Demon Slayer: Mugen Train Review


Demon Slayer certainly became a global sensation. When the anime launched it was appearing everywhere and so it’s only natural that a movie sequel by UFotable would continue to get a ton of press and box office. This movie adapts the train arc which is certainly one of the strongest parts of the series. It’s the first time we get to see a Hashira fight seriously which is a pretty big deal. It also works really well as a movie so it was a good pick by the company.

Picking up where the series left off, Tanjiro, Inosuke, and Zenitsu are boarding the Mugen Train. They are to team up with the Hashira known as Rengoku to stop the demons that are on the train. People have been going missing left and right on the train and the slayers sent previously have all been vanquished. Tanjiro and the others may still be newcomers to the organization but they have proven themselves in battle. They are ready to conquer this train.

Unsurprisingly Rengoku is the one doing most of the heavy lifting though. He is a Hashira for a reason and Demon Slayer has a pretty solid power level setup going for it. In fact, when paired up with most of its Shonen Jump companions you could make a strong case for this being one of the best in terms of the power levels making a lot of sense. It’s a strong point for Demon Slayer and never for a moment does it looks like the rest of the characters are competing with Rengoku. He is definitely the star of the show here.

I like Giyu a lot and he’s the only rival to Rengoku in terms of being my favorite Hashira but ultimately I would say Rengoku definitely wins this. He’s a very earnest guy and his flame abilities are incredible. I would go as far as to say he’s the strongest member of the group in terms of base abilities, so no red swords. He has tremendous speed and in the movie we see how difficult it is to protect one car and yet he was protecting 5. He has a pretty emotional backstory and never gets tempted by the demons.

Still, while Rengoku has a lot of screen time I would say this is still Tanjiro’s movie. He is forced to confront his past and the idea of an alternate reality. It’s never easy to leave such a dream but he does it rather well. It’s also just pretty painful in general to leave even knowing how you do it but the guy is resolute. Tanjiro’s always had a lot of determination after all. His fight with the demon may be quick but it’s a solid action scene all the same.

Then you have Inosuke who looks good as expected. He’s confident in his abilities and gets a good tag team with Tanjiro. His inner dream is also the most amusing out of the 3 which reflects his inner mind rather well. Zenitsu gets the shaft from the 3 which may surprise some fans since you would figure that a movie where the heroes are constantly in a dream-like state would be to his advantage. In some ways it is as he couldn’t protect Nezuko nearly as well while awake but his action is mainly off screen.

Enmu is the main villain here. He’s not really much of a fighter in close quarters combat which is why he has the whole train scheme. If you put everyone to sleep then perhaps you can end up winning without having to go through all of the trouble of fighting. I do think he overthinks it to an extent though. Due to how it’s hard to wake up in general and it takes a while, I think the easiest thing to do would just be to stab the slayers as soon as they’re asleep. The plan with the kids was decent and apparently it works a lot but it feels like a lot of work.

Enmu isn’t quite as solid as a lot of the other demons in Muzan’s ranks though. I never became a big fan of his personally. His abilities are unique to be sure and he does have some quality dialogue but that’s about all I can say for him. In true movie fashion his super form is pretty much just a giant blob that can’t fight back. So those action scenes while well animated don’t quite hold up to the rest. Give me the opening action scenes against the random demons anytime. Akaza also looks great in his appearance and already cemented himself as the greatest villain in the series by this point. The guy really enjoys battling and even has a bit of an honor code about him as he tries to get the heroes to his level as well. You definitely have to respect the commitment.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Ufotable film without some kind of insane action sequence. The fun part is that pretty much any chunk of the film could be used as a great display of animation. Even the “standard” fights of the movie look great which is to be expected. I still have Ufotable as the best pure animation company in the biz right now. Their shows just look incredible. My favorite will always be Pierot but in a 1 on 1 contest the smart money would be on Ufotable to win. The final battle looks incredible. The colors are striking and you can tell it’ll be years before anime are able to churn out fights like this on the regular.

It was just an excellent way to wrap up the adventure. Mugen Train is one of those films that is fairly long but certainly doesn’t feel like it. The movie just keeps going from scene to scene with an engaging story so it never drags. There are some pretty tense moments as well like the conductor punching in all of the tickets which works really well. The soundtrack is very good. It’s definitely got a Fate vibe to it which always works really well with the animation style. It’s got a grand feel to it and ups the anticipation/hype of every moment. There are some themes from the show but also some new ones to be sure so there’s a good mix there.

The movie isn’t nearly as violent as the show which also works well for making this a big theater experience. The most blood is probably when the characters are slashing at the blobs which is certainly the weakest part of the film since these blobs can’t do anything but for the most part the film is ready to just jump straight into the action. I wouldn’t say there are any real weaknesses to the title. I suppose if this had been the true climax that would have been really underwhelming but fortunately we got to end with something spectacular.

Overall, Mugen Train is definitely a great film. It’s got top tier animation and music at the ready along with a great cast of characters. Every scene with Rengoku is really a great moment. His self preservation instinct is really on point and the guy also feels like a natural leader. His very presence instills confidence in anyone who’s around him. Most likely you’ll already know about the true final act by the time you watch the film but if you don’t that’s probably a good thing because it’s one of the best cinematic twists of all time. It’s something that really pushes the film to the next level and I would consider this part of the movie an absolute necessity. Whether you’ve watched the anime or not you should be able to jump into this film and have a good time with it. I’d definitely recommend giving it whirl and now we’ll see when the next film comes out.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Warriors of the Final Holy War Review


Saint Seiya returns once again to fight their most powerful opponents yet. If you’ve seen the first three films then you know you’re about to see another epic installment in the franchise. Athena may not look great here but she has improved quite a bit since the last film. This one’s back to being a bit on the shorter side but it cuts right to the action so you’re still going to get a lot of epic battles.

The movie starts with a bang as Lucifer has been resurrected. He sends his minions to go and take down the Gold Saints first. They quickly murder each one in an instant and then after that they go with Lucifer to take Athena down. Athena is unable to stop these guys and even Seiya and friends are defeated. It all just happened so fast and now the world is in ruins as towns are being flooded and cities are being destroyed. Lucifer gives Athena once chance to save the world. She will have to walk over to his throne across a valley of thorns and sacrifice herself so that the world will live. Athena has decided to do this but her Saints aren’t thrilled at the prospect. They’ve decided to rise and fight against this guy.

