Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker Review


Anthologies usually aren’t my thing but I suppose it is a way for everyone to show off their stuff in how they would draw a Star Wars story. With Luke Skywalker being the main presence here, it’s a nice way to give him some more action. The guy is probably the most recognizable Star Wars character aside from Vader so it’s good that he gets some time to shine. The stories are solid and I would say this book is pretty good. Perhaps it could use some more action but I really don’t have anything negative to say about it.

The first story starts off with the Empire getting absolutely devastated by the rebels to the point where their Star Destroyer is blown up so the main character is forced to get on an escape pod. He’s near death right now and pretty scared because it seems like Luke Skywalker is the one who downed the ship. Fortunately a cloaked stranger appears and starts to drag him off. Perhaps not so fortunate though depending on what this guy is doing here. Throughout the story the guy begins to think that this could really be Luke Skywalker but why would he help out in the first place? The guy’s motto is that they are all Luke Skywalker and by the end the empire guy says this too as he rebels against the crooked villains.

It’s a solid way to start off the volume and shows just how big Luke has gotten. At this point in the verse he is considered to be more of a mantle than a person. He inspires the rebels to such an extent that they all believe they can be Luke Skywalker as opposed to just being ordinary joes. It’s rather inspiring and they even got an Empire soldier to join the cause as a result. Of course the Empire should be embarrassed at how easy they make it for someone to want to join the rebels. Interrogating their own people and torturing them for barely any reason? Not a good look when they claim to be the good guys. You’ll notice that nobody had names in this story to help show the main character’s transition from a random person to another Luke Skywalker.

Next up is a story about a droid named Zeta. He is a robot who works the mines and is pretty horrified at the rough treatment down there. Droids are worked to the bone until they melt or are discarded. All of them are controlled using chips so that they must obey these commands and there is really no hope in sight. Fortunately Luke Skywalker shows up and offers them a way out. Here we get to see the real Luke Skywalker who lives up to his legend as he saved almost everybody. He does whatever he can in the force and then some. It’s easy to see why the rebellion has got his back.

This story was certainly darker than the first as we got an inside look as to just what kinds of things the Empire is up too. They really do make life hard on the droids and the toughest part is that the robots are aware of this but can’t really do anything about it. They’re effectively being mind controlled every step of the way so that’s game over for them. If Luke hadn’t showed up they really had no other alternatives which is really a sobering thought.

Next up is much more of a lighthearted story. Princess Leia befriends an alien flea named Mote who is rather full of herself. She tends to talk very big and has no shortage of confidence which is always fun and so Leia asks if she can watch over Luke. This takes place during the famous intro where Luke breaks in and saves Leia from Jabba the Hut. Turns out that rather than the force being what led Luke to victory, it was Mote pretending to be the Force. Perhaps this is a bit of a retcon but it’s a fun enough one to consider.

Mote is a nice character and really shows that big things come in small packages. I wouldn’t say it’s quite as strong as the first two stories but perhaps they felt the volume was getting a little too dark so this would shake things up. Either way it was fun enough for what it was and we also got a little more action in this one since Luke had to fight his way out so that was handled really well.

Finally you have a story where a biologist gets a ride from Luke Skywalker but they are trapped inside a giant monster. This one ends the collection on a fitting note. See in the other stories Luke was more of a novice or at the very least he wasn’t super settled in as a Jedi Master yet. In this story that has changed as Luke is one with the force and really knows how to use his powers. He’s not afraid at all here no matter how dangerous things get. I liked to see this level of confidence even if he might be taking it too easy at times. While it’s true that they won’t disintegrate for many years, they’ll have to eat eventually right?

Still, the two get to learn a lot about the ruins, the Force, and the monster itself thanks to getting eaten. They are definitely glass half full kind of people that’s for sure because I think a great many characters would not have taken this so well at all. At the very least you typically feel like getting eaten is a very bad thing and not something that you sneeze at. There’s no action here so it’s a pure adventure story but an interesting one nonetheless. You don’t get to see the experienced Luke so often after all.

The art changes for each story of course but I wouldn’t say any of them are very solid. It’s all about average at best which tends to be the case for big franchise titles and anthologies. I guess maybe the big established artists always want to do their own volume so in the anthologies they naturally do not tend to look quite as high tier. They aren’t bad but definitely are not at the top levels.

