God of Highschool Review


It’s time for another Webtoon adaption. The God of Highschool got a ton of promotion back in the day. I dare say that from the 3 Crunchyroll productions they gave this one the most publicity by far. It’s a tournament with a ton of action so what’s not to love right? Well, after seeing it I can definitely say it’s a great title. I did have a bit of an issue with the art style but the animation itself was great without a doubt.

The show starts with some politicians making a deal only for the entire island to literally be slammed with a giant hand and those guys are murdered. With nobody left in the way, a tournament is announced called the God of High School. If you win this tournament then you will get whatever you wish for. Anyone can enter it as long as they’re in High School so people flock to the tournament from all over. Winning this will take skill but these characters are ready. Still, the whole situation is rather sketchy…is there more to this tournament than meets the eye?

The God of High School is a show that goes fast and doesn’t mess around so you really have to make sure you keep up. You can probably identify moments where there are scenes that would be skipped to make the pacing work better but you always get the key details. I haven’t read the Webtoon yet although I plan to do that shortly. So I can say with confidence that even without reading the source material you’ll be able to keep up.

The last few episodes are also the best ones in the season so this really ends on a high note. You’ll absolutely be hyped for season 2 by the time you’re done with this one. It almost feels like they would need to change the name soon though since it seems like it won’t really be relevant to the next season. I guess if you think of the title as being a title in universe as opposed to referring to the tournament then it works out pretty well though.

Since I mentioned the art style lets knock that out now. The thing I didn’t like is how everyone’s nose and ears are always shining bright red as if this is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I haven’t seen a show do that before. The closest I can think of is the permanent anime blush in shows like Accel World. I dislike that art style as well, I dunno it just doesn’t seem natural and it can be a bit distracting.

It takes away from the visuals in general. Interestingly, I quickly took a look at the original trailer for the show although I think it was a conceptual trailer since the animation studio looked totally different and it shows events from the complete first season which is an odd choice. There were no glowing noses/ears there so I don’t know why they were added here. Perhaps this is how the art looks in the Webtoon and they wanted to be accurate but it just doesn’t work. I do like the chibi scenes when they occur though. I think Chibi works really well for quick humor bursts. We see similar techniques used in Tower of God and Demon Slayer to great effect as well.

The animation is great though. There’s a lot of finetuned hand to hand combat here. It’s easy to see how this company would then go on to do Jujutsu Kaisen later on. That show took this one’s fundamentals and then improved the animation with a lot of great energy effects and even more wrestling type moves. In a way you could say the studio used this anime to train and then mastered it with Kaisen. There are definitely no complaints with the animation here, the fights are all very high energy and get you in the moment. The shading on the darker moments also helps show the intensity of a scene very well.

I enjoyed the soundtrack a lot as well. The theme song is great and the more you listen to it, the more into it you get. It’s got a lot of replay value that’s for sure. The images for it are also hype. Then you have several great themes in the show like the Young Tiger theme as well as Mujin Park’s music. Each one helps to build up the hype and as this is completely a battle story, it’s not surprising that the music would be geared that way.

Now lets talk about the characters here. The main character is Mori Jin. He loves fighting and is trained in the arts of Taekwondo. Mori is very confident in his abilities and believes he can take on anyone. Winning the tournament is prize enough for him so he has no real wishes to be granted. He’s a nice guy who sometimes projects sob stories onto others but always does his best to help his friends.

Mori’s a pretty charismatic guy and I was definitely a fan. He’s quick to jump into the arena when a match is going too far and that’s something I was glad to see. Mira loses some points for trying to constantly tell her teammates not to jump in. It’s just the right thing to do. It goes against the spirit of the tournament to be torturing your opponent and for Mori I imagine it was especially personal since the villain was using Taekwondo.

The show doesn’t go into it a whole lot but I do like how each of the different hand to hand fighters use unique fighting styles here. You’ve got Karate masters, self defense, sword style, etc. Mori never falters throughout the whole season so he was a great lead from start to finish.

Then we have Mira who is one of the first characters to appear in the show. She doesn’t crave battle the way that Mori does but her sole goal in life is to get the Moonlight sword back into the spotlight. She wants to prove that this style is good and it was her father’s last wish. She will do whatever it takes to make the sword popular again which is a good and bad thing. The good thing is that it gives her drive and something to fight for.

The bad thing is that it limits her. She seems to fight a lot better without the sword most of the time. Her enemies seem to be able to use it with more skill than she does. Additionally it also sidetracks her from her goals like when she was quick to jump into a wedding with someone she didn’t even know. That was the weakest part of her character arc to be sure. How do you marry a random celebrity when you’ve known him for 5 minutes?

Mira was quick to throw her friends away at this point too so it’s good that they beat up the guards and forced the issue. Mira also doesn’t believe in interrupting matches as I mentioned before so that ends up hurting two. From the 3 characters she had the shakiest resolve to be sure, but she can fight and tends to do well in battle. Eventually maybe she can catch up to the other two if she masters her sword.

Then we have Daewi as the third member of the crew. He is fighting to save his friend who is currently dying. It’s a pretty rare condition so even the nanomachines that the GOH tourney providers have only may give him a chance. Daewi is the mature member of the 3 so he usually tries to calm the other two down or just stay out of the way so they don’t embarrass him. For the most part he’s a rather decent guy.

There is one point though where he loses it and very nearly becomes a villain. He beats up some random punks but they initiated so I don’t even count that to be honest. You can’t pretend to ignore them forever so take them out and that’s that. Now if he murdered them that’s different, but I didn’t necessarily get that impression. It’s hard to say though, I suppose they might have been dead.

Daewi even attacks Mira in rather savage fashion but I would say it’s in a completely different league than what Manseok did in the first episodes. Daewi didn’t torture her or anything, he landed a few solid blows and then she went down. Now, he was about to attack again before he was stopped which would have crossed the line but ultimately no extra hits were landed. Perhaps this is something where it’s more dragged out in the Webtoon but from the anime it doesn’t seem as shocking and savage as the characters acted.

I suppose you’d expect him to hold back more when fighting a friend and yet the characters always talk about how you better not hold back or they’ll take it personally. It might be an unspoken rule where you should still hold back I suppose. Regardless it wasn’t quite as crazy as you would expect so I didn’t lose a ton of respect for him the way I would if a character really turned traitor like that. It does mean he’ll likely never catch the top tiers of the series like Mori, Ilpyo, or Taek but he’s reasonably in the middle somewhere.

The resolution to the plot did feel a bit cheesy and perhaps unearned though. Mori was really mad at Daewi at first and then a few minutes later they’re back to being best friends. That part I will say felt rushed and it seems like they wouldn’t get along so easily like that. Additionally, I don’t see how Daewi was looking so good. Mori seemed to be way stronger but more on that later.

Ilpyo was easily the best character in the series though. I liked his confidence and he’s just a classy guy. Ilpyo felt like he would be the main character in another title. He has cool fire powers and even a nice super form that he can use at will. The guy’s hand to hand skills are completely out of almost every other character’s league. He misses the first half of the season but once he shows up at the end he gets a great role.

It’s clear that he would have beaten Mori if he wasn’t sandbagging to teach him the whole time and at full power I would have gone for him over Taek as well. That guy’s abilities are hard to deal with but the same is true for Ilpyo. I hope he gets a lot to do in season 2 as well because he’s just a blast to follow.

Then we have some of the various fighters from the tournament. First is Seungchul who likes to fight using intelligence and wit over brute strength. This makes him difficult to defeat although at the same time it doesn’t seem sustainable. At the end of the day you need pure power to back up your moves. Then there’s Gamdo who is a martial artist that likes fighting with honor.

Unfortunately he’s in the wrong tournament for that because these fighters are too desperate to win. They don’t have time for honor or things like that. I liked the guy but I feel like he may never appear again. Then you have Manseok who was surprisingly weak. Seriously the guy talks really tough and after getting embarrassed he breaks down into tears and never appears again.

I’m sure he will return but it’s going to be hard to take that guy seriously. He’s like a textbook bully who can take on weaker fighters no problem but ultimately gets outmatched by the stronger ones and doesn’t have the confidence to continue. I didn’t like that guy so I don’t mind him getting taken out. It was just really surprising.

Taek is one of the big villains of course so we have to talk about him. Now this is a villain I could get behind. He made for a great antagonist who kept on getting stronger and forced the heroes to keep up with him. Hi goals about wanting to be the strongest and proving that he wasn’t a loser was intense. The guy is whining a lot in a sense but he continues to get stronger on his own so at least he’s doing something about it.

His rivalry with Ilpyo just worked really well and was the best dynamic in the show. Whenever he was around you knew things were about to go down. The scene where he nearly took Mori down with a single strike was a very intense moment and was also good hype for Ilpyo. I also liked how he kept remembering how Ilpyo beat him up that one time. Shows why he wants revenge on everything. It’ll be hard to top him as the next arc villain.

