d be picking someone up instead. It’s not exactly a welcome surprise in those cases. Likewise while the Dab looks cool, it does mean you have to be extra precise with your kick so you don’t use this attack instead. I suppose it adds to the strategy although it’d be nice if you could turn off some attacks. Perhaps it’s possible to do so in the dojo or something.

The gameplay is pretty straight forward so you should get the hang of it very quickly. You’ll also see loose weapons on the ground that you can use to slam people with. I feel like the damage is pretty much the same as just whacking someone so you’ll rarely ever want to use it. The best combo actually seemed to be your standard 3 punches into a kick routine. I used that to great effect against every enemy and boss. It certainly paid off. When you’re surrounded by multiple opponents I recommend a tactical retreat. They’ll just land way too many blows if you stick around. Your best bet is to get out of the way and then make your way back towards them. If you hit them all at the same time you eliminate the risk of a counter attack. Dash combos will be your friend.

Each of the bosses also have a set pattern so once you learn that you should be good to go. The bosses are stil pretty tricky though and I needed food items for some of the latter ones. Surprisingly the final boss is pretty easy so I didn’t need any for her. Just keep on hitting her and try to dodge the kick counter attacks. It’s really not that hard to do so and then you’ll have made it through the game.

The story is pretty short and you can beat the game in about 4 hours. Granted there is still a lot of bonus content to explore here. You can go and deal with some extra fights to help your next door neighbor out. Additionally you can break a bunch of statutes and buy all of the collectibles. The platinum seems pretty achieveable here so you’ll just need to invest some extra time in and it’ll be yours. One thing to note is that when you switch characters your levels don’t transfer over so if you’replaying by yourself then I recommend sticking to one character.

As far as the graphics are concerned this game is top notch. Not only are the in game models and backgrounds really great but the game even has fully animated cutscenes. The comic book ones are also really shark and work extra well for the emotional bits. This is an area where the game really excels and the fact that it has full voice acting is really fun. I always feel like that helps to enhance the game even further. Then you’ve got the dynamite soundtrack. There are a lot of great songs to be found here and the sound quality is top notch. The game was basically booming out of my TV in every scene to the point where I’d have to turn the volume down a few notches. The game is incredibly high energy and you can’t go wrong there.

Then you’ve got the writing which is a lot of fun. As you’ve probably guessed the story isn’t 100% serious. You can see how the game pokes fun at the premise quite a bit here and there with the main characters’ proof on why Kunio and Riki have been kidnapped getting slimmer and slimmer. This leads to an incredible plot twist as the game ends which I did not see coming. It really threw all of the classic tropes out the window and flipped everything you thought you knew about the game upside down. It’s just brilliant and the script is really solid throughout the game. With the exception of the next door neighbor all of the characters are pretty solid.

Misako is the tough character of the group who is always threatening to beat people up. She’s actually a bully which several characters comment on. Nobody wants to mess with her because she’ll definitely take you to the hospital. Misako is a fun character to follow even if she may not be a traditional hero. At the very least she is trying to help the guys out so her goals aren’t so bad. Kyoko is a lot nicer but also a little dense in comparison. Things tend to go over her head. She can fight as well as Misako but isn’t as aggressive. Naturally I liked Misako a lot more, but I chose Kyoko at the beginning of the game so I ended up being stuck. From the way the menus looked I assumed Kyoko was gonna be the tough one. Ah well, lessons were learned.

Throughout the game you meet a lot of supporting characters and villains that you have to take down in each chapter. They’re all fun and quirky. I could see a full manga or anime being based around this game and it would be a lot of fun. While you won’t feel bad for the bullies or the villains, you will probably have some sympathy for the school girls who believe they are friends with Misako and Kyoko. They’re really nice at times and help us in our quests, but get absolutely no gratitude. Again this is partially foreshadowing for the twist ending I’d say but you hope they end up finding new friends soon.

Overall, River City Girls is a great game. It is really short which is the only tag against it, but it’s just so high quality that you can overlook this. It reminds me of the average Platinum game which tends to be fairly short, but gives you a lot of quality in that experience. (They do a lot of long games too, but I’m thinking along the lines of Transformers Devastation or the TMNT game. Their franchise titles are usually short) Where else are you going to get such smooth animations and gameplay? The humor is on point here and this is the kind of game that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I’d definitely recommend getting it right away. Look at it this way, even if you don’t like it quite as much as I did, it’s not like it’s going to last all that long right?

Overall 8/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Hunter X Hunter (2011) Review


All right it’s time to look at the second anime adaption of the Hunter X Hunter show. The original anime ended quite early as the OVAs had to continue the arcs and even then it didn’t make it all the way. Since the manga is still going this series wasn’t able to finish either, but this time it did make it through the Chimera and Election arcs so it’s getting closer and closer. The series has a lot of dynamic scenes and has some of the best strategic battles in all of Shounen Jump. While the series has a few jump the shark episodes in the Chimera arc the series is still solid as a whole.

The world of HXH centers around professional hunters. In this world this is the most lucrative position as you can get rich just for selling your license. Of course if you went to all the trouble of passing the exam it is very unlikely that you would ever do such a thing. The hunters keep their licenses as a matter of pride and serve as body guards or go on quests. The options are endless. There are quite a few main characters who each have their own goals and ambitions which lead to the various story arcs. Unlike most other series you can get arcs where the main characters shift more than once. Otherwise I think the only other series I can think of where this happened is Naruto where Sasuke got his own arc. Potentially Dr. Stone will count as well if the other guy ever gets his own arc.

The first arc follows Gon in his quest to become a hunter. He is finally old enough to take the Exam and dashes on over. He meets up with a few other applicants known as Killua, Kurapika, and Leorio. The tests are quite rigorous though as you have to go through a forest of death, run for miles, escape a death zone, and then engage in one on one battles with other fighters. This won’t be easy, but Gon has trained quite a lot to be in shape so he would be ready for this. Unfortunately for him this happens to be the exam where a villain has entered the ring as well. His name is Hisoka and his goal is to cause quite a lot of chaos.

It’s a pretty good introduction to the series. We get to meet the main cast and there’s even a tournament. While the Chunin Exams from Naruto do still take the cake for this format you can see how similar these two are. Adding Hisoka into the mix also adds a good level of tension. It would have been interesting to have had Killua and Hisoka meet up early on here, but realistically that probably would not have gone well for the kid. At this point Hisoka already had nen which means he is effectively invincible here.

The next big arc was the Heavens Arena which is another big tournament. Now this arc isn’t very large compared to the others, but it’s a lot of fun. Gon and Killua learn about nen which will be crucial later on and Gon gets to have his rematch with Hisoka. That’s basically his motivation here and Killua works to keep everyone out of Gon’s hair. I don’t think this arc is remembered quite as well as some of the others, but it was another solid way to build more character development. I’ll also take any excuse to have a bunch of extra fights. HXH does a lot of “about to fight, but then doesn’t” moments so it was nice to enjoy these days while you could when every fight did happen.

Next up is the arc considered to be the best in the series and I would agree with that. Yorknew brings Kurapika into the center stage this time. His goal in life is to destroy the Spiders since they murdered his entire clan. It’s his whole reason for becoming a professional hunter and he never lost sight of this goal. This is his chance to take them down, but these guys are world class threats for a good reason. It won’t be easy for Kurapika to bump them off. Meanwhile Gon and Killua wander into the fray, but at their current level they sometimes prove to be more of a liability than a help. We also get the government involved and a bunch of other characters.