The anthology lives or dies based on how much you enjoy each individual story. There is no ongoing plot after all so you can’t be waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel or a big cliffhanger. You have to enjoy each of the stories as they come in and they are good. I definitely thought the writing was satisfying. A little more action could have taken things to the next level but I suppose that’ll have to be for another collection.


Overall, This was a solid volume. The stories are all pretty self contained so there isn’t a ton to talk about but none of them are weak. They are quite varied and stay interesting for the whole duration. You’ll be finishing each story really quickly too that’s for sure. An ongoing plot will always win but you will walk away from this one feeling satisfied. Star Wars has definitely gotten quite a few manga as of late so the franchise is in good hands. If you want some good Luke Skywalker adventures then you’ve come to the right place.

Overall 6/10

Nami vs Kalifa Review


I know what you may be thinking here…DReager1 is reviewing individual fights now? Well, that would be interesting but also a little overwhelming with how many there are so that’s not the case this time. this is another one shot by Boichi which adapts a part of the One Piece manga. This absolutely would not have been my first choice from the CP9 arc but a fight’s a fight I suppose.

Basically the plot is that Kalifa just absolutely devastated Sanji in their battle. He has a rule about not attacking women which is nice enough. I never hold that against him and won’t fault him for sticking to the rule but at least get out of there right? If you can’t fight back then you have to leave or keep dodging with speed. Instead he ate every attack and got wrecked so now Nami has to try and avenge him. Can she really beat someone like Kalifa though?

One issue with this fight has always been that Nami is absolutely no match for Kalifa. I mean it’s not even remotely close. Nami only has the speed, strength, and durability of a normal human. Her main weapon is the clima tact which can simulate weather conditions but takes a lot of time to work. She doesn’t have any real close combat abilities either. Then we have Kalifa who is a professional government agent who knows the 5 methods of death. (Shave, Sky walk, Finer Bullets, Hardening, and the 5th one I always forget) Her speed alone means that she should be able to dodge every single attack from Nami and one well placed finger pistol would end the match in an instant.

That’s not even counting Kalifa’s devil fruit ability which allows her to make people really smooth so they slip and slide while also becoming rather chibi. It’s not a very good devil fruit to be honest but that’s still more than enough to defeat Nami. Now, why pick on this fight out of all of them? Well, it is what I would argue to be the most lopsided fight in all of One Piece. I just don’t see any scenario where Nami should have had even a ghost of a chance. Particularly since this was a 1 on 1 fight with no interference or third parties getting in the way. Nami should have absolutely lost and there’s no way around that.

Now with the power level concerns out of the way, the only real issue here is that the fight is also an excuse for a lot of fanservice. Unfortunately rather than cutting it out, Boichi only serves to enhance this part. The characters are quite exaggerated during this fight with their reactions when the blows aren’t even all that powerful. The chapter is definitely trying to go in a fanservice direction which hurt the overall experience. It’s a shame since I’m sure you could have made the fight more interesting with that effort instead.

Boichi’s artwork is quite detailed so he can do really well on the fights like with Ace and Zoro. There was less hand to hand here but it would have been a good addition. I think he’s worked on Dr. Stone for so long that it has been ingrained into his artwork now though. While the first pair of oneshots looked fairly more like One Piece, lately his characters all completely have a Dr. Stone look to them. It’s a bit on the surreal side. Not a bad thing since the Stone characters have good designs but it feels like they are really barely One Piece characters at times.

The chapter goes by quickly even though it’s so long and you have to give the artwork credit there. The fight may be fanservicey but the action we do get is good. While I don’t buy into the plan working at all, Nami does incorporate strategy into her fighting style. Her illusions really make Kalifa have to work for the victory.

Overall, if you’re a big fan of One Piece then you’ll enjoy this one shot. It’s pretty cool how the series is so big that it can have chapters remade by different authors. I’d like these one shots to keep on coming since it is nostalgic. I like to think the next action chapter will be for a better fight but even if not, I am pleased to have more content to read. Even more than the normal illustrations each artist gives in appreciation of One Piece, seeing a whole chapter/fight redrawn by someone else gives you a good feel for how the series would look if they were in charge. I’m not sure this would be a fair way to gauge the series if you hadn’t read it before though so I would read one of Boichi’s other one shots to start off with. If you’re a One Piece fan then you should definitely check this one out though.

