The Comiq Review

It’s time for a murder mystery title. This oneshot starts out more with the feeling that it’ll be a title about creating manga but quickly escalates from there. The art wasn’t my favorite, it’s going for a retro look but it’s still very clear and easy to read. You’ll be taken through a lot of twists and turns, I feel that some make previous scenes feel a bit odd but the manga encourages you to read it a second time at the very beginning so I suppose this is intentional. It’s a good manga in the end even if it could be more solid.

The series follows Ryota, an up and coming manga creator. His series is more of a classic Shojo title but the ratings aren’t great. He even cringes when he hears people reciting the lines out loud. I dunno, if you’re writing something shouldn’t you be proud of people talking about it? I would have thought he would have been more thrilled even if the lines are a bit cheesy. Well, one day his sister Mihana submits one of his chapters to the legendary author Seiya for review but the guy panics and shuts down the livestream.

It appears that something set him off and Ryota then starts to pick up the pieces. See, in this world there is a program where prisoners get to draw the backgrounds for your manga and so this guy named Baba seemed to have put in an element that looks eerily similar to a calling card left at the scene of a murder. Now the cops are interested in Ryota as well so Ryota is really in the middle of this. He can request a new artist or stop writing the manga but he thinks that Baba may be innocent and this is a last ditch effort to save himself. Baba cannot speak so he can only communicate through artwork. Can Ryota solve the puzzle or is he about to step into something much bigger than himself?

So you’ve got the direct case here and the objective on how to solve it but the series could have benefitted from being an actual series. It took a full two paragraphs to really describe the plot because it’s fairly involved and then the manga throws in a whole villain group near the end. This could have absolutely been a 4-5 volume series as Ryota gets closer and closer to the truth. Because it’s so short everything has to move fast so the pacing is really good but it also relies on the villains making some extremely sloppy mistakes in order to get caught.

One really nice thing about the way Ryota solves the case involves background noise which I thought was a clever way to tie everything together. Baba was giving hints through background art after all so background noise being the deciding factor was a good parallel. I’m not sure if that was intentional but I like to think that it was. Ryota’s also a solid character the whole time. He’s quick on his feet and ready to help out. If his gut instinct was wrong and he was helping out a murderer then that would be dicey but it’s important to follow your intuition and he doesn’t hesitate.

Ryota is able to hold his own when talking to the villains too and doesn’t back off. A character who isn’t nearly as good is his editor Mr. Aimochi. My problem with Aimochi is not just that he’s unhelpful but he actively hurts Ryota in the case by constantly getting in his way. He doesn’t want to give any info and practically threatens Ryota to stop talking about the whole murder case. I really don’t think Ryota was overstepping in those scenes and it is a shock to learn that your artist is a convicted murderer. You’d think Aimochi would have just been a little more understanding.

The detective meanwhile was a lot more reasonable. Yes he’s still got to follow protocol and is also a bit of an obstacle for Ryota to get past but at least he will listen once Ryota has his attention. Ryota’s sister Mihana is good even if she can be a bit harsh with his manga. When she submits it on the air and Seiya mocks it she turns on Ryota so fast. Cmon now that’s when you have to side with family over a celebrity. Seiya was clearly shook so she should have interpreted it as his being jealous instead. Now that would have been a good moment. She does help him out later on though.

As for Baba, I think he could have handled the whole thing much better. It’s great that he drew something but what were the odds of anyone really noticing it? That was like a hail mary with a 1% chance of working. Yes at this point it’s one of the only things he could do but before jail he could have made a move. It’s a bit hard to get too into this without spoiling the twists at the end but part of the issue is that Baba was very passive about the whole thing. If he had quickly told his side of the story through writing or something that would have helped a whole lot.

The whole villain group is also really crazy and out of the blue. They act really threatening and just feel a bit out of place here. When Mihana enters the group hideout it’s like a base right out of Shonen Jump. You’ve go several members and the big bad but how does nobody know about this place? Then the sort of blackmail/hold they have on Seiya is weak at best. I don’t really get why he was hanging around and still being a part of this. It’s like everyone was just trying to move on from the past but you’d think that he would have wanted big time revenge on the main villain right? Actually I think it’s time to jump into spoiler land a bit so skip the next 3 paragraphs if you haven’t read the volume yet. It’s time for a bit of a semi deep dive.

So basically there is no “Seiya” and that’s just the code name for the members of the Pumpkin Club. The leader is a rich girl who liked the “Seiya” we know in the present so she murdered his father and forced him to work with her. She also implanted chips into everyone’s heads to send them pain jolts whenever she wanted. Eventually he fell for one of the girls in the club and they tried to run off but the leader foiled the plan and forced the heroine to jump off the building and commit suicide. So…..Seiya then began to work for her again and covered it up while using Baba as a scapegoat.

Here’s where the tiers fall off the truck for me. Why would Seiya possibly not just murder the leader right then and there? She has two bodyguards yes but that’s it and they weren’t there at the scene of the crime. If you don’t want to be a vigilante then you go to the cops and try to convince them. The only thing you cannot do is continue to work for her and pretend that nothing has happened. Right through to the end Seiya is still doing her dirty work and threatening Baba.

I feel like the twists weren’t very well thought out. Sure, it’s intense to have a whole villain group running around and zapping people but did it really make a whole lot of sense? I don’t think so and even with a re read I don’t think that would change. Seiya’s actions don’t match up with the flashback at all. It just makes him look even worse as a character to be honest because he doesn’t stand up for himself at all. If you won’t even make a stand to avenge your friend then you’re probably never going to make a stand.

Well, we’re back from the spoilers. On a final note, as I mentioned the art isn’t great. The retro style makes for an interesting angle but I think it all could have still looked a bit more streamlined. The art is still very clear and easy to read though so you will have no problems breezing through this one. The writing is also sound enough to keep you engaged. I may not agree with some of the twists and the way things played out but you still want to read all the way through to get to the answer of the mystery and that only happens when you’re really engaged with what you’re reading.

Overall, The Comiq is a story that doesn’t go down the path you’re expecting it to go. This does mean you will be at the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next but the conclusion won’t quite live up to the hype. I think this just should have been an ongoing series instead of a oneshot, particularly with the group around. Otherwise I’d say that the best thing to do would be to not introduce the group at all. Play the climax straight with one person and it would flow a little better. Either way I would recommend checking this one out though, it’s certainly a quick read as it is.

Overall 6/10

Wall-E Review

The Wall-E movie was fun and a bit different from your average flick with how the main character doesn’t really talk much. So it’s more of a visual title in the end. The manga decided to change things up by adding a narrator the whole time. I understand the move since you’re worried that readers will get bored or finish too quickly without anything to see but unfortunately the dialogue does tend to be rather cheesy. This isn’t going to beat the average adaption but it’s still not bad it’s just not as good as it could be.

Basically the story follows Wall-E who is a trash compactor robot that is very lonely. There isn’t anyone around anymore and he just wants a friend. Well one day he meets a robot named Eve and he figures they can be friends. It’s tough goings at first since she’s mostly emotionless but by the end they get to be good friends. Along the way they even end up helping out the human race who have all grown very fat over the years since they didn’t have to exercise at all. With Earth contaminated they all live aboard a spaceship and have everything they could ever want. It’s like a paradise but one that has gotten the humans really lazy and unable to contribute anything. I do have to say that this is mainly the humans fault though.

It’s an interesting look at what paradise can do to you and it’s an argument that the heroes have made in a few different titles whenever paradise is brought up. If life is too perfect then the idea is that people will stop trying to improve themselves and innovate because there won’t be any reason to do so. I would say the main issue with this idea is that it’s basically saying to stop trying to make things perfect because of a possible issue but one that shouldn’t even be relevant.

It’s actually impressive that humanity came up with this advanced ship and everything to avoid Earth being too poisonous all those years. I also liked that the manga didn’t make the humans look super corrupt or anything like that. I feel like half the time in these things the humans all end up being evil for no good reason. In this case it’s actually a robot trying to mess things up so that was appreciated. The captain actually stayed strong and did his best to try and help save the world.

In a way the only double edged part of this is that the human plot is way more interesting than the robot one. You just don’t care about Wall-E and Eve too much next to the captain and his crew. I know it’s an emotional tale with those two but because they can’t talk too much it does mean that there is only so much they can contribute to the story. You aren’t wondering what’s going to happen or what trials they will encounter. Instead you’re just waiting on the human parts where there is a lot of danger.

I will say that the artwork is decent though. It does a good job of capturing what was happening in the movie and the character designs are on point. It’s not a very action packed series so it’s not like the artist is being super tested here but it’s still a good showing. I was satisfied with how the manga looked and it makes for an easy read. You will definitely be knocking this one out very quickly.

It’s also just a very wholesome adventure so this is one you can recommend for all ages. Kids, teens, adults, everyone can have some fun here. The only downside is again that there just isn’t much danger for most of the adventure. There is a villain near the end with the robot but that threat goes by in the blink of an eye. I think adding in an Evil Wall-E would have been good or maybe giving the evil robot a super form so he could fight with that. It may be a bit outside of what the story was going for but it could still work really well.

I always remember thinking that Wall-E looked a whole lot like ROB which was pretty fun. If he had that stern personality as well I think that would have worked out well here. I would argue he is going more for friendship with Eve at first but just doesn’t know much about feelings and so that’s how it starts to turn into a bit of a romance but it doesn’t really work because they barely even know each other. It would be a very rushed romance in that sense and so it isn’t the strongest part of the film. I’d say they should have just cut that aspect out of the manga because it wasn’t really needed. Give Wall-E a good friend and the story works out well.

Overall, Wall-E is a good story but the manga doesn’t really add anything to it. You could probably have just as good a time watching the movie and maybe an even better time. This is like the cliffnotes version if you don’t have time to watch the movie but want to talk to people about the story. The narrator is also just really cheesy so he doesn’t help with things. He’s sort of trying to tell you how you’re supposed to feel about every scene but does so in a very heavy handed way. It’s still a decent story but one that may feel a tad boring at times.