Shiryu missed out on the initial battle involving the main saints so he is the only one still at full power while Seiya, Hyoga, and Shun are already at death’s door. Of course Ikki also wasn’t there but he never is. Due to this, Shiryu actually gets some of the best scenes in the film such as taking on two of Lucifer’s minions at the same time. Considering how these guys handled the other Saints so easily, it was a pretty intense moment. We also got to hear him say the catchphrase “The same technique never works on a Saint twice” which was hype.

Shiryu fans will definitely enjoy his appearance here as I would say it is his best appearance across all of the films. Then you have Shun who gets beat as usual but I suppose he did hold his own for a bit. The issue is that his opponent could literally slice through his chains without any effort which is an issue. Not much you can do if your chains aren’t strong enough to defend with right?

Ikki naturally gets to step in and look good though. Again I would say his role here is rather small but he takes his opponent out pretty quick with his illusions which is always fun. It’s clear that his abilities are near the top when it comes to all Saints around the board. There’s not much to complain about when that’s the case since I suppose he would end up stealing the show if he was there the whole time. He has a pretty hype scene where he tells Shun that he needs to get up on his own though.

Hyoga also looks good here. He may not stand out as much as in the last film since he got such a big focus there at times but he takes on his opponent and looks quite good. Then you have Seiya who definitely looks great here. He doesn’t back down and isn’t afraid to give his opponents some attitude as well. It doesn’t matter if it’s Lucifer or Hades going up against him, Seiya always fights hard for Athena. He gets to unleash his Meteor Fist and of course takes out his trump card near the end.

Compared to the last film which was going for more of an ambitious setup, I would say this film is really going back down to basics. Athena is defeated/put in a position where she will die soon so the heroes have to save her as soon as possible. We get the big fights as the heroes near the end and then the climax has arrived. There are really no side quests or anything to distract you.

That said, if you think about it some more then the Gold Saints look pitiful once more. When even Virgo Shaka was taken out in an instant I had to shake my head at that. I mean…I guess you could say since it was 4 on 1 that if they go all out from the start even Virgo would lose but it’s hard to see it being that quick. Lets say we take it to be fact that all of the Saints are massively faster than light so that one instant was actually a few minutes of their time in battling. Couldn’t Virgo have landed any real hits or something? I don’t see him calling for backup but the guy was always shown to be one of the most powerful Saints so losing just like that was hard to buy.

It is an effective way of building up hype for the new villains though. Since the heroes surpassed the Gold Saints in Arc 1 I am fully comfortable with them defeating the guys who beat the Gold Saints as well. That tracks for sure, but why didn’t some of the other Gold Saints arrive to help like Roshi? At least he could have offered some kind of assistance. Athena really needs to fire all of her Gold Saints since they never help her anyway.

The animation is very solid as always. It doesn’t really use any super cool effects like the fire blasts in the last film but it’s all very consistent. Ikki’s illusion was certainly fun and all of the battles have a lot going on. Keeping up with the close range blows and projectiles is fun. The choreography here is definitely on point. As expected the soundtrack also delivers the whole time as well as it amps up the battles.

Overall, Saint Seiya continues its run of solid films. You do feel like there’s not much of the Earth left to save by the time Lucifer is done with it but I suppose that’s at least something Athena and her magic can work out. At least it gives her something to do when all is said and done. Since the series uses all kinds of inspirations from around the globe for each set of villains it was fun to see a Biblical interpretation here. Lucifer certainly makes for an intimidating villain in that sense and existing in the same series as Hades will naturally have you wonder which fighter is stronger. If you like action films then you’ve definitely got to check this one out. It’ll give you all the fighting you could ever want with the characters inspiring you as they get up after each hit.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Legend of Crimson Youth Review


The Saint Seiya crew returns once more for another great film. The movies have been quite consistent in quality and this one is no different. With the extended run time we also get to see quite a lot of extra action scenes here. Some characters look a little suspect of course but ultimately you are bound to have a good time.

One day Abel returns to the world. He is the god of the Sun and Athena’s long lost brother. His abilities are pretty much invincible and he also has 4 Corona Saints working for him. As a result, he says that Athena no longer needs her bronze saints to defend her. Seiya and the others are outraged at this but Athena confirms it must be this way. She doesn’t even bat an eye when the main Corona Saint beats Seiya to a pulp and even the Golden Saints who had been slain have returned to offer their allegiance.

After the Bronze Saints are gone and Athena is sure that nobody can protect her, she offers one of the worst attacks I’ve ever seen as she tries to defeat Abel. He quickly murders her and then his Corona Saints murder the only 2 Golden Saints who were brave enough to try and defend her. With Athena on her way to hell, Seiya and pals must once again don their armors in order to save her. Still, they are going up against foes who have even defeated the golden saints with ease. Do they have a chance?

I’ll go into the positives in a minute but I just have one negative with the film which is that the plot makes Athena and the Gold Saints look absolutely horrible. Athena is the main culprit here though. So her long lost brother shows up and after hanging out with him for a few hours she is ready to discard her saints entirely and just follow his rule? She doesn’t object when he beats up her friends via proxy? The guy is so corrupt it’s obvious and she seems to know it but decides not to make a move.

It’s almost worse that she decides to attack him later since we find out that she knew he was evil all along. The reason she waited is she thought Seiya and friends would get murdered by him. She should know they would try to avenge her anyway so that would be even worse. Even more so when you realize that there were 5 Gold Saints with her at the time so Seiya would have had some backup. Her plan was just nuts and she dies without even putting up a fight. Athena has to be the weakest cosmic being in the series.

Then you also have the Gold Saints bowing to these Corona guys and refusing to do anything. At least 2 of them rose up to try and defend Athena but naturally they were absolutely crushed since it was 4 against 2. It’s nice that they acted but it was too little too late. They should have been helping Seiya when he was getting pounded, particularly as it seemed like Seiya would have beaten his opponent if not for Athena stopping him.

There’s no defense for Gemini Saga and the others though. Just standing by as their allies are being beaten is the height of disgrace. Their armors should have shattered in disgust as they went to find a new owner. So the story itself feels very forced and there were many better ways to set this up. At least once we do get to Seiya and friends storming the temple then we get back on track.