Overall 5/10

Goodbye Eri Review


It’s time to look at a one shot that just came out recently and it’s a very interesting one. It gets rather meta to the point where it’s hard to interpret just how it ended although I’ll throw my take in there later on. The one shot is 200 pages long which is crazy but at the same time there are so many pages that are recycled or just don’t have art in them that I can see why it was so long. I’d say the ending goes a long way to making the story as it helped make this one real memorable. Even as I type this I’m still sorting out exactly how good it was in my head but by the end it’ll be clear.

So the story starts by introducing us to Yuta whose mother is terminally ill and will be dying soon. She has asked him to start recording her daily life and eventual death so that she can be remembered. Yuta does this but at the last second he doesn’t have the heart to record her death and storms out. Fast forward many years and he has decided to show the video at school but edited in a scene where the hospital explodes as she dies to make up for the fact that he doesn’t have the footage. The entire student body and faculty are furious at how he handled his mother’s death and he grows suicidal until he meets a lady named Eri.

Eri says that she liked his movie but that he wasn’t very professional in how he crafted it so she will train him to make a new one. They’ll meet every night and weekend to watch a bunch of movies at an abandoned building she hangs out at. Yuta agrees to do so and now he will be recording her but will this really give him peace and is she really just trying to help him out or does she have some kind of ulterior motive?

To be honest if she had an ulterior motive then Yuta was probably doomed from the start since he went along with her plans anyway. At its core this is a fairly emotional story about overcoming loss and grief while trying to restart your life. The story is self contained in this adventure so there is a beginning, middle, and ending. The cast is very small though with Yuta and Eri being the only real characters with a big role. Yuta’s father does get some solid scenes near the middle though which I thought were handled well. He comes across as a very understanding guy and one who made his share of mistakes but does his best to make things right.

So onto the positives, I thought Eri was a solid character. Whatever her reasons may have been, she did stop Yuta from taking his own life which is massive as a start. From there on she helped give him courage and drive to keep on going and find a new path. Even when she was sick she handled it well and ultimately was the kind of character who helped make a difference in the world. To combat that, I did not like Yuta. The explosion at the end of the video was fine enough, I can see how it would be a scandal but apparently that’s how he usually tends to end his videos. He likes putting a fantasy element in it.

My real issue with him is that he’s not a very classy guy. He throws in some crude humor here like filming himself using the bathroom. Really? That’s just taking things way too far and he’s also not very classy about the kinds of movie scenes that he likes. He’s so obvious about it that he even has to comment on those moments. So yeah Yuta’s not a very stand up guy and probably not someone that would be super easy to get along with. I think he could have toned down these parts of his personality. It’s probably to show how comfortable he is with Eri but it doesn’t make him look any better.

The story can be rather dark although you probably guessed that by the subject matter. Even towards the end we get some sad twists about the mother and it all plays into the theme of how people can be very different in real life than they are from the recordings. Even though Yuta is recording these characters himself, it is only a small part of who they really were and anyone can fake things in front of a camera. I thought the twist about the mother was a bit much tbh, particularly as it doesn’t directly impact Yuta all that much. It’s more of an effect for the reader at this point.

As for the artwork, it’s okay. It’s not one of the better art pieces that I’ve seen but it does the job. I’d consider it slightly below average but you always know what’s going on. It’s also partially the style as it’s trying to be very live action-esque which often does not translate quite as smoothly into manga. I also think you shouldn’t even strive to look as realistic as possible. There’s a fine line between coming close in a stylized way like One Punch Man and then just not being visually appealing.

Now I was mixed on how much I should put a spoiler warning for a one shot because either you’ve read it or you haven’t but I’ll throw it in just in case. Skip the next 5 paragraphs if you haven’t read the one shot because there are a lot of twists at the end. As I said earlier, the twists are what make the story after all so you probably don’t want to know them ahead of time or it’ll take part of the fun away. It is the kind of story that could change a bit when you know the twists though so either way you may want to re read parts of it.

Okay so in the end Yuta makes his new movie about Eri as he is able to film her all the way to her dying breath this time. The movie is received very well by the school this time and Yuta goes on to have a family and live a good life. The life has its ups and downs but then his family is in an accident one day and they all die so he is the last survivor now. He decides to take his own life once again and goes to where Eri used to hang out except she is still there and hasn’t aged a day. She mentions that she is a vampire and will never die but her brain resets so she had him create the video so she could remember her old life and never be sad anymore. This gives Yuta a new lease on life so he heads out…and then the building explodes.