Taejin is worth mentioning because he’ll clearly be getting a big role soon but this was not a very impressive start for him. He got beat up pretty quickly. Yes, he left big craters in the ground and looked strong but Mori could probably pull such things off by the end of the series with his impressive power ups. Taejin gets a ton of hype so to see him tied up and beaten so early on…it was surprising to say the least.

Then we have the tournament organizer Mujin. This guy’s pretty interesting right now. He’s clearly not a hero with how extreme his actions are at the moment. It’s strongly implied he’s the one who took out the island in episode 1 although we don’t know for sure. He’s searching for the Key and it doesn’t sound like this is for heroic reasons. Perhaps he is a hero who just seems shady at times but right now I see him being a very interesting third party character who keeps everyone at the ready.

It’s a shame he had to play defense for the whole season though as we couldn’t see what he could really do yet. The fact that he was able to put up barriers to block the giant summon from the villains was impressive though. The guy’s tough without a doubt but I want to see him in the ring. He has a bunch of members in his organization who are powerful as well but most don’t get to do a whole lot yet.

I expect we’ll see them all fight more soon. They beat up on the random monsters but anyone could do that. Q gets the biggest role as he shows a lot more emotion than the others. He gets upset when one of his comrades dies and even confronts Mujin. There’s a lot of life to this guy and he disregards procedure if it gets in the way. It costs him a lot of money each time but he doesn’t back down.

There are other characters running around here of course like in the tournament and assassins from the mysterious organization that is also trying to find the key. I won’t go into those guys because they haven’t done a whole lot yet. You’ll want to watch the show to see what they’re doing. I am pretty interested in how that will play out since it seems like that will be more of a focus in season 2.

While the tournament was the main plot there were definitely times where the outside world was more interesting. There’s just so much happening out there and I love tournaments but the other parts were so appealing too. It’ll be fun to see how the heroes contribute since in theory most of them are still weaker than the grown ups. Mori is probably an exception to that though.

The Power levels in the show could be rather suspect at times though. From the start Mori is portrayed as being so much stronger than Daewi and Mira that you can’t believe it when he is having an even fight with Daewi. Particularly since given the circumstances Mori shouldn’t be holding back and is going in hot to make Daewi regret attacking Mira. Somehow Daewi is not only holding his own but even winning at times. That didn’t make a lot of sense.

Then you have the celebrity who had his own Charyeok manifestation and yet he got knocked out in one blow. How? This guy is a part of a dangerous organization and had a lot of abilities. That didn’t make a lot of sense. Granted, in general Charyeok seems like a pretty vague power scaling system. Effectively you borrow power from some kind of legendary figure and turn that into power. One character uses Lu Bu for example while another one has Jaws. (Or just a random Shark) Then you have Mori who doesn’t need to borrow anything since there are other factors at play here. Way I understand it is Mori is the legendary figure, I won’t say who for now. It’s a pretty good way to explain why he is so strong.

Charyeok has a lot of different manifestations so the best way to think of it is just as a form of Ki and then you get any kind of special ability. I don’t see how you can lose with it so quickly though. Power levels aside, I do like how the characters just launch into the fights. A benefit of the fast pacing here is there’s no time for chitchat so often times the fighters just start swinging their fists and don’t stop. The opponents have to figure out each other’s abilities in silence. Nobody stops until one person is on the ground.

The God of High School may start out fairly realistic but it jumps up into superhero world by the end. The last episode or 2 in particular suddenly turn this into something like DBZ and I’m all up for that. It was a pretty powerful match-up at the end and the designs were really good for the powered up modes on the hero and villain.

Overall, The God of High School is a great anime that I would recommend. You won’t be disappointed here. It’s really over in a flash at only around 12-13 episodes but each one covers a lot. You’ll likely end the show with a ton of questions since it doesn’t mind opening up a lot of plot elements that don’t go anywhere yet. It’s why you just have to wait until it’s continued or check out the written version. You’ll get introduced to a lot of characters but I dare say you’ll actually remember most of them. They’re all fairly unique and have their own personalities. It may take a little while to fully learn the names but that will come in time. My only real gripe here is that I wish they would take away the Rudolph nose part of the art style. It just doesn’t fit so maybe in season 2 it’ll be cut. With this review done I’d say it’s a good time to check out the Webtoon and see how the adventure continues.

Overall 8/10

Selector Infected Wixoss – Peeping Analyze Review


It’s time to finally check out the Wixoss manga which shows Kiyoi’s journey across the seasons. In the anime she was typically just a supporting character until season 4 where she would effectively take the lead route. So this manga really details what was happening with her through the first 2 seasons and pretty much ends before her mission in season 3. It’s a fun spinoff and I like that it adds a lot of details to her journey. Kiyoi certainly ended up with one of the more confusing story arcs with how many times she body swapped.

The manga starts out by introducing Kiyoi as a rather happy kid. She was brimming with hope and everything so you know something bad is going to happen since in the shows she was never particularly happy. Sure enough she is betrayed by her childhood friends and bullied relentlessly. She has carried this trauma with her even into high school and is unable to believe Sakaguchi when the girl attempts to be her friend.

Sakaguchi ends up being hit by a car as she throws Kiyoi out of the way and enters a deep coma. She is seemingly going to die at any point now. The only way to save her is for Kiyoi to risk her soul and join the Wixoss game. Her LRig “Remember” tells her that if they win enough matches Kiyoi’s wish will be granted and all will be well. If Kiyoi loses….well, Remember figures they don’t need to worry about that because they won’t lose of course. They will just keep on winning.

The manga is able to go into a little more detail on exactly how the wishes work which I liked. So here’s the general gist of it. If you win a certain amount of games as well as unlocking your own personal condition (This depends on the heart of the user) then you will be able to become an Eternal Girl and get your wish granted. Not all wishes are possible though as an LRig can only grant something within their power. Keep in mind that they are only human (Outside of special cases like Tama) so you can’t wish to gain super powers or bring back the dead.

That said, the wording of your wish is important. Your LRig can still go through with the contract if they believe that they are completing your wish or that they can do so. So if you wish to be rich, they can still complete the contract because they’re probably confident that they can pull it off. If they are unable to meet the conditions, then the LRig will vanish and the whole thing becomes void. That is the winning condition.

When losing, your wish reverses itself. So if you wished to be rich and lose, you will then become poor. This reversal is decreed by Mayu, the goddess of Wixoss and so her ability has no limits. She can warp reality itself so this is a very important thing to keep in mind. While wishes have limits, punishments do not. If you lose 3 times, then your wish will be reversed.

Then there’s the whole concept of the franchise as well which is the truth about the Eternal Girls. When you win, you body swap with your LRig and the LRig will live out the rest of your life. It’s why you have to be careful with your wishes and even then, you can never truly enjoy the results of your wish. Clearly there is quite a lot to think about here.

This manga is two volumes and it goes by really quickly. The dynamic also changes right off the bat since Kiyoi’s quest to save Sakaguchi ends in a few chapters. See, Remember is an LRig and a rather devious one at that. She ends up fulfilling Kiyoi’s wish to “save’ Sakaguchi in her own way. It’s one of those literal word fulfillments that will have you feeling rather dubious about how it can be allowed. Nevertheless, this leads to Kiyoi’s quest for revenge. The bulk of this manga is about Kiyoi trying to find a way to murder Remember but it’s tough since she is currently stuck as an LRig and cannot affect the real world. She needs to get a human body again, but is it worth it if she has to trick someone else through the same path?

While in the anime it seemed like you would be punished if you mention the trick about winning and the hidden truths of the game, the manga makes it explicit that you can actually do whatever you like. LRigs just don’t tend to tell their owners this because deep down they want to be human again and doing so would lower the chances of that which does make sense.

Wixoss is always about testing your own morality and seeing how far you would go on your personal dreams. Each match is a clash of ideals as the only way to get closer to your goal is to knock someone farther from theirs. Additionally, when you defeat someone and it’s their third loss, then you’ve just doomed them. The very first chapter deals with that as an opponent begs Kiyoi to throw the match. It does come off as a desperate ploy to get Kiyoi to lower her guard though since that’s not something you just tell the opponent like that.

The cast is fairly small so we’ve mostly just got the core members here. Mayu is still around as the ruler of this establishment of course, but I’ve never been a big fan of hers. She really likes to throw a lot of tantrums when things don’t go her way. She has a lot of power but tends to lose control of the situation a lot as well. Ultimately that just doesn’t make her look very strong.

Aki shows up for a bit since she owned Kiyoi at one point. She was always a very fun character in the show so it was nice to see her here. She was quite powerful back in her day and we see her defeat several opponents in her brief screen time. Aki really knows how to make the most of Kiyoi’s special ability to see the wishes of her opponents. Nobody in the series was better at mind games than she was.