Once the introductions are over then the heroes quickly march on to take these guys down. Seiya in particular looks great here since he didn’t wait for any kind of explanation and just went right to the action. Now, he was filled with self doubt so he tended to lose a whole lot here but at least he always got right back up. He’s not the kind of character to back down from a fight and he got the job done in the end.

I think fans of all the bronze saints should be satisfied here. Shiryu was the one who found out the method to save Athena and did well in taking his guy out. He even let the opponent get a false sense of security so he could confirm his theory about Athena. Hyoga flat out defeated one of the Corona Saints in a fair fight which was very impressive and was also one of the first ones to reach Abel. Of course that was partially because they let him.

Shun got beat real quick in his fight but that is to be expected. After getting saved he was at least able to assist Seiya near the end by stopping one of the opponent’s blows. It may not be perfect, but you can see some improvement with Shun. Ikki looks great here as he naturally takes his guy down. If not for a cheap shot he may have been able to do a whole lot more as well. I admit that I would have liked to have seen him take on the main villains more though.

As for the Corona Knights, they make for fun adversaries. The main one, Carina had a really good fire attack that the animators clearly had fun with. Effectively his flames burn you from the inside out so it looks like the character is expanding from the hot air. You can feel how painful that attack has to be. Others had electric wires which were also deadly and a nice variety of attacks. As with most of these films since it is a whole group introduced here it is hard to really remember any of their names in particular. Additionally their introductions are long since they also say where they are from.

That said, each villain is good. I wouldn’t say any were underwhelming. The evil Gold Saints were also good opponents even if they didn’t learn anything from their last defeats at the hands of the saints. I would have liked Gemini Saga to have done a little ore but I suppose taking on one of the Corona Knights would have to suffice. Perhaps he should have let his evil side out a bit more and then he could have really taken the fight to these guys.

The animation here was really good as you would expect. The fight scenes really shine and the armors look very sleek on the characters. Saint Seiya is one of those titles you really watch for the fun fight scenes and they always deliver. You can probably tell how most of the fights will play out since Saint Seiya is a very formulaic series but it doesn’t undercut the raw determination that each character brings to the table. The music tracks also fit right in with what’s going on.

Overall, Saint Seiya delivers with another great film. The climax even tries to go a bit more high scale than the last 2 films which is good if you like the other Saints as well as Seiya. Ikki’s role may be a bit smaller than the first two films but it’s satisfying. I had my issues with the plot and Athena as she continually disappoints but the main Bronze Saints all look good. It’s nice to see how far they’ve come from the old days as they now take on opponents who were easily crushing the Golden Saints. While the gold fighters may not have looked great here, I do like the idea of getting them in on the action a bit. It really helps to solidify these new guys as true threats.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: The Heated Battle of the Gods Review


The Saint Seiya movies certainly have great posters without a doubt. This next film effectively picks up in a similar fashion to the first one with things boiling to a head pretty quickly. It’s an effective movie with a lot of great fight scenes and moments. It’s also fun seeing the Asgard fighters again after the show although of course it’s a different set entirely here. Asgard always looks pretty corrupt in these things compared to Sanctuary though.

The movie starts with Hyoga saving a guy from a group of fighters and then being sent out to do some investigating in Asgard. Unfortunately things don’t go very well for him and he is promptly captured. Meanwhile the other Saints and Athena are worried about what happened with him so they arrive in Asgard. Dolbar lets them know nobody has seen Hyoga in the kingdom. This isn’t particularly convincing though as all of his God Warriors continue to glare and insult the heroes. None of the Saints back off which is good but they ultimately head out to do some secret searching.

Dolbar sees this as a good chance so he calls Athena back by herself and quickly kidnaps her soul in another dimension and puts her on a giant boat. Andromeda must have been sleeping since he was the assigned guard but he wakes up to find her and promptly starts getting beaten down by one of the God Warriors. It’s time for the Saints of Athena to show up and turn the tables but can they really reach her in time?

We’ve got a similar format to the first film but there are definitely some key differences. For starters, Hyoga is forced to fight for the god warriors so there is the increased stress of having to fight one of their own. Additionally, the terrain is very different in the icy Asgard which is certainly fun. Andromeda looks marginally better than he did last time and the main villain can actually fight this time.

I was quite happy to see Dolbar actually step in and start fighting it out physically. This was exactly what I had been waiting for the whole time. A villain who can just step in and start taking names as soon as possible. He was quite impressive too since even Seiya was having a lot of trouble with him. Okay that may not be surprising but it is still impressive all the same. Seiya ends up needing a little extra help in much the same way as the first film in order to counter this. It’s always a great way to end the film.

The God Warriors don’t leave much more of an impression than the villains from the first film. Again, they’re all pretty good but the heroes do have to mow them down fairly quick in order to keep the film moving at a rapid pace. I would say the most impressive fighter may have been the one who fought Seiya in terms of having a lasting impression thanks to his arrows of certain death. It’s a fun concept when you only need one hit to take down your enemy. It’s a very handy skill because you can imagine how deadly that would be if Seiya was throwing that with his Pegasus speed. Nobody could dodge that.

Seiya looks excellent here as always. He takes on a bunch of injuries and keeps on ticking. All of the Saints are able to do this but Seiya is always able to take those injuries and still manage to secure victories in the end. It’s the hallmark of a true hero. Of course Ikki looked great here as well. He comes in clutch with his fire abilities and also shows a lot of determination as he tries to save Seiya no matter what.

Shiryu gets a bigger role here compared to last time since he gets to fight with Hyoga. It’s a good battle and longer than you might expect as Hyoga uses every trick possible to take Shiryu down while the dragon hero is trying to subdue him with grapples and throws to avoid hurting the guy. Definitely a fun fight and it shows how Shiryu is willing to risk everything to get his friend back. As for Hyoga, it’s a little sad for his fans that he was basically controlled into doing this but by the end of the film he was still able to make the right calls and help out. In a way he’s at a bit of a disadvantage having to fight in a cold area where everyone is already used to the ice but he makes the most of it and still ends up coming out on top and at least contributing with the final boss. We all know who will beat Dolbar in the end anyway.

