Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Hero Academia Make It! Do-or-Die Survival Training Review


It’s time to look at a recent My Hero OVA. At two episodes you do wonder a bit why it wasn’t just released as one special or placed inside the show itself to buy it 2 weeks for the manga to get further ahead. I suppose since MHA is more of a seasonal show than ongoing they wouldn’t need 2 extra weeks. Well, it’s always fun to have some more adventures so that’s pretty neat. This one’s about getting the kids closer together with their bonds and teamwork so we get to see them in another training session. As always you could say that Bakugo is the MVP here.

The training session is simple, the students of UA have to go inside a partially destroyed building to find a lost civilian. For the purposes of the training they are to imagine that this is a normal person but in the exercise they will use a training dummy. Things fall out of the expected parameters when the building caves in. The students must now prioritize getting out of here alive. Ida has already been knocked out so the others need to get him to a doctor. The pros refuse to help so the kids will have to do everything. They’ve already split up into multiple parties though so even coordinating a plan will be difficult. Some kids may have to take things into their own hands from here.

One of the reasons why Bakugo is always a fun character is because he takes action. While everyone else is just talking a lot and standing around he is actually doing things. Bakugo is not the kind of guy who just takes a backseat and hopes for the best. He actually jumps in time after time. This special is no exception as he immediately goes for the backup power supply and also makes sure to complete the mission. While the other teams panic or immediately forget about the mission, Bakugo stays on task. He also recognizes when other kids are bluffing and stays back to protect them. His confidence is still absolute as always and when you mix his explosive power into the mix then it’s not surprising that he will one day be a pro.

The other vanguards here would be Deku and Todoroki. Todoroki is crucial towards the end of the special with his ice. It may not be a permanent fix but he covered a large chunk of the destroyed area so that was pretty good. Then you have Deku who always comes in clutch for executing the plans and crushing any extra debris. If not for the other kids being around Deku would be able to escape this area easily. His Once For All power is really well suited to this scenario. I’d make the case that it’s the best all around ability from all of the students but that’s borderline obvious with Mirio’s ability being the only one that’s close so I won’t bother.

It’s a fun special that goes by pretty quickly. All of the students who are partaking in the exercise get their moments to shine except for Ida. I guess the reason why he got his injury was when he tried to save another classmate so he gets some points for that but if his burst was a little quicker he would have been okay. Just have to throw that out there. I imagine fans of the kids who get less of a role as the series goes on will be glad to see them being useful here. Everyone has a different quirk so while in a fight it may be clear who the strongest are, some of these characters are really good at support. Take Froppy for example. While her elastic tongue isn’t viable for combat, it was helpful here for catching one of the kids who was going to plummet to their doom. Since most of the heroes can’t fly that kind of ability is a really good safety net.

The animation looks pretty solid here. It’s like a standard episode. I wouldn’t say it goes beyond that but since there are no fight scenes in this special they probably figured that would be a waste. As long as the character designs are on point and the animation is smooth, I wouldn’t say there is any real issue that should be had. My Hero’s animation has always been consistently solid. We get the classic tunes from the TV show as well which further gives it the look and feel of a classic episode.

Overall, Do or Die is a good adventure. It’s always fun to see the heroes in new situations. It’s the very reason why “filler” as a concept isn’t bad. You’ll only be with the characters for so long so a few extra adventures sound good to me. It’ll be good if we can get some more OVA adventures with the crew. That said, I’d like to see the writers challenge themselves to give us a quick OVA with some actual villains and fight scenes. Naruto and the Water Village is a good symbol of how you can do a quick adventure with brand new villains and some fights. Just have the heroes go on some kind of vacation where it turns out there are some villains present. Then presto, you’ve got yourself a quality adventure. Regardless, fight scene or not I would recommend checking this special out if you’re a My Hero fan. Alternately, this is a good pilot of sorts if you’re someone who’s on the fence about starting the series. It’s pretty much a day in the life of MHA so if you like this then odds are good that you’ll like the series.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Tangled Review


It’s time to look at a pretty big Disney film from back in the day. Tangled may not have soared to quite the same heights as Frozen but it still made a name for itself in its own right. The tale of Rapunzel is definitely a classic to be sure so it’s nice to see a full fledged adaption. The movie has solid songs, strong writing, and pretty good animation so it’s a solid all around package. I’m definitely in the camp that says Frozen still wins the rivalry between the two but Tangled is certainly a solid film that doesn’t back down to anyone.

The movie starts by showing us the origin of Rapunzel. Her mother was gravely ill so the kingdom used the legendary flower to restore her health. This resulted in Rapunzel being born with incredible abilities. Her hair has the ability to heal injuries and even to dial a person’s age back. It must be used regularly though as it can only stall the age from occurring for so long. A lady named Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel one day and hides her in a tower not too far away from town. I do question to an extent how the kingdom never found her but realistically I suppose it is a long journey and you can’t catch everyone. Rapunzel grows up for many years trapped in the castle with Gothel who has tricked her into thinking that they are mother and daughter. One day a thief named Flynn tries to hide in the tower to avoid getting caught by the military and is promptly knocked out by Rapunzel. Since Gothel will never let Rapunzel go, the heroine has decided to force Flynn to escort her to the annual party in the kingdom. Flynn doesn’t want to do this but it’s not like he has much of a choice. Gothel will have to try and tear these two apart while keeping the facade up but it will be difficult.

You’ll recognize most of the usual story beats. The stories are all pretty popular so the goal is always to just execute the ideas well and I’d say that Tangled succeeds in this mission. As always there are a good amount of songs and the film is always doing something interesting visually so that you have something to watch while the songs are going on. That’s always low key been something Disney does way better than everyone else. Part of the fun in the live action Aladdin film was how many different special effects they could throw at you in a single song. You gotta admit, a lot of films don’t really go the extra mile there. There’s also so much you could do with Rapunzel’s hair that it would be a shame to miss the opportunity.

Rapunzel is a solid heroine. I like how independent she is and the fact that she knows self defense. She did actually take Flynn down for the count when he first appeared rather than panicking or anything of the sort. She also hatched a good plan and made herself a quality deal. Rapunzel’s hair having actual super powers is another feather in her cap so to speak. I suppose her powers merit more comparisons with Elsa and they are fairly close in how cool each character is. Rapunzel gets tricked perhaps 1 too many times but ultimately she makes the right move. I do have to question how she was taken out near the end of the film but I’ll assume it was a cheap attack.