Yorknew is just a very packed arc with cool moments around every corner. Kurapika vs Uvogin is still a very iconic fight and seeing Chrollo take on Killua’s father and grand father was epic as well. At this point in the series there are also a lot of fun dream match-ups. For example while Killua may not have much nen yet he still does have a lot of strength and speed. Would he have been able to at least take one of them down if Gon wasn’t around? Kurapika also did good in taking on Uvogin, but would he be able to take down the others? Most of the Spiders have fairly broken abilities so in a sense Uvogin was the easiest to beat because he’s all about strength. His strength was certainly crazy though.

Then we have Greed Island which is more of a peaceful arc in comparison. Gon and Killua enter a video game to find Gon’s father an instead they wind up stuck in the video game. To escape they have to clear it, but in the meanwhile there are a bunch of bombers running around in there as well. Their goal is to clear the game first and they’re willing to murder all of the other players to get their way. They don’t appear to be quite as tough as the Spiders, but the ability to blow someone up with a single point of contact is always helpful. The arc is fun enough and we meet more characters like Biscuit. It’s never quite able to capture the same level of energy and excitement as the earlier arcs though.

Next is the Chimera Ant arc which was certainly anticipated because it had never been animated before. It’s the author’s shot at a DBZ type arc. If you’ve noticed each of the arcs seem to switch genres time and time again. Well this arc focuses more on power levels and the whole alien invasion even makes it part horror. This arc is very long and it feels like the longest in the series although I don’t know if that’s accurate. Basically these insect creatures have taken over a kingdom. They are slowly growing more and more powerful as well as intelligent because of the humans they eat. When they eat someone with nen they start to grow nen as well. The government is trying to hide this, but as a result the situation is quickly growing out of hand. Hunters are sent in to handle this. Gon and Killua will have to prove themselves against professional hunters as well if they want to make the cut. This time they will need to master Nen and have special abilities to help out.

This arc gives the heroes the biggest power upgrades they’ve ever gotten in the series. That’s why it’s a shame that neither Gon or Killua have really gotten to fight after this arc. Not only have they likely surpassed Kurapika now but they’re possibly Spider/Pro hunter level at this point. I’d say certainly since they were taking on Ants that the pros were having a lot of trouble with. There are a ton of fights in this arc and the heroes even have to split up at one point to take down a lot of enemies. That’s why it’s a shame that this is ultimately the arc that really holds the series back. On the one hand, it’s easily the most epic arc in the series. It has a lot of the best battles and the set-up is really solid. This is basically an alien invasion and it’s the most ambitious arc yet. We even see the Hunter association chairman Netero fight for once.

What hurts this arc is how the violence steps up and also covers animals. The insects murder a bunch of animals in this arc. They take down kids and in general the arc gets really dark. We even have a human villain out of nowhere who is basically doing trafficking amidst the chaos in a plot that has no point. The author also started to get a little more experimental around this point so we get an episode about nothing much as a guy with a terrible past is wondering what’s going on. He had an abusive father or something and while I’m sure the episode tied in to something, it feels like half an hour of nothing. The new characters here weren’t all hits so when they get a lot of focus it takes away from the main characters.

That’s why this arc is a mixed bag. It has the largest amount of great moments and the animation is also stunning. The Nen affects and how they affect everyone is handled very well. One character ages many years in an instant which is a dramatic but effective way or showing just how fierce these enemies are. After all, the heroes know that if they’re caught then they’ll definitely be dead. Put it this way, this arc would get the lowest score in the series at a 4 or a 5. Everything just adds up, but it is the most interesting arc. It does get the same atmosphere you’d expect from something like Attack on Titan or Fate/Zero which always does keep you engaged from start to finish. It’s just a shame that usually in creating that atmosphere the series usually has to go into some pretty dark places. You could take away those scenes and the arc would be fantastic. It’s rare to get a series to such an interesting place with so many pieces so you always hope it’ll be the next big thing.

Finally we have the Election arc. This one is more of a return to form as it feels like the first arcs. The Hunter Association is going to pick a new chairman and naturally there are a lot of candidates to choose from. They’ve all got their own motives and agendas so the people have to vote carefully. There are a lot of rules here to prevent anyone from being chosen too easily and I always enjoy this complexity. In the sub-plot Killua has to go back home to rescue another family member and then try to help out Gon. This leads to a lot of chase scenes and clashes of brawn and brain. It’s a pretty fun adventure arc and a nice little adventure to cap off the anime. You definitely feel how there are a ton of loose ends left, but hopefully the manga ends someday so we can get a sequel show. There’s almost no point in making another season yet because there isn’t a ton of content available at the moment.

So lets look at the characters. Gon is our lead here and he certainly goes through a lot of development. He’s a pretty happy kid at first, but as the series goes on we see more of his serious side. I dare say that he showed glimpses of being a little unhinged near the beginning though. All good main characters get upset when their friends are put in danger or threatened and Gon’s no exception. However, mix that in with his stubborn nature to never back down and he completely loses it. Gon tends to lose himself in his emotions which is good for building up his Nen, but it does mean he’ll often do anything for a quick boost of power. He gets the job done, but by the end he does tend to push people away.

Then you have Killua who sort of has the reverse character arc of Gon. At first he’s a deadly assassin who has a hard time fitting in. Eventually he learns to believe in teamwork more and even talks about friendship. He makes some close bonds with Gon and the others and really has come a long way from when he first started. He gets a lot of character development and is the best ally you can ask for. He’s always got your back and balances out his impressive fighting abilities with a strategic mind. Killua’s my favorite character in the series.

Then you have Kurapika who is also a big focus in the series. His origin story is similar to Sasuke’s and his goal of revenge is certainly the same. He’s put everything on the line to stop the spiders including giving himself an ability that is only useful against them. As a result he’s permanently limited himself against any other kind of enemy. He’s the smartest of the main characters and rarely lets his emotions get the better of him. It’s a shame that he misses the final half of the series because he’s a very interesting character. Well if the next arc ever gets animated he’ll be the main character of that one.

Then we have Leorio who quickly gets left in the dust by the other characters. He used to be reasonably skilled, but he never learned a lot of Nen so he quickly fell out of the picture. Nen is something that you absolutely need to have or you just won’t stand a chance as the series goes on. He was never as serious or determined as the other characters though so maybe it’s for the best that he was written out. He can be a fun character, but you won’t really miss him while he’s gone.

Hisoka is one of the biggest villains in the series. He’s a constant thorn in the heroes’ path and the guy’s talents also ensure that it is hard to get past him. He’s incredibly powerful and right now it’s hard to say who in the series could really beat him. He’s at least around the level of the leader Chrollo and that would put him at the very top. His obsession with Gon can border on being a character wrecking trait, but so long as that never goes anywhere dicey we should be good. He’s definitely a wild card for all characters in the series.

As for the Spiders, Chrollo is their experienced leader. His ability to copy other powers is always something really hard to defend against. Mix that in with the fact that he is a tactical genius (Isn’t everyone in this series a genius?) and you’ve got a solid threat. One thing that makes the Spiders especially dangerous is the fact that they’re all reluctant friends and will go to war to help one of their own. They’re a unit so mess with one of them and you mess with all of them. Feitan is one of the stronger members of the group. He’s pretty quiet but beneath that are the abilities of the strongest member of the group. Next to Chrollo I just can’t see anyone else challenging him in a fight. Feitan is incredibly fast and strong and his heat abilities mean that escape is basically impossible.