As for Andromeda…well he looks better than last time as I said but it’s still not great. His chains were utterly destroyed by his opponent’s sword. What’s the point of an invincible chain if it gets broken so easily? In general the characters’ armors haven’t looked so good in the movies. They tend to shatter almost instantly when fighting the enemies. They definitely need the golden armors at their disposal consistently. Andromeda does have a key scene where he rescues Seiya though so nobody can take that away from him.

The animation is certainly good as always. It seemed like they were trying for a slightly different look at times with the fights like when Hyoga fought the bandits. Maybe a thinner, more streamlined look? Either way it all looked good and the battles were a lot of fun. The soundtrack was also on point as expected. All of the classic tunes are still around and you can really get into the action.

Overall, This was a great follow up to the first movie. I think I would still go with the first one as the best Saint Seiya film so far but it is very close. They’re both similar in a lot of ways which is good because you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken right? Saint Seiya is the kind of series that lends itself really well to having a ton of films so it’ll be nice if they can start announcing more films in the future at some point. Just follow this format and you’ll be in really good shape. It’s definitely a must watch for any action fan.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Evil Goddess Eris Review


It’s time to look at the first Saint Seiya film. This was back when some films would be quite short at well under an hour and that is the case with this one. What that also means though is it gets to jump right into the action so that part’s fun. The action pretty much goes on for the entire film which is always hype. It’s a solid story that is well contained here.

The film starts with Seiya and friends enjoying a normal day at the orphanage. Hyoga and Eri even get to spend some time staring at each other. Unfortunately, an evil goddess known as Eris arrives and possesses Eri’s body. Eri then ambushes Athena on one of her horseback riding adventures and takes her away to a temple. Athena is able to resist the body snatching abilities of Eris so the villain decides to break her emotionally by destroying the saints in front of her. She sends a signal to Athena’s Knights to come and save her if they dare. Eris also summons the 4 Ghost Saints to take care of the heroes when they arrive. Seiya and friends do not hesitate as they head on over.

That’s really it for the plot because from here on our you can expect some hype battles between saints. It’s quite nostalgic seeing the heroes in this film. The movie includes the original theme song from the show and of course all of the classic tunes are here. Even the whole “A saint never falls for the same trick twice” line returns which is a classic. The heroes all have rather difficult battles but manage to overcome them as needed. The film feels like a speed run through an arc as Andromeda gets absolutely wrecked as expected, Shiryu has to drop his armor, Ikki shows up for a rescue, Hyoga lets his guard down, etc.

Of course, those are all great story beats so including them all in a film is bound to be a winning idea. Naturally Seiya looks great here. He’s a true hero as always and puts in a lot of dedication to survive to the end. He takes some particularly bad hits in the film such as hitting his head on a cliff when being thrown away and taking some seriously lethal blows. Fortunately he was able to survive these and keep on fighting as a true saint. Constantly throughout battles Seiya gets hit so hard he even loses all of his senses, even Goku might wince at this kind of damage. Just goes to show why the guy is still an absolute living legend.

Meanwhile Hyoga looks good but he does fall for the classic emotional trap. I’ll give him this, he got to have the best opening scene since he took down the car and saved a kid. In the fight he also looked good as he was overwhelming his opponent until he let his guard down. He’s typically the weakest member of the team outside of Shun but it’s more of a by default since the team is absolutely stacked. You have Seiya and Ikki at the top with Shiryu following close behind. I would say Hyoga is right under him and then Andromeda is way below the rest. I think Hyoga fans will still be satisfied since he was looking so dominant here which makes up for not having another fight scene.

It’s better than Andromeda fans at least as he goes down so quickly in this movie that he doesn’t even get to take out his chains. You would assume the guy isn’t a fighter based on how this one went down. It was more than a little embarrassing if we’re being honest. No Knight of Athena should go down in a single blow. Even in the main series Andromeda never looked quite so bad so…..ah man it must have been rough for his fans when they were leaving the theater.

Ikki looks absolutely amazing though. Not only does he step in to take that guy down but he also gets a pretty good fight against the main villain. It was actually even for a while and he was ready to keep on fighting until Seiya stepped in. I was glad to see him look so good here and it keeps reaffirming why he is my favorite character in the series. His fire attacks just look very cool and I like that unwavering confidence of his.

Meanwhile Shiryu also looks good. He was initially getting pummeled but that’s more or less part of his fighting strategy. The dragon within him gets stronger the more damage he takes. Shiryu’s specialty is stacking the deck against himself and this is completed once he takes off his armor and allows any hit against him to be lethal. Now that the stakes are so high he can really show his stuff. His ultimate move is a bit of a self destruction attack so he can’t use it often but it does always work. His sheer durability is probably the highest out of the cast. (I would consider Ikki’s infinite regeneration to be different from durability)

None of the villains are particularly noteworthy. They were all pretty good though. They talk tough, insult the heroes, and flex their powers. Basically they do everything you could want out of a villain. They may be a bit interchangeable in that sense but they all have different abilities. The one who fought Shiryu for example was really proud of his own strength while the one who fought Andromeda was more about ending his foes peacefully. At the end of the day their core personalities are similar though and that’s good since they were all impressive.

As for Eris, she can’t exactly fight so don’t expect her to get a big fight scene. Her plan wasn’t half bad though, just a little longer and she would have won. Honestly it would have been smarter not to call in the Saints though. I feel like Athena would have broken down soon anyway and then there wouldn’t be any danger. Maybe Eris just really enjoys a good fight though. Athena looked pretty bad here though. She should at least be able to defend herself a little bit right? Cmon, she is a goddess incarnate….

As expected the animation here is really good. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily at a higher level than the show but it does look really clear. I definitely have no issues with the animation. The fights certainly deliver and the soundtrack is on point as you would expect. There are a lot of powerful songs to listen to here and each one will certainly help to enhance the scene that they’re in.

Overall, This is a quick film so there’s not a whole lot to say. Still, it’s a great adventure since it’s really like a true mini arc. The Saints split up and systematically shut down each and everyone of their opponents. If that’s not true power then I don’t know what is. If you’re a fan of Saint Seiya or just like action in general then this is definitely a great film to check out. There’s one scene with a horse that might get you very nervous but fortunately the film didn’t go the way I was expecting. Things could have spun out of control really easily and it’s still the weakest scene in the film but fortunately he was okay in the end.