Then we have her partner Flynn who is solid and gives us a lot of the comedic wit in the story. He’s certainly no hero when the film starts as he actively robs the capital. His overconfidence is also what leads him to get caught as he could have just stolen the crown but naturally had to make sure everyone knew he did it. Villains striving to get the credit they think they deserve is definitely nothing new and often sabotages them just as much as the heroes. He gets a solid character arc with Rapunzel though and it’s handled pretty well. One thing that will always elevate a film is good banter and this one certainly had that.

Gothel works as a solid villain. She may be a bit on the obvious side at times with how she doesn’t even pretend to be a nice mother to Rapunzel. I’m not sure what her rationale is, but it’s not unrealistic. I wouldn’t have minded a more nuanced take on her character but I think the film didn’t want to take a chance on her becoming sympathetic. At her core, Gothel is a petty thief who literally kidnapped a baby so that’s the end of that. She also earns extra points for actually stabbing someone. Gothel’s one of the more serious Disney villains we’ve seen. Maximus is the main animal character here and he’s definitely a lot of fun. The horse is incredibly determined to complete his mission of tracking down Flynn and you have to give him some major respect for following the thief for as long as he did. Maximus does a whole lot to complete this task and it’s really impressive. He was definitely a scene stealer if you ask me and the best character in the film. You just can’t top this guy.

With good writing and animation to back this film up it was definitely bound to be as good as it was. There’s really no weakpoints to the story and I would consider it to be one of Disney’s better ones. One of these days I ought to write an editorial ranking them all but there have been so many Disney princess stories that I’ll need to make sure I have them all straight. I’m still waiting for a big crossover film someday. They’d probably have to stick to adding maybe 6-10 in order to keep the story focused but I’d definitely be game for that.

Overall, Tangled is definitely a quality film and one worth watching. As always Disney has constructed a solid cast around Rapunzel and the film is enhanced by the solid song selection and good graphics. This is a nice story from start to finish with a good focus on the plot and solid pacing. Rapunzel herself may come across as a little slow on the uptake at times but since she has grown up in a super limited environment by a character who is known to be cunning then it does make a certain amount of sense. You can only do so much when put into a position like that. I’d definitely be up for a full sequel someday. There’s definitely more that you could do with this franchise.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Mad Monster Party? Review


It’s time to look at a comedic horror crossover featuring all of the big universal monsters from back in the day. I have to admit that at first I thought the premise was slightly different. See, it starts with an old man perfecting a serum that blows stuff up and then he invites everyone. So his goal would be to blow them all up right? The film doesn’t go in that direction but I think it could have been very interesting to see him trying to knock off all of them one by one. This is a fun enough movie although I do think it starts to drag on a bit. The premise doesn’t seem like it’s quite ready to handle a full length adventure and could have easily just been 40 minutes or so. I think that would have made the film better.

The movie starts off by showing us that Frankenstein has created a new serum that can blow anything up. He figures this is a pretty solid note to retire on so he invites all of the monsters to come and have a party with him. The thing is, not everyone is here just to have a good time. Dracula has his own plans in all of this. Meanwhile Frankenstein has invited his nephew Felix over to meet everyone. Felix is just an ordinary kid trying to live the good life but is excited to see his uncle after so long. Frankenstein asks Francesca to look after him during the trip but they end up getting quite close. Can Francesca get Felix off of this dangerous island before it’s too late or is it already over for them?

Naturally here a big part of the fun is in how oblivious Felix is to everything going on. The film leads off with a fun gag where the monsters scare the sailors quite a bit so they think Felix is a monster as well. It’s handled pretty well although I was surprised that Felix would then go on to miss a large chunk of the movie. It’s also pretty surreal to see all of the monsters just show up out of the blue. I think a film could actually be a lot of fun if it took this plot seriously and had an ensemble nature like this. It’s hard to picture nowadays since they want every character to have his own film but it could definitely be a blast.

The animation is your classic stop motion style from the creators of Rudolph so you either like the animation or you don’t. Personally I consider this to be one of the weakest animation styles. I’ll take flash or CGI over stop motion any day. That being said, I’ve seen a lot of stop motion films over the years and among those this one holds its own well enough I’d say. They definitely had to get a lot of different character designs to make it work so that’s pretty impressive. They even got unique character models for everyone at Felix’s ice cream shop and those guys don’t appear after the opening. I thought they made for a pretty fun group and I actually missed the store a bit. It was an effective way to introduce us to Felix.

As a character Felix is fun enough. He’s determined to do the right thing and is very polite. I do think his romance with Francesca is pretty rushed to say the least though. As for Francesca, she’s a pretty fun character. She can certainly fight which is always handy and she’s willing to make the tough calls like sacrificing herself to let Felix get away. In general the film has pretty strong writing so that translates pretty well to the characters. They’ve always got a lot of good burns and comebacks at the ready for every situation. In particular I think Frankenstein’s monster fans will be pleased at his portrayal. No, he doesn’t get any witty comebacks or things of that nature but his raw power is given a ton of respect. He’s shown to be far more powerful than Dracula after all. Only King Kong would likely be above him.

All of the characters get their time to shine even if some get bigger roles than others. For example, Dracula gets a big role while the Mummy rarely gets to do anything. The movie had to balance quite a few monsters though so I think it did a good job with what it had. I also still think the sheer amount of iconic characters was impressive. I’ll also give the movie some props for the ending. I thought it threw in a pretty good twist with some wrinkles to keep you guessing. The ending certainly wasn’t an expected one at the very least and makes you re-think the whole movie.

As mentioned earlier, my only problem with the film would be that it just lasted a little too long. I feel like it would lose focus mainly in the second half as the premise started to be played out. You can only make fun of the characters for so long before you need to do something more with the story. A good script can help you avoid that but even these characters had already started to use up all of the witty banter. It’s not something that would make me turn you away from checking out the film but certainly slows its momentum.