Machi is the most enjoyable member of the group. She has a lot of fun while doing her job and while that doesn’t take away from her being evil, she’s just a nice contrast to the others. Her thin wires are also a tough ability to fight against for sure. It won’t be an easy match for any of the other Spiders against her. Nobunaga hasn’t done much yet and his abilities are pretty straight forward. If you get close to him then he’ll slice you to ribbons. That being said, just because the technique is simple doesn’t mean that beating him will be easy. His idea to get Gon and Killua to join the Spiders was interesting, but quite far fetched so I guess he doesn’t mind going for long shot plans.

Shalnark is probably the most cheerful member of the group though. He just likes hanging out with the group and seems to think of them as just a group of people hanging out. His ability to mind control people is definitely a scary ability to fight though. You never know when you’ll actually be taking on an ally. Then there is Shizuku who is one of the more inexperienced members of the group. Her vacuum does most of the work but her physical strength is in the higher end from the Spider members. All she needs is one good hit to possibly win a fight. She’s one of my least favorite Spider members but she’s not bad. Her personality just doesn’t click with me.

Uvogin is a fun member. He’s all about beating people with raw strength. The guy did allow himself to get captured pretty quick which didn’t work out well for him, but he always knew that the other Spiders would come to help him out. Had he fought almost anyone other than Kurapika in Yorknew he would probably still be around. He certainly had the best fight out of all the Spiders. As for other villains, Illumi is another big name in the series. He’s always messing with Killua and it can be hard to tell what his ultimate goal is. I believe it is just to break Killua down so he recognizes Illumi as his boss and everything else is to get to that point. He certainly doesn’t want anyone murdering Killua before that happens and is willing to fight for him. I’ts a pretty twisted state of affairs. He does seem pretty powerful so I hope he fights someday.

Genthru is the big villain from Greed Island. He’s probably one of the pettier villains though. He just wants a lot of money and to blow people up along the way. There isn’t much to him beyond that. He’s an okay villain, but not one you will remember. Biscuit left a much bigger impact in that arc and she was a fun coach to have. I do feel like she was surpassed in strength pretty quickly though. I don’t think she would be able to hold her own so well if she were to return.

As for the ants, Meruem is their leader so he should go first. He’s like a DBZ character who was thrown into HXH. He’s way too strong for everybody else. Even when he isn’t fighting seriously he’s able to handle the strongest hunter of them all. I like hie design and skill set. He gets a big character arc with a Go player. Mereum started out as a total villain, but was quickly getting redeemed. He’s an interesting character and by the end of the arc it’s quite telling that you’re almost rooting for his side over the humans.

His three generals were also great. Youpi is the weakest of the group (In terms of personality) He starts out as one of those guys who only wants to fight, but quickly begins to learn strategy. He actually outsmarts the heroes a few times which was cool and his final form would have been really tough to deal with in a fight. Pouf is the strategist of the group. He may not be as strong as the other two, but his abilities ensure that it is difficult to trap him. His voice actor did an excellent job with the character. He’s just a lot of fun whenever he is on screen. Finally we have Pitou who I consider to be the strongest of the 3. She took down Kite like it was nothing and was brave enough to make a move on Netero. If not for power level stuff and overthinking she should have been able to take everyone down.

As a quick aside, that’s another issue with the second half of the Chimera arc. I think the author wrote the heroes into too big of a hole. They were heavily outnumbered already and then he added the 3 generals who were stronger than all of the Hunters. There was no way they were going to mount a real comeback here and it shows. The heroes were so far out of their depth that the arc basically got cancelled and had a sudden ending that was not satisfying in the slightest. The power levels had just started to get out of hand so maybe it was a good idea to suddenly stop it, but as a result there are a ton of battles that should have happened, but ultimately didn’t. It was a very anti climactic end to the arc considering how much build up there was. I think the arc could have used another 20 or so episodes which would have been enough to cash-in on all the anticipation built up throughout the saga.

Ikalgo is a chimera who gets a big role as he eventually joins the heroes. He means well and while the guy was a total villain initially, his redemption arc is handled quite well. Ikalgo contributes quite a lot during the arc and while he may not be the strongest guy on the block, he is pretty sneaky. Then you’ve got Cheetu who is just a fun villain. He’s incredibly fast so it’s hard to tag him and he causes a lot of damage. If anything it’s just too bad that we couldn’t see him fight a bit more. It’s hard to really see anyone taking him down in a straight fight. He can destroy most opponents before they even notice he is around. Cheetu also continued to improve more and more as he developed new powers mid-fight. Rammot’s role isn’t nearly as big but he’s also a fun villain. The guy was really the first Nen chimera. Of course that means he isn’t quite ready to take on any of the commanders, but he still gives a good fight. I think his design is what really made him interesting. It’s a cool hybrid type look.

Then we’ve got Netero. This guy likes trolling everyone and by the time he is ready to act in the Chimera war it’s a little too late. The guy is definitely powerful and is probably still one of the strongest characters in the series. He couldn’t quite match up to Mereum but otherwise there are probably just a handful of characters who could give him a good fight. I wasn’t a big fan of his, but he beats most other old mentor type characters. As for Ging, he’s definitely one of the worst parents you’ll see around. He still has no good reason for ditching Gon and his wife. The guy just likes adventures and doesn’t want any responsibility that comes along with it. I want to see him fight because the guy gets to much hype, but at this rate it’ll be a long time before that ever happens.

A real standout character was Pariston. He really stole the show in the election arc. The guy has a charismatic presence so it’s easy to see why he was a front runner to be the next chairman. He destroys the opposing arguments with ease and is always one step ahead of the other characters. Everything goes according to his plans and it’s safe to say that he is still in control. I wonder if he’ll ever get a big role again, but even if he does not he left a great impression. Morel is a pro hunter who can manipulate smoke. He’s a very calm and calculated guy who knows not to bite off more than he can chew. He’s definitely a solid ally to have around and was a fun supporting character. His partner Knov may have cracked, but I liked that guy a lot as well. Ultimately he wasn’t able to press on with the rest of the heroes, but he was inches close to death. His older design also worked pretty well. It was really surreal to see that.

Knuckle is like an old school brawler character from an 80s anime. His power is pretty good because unless you have broken levels of Nen it’ll seal you off very quickly. Calling his attack Bankruptcy was also pretty neat. I do think Killua surpassed him a while back though and at this point Gon should be able to take him down. The guy was a good coach though and he was always nice to the local animals. In comparison Shoot never left as much of an impact. He did fight hard to the end though. Even while dying he wanted Knuckle to continue the fight. It’s always good to have that level of determination in battle.

Then there is Palm who is an odd heroine. She’s very unhinged and is always throwing threats around. Fortunately the heroes are tough enough where they don’t need to worry too much, but she is not an ally you’d want to have on hand. She wasn’t really my kind of character. Then you have Kite who is nice enough. He seems a lot more reasonable than Ging at any rate. He wasn’t terribly interesting either, but I did like his weapon. It’s pretty unique and the fact that even he doesn’t know what it’ll do next makes it a very interesting weapon to see in action.

Zeno is Killua’s grandfather and we can see why he was such a big threat back in the day. Even now he has some powerful moves and the fight with Chrollo was a lot of fun. We also saw what a large range his attack had in the Chimera arc. Pretty much everyone got affected by that. Then Silva is also a powerful fighter. We haven’t seen a whole lot of him either (Such is the fate of many characters in this series) but you can tell that he is the real deal. Killua’s family is just stacked with great fighters. Just take a look at Alluka. Alluka has never even trained before, but was born with a great ability to grant wishes. There is no wish that Alluka can’t feasibly grant in some way or another. I wouldn’t want to have that ability since I couldn’t grant my own wishes though. Seems like a big downside to me.