Overall 8/10

Weathering With You Review


Lately it seems a little rare to see one of these anime rom-coms where one of the characters doesn’t just die tragically. This time the plot’s still emotional but not going for quite as much of a traumatic kind of story. It’s a very solid all around title and one that has a fantastic ending. Honestly the ending’s so good that I almost threw it an extra star because it wraps up the product so well. Either way this is a very good film.

The movie starts by introducing us to Hodaka who is in a bit of a rough patch. He can away from home and is trying to tough it out in Tokyo. Since he is a minor with no ID and running out of money, this isn’t easy though. Fortunately he does end up meeting a local CEO named Suga who offers him a job. It doesn’t pay much but now Hodaka has somewhere to live. He also meets up with a nice girl named Hina who has the power to generate sunlight over a limited area. Since Tokyo has been experiencing rain for months on end, Hodaka has an idea. They can charge people money for Hina’s services. She will make it sunny on special occasions as per the requester in exchange for the fee. Everything seems to be going well but can it possibly last?

Weathering With You definitely throws a lot of trials at the main characters. Usually whenever they get out of one situation then another one is quick to pop up in its place. Still, as long as they have each other they are able to get through it. In a way I would say Hodaka’s toughest trial was the intro scenes since not having any money and being in a strange new place has to be tough to overcome.

I’d say this is a pretty upbeat movie though. It helps that Hina is definitely an optimist who always sees the bright side of things. As a Sunshine girl that is certainly to be expected. She’s a good cook and is just very talented. Bringing good fortune to the people around her is definitely something to keep her emotions up as well. Throughout the movie Hina is always thinking of everyone around her and doesn’t mind making sacrifices if it’ll help everyone else out so she’s definitely a star character.

Her little brother Nagi also means well but he definitely flirts a lot so I wouldn’t say he is quite as fun as the little sibling in other films like A Silent Voice. Nagi is smart though so he does come in handy several times. He’s also good at tackling when needed which was helpful in the climax. Then you have the supporting characters from the job. First up is Natsumi who wants to get more of a real job but in the meantime she throws herself into her work. She may buy into all of the supernatural elements a little too easily but at least this makes her interviews with the various people quite genuine.

You can also tell she is the responsible member of the household since Suga tends to be a lot sloppier. Suga is mainly focused on trying to win a custody case but still tries to do the right things along the way. He can be a little dense in the second half of the film though as the writing is on the wall but he’s still slowing everyone down. I think to a reasonable extent you can see why he was trying to put distance between him and Hodaka though. Perhaps he could handle it a little better but that was a tough spot to be put in. The scene of stopping him on the skyscraper though? Nah…I can’t get behind that one.

As for Hodaka himself, I would say he’s weaker than some of the other characters. For starters, while he likes Hina, he gets distracted way too easily. Hodaka didn’t exactly handle himself very gracefully when he first met Natsumi or even later on when they were chatting at the park. Those scenes keep him from being a better character as he doesn’t seem like the most loyal of guys around. That said, he is able to ultimately recover his character a good deal by the end.

The ending is really one of the best parts of the film. See, a lot of times you have characters make the “tough” calls where they decide that they have to put the good of the world above the few. You’ll see a character willing to make a sacrifice to save everyone and the characters either half heartedly agree or don’t really try doing anything about it. Hodaka made a clear choice that he would save his special someone even if it means that the world has to go back to a time of peril. It’s the right answer. Characters like the Flash (coughshouldhavesavedhismothercough) could learn a thing or two from him. It was a spectacular move and he didn’t have any doubts about it or start regretting the move.

No, Hodaka just went in and made the right call without a split second’s hesitation. That’s what I like to see in a main character. So I had some issues with him but that was just such a good scene that he had to rise up a bit there. The film even dealt with the fallback from this and it was handled really well. At the end of the day, you can never let someone make the ultimate sacrifice if you can stop it.

The animation here is great as expected. The character designs are on point and the animation is very smooth. One character even grabs a gun at one point which made for a powerful visual. There are less supernatural elements here to get you a lot of impressive visuals but at least as far as going for a more slice of life look went, this one got you everything you could need. I had no issues with the graphics. The soundtrack was also solid. The best theme was the brief rock theme that played during one of the motorcycle chases at the end. There are also a few lyrical songs of course and those were good as well.

While the movie doesn’t go in this direction I started thinking we were going to meet some rain girls who were causing the current downpours and that would lead to some kind of fight scene. In the end that didn’t happen but it would have been fun. I did enjoy the nonstop rain though because that’s where the animation got to focus its attention. The rain is different from pure water like in the recent anime film I saw so they got to go for different techniques. Watching a heavy rainstorm out your window is always an incredible sight and the movie captures that pretty well.

The food also looks good as expected. It’s always a lot of fun seeing how the dishes look in the movies. For example, here we had Hina make a solid ramen infused with potato chips and that did look pretty good. I’ve messed around with potato chips a lot in my day like for mac n cheese or pizza, but I haven’t tried it in a ramen. It does look really good though so I could definitely see that working out well. The fast food at the hotel was also good. With solid writing and pacing throughout, you could say that this film started off on the right foot and just kept on going that way.

Overall, Weathering With You is definitely a film that I would highly recommend. It’s just a lot of fun and while the characters go through their share of challenges, they handle them rather well. McDonalds even gets its due respect as a character has one of their burgers and realizes that it’s the best meal he’s had in years. This isn’t surprising, McDonalds has always had some of the best food on the planet. Most people don’t realize this but they have the best burgers. Mix in the excellent ending and you definitely have a winner here.

Overall 7/10

Ride Your Wave Review


This is a film I actually hadn’t heard of before so that was pretty interesting. It came out fairly recently and has a very different vibe from most with the whole emphasis on water and everything. Surfing is definitely not a sport I can see myself ever getting into but with the film’s solid graphics it can make for some good scenes. The movie ultimately does well for itself.

The movie starts by introducing us Hinako who is a big fan of surfboarding. Whenever there is a wave, she is around to ride it. One day she is saved by a firefighter named Minato. The two quickly hit it off and have a few good months of fun, but unfortunately he drowns when trying to save someone. This throws Hinako’s life for a loop and now she must learn how to cope with what has happened. She also begins to see Minato everywhere she goes in the water when she sings. Is she slowly losing her mind? Her friends do their best to help but ultimately this will be Hinako’s trial.