Overall, The Mad Monster Party is worth checking out. I always like a good crossover and this one certainly fits that bill. If I was the film one change I would make though would have been to add Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer since he’s so iconic. I know that he’s not a monster but that could have been part of the joke as everyone keeps referring to him as one anyway. There are always more characters you can add though so that’s a pretty minor point. So long as you want a fun film with a lot of good banter then this is definitely one you’ll want to check out.

Overall 6/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Mob Psycho 100 II: The First Spirits and Such Company Trip Review


It’s time to look at a quick Mob Psycho OVA from a while back. It’s always fun to see the gang return and hopefully we get a proper sequel at some point. This one gathers the characters in a new environment and Reigen gets to be the main character so you can’t really top that. The new villain even gets quite a bit of hype. It’s a reasonably sized special at around half n hour so you’ve got time to have some fun here. It’s really a good chance to hang out with the cast in a fun environment.

The special starts with a lady showing up and asking Reigen for help. Her inn is being haunted as travelers who attempt to go there fall into another dimension during the trip. As a result the Inn is losing business and she has also grown rather ill. Reigen figures this is probably fake, but the lady agrees to pay for the trip and all expenses so he agrees to help. Serizawa is now a member of the team and Reigen also invites Ritsu and Teruki in addition to his partner Mob. They all get on the train but after dozing off, Reigen awakens to find that only Serizawa remains. Not only are the other characters gone but they seem to be trapped in the car. Whenever Reigen attempts to leave he ends up right back where he started in a loop. He is clearly getting nowhere fast and that’s starting to worry him. Still, he has to keep a brave face on in front of Serizawa. How long can Reigen keep the two of them alive?

As always Reigen is in over his head on this one but I always like how he is able to fake his way through it all. He doesn’t know that everyone else escaped because of their psychic powers so he’s just doing his best to think things through rationally. Throughout it all he still has the drive to save half of the food for Serizawa despite starving to death. At his core Reigen’s still a good guy as always. He’s one of those interesting characters that you can count on for the big stuff although he will cheat you in the smaller ways. It makes for a pretty unique character trait if you ask me. You don’t really see a whole lot of characters who are quite like that.

Reigen’s also just a lot of fun and is a big part of why the adventures are so enjoyable. He’s always quick to double down on his deceptions and just doesn’t give an inch no matter what. It’s really quite impressive when you think about it. You also feel bad for him as the others are never around when he needs them. A big example of this is when he’s ready to have a pillow fight near the end since he was just sleeping for days and nobody wanted to do it. They tend to leave him high and dry all the time which is pretty unfortunate.

Meanwhile Serizawa gets a pretty big role here too as he’s nervous about working for Reigen. His whole character has always been that he gets extremely nervous in all scenarios so you can’t really blame him. Part of why Reigen is so endearing is because he’s ready to help out in times like this and does his best to help Serizawa regain his confidence. Mob and the others don’t get much of a role although they quickly help out a bit in the final fight. I thought this made the villain look good since he was able to survive a hit that was launched by the whole gang of Espers all teaming up. You have to admit that not just any villain can do that. I don’t think it’s meant to be a serious feat and just an excuse for some action here but we take those.

The animation looks solid. The style naturally means it won’t touch most of the other current animations right now, but at this point I’m pretty used to it. The colors look solid for the energy blasts too. The soundtrack is taken from the show and works out pretty well here. As the OVA isn’t long the pacing is also pretty tight with the plot moving from part A to B without any issues. This is just a fun journey and one that you’ll definitely have fun with. At the end of the day this is the kind of plot that would work with almost any series. A lot of the time I think it would be fun if we could hang out with the characters a little more after the main story is done and this is definitely one way that you could do it.

Overall, I’m not going to repeat that long name, but this Mob Psycho OVA is quite good. It’s a good reminder that you don’t always need to have a super big climax filled with tons of explosions to make for an epic adventure. Sometimes all you need is just a nice scenario to have the gang back together with some fun dialogue. As expected Mob Psycho delivers on that. It’s a very fun adventure that will really breeze right past you. I’d definitely recommend checking it out and it’s the kind of title that needs no context. If you haven’t jumped into Mob Psycho yet but have been thinking about it then this may be a pretty good way for you to start.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Black Clover 2016 OVA Review


It’s time to take a look at a Black Clover OVA/pilot that came out a while back. It’s pretty fun to see the series going with a different studio/artstyle. Naturally almost nobody is going to be able to touch Studio Pierrot but these guys do a solid job as well. At the end of the day this is still Black Clover so it’s pretty much inevitable that it’ll be good. It’s a fun little special that adapts the first chapter of the series and also gives us a quick flash forward to the ice arc. The characters are cool and the whole thing feels pretty nostalgic.

The special starts with Asta and Yuno fighting off an enemy mage. We then cut away to their humble beginnings. Asta hopes to be the Wizard King someday but unfortunately he was born without magic so there isn’t a whole lot that he can do. Meanwhile his childhood friend Yuno is quite exceptional with magic. They were supposed to be rivals but the gap continues to grow. Yuno then receives a 4 leaf Grimoire while Asta doesn’t receive anything. His dreams may be at an end but when Yuno is attacked by a mage Asta steps in to help. Will he be able to defy his destiny and become a true Wizard King? It won’t be easy, but Asta is ready to do whatever he can in order to succeed. It’s a pretty noble calling and Asta’s determination is part of what makes him a solid character.

So for the main differences here, Asta’s hair is drawn as more of a grey so he looks rather old at times. His change in design is definitely the most noticeable of the characters but it still works decently well. It would take some getting used to, but it’s not a bad design. Everyone else looks pretty normal. While the animation is not up to Pierrot’s level it’s still fairly good. Some shots seem to have less animation and we get some stills but I’m thinking that these Festa OVAs are probably made really quick to come out on time. The important aspects are naturally the fights and I still liked the fight with the chain user. I was also glad to actually see the demon a little more in this version. It felt like we got to see more of his design. The soundtrack is fairly standard but one theme that stood out was a rock theme for when Asta’s fight began. That one was definitely hitting the right notes.