This likely won’t come as a surprise but the animation is definitely top notch. The colors are very strong and the battle animations are smooth. Everything about the shows looks quite modern. It’s got that sleek new look while still having a good color contrast for the dark nen abilities. Meanwhile the soundtrack is great as well. It’s a shame that my favorite track was never officially released but you’ll hear it quite a few times like when Killua fought the darts guy. There are many other great themes that you’ll be hearing as you go through the series as well.

One big factor in why the show is so good is the writing. Every character is written to be pretty intelligent and three dimensional. The narrator in the chimera arc also adds to the hype by building up each scene. A good narrator goes a long way and this guy definitely succeeded. The play by play enhanced each of the scenes as opposed to slowing things down too much.

Overall, Hunter X Hunter is definitely a fun show. If you’re looking for a good action/adventure anime then this is the one to check out. In some ways it is still one of the most ambitious titles out there. The mind games are incredible and the universe built around the characters is very interesting. There are so many complexities and various characters running around that the series could last for many years even without all the breaks. Once you watch this show you’ll likely want to go read the manga to see what happens next. It may have had a rough patch with the Chimera arc, but the series is long enough where it was able to survive this. Just dive in and enjoy the ride.

Overall 7/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Puyo Puyo 2 Review


This is definitely an interesting SNES online game because it wasn’t translated. The game is still in Japanese from the controls to the cutscenes. While this does mean it’ll be impossible to follow the story unless you learned some Japanese, at least the game came at all. Better to arrive like that than to never arrive right? I like Tetris gameplay a lot and while I realize Puyo is quite a bit different I thought my skills would transfer over. Unfortunately that was not the case and I kept getting wrecked on the second level. There must be some gameplay mechanics I am not aware of because this did not feel legit.

When you boot up the game there are quite a few modes. You’ve got speed run, options, and the main one. There were two others that I did not click on. Naturally I ran to the main mode and did not look back. I was able to consistently beat the first guy with my quick combos. The problem was always the second level. So the goal of the game is to match 4 bubbles of one color. As long as the bubbles connect in any form then you just need to get the 4. It doesn’t have to be a complete line like Tetris. As you get more and more combos you will be sending bubbles to the opponent’s side. Once someone’s screen fills up with bubbles that person is defeated. You can get rid of these bubbles by making matches so it will come down to speed….seemingly.

The issue here is that I only ever seem to send over a few bubbles to my opponent while he is suddenly able to send an army at me. I’m assuming it’s because he either lands some kind of combo or manages to match 5-6 at a time. I tried both options but even then he would take the win. It would happen pretty suddenly too as I would have a huge lead and it would all go away in an instant. It definitely didn’t feel very legit, but I’m sure one day I would get the hang of it. That day was not in time for the review though so I was left spinning my wheels for a bunch of rounds before I eventually turned in the towel.

I think the craziest part here is that this was technically still just level 2 of Easy mode. It makes you wonder what normal and advanced levels of difficulty look like. The game really expects you to be a master at this point and I suppose this is the second game in the Super series so maybe that’s a fair expectation. I did try one round of the speed run part, but I died pretty quick. That seems like it would be a good way to hone your skills and level up though. Eventually you could land the pieces without any real effort. That being said, the toughest part about going at a high speed is that it’s easy for the control stick to move to the left or right and then you’ll have quickly gotten yourself into a big hole. Once you’ve messed up a piece making a comeback is even more impossible.

I suppose the gameplay wouldn’t change much from level to level so I still got most of the experience. The most interesting part of the game was definitely the plot and it’s not like I could actually follow that part. The animations were very expressive and it looked like it had a pretty colorful story. The graphics have aged incredibly well for its time and I’d be game for a newer Puyo Puyo game coming to America someday. I’d buy an HD collection for that. The soundtrack is less noticeable, I can’t really recall any of the tunes to be honest. That’s something it’ll need to work to improve since the music in Tetris 99 is downright excellent!

Overall, Super Puyo Puyo 2 is one of those games with a lot of promise. I like the fact that it has an actual story. It looks like an RPG and the colorful characters really help to make this game stand out from the pack. I suspect that is part of what helped make it so popular along with the gameplay. The gameplay didn’t really click for me but I’m thinking that’s partially because you’re just thrown into the action. If you’re more familiar with the gameplay and know how to really put up a fight then I expect you’ll really like this game. Try to learn some Japanese while you’re at it and then you’ll even have bragging rights when your friends come over to play.

Overall 5/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Volume 16 Review


The My Little Pony roll continues as I enter Volume 16. We’ve got another good batch of comics here with one of them being a Halloween special! I suppose I probably should have read this one about a week or two ago, but better late than never right? There are 5 stories here all with their own unique adventures. They’re all solid stories in their own right with no weak ones so the series continues to have a good amount of consistency.

One story has the elder apples playing Bingo with Applejack. The young pony decided to invite Rainbow Dash this time though and that ultimately leads to her downfall. Rainbow quickly points out that the game is a little boring and Applejack had apparently been leading this game for 5 years so everyone else was tired of it as well. Rainbow decides to spice things up by introducing them to Extreme Bingo. What happens in this game is that Rainbow hides the pieces around Ponyville and now the elders will have to split up and find them. First one to get a line wins. Applejack is against this because she feels it will be dangerous, but Granny Smith won’t hear any of that.

Applejack admittedly has a point here. Rainbow put some of the pieces in really dangerous places like an abandoned haunted house or past a bridge that was breaking down. Most of the other pieces are safe, but even just 1-2 like that do make things difficult. Had Rainbow not done that then I would have been on her side since Applejack always is overprotective. It was Rainbow’s loss this time, but it’s still a fun issue nevertheless. It was also nice seeing the elders call in their favors with the Mane 6 to get them into the competition. Honestly this could have been a two part comic with every member getting a buddy and things getting super competitive.

Another issue has the Student 6 getting invited to a haunted house by Twilight Sparkle. She was in disguise, but unfortunately they saw right through it. What Twilight didn’t count on was the fact that the rest of her friends put in a lot of contraptions of their own so when mixed together there is some real danger here. The kid are scared, but the Yak reminds them that if you use fear it can turn into power. It’s a good issue although it was a little extra irresponsible of Twilight to not check over the house herself. Also, she could have teleported in at any time so I don’t see how she took so long to get there. Parts of the plot were hard to buy so this is the weakest issue, but it’s still good. The moral that everyone feels fear is pretty good. People may not always show it, but just having that knowledge will let you cope with it a lot better than you otherwise would.

Next up Pinkie Pie gets the ability to make her wishes come true by eating a golden apple. This is Pinkie Pie so as you can expect she immediately begins to make a ton of wishes which puts everyone else in danger. She nearly drowns some ponies in hot fudge and she summons a bunch of balloons which get in Rainbow’s way. Even when her friends tell her to stop Pinkie is reluctant because she knows that her wishes will ultimately make everyone happy. There’s no two ways about this one, Pinkie’s the villain. She may be trying to justify this, but once her friends are flat out telling her to stop and she refuses this gets a little tricky.

Most of her wishes are also not that helpful. I think she would have convinced me of her side more if she wishes for better houses in the village or something like that. Wishing for Fluttershy to be transparent for the rest of her life? That probably stings for such a pleasant character as Fluttershy. Eventually Pinkie sees the light and we’re reminded that power corrupts. I do have to question why Applejack has had a golden apple like that and never used it before. That certainly would have come in handy during several of the villain invasions in the past right?