Sakaguchi doesn’t appear a whole lot for obvious reasons but she was a nice character. She did her best to help get Kiyoi out of her shell and never gave up. It’s a shame that things didn’t work out for her. Then you have Amika who is very similar personality wise and to Kiyoi’s shock she looks absolutely identical. You’d think that the two of them had to be twins without a doubt.

Amika has her own reasons for entering the Wixoss fight which was to save her mother who is in critical condition. It’s a story that hits pretty close to home for Kiyoi which makes their partnership rather rocky since Kiyoi is hiding a lot from her. Ultimately Amika proves to be a really selfless individual and always tries her hardest to do the right thing. Kiyoi couldn’t ask for a better partner.

then you have the main character Kiyoi who is a lot of fun. She is not one of the more emotional main characters so it can be quite different to see how she was back in the day before all of the betrayals. It’s hard to get over something like that so it’s easy to see why she acts the way that she does. Kiyoi starts to lose herself the more that these tragedies add up until eventually she meets up with Amika. Kiyoi’s plan near the end of the series was brilliant and cements her as one of the smartest characters in the series.

Kiyoi is tough and that’s a very important character trait to have in a world as rough as Wixoss. You can’t exactly trust a whole lot of people here since they’re all fighting for their own wishes after all. It’s why talking just doesn’t help since lives are at stake. Two fighters can’t come to an agreement when they’re both trying to save family after all.

Finally you have the main villain, Remember. She certainly jumpstarts a lot of the issues that the characters all have. She does a good job of acting innocent initially and playing it off like she’s completely innocent. By all accounts, Remember is a very intelligent character as well since she is able to lead different fighters to victory. It doesn’t matter who it is, her fortune telling is always on point. The only time Kiyoi lost with her was when the girl decided to go against the predictions after all.

Remember is a very memorable villain and leaves an impact on the story. She certainly gets a lot of closure here as well. Her methods were as sinister as they get but I would say she was a good villain. Ultimately Remember had a mission/goal and took steps to achieve it. She was careful all the way through and never wavered. If not for Mayu trolling a lot it’s not like anyone would have figured out what she did either. Remember was always very careful to cover her tracks.

The art is very solid here. The character designs are on point and you can follow the action with ease. It’s fun seeing how all of the characters from the show look and the artist knew how to draw them on model. It all looks like it’s directly obtained from the anime which is good for consistency. We even had a cameo for the season 1 cast. Otherwise they miss out on Kiyoi’s adventures but that makes sense since they were busy. It’s part of why it’s fun to see Kiyoi’s scenario since you may have wondered what she was doing the entire time.

Overall, This is a great Wixoss spinoff. It really captures the essence of the game and tells a complete story. The ending is satisfying and it feels like a whole lot happens during the two volumes. Naturally it’d be nice if we got more volumes but I suppose at that point you would just be looking at a Wixoss sequel. Kiyoi had her story so now it’s time for the others to get theirs. We still don’t get almost any explanation on the Wixoss game itself. Don’t expect any rules to be explained or for the turns to even make a lot of sense. This manga is much more focused on the story outside of the game rather than on specific matches. So you can come into this as a Wixoss veteran or completely fresh and will still be able to get a lot of enjoyment out of this one.

Overall 8/10

Suspicion Review


Suspicion is a good reminder that you never want to take things too quickly. If you meet someone you probably shouldn’t get married the next week because you still don’t truly know the person. You have to give yourself some time or else you’ll be starring in your own Hitchcock thriller as you get stressed out at all times.

The movie starts with a drunk Johnnie getting on a train. Unfortunately he went to the first class section despite only having a third class ticket. He manages to save himself from disaster by snatching a stamp from the girl sitting across from him. Her name is Lina and while she wasn’t thrilled about this, she allows it to happen. She figures they’ll never meet again at least.

Unfortunately their paths do cross again. Johnnie convinces her to skip Church which shows what kind of example he is setting already and teases/insults her a bunch. She finds this charming though but then he vanishes again. She waits a while and eventually he turns up and asks her to marry him. She agrees…of course. Well, now things should be on the up and up but after they’re married he drops the biggest bombshell. He is broke without a penny to his name. He hopes they can live off of her inheritance but she explains that it still won’t be enough to afford this big house.

Their marriage continues to get bumpier and bumpier as she finds out that he has been lying about everything. He sells her chairs without permission, goes gambling and even steals some money. All of these acts add up but Lina decides to allow them because she’ll allow just about anything. The only issue is…she begins to think that he may be out to murder her. Can Lina escape this situation?

Suspicion does a good job of gradually raising the stakes throughout the film. At first Johnnie is just a playful bully who messes with her hair. Gradually he moves on to breaking and entering, but he does it in a charismatic way where it’s supposed to be quirky as opposed to dangerous. Then he starts lying constantly but each time it is seemingly to Lina’s benefit in the end or so he claims. Then we go to theft and that’s starting to get more serious. Even the cops may have to show up. Finally when you reach the murder tier, it looks insane that Lina is still around but because this all happened gradually, to her it never felt like a sudden rise.

As with many Hitchcock films there is also a lot that is left to your imagination here. You can really read the ending in a two main ways and a lot of sub paths from that branch. The first is that Johnnie is still lying. Certain incidents to which he should not have had a part in involving brandy and a sudden accident would have been his doings. If this is the path you believe happened then he is definitely an extremely dangerous character and Lina is not out of the woods.

If you’re on the second path and do think he was at least genuine at the end then that means Lina isn’t in danger and Johnnie at least had some lines he wouldn’t cross. I’m inclined to believe the second path is what happened, it at least feels that way but I dunno. I wouldn’t say it with a lot of confidence, it’s my pick but you could make rather strong cases for both. Naturally it would change the atmosphere of the ending. If Hitchcock wanted to make it obvious the final scene would be Johnnie offering Lina a glass of milk but that would be rather on the nose.

Suspicion’s greatest strength is how engaging the story is. The extra details also give it a good amount of replay value. There’s a lot to think about here. The writing is good as always and the movie is reasonably long so a lot of things get to happen during the run time. Nothing is rushed in the slightest and the ending is satisfying either way.

It’s a credit to the film that it succeeded despite my not liking either of the two protagonists. I didn’t like Lina because she gets pushed around way too easily. She fell in love with Johnnie right away but it’s hard to see how since both of her first impressions with him weren’t great. In the first he basically steals money from her and in the next he tricks her out of not going to Church and then tries to pull a fast one on her in the garden. He suckers her so many times and she doesn’t seem to care.

She even gets upset at Beaky despite his story making complete sense the whole time. I didn’t like the way she handled some of these moments that’s for sure. Then we have Johnnie as the lead. Well, there’s not much to like about him. He’s a playboy who’s apparently been in numerous affairs already. He is completely untrustworthy and you can’t have a true relationship without trust. It just doesn’t work and would always be doomed to fail.

The whole reason why Lina gets these suspicions about Johnnie is because she knows that she can’t trust him. He is directly responsible for every bad thing that happens in the film. There’s just no excusing the lying all the time. Selling the chairs without telling Lina was also really bad since she kept explaining that they were family heirlooms and could not be replaced. Then you have his whole stealing 2000 pounds from his employer. The list goes on and on and he gets rather terse with Lina for no good reason.

So in a way both main characters made quite the match here but I really didn’t like either one of them. The only good character here was Beaky. He added a lot of fun to the adventure and kept the characters on their toes. He was not smart in the slightest though considering his allergy to drinking. A single sip causes him to have seizures to the point where he nearly dies. In that case why does he continue to drink? You’d think that he would give it a rest then and not put himself in those situations. It’s a shame that he didn’t think things through.

Overall, Suspicion is definitely a very solid film. I would certainly recommend checking it out and see how you interpret the ending. There’s a lot to think about so pay attention to each detail as this goes through to the end. You may find it hard to like or sympathize with the two main characters but just hang in there until Beaky arrives and he shows them what’s up.

Overall 7/10

The Blue Gardenia Review


Time for a classic noir thriller. One of the key things to remember if you ever find yourself in a Noir type situation is that you shouldn’t drink. Getting drunk is absolutely without a doubt one of the biggest mistakes you could make here. It puts you in a bad spot right out of the gate and there is really no escape. The whole movie would play out a lot differently without that.

The movie starts with Norah getting ready to celebrate her birthday on her own. Her fiancée is still away at war so at least she can have a good time on her own. Unfortunately she gets a letter that he has decided to marry someone else instead. Broken and confused, Norah decides to go out with a local flirt and gets herself as drunk as possible. This leads to him driving her to his place and taking advantage of the situation. She fights back and when she wakes up he is dead.

Norah heads home hoping to put this behind her but it’s all over the news now. The cops badly want to find whoever murdered the criminal. They are slowly getting closer and Norah’s only hope may be reporter Casey. He claims that he will help protect her from the police and get her a reduced sentence but can she really trust a member of the media? Norah will have to decide quickly before time is up.