Beyond that this is basically episode 1 as you would expect. We get to see why Asta drives himself so hard. The deck has really been stacked against him. Not having magic in this world is like having an incredible curse be put on your shoulders. You can only do so much without it and you have to give Asta a lot of credit for fighting despite all of this. He doesn’t let the other kids and characters get him down. Then you have Yuno who is a fun rival. He definitely rides Asta quite a lot with all the insults and such, but deep down he still respects their rivalry. He was also willing to defend Asta at the end which is more than most rivals will do. I really like the dynamic between Asta and Yuno. It’s definitely one of the most wholesome main character to rival dynamics out there.

It was a good idea for the series to give us a brief glimpse of the fight that wouldn’t show up for a little while. It helps to spice things up and throwing in an extra action scene is always a good idea in my book. It helps give you something to look forward to instead of just watching the origin story. By starting and ending that way it shows you that big things are coming up and that’s an understatement.

Overall, The Black Clover OVA is a lot of fun. I’d definitely recommend checking it out and then you should watch the full fledged series. It’s only around 30 minutes so it’s not like it’ll take you all that long either. Ideally you should watch the main series first and then go back to this one for some nostalgia. If you don’t really have time to be watching a full anime now though then watching this one works well enough. It definitely holds up well as a mini movie of sorts and you can at least tell people that you’ve seen Black Clover. It’s definitely a lot of fun and currently the best Shounen Jump series going. You really don’t want to miss out on this.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution Review


It’s time to look at the remake to the original Pokemon movie. It’s always interesting to see a remake made to a movie in this day and age because there are now so many ways to go back and access the original right? The main incentive of remaking a film otherwise is to utilize modern effects and such that you didn’t have back in the day. That’s why it is especially puzzling to have a new film made that is technologically worse than the original. The original movie looks way better. So if anything maybe this could be a more family friendly version and I can roll with that logic. Due to the animation style it is something that would be easier for kids.

So the plot of the movie is that some scientists decided to try and create the strongest Pokemon of all time. His name is Mewtwo. I don’t really know why they wanted to make him aside from just proving that they could. Well, they succeeded and so Mewtwo blows up the island and works for Giovanni for a while. Eventually he has enough of that and decides to invite the strongest trainers in the world so try and test their mettle against him. Ash is naturally selected as one of the challengers so he heads on over to fight Mewtwo. Can Ash defeat this Pokemon or is this one fight that he is destined to lose?

Mewtwo is extremely overpowered in the film and it’s really nice to see. The film makes it evident that as a legendary Pokemon he is far above the rest and the same is true of Mew. This is how it should be. A Legendary Pokemon should be leagues above a normal one to the point where there isn’t even a contest. That’s just how it really should be. Later on the franchise would add weaker Legendaries, but at this point in time they lived up to the legends. Mewtwo also makes for a great villain. He’s got some fun goals and he has absolute confidence which you want to see in any villain.

The film continues to excel in all of the positives that the original had as well. The character cast is pretty strong and we get some solid action scenes as well. Right from the start in Ash’s first scene we are treated to a Pokemon battle. It’s always great to see those because a full Pokemon fight is pretty rare. Pikachu, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur all get to shine in the spotlight. Ash’s Charizard also looks really good whenever he shows up. He’s eager to battle and doesn’t shy away from a fight even when he is outmatched. It’s a big reason as to why he became a fan favorite Pokemon and he has definitely earned that title. Nobody is going to mess with him.

The soundtrack is a lot of fun. While I feel like it doesn’t have quite the same pop as the original version in some respects it could just be because I’ve heard that one so many times. It’s still quite solid here and I like the theme that plays during Ash’s fight. It’s very lively and a good way to kick things off. We also get an emotional theme near the end although I feel like they switched the song from the original.

I think this film really shows that if you copy a great movie then the remake is guaranteed to be great as well so long as the writing stays the same. The animation here is way worse than the original. To put it one way, it’s one of the worst CGI examples I’ve seen for a recent big media product. The Machinima Transformer shows look better than this one. Part of the problem is that the characters are drawn to look like action figures from a fan animation 10 years ago. For a fan animation I’d say that this looked exceptional but for a AAA CGI film from Netflix it is incredibly underwhelming. The only part of the animation that looks really good are the colors. I do like how the attacks really pop out at you and Mewtwo’s armor stands out as well. CGI tends to do colors really well which is why even hand drawn anime like Super typically use CGI for the aura that surrounds the characters. CG pops and blending it with 2D animation can work quite well., When you go full CGI though then it can get a little risky.

Ash is a great main character as always. This was back when he was at his best. I like seeing Ash jump into danger and have actual plans for the fights. While Charizard didn’t win, Ash had a good plan for him. I also like that he tried to punch out Mewtwo. The plan was doomed from the start but it shows Ash as basically working with his Pokemon instead of just sending them out there to do all the work.

Brock and Misty are still some of the weakest counterparts to Ash although I know they tend to be pretty well liked. Brock flirts way too much and is more annoying than entertaining. He never really has any good scenes. Meanwhile Misty is okay but I feel like she doesn’t have much personality here. She isn’t given a great deal to do in the movie. I’d argue that some of the random trainers who fought Mewtwo had more character as they stepped in and did their best in the fights. They lost of course but anyone would against Mewtwo.

I’m a big Pikachu fan but I do think he didn’t play the matchup right here. While he didn’t want to fight the fake, he still should have defended himself. If he could have escaped and aided one of the others then they could have turned the whole fight around. As it was most of the fights were total stalemates. I do consider that to be a cop out but it’s fine since the main matches had outcomes for the most part. Mewtwo vs Mew was also a stalemate although I still hold that Mewtwo would have won if they kept on going. Mew can dodge really well but you can’t win a fight by escaping. Soon Mewtwo’s hits would eventually land.

One scene that I always find a lot of fun is seeing the trainers try to cross the ocean during the storm. Seeing the Pokemon aid in real life trials like that is just cool. It shows the bond between the trainer and Pokemon as well as how strong the creatures are in a natural disaster. For sure you’d like to have a Dragonite or Gyarados for a situation like that. No mere storm would stop them. Ash and friends don’t have any big heavyweights like that but they ultimately pulled through with a little help.