One story has Fluttershy acting rather oddly. She seems rather emotionless and even a bit rude to the rest of the Mane 6. She even kicks Rainbow Dash away which was pretty violent for such a peaceful pony. Well, it turns out that Fluttershy is acting like the animals around her thanks to an ancient amulet and now she has the personality of a dangerous wolf. The heroes will have to find a way to remove the effects of the amulet quickly or the damage Fluttershy does will eventually become irreparable. This is a good story and it reminds you not to mess with dangerous amulets. Spike also had a pretty good plan here. It’s rare that he thinks of something before Twilight so that was definitely fun for his fans. He stepped up when they needed him to do so and that’s always good.

Finally we head back to the Apples as Granny Smith thinks about an apple pie that Applejack’s mom used to make. It was the best ever, but nobody’s been able to recreate it. Applejack decides that this won’t do and gathers the local cake experts to crack the code. Pinkie Pie and Miss Cake are brought in, but even their efforts are in vain. The problem is the mysterious ingredient of “Love” in the recipe that they can’t seem to crack. After all they all really want to make Smith a good pie so shouldn’t that be enough? To find out what the ingredient is they will have to travel across Ponyville finding all of the ingredients that the Mom used to make while piecing together the past.

This is a pretty nice comic because it’s doing so much at once. We learn a lot more about Applejack’s parents through the stories that the villagers tell. Then we also get to see ponies team up in a rare combo because Miss Cake is rarely such a major player. I’m also always up for a good food story and since pie plays a big part here it’s nice to look at. In the end this is just a very wholesome comic. There may not be high stakes, but being able to recreate a recipe is always fun. It’s also something you can relate to because it’s always hard to make something quite the same way as someone else. I always like making recipes for myself so I don’t need to worry about that, but for people baking for a group it’s always a source of pressure.

As always the artwork is on point here. The pie comic is the only one where everyone was maybe drawn a little too young, but beyond that the proportions were all on point. The colors are vibrant and it always makes for a very pleasant read. The writing is definitely solid as well with everyone being polite while not being afraid to throw a little sass into the mix. You have to read between the lines at times to see how the ponies really feel. Except for Applejack, she’s always quite direct.

Overall, Volume 16 continues My Little Pony’s strong run. Alas, this is the final volume of the main series I have on hand so it could be a while before 17 hits. I do have one more MLP comic to read but it’s a little different from these. If you haven’t read this comic yet then I’d recommend picking it up. MLP is one of those comics that anyone can enjoy. These stories are just plain fun and whether you’re a kid or an adult you can pick up on the messages and have a good time with the characters. Now I’m ready for some Apple Pie, but I must stay strong until Thanksgiving!

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon The Power of Us: Zeraora’s Story Review


Time to look at another Pokemon one shot manga. This one’s a lot more recent than the Giratina one I checked out last time. It’s also a lot thinner as this is basically a mini manga so it goes by in a flash. That being said, it’s actually considerably better and one of the best one shot Pokemon manga that I’ve read. Surprisingly it beats Giratina in every aspect. I also have to give this volume some kudos in the art. The simple style actually ended up working really well for the fights.

The volume starts off with Ash running into town and bumping into the mayor’s daughter. The two of them head over to the nearby lab and put on some VR goggles so they can learn about Zeraora’s origin. It seems like the Pokemon was born out of a thunder storm and then he decided to protect all the nearby Pokemon. Unfortunately poachers show up so Zeraora has to stay sharp and keep on fighting. It feels like people are always trying to fight this guy. You can see how the volume is pretty short though because the whole volume is basically the professor showing them the story and then they go home. Interestingly the manga ends with a preview which basically recaps the first few pages almost word for word but with a few changes.

Back to the volume though, Zeraora is a fun Pokemon. He clearly loves to fight as seen by his smirk after being attacked. I’m also glad to see him actually take a hit and keep on going. It’s always sad when a Legendary Pokemon gets wrecked by random poachers or gets caught in a cage. None of that was happening to Zeraora. He took down all challengers and I dare say that he had the upper hand against Lugia as well. That fight was the highlight of the volume, but admittedly it was Zeraora’s fault. Lugia just came in to get rid of the fire. Zeraora blamed him for not coming sooner, but that’s hardly Lugia’s fault. The Pokemon can’t be everywhere and at least he saved some people.

It would have not been good if Elekid had perished, but fortunately the manga didn’t go down that route. That would have gotten a bit dicey if you ask me. With Elekid safe then we could really enjoy the fight. This is where I have to go back and talk about the art. The fights are very smooth here. It actually seems like a similar style to Bleach where you feel the impact beyond every hit. The characters may look a bit chibi at times, but it’s worth it for the action scenes. It’s really going for the opposite of Pokemon Adventures. That series has a ton of detail and epic fights. It works really well, but the same can be said for the flip side where this one is really focusing on the hits. This doesn’t feel like a cash-in level of art, but that of a real title.

If there are any negatives here it’s just in how short the volume is. Hopefully the going price would be a little lower to compensate. So long as that is the case then there are really no negatives to be found here. The manga has a direct plot and goes about it with no delays or distractions. You don’t need to stretch out the volume just to pad out the pages. This one just gets right down to business and it’s also probably Lugia’s best showing. It may be a little sad that we don’t get to see Ash fight, but he got his match in the actual movie. This is really Zeraora’s time to impress us and he was quite impressive. I’d take him over quite a few Legendaries. He may not be as intimidating as some of them, but his speed and power are still forces to be reckoned with.

Overall, If this had been the plot of the actual movie then things would have been quite different. This would make for an excellent TV special so I hope it is animated in some way or form. If you watched the movie then this is a must read to really see more of Zeraora’s character. He may be a little too quick to jump into a fight and doesn’t have the cool head that you’d want your ally to have, but his heart’s in the right place. At least he’s actively protecting Pokemon from poachers since the Officer Jenny’s of the world don’t seem to be around when you need them. It’s still really something to see how many poachers exist in the Pokemon world. Throw in Team Rocket and all the other teams and the world is actually quite dangerous. Hopefully Ash and friends are ready for them, but with Pikachu at his side I suppose I don’t even need to wonder. I hope that whoever the artist of this was gets another chance at more Pokemon manga in the future.

Overall 8/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

D. Gray-man Review


It’s time to take a look at a pretty long anime that I watched quite a while ago. This review’s been in the backlog long enough so it was time to knock it out. This was one of the first manga titles that I read way back in the day. I wasn’t particularly impressed with it in the beginning. It got good towards the middle and then got a little too crazy after it turned monthly. The show covers the manga all the way through the good parts and then stops right before we start to get some time skips and other adventures. That’s for the sequel show which adapts the Kanda arc so that should be good. As for this show, it’s definitely a great title.

The series starts off by introducing us to the world of D. Gray-man. When people die, someone can visit them and make a wish to bring them back to life. Should you do so, the Millenium Earl will bring the husk of the dead person back to life to murder you. You’ll then turn into an Akuma, but hey….at least you got to say good bye one last time right? It definitely does feel like this isn’t worth it, but most people don’t know the cost until it’s too late. The Exorcists are the only ones who can fight against the Earl and his legions of Akuma. Unfortunately there aren’t a whole lot of Exorcists left in the world and they’ve been fighting a losing battle for years. Can a local kid born with a cursed arm turn the tides of battle? His name is Allen Walker and there is more to him than meets the eye.