Overall 5/10

Kuroko’s Basketball – Replace Plus Review

This is a series I was reading for a very long time until it finally finished. The original Kuroko’s Basketball was excellent and I enjoyed the sequel a lot as well. This one’s more of an “Eh” kind of series though. It’s a comedic slice of life title that can be borderline 4 koma at times although usually it’s still traditional. It’s basically about the characters messing around and having fun the whole time. The only catch here of course is that the cast isn’t the most varied in terms of their personalities. They’ve all got their gimmick that is dialed up to 11 for the series but that’s about it.

There isn’t exactly an ongoing story for the series either but I have to say that it’s impressive how the series ran for 10 volumes. That’s surprisingly good and so there are a lot of different stories here. It’s a series that is very easy to just turn your brain off and check out at any time. I would say that is its biggest advantage. None of the stories are going to be bad either. Maybe some of them will be a bit dull but they tend to be very consistent. You watch the characters all overreact to classic situations and there are a whole lot of different scenarios you can put them in.

The artwork isn’t bad. It’s close enough to the original where you can easily recognize all of the characters so there’s no issue there. It’s not quite as high tier as the main series would be but I can’t think of a time off the top of my head where a spinoff beat the main title anyway. Additionally this series is focused more on comedy as it is so that’s where the focus would be anyway. As long as the art is good enough to be clear then I don’t have any issues on that front.

It feels like it can be a bit harder to go in depth about this series as well just because it’s all pretty straight forward. Either you like the anthology type stories contained in the series or you don’t. For my money I just don’t have much of a strong opinion on them one way or the other. They make for a fun enough read as you go through but it’s why the series is right in the middle. I wouldn’t have any reason to read it again but if someone wants more adventures with the Kuroko gang then this is a solid recommendation. They are all still in character after all and this works as a way to see them outside of the matches.

The main series had a good amount of character development either way but this one helps to take a step further by constantly having them hang out outside of the game context. It’s almost like you have a whole series that would usually just be a bunch of bonus chapters. It’s always a pretty interesting way to think about this. I could absolutely picture these chapters just being shown at the back of each volume. It’s almost like how the slime diaries could just be bonus comedy bits at the end of main episodes.

This one has no fanservice issues or any real demerits but at the same time there is also less happening here on a story level. Occasionally you will have a more serious mini arc like one where two of the characters go to an abandoned school to find some basketballs. That worked pretty well in context and was probably one of the more engaging stories. Other times it’s just a matter of finding somebody or getting part time jobs to help grab some money. The stories have a lot of variety in what is happening even if the tone and atmosphere of them are often the same. They make for easy reads but it’s probably not the best series to marathon because then it might get a little repetitive. Of course whenever someone tells you not to marathon something that doesn’t sound good because it will always feel like a bad thing no matter how it is phrased.

Personally what I would have done here would have been to give some kind of central focus that would make all of the stories more interconnected. I think the easiest way to do this would have been some kind of summer camp. So the heroes are all taken somewhere where there is no basketball and then all of the stories happen there. It would take them away from their comfort zone and even if the stories are anthology style, it feels like they are connected because of the new landscape. Of course alternatively you could have some kind of a big overarching plot as well. It’s not like these things are necessary but I do think the series would have stood out more as a result.

Alternately you could have more of the stories taking place at the same time so it all feels like one big adventure. For example you can merge the chapter where the club all gets jobs to raise money with one where the main heroine is trying to convince Kuroko to go out with her with one where there’s a big party going on. Just keep everything going as more of a serialized comedy as opposed to anthology. It’s no secret that I’ve never been a big fan of the anthology format. To me there is no winning there because each story is so short. Either the story is weak and drags the good ones down or it is good and then it ends before you can really enjoy it. By going with these short stories you are effectively always behind the curve and there just isn’t much opportunity to change that.

If you did longer stories that had more of a full continuity to them then the comedy would really have a chance to excel and soar to new heights. That is definitely the best way to go if you ask me. I also think it would make this easier to marathon. You can probably think of many comedy and slice of life titles where you’re eager to see what happens next because there are still dynamics that continue and some kind of goal at the end. This one doesn’t have that which is why it just feels like a bunch of bonus chapters all stuck together.

Additionally because of this the series will try too hard to be funny. Now the link is not necessarily true that being an anthology will have you try to hard but it does make sense to me. Because the stories don’t continue then they have to try and cram all of the random gags in as quickly as possible. Usually this just means repeating the same jokes like Kuroko being invisible. The main series does a better job of the comedy because of this as it gets to make the most of the little moments between games while this one is just trying to throw everything at you all at once. Some jokes may land but more often than not you’ll just keep reading without much of a smile. Fortunately the stories are still interesting enough where you want to get through them even if you aren’t laughing though.

Overall, Kuroko’s Basketball is a solid franchise and it’s always cool to see more installments but this one won’t be moving the needle for you much at all. It’s a series that you will read and then once you put it on the shelf that’s probably the last time you will think about it. There aren’t any deep themes to unpack or serious plots to have fun with. It’s not even super funny so at the end of the day while there are no negative aspects to the series and it is in no way bad….it’s just not going to be keeping up in the end. You should only check this out if you’re a huge fan of the franchise but otherwise you can skip this title.

Overall 5/10

Pokémon Journeys Review

Pokemon Journeys was a really ambitious anime that brought a ton of old characters back. It was like a trip down memory lane and really worked well as the final big stop on Ash’s journey. A lot of people who stopped keeping up with the series made sure to come back for this one and you can absolutely understand why. It was such a big deal for Ash to be competing against other champions and the nostalgia was off the charts. This manga series chronicles those adventures to an extent but it’s only 4 volumes long so it ends up being a very abridged version.

The series starts off by introducing us to Ash and Goh (Go, Gou…it’s spelled so many different ways but I’m used to Goh the most so I’ll use that one for this review) as they set off on their journeys. Ash wants to become a Pokemon master, a trainer who is without peer. To this end he is gearing up to enter the World Coronation Series which is a massive tournament with around 1000 trainers. You have to keep winning to rise up the ranks until you are in the top 8. Only at that point are you entered into the bracket segment of the tournament where you will be fighting with other opponents with the highest of stakes.

Meanwhile Goh wants to catch every Pokemon that ever existed. This includes Legendaries and of course it is a very ambitious task. I don’t think anyone has ever caught all of the Pokemon in this world and it’s hard to picture that changing. There are so many hundreds of Pokemon and then a lot of them need to be evolved as well so you will need to spend time to train them up. I’m not sure if Goh has that kind of time although of course it would be great if he could pull this off. The two of them meet up and form a duo as they go along the region and have their big adventures. Will they be able to accomplish their objectives and get along?

Right away you can see how the series is moving at a super high speed though. Some Pokemon captures are basically off screen and I’d say this feels more like a “Best Hits” collection than anything else. It’s sort of like the manga is adapting all of the stories they felt would be the most exciting and that’s absolutely a valid approach but at the same time that also means if you are reading this without watching the show then you won’t get the most impactful experience out of it. It just goes by really quickly the whole time. In some ways it reminded me of the Dinosaur King manga which may feel a bit random but it was also a really quick adventure. That one did have more of a focused plot though because it chose to take a different path than the show.

That probably would have been the best way to go with this one if they knew that the volume count would be limited. Still, it’s always fun to see Ash around which is why I’d say that this series is pretty good. I don’t think you will find it particularly memorable in the end but Pokemon adventures are typically always good by default. You get some fun fights here and Ash is always a solid main character. By this point in the series he is very experienced and has a lot of good tactics. You can count on him to do well with Pikachu and so of course they do tend to shred most of the competition.

Meanwhile for Goh he’s not my favorite character yet but he has potential. Mainly he gets teased a lot by Gary and tends to lose those fights but Ash was also verbally defeated by Gary all the time back in the day. It’s not really something to feel bad about as a result. It’s just how it goes and of course Gary has way more experience on his end than Goh does. I like Goh’s goal of trying to catch all of the Pokemon though. Even if I think he’ll never pull it off, it’s something different than the previous rivals and helps to really switch things up. If he can just be a bit bolder and more ready to fight then that would help him out instead of making excuses that he’s just not used to battling. Nobody’s buying that after all.

The artwork is good but not great. The manga likes to go all in with the facial expressions and it’s clear enough but at times there aren’t a lot of details. To me this looks more like what I would consider a cash-in manga to be. It works out since that’s effectively what this title is but I’d still like to be surprised with something a bit more high end like Pokemon Adventures. The fights are on point though and that’s what counts.

It’s also nice to see Leon a bit even if he only has time for two quick matches. The guy would go on to become one of the strongest of all time after all so you really want to see what he can do early on. I remember when this fight happened in the anime as well. Ash definitely did pretty good all things considered and I like to think that if Pikachu had just a bit more time that he could have pulled out the win. He still has a lot of speed and experience on his side after all. At least it wasn’t a blowout. At this point I just don’t think that any Pokemon can possibly hope to crush Ash like that.

Raihan, Bea, Lance, and other trainers are all around as well. One strong aspect of Pokemon has always been the really solid supporting cast and that doesn’t change here as well. All of these guys are fighters and have made it this far for that reason. Seeing Ash be able to brush shoulders with all of them is great and shows how far he has come. Honestly I wouldn’t have minded if they just cut right to the giant tournament and just adapt every battle. In a way that’s really what put Journeys on the map although I know people enjoy the normal episodes as well. It’s just that the World Coronation Series is too exciting to miss out on and it’s a shame that the manga couldn’t adapt more of it.