Overall, Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution is pretty faithful to the original. If you really don’t like watching things past a certain time period then it is certainly fine to watch this version instead. You’ll still be able to get most of the experience from the original. It really is basically the same film if you don’t mind the animation. The main problem for me is that there is really no reason to watch this one instead of the original. The original is simply better as there is no aspect of this film that defeats the original. Even minor things like the shading and atmosphere of the original are a lot more intense than the remake. I’ll give this film props for the attempt though. If you’re going to remake a film then it’s always ideal to remake a good one rather than something average or sub par.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Batman: Family Matters Review


It’s time to look at one of the latest Lego adventures. DC has been particularly good at using this format and this movie is no exception. This time we’re back to focusing just on the Batman characters and it works out pretty well if you ask me. Batman steals the show and we get to adapt both the Red Hood and Omac sagas in one film. That’s pretty impressive.

The movie starts out with Batman really not liking the fact that he has to continue living as Bruce Wayne. It’s all just a big distraction from his true passion in life which is beating up enemies. It’s gotten to the point where Batman can’t even stay awake during a board meeting. Something’s got to give and he gets his chance when Wayne Enterprises develops the Brother Eye. In theory it can replace Bruce Wayne so Batman jumps on the idea and even decides to sell Wayne Enterprises entirely. Now he can be Batman 24/7. The only problem is that the city is as dangerous as ever. A mysterious figure is bumping off all of Batman’s allies one by one. If he doesn’t stop this guy soon then everyone is doomed. Additionally, Brother Eye may be deadlier than it appears to be. (Although it looks pretty deadly from the jump.)

One of the main reasons why this film works so well is because of how good Batman looks. He’s got that smug confidence that we’re all used to seeing at this point. Not only is Batman highly skilled but he knows it and it’s even gone to his head by this point. Only Alfred is really able to keep him in check. The others can just hope that Batman sees it their way. The voice actor has done a good job of becoming an iconic voice for the character as well. There doesn’t seem to be anything that Batman can’t do at this point. He beats Solomon Grundy with ease and always has a plan of action even if Brother Eye proves to be a formidable foe.

The rest of the Bat characters are also fun. Damian wants to prove himself as Robin but has to work pretty hard at this since Batman really doesn’t trust him yet. He does well enough when it counts and takes down a bunch of the robots with ease. Batwoman gets one of the larger roles from the allies though. She’s certainly got a lot of confidence and takes Killer Croc on with no hesitation. I like the concept of Batwoman since she’s more of a loner like Huntress. Batwoman doesn’t necessarily work under Batman since they usually have no affiliation. That being said, her skills do suffer a bit as a result since she doesn’t get that training. Here she has got that confidence that you always want to see in a hero.

Batgirl gets less to do as a result though. She holds a petty grudge against Nightwing for a good portion of the film. Her fight with Scarecrow was fun as she had to work her way through illusions and mirrors to get at him. The mind games definitely took their toll though which made Red Hood’s job pretty easy. Nightwing looks good and is the only one to not fall for the quick sucker hit. At least he gave Red Hood a good fight and that makes sense. From all of the Robins I do consider Dick Grayson to be the most skilled. After that I would put Jason Todd as number 2 and then Damian as 3. While I do think Tim Drake is a great character and a fun Robin, he’d have to round out the group almost by default. The Robins are just stacked when it comes to power.

Red Hood definitely looks really good here. He gets a lot of hype and seems to be the smartest character next to Batman. The film has no shortage of emotional moments like this plot line as well as the reason why Brother Eye is so sore. Red Hood’s identity may not be much of a secret and I don’t think it was supposed to be, but it’s still nice to have the reveal later on. It’s just a good arc in general whether it’s through a film or a Lego adventure. We didn’t even need the Omac subplot and the film would have still been great but it made for a solid climax.

It’s always good to round things out with some big action scenes and Family Matters didn’t forget about that part. I can’t really say that I had any issues with the film. As far as animation goes there isn’t really anything to say because it’s the same as always. Either you like the Lego style or you don’t. This film wouldn’t be changing your opinion one way or the other because it’s not trying anything different with that. I don’t think there is much you could try either. Legos will always look like Legos or it wouldn’t be a film in that style. That’s the way I see it at least.

A Lego film will usually live or die on the writing. If the writing is bad then the jokes won’t really land and the whole thing will fall flat. What the film is hoping for is that the jokes will be pretty funny and this one succeeds there. Right from the gate we get a lot of great lines. I wouldn’t even mind a whole film about Bruce Wayne just mocking everyone and trying to make it a whole film without people blowing his cover. Batman may not be as cautious when he’s Bruce Wayne like when he’s talking about his Batman job on the phone, but it goes hand in hand with his contempt for everyone. Batman doesn’t think it’s a security risk to be on the phone because nobody’s smart enough to stop him. The arrogance makes for a lot of comedic moments.

Overall, Family Matters is one of the stronger DC Lego specials. The dialogue is some of the best I’ve seen in the franchise and there’s a lot of action here. If you mentally switch the animation out this could legitimately be one of the big DC animated films. The fights are good and the pacing is tight. The film feels like it ends pretty quickly as a result. If you like Lego or at least don’t mind the format then I highly recommend checking this one out. You really can’t go wrong here and it’s always fun to see Batman getting his hype. Even if his scenes may not all be meant to be taken seriously they’re still hype.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Hero Academia: Heroes: Rising Review


It’s time to take a look at the new My Hero Academia film that came out. My Hero Academia (Although I usually just call it My Hero Academy) has become a really popular series and is now one of the big 3. Gone are the days when Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece were the 3 kings. While One Piece has remained in existence we’ve got a new generation of titles. My Hero Academia, Black Clover, and Demon Slayer are definitely those titles and MHA is the only one to currently have a film. Demon Slayer’s is coming up soon but now MHA has 2 so it has been on a nice roll. This one improves upon the first film and makes for another great experience.

The film takes place right after the Overhaul arc. The heroes are on high alert since the League of Villains now have bullets that can erase a person’s quirk. The Pros stop them from delivering more cargo but this results in a villain known as Nine escaping and joining back up with his friends. The 4 of them decide to take down the planet and since Nine can steal quirks he is a pretty big threat. In his first big scene he basically takes down a city in the span of a minute. The last quirk he needs is on an isolated island known as Nabu.