D. Gray-man is a very grim series. That’s not to say that it’s super gritty like Attack on Titan because the show can be pretty light. It’s still a shounen, but when you think about the plot you realize just how serious this is. The heroes learn time and time again that the Earl could murder the whole lot of them at any time. The fact that he chooses to let the human race exist is still a puzzle for the Exorcists. Perhaps he needs enough people to keep the Akuma army going which would make sense. Also, if the Exorcists are not a threat then there is no reason for him to go out of his way to destroy them right? They may win battles here and there, but it really does feel like the war is completely out of reach. They’ll need a few more Allens to even start a comeback.

Lets take a quick step back though. As I mentioned, Allen is the main character here. He has a mysterious past which isn’t looked at much here so there’s always a lot of mystery around him. He’s been a loner for a long time as he worked under General Cross, but now he is ready to join the main order. He’s a powerful fighter and one of the strongest Exorcists on the planet. Once he unlocks his Crown Clown form he can take any Exorcist down aside from the generals. Allen has a lot of your usual main character traits like eating a lot and being rather hot headed, but can also be rather ruthless against Akuma. He believes that destroying them is the only way to purify their souls so he has no qualms about crushing them. The Akuma don’t have hearts and do appear to be dead which furthers his point.

As Allen has some demonic traits the order doesn’t always trust him though. The deaths also take a toll on the guy because there’s no way for Allen to save everyone. For every 5 people he saves another one ends up dying and becoming an Akuma. It’s a pretty depressing cycle for him and as a result it takes him an incredibly long time to regain his powers compared to most leads. I liked him more in the anime than in the manga. He still could have acted faster to save the dog but after that Allen doesn’t really make any big mistakes. He may be outmatched at times, but he’s always fighting to the end. There’s even one match where he continues to fight the Akuma even after he has been knocked unconscious. That shows his determination. Allen also does defy the order at times which is good because those guys always seem corrupt.

Lavi is another one of the main characters and he is the one who was most improved in the anime. It’s not that I disliked him in the manga or anything, but he really didn’t leave an impression on me. In the show he is definitely one of the best characters. Lavi is a bookman and isn’t supposed to get involved with the exorcists. He breaks the rules many times to help them out though and ultimately makes the right calls. While he may not be ready to admit that they’re his friends, Lavi’s actions speak for themselves. Even with his job on the line he goes in to protect them and you can’t ask for a better friend. It’s just a shame that he seems a little weak next to the others. Lavi won’t be giving Allen or Kanda a good fight anytime soon. His hammer is his big weapon and every villain can just slap it to the side.

Kanda is the big rival of the series and definitely lives up to the hype. He has accelerated healing which is very handy and his sword can cut through just about anything. His fights against Tyki and Skin were good showcases of what he can do. He is dependent on his sword though so once it breaks then most of his skills go away. He’s still strong, but in this world you need a weapon laced with innocence to do anything against Akuma. Kanda’s got that Sasuke/Vegeta vibe going and it works quite well. He’s really a textbook rival and the kind of guy you want to have on your side. As you can probably guess he is definitely a standout character.

Lenalee is the main heroine of the show and definitely gets a nice character arc. Right from the start it’s nice to see that she can fight. Lenalee is a very capable fighter and goes through a very similar experience as Allen when she loses her abilities. Both of them have to risk their lives in order to get back into the ring. Her powered up form seems to keep up with Allen pretty well and if anything that means they may have both surpassed Kanda. Just temporarily I’m sure, a good rival never stays down. Her fight against the Level 3 Akuma is top notch and the same can be said of her fight with the Level 4. Lenalee’s a top notch character and part of why the show is so good is because the cast is so strong.

Another exorcist is Miranda, but her role certainly isn’t as big as the main 4. She can freeze time though which is an incredible ability to have. Now, it’s not game breaking since you keep your injuries from when time is stopped, but it will let you fight a little extra even after you should have been dead. Miranda is a great support fighter and her ability also allows you a chance to catch your breath real quick. Then you have Krory who is part vampire. He can bite enemies, but that kind of ability always seems a bit dicey to me. As soon as you face an opponent whose skin is harder than your teeth that’s it. As you can imagine this happens to him quite a bit. Still, he does have enhanced strength and speed so he remains relevant for most of the series. He’s a reasonable side character.

Then you’ve got Lenalee’s brother Komui who is one of the commanders in the order. We learn that he got the position to better watch the organization since he doesn’t trust them. I think he’s too passive though. We learn from Lenalee’s backstory just how extreme they can be. It’s nice that he got such a position, but Komui doesn’t seem to have actually done anything with this position so then what was ultimately the point? It’s not like the corrupt members are scared of him so it feels like his efforts were for naught. I wasn’t a big fan of the guy. His counterpart Bak was way better.

Bak doesn’t mind defying the government and he helped Allen quite a bit. He makes the tough calls and jumps into danger even though he’s only human. His friendship with Fo was also handled pretty well and you actually grew to like that branch more than the main headqarters. Fo was also instrumental in getting Allen back into fighting shape. They sparred quite a lot which wasn’t super convenient for her, but she did it and even gave him a nice pep talk. Allen had a lot of support during his rough patch and that was mainly thanks to Fo and Bak.

Bookman is also around with the group, but he’s definitely one of those guys that you can’t call a true friend. He would be quick to ditch the Exorcists and live up to his role of just being an observer. He doesn’t really believe in taking sides and considering that the Akuma plan to wipe everyone out that just doesn’t really fly. He’s not downright corrupt like Malcolm though. He seems to be the most extreme member of the Order or at least from the characters we’ve seen. He believes that the end absolutely justifies the means and will do anything to destroy the Akuma. Somewhere along the line he became a monster himself. The guy is probably one of humanity’s only hopes against them, but you just don’t want to win at the high price he’ll put you through. I would have liked to have seen at least one of the characters take him down, but no such luck yet.

As for the generals, we get to see them all fight near the end of the series. Most of them haven’t gotten a role beyond that though. The ones with the biggest role is the one with Kanda who likes drawing and Cross. Kanda’s general is pretty annoying the whole time with how laidback he is though. He does a lot of scouting, but never turns up any results so I can’t give him credit. Cross has a lot of bad traits like gambling and messing around, but at least he actually did destroy a bunch of enemy bases and solved a lot of puzzles. He actually made a tangible difference in the war effort and we got to see him fight quite a bit. His battles against the Level 4 and Tyki Mikk show why he got this position. He definitely seemed to be more powerful than the Exorcists and he’s got some great abilities aside from his super gun. I don’t like the guy, but I can respect his power.

Time to look at the villains. Naturally there are a ton of Akuma. All of the Level 0, 1, and 2 are fun enough, but at that level they aren’t a huge threat. Usually they show up so the Exorcists can have a good montage. I suppose the Level 2 fighters were a slight threat in their very first appearance and there’s one fight where they are in the sky and they manage to do some damage. It’s when the Level 3 Akuma show up that things get interesting. For starters, one Level 3 Akuma can basically take on the entire team. Lenalee has to give it her all to take 1 down and even then it was just barely. It was impressive because Allen didn’t seem to do quite as well. Even with Crown Clown form he was getting thrown around a lot. He did last a while even though he was outnumbered though, but the Akuma just wouldn’t stay down. Their speed, power, and defense are all off the charts.

One of the cooler moments in the series is when they make it to the Earl’s island. There are tons of Level 3 Akuma there and just one is enough to be a big deal so you can see how hopeless everything appeared to be. As a result I agreed with their decision to just storm the base and try to assassinate the Earl. It’s not like they could use hit and run tactics to whittle off the Level 3 so at that point you just try to go for the head and take him out right away. This was doomed as well since they had the huge Akuma towers running around the the Earl’s Noah fighters, but no other plan would have been much better.