Getting drunk really does put you in a bind. It’s also why you don’t want to make any snap decisions when you’ve just had a bad day. Norah went on this date in large part just to try and get over her fiancé. Still not good to go with such a shady customer though. Now since Norah lost her memories of what happened after drinking she doesn’t know if she truly murdered him or not. It certainly appears to have played out that way but she can’t be sure.

On this note though, it is absolutely correct that she fought back. At one point when asking her roommates hypothetical questions about the situation one of them says you can’t just take down every guy who gets handsy. That seemed to be underestimating the situation quite a lot. Even if she ended up murdering him with the final strike, that was definitely in self defense so it’s not like she tried to destroy him. It was her or him at that point and she had to fight to survive.

Of course most of the film is really about Norah fighting her inner doubts. If she could at least remember what happened then she would feel a lot better about the whole thing. As it is, she is just very confused. I wouldn’t say she was a great main heroine but she’s okay. She doesn’t do the rest job of hiding what happened but granted, being in such a situation is pretty stressful so you can expect some slip ups.

As for the reporter Casey, he was a pretty fun character. He had some good banter with the local police as the chief called in during his attempts to find the identity of the murderer. It is quite brazen of him to be saying such things like trusting him over the cops in a public forum like that. He also underestimates how many people are keeping up with the case which ends up catching up to him. He was a charismatic guy though, same as the police chief. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of those guys.

The roommates don’t leave nearly as much of an impression though. I was expecting the big book fan to do a lot by the end but in a way her character never went anywhere. She’s knowledgeable about things as the smart member of the group but she never gets to use her intelligence for anything. The other one at least helps Norah out by the end and gives a good amount of moral support.

Compared to most Noir films there isn’t a whole lot to talk about though since the story is so direct. There’s really only one plot twist here and there’s virtually no foreshadowing for it so it just sort of happens without a lot of time to piece it together on your own. The movie has quality writing and an engaging story which is really what you want to see early on. It helps keep the rest of the film interesting and the pacing tight.

I’d put it under the average Noir film though as it is just lacking that depth some of the others have. There isn’t much to theorize or discuss which is not necessarily a bad thing but it does mean that this one won’t have the same staying power. I think I would have maybe added one more character, perhaps someone trying to throw some blackmail into the mix which would ultimately be a red herring. Just some kind of crazy twist, perhaps involving her Fiancé. Imagine he shows up and never told anyone that he didn’t even leave for war at all. Turns out the whole story was fake. At this point we’re discussing pure hypotheticals though.

Overall, The Blue Gardenia is a good movie. It has strong writing and an engaging plot. At the same time, there aren’t a whole lot of stand out characters here. I would have liked one of Norah’s friends to defend her here by reminding her it was in self defense or something like that. The guy who got murdered was also extra sleazy, would have been nice if he wasn’t quite so morally bankrupt. The movie has a satisfying ending so you’ll enjoy the ride. I’d certainly recommend it if you like Noir titles or just want something suspenseful.

Overall 6/10

Vice Versa (1948) Review


It hasn’t been too long since I saw the newer Vice Versa so it was time to see how this one stacked up. It’s certainly a lot older but it has a very sophisticated feel to it with the script. The movie has a lot of fun with all of the characters using big words to the point where I’m fairly confident it was to parody the very nature of this to an extent.

The movie starts with Dick getting ready to go to school, only he doesn’t want to this time. He doesn’t really explain the reasons to his father Paul much so he just cries a lot and makes a scene. It’s certainly not the most effective way to get your point across, that’s for sure. Paul explains to Dick that school is a blast and he should enjoy it more. So Paul wishes on his magic stone that he could be a boy again while Dick does the opposite. Now that they have flipped roles, Dick forces Paul to go to school. Can Paul handle these tough kids? Will Dick be able to manage his father’s affairs? Also, what is that magical stone that I just mentioned?

Well, going back a bit, the corrupt Marmaduke got a hold of this magical stone. He then learned it was corrupt so naturally he brought it over to Paul so he could throw the bad luck at him instead. He didn’t realize it was a magical stone though. Unlike other versions of the movie, you only get 1 wish for each person this time. So no just wishing yourself back to normal right away.

From the two plots, Paul’s is a lot more interesting. On Dick’s side you have him flirting with the maid the whole time which gets old fast. You’d think he would be using his newfound power to do something a little more useful instead of just messing around. He’s rather sloppy as well and doesn’t help his father’s reputation in the slightest.

There’s one subplot where he has a duel with Marmaduke and it’s the only part of the movie that really dragged on. The duel just keeps on going and going and going. The joke was well played out by this point as everyone chased each other around the castle the whole time. We even got a court scene thrown in. That was at least the silver lining moment of this subplot since those scenes are always fun. We even got to have the audience all come together with music.

Now with Paul’s plot, we got to see him go up against Grimstone which was fun. Grimstone is a particularly tough teacher/principal who makes sure his students are not slacking. He doesn’t even allow them to have candy or anything like that. When they play soccer, they have to let him win or they’ll go into detention. Grimstone is without a doubt the best character in the film. He also has the most sophisticated vocabulary among the whole group. He is always talking like a rather regal figure.

He doesn’t exactly teach by the book but I also wouldn’t say he is too exaggerated. He makes for a much more interesting villain than Marmaduke. Marmaduke has big plans but at the end of the day he got outsmarted by Paul when he was still a kid and probably should have been more careful when talking about his big plan. He was practically begging to be defeated.

Then you have Fanny who is definitely playing the field the whole time. You’re not actually meant to like her either way since she’s another antagonist but why couldn’t they all be as solid as Grimstone? As for Paul, he’s a pretty enjoyable main character. He certainly did like school back in the day although he seems to have grown out of several aspects of it at this point. He complains a lot and gets the other children in trouble. He probably should have thought about that a little more before getting on their bad sides.

That’s one thing you will notice right away here. Paul and Dick keep forgetting they have switched bodies for the entirety of the film. Even right through the final scenes they keep on mixing up what’s going on and talking to people as if they know them. There’s no way you can forget that you’re in a different body considering that the way you see the world is so different. The height difference is absolutely crazy on that front. So part of you wants to think that this is just the film trying for some more parody moments but it’s hard to really get on board with that idea.

The movie doesn’t play this as a gag after all but totally straight. It’s a comedic scene of course as they both keep getting turned away but it doesn’t seem crazy that they forget nor is it addressed. It’s rather surreal and the only explanation here is that both characters really aren’t smart at all. I can’t think of any other reasons in-universe on how they could keep on doing that.

While that part may be questionable, the actual writing in the film is still excellent. All of the dialogue will keep your full attention. That old school way of talking is always a blast and really gets you psyched. It’s just something you don’t see a lot of outside of that. It also makes the film flow by pretty quickly aside from the duel. In general Dick’s subplot was on the annoying side and you can’t possibly like the kid since the power went to his head immediately. If I’m Paul I’m definitely punishing him now that the adventure is over.

Overall, Vice Versa is a pretty good film. It makes for an enjoyable experience and you get to see what would happen if things were switched up like this. The whole magic stone plot was also pretty intense although the villain should have held onto it. I certainly wouldn’t just hand it off to someone without running some experiments. Imagine if it ended up making Paul rich instead? Marmaduke would regret it for the rest of his life.

Overall 7/10

The Shadow Review


The Shadow isn’t exactly a household name so if you have no idea who this guy is, that’s fine. All you need to know is that he is basically Batman and lives in a city like Gotham. I liked how close this whole movie felt to being an unofficial Batman movie and it made the most of this. The writing is strong and the action is good. It’s just a pretty solid all around title with a lot of replay value.

Lamont started out as a bit of a villain himself. He used his wealth to really become a villainous leader the likes of which his city had never seen. This would likely disrupt the status quo so some ninjas kidnap Lamont and give him a choice. He can become a crime fighting superhero or they’ll murder him. Lamont very reluctantly agrees to these terms after he’s roughed up. Many years later he returns to the city under his new superhero name..The Shadow.

By day Lamont just enjoys his money and keeps a low profile, but by night he terrorized villains. Unlike most heroes he also starts up a network of allies using the people he saves. Effectively they owe their lives to him now so he says he will collect on favors from time to time. He’ll call up one of these guys to ask for intel or even sometimes just for a ride. It’s in your best interests to stays on this guy’s good side so people don’t really complain.

Unfortunately the world is about to be shaken up because Genghis Khan’s descendent Shiwan has returned. Honestly I thought that was Genghis the whole time but apparently he’s a descendent according to Wikipedia. I suppose he may have mentioned that like once in the whole movie but there’s not much difference in how you would imagine their characters to be. Shiwan is creating a bomb so he can take out the pesky humans. He has been trained by the League of Assassins (Close enough at least) just like Lamont so this won’t be an easy fight. It may be time to call in for some backup.