Of course Gary also shows up here which is nice. It’s still too bad that he’s not as much of a fighter nowadays since he was so good. I hope he gets a big fight at some point in the future. He has grown up though which is impressive in itself since Ash hasn’t really changed all that much. It does help the theories that someone froze Ash’s time somehow and that would be an intense plot point to explore. As one of the last Ash adventures I suspect this manga will grow even more nostalgic over time.

I feel like almost all of my complements to this series feel like they are back handed ones. It’s just not trying to do anything special or be anything more than a standard Pokemon manga though. It’s going through the motions and that’s really all that you need it to do. It’s a very easy read that you can pick up at any time and just blast through. There aren’t any big character arcs to speak of or any big overarching plot to complete like in Legendz. So that’s also why there isn’t a whole lot to say because it’s just quickly adapting episodes and moving fast. How much you enjoy it will depend on how much you like Pokemon. At the end of the day I do like the series a lot though so even a mini manga like this will be fun for me and I would still recommend it to anyone out there. You can’t really go wrong with more adventures for Ash and Pikachu after all. They’re still the classic Dynamic Duo for a reason.

Overall, Pokemon Journeys is a good manga but one that almost feels like a commercial for the show. If you like this title then you’ll want to go and watch the episodes to see how things end. Of course if you pick up from where this one left off then you will be missing some adventures since the manga does a lot of skipping around. I think the skips make sense to some degree but they could have done it a bit smoother so that it wouldn’t be obvious that something was skipped. For example I don’t think the manga should skip any Pokemon captures or battles that are referenced later on. We get that with one of the rematches here where it’s odd since we didn’t see the original. You’ll have a good time either way though and if you see this on the shelf you may as well pick it up. It’s a nice way to zoom through the early parts of Journeys and then you can jump ahead to the big part of the tournament.

Overall 7/10

Behind the Scenes!! Review

As a romantic comedy manga each series faces a lot of tough calls in terms of who will get paired with whom. Often times the romantic rival is cooler than the main heroine or main hero depending on who the lead is but you sort of can’t deviate from the main path. Then for the one who loses out you have to have a rebound ready and that’s usually where things get tricky. Well you don’t “have to” and in face you shouldn’t have a rebound ready but most series do and this one goes for one of the worst possible final ships possible. It is right there on the level of God of High School and it’s hard to see which one is worse. They’re neck and neck…I guess the other one is probably a little worse but it’s tough either way. It does hurt this title’s momentum.

The series revolves around a character named Ranmaru. He’s rather timid and doesn’t really like to be around people. Ranmaru is very detail oriented though and that helps him a lot when it comes to noticing things that most people would usually miss. He ends up joining the special effects art club led by Ryuji though. Ryuji is a fairly bold character who is the outgoing type and while you’d think that he may not get along with Ranmaru as they’re so different, it really works out. This is sort of a safe space for Ranmaru to really get used to being with people and becoming more confident in himself.

Timid main characters like this usually aren’t my thing so I wouldn’t say that Ranmaru ever ends up being one of my favorite characters. His romance is mostly tragic as he likes Ruka but is too shy to actually speak up about it. So for the most part he just ends up being good friends with her and can only watch as she gets farther and farther away. It’s an emotional plot for sure but one where you feel like if he just spoke up a bit then it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Instead he’s digging a bigger and bigger hole for himself that will be difficult to get out of.

It’s only in the final volume or two really where he starts to truly get out of his shell so this is a series where the side characters really have to take control but I wouldn’t say that they really do. This isn’t the strongest cast all around. The main standout character here would probably be Ryuji. He’s the tough character a series like this needs to push everyone along. He does really well in that role to be sure. Ryuji also has his own tough backstory to get through and he’s really just putting up a tough front.

It adds some good depth to his character as he isn’t actually past everything and just does his best to move forward. He isn’t someone who is trapped by the past and makes no excuses for himself. Still, he just keeps on moving forward no matter what happens. By far he was the best character here. The main heroine Ruka is also good. She’s great at arts and crafts. Ruka likes Ryuji but is unsure of how to let him know about this when they have such a good friendship and then she has a lot of pressure from her family which makes it difficult for her to hang out with the crew a lot. That’s probably the toughest situation to get past since the others mostly just have to fight their inner selves to move on but she has actual people to deal with.

I feel like the series doesn’t spend as much time on this as you would expect but it still makes for an intense storyline. Ruka is also the main focus of a lot of the series in other ways with how she is connected to Ranmaru and Ryuji so you will have no shortage of screen time for her. If anything Maasa is the one who loses out here as she really wants a boyfriend but is mostly reduced to that one character trait. Well, I suppose she really loves slasher films which tends to scare the guys off.

As you go through the series you absently think she will probably be paired with one of the other guys but that’s about it. You never figure that she will be an integral focus in the series and well that is exactly what happened. Maasa seems like a fun character but doesn’t get much to do. Then you have Izumi who is really talented and tends to stick out for his good looks but he doesn’t really know about his past. This is probably the most serious plot in some ways. It ends up being connected to Ranmaru’s cousin Soh as she wants to be there to help him recover and lead into a romance subplot.

I give the series a lot of credit for how this plot goes. Izumi is flattered of course but he still treats Soh as more of a kid and doesn’t take the whole thing too seriously. He basically just tries to help her get past her infatuation and keep it moving. She is a bit younger than him so it would be hard for that to work out but additionally he just doesn’t see her in that way. Additionally the memory issues have also affected his ability to actually have real emotions so that was another thing to consider. He got some good points for that and also for generally being a nice guy even when he is being absolutely crushed by not even knowing who he truly is. That’s something that’s hard to simply deal with.

Finally you have Tomu but he never really got to do much. He’s always around as one of the main members and we know that he used to be a bit of a delinquent before falling in with the right crowd but that’s about it. He doesn’t get any big plots or shocking reveals so it feels like he’s just along for the ride. Maybe it’s good to have a character like that but I feel like you could cut him out and nothing would change. If that can ever be said about a character then usually it means that he should have been scrapped.

Finally you have Soh who deals with a lot of confidence issues like Ranmaru. She has carefully crafted a public image of being the really cool girl though in a way to avoid attracting attention to herself. That may sound contradictory but it actually does work really well. Put it this way, if you seem popular and are always surrounded by a few friends, strangers won’t approach you and you can just head home without worry. If you stick out for being anti social or quiet then people are probably going to walk up to you. Either to bully you if they’re mean or to try and talk to you if you seem lonely.

I thought Soh’s strategy was really good and she was actually being proactive in handling her weakness which is something that boosted her past Ranmaru. I just didn’t see Ranmaru putting in the same level of effort. Not saying he had to match her but this is why she was ahead for me. It also makes for a fun dynamic between them at home where they can be more open with each other but you still see how they are awkward at talking in general. At least having someone you can talk to is always a huge relief and that helps both of them keep going.

I would say where the series succeeds is that the angle of being a special effects group is really unique. It’s cool to see them help with the designs for different movies and shows and you get a lot of fun facts for setting up different practical effects. You may not be able to put most of them to use because you’d need specialized equipment to start with but it is shown quite plainly so you can try this at home if you do get the materials. It’s a fresh take as you would usually be focusing on the movie stars.

Additionally the series may be laidback but it makes for an easy read. Even if the characters may not stand out, you’ll be entertained all the way through which is important. I had a good time with the title. It feels a bit short by the time it ends and I didn’t think every plot got to be wrapped up (Like the ex delinquent not really doing anything) but as a result it also doesn’t drag out.

Now for the series issues, the ending really hurts it quite a bit. There will be spoilers for this paragraph and the next one so don’t read on if you haven’t read the series yet. As this is a romance series the final pairing is quite important after all so you don’t want to know about this before the right time is here right? Okay so here goes. Ranmaru ends up with Soh. Now to go into more detail on this, Ranmaru moved in with his cousin Soh and her folks as the series begins but he wasn’t always around there. Japan also treats that dynamic a little differently but either way it is the worst possible ship you could go with. I don’t care if they’re 5 times removed, it’s still a bad look. Even in series where they aren’t related but lived together for a while as a pseudo family like in Attack on Titan I tend to vent on that because it’s not a good relationship.

If you’re family or treated as family then that’s a no go. Do not pass start, don’t collect your reward. It’s just a non starter right from the jump and it felt like the series needed some rebound for Ranmaru since he was doomed with the main heroine due to how timid he was the whole time. This wasn’t the answer though and it was such a bizarre ending. A bad ending is one that you remember forever and so unfortunately this is now the legacy of the series. I don’t see how it can really come back from this and of course it hurt with the score for me as well. Definitely one of the weaker endings I’ve read in a bit. It’s no Attack on Titan of course but definitely a weak ending either way.

The art here is okay but not great. I remember having a hard time keeping character straight at some points and anytime I can mix up any characters (Unless there’s a narrative reason for that) I always take it out on the art. It can also get a little cluttered during some of the set pieces and design moments. It’s not bad but the art is below the average of what you tend to see from the Shojo titles for me. Maybe if the series went on longer that would have helped the artist clear things up but as it stands I wasn’t impressed.

We get a lot of good inspirational quotes and moments in the series as Ryuji tries to help Ranmaru stand strong. Part of Ranmaru’s character arc is about getting braver on his own as opposed to waiting for someone else to help him. I thought this was sound, you won’t always have someone out there to back you up. That being said, you absolutely can and should seek out advice and use any available resources to get past your fears but the final decision will be on you. Ryuji may be a tough character but he never held back on the advice and his tough love approach worked really well with Ranmaru. He would also let the kid have a break when he needed it and gave him space during the tough times.