Then you’ve got the Level 4 Akuma who is my favorite villain in the series. He’s just super intense and the fight with him vs Allen and Lenalee is my favorite in the series as well. This guy’s completely broken. He was able to take many big hits and still kept on going. If Cross didn’t show up then he would have still managed to secure a win which is pretty crazy. If the Earl makes more of those then I just can’t see how the heroes can hope to win without some major power ups. The Level 4 Akuma are basically General level.

The Earl may be the head honcho, but it’s hard to say if he is really the strongest villain around. It makes sense that he would be since the leader usually is the strongest, but I’ve never been too impressed with him He didn’t seem too eager to fight General Cross and Allen was holding his own pretty well. This likely isn’t the Earl’s final form, but he still doesn’t look great yet. He’s definitely a very different kind of villain as he doesn’t mind crying in front of his followers and such. You just can’t forget how many evil acts he does in the meantime. The guy is a complete psycho for sure and it’s hard to see him being redeemed.

From the Noah the one with the biggest chance of turning good would likely be Road. She may not actually be a kid, but she does seem the most innocent out of the group. They’re her family so she fights with them, but she doesn’t seem as openly malicious as the others. Road does do a number on the Exorcists with her attacks though and she is very hard to deal with. She’s rather unassuming but may be the strongest member next to Tyki. Lulu Bell gets the smallest role out of the Noah. She is reasonably tough and was beating the Exorcists when they fought, but that was very early on in the series.

Tyki Mikk definitely lives up to the hype of being a Noah though. Not only is he able to stalemate Kanda, but he also takes down Allen very easily when they first fought. In his final form he’s also far too much for Allen to handle even in his final form. Lavi’s help isn’t enough to beat him either. Tyki seems to enjoy his human life with his gambling buddies, but ultimately he never would have been able to have it both ways for long. The humans aren’t going to survive an Akuma invasion so eventually they would have been bumped off. Tyki’s a fun villain though. He keeps a front of formality in all of his conversations before eventually cracking when things get tough.

Jasdevi is sort of 2 different Noah, but they eventually merge into one. I forgot if that’s how they originally were and then they split or vice versa, but I believe they used to be one. They’re a fun duo even if Cross does mess with them a lot. It’s always interesting to have a Noah who’s part comic relief as they do the dishes in one scene and then murder everyone in another. They’re fairly strong, but not on the level of Road or Tyki. Their traps are really what made them a threat to the heroes during the fight. Then you’ve got Skin who is very strong physically but doesn’t have much else going for him. I suppose you don’t need much else when you’re that strong though. His lightning is hard to dodge and he gave Kanda a good fight. That alone tells me that he is very powerful. That was also one of the better fights in the series. He doesn’t have much personality so I wouldn’t say that I was a big fan, but Skin added to the villain ranks pretty well.

The animation in D. Gray-man looks excellent. The colors are sharp and as I mentioned we do get a lot of really great fights. There’s a lot of detail here at all times and the backdrops are suitably grim. It’s almost always night time in the show with very few episodes taking place during the day. You always feel the impending sense of doom with Akuma around every corner. The animators also really kick it up a notch during the big battles in the tower and everything afterwards. You just feel an uptick in the animation and there’s no comparison when looking at the first episodes and the last ones. Initially I didn’t think the soundtrack was that good when I used to listen to it online. Context does tend to help though and the scenes worked well with the music. It’s not the largest soundtrack so you’ll be hearing the tunes quite a lot, but that’ll give you extra time to get used to them. I didn’t have any issues with them by the end.

Now, why doesn’t the Earl just destroy the Exorcists? As I mentioned we don’t really know why, but my main theory is that he wants them around to destroy the weaker Akuma and keep the supply of Innocence around. We see how the Akuma are gradually growing stronger after each invasion and it’s possible that without the Exorcists fighting them left and right this wouldn’t be happening. If anything the Earl is toying with the humans which could come back to bite him. It’s hard to see how though because the Earl can churn out hundreds and even thousands of new Akuma with his factories as well as the personal visits to people who have died. Meanwhile the Exorcists are lucky to get 10 new recruits a year. Mix that in with the fact that it takes 10 or more to defeat one Level 4 Akuma and then you’ve got a problem. The Noah also appear to be as strong as at least a Level 3 Akuma and while there aren’t many of them here we learn in the sequel that there are many more.

The power levels stay consistent in this series, but we can expect them to start flying out the window soon in order to give the heroes a fighting chance. I expect the ending to be Allen getting a way to shut them all down at once or a non-ending where the author just abruptly ends with nothing resolved. At the rate the series is going it’ll likely still be quite a few years before this happens though. Ideally this will also let the Exorcists fight against the order a little more.

The writing and directing are also pretty good. I don’t really think about directing much, but then I watch Naruto Shippuden and it reminds me why it is so important. The characters are all written to be pretty likable here and their day to day conversations don’t drag on. Flashbacks are used quite sparingly and none of the episodes ever feel like they drag on. Even the scenes of the Noah picking off random Exorcists is handled well as they at least get a chance to use their attacks. You do know that they’re doomed either way though.

Overall, D. Gray-man is definitely a great show. It may have gotten off to a bit of a slow start, but it definitely gets to its peak when the Noah start to show up. The animation is solid and the soundtrack is well rounded as well. If you haven’t seen this show yet and are in the mood for a good action title then you can’t go wrong here. It’s quite unique next to most of the other big action anime with a lot of mystery thrown into the mix with the action and horror. A lot of these questions aren’t actually answered here though so be prepared for a lot of loose ends as the series ends. The manga is still on-going so that is inevitable though. Even if it were not to have continued the ending is still pretty solid.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Transistor Review


It’s time to look at a video game I just managed to complete today. It’s not a title that I was familiar with before playing so it’s always fun to enter a game blind. It’s definitely got a very cryptic environment which works well like Bendy or Undertale. Like those games there is a deep plot that you’ll understand if you pay attention and do a lot of the bonus content, but if not then you’ve got the dedicated fans who will spell it out for you online. It’s a fun experience although I do have to give the ending a thumbs down.

The movie starts off with the lead Red as she wakes up next to someone who’s been stabbed. The enemy had tried to destroy her, but they ended up getting this guy instead. When she takes the sword out it talks to her and reveals his name to be Transistor. Red’s voice was unfortunately damaged so she can no longer talk. Red used to be a singer so this was pretty tragic. The whole city (Maybe the whole world?) has been taken over by a robotic army led by the Camerata. Red needs to take them all down and steal their souls to try and find a way to revive Transistor. Unfortunately the entire city is basically a ghost town at this point so she has to wonder how much progress she is actually making.

If you want a more detailed plot definitely check out Wikipedia as they’ve got it all down there. You’ll get the basic plot as you play the game, but don’t expect to learn it all right away since it is part mystery. The pieces start to add up and you’ll come across a lot of news articles and blogs in the game. There are terminals that can be found just about anywhere. You get extra trophies for interacting with everything so it’s not a bad idea to check them all out. Now lets talk about the gameplay. You are able to hum with one button and another lets you sweep a bit. You’ll never need to use either technique, but it’s nice to have them around.