Right from the jump, The Shadow looks like a solid hero. I like how he is always laughing hysterically when he chases the villains. That’s definitely a good way to put the fear into them. After all, when you’re one of the villains then it sounds like you’re being hounded by someone who’s truly insane. It was rather dark and foggy during the opening action scene as well so it’s hard to know what’s going on.

Then you have Lamont’s super powers. First, he can use telepathy to mess with your mind. It’s like the Jedi Mind Trick, if he tells you to believe something then you’re going to believe it. There’s really no discussion or debate here, what the Shadow says goes. Then he can effectively turn invisible. Now this is likely related to the mind tricks as well. He causes you to see what he wants you to see.

He calls it “Clouding their minds” whenever he talks about his abilities. It’s like having nonstop illusions so there’s no way any human can even come close to taking him on. He’s quite impressive and it’s nice to see a superhero who really can hold his own. Back in these days you’d usually expect the hero to take a lot of L’s.

Another reason why the Shadow is good is because he talks a good game. The guy isn’t afraid of anyone and even talks tough to Shiwan. The Shadow just doesn’t back down. He doesn’t have a perfect record here as he does nearly go to a watery grave against someone who wasn’t all that powerful but for the most part he looks rather good here.

Then you have the main heroine Margo. She has telepathic abilities as well which is a solid counter to The Shadow. Unlike his mental clouding abilities where he has to proactively activate it to trick people, she can see directly into other people’s thoughts. It’s a passive ability so effectively it’s always on. For a man with a secret identity that’s a very risky proposition. Margo was a solid heroine though. She does her best to help out and the fact that she has powers allows her to do this a lot easier than a normal person would have been able to.

Shiwan is not very impressive as the main villain though. I was seriously not impressed. We know that he can fight given how much training he has, but surprisingly we don’t really get to see this. I was surprised by that at the very least because usually we would get a big fight in the climax. So he talked tough but I felt like he couldn’t quite live up to it which hurts him as a character tremendously.

The music throughout the film is also great. Get ready for a lot of tunes that sound like something out of the Batman 90’s show. It’s all really authentic and adds to the mystery surrounding the Shadow. Seriously if you just change the name to Batman, I think a lot of people wouldn’t even notice and this could be treated as a What If for Batman. The effects have also aged pretty well. I like how they handled all of the shadow fight scenes. The hand to hand in general is good as always.

Overall, The Shadow was better than I thought it would be. It’s a very solid all around title and does a lot of things in a rather unique way which separates it from the pack. Seeing Lamont constantly laughing the whole time for example was a genius decision. I don’t know if he does that in the comics as well, but it’s a good way to differentiate himself from the other heroes. Additionally, it just seems like it would be really effective. If you haven’t seen this title yet then I definitely recommend changing that. Any comic book movie or action fan won’t want to miss this.

Overall 7/10

Black Widow Review


Black Widow is a film that feels like it’s been in the works for ages. After the Avengers 2012 film there was already talk about a potential solo film. I know a lot of people wanted a whole film about Budapest, others wanted a prequel even further back in the red room. Ultimately we would finally get the solo film now, which takes place after Civil War. It’s a pretty good place to put this film in, I would say the only other area that would have worked would have been the multi-year gap between Infinity War and End Game.

The movie starts off with showing Natasha as a child where she grew up with her parents and younger sister. Their life was pleasant for a while but one day they had to suddenly sneak out and head back to base. Her life was thrown upside down and then she went to work as a Soviet agent until eventually she was able to break away into the Avengers. I would say this was the best way to handle her early childhood.

Personally I would say the film starts off slow. It doesn’t really pick up until we go to the present which is precisely why I never wanted a full prequel film about her childhood. It could be interesting to see her as an assassin and you could pull off a film like Salt but in general I’m always a lot more interested in seeing the present. Yes, this isn’t the exact present but it’s not too long ago. This way you still see scenes of her past without having a 2 hour experience about it which seems like a fair balance.

So the movie truly picks up with Widow on the run from the government after Civil War. Aside from Captain America, the rest of her team was already captured. Widow has had enough of this and intends to vanish forever into another life but suddenly gets thrown back into the fray when she is attacked by the Taskmaster. After suffering a complete defeat, she heads over to her sister Yelena for some answers. Turns out that the Red Room is still in operation so Widow is going to have to confront her old ghosts one more time.

The opening action scene with Taskmaster is definitely solid. Taskmaster gets to show off his good hand to hand skills and copy abilities from the comics and Natasha fights well as always although she is definitely out of her league in this battle and goes down quickly. It’s a good way of getting her back into the fold and effectively forcing her into the action. It also showed how she would still make the heroic call in the end such as when she went for the vials even though she had been looking forward to some down time.

Lets start with the film’s strong points. The action and effects are top notch as always. The hand to hand fights are on point and I like how the objects as used in combat. Taskmaster has his shield while Natasha uses whatever items she has on hand. The different locations all look really good and there are a lot of different environments here to be sure.

The soundtrack is also pretty good. We get some Russian opera styled music here during one of the opening montages and some classic action tunes. While I wouldn’t say any might be a complete standout, they work out well for the scenes that they’re in and help to enhance the moment.

Yelena is a great new addition to the universe. Historically I’ve always liked her a lot more than Natasha as the Black Widow. She tends to be more of an antagonist but I’m nowhere near close to being caught up with her character so maybe she is usually a good guy now. Either way she brings in a lot of the witty lines in the film. While it’s clear that Natasha is more skilled, she is also older than Yelena and got a lot of great experience with the Avengers. Give Yelena some time and she can catch up at some point.

Yelena loves poking fun at the other characters and it works really well for the dynamic here. She was definitely the standout character here. I also liked Natasha’s mother Melina. As a strategist she also has a lot of good plans and is integral when helping the other characters out. That said, she did have a really suspect scene involving a pig as well as the implications that this has. While they play the sympathy card a lot, I can’t see her as anything other than a complete villain.

There’s some good setup to the rest of the universe as well although this is squarely a Black Widow film. The after credits scene is pretty low key for the most part but the final part has a lot of solid implications for fights coming up. Lets just say that the person who is about to be hunted should be in a lot of trouble since I think he’s outmatched here. Maybe he’ll surprise me though. I’m not really feeling the new Nick Fury type character yet since I prefer his mysterious approach to the “fake friend” tactic this one likes to try. Still, should make for an interesting confrontation down the road.

Finally, I’ve always liked the concept of the rogue agent who goes back to their roots. It could be someone who used to be evil or just someone who needs to do an impossible task. It’s the very concept of Mission Impossible, but I’m thinking of more solo operations like Salt, Resident Evil, John Wick, and other titles like that. They can get rather intense but the story itself is always very compelling. The same goes for Black Widow as Natasha has to tap into her old skills which may be rusty at this point.

After all, as a kid even before growing up in the Red Room she was a tough fighter and even more so after completing her missions. As an Avenger she had to learn how to fight as a hero which means no lethal moves and as a result she couldn’t go all out anymore. Hawkeye even gave her a straight fight in the first Avengers film which likely wouldn’t happen in her prime. That said, with how easily she handled Yelena, it’s clear that growing rusty is not a problem in her case.

Black Widow is definitely in the top half of the Marvel Cinematic films. There are enough films now where it’s tough to rank them all but it’s squarely under the top tiers like the Avenger films but above all the Phase 1 titles (Not counting Avengers) and others scattered across the phases. It’s a great film and only the 6th 8 star film I’ve seen in 2021. There’s a lot to like here.

Now for the film’s weak points. I thought it went way too far in making the Red Guardian as useless and comedic as possible. Sure, his personality can be fun and some of his humor moments do land, but couldn’t he have looked good at least once? Strength is his whole thing but he fails in his break out scene, gets humiliated by Taskmaster, and ultimately doesn’t win a single battle. I’m not familiar with him in the comics so maybe he always gets wrecked but it felt a little overdone. He deserved at least one quality moment without the rest of the team constantly dunking on him.

I was also underwhelmed by Taskmaster. I wouldn’t say he was a bad villain, but…he’s just not Taskmaster. We’ve seen Marvel do this with several big villains like Mandarin and Ultron where they just don’t feel like their normal selves and this would have to be put into that category. The first red flag is when he doesn’t talk at all during his opening fight. Seems like a robot with no personality. I can get behind the costume being the weakest Taskmaster design yet since it’s passable but this guy just doesn’t feel like Taskmaster. Where’s the bragging, witty dialogue? I’m used to a fairly talkative Taskmaster.

His role is also a lot smaller than you’d expect so he doesn’t the time needed to look particularly impressive. You have 0 doubt that Captain America, Black Panther, Bucky, and a bunch of other hand to hand fighters would crush this version of him with ease. So he was on the disappointing side, good in a vacuum but I think they just should have called him something else and kept the Taskmaster title open for the future. Who knows, maybe there will be a twist and we’ll get another Taskmaster soon.