In a way what this series lacked was more humor. I mean there are jokes and such as this is a fairly light hearted series but for the most part I would rarely find it funny. I liked the faces that Soh and Ranmaru would make when they were being timid as the author gave them really great facial expressions but that was it. Those visual humor moments were really the extent of what the series would throw at you. You had the really strict member of the movie club who had his dynamic with Ryuji and such but those scenes wouldn’t typically land as being quite as funny. As a result this series goes through the motions and is reasonable about it but I find that being funny can help a series and its replay value immensely. Every time you laugh or crack a smile is when the series has just risen up even if just a little more for you. It’s no surprise that all of the best romance titles are the ones that are part comedy like Nisekoi and Kaguya Sama. It just makes sense because when you laugh with the characters it is another way of truly connecting with them and so you naturally get more invested in the journey.

Overall, Behind the Scenes!! lives up to its name as sticking behind the scenes with the crew for the most part. This worked really well and it is part of what made the series solid in that area. It’s really just the romance that holds the series back but since that’s a major part of the series it is not something that’s easy to ignore. A sub par ending just doesn’t help matters at all and this has no real replay value. Without a lot of humor to stick up for the series or some grand climax, it will be lost in the wave of Shojo titles and can be safely skipped. I’d be interested to see another series try to tackle this angle. It’s probably not one that most should try for as it is more limited in how many fun situations you can craft around it but at the same time for a non action title, what really matters are the characters and interactions. You can make any backdrop work with good enough writing.

Overall 5/10

Cardfight!! Vanguard G: The Prologue Review

Cardfight Vanguard is one of the greatest franchises of all time without a doubt. It always delivers on amazing duels and constant moments of hype and amazement that you just would not have seen coming. The series is just built different and it’s cool that it got a fun little prologue story like this. It’s a bit of an AU as things happen differently than in the main series but it’s fun to see Chrono return for the G part of the series. We get 2 duels here within the 5 chapters which is a pretty good mix I’d say.

The series starts off with Chrono scaring off some bullies who were picking on a weak cardfighter. He is always defending the weak but doesn’t really know what to do with himself. Well that changes when he finds a deck in his locker. He figures that he can sell this for good money and then take the world by storm but he is confronted by the store’s assistant Kamui who insists on dueling Chrono first. Just tossing out the deck would be a waste and his boss Shin also agrees. Chrono will have to fight hard to get past these two veterans. The man called Shin also seems very suspicious with how much he knows about Chrono. Playing these duels may end up teaching Chrono more about his past so that’s another good incentive to this fight now. Fight hard Chrono!

The chapters are all fairly short so I can only imagine that this was a very small volume even once it was released physically. Hopefully you could buy it at a discounted price and then it would definitely be a really good pick-up here. The art is solid and it captures all of the characters that you know very well. The character proportions are on point without a doubt. The action scenes are good and it’s all very clear so you couldn’t ask for much more from the series. A good amount of effort was put in and this could have been really fun as a long ongoing as well. You can never have too much fun with more and more Cardfight spinoffs coming out after all. This could have been another long one to add to the list.

As the main character Chrono is pretty good here. Unlike his main version he actually doesn’t come close to giving up or forfeiting this time. That’s a weakness that he has in the main series as well as the anime but in this prologue he fights all of his matches all the way to the end. That’s exactly how it should be for an up and coming duelist. You have to take the losses along with the wins. Chrono is a very solid character as a result and he fights really hard considering that he’s just getting started. He’s certainly ahead of the curve.

Kamui’s role isn’t super big but he was always a main character in G so it’s fitting that he got his own duel here. As one of the originals I would always expect him to absolutely crush Chrono though. I know Cardfight is set up in a way where the matches will almost always appear to be close but at least you definitely shouldn’t have any doubts about who will ultimately end up winning the match. Then we have Shin who is a lot more mysterious looking than usual. What I liked here is that Shin acts a little more like himself from the prequel anime. I believe this pre dates that one but it’s just nice to have him as a very serious adversary and cardfighter as opposed to being a washed up storeowner who can’t fight anymore.

Shin’s portrayal here is good and he actually does remember the good ole days. His deck was solid and he helps Chrono to pass his limits which is certainly a big deal. He works really well as a final boss in a prequel as he gives Chrono just enough info to get him interested in the game while also maintaining the mystery that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Chrono will still have a lot to look forward to and so you have cameos from characters like Ibuki and Tokoha who are around.

There isn’t a whole lot to say though because even if you merge all 5 chapters of the series it’s barely longer than one of those big One Punch Man chapters. It’s a very quick read that it just here to get you to see a fun pair of cardfights. Fortunately that’s all that I need in order to have a good time. The duels are good fun with a solid amount of detail put into them. They explain enough of the rules to where you should be able to follow along. They don’t bother to explain some of the more intense rules like stride riding but you can just figure that it’s a really impressive move.

At his best Aichi always does tend to beat Chrono for me but Chrono starts out stronger and this manga really shows why. He is already able to stand up for himself right from the start and he is quick on the uptake. It took Aichi quite a while to really believe in himself and that’s just not a problem that Chrono has. This prologue really gets you interested in re watching some of those classic G battles.

Overall, As a prologue I would say the goal of the manga should be to try and get some new fans into the franchise. With that in mind I would say this succeeds as it gives you a lot of reasons to come and check out the show real quick. You see enough interesting characters in the background and cool dueling mechanics to make you want a little more. With that in mind you should definitely check this one out. It really has no issues and it’s not like it’ll take you very long to read it either. It’s just two quick duels and you’ll get a flavor for what the franchise is like.

Overall 7/10

Phantom Seer Review

Phantom Seer is a manga that may have ended early but it certainly still got a whole lot of traction. You would recognize the cover art anywhere and it did get people talking. It succeeds well as a fun supernatural title and it’s a shame that it had to end so soon. The main cast was rather solid and in particular they did a good job of giving the main heroine abilities that were not just supportive but also physical powers to get there in the frontlines. It’s a well written title and I’d still recommend checking it out.

We kick things off with Riku, an ordinary schoolgirl except for the fact that she has a 6th sense for danger. If there is danger approaching then she will know about it in a vague spider-sense kind of way and will try to help people out. She really likes helping people and will actively go around to accomplish that while others would be more passive. She’s a big contrast to Iori, a mysterious guy who is said to be able to talk to spirits. He tends to just be by himself in a dark room and people rarely notice him. Their fates get intertwined as Riku nearly loses her life to an evil spirit.

Basically her 6th sense is a double edged sword as it attracts monsters and bad luck to those around her. Iori is sort of an exorcist by trade and his sister Yayoi orders him to help Riku out until she can either master her powers or they get the spirits away. The issue is that Iori just wants to be a normal guy. He doesn’t want to deal with any of this but he is rather intimidated by his sister so reluctantly he helps out. Additionally he isn’t quite as cold as he tries to make himself appear. That said, there is a reason why he is so aloof and wants to be normal. Iori is a bit of a living contradiction as well as there is one monster he wants to slay before he becomes completely normal so in a way he should still be practicing hard but doesn’t want to do that.

It’s a pretty solid pre arc as we slowly start to learn more about the characters. I’d say that once we learn more about Iori’s past and meet the monster is really when things start to go into high gear though. Additionally there’s a fire character we get towards the end of the series who is a blast. The manga’s strongest aspect is absolutely the character roster because they’re all fairly solid which is still hard to do. I would consider this to be a stronger cast than even some bigger Jump titles.

Riku has no hesitation in trying to be a good person. She does her best to help out everyone around her and when Riku learns that her own powers put people in danger then she works hard on surpassing that. She is constantly working to improve herself and even gets her own Shonen training arcs. Riku never takes a backseat here and just feels like a true Shonen lead the whole time. Her water presence/divination type abilities were also unique both visually and in how they work. Basically she can summon barriers that destroy anything they come into contact with along with basic healing abilities and blasts of holy water that can damage foes. The more the series goes the more she is able to master these abilities and use them in a whole variety of ways.

Phantom Seer actually sets up its own power system which may feel similar in some areas to Muhyo and Roji with the summoning but goes a step further since other characters have their own style of fighting. Maybe calling it a cross between that and FMA would be the best way to describe it. Iori can control shadows and turn them into solid weapons which is definitely really useful. He can also summon monsters but fighting up close is definitely his specialty. This makes for a lot of great visuals as you’d expect.

Iori starts out a bit rough with how he just really doesn’t want to help. If not for Yayoi forcing him a lot of the time he would really just take the easy way out and mind his business. Yes by the end he is definitely a lot more selfless and someone you can rely on, but how much of that is because of his revenge or true character development can be hard to see. If the series had gone on longer we could have seen more of him as a hero with his newfound goals. This is a series where the side characters tend to outshine him for sure but he’s still good.

Later on in the series we get another powerful ally in Tsumuji, but unfortunately she doesn’t get a ton to do before the series. She’s part monster so she has actual abilities and gives us a fairly solid mini arc in dealing with an evil counselor villain. It’s always rough being part monster since that opens you up to a few new weaknesses like being mind controlled and manipulated but ultimately she is someone you can count on when there is nobody at the controls. Perhaps she is more of a villain at the start since things almost got dicey for Riku but in general I tend to like Tsumuji’s character type.

She’s very outgoing and will just go for whatever she wants. No beating around the bush or hiding, she just goes for it. Meanwhile the villain was one of the more petty ones in Kanzaki though. He’s just your average creep who wants to wreck lives pretty much just for the fun of it. He doesn’t exactly have great aspirations beyond testing the limits of his chimera type creations and without any human shields he would go down really quick.

Before going back to the villains we also have Yayoi as an ally. In fact she is considered to be one of the strongest exorcists in history which is really impressive. Whenever characters talk about her it is always with a whole lot of due respect and reverence. I would have liked to have seen her fight a bit more though. I feel like the series was hinting that something may have happened which is reducing her powers or maybe she’s using a lot to seal something off screen but there was something off here. She is so powerful and yet she almost never aids the heroes in fighting. I’m sure she would have been the focus of a really great arc in the future.