Meanwhile, Class 1A is currently on a vacation of sorts in Nabu. Calling it a vacation doesn’t really do their mission justice though. This is their chance to show that they can operate as real heroes. No pros or villains should be around so they work on smaller errands. The town loves them except for one girl named Mahoro. She wants to prove to her little brother Katsuma that heroes are all fake. Deku and the others will have to convince her otherwise, but it’ll be difficult because Nine and his partners won’t lose so easily. They are here to take names and their target is Katsuma. Can the students protect these two kids until back-up arrives?

I’m glad that the heroes have their provisional licenses now because it’s always annoying when the pros tell the students not to help. This time Deku and the others can go full blast from the start. Deku is stronger than most pros at this point anyway so it makes sense. The vast majority of the film takes place on the island with a lot of battles so that’s definitely pretty awesome. The opening scene is also a lot of fun though. We get a pretty quick skirmish with the League of Villains and Endeavor also gets in on the action. Dabi gets a good amount of hype here since he is able to block Endeavor’s first blow although he is ultimately defeated. We don’t get to see the pro heroes do anything after this so it was nice of them to get a solid scene here.

There are some brief interludes with Hawks and All Might during the movie but they never actually amount to anything. I suppose just seeing Hawks was hype for his fans but he really had no impact on the film so I don’t think he even needed to be here. If you cut him out than nothing changes. I was expecting him to get a mini fight at the end of something. Something sort of like Shigaraki’s role at the very end of the film. It was brief but pretty hype. Admittedly the other character in the scene looked pretty bad as I don’t know what he could have expected here, but his end was inevitable. This also served to help Shigaraki’s hype.

All right, let’s go back to the island. One fun thing about the set up here is that every hero gets to help out this time. Class 1-A all chip in even though not all of them are big fighters. At this point in the series there are some characters who have heavily surpassed the others like Deku and Bakugo then Todoroki, Kirishima, and Tokoyami. The rest aren’t necessarily combat types although they can fight when needed. There are 4 villains running around here and they’re all pro level which makes for some pretty tough battles. The fight scenes are pretty great. I’ll leave the best one for last. The guy with the puppets against Bakugo and the others was pretty fun. My only complaint there would be that Kirishima was heavily nerfed.

In this film Kirishima and Todoroki were given a lot of shade. Both of them are way stronger than how they looked here. Everything Todoroki tried was completely useless against the wolf’s attacks and Kirishima didn’t even get to put up a fight against anybody. His only good moment was blocking the energy blast at the end but he should have been using Red Riot from the start. Meanwhile Tokoyami looked pretty good here. While he ultimately did need some help against his opponent, he was the only student to hold his own even if briefly against one of the 4 big enemies. His quirk has a lot of room to grow and so I could see him becoming a pretty big fighter by the end of the series.

Uravity also looked really good here. We got to see her look a lot more determined than usual as she used her gravity powers quite a bit. As I mentioned, the class just got to shine here a lot more than usual. While Deku and Bakugo are clearly the power hitters, but the others are at least making contributions. From the villains Mummy gets the smallest role, but still has a good fight to himself. Then we have Slice who seems a lot more rational than the other villains and doesn’t panic very easily. Her hair abilities are quite lethal in a fight. Chimera is the most impressive as he was a beast in combat. He easily exceeded the kids in battle. Their plan to use the toxin to paralyze him was quite good but Chimera surpassed even that. He was probably a little too strong as this was the only battle where it was hard to see the heroes taking him down. It was still a clever move from Todoroki and Kirishima though. Chimera was my favorite villain next to Nine.

Nine is the standout villain here. He’s got a lot of determination and his reasons for wanting to change the world seem pretty personal. What I like is that we don’t really get to see much of a sob story though. Villains really don’t need one. All we need to know is that Nine has to be stopped, but that he won’t make it easy. The fact that he can absorb quirks through combat makes him scary tough and he gets more and more broken as the film goes on. By the end he’s clearly one of the strongest villains we’ve seen in the whole series. I dare say that only All For One would likely surpass him here. The villain from the first film would be close but I’d put him under Nine.

When you watch the film you get a really good look at how powerful the guy is. He keeps on getting up long after the point where you figure he would have been down for the count. He only has one weakness and his pure drive is able to help him get past it by the end. The final fight almost gets meta with how everyone’s fading out and moving across the terrain. Nine being able to comprehend and block such moves is totally crazy.

Bakugo is one of the main characters here and he definitely looks great. The guy’s as brutal as ever as he constantly talks about destroying the villains. Bakugo takes each fight seriously even if he doesn’t really see the value in the less exciting parts of the job. He’s always got a bit of a point behind his actions although he never bothers to share them. The film has a good Goku and Vegeta dynamic with the two of these characters. This film really seems to paint Bakugo as the more talented fighter while Deku’s sheer stats are higher. I’d say this seems pretty accurate since Bakugo trains on his fighting style so often.

Then you’ve got Deku who is still quite the contrast from Bakugo. He just loves being a hero and will take on any task no matter how small it may seem. Deku doesn’t take things personally and just rolls with each insult. This doesn’t mean he’s a pushover when it comes down to a fight though. Since he has One For All, Deku’s powers are always at a high level. He can only use 20% of this power and yet he is already a heavyweight. Once he gains 100% mastery he will really be impossible to defeat.

As you can probably tell from how I described the fights, the animation here is top tier. All of the energy attacks look fantastic and the animation is always moving. There are no shortcuts to be found here and it’s all very theatrical. The battles with 9 are particularly impressive as I liked how his energy barriers were used. Through dialogue we know that the characters can’t see these fields so they are animated for our benefit. It’s also a way to show us the contrasting styles between how Bakugo and Deku fights. The soundtrack is also a lot of fun. While I didn’t notice any new themes, the themes from the show work as well as they ever have. I probably would have chosen a song that’s a little faster than Eri’s for the final fight, but it’s a pretty emotional song so they were going for a different angle.