Ride Your Wave is definitely a film with a lot of colorful effects throughout. The animation is really solid and it’s clear that a lot of effort especially went into the water scenes. That makes sense since ultimately that’s a huge part of the film. You get to see the water tunnels and they also do a good job of making the firefighting exciting. The fires really blaze with a passion and there’s a lot of good teamwork. Also, we have a lot of solid foods which was nice. Now, while the animation is super colorful, that can make it tricky for determining if the omelets had cheese in them or if that was pure yolk. Usually I would assume that has to be cheese but in quite a few anime they seem to refer to omelets as simply being a scrambled egg that is turned over even without any filling. So it’s a tough call but ultimately I will say it was filled with cheese and if so…that is a very impressive omelet. It is absolutely the right amount of cheese to put in. It’s a little tangent, but the film does want you to pay attention to the food so I think it’s fair. The lesson on coffee was also good.

The pacing is pretty solid with the movie. It’s not particularly long but a lot happens. That said, it was a pretty bold choice to use the death as one of the main plot elements. I’m wondering why the film didn’t try to keep that as a twist or something, but maybe it was important to set it up early to let people off a little easier when watching it. Minato was definitely a really solid character though and the fact that the film lets in a little supernatural elements with him was fun. He would ultimately have to be my favorite character in the film. Minato just worked really hard to get good at being a fireman and the movie shows that he never let his lack of natural talent get to him. The guy just studied until he did become an expert.

As for Hinako, she’s a solid character. She definitely has a rough time of it in this film but that’s to be expected. All things considered, she handled the situation better than some other leads. Hinako at least tries to go back to normal minus the surfing after a while and I definitely don’t blame her for abandoning that altogether. Seems like that’s probably the last thing you would want to do.

One of the supporting characters was annoying though and that was Minato’s friend Wasabi. This guy had to be the worst character in the film easily. Now, he was earnest so it’s not like his feelings for Hinako were fake. He liked her even before she went with Minato. The problem is that at that point he needs to cross her off his list mentally because that should absolutely be the end of the story. Especially once Minato is out of the picture because effectively he’s asking her out at a vulnerable time.

This is one of those scenarios where he should have just buried his feelings completely. Then he looks even worse when he effectively rebounds with Yoko. So yeah…I did not like Wasabi. The guy just seemed desperate the whole time. Yoko was more fun. She liked Wasabi from the start so it wasn’t a rebound on her side but how does she feel about being the second pick? Seems to me like Yoko probably should have rejected him, but beyond that I liked how intense she was whenever talking with Hinako and the others. She doesn’t mince words and gets past things pretty quick since she doesn’t show her emotions on the outside much.

In a way she helps to strengthen Hinako with her tough love approach. So all in all, the backup romance plot here is the weakest part of the film but otherwise it’s a story with a really strong foundation. I have to say that the biggest success the film had was not making Hinako insane. If the whole Minato being in the water thing was just in her head that would have been incredibly annoying. This twist actually helped the film quite a bit with giving her some closure as well as letting Minato actually contribute more. Who doesn’t want to have water powers right?

The film even gives us an action packed climax. This isn’t really an action film at all but I still appreciate having an ending with a nice sense of danger there as everything comes to a close. The idea of surfing off the roof of the building is also pretty fun albeit, fairly risky. Hinako dying there would have been super tragic and ironic to say the least. Maybe Minato would have been able to land in time to save her or dredge up some extra strength though.

Overall, Ride Your Wave is a solid film. It’s got a good story and solid characters aside from Wasabi. The pacing is on point and the movie is definitely over in a flash. The title song of the film is also really good which is fortunate since you’ll hear it a bunch. There aren’t really any other memorable parts of the OST since this one is definitely meant to be the focus. By the end you’ll probably know the lyrics quite well, or at least will have the first few lines memorized at minimum. If you want a solid emotional story that carefully balances the humor and uplifting parts with some tragedy then this is the one for you.

Overall 7/10

Superman: Man of Tomorrow Review


This is really the Superman film I’ve been waiting for. Red Son had a very brief time as the best Superman film for me but I always had a feeling this one could rise to the top. Not only was it bringing in two of my favorite villains in Parasite and Lobo, but it just looked like a pretty good retro Superman story. It definitely has a solid old school feeling while still incorporating some modern elements. I could certainly see this being a modern reboot that could work to set up a solid universe. The origin story also goes pretty fast so we can focus on the more interesting part of his first days as Superman instead of him growing up.

The movie starts with Clark Kent covering a big rocket launch by Lex Luthor. He’s an intern and not quite a reporter yet but is ready to move on up. Right away he’s introduced as a nice guy who makes friends with the janitor and does his best to try and get a scoop without cutting corners. The launch doesn’t go well and Lois is able to prove Lex’s guilt so he is thrown into prison. This is their first meeting so now Clark has seen what the ultimate reporter can do. While the fame doesn’t go to Lois Lane’s head, she is definitely one of the more antagonistic characters in the film so she won’t be making friends anytime soon.

Clark still wants to leave a positive impression but he has other problems to worry about. A space bounty hunter by the name of Lobo has arrived and wants to take Superman down. He claims that Clark is a Kryptonian. Then you’ve also got a mysterious stranger who follows Clark around a lot and even heads to his home in Smallville. Finally, you have the Parasite, a being of incredible power who may very well destroy this entire planet. Superman will have to stop these foes while also establishing himself as a hero for peace and not someone who needs to be feared.

There’s just a lot to like here right from the start. For starters it was nice to see more of Clark Kent. It seems like there isn’t often a lot of time to see the human side for Superman outside of fighting crime so that is always fun. I also like that this is a version of Clark where he is a top notch reporter and this is getting set up by the end of the film. He is ready to one up Lois when needed and he also visits Smallville pretty often. As he mentioned, it’s just a 10 minute trip for him (And that’s probably a cautious estimate) so he can really go and hang out at any time. The Kents also look good and these scenes really help develop the characters.

Then you have the Superman scenes which are a blast of course. I would say the stand out fight is the first battle with Superman and Lobo. While the animation may not be quite as colorful as the mainline DC films from the 52 era, the smooth animation does help with showing a lot of great choreography the whole time. There’s a lot of good back and forth with each character getting some good hits in but I would say it’s clear that Lobo has the edge here. Superman is still growing into his powers of course so he isn’t quite as powerful as he would usually be in later years of his career.