Yojiro is an ally who basically lets the heroes know if monsters are near or quests to take. I like how he’s very chill about this though. He will just casually be walking into a villain’s lair with the group even though deep down he knows he’s not the most powerful fighter or anything like that. He’s just not scared and is content to live at a rather casual pace which is admirable. I like that he isn’t worried or anything like that. He doesn’t get as much to do as you’d expect considering how early he appears in the series but he’s fun to have around.

Kenma is more of the true rival of the series. He doesn’t like how Iori handles things (And you can’t really blame him) since the kid doesn’t want to work hard and never trains. Kenma does things by the book and you can bet that he has been training a whole lot. The whole thing has to be super annoying for him because no matter how hard he trains, he can never catch up to Iori in power. Sure, he can get strong on his own and has some really loyal tengu type creatures but he just has more limits. At the end of the day they’re still friends but Kenma just wants to push him farther.

Now for the best character in the series, Kurose. This guy is always cool, calm and collected. He can be a bit of a flirt but he’s not obnoxious about it the way most characters are. His flame abilities are cool and there’s even a full bonus chapter with him teaming up with Yayoi. You get the feeling that nobody else would be able to keep up like that. His powers are very impressive and he feels like a pro. The perfect guy to watch over the heroes while they are still learning the ropes. Without him they definitely would have been in some real trouble on quite a few occasions. I’m not surprised that he’s so high as fire characters tend to be great.

Senjudoji is the big master villain here. She’s ultimately the one behind the tragedy that really put Iori in a bad space mentally. She goes after all people who have a 6th sense ability like Riku. They are called Beckoning Hands and she even took down Iori’s old friend Yukizuki. So their fights are super personal to be sure but the frustrating thing for Iori is that she really is quite powerful. A simple rage boost would not be nearly enough to take her down. She’s just in a completely different league.

Maybe if he had been training….then he’d be in a better spot. It’s still my main complaint against his character because if you want to avenge your friend and fight the big fight then you have to train. I don’t care how powerful his strongest shadows are, they just won’t be enough against someone like this. There is a really great subversion towards the end of their fight as Iori is consumed with rage and getting wrecked which was handled really well. It makes Iori look better s a fighter at least because he thought things through with the twist but it doesn’t take away from the fact that he really should have trained. Senjudoji definitely makes for a very impressive villain though. She has a ton of tricks up her sleeve and is quite strategic. She hasn’t lasted this long for no reason after all.

Then we get the Dollmaster Amelia, or at least she assumes that role for a while. She’s one of those villains who is very quiet and distinguished the whole time. She acts very polite but all the while she is still as evil as can be. She’s also really powerful as it’s hard to hit her with all the strings and puppets in the way. I was definitely impressed with her combat style and how she goes about it. Then we have the true Dollmaster Reta who is more of a kid so she may no seem quite as imposing or intimidating but she can fight really well too. I mean in a way she is stronger as the true one so you have to take that into account.

We also got a new hero for this arc in Kondo. She’s a solid close quarters fighter. She probably debuted a little too late so there isn’t a whole lot of time for her to do much but she did well with the time that she had. I think she would have added a lot to the dynamic if she had just gotten to keep on appearing a little more. If the series ever returns she would be in a great spot there. Likewise Yukizuki doesn’t appear much but as a character who was dead prior to the series beginning that definitely makes sense. She seemed like a likable character though.

The series gets a whole lot of credit for the artwork. It’s really very impressive with a whole lot of memorable moments and it’s all super clear. I had a tough time even choosing which images to use for that reason. There are a lot that just pop out at you. I was also on the fence about the horror image because it is really intense but it does a good job of showing some of the horror visuals you can come across here. That scene was probably the darkest moment in the whole series. That character was basically forced to do the villain’s bidding since the villain was already inside her. It’s like she was dead but still alive and the more you think about it, the more disturbing it gets.

Phantom Seer isn’t afraid to get a little violent and dark like that as it goes on. I wouldn’t say it crosses the envelope but it’s not quite as light as the average Jump title. The villains definitely aren’t messing around here with how much they loathe the humans. It’s too bad that we didn’t get to see two members of the villain group fight though. We got a big splash page with all of them appearing but then the rest of the series only focused on the puppet master so there was no room for them. At least because of that the puppet master fight wasn’t rushed which is good so you could really enjoy that as a main arc.

Usually I talk about what I would have done to try and keep the series from being cancelled but it’s tough here because I can’t think of any real errors it made. The series had a very clear goal and developed all of the characters really well to get there. I wouldn’t really change anything. I guess for some minor stuff you could make the fire guy appear earlier, maybe make Iori a bit more heroic but they’re not the kinds of things that would help you avoid the series end axe. So it just got a bad shake and that happens sometimes.

The author does a good job of still making the ending feel like a real finale though. Sure there are definitely a lot of plot threads still going on but at least this big fight is done and the characters have learned a whole lot so that still works in that sense. It’s a satisfying journey all the way through with a lot of great action and story beats throughout. There may be a lot of titles with evil spirits and exorcism but I’d say that the series differentiated itself well enough. It also kept most of the characters at a fairly even power level which is always tricky to do. So a lot of characters would still be relevant for the next fights.

It’s also nice because then you can still have a lot of fun banter with all of the characters as they get to follow along to each adventure. Riku’s friend from school gets completely written out after chapter 1 but otherwise everyone else still sticks around. The series is very disciplined as it avoids any real fanservice and you can see that it’s a series that is confident that it can hold its own without relying on any cheap tricks like that. I’ve definitely got a lot of respect for a title like this. With the cast slowly growing more and more with new fighters it also felt like the author really wanted to expand the universe into something big which is the tragic part here. It was a slow burner just enough to know the characters well while being fast enough that something big happened in each chapter. I guess lasting to 30 chapters is still better than a lot of the cancelled manga nowadays though.

Overall, Phantom Seer is a really solid action/horror series to check out. It definitely becomes more action oriented as the series goes on but the artist never holds back with the big horror splash pages. Those always spook you as much as possible. It’s a fairly short read at around 30 chapters so you can definitely blast through this series and see what you think. Who knows with how things get revived from time to time maybe there will come a day where this one can make a comeback.

Overall 7/10

Beastars Review

Beastars is a manga that really didn’t work for me even by the end. You could probably guess that things were going to be dicey as soon as you saw the cover since this is a manga all about animals and it takes place in a gritty world. So animal violence is going to happen here right off the bat. The animals walk and talk like humans but at the end of the day they still look like animals and so with their losing limbs and being bumped off, the series never stood a chance. Ultimately this one should have just stuck to using human characters but the level of grit here would have doomed it anyway.

The series follows Legoshi, a wolf who lives in a world where carnivores and herbivores have a very strained peace. After all carnivores eat herbivores which comes down to their very nature and yet they have to try going to school together and getting through life. There are those who believe both groups should be completely segregated and others who want to keep them together. There is always a “Beastar” around who acts as a symbol of peace and hope among the species. The goal for those attending school is to hopefully become the next Beastar. Legoshi isn’t super interested in that being his end goal though and just wants to get through school. As the series goes on his goals certainly change though and a lot happens.

So first up we have what I would consider is more of the pre arc. We are introduced to how the world is and Legoshi gets to meet with different characters. Initially he isn’t too aware of all that goes on with the tensions between the species beyond the basics but then he meets a rabbit known as Haru who he gets interested in. The thing is he’s a wolf so naturally there are a lot of stigmas against herbivores being together with carnivores. The relationship will have a tough time forming and this also starts to make him hyper sensitive to carnivores that badmouth herbivores or who want to eat them.

This really becomes the foundation for his desire to change the world a bit. He would ideally like everyone to be in control of themselves so all the species could get along but it won’t be easy since he himself has a tough time controlling his natural instincts as well. It’s not as easy as just deciding he won’t eat the other animals and he has to work hard at it. He ends up joining the drama club which is a good way to mingle with the others and decide what to do. Unfortunately an animal is eaten and it seems to have been done by one of his classmates. Figuring out who did this is top priority since that’s a taboo that can’t be ignored but it’s not an easy mystery to solve either. The answer to this question could even get a little tricky for him since he knows most of his classmates. So it’s going to be emotional no matter who it is.

It’s a pretty tense environment all around and the series sets the tone early as we’re also introduced to a black market where animals basically sell themselves to the carnivores. This way they’re eaten on their own terms and also make some money out of it. It’s definitely a very dark look at how grim this world can really be for them. At the end of the day it doesn’t offer a big hope of finding a magical solution like in Animal Land. This series does start to get more and more supernatural by the end but for the most part it’s very realistic.

So much so that it’s a really big moment when someone pulls out a gun for the first time. You just never forgot that because it was a big turning point in the series. From here on out we would have gangs and a lot of other action coming up. I wouldn’t say the series ever becomes a full action but the final arc definitely does have a lot of fighting in it. Even by the end most characters would have trouble with a gun so personally I think more fighters should carry one.

Where the series really drops off early though is how gritty it is. You feel like the author gets away with a lot because they’re animals and he uses this as an excuse to take a really intense look at humanity. The themes here are things that you wouldn’t ordinarily see in any title like this. Some may appreciate the boldness for the series but for me it just means that you won’t be having very much fun here at all. When things aren’t being gritty or over the top violent then you have characters talking about love and getting together or animal fun facts that are usually more detailed than they would need to be. This is the kind of world you would not want to live in because your odds of getting out in one piece aren’t great.

The author should get a lot of props for building such a detailed world and figuring out the ground rules but that’s really where the props would end. You have characters sleeping around, getting arms hacked off, and others who are eating each other. It just feels like the world is way grimmer than it ought to be and even by the end I wouldn’t say it’s all very hopeful. Sure there may be a bit of a temporary solution that will help things out but from what we’ve seen it won’t last and it won’t be enough. A common theme in the manga is that this divide will always exist and the animals just have to keep living and surviving as best they can.