The film’s ending will vary for some. I’d say it was on the weaker side. The film comes close to making a pretty big decision and then cops out on it. I understand why the film backpedaled on that one, but they definitely should have just gone with it and lived with the consequences. That would have really made the film incredible and people would have lost their minds walking out of the theater. The ending slightly weakens the emotional impact of the film but it’s not something that ultimately limits the film much. We still had a great ride with terrific fights all the way through. Even the kids were pretty reasonable for a change. I thought the sister did a reasonable job in trying to turn her brother against the heroes without going overboard as the kids usually do in these kinds of films.

Overall, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising is a pretty great film. The opening may take a little time to get to the good stuff but once the fighting starts there is really no turning back. The onslaught of nonstop fighting is great and this film will have a whole lot of replay value. The final fights with Nine are particularly impressive. The animation is stellar and no matter which student is your favorite you’ll have a good time. I can’t think of any other recent film that was able to juggle so many different characters at a time. The power levels may not always be perfect, but the film did a good job of keeping them pretty well balanced the whole time. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should definitely check it out. It’s the kind of film that is definitely a lot of fun in theaters.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

A Certain Magical Index: The Movie – The Miracle of Endymion Review


It’s time to look at the Index film that came out a while ago. The series has definitely expanded quite a lot with three different shows coming out. Two of them already have 3 seasons which is quite impressive. While the series is mainly an Index film it does bring together the leads of all 3 titles. Unfortunately the film doesn’t really plan out many things for them to do and falters with some fanservice issues which limits how solid the title could ultimately be. It’s an interesting premise with a solid opening act, but it just couldn’t stick the landing.

The film starts off with Touma and Index meeting up with a singer named Arisa. She’s quickly become mega popular over her songs lately and even someone like Touma who doesn’t really listen to music much is a big fan of hers. The three of them get along well enough, but then Arisa is attacked by 3 mages working for Stiyl. Touma tries to figure out what is going on, but Stiyl gives no answers and the heroes are saved by the arrival of a mysterious group of robot riders led by Shoutaura. After everyone leaves with no explanation Touma invites Arisa to stay with him and Index for a while until they sort things out. Everyone is after Arisa and Touma aims to protect her for as long as he can.

Everyone going after the new film character isn’t really a new concept. It’s a convenient way to get everyone in on the action from the jump and works well enough. Arisa is also a likable character who just wants to spread the joy of music to everyone so I have no complaints with her. She also stays strong and sings her song for as long as possible even when the circumstances are getting quite dodgy for her. She never gives up and that’s good since not all of the characters here can say that. There are 2 other important new characters.

The first is Shoutaura who has a personal stake in this. She does not like miracles at all and brings this up quite a lot. Shou is a solid fighter and her group comes in handy on more than one occasion. For a while she was my favorite character but she cracks quite a bit by the end and makes more mistakes than I could allow. I understand her being generally upset and not liking the main characters but by the end she becomes totally crazy. She should have just stopped at trying to murder Ladylee for a while. At least that made sense. Her final target made 0 sense and destroyed her character.

Meanwhile Ladylee is the main villain. She is cursed with immortality and isn’t having any fun so she is trying to get Arisa to fulfill her plans. I don’t think her plan is all that good because there’s no reason why it should erase her immortality. I suppose she needs to try something but ultimately this is a long shot. At least in the meantime she built up a pretty solid reputation and succeeded in life. Even if things don’t pan out nobody should be any the wiser so in theory she can continue her existence.

So, why did the film’s plot not work out so well? Well, as I mentioned the beginning is pretty interesting. You have the magicians and science users all going after Arisa. There’s gotta be a good reason for this right? Well, it’s a bit underwhelming. Basically Arisa has the potential to become a very powerful Angel who could throw the world into chaos. That doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to be hunting her. If anything all this does is make it a whole lot easier for the villains to try to get a hold of her. It also makes Stiyl’s group impossible to root for because they are hunting an innocent girl with no proof that she is bad. If anything they know that she is a nice person in the present and don’t care.

I’ve never been a big fan of Stiyl so it’s not super surprising so much as it’s just disappointing on his part. Meanwhile Kaori also appears briefly and while she is more sympathetic to Arisa’s plot, she isn’t exactly trying to stop her group either. She gets a decent scene trying to stop some rockets but there is no reason why she couldn’t stay to help in the climax except that the film didn’t want her there. I’m also dubious that her slashes could not cut through the random mechs that the villain group was using.

Another problem here is that the film sets up a lot of big fights and character moments only for them not to happen. One case is Accelerator as we see him fairly early on in the film with Last Order, but then he does nothing until the very end. He at least gets a fight right? No, he just gets to slam a tower, but that’s it. There was no real point to his inclusion then but he deserved to do something since he’s such a big character. You can’t throw someone like that into the mix and then not use him. Last Order was fun as always though and did have a good line about why Accelerator should care.

Then you have Misaka who falls into the same boat. She appears early on with her friends and even escorts Arisa through the villain base. (Although they didn’t know it at the time.) After that she doesn’t do anything until the end of the film where she zaps some robots and breaks a tower. This is another case where the whole thing is a missed opportunity. Misaka has broken the law before and has experience being a vigilante. The film should have gone into that as it would have been a pretty interesting plot line. Have her finally get to work with Touma and pals. That would have been really cool instead of doing nothing.

The weirdest part is that Ladylee has two main henchmen who work for her. You’d think that each character would get one right? Well, one of them dies at the very end without being able to fight while the other one is busy dealing with Shou. Both of these characters got some nice build up so it was an odd way to end. At least the main robot got a few fight scenes before he got blown up so it felt like he had an important role. The others…not so much. It just made so much sense to have all of these characters get some action. This is probably the single biggest way in which the film limited its potential. The setup was perfect for a big 3 on 3 fight and it just didn’t happen.

Now, the film wasn’t devoid of fight scenes or anything like that. We got quite a few good ones with solid animation. Stiyl and friends vs Shou was solid as well as Shou’s fights against the robot. The movie’s animation was consistently very solid with the character designs looking good and the energy effects being on point. The soundtrack is also good with a lot of the classic tunes thrown in. Unfortunately my favorite theme from the show didn’t show up but you can’t win em all. That would have helped enhance any scene you throw it into though. We do get a few insert songs from Arisa though which are a lot of fun. Her songs were actually translated in the English version which is cool. Those scenes are definitely a lot of fun.