Now lets talk about Natasha, I was a little quiet about her in this review so far if you’ve noticed. Retroactively this movie really makes her character look shaky at times and downright bad at others. Now, you know a big part of the plot is that the red room is still around, but Natasha was super sure it was gone. So the film goes into why she thinks this is the case…and it makes her look a bit naïve.

She really didn’t do much inspecting to see if this was really the case. She went to extreme lengths in her quest for vengeance as well. Now you can put some blame on Shield and her partner for believing someone who just turned to their side without having someone else watching the situation but at its core this is Natasha’s issue. Characters make mistakes in their past and this was a long time ago…but it’s a rather huge mistake. The film will explain what I’m talking about here with her plan to destroy the red room but I’m keeping any specifics out for spoilers.

Even more egregious is the fact that afterwards she never actually tried to find Yelena or any of the others. This feels a little convenient since that would have also told her that something was going on. A lot of the film is about Natasha trying to correct her past and trying to be a better person now. It’s what she was talking about with her ledger being red a while back in the early Avenger films so we see exactly what she was talking about. I’ve never been a Black Widow fan and this film doesn’t help matters.

It’s part of why I was glad to see Yelena showing up since she’s always been more fun and this film keeps that up. Still, Natasha does do well in the fight scenes and still proves to be the critical character needed to stop the villains. Without her here there’s no way the others would have been okay. She’s started her first step on the redemption journey by finally thanking the guy who gets her all her equipment and tech. I felt bad for him the whole film so at least it’s a start because that guy deserves a lot of gratitude for always coming through.

That’s it for weaknesses. I mean, the main villain is pretty bad but he’s really a non factor here. The guy is just around since we need a head of the red room but that’s the extent of his room. He can’t fight and can only rely on Purple Man type powers to keep himself in the fight. It’s also another chance to make Black Widow look bad since you’d think she could resist this but I guess the powers of science cannot be defeated.

Costume-wise, I preferred Natasha’s outfit here to the usual Black Widow one. Granted, the old version is a lot more fitting to the title but I do like to have a change of pace once in a while so this was a really good way to flip things. Also, it worked well for the snow scenes. I missed the sky fall gunfight scene from the trailer though. I wonder if it was made only for the trailer or if it got so much bad press about the bullet dodging physics that they just scrapped it. I hope it’s the former because it’s still a great concept for a scene and would have worked really well at the end. Maybe just tweak the scene a bit to show her dodging but then we’re good.

Ultimately my favorite action scene in the film was the opening battle with Taskmaster. Part of why it’s so effective is because of how sudden it is. Taskmaster just appears out of nowhere and starts the fight right away. If not for the fact that he can only focus on his objective, Natasha would have been completely finished off there. The match has a lot of tension and the night time background works well since it feels like there is absolutely no backup. If Natasha were to die here, it would be easy to cover up and even the Avengers may be at a loss.

Widow was also caught off guard so it’s not like she had her gear. You really see how tough a hero is when they just have to fight as they are. You think of moments like Steve being attacked at his home by Winter Soldier, Tony’s house being attacked in Iron Man 3, or Catwoman breaking into Bruce Wayne’s house in Dark Knight Rising. Usually the hero is caught flat footed and gets wrecked but when they’re able to put up a good fight you gain a lot of respect for their survival instincts. I’ll give Natasha credit here, she did put up a good fight even with no prep time despite the combat disadvantage.

The writing is really on point as well. While the Red Guardian may be the comic relief character of the film, I thought Yelena had all the best jokes and funny one liners. The conversation about how Natasha is always posing before and during her fights was fun. Yelena even gives it a shot on her own at one point and the fact that the pose is immediately recognizable does support her point there. Whenever she is around you can expect a lot of fun dialogue. You do get a very genuine feeling from the Guardian in his lines too but I don’t believe his talk about Captain America. He would get folded like an old lawn chair if he tried to defeat Steve. The other characters could have probably cut him some slack since he’s been trapped in jail all this time though.

Overall, Black Widow’s definitely a great film. It’s may have the slowest start to an MCU film but really turns up once we get to the present when she’s trying to evade Ross. That’s when the film gets great and then it keeps up that momentum the rest of the way. The action is on point and as always Marvel has a ton of great backgrounds and environments to fight in. The film may be 2 hours long but it really ends in a flash. You won’t even notice the time and it’s a title you can safely recommend even to people who have not seen the other Marvel titles since her story is fairly stand alone.

Overall 8/10

Anonymous Noise Review


It’s been a little while since I reviewed the Anonymous Noise anime so it’s time to take a look at the manga. The events between the two titles are pretty much the same except that the anime stops a whole lot earlier while the manga throws in all of the extra drama. Anonymous Noise is one of those titles that’s surprisingly long so prepare for a whole lot of rebounds and constant romances. Nobody ever ends up with their original pick.

I’ll never not find it a little humorous how Nino effectively has two origin stories here. So first she has a next door neighbor named Momo as a kid and together they sing songs and hang out. He is always ready to stick up for her when the bullies show up and enjoys her company. Well, one day he just vanishes out of the blue and Nino gets depressed. Fortunately she meets a boy named Yuzuriha who starts writing music for her. Perhaps if she sings loud enough she will be able to reach Momo some day. Unfortunately one day Yuzuriha vanishes as well so Nino gets depressed all over again.

Fast forward a bunch of years and Nino is now a teenager who always wears a face mask since it contains her need to scream. She has been psychologically scarred by her childhood at this point and so that’s her last safety measure. At her new high school there is a music club so naturally she intends on joining. It turns out that this group is also the secret metal band that has been taking the world by storm. Nino will need a disguise as well and shall be called Alice while performing.

Both of her old friends have really come a long way over the years. Momo is a super successful music writer who works with another band and is acknowledged as a prodigy considering that he’s also still in High School. He no longer wants anything to do with Nino though and treats her quite harshly. Then you have Yuzuriha who also tries avoiding Nino but to no avail as they attend some of the same classes and are in the same club. Nino needs to find out why they are avoiding her and in the meantime she will have to improve her singing voice. Ultimately that is how she will reach the top. She wants Momo to be with her but is it possible that she may like Yuzuriha as well?

The classic love triangle is a plot as old as time. Momo is the mean guy who’s always insulting Nino and yet you know that he has a great chance of winning in the end as a result. Then you have Yuzuriha who is the nice guy in comparison and who gets to spend the most time with Nino. As a result you feel like he is doomed from the start. Who knows maybe the series will surprise you in the end with who Nino chooses….

As a main character I would say Nino is decent. One part of her character that is fairly unique is how she completely ignores the other characters even when they’re talking to her. Deflecting is her chief conversation tactic so if things are starting to get serious she’ll bring up some nonsense to throw the conversation to the side. While you may think this is coincidental, I think it’s far too exaggerated for this to be anything but intentional. Nino knows exactly what she is doing the whole time.

She gets quite a bit of character development as the series goes on. For starters, while she always had a lot of volume, her actual singing ability wasn’t all that great until we got to near the end of the series. She had to approve a lot with different coaches but always put in the work. Where she falters though is in the romance. You really need to be decisive in this kind of thing. Can’t have two guys fighting over you forever. While she does make a choice at the end of the series, it feels like both guys are in the mix for way too long.

She has moments and affairs with both of them at times and while Momo is the only guy she’s ever serious about, she is never fast enough to stop Yuzuriha when he makes a move. He manages to get her while her guard is down several times and it’ll just make you shake your head. Nino always does her best to try and act normal afterwards but she really should have shut the guy down a lot earlier. It’s something that deducts points from all 3 characters throughout the series. It’s one of the reasons why some of the supporting characters tend to be the real hype members.

As for Yuzuriha, well you’ve already heard why I don’t like that guy. The ole Shojo trope of stealing a kiss from the heroine and playing it off like it’s no big deal definitely doesn’t work. He pulls this several times even when he knows that Nino already likes someone else. Sure, you can keep trying to win someone over until they actually start dating someone else but it’s got to be with good discussions, not with just making a move like that.

Yuzuriha also handled their initial reunion rather poorly. I don’t think he or Momo had good reasons for avoiding Nino and being so antagonistic at first. Yuzuriha has an extended plot with his mother as well which at least gives him something to do besides chasing after Nino. Their father died in a crash a long time ago but his mother never truly accepted that fact. So the home situation is a little rough and they’re still trying to battle through that. It’s a pretty serious plot to be sure.

Then you have Momo who is basically an antagonist most of the time. He goes really far with insulting Nino as well as her music. There’s no way to actually sympathize with the guy even after we learn his origin. He also has a situation with his mother but in this case she doesn’t oppose music the way that Yuzuriha’s does. She enjoys it because she wants the money. Basically she uses Momo as her piggy bank to get rich. This doesn’t really cover the Nino aspect though. Effectively Momo wanted to keep her at a distance so his Mom wouldn’t try anything but that always seemed like an overreaction at best.