So even without the animal violence I’m not sure this would get more than 1 star. Imagining the series with all humans instead, it would still be super dark and violent the whole time with a bunch of very unfortunate characters. I do think it would be toned down somewhat but enough to make this a good title? I don’t see it. Best bet would be to have turned this into more of a true action manga like the final arc and then you have a chance.

As for the artwork, it’s going for a very realistic/detailed look. It actually worked decently well, I would say the art is good. It may not be my favorite style but the action scenes are clear and you’ll never mix up the characters so that’s important. You can easily read through the whole adventure without any issues. There’s usually a lot of text so the average volume will take longer than most but with the artwork it’s always clear.

While part 1 of the story is really about the school days, eventually Legoshi goes out into the real world. He has to try and get a job and interact with everyone outside of the sheltered school life. It was interesting to see him in a new setting and it felt like a whole new saga in the manga. Sort of like your classic Shonen Jump timeskip and it always makes for a very effective tool to get the character in a new setting. You can flush out the old cast and bring in a bunch of newer ones. This would also send the series more into its action setting. Even the fight scenes you won’t enjoy as much as the average one since they are still animals fighting which takes away from the whole thing but I’ll take it over exploring the black market.

This eventually leads us to the final part of the story where we get a true main villain, Melon. He has a pretty tragic backstory as you could probably guess and his thing is that he’s super insane. He basically wants to create as much chaos as possible and really put the world on its head. If he has his way the world will revert back to a jungle where only the strongest survive and everything is settled through combat. Naturally that means he has to be taken down and so the Beastar is ready to fight but Legoshi may have to step in as well. It’s actually impressive how well Melon does because at the end of the day he is still one guy. So if a few animals ganged up they could probably beat him but it’s always easier said than done since nobody wants to be the guy who is bumped off.

We even get a tournament at the end of the series although unfortunately this is where the series starts to rush towards the ending at full speed. It’s too bad because I was looking forward to getting through the whole competition. The first round was actually intense with a very long explosives battle that had a lot of strategy and good defensive feats for Legoshi. The second round started to look very solid as well even if Legoshi was holding his punches a lot since he was fighting a lady but then the rest is basically skipped.

We do get a lot of action either way though which works out and some twists near the end. Beastars may not have ended up being a winner for me but a whole lot definitely ended up happening and it’s a very memorable manga. You aren’t likely to forget it in the end because the title/setting is very unique. It’s a manga that is taking things in a very different direction from most. For me that’s for the best since you want to keep animals as far out of the rotation as possible. You may end up being very memorable but in the end it’s just not worth it.

Now lets talk about the characters in more detail. First up we have Legoshi and I can’t say I liked him too much as the lead. First off he can be way too timid with Haru which often leads to him running around and keeping her in the dark. He’s also too oblivious to romance which leads to the series needing to have a lot of conversations about it as they basically teach him how it works. His self control isn’t very good with how often he needs crazy strict training programs and pep talks to move forward.

A lot of the series is about how this is all biological so it’s hard to resist the natural urges but it’s just way too tough. He isn’t able to do a whole lot on his own there. It’s good that he had a solid mentor in Gohin who helped show him the way. Now that guy ended up being one of the best characters here without a doubt. He’s actively making a difference in the world by helping animals overcome their hunger and protecting anyone he sees. He also trains Legoshi a whole lot which directly helps a whole lot of characters that exist within the world.

Jack is more of a minor character but he really works as a very loyal friend to Legoshi. It’s good to have someone like that in your corner who can give you a pep talk when you’re feeling down. I’d say he ends up helping a whole lot in that way. He may not be ready to tackle the more serious elements of the world but he keeps Legoshi grounded in that sense.
Haru is the main heroine here and initially she is very much a free spirit but in all the wrong ways. She can’t really find much satisfaction or purpose in her life so she started sleeping around but gradually met Legoshi and changed her ways. At that point things would always be very complicated for her since he had a tendency to vanish all the time and show up out of the blue. As a result her role in the series can also be a bit sporadic as she will go long periods of time without appearing. I can’t say that I ever became a fan of hers though. Even by the end she was close to letting one of the villains eat her on a whim. Her lack of a survival instinct would really hurt her at different points.

Yahya on the other hand is easily a highlight of the series. The guy is a top fighter and it’s easy to see how he became the Beastar. That’s not to say that he is a big hero though, In fact he has his dark secrets as well and there is one disturbing scene where we find out what he uses as fertilizer for his plants. He basically became an extremist in his pursuit of Justice. He still helps a whole lot of people out but uses some rather murky methods to do it. It was just nice to see someone trying to make a difference though and he did get lots of results. In fact he even took out Melon quite easily initially. Unfortunately Legoshi ruined it which was a low moment for his character.

Gosha is Legoshi’s grandfather and has done a good job of just living his life and not letting things get to him. His family had a really tragic turn in life but he’s done his best to stick it out and look out for Legoshi when he can. His acid makes him a very dangerous fighter if he ever wanted to cause a lot of chaos. The others should consider themselves lucky that he is a pacifist although he will act if Legoshi is in trouble. I liked him well enough and it was nice to have a calm character to balance out the rest. Almost nothing would faze this guy.

Then there is Louis who you could consider the main rival of the series. He’s really popular at school and the favorite to be one the next Beastar. He has a ton of confidence and doesn’t back down from Carnivores. He’s a deer so that puts him at a physical disadvantage in a fight which he is well aware of but he works hard to get around that. He can fight his battles with intellect and resources. When that doesn’t work he pulls out the gun and so people don’t really mess with him.  He gets to see even more of the world than Legoshi for a while due to his joining a gang of lions. He definitely got even tougher with them and ultimately does a whole lot of work in the shadows.

His father Ogma was always a fun character. His screen time is a lot more limited to be sure but he definitely makes the most of it in every occasion. The guy has a hard time sharing his feelings due to having to be emotionless and cold as the head of his company. Louis isn’t great at dealing with him either so the two are often at a bit of a crossroads. It can be tense but that’s why their scenes are always fun.

Juno is a wolf who usually has a lot of bad luck in who she goes after. Initially she wants to go out with Legoshi since society dictates that you date within your species but he’s not interested and then she goes after Louis but he’s got a fiancé so it’s all rather tough on her. I like her boldness though and she does fight hard for who she wants. Not the type of character who just throws in the towel really quick.

Bill is more of an annoying character because he doesn’t have a lot of willpower and he’s really okay with going to the black market. Not the guy you would really trust too much if he starts to get hungry. By the end he gets some development but he had a really rough start that is hard to forget. Then you’ve got Riz who is one of the most unlikable characters in the series. He likes to justify things a whole lot but ultimately they’re just excuses. He’s someone you’re just hoping will get taken out the whole time.

Then you have the main villain Melon. He’s okay, Melon is one of those characters who wants to watch the world burn and is super crazy the whole time. I feel like the heroes should have been able to stop him way sooner since I wouldn’t say that he’s a top tier threat or anything though. He can use the soul animal ability and he is quick but scenes like where he is threatening the lions are a bit much to me. They should absolutely be able to crush him with sheer numbers and the fact that they just let him boss them around the whole time is absolutely crazy. He openly mocks them and does his best to make their lives a living nightmare so they really have nothing to lose.

It’s why I ended up not being a big fan of the Shishigumi. Those guys can’t stand up for themselves and are too eager to be led all the time. They need to stand up for themselves and fight hard instead of always waiting to have someone lead them around. That’s absolutely not the best path for them and they have the muscle to be able to fight on their own. That would have helped their characters immensely, make them a full threat. You can’t help but think that all of the other groups in the final tournament look more impressive as a result since they don’t take orders from other people or get infiltrated so easily.

I did like that we were introduced to astral forms and basically supernatural super forms to help make any animal more of a threat. It was a good way to increase the power levels. It may have been a bit of a vague mechanic but I thought that it worked out pretty well. Legoshi could have used a much cooler super form though as I didn’t care for this one’s design much. It made sense for his psyche but it’s just not as threatening as it could have been. In a way it’s rough for Legoshi because throughout the series he trains really hard physically and mentally but rarely gets the definitive wins that you would expect. Often times he is outclassed physically or needs help even though you feel like he puts in more work than his opponents.

If the series focused more on the battles and this supernatural angle over the hyper realism then that would have at least salvaged some things. Focus it more on the Shonen elements and you’re good. Even in terms of dialogue it would help be an improvement if the characters were talking more like normal people. I think a more confident main character instead of Legoshi would have been a good idea as well since even by the end of the series he’s fairly timid.

Overall, Beastars gets a point for putting in a lot of effort but that’s about it. It basically runs into just about every issue I could possibly have with a title. It’s overly violent, has a ton of animal violence, gets really gritty, the romance is no good, and we even have characters running around having affairs. It pretty much avoids the fanservice issue since they’re all animals at least. At the end of the day I wouldn’t recommend the title. If you want something with a lot of novelty value for being unique then you should check out Law of Ueki instead for how to make a power like “Trash into Trees” very effective. Now that’s a title that is hype and stays that way the whole time.

Overall 1/10

Beyond The Promised Neverland Review

It’s time to look at an anthology that came out recently for the author of The Promised Neverland. It brings some stories I’ve already reviewed but some that I haven’t so lets look at this collection as a whole. Naturally I’m not the biggest fan of anthologies in general but I do think it’s great that you have a way to read these stories physically as opposed to having to try and find them online. That’s always a better outcome than the stories never being released at all so this is the best reason to have an anthology in general. Since the stories are all oneshots I would throw a spoiler warning right at the front here since I will talk about somethings that would be considered as a spoiler. So if you want to fully enjoy the oneshots you should read them before reading the review.