One area the film struggled with was the fanservice as mentioned earlier. Characters just randomly walk around with nothing on for no reason. Mainly Shou was guilty of this and after it happened multiple times you can tell the film was just being cheeky. It had to throw in random bath scenes and Touma walking in on people too so in general the film was squeezing in as much of this as possible. It’s not as if any of the scenes themselves are all that terrible, but they’re consistent which is still a big problem.

Accidents aside, Touma looked good here. The accidents here weren’t actually his fault. Sometimes they are, but in this film they weren’t so I don’t hold it against his character. He’s quite patient despite being put in a few tough situations like having to pay for large meals that Index likes to eat. You’d think Index would contribute once in a while, but she never seems to help out financially. Touma also does his best to help out during the fights and is in general a good lead. Index isn’t nearly as solid as she just tends to get in the way all of the time. She is certainly not quite as helpful or charismatic as someone like Misaka generally and Arisa looked better in this film.

Overall, A Certain Magical Index: The Movie is decent at best. You’ll get a fun enough story that feels like it could be a two part episode of the show. All of the characters show up and since the music is the same as well it easily fits in with the series. Unfortunately it would be adapting some of the weaker stories with a plot that isn’t particularly strong and more fanservice scenes than some of the episodes tend to have. If you’re a big fan of the series then I imagine you’ll want to check this film out. It still is pretty fun and you’ll be engaged while watching. The weaknesses of the film don’t become as glaringly apparent until you’re done with it. While watching you just keep seeing scenes where you’ll shake your head and think it should have gone another way but there’s always a chance it could change by the ending. Otherwise you really aren’t missing much and you can definitely just go ahead and watch Railgun S instead. That’s still the single best part of the Index series with Misaka showing why she is a one woman army.

Overall 5/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis Review


It’s time to look at the next big LEGO adventure. This time Aquaman takes the center stage as he tries to prove himself. It’s a pretty fun LEGO adventure and while it can’t quite match up to the best ones out there, it holds its own pretty well. We get some decent fight scenes and it’s always fun to see the Justice League return no matter what format it is. So without further ado let’s dive into this.

The film starts off with the Justice League sending out a call for help to Aquaman. He is delighted to hear this, especially because the villain is attacking a river so he’ll be able to do some real damage. Unfortunately this area is just called a river but it’s totally dry so Lobo beats Aquaman up. Aquaman struggles to hold onto his confidence but even the Justice League can barely defend him in faqront of the media and Ocean Master has now taken over Atlantis. If Aquaman doesn’t regain his confidence really soon I’m afraid that it’s going to be too late for him.

DC’s been doing quite well with the Lego adventures and this one continues the run of solid titles in the franchise. While Aquaman can’t hold his own film nearly as well as the Flash, he’s a fun enough lead. We really hadn’t seen him in the other specials so this was a good way to give him some focus with the league. Naturally a lot of his scenes are played for laughs. Most of the characters land a lot of burns at his expense but Aquaman does his best not to let it get to him. He still keeps on trying to be the best and after he gets drunk Aquaman finally experiences some clarity on what he has to do next. It took him a while to get to the answer, but better late than never right?

The Lego animation is fairly consistent with how all of the others were. Lego in general still isn’t my favorite style but this one still gives us some pretty good fight scenes. Superman surprisingly (well maybe it’s not too surprising) doesn’t look great in the battles though. Lobo is just too powerful and really deals out the pain to everyone who goes up against him. It’s always nice to see him looking good though since Lobo is often one of my favorite DC villains. I like his biker theme and the fact that he actually can fight with the likes of Superman. His appearances in the DCAU is really what got me into being a fan.

Meanwhile the humor is pretty sound as you’d expect. My favorite humor scenes are admittedly the ones that are poking fun at Aquaman a lot. It’s the low hanging fruit of course, but you can’t help but smirk when Ocean Master shows his little compilation video of Aquaman getting wrecked. The humor scenes that don’t work quite so well are the more over the top ones like when Wonder Woman gets dazed/confused for a while. Damian trying to act like a kid also doesn’t work quite as well. I was surprised to see him and Batgirl since they basically come out of nowhere, but the more guest stars the better.

Ocean Master makes for a fun villain. He may not always be the biggest mastermind but he did convince Aquaman to give up the throne without a fight which does take a good degree of skill. A lot of villains would love to be able to say that they took over Atlantis without having to lift a finger. It’s usually just not that easy though. Things may not have worked out well for him in the end, but if not for the rest of the heroes being around he probably could have pulled the whole thing off. There’s also the slight sympathy angle that any story with Ocean Master comes equipped with because Aquaman tends to put him down without realizing it. “It’s good to be king!” was definitely something that Ocean Master doesn’t need to hear from Aquaman on a daily basis. Still doesn’t make him any less of a villain though.

The most tragic part for Ocean Master though is the fact that he starts to be overshadowed by the other villains here like the Red Lanterns. How can he really hope to compete with powerful foes like that? Dex-starr and Atrocitus both get fun roles and you don’t really doubt that either one of them would be able to clobber Ocean Master. It was a cool team up though because that’s one of those out of the box pairings that seems like it would be interesting.

Meanwhile we have a full subplot about Jessica Cruz working to find confidence in being a Green Lantern. It’s not as good as the main plot, but it’s decent. Most of it involves her ring giving her a lot of snark as it constantly mocks Jessica and makes things tough for her on purpose. Honestly Jessica has enough trouble trying to be a fighter, the ring doing its thing really doesn’t end up helping matters at all. It just ends up getting in the way and making trouble for both of them. I lost a lot of sympathy for Jessica when she started making fun of Batman’s utility belt though. The first time you can write off as an accident, but after that it has to be intentional. It may have been a humor plot, but it still hurt Jessica all the same. Especially since Batman was the best character in the special. One simply does not disrespect the Dark Knight like that.

Overall, Rage of Atlantis is a fun DC special. There’s not a lot more to say beyond what I’ve already mentioned. If you like Aquaman or the new Green Lantern Jessica then you should enjoy this one. Quite a lot of characters show up and so the special is able to make the most of its longer run time. I wonder which hero will get a lego special next. I dare say that Green Lantern has earned his, but I wouldn’t mind another Batman centered JL special either. Those are always fun.

Overall 7/10