Momo is also quite successful in his own right and is supposed to be some kind of genius. If he really wanted to then he definitely could have found a way to talk with Nino and explain things. He also chooses the worst possible moments to throw big twists at her like a certain break up scene during the concert. His rivalry with Yuzuriha with Nino thrown in the middle can be a bit much as well.

They fight over her throughout as they keep bragging that they will be the one to claim her voice. It’s certainly a unique dynamic as they both want her to only sing for them. It’s different than the usual fights you would have for the heroine but at the same time I wouldn’t say it puts either one of them in a positive light. I should say this isn’t in a literal sense as they still want her to do concerts and such but they want her to only think of them during the songs. That’s a rather tough order to fulfill though.

Technically the three characters are actually friendly with each other at times by the middle-end of the series but you can never think of it as a true friendship. How can it be when both characters have already told Nino that they don’t see her as a friend? As a result they are quite envious of each other as well so it ends up being more toxic than anything.

Miou is one of the main supporting characters and while her role was greatly diminished in the show, she does a whole lot in the manga. She originally liked Yuzuriha but of course that didn’t quite work out so well for her. Miou ends up rebounding with Haruyoshi with the added twist being that they both acknowledge this is a rebound. Haruyoshi is just confident that he can eventually get her to like him for real.

So they go along with this as an experiment but despite Haruyoshi’s tough talk he is soon not satisfied with being the rebound which causes him to be upset a lot. I didn’t care for his character in the end. He likes goofing off and messing with Miou a lot while hiding his true feelings inside. The guy is often a lot more serious than he appears but the contrast just didn’t work for him. I may have liked him more if he had more patience with Miou but considering that they both knew the terms of the deal, I didn’t think he was very consistent.

Back to Miou, one aspect of her character that was particularly strong is how she would tutor and assist Nino throughout the series despite knowing that Nino was effectively taking over her spot on the team and even stealing her man. It proved that Miou was really a good person as not many people would have been able to do that. She always took the high road and had a very consistent character arc. I wasn’t on board with the rebound plot at all to be honest but at least she was someone you could root for.

Kuro is another member of the band but he definitely has the worst plot out of the whole group. So basically he and his brother both liked the same girl back in the day. Kuro was slow to make his move though so his brother confessed and they got married. Fine, good show. Well played by the bro. Kuro should now move on since the girl is no longer an option right? Wrong and that’s the cringe part. Kuro still likes her and even asks her out at one point and confesses his feelings.

That’s a big no no. One of the most basic rules of romance is that as soon as someone is married that’s game over. Honestly, even while dating that person should be off your radar but even more so when marriage has occurred. This was easily the worst romance in the entire series and I couldn’t wait for it to be gone. Of course that inevitably means it had to be replaced with a rebound story arc.

A new girl joins the band near the very end of the series who ends up liking Kuro. It’s certainly convenient for the guy since he needed a rebound at this point. She doesn’t have a lot of character beyond just being added in to finish the romance plots. Her personality is that she tends to play things very cool and not show much emotion but bottling it in like that ends up hurting her on quite a few occasions. A running theme in the series is definitely not to hold everything in and to cry as needed otherwise the characters always end up breaking down.

There are also two adult characters who get a decent sized role here. First is Yana who is the manager for the main band. He’s definitely very good at his job and is always busy booking lots of different gigs for the heroes. Without him they would definitely be quite lost. He’s also got a competitive streak against him and always responds when Momo’s team challenges him. Then you have Kuze who effectively has the same role for Momo’s team. She’s always ready to psychoanalyze him and stay one step ahead of Momo. She’s the only one who consistently flusters him because everyone else is too scared of the guy to talk tough.

There are a few side characters as well like a group of up and coming music stars who also get involved. They made for decent rivals even if I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan of them. We did have a fun duel between Nino and one of the singers near the end of the series as she tries to keep up with them in a pretty meta battle about proving that she could sing with the best. She has the volume for it but this is in more of a tempo sense. She can’t just sing loud but has to be able to create an opening and take the lead.

Anonymous Noise definitely treats its music very seriously. It was fun to hear the actual songs in the anime while of course the manga is limited by trying to visually show what it would sound like. You can picture the metal aspect though based on the costumes and how her voice is always supposed to be eat splitting. Quite a few times her voice ends up breaking down so she is simply shouting into the audience but the fans seem to love this so it works out.

Now while the series is very serious, I should mention there can still be light hearted moments and some humor now and again. These scenes are just easy to forget with all the drama going on but this is still a light hearted series at its core. The main characters laugh a lot and get to really enjoy their youth. They make the most of their experiences abroad with the singing careers and even develop solid bonds with each other. By the end of the series everyone is really on good terms with each other.

The series probably could have just lost a few volumes in order to cut out some of the extra drama though. Some characters seem to go back and forth a whole lot before settling down so you could easily cut out a few of the fake outs and that would get things to the point quicker. A certain break up involving the main heroine always comes to mind since it still feels like that was completely unnecessary. So the weakest element in the series is the romance itself.

Now you may be wondering, was this a good series overall though? I would still say yes, the writing is on point and you are engaged with what is going on. While I wasn’t on board with the romance, it also wasn’t bad enough where I would deduct serious points away or anything like that. Kuro’s plot is the only one that would be enough to shave a star off because that was just crazy. You’ll still be blasting through each volume as you arrive at the end of the series. The competitions are always a blast and if anything you wish we could have had more of those. Battle of the Bands is always worth the wait. So in the end, Anonymous Noise is a journey that is worth experiencing. It isn’t the best Shojo or anything like that but it holds its own.

The artwork is also pretty solid. The artist is good at giving everyone a lot of expressions and from letting the characters look too similar. The only time it can be hard to recognize the characters is when they’re in the disguises since a lot of those look so similar. It’s part of the point of having the disguises in the first place though so I’ll cut the series some slack there. I would say the art does the job.

Overall, Anonymous Noise is a good series that gets bogged down by some unnecessary plot lines. We really didn’t need nearly as many romances as what we got. There were rebounds all around so I wouldn’t trust any of the characters. You would never know if you were the first choice or just the runner up. Just about every character in the series had to settle for their second option which is not a very satisfying place to be in. I will say that the final pages of the series were solid though. At least one character dynamic was really solid there and it’s the kind of closing relationship I’d like to see more of in these titles.

Overall 6/10

Whistle Review


At this point it’s been around 10 years since I started Whistle but I’ve now reached the end of the series. It was certainly an emotional journey filled with a lot of great matches and character moments. I would not put it in the same league as the more intense sport titles like Prince of Tennis, Haikyu, or Kuroko but it’s definitely a solid title in its own right. We even get a physical fight at the end of the series.

The manga is about a kid named Sho who really wants to be a great soccer player. It’s his favorite sport in the world and the guy is always living and breathing soccer 24/7. Unfortunately he’s fairly small which makes it difficult to power his way through against the bigger kids and he’s just not super gifted at the sport. He’ll have to train and practice much harder than the other kids in order to catch up to them but he’s not afraid of the effort. Sho needs to first make it on the team and then he needs to earn his way into a starting position.

The opening volumes of the series really showcase how much distance Sho needs to cross in order to be one of the very best. He does train quite hard each day so it’s not like he’s slacking off but it’s just hard to keep up with the others. Just look at the range for example, they can kick the ball from double the length which is naturally a big advantage. Additionally, it’s harder to body slam someone who’s a lot bigger than you are and while you shouldn’t target players in Soccer, there is a lot of physical contact.

What Sho has for advantages is his speed and determination. It is a little easier for him to maneuver throughout the field and steal the ball if someone lowers their guard. Additionally his stamina is quite good and he’s usually the last player to go down. That works as a good morale boost to the other players when they are starting to weaken a bit. By the end of the series Sho is surprisingly still one of the weaker players. Whistle is definitely going for a higher level of realism than most of the other sport titles and while Sho kept training, so did the rest of the cast. So in the end he didn’t make nearly as much progress as you would have assumed otherwise relative to the others.

The best character in the series was Shigeki though. He’s one of Sho’s rivals and you could also call him the final boss of sorts. He’s one of the guys who helped get Sho into soccer and continued to inspire the lead. He ends up leaving the series for a few volumes but returns better than ever. He’s got a very confident demeanor to him which is important and the guy is an ace in soccer.

Additionally, he is able to fight physically. This comes in handy as he has to save someone from getting bullied. Even when he was outnumbered 8 to 1 the guy held his own. Shigeki never ran from a challenge and only continued to get better and better at the series went on. That’s why he was my favorite character, he left a real impact here.