Okay first I’m going to put a link to the stories I already reviewed. One of them is DC3 and you may remember this one since I just reviewed it last year. I thought it was a fun story and gave it a positive write-up. It captures your attention well for a oneshot and has a good setup about it. A oneshot is supposed to grab you with the premise and then they flesh things out later on so on that level this film definitely succeeded and I can’t say that I had any big issues with it. I would go as far as to say it was the best story in the collection.

Then we also have the story about the Spirit Photographer. I was far less impressed with this one. The concept is interesting but the first story is rather dark out of the gate and if that’s any indication of how the series would go then I don’t think it would have really been for me. Of course it is early so the series could have ended up being amazing for all I know but the objective of the oneshot is to get you ready and this one didn’t succeed there. So for that reason this would end up being the weakest one in the collection.

I got the feeling that I had read the original premise chapter “We Were Born” for the Promised Neverland before but I don’t see a review for it so maybe I just saw some images back in the day. This is a pretty solid story. Basically it is The Promised Neverland but you can see how the idea changed over time. There are no monsters here and it’s more of a classic story about the humans being the true monsters all along. Basically there is an orphanage and the main girl does her best to live life as happily and perfect as possible. She’s done a rather good job of it and finally there is a foster home that will take her in. Her life is thrown upside down though when she finds out that this isn’t true and being “adopted” actually means that you are going to be an organ donor and will die. The head of the orphanage tells her to embrace this as her duty in God but she is unsure.

Meanwhile, the world at large has been put in a tough place. Wars are constant and almost everyone is dead so many people wonder what the point of life even is anymore. There is one guy who gets saved by the child and he wants revenge on a mobster who crossed him but also has time to help her out once he finds out about this. It makes for a good introduction and you figure the rest of the series would be about getting his revenge but along the way they get more and more hope about living in the now. It seems like the series would be a little more hopeful than The Promised Neverland because at least when you’re not dealing with monsters there is a chance. So I liked this story, it covered a lot and had potential.

Then we have Poppy’s Wish which is about a genius named Takashi who lives alone with an A.I. he created known as Poppy. Takashi is perfectly happy to live out his days without going outside but Poppy wants to experience the outside world and get a body of his own. Takashi gives in and makes Poppy a body but things get a little stressful when Poppy wants them to both go outside. The outside world isn’t so easy though. It turns out that they are on an alien planet and that’s part of why Takashi doesn’t want to go outside anymore. It’s just too tough and nobody likes humans. It was an effective way to go about the story and gives extra reason to why he wouldn’t want to go outside beyond just being timid.

After all now it’s more of a safety thing. In the end the story does have some hope that they can change things though. It’s not nearly as dark as almost any of the other stories and while it’ll be a tough journey for them, it doesn’t seem impossible. Being a super genius is also handy as you figure Takashi should be able to find some way to fit in on the sneak although it will always be tough to do this long term. Poppy is a reasonably solid A.I. even if I think he should have been more patient with Takashi. The guy did his best to give Poppy a good life and even made him a body so maybe give him time to go outside instead of immediately dashing off and jumping to conclusions. For an A.I. Poppy was very emotional here.

The story must have done well as we actually get a follow up to this one. It’s more of a quick excuse to get a lot of cameos as they warp from planet to planet and we get cameos from all of the other stories. That was fun and they see how each world is so different which gets them confident enough to try and succeed on the first planet. I’m not sure that a toast shop will be the most successful but they’re giving it a go and that’s the important thing. It’s got a fun ending and while I’m not sure there would be enough material for a long ongoing, you could absolutely make some kind of limited run series about this concept and execute it rather well.

Finally there’s the actual Beyond The Promised Neverland story. If that is what you are here for then you will probably be a little disappointed to be honest since it’s really short. It’s really just a few pages and Emma finally gets to live out the dreams that all of the kids had. It’s a little bittersweet since she still doesn’t have her memories intact but she tries to look on the bright side. It can’t be easy for any parties involved to know that Emma doesn’t truly remember what happened but they still get to have fun with her and that’s the important part. These memories are still things that she won’t forget. I’d have liked the story to have been longer even if it’s just about them having fun and experiencing different things though. After all the trials and hardships they went through, it would be really satisfying. I’ll take what I can get though, it was still a good story.

The artwork is solid here as you would expect. I feel like there is a very distinctive style here which is fairly detailed and works well. The characters always have a lot of emotion in their faces that’s for sure. It’s easy to read through the stories. It can get a little busy during some of the more action stories but when it’s a clear page the artist is really able to go all out. It may not be top tier but it gets the job done.

Overall, Beyond The Promised Neverland is a good book but the title is incredibly misleading. The Promised Neverland just plays such a small role that you feel like they only called it this to maximize sales. It may feel a little jaded to say that but that’s absolutely the vibe that you get from it. Still the other stories are mainly good, there are more hits than misses here and you should have a good time with this. See which stories you think could have been full ongoings and which ones you’re glad stayed as oneshots.

Overall 6/10

My Hero Academia Vigilantes Review

This series finished up quite a while ago so this review has been on the backburner for a minute now. My Hero’s done a good job of fleshing out the franchise by having several spinoff manga and this is certainly the most popular one of them. It helps that the story beats here would actually end up being important to the main series and the final battle is legendary for how long it was. In the end this was definitely a pretty good title and one that was getting better the longer it went on. I still hope we get to see Koichi appear in the main series some day but until then at least he got plenty of adventures here.

The story starts by introducing us to Koichi who is a big fan of All Might. He even has a hoodie based on the guy and so he does his best to save people and lead a good life. Unfortunately civilians are not allowed to use their powers unless specifically authorized. That makes Koichi a vigilante and someone who must be stopped. His powers allow him to slide across any surface which is why he’s called the Crawler but he’s not really an offensive type fighter so going up against the heroes would be tricky. Fortunately he meets up with Pop, a vigilante who likes to sing and dance, and Knuckle Duster who is a brawler that beats up villains. Together these 3 would make for quite the fighting force.

Before we get into the big story arcs we get some introduction stories to help get you used to the cast and they work rather well. The artist is also able to improve quite a lot. You can see a good amount of difference from the first chapters to the last ones and that worked out really well since you want a lot of great spectacles for the climax. The series does not hold back there at all. You can always tell what is going on here so I give the art a lot of credit there and the characters all tend to be very distinct. I’d also note that the art was never bad even at the start, I liked the shading, particularly for Knuckle Duster as it really helped him be like Batman. There was just more and more detail as the series went on.

The series had a mild fanservice issue initially as it would seem to follow Pop wherever she went. Her outfit definitely isn’t combat ready as they would say but as the series goes on that basically vanishes which is great. This is a series that can absolutely stand out on its own merits and doesn’t need to rely on any tricks like that. Since this is a spinoff that takes place before the main series, the author is able to really make the most of the timeline by adding in a bunch of references and foreshadowing. Quite a few heroes appear here from time to time including a rather large role for Aizawa. Even Endeavor and All Might join in on the fray and we also have a flashback arc which brings more in. There are important plots like Aizawa’s backstory that you have to read in this series to get the full context.

It’s rare to have a spinoff that is so important but Vigilantes pulled it off. So lets talk about the first main arc. Even though I was talking about the pre arc adventures, the first arc’s story is ongoing in the background almost immediately as the series starts. Basically there is a drug known as trigger out there and someone is giving this to a lot of people with quirks. This causes their quirks to massively power up but its at the cost of their sanity and this starts turning people to the side of darkness. Knuckle Duster’s mission is to get this off the streets and he may even have a more personal reason for wanting to get rid of the stuff. Koichi and Pop end up agreeing to help out and that’s how they all get mixed in with this. They have to stop the ringleader at all costs!

This was a good way to kick off the series. We meet a whole lot of characters and there are also a good amount of villains for the heroes to all fight against. Between the guest stars and original characters there was something to be enjoyed for fans of each part. Tensei gets to appear in a few stories here and since we heard a lot about Ida’s big brother but never got to see him fight before, that was definitely a lot of fun. He seems like a good guy and isn’t quite as strict about everything as Ida is.

Stain also gets to show up here and he leaves quite the impact. His fight with Knuckle Duster is really good and we really got to see how this battle helped to shape his ideology for later on. Stain got to keep his hype all the way through and even stood up to Kuin, the true final boss of this arc. It made for a really solid event during this arc and one that you weren’t likely to forget afterwards. So like the other guest stars this was enough to enhance the story without taking the spotlight away from the original characters too much.

For one original character that was rather low key the whole time, we have Soga. Soga is someone who is around for the entirety of the series but it’s easy to overlook him because he doesn’t fight all that much and doesn’t have any real powers. He basically becomes something of an assistant for Koichi. He makes sure that things go without a hitch whether it’s dodging the cops or fighting villains. He handles the strategy element so Koichi can focus on just landing attacks and taking out villains. I can’t say he ever really stood out to me but he’s effective at what he does.

Makoto is a character who gets a really big role. She takes over as Koichi’s agent of sorts and helps him quite a lot. Her stance on vigilantes isn’t nearly as drastic as the police officer’s but ultimately she is still on the fence about the whole thing. When the chips are down she does help Pop and Koichi though. The series tries to spin in a little romance here but you could interpret it as her just testing Koichi to see what he would say. It’s a little hard to say, I remember it feeling ambiguous. Vigilantes isn’t afraid to throw in some romance in general as there is some with Pop as well but ultimately it never becomes a focus and that’s for the best. I don’t think there is really a lot of time for romance here.

Captain Celebrity makes his first appearance during this arc although he would return later on. Think of him like a discount version of All Might. He’s got the strength, speed, and flight but all to much smaller extents. His powers may not work the same way as All Might’s but he can make them appear like that which is the important thing. I like his confidence and thought he was a quality character right from the start. If anything I’m surprised he didn’t do more in the climax or show up in the main series yet as this is the kind of international hero that would make a lot of sense to appear. Captain Celebrity can be a bit vain and you can probably tell that from his title but he is the kind of character that is fun to root for.