Admittedly when the final boss went the route of going for a giant monster as the final boss I did have to shake my head a bit. It seems like the ole giant enemy approach is inevitable nowadays but you just can’t get any great choreography out of that. Outside of Fate Grand Order where you could really feel the immense impact of the big enemy that the show was going for, I wouldn’t say it tends to be all that impressive. You can have multiple giant foes fighting each other but someone like Superman going up against a giant monster? I don’t think that’ll work out.

Still, it was less about the fight and more about showing off how Superman can use peace to solve some of his fights so that was handled pretty well. It was also a chance to get everyone involved in the fight. I would say Lobo seemed a little nerfed in this one since I think he could have done a lot better but you can’t win every fight right? I half expected Lex to put on his suit but I suppose it might be too early to bring that one out. As it stands, he is definitely not someone you can trust at all here. He is very quick to blast you in the back. It’s not really his most impressive appearance but he’s never all that worried so you feel like he’s got some other plans in the works.

For Lois, as I mentioned she is definitely very tough on everyone here, but she is a fun character. Her power moves were definitely fun and she has an air of absolute confidence about her. She may have lost this final round against Superman but I’m sure she won’t give up. She is always ready to go into dangerous situations to get the scoop after all. I’m sure she and Clark will have a good rivalry going forward if he starts trying to take all the bylines like in the DCAU.

Lobo of course is a fun wild card character to have around. I definitely was not expecting any kind of team up with him so that was pretty intense. He’s one of those characters who really tends to overwhelm the screen while he’s appearing so you never forget the guy. Then you have the stranger who was following Superman around. That guy was definitely a pretty intense figure. I liked how it gave the film an extra element of being a mystery or part thriller. His fight in the night and showing up at the Kent’s place was intense. I do think Superman should have been a little quicker to break things up to be honest but he still did make it before things got too tricky so that’s the important thing.

The film does like its fake outs with death though. Two different characters seemingly die only to return later on. I admit that while I didn’t buy the second one for a minute, the first would have been interesting. I can see why they wouldn’t let it stick since that would start Superman’s career off on a rather depressing note and he might not be able to be quite as cheerful after that. It does work as a dramatic moment though even if you feel like Superman should have stepped in with someone being murdered right in front of him. No matter how weak he was feeling, that’s the time to dash in.

Overall, Superman: Man of Tomorrow is a great way to bring Superman back into the spotlight. It’s a good origin story that introduces him as a great hero who will certainly do a good job. He’s very likable and now even has a bit of a supporting cast for when we start the Justice League saga. Batman was also set up so it may be time for another Batman vs Superman adventure soon. That would definitely be fun. If you haven’t seen this film yet, then you should definitely do so. It really encompasses what a complete Superman film is expected to be. You have Clark digging up clues on his end, Superman saving the day sometimes with power and other times with deductive reasoning. There’s a lot going on here so the whole time you’re just hoping the film can keep on going. If a whole continuity does come out of this film, I look forward to seeing Superman return and have more adventures. There’s always a ton of potential with a fresh slate.

Overall 8/10

Superman: Red Son Review


It’s been a while since I saw a Superman film so it’s good to be back. When I read the comic a while back I was definitely a pretty big fan of it. The same is true of the movie. It does a good job of keeping in all of the big events and so you’ve got a complete story here. It’s a little ironic that one of the best Superman titles is one that’s actually a what if but it shows that the story of Superman can really be shown in many different ways.

The story starts off in an alternate timeline where Superman crash landed in Russia instead of the USA. He grows up under the reign of Stalin where he fights for the USSR. Gradually Superman realizes that the regime isn’t living up to the ideals that they had claimed to be so he decides to take things into his own hands. Superman desires a pure world where everyone can be happy. Unfortunately real life isn’t quite so easy and he gradually has to make small sacrifices here and there. Will these concessions eventually add up to drive him on the wrong path or will Superman find a way?

The problem Superman faces is that world peace is basically impossible. There will never be a situation where the whole world is at peace. There will always be people who don’t like the status quo or a shortage of resources that lead to people being unhappy. Superman can always strive to make the world better but once he seeks perfection, that is where he starts to get really frustrated. One of the things I really like about Red Son is that Superman keeps his core ideals. At the end of the day he will help anyone whether they are allies or not. He does want to be a symbol of hope and will do whatever he can in order to make that vision a reality.

Superman’s beliefs on how to help the people are just different growing up under the USSR but at the end of the day he comes to the same answer, it just took longer than usual. He’s definitely a standout character here to be sure. Then it’s also fun to see alternate versions of the rest of the Justice League as well. The Green Lanterns look good for example. They were actually doing really well against Superman in the fight and it’s impressive that Lex was able to reverse engineer the GL Ring.

Then you have Batman who grew up in Russia and so he is quite vicious as well. It also continues the impressive record Batman has against Superman. It seems like he always tends to win the majority of these contests. Prep time is just too good to pass up. Of course this Batman is not a hero by any stretch as he openly murders a bunch of people if it means that he will get closer to his goal. He’s as ruthless as can be.

Next up is Wonder Woman who gets a solid role here. She is trying for peace as much as possible but is very disillusioned with man’s world from the start. She sees Superman as the exception for a little while but ultimately he becomes too extreme. She has a good scene where she blocks his punch and appears as a good ally of justice. Her role may not be large but it was a fun one to be sure.

Lex gets a great role here as you would expect. His genius is what gives the US a chance against Superman as otherwise they would be in a completely unwinnable situation. He isn’t afraid to use underhanded tactics like intentionally allowing a satellite to nearly flatten Metropolis though but he calculates the future really well based on how he expects everyone to act. It would be nice to have more direct interactions between him and Superman of course but they do meet up near the end.

Lois also looks good in her screen time as she gets some important information to Superman and in general is a consistently strong character. Finally there’s also Brainiac who looks good here and gets a lot of respect. He just comes out of nowhere but then has a presence for the rest of the film. There are more characters of course but these are the big ones. Red Son juggles the cast really well. It’s not a particularly long film so it has to make the most of each scene and I would certainly say that it succeeds at that. Something is always happening here after all.