Tatsuya is the other rival but he doesn’t hold his own quite as well as Shigeki. The main reason for that he that Tatsuya tends to lose sight of what’s really important a few times. He gets jealous of Sho and tries to show up Shigeki on a few occasions. Things never work out for him so he inevitably gets upset and starts playing rather sloppy. It’s not a trait that’s good for the rival since you can’t take him nearly as serious after that. It also happens to Tatsuya more than once which is always a bit worrisome.

I still liked him in the end but those scenes really did a number on the guy. Now that he’s more confident in his own abilities I expect he would look a lot better in the sequel. Then there’s Tsubasa who has a run rivalry with Daichi. Both of them are goalie/keepers for the team so naturally each one wants to be the starter. Interestingly even by the end of the series it’s hard to say who the better player is. I would give the edge to Tsubasa because I found him to be more consistent but it’s really close.

It’s not as decisive as you would expect and due to that both of them get big roles in the final match as they alternate. Tsubasa did start for more periods in the match though so take that as you will. Tsubasa is a very fiery character who is very loud and outspoken. Daichi is more of a quiet guy who tends to speak his mind rather than mincing words. So in their own ways they are both very confident in their abilities but go about showing it in different ways.

Technically Whistle’s cast is a fairly large one but it’s also large to the point where it’s hard to develop them all as much as in other titles. For example Haikyu is the sport title with the closest comparable cast I would say but the series really took the time to develop all of them. Granted, Haikyu is almost double Whistle’s size but by volume 20 I would say they already had more personality.

In Whistle if you weren’t one of the two keepers or rivals then you were most likely not a very notable player. The other kids were good enough to keep Sho out of the starting roster for a while but that’s about it. You wouldn’t really expect them to do much in an actual match though aside from yelling at Tatsuya at times when he would steal the spotlight. Usually they’d start losing points for the team which is when Sho would have to be called back in.

There are some supporting characters outside the team though like the various coaches in the series. They tended to be solid even if they didn’t make too much of an impact outside of the main one. The main coach always chose to believe in Sho and support him when it counted. She did take a bit of a risk near the end of the series but when it’s the main character it’s never a bad idea to try and let him surpass his limits. There was a pro player who happened to be in Sho’s neighborhood. That guy was nice he always helped give Sho some quality advice and told the kid not to give up.

Then you have Sho’s brother Ko who doesn’t do much for most of the series but he does come through when it counts at the end. Whistle goes for a rather emotional ending to be sure but one that has a satisfying ending. If the ending had been fully sad with no recovery at the end then that would have been more on the fishy side. As it stands, it works pretty well as a way to close things out.

Whistle’s artwork does look fairly old. It reminds you of something like Saint Seiya only without the fight scenes of course. It doesn’t hold up to a lot of newer titles but it isn’t bad. You can still recognize all of the characters pretty easily and the soccer games have a proper amount of intensity. The manga isn’t actually as old as it looks but it could be an intentional style choice I suppose or it’s from an artist who grew up drawing in that style so he just stayed in that style.

With 24 volumes at the ready you can expect a whole lot of matches throughout the series. It also gives the author time to let the characters just have some fun and dialogue outside of the matches too. We have time for the heroes to enjoy some good food and hang out. Some titles don’t have a whole lot of time for that so it’s a pretty balanced set up. With this many volumes over 10 years it can be easy to forget some of the early opponents though but the you won’t forget Sho’s struggles.

Part of why the main characters are all so memorable is because they got such strong character arcs. Each of them had to deal with something. Sho had to deal with his lack of skills, Daichi had to deal with improving his skills and not relying on only hunches, Tsubasa had to deal with everyone always underestimating him, Tatsuya had to deal with self confidence, and Shigeki had to deal with his rich father who owned another soccer club. There was definitely a lot going on here so even if you don’t remember some of the specific matches it was a lot of fun.

Overall, Whistle is definitely a very good series that I would recommend. It’s a very easy read and like with most sport titles there is a ton of replay value here. There may not be anything super deep or genre breaking going on here but you know that in each volume you can expect some high quality soccer content. It would have been nice to perhaps have seen a time skip where Sho is now one of the best players out there but I guess that will be a job for the sequel series. It would be nice to see Sho’s hard work pay off at some point since so far he has only made some progress. If you like sports or a good story then you should definitely check this one out, the writing is always consistent.

Overall 7/10

The Man in the White Suit Review


This is the kind of film where you really can’t tell a whole lot by the title alone. This could be a spy film, a thriller, or something else. In this case it’s the latter as this is a comedic film about someone trying to enact real change. It’s got a good blend of humor and serious moments here. The climax even gets emotional enough where you may shed a tear. It’s a well balanced title that I could definitely recommend to any fan of the cinema.

The movie starts out by spoiling the entire ending of the film which I always thought is the worst way to start a movie. Seriously, don’t do this. It destroys all the tension straight off the bat and makes you shake your head. If at all possible I recommend skipping the first few minutes until we cut away to the flashback where the real film starts. Trust me, that is absolutely your best bet.

So the real start has corporate is talking over some deals with textiles and fabrics. See, this company is one of the biggest Mills in the world and they employ a lot of people who help insure that their fabrics are top notch. Unfortunately someone wasted a lot of money on some kind of music machine. This man (Sidney) is promptly fired and apparently this is not the first time it’s happened. The poor guy has been through a lot of jobs although to an extent it is his fault since he keeps stealing lab equipment and doing unauthorized purchases for his experiments.

Sidney manages to get hired at another mill and begins his experiments once again. Turns out it was not a music machine he was making but rather, an advanced fabric that will never stain or go bad. You could finally have a shirt that you can wear for eternity or a pair of jeans that will never wrinkle. Not a bad idea eh? Sidney pitches it to the company and is proud to say that he has changed the world but there is one…wrinkle to this. Nobody actually wants this invention.

Clothing manufacturers realize that this will incredibly reduce their profits since people won’t need them anymore. All the production/assembly workers at the Mills don’t like this since they won’t be needed anymore so they get in on the action too. The entire Worker’s Union is ready for some action. Sidney’s family, friends, and acquaintances are all after him now. It’s quite clear that if Sidney ends up making this invention that he will have alienated everyone he ever cared about. Can he still go through with it?

It’s definitely an emotional part of the story because Sidney’s motives were really not bad. He saw an issue and decided to fix it with science. The way he went about doing it was not the best but he ultimately came through on the product. Everyone turning on him felt like it came out of nowhere from his eyes since he had never even noticed the opposition. It was a rough blow to have to try and endure.

Now, for my two cents on it, I think it is a good invention. The film and the various characters in it all portray this as being a bad thing since it will erase so many jobs. The thing about that is, it will be true for any technological invention. Imagine the response when cell phones were created which hurt the landline companies or email which hurt the postal service. The thing is, any technical advancement will always hurt what came before it. It’s certainly not something fun to think about, but that’s just the way that it is. Ultimately it balances out as new kinds of jobs are created. Perhaps at some point there will be an invention so good that it doesn’t have a replacement but clean permanent shirts won’t be one of them.

In the movie you’re meant to root against Sidney but I couldn’t bring myself too. It was such a bold idea that you would hope he escapes and lives to fight another day. Either way you can bet that we have a really solid climax that is actually played pretty seriously.

While the review may make the whole movie sound serious, keep in mind that it is a comedy film first and foremost. The movie has a lot of fun with these concepts and making the characters a bit on the exaggerated side. The machine itself has a fun little music jingle that plays whenever it is on. You have to wonder how people didn’t notice it sooner with how loud the thing is. It also leads to a very hype ending to the movie that could even lead into a sequel should the writers ever want to bring that back into the mix.

The character cast is surprisingly big but that helps to add to the grand feel of the movie. You’ve got a lot of managers here, a big boss who is so old that he can barely move and of course a lot of middle management involved as well. There’s also a main heroine here who wants Sidney to succeed since it would mean her fiancé would have more time for her instead of always worrying about the job. Unfortunately he doesn’t turn out to be the best guy.

At one point the characters decide that the only way to get Sidney is to use the main heroine as bait. Effectively they want her to do whatever it takes in order to convince him and even her fiance agrees to this. You can tell that their bond was over at this very point. I wouldn’t consider any proper romance to develop with Sidney after this, but the scene of her pretending to try and get his interest was painful. It also makes Sidney look pretty shallow here since he allows everything to happen before telling her that he’s still going through with his invention. Nice guy….

That’s the only weak element of the film. The rest of its run is just very strong with a lot of excellent writing and dialogue. The humor is handled really well too with a lot of solid execution and throughout you will find the scenes quite funny. It’s less of an over the top humor style and more about subtle things that just don’t sit right. It’s all in the reactions or in the sound of the music. It’s also fun when corporate is running around trying to figure out where their money went.

Overall, The Man in the White Suit is a pretty original film. It’s got a solid story and great pacing throughout. I can’t say that I’ve seen a film quite like this one before. It’s unique in all the right ways and if you just want a low key film that’s pretty fun, this is the one to check out. You definitely won’t regret it that’s for sure.

Overall 7/10