Finally we get to the main villain Kuin. She’s the mastermind behind the first big chunk of the series and definitely does really well. She can use her bees to great effect whether it’s fighting at close range or going for a more long range assassin type of attack. Kuin gets a full backstory and everything and lasts longer than you may have expected. The series did a good job of really developing her so you definitely aren’t likely to forget her by the end. Her power set was also unique and let her go toe to toe with several fighters. Even by the end of the series I would say that she could still be considered rather powerful in her prime and the power creep effect never really happened to her there.

In this arc is when we start to see the professional heroes showing up but unfortunately I would say they tend to come across as really annoying. Yes the vigilantes aren’t going through proper channels so the cops do need to do something about them but half the time they’re actively helping fight the villains so shouldn’t you prioritize getting those guys out of the way first? That feels like it would easily be the most efficient way to do it right? Of course it ultimately goes higher up to the very laws themselves. I always felt that the laws in the MHA verse are super restrictive with how civilians can’t even help each other without breaking the law even in an emergency setting. It’s no wonder that the Vigilantes become so popular.

Koichi lives in a rather small town that is apparently often overlooked by the police. So if he doesn’t help them then odds are that nobody else will. So he just has to put on a disguise and help out because otherwise they would be after him too. It’s a rather stressful way to operate and you just feel like that shouldn’t be necessary. So the pro heroes aren’t fully to blame here but they could handle things better either way. At least Aizawa will pretend to look the other way at times which is a decent start.

He skirts the line the most there and he should understand that the casualties would be worse without the vigilantes. Fans of Aizawa will appreciate that he also gets his own flashback arc so there is a lot of room for development there. Someone like Endeavor is solidly back in his antagonist days so he shows up here just to throw some fire around and doesn’t care as much about collateral damage. He’s lucky that Koichi isn’t one of the more aggressive characters because by the end of the series I’d say that he surpassed Endeavor by a longshot. This is one guy who wouldn’t go down easily.

All Might’s role is much smaller than most of the heroes because he would end each arc too quickly but he looks good. It’s nice to see how he just shows up and dominates the field at any given moment. That’s what you would expect from the #1 hero, particularly since he hasn’t been too weakened yet and should be at full strength. The cop who always follows him around (Tsukauchi) also gets a fairly big role. This guy is more of a stickler for the rules though so I can’t say that I was a big fan of him. He’s the kind of guy who absolutely would try to arrest a vigilante even if the city was burning down all around him. He needs to work on his priorities a little better.

After that arc we start to set up more seeds for the future. Villains using the trigger drug are still around so someone appears to still be mass producing the drug. A mysterious speedster known as Six also starts to make some moves and this villain is difficult to stop because of how crazy fast he is. In an instant he can land any number of blows and fighting anyone with speed like that is difficult. The main plot is about Captain Celebrity though and he is targeted by the new mastermind. Koichi will have to try and help out while Knuckle Duster takes care of Six but are they ready for this?

This arc was especially good for Captain Celebrity because he got a whole lot of character development as a result of this. We got to see his true heroic side. He may posture a lot for the cameras but at the end of the day he’s still a hero and certainly didn’t lose sight of that. Koichi also started to slowly improve his powers. Perhaps a little too slowly as he tries to be really careful about not causing any harm with them which is good but when he even fires a tiny blast Pop and some other characters always get on his case. I feel like it’s a bit overdone. As long as Koichi is pulling his punches and just knocking people out then I don’t really see the issue with it. This saga was a little more low key than the first one but it was definitely solid.

Then there is the Aizawa arc with Oboro, his old childhood friend. We get to see how the two of them and Present Mic were the best of friends. The 3 of them aimed to really take the hero world by storm and they had the quirks to do it. Aizawa was still more on the quiet side like in the present but Oboro had a way of getting everyone excited and so even Aizawa bought into it. Unfortunately as Oboro isn’t in the main series you can probably guess that things don’t go very well for him. It does make things very interesting for a character in the main series though and it’s an emotional arc. I had a good time with it and while Oboro may not have been around for very long, he definitely left quite the impact. I’d enjoy seeing more adventures with these 3 in the past, it actually gave me a lot of Naruto vibes.

After that we go into more of a romance focused arc. Pop is still confused about her feelings for Koichi and this allows her to be in a vulnerable state which Six takes advantage of. He turns her into an evil mind controlled fighter so Koichi has to try and stop her without hurting her. The tough part about that is the pro heroes aren’t so lenient, particularly Endeavor. So Koichi in a way has to take this guy down as well and it won’t be easy but at this point his powers have continued to evolve. The tough situation really helped to speed up his development on that front quite a bit.

Props to the series for trying to focus on the romance here but ultimately they were good friends so you’re cool with it staying that way. I was glad that we got to see Pop fight with her powers now that she was on the dark side though. As a hero you didn’t get to see her battle all that much at all so this way she can really go in. It was also nice seeing the pro heroes so that’s why this made for a very well balanced arc and further helped set up Six as the big villain to come up.

As the series prepared to enter the final stage we finally got Knuckle Duster back in his younger days. We saw how he used to be a very powerful hero and he got to go undercover to check out an underground fighting circuit. We get some fun guest stars here like Rappa, Mirko, and the High-End. There are quite a few solid battles in here and all of these fighters are quite powerful. It really makes for an impressive collage of characters here. So this flashback didn’t feel like some minor flashback.
Instead it was a great showing of the heroes working together back in the day and how Knuckle Duster could even convince villains to help. You get the feeling that Rappa was really close to becoming a full hero if things had turned out differently. The High-End was also really powerful even back before he got powered up further by All For One. Mirko being here for the fights also makes a lot of sense since she loves to get in on the chaos. The arc may not have had Koichi and friends but it was a really fun change of pace.

Then we enter the final arc which is rather massive as you would expect. It’s finally time for Six to make his big move and he holds nothing back. He has half of the city exploding and with his speed even the pro heroes don’t know what to do. It’s fun to see Endeavor and all of the pros but you know that they stand no chance against this guy. Only Koichi can possibly do something but even he is at the end of his rope. With Pop currently out of action that makes the stakes a lot more personal as well. We get to see a lot of teamwork between all of the heroes that Koichi has helped out in the past and the civilians as well so it’s really a great team effort.

You may figure that Koichi is completely out of his depth here since Six ends up being one of the strongest characters in the franchise but fortunately like Deku, Koichi is effectively able to use multiple quirks at once. In a way it’s even more impressive because it’s technically one quirk that he mastered so well until it could act as multiple. He found so many uses for the glide ability that it would make you surprised to see how far he had come. It definitely made for a great climax and this arc has a whole lot of memorable moments.

The author also did a good job of handling Six’s speed. When someone can move this fast you will always find some issues with it but Six’s speed has some defined limits and the characters make good use of it. So the climax ended up working out rather well. Six is also my favorite villain in the series and it was nice to see him getting so much action. This is definitely a villain that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. He’s really memorable and the series even gave him some ties with All For One. It really helped make the finale more and more grand. At one point I thought it was going to tie in with the first chapter of the main series in a specific way but didn’t go down that route.

As a main character Koichi is really solid. He’s fairly unassuming and may not have that Shonen aggressiveness that you’ve come to expect from a lot of heroes but he gets the job done. Even by the end of the series he thinks of himself more as an everyman who will help to take down the villains but isn’t expected to be the main act. He is a supportive fighter for most of the series so that makes sense and it’s only near the end that his powers really begin to go crazy. So he’s very consistent and ranks fairly high up there in the verse. In terms of power level he’s absolutely on the highest tier but even in terms of character he’s one of the better ones. That was important since you need quality characters to keep your series high up.

Then there is Pop as the main heroine. It’s a little unfortunate that she got sidelined for so long since it kept her from appearing more. She did well as a villain but as a hero she never really got to use her powers to the max. I suspect that she would have been quite good in combat but we didn’t really get to see to what extent that would have been true. Pop helps to encourage Koichi throughout the journey though and he would not have made it nearly as far without her. She’s a good friend to have.

Finally we have Knuckle Duster to round out the main trio. He’s a really tough fighter and should remind you of Batman. I’m pretty sure that’s the whole idea and it works well. While All Might takes out villains during the day and makes a big spectacle of it, Knuckle Duster works as a vigilante by night who takes out any villains that happen to get in his way. That’s just how he rolls and he gets a lot of the best stories here. He is often fighting opponents who are out of his weight class and so he has to fight smart.

Upon first glance you may figure that he’s your average bruiser but he does use his head a lot and fights strategically. That’s what separates him from the average character and it works out quite nicely. He may not get the most screen time in the series but he gets enough to leave you very satisfied the whole time. It’s always easy to root for an underdog like this who has no powers but is mixing it up with all of these crazy fighters anyway. Knuckle Duster is someone who absolutely will not back down!

I have to give another shoutout to the final climax. I just can’t end this review without talking about it because that was so much fun. This is one of those times where reading the series live was so neat because the fight just kept on going and going. I can’t recall a fight that was so much fun to see live like that since probably one of the final Bleach fights. A long battle where the villain is surpassing his limits as well as the hero makes for a very satisfying conclusion because you know that they both gave it their all. You want a villain to be determined in his goal and to keep on giving the match 100% or it just wouldn’t be nearly as high tier. It helps that Six was the best character in the series, that guy was intense!

Overall, My Hero Academia Vigilantes is a great series. It may start off a little slow but each arc keeps the series moving higher and higher and that’s the kind of trajectory that you want your series to take. Better to start off light and get great by the end than to start off great and slowly go downhill to the end. You always remember the ending after all and a satisfying one goes a long way. The series is a bit long for a spinoff so if you decide to read through this series you will definitely have a lot of content. I definitely recommend jumping in whenever you can. This is one title that you don’t want to miss!

Overall 8/10