The actual gameplay is Xcom style, but with a dash of real time action. You manuever your character through a sealed off area as you try to eliminate all of the enemies. You can attack in real time with one hit at a time or you can freeze time and use a few actions as a combo. The latter is pretty much mandatory as you progress through the game. Hitting an enemy from behind will deal more damage but then you have to try and calculate their trajectory to land the follow-up hit. There’s a ton of strategy to consider here which is pretty cool. Then you’ve got a robust level up system which unlocks more powers. You have to choose which ones to equip and which to keep on standby as you have very limited space. You also have limiters you can put on which further restricts your memory, but gives you more XP per fight. I turned on every limiter I had until the very final boss.

It was fun to take off my limiters as if this was DBZ and then go wild on the guy. It will ensure you have more of a challenge throughout the game, but in my opinion it’s worth it because every level up helps you out considerably. This is the kind of game where level ups make a huge difference. You also have a beach house you can go to in order to do extra fights and grind some XP as well. There’s no need to do it as the game is challenging, but not crazy. Still, the option is there so you will want to keep it in mind. Also make sure to destroy the enemy cores after you beat the minions since they will revive within 5-8 seconds otherwise.

The actual game is fairly short at about 3-4 hours. You can stretch this out to around 8 or so if you go for everything. I think one of the trophies is for beating the game twice as well so getting the Platinum will take quite a lot of time. It’s a short title, but a fun one so I expect you’ll have a fun time regardless. The deciding factor here will likely be how you enjoy the gameplay. I liked it a lot since strategy is my thing. It’s the kind of “puzzle” in a sense that I can actually enjoy. I also did like the cryptic plot. In a way games can be extra fun when they never tell you what’s going on. You get to fill in all the blanks and whenever a game/film/any kind of media hides things rather than spelling it out I think it works really well. It just adds on to that mystery angle.

The graphics here look pretty good. It’ll remind you of some of the alien games for the Wii. Naturally this isn’t going to look at high end as the average AAA PS4 game, but it’s all still very smooth and leak. I also like the illustrations that pop up after each level. They look quite grand and I’m sure quite a lot of effort was put into them. Some of these are interactive as well so always be sure to stay sharp. As for the soundtrack, I can’t say that it was very memorable. It was cool that we got actual songs though. The song that played during the first level was quite good. I was surprised that we didn’t get many more after that, but considering that it has a full soundtrack I imagine there are a ton more that were created for the game.

As I mentioned the ending isn’t very satisfying though. I can’t really talk about it at all without spoilers, but it didn’t really work. I will say that it’s not all that selfish on Red’s part since as I mentioned there aren’t a lot of people around anymore. I was just against it on principal, but in her shoes its not as if the decision doesn’t make sense. It makes sense for sure, but in the same logic that a lot of villains tend to use in various series. It was unexpected though, I’ll definitely grant the game that. I did not think it was heading in that direction at all.

Overall, Transistor is a fun game. It’s definitely one of those titles that is a lot of fun for the experience. Once you know how things are going to end up I don’t think you would be able to play it through for a second time. At least not for a long while. At the same time the new game + may give you extra story details which would be cool. There is a lot of post game content here as well as you try to max out your level. If you haven’t played this game yet then I’d recommend checking it out. I don’t think you should really be paying more than $20 for it though considering the short length. Once you start you will definitely be sucked into it and hopefully we do get a sequel someday. It doesn’t feel very likely based on the ending though.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Lethal Weapon Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

It’s time to take a look at a thriller from back in the day. Lethal Weapon is a pretty popular thriller series and now I can say that I have finally started it. It’s aged pretty well and will definitely give you a solid amount of action. It’s going to be tough for the sequels to top this one and that’s always what you want to see. The first film of a series should always start off on a good note to keep you around for the sequels.

The movie starts off with introducing us to the two lead characters. Martin busts up a drug deal by pretending to be a buyer. This does lead to him almost getting murdered but he manages to get out in one piece. The fact that he takes unnecessary risks when going on these missions allows him to make it through in scenarios like this. Then you have Roger who is nearing retirement and plays things by the books. He’s told that he will now have to work with Martin since the guy is such a risk and nobody wants to work with him. Roger feels the same way, but it’s an order so he’ll get it done. What starts out as a simple drug crime becomes a big conspiracy as more victims are found and the enemies appear to have government issued weapons. Roger may have to take some big risks this time.

Lethal Weapon’s plot is sound even if it’s not the most original. The characters are basically trying to fight off a drug dealer with a few twists and turns thrown in. I don’t think the movie could go for a grander plot in the first movie since a good chunk of it is also developing the characters. This is something the movie will be able to skip in the sequel. These scenes are worth it though because they’re just a lot of fun. The character dynamic here is sound and the writing backs it up. It never feels like the scenes are wasted or that it slows down the movie’s pacing.

Martin is definitely a fun character even when he is going through quite a lot in his personal life. It’s pretty rare to have a main character who actually is suicidal. As a result he isn’t feeling 100% for most of the film and he acts very recklessly. To an extent this works out in his favor on some cases like when he busted a drug deal. Martin doesn’t let it get the best of him when we see the guy in action though. At one point Roger keeps quipping about how Martin seems to murder everyone but all of the deaths we saw in the film weren’t really avoidable. Martin proves that he is a great cop time and time again in the film. Ultimately he ended up being the MVP and Roger would have been doomed without him. It’ll be fun to see Martin in the second film since he should now be at 100%. He definitely contributes to a lot of the humor in the film as well.

Then we have Roger who is inching closer to retirement and has managed to make it through his career without injury. He has a family and considers himself to have had a pretty fortunate life so far.  Being paired up with Martin definitely changes that as now any case could potentially be fatal. Martin may not be able to fight the way his partner can but he does still have good gun skills. He’s just a nice guy to hang around with and always means well.

Finally we have Joshua who may or be the main villain but he has the most personality. He works as a hit man for the villains and was trained in special forces. As a result he makes for a pretty tough villain to beat. He also did come very close to beating Martin so the guy lived up to his hype. The actual main villain is your classic drug dealer. He’s not bad, I like the confidence at least. He just isn’t quite as memorable as his right hand man. The guy also can’t fight so it’s not like he will be mixing it up with the others.

What really makes this film work is the solid humor. The movie has a solid script with a lot of good humor. There is some language but for the most part the film stays strong. It does manage to get that Christmas dinner vibe while also getting serious when needed. It really goes through all of the emotional shifts as the movie progresses. We also get to see why Martin is known as a living weapon by the end as he gets into some fights. The scene of him breaking free from the chains and taking down a bunch of guys was handled well. If anything it made the actual ending feel a bit superfluous. I know we needed to have a fight with him and Joshua but it was a little dragged out and didn’t really impress me. I actually found some of the other battles to be better but this one still did have some nice choreography.

Lethal Weapon also has quite a few different climaxes. One of them is in the desert and we got to see Martin’s shooting skills. Their plan was quite sound there and if anything Roger’s daughter just messed it up. I understand being a little nervous but once you’re in the getaway car that’s your chance. If she had braked, turned, or done anything then the whole film could have been ended much sooner. Roger also deserves some blame there since he didn’t support Martin at all once the shooting started. That was their best chance to end things. They may have ultimately won out, but things could have gotten very dicey by not finishing the villains off in this moment.

Overall, Lethal Weapon is a movie that has aged quite well. It’s just a fun action thriller that has a nice sense of humor. The movie has good pacing and writing so those are all of the elements that you need in order to be a success. Put one way, the film had no real negatives. I could recommend it to anyone who likes a good action film and the sequel is going to have some pretty big shoes to fill. Since the characters do return in the sequel that shouldn’t be a tall order though.

Overall 7/10