It adapts the comic material really well. Naturally there are a lot of things that need to be trimmed as otherwise the film would likely be over 2 hours but we get most of the big things. The one change that I wasn’t a fan of was in the original comic, the American Superior Man went out as a hero as he sacrificed his life to stop a nuke and put his hopes on Superman. In comparison he didn’t really get to have a big hero moment in this film. He just got overloaded and kind of melted. I thought the comic gave him a more fair portrayal.

Beyond that of course you can always have more detail in a comic since you can use up as many issues as needed and include a lot of great inner dialogue. We had a scene in the comic where Lex is so impressive that it was said he could have even defeated Superman by just talking to him for a few seconds. The core of the story is the clash of ideologies and seeing this alternate world though and the movie really executes this wonderfully. The ending to the movie is also perfect and really wraps up the movie in a way where you feel satisfied. Even if we don’t get a sequel, this tells a full story.

The animation here is pretty solid. The character designs are on point and it looks like the comic. The battles are solid and so I definitely have no issue with the visuals. There can be some violent scenes like one character blowing up or some dead bodies on the rise but the film has a lot of restraint and doesn’t go too far with any of this. You get just enough to further the plot and show what Superman has to go through without just dwelling on it the way some films do.

Overall, Superman Red Son is definitely a great film. If you like Superman or just want a good story then you’ll definitely be on board with this one. It’s just a very interesting take on Superman to be sure. It was also nice to see the other heroes appear even if just for a bit as it shows that at least some parts of the world still happened as usual since their timelines shouldn’t have all changed just because Superman grew up somewhere else. I’d actually question why we don’t have a Batman in Gotham but I suppose for alternate universes they don’t have to mirror the normal one exactly so these can all be creative changes.

Overall 8/10

Sakura Revolution ~Blooming Maidens Review


This latest incarnation in the Sakura Wars series is definitely a pretty interesting one. Since this is just a quick OVA to hype up the game I don’t expect we may see these characters again for a while. Still, the OVA does a terrific job of getting you hyped for what is about to come up next. This is the right way to set-up the game and the stakes seem a lot higher than any of the other incarnations since the heroes have effectively already lost this time. The villains seem to control Tokyo so it’s time to win it back. It’s too bad that it seems like the OVA isn’t super popular based on how hard it was to actually get a true anime poster for it so I pretty much settled for the mobile version and an anime screenshot at the end so you could see the actual animation. Maybe it’s one of those things more people will discover as the series gets bigger.

The OVA starts off with a mysterious lady who is accompanied by a trio of monsters decimating one of the combat teams. One of the heroines tries to get up but is promptly murdered. We then cut to the home base where The leader and her right hand man are the only ones left. She instructs him to go to an island to find Sakura and then bring her back to Tokyo. They’ll need her fighting ability if they are to succeed in this war. He heads off as the villain attacks once more and has a big confrontation with the leader. Presumably the villain won since we see her later but she was attacked by another mech shortly afterwards which may have been the leader.

Either way, the guy arrives onto the main island where he meets up with Sakura. Her grandmother Kirin isn’t thrilled about Sakura being thrown into the action like this but relents to her going. The 3 monsters show up to the island and the OVA ends with Sakura getting her sword and being able to create a mech suit around her made of psychic energy as opposed to jumping into a formal suit the way the others would. With this power humanity may finally have a chance against the demons and monster hybrids that threaten all of Japan.

As the Sakura War series has gone on we have definitely seen a whole lot of changes. The original series was very straight forward with humanity using steam powered mech suits to take on aliens. This continued although in the France division we started seeing more people with true magical powers. The New York version made flying suits a normal thing so everyone could fly and turn into jets. Then we had the recent animation which introduced the idea of humanoid monsters and hybrid life forms that were both human and monster. This OVA is continuing with that concept as the main villain seems to be another hybrid form. Additionally her aliens have the most sci-fi type designs yet as they look like something out of Gurren Lagann.

In general the animation here is just top tier. You can tell that the company put some solid effort into this. The fight scenes are a blast and in particular when Sakura is shredding the competition the animation is on point. The colors are sharp and there is a lot of potential here. Additionally this has the best soundtrack for any Sakura Wars product I have encountered. The battle themes are on point and this feels a lot like a modern installment in the series. It’s all a lot more high energy than the older versions would tend to be. Not to say that any of the Sakura War soundtracks were bad since I’ve enjoyed them all but this one easily takes it to the next level. Even the stage play theme from the intro was the best one I had heard yet.

Now, with only around 30 minutes to introduce the plot, new setting, and characters that does mean it has to go pretty quickly. Sakura and Kirin are the only two characters whose names you will remember off the bat. Kirin has a lot of hype but she is rather old at this point in the story so it’s not like she is about to go out there and fight. That’s really for the next generation of fighters like Sakura. Sakura is introduced well. She is ready to fight and seems a lot more enthusiastic about this than other versions. While I wouldn’t be ready to say she is the best Sakura from the various titles, she easily seems to be the most powerful and we’re only at the intro of the game. I can tell the power creep should jump up considerably with this one.

The main guy is less impressive since he’s not really a fighter nor does he have the bravery that you would find in guys like Captain Ogami, Taiga from New York, or the more recent one from The Animation. I do like that he has some skill with his eyes where he can detect an enemy’s movement. It may not have done much of anything against these powerful aliens but if he was fighting humans then I dare say that it would have taken him far. Clearly the leader does trust him so I’m sure the guy has some talent.

Overall, As soon as the OVA had begun, it was over. It really does serve its job well of throwing you into the experience though. It’s just a great title all the way around as it makes every minute count. In general that can be a fun thing about pilot OVAs like this though. Since they want you to play the game they can throw as many concepts and fights at you as possible along with a bunch of cliffhangers to make sure that you play the game. It definitely has a very epic feeling to it from the start. Now, I assume the actual mobile game will dial things back for a bit since you can’t stay in climax mode all the time but I’m sure it would begin to build up to that again. This OVA is definitely one that I would recommend whether you have played/watched the older Sakura War titles or not since either way this OVA gives you everything you need to know in order to succeed. After all, the idea of humans vs demons/aliens is a pretty quick one to get and all you need to know is that Sakura is humanity’s last hope. Without her all will be lost. Maybe one day they’ll make a full anime based on the mobile game, now that would be hype.

Overall 8/10