So what does this mean? Was the entire adventure actually a part of his movie? If so, when did the movie start and was any of this actually real or was it a video the entire time? Did he actually blow up the building because he was that insane? There’s a lot of ways to read this and you could have fun bouncing it around in your head for a long while. To be honest this was probably going to be a 4 or a 5 without the twists at the end because it would have been relentlessly sad if Yuta survived all of that only for his whole family to have died. If he also died in the end the score would have been lowered even further without a doubt.

Instead, this actually ended things on a more positive note. Whether you think it’s real or not, it’s at least a little upbeat that he got to walk out and the explosion was a nice touch. Still, I’m not going to cop out on you here so I’m going to give you a real answer on how I interpreted this. I was on the fence about the two so real quick here was my runner up theory. At the end Yuta really did blow up the place so this way there would be fantasy in his story again. There really was no vampire (Is what he would rationalize in his head) and the ending would have been true from his story. It’s an interesting theory but I don’t think it’s right.

So what I think is that everything until he meets up with Eri is completely real. Yuta recorded his mother’s life and then he made a movie which was shunned by the school. He met up with Eri in the shed and they watched a ton of movies together. Eri got sick and then she died. This is the turning point. At this point Yuta started recording the extra scenes including the fake ending. The fantasy angle that he always talked about is why he added a vampire at the end and the big explosion. He didn’t actually grow up and have a family. That was all narration from him inside the film. So every scene after Eri dies is a part of the actual movie. It would be easy to fake his being older with special effects and since he discussed with Eri the whole film before hand, they would have filmed the scene in advance.

To me this makes the most sense. I feel like the constant mentions of his wanting to add a fantasy edge to it were all leading up to this. The strongest counter argument to this is how strongly you believe the narration that isn’t within the film panels. Alternately you could just say that the whole thing is a movie to be extra meta but I think doing that weakens the story as a whole. If nothing was real then it’s all a bit pointless. I also just don’t think that’s even a possibility. I’m sure there are a lot of other fun theories you could come up with after this one shot, but this is the one I stick to at least. Eri’s death was the final real scene here and the rest was within the film that everyone was watching. Of course if you play it straight and everything was real including the explosion at the building that would be a really intense way to go. It’s why I was torn on which option to go with and that ended up being my runner up.

Overall, Goodbye Eri is one of those stories teetering on the brink of total destruction and being a good story. I was even a bit stressed for it the whole time because it was hard to tell just how it was going. Fortunately the ending pulls through and in the end this would be a story that I would recommend. It’s sad without throwing this in your face the whole time and while none of the characters are particularly noteworthy, they all accomplish their tasks well enough. The writing is solid enough to hold this all together and so overall it holds its own. It’s long enough to be collected into volume format one day so I wonder if this would ever get printed over here. Who knows, maybe one day it’ll turn out that this was actually the pilot to an ongoing story.

Overall 6/10

Voice Over! Seiyu Academy Review


Time to check out a manga about voice acting. It’s a fairly unique premise to build the series around and works well with your classic rom-com setup. If anything I thought this series really could have been quite a bit longer. I’d have liked to see Hime get to progress more so we could see her in the bigger productions. The series really seems to end just when she has broken out of her shell with the inevitable big time skip. 12 volumes is nothing to sneeze at but something like 16-20 would have been good. All in all, this is a fun series with a satisfying conclusion.

The series focuses around Hime who is a girl that really wants to be a talented voice actress. She attends Seiyu Academy for that one goal but she does have a big weakness. The problem is that her voice…makes her sound like a gorilla. The higher pitch she tries to use, the deeper and rougher the voice comes out. It’s all frustrating for Hime because she has been practicing for so long but has not even come close to her goal. Ultimately she wants to be a “Lovely Blazer” which is what the fighters in a popular anime/music group/vocal group are called. Meeting one in person was what inspired her as a kid.

Still, dreams are only dreams until she can get close. At the school she meets up with the popular boy at school known as Senri. Senri is the opposite as he is extremely talented in any role and is seen as a prodigy. Unfortunately they don’t get off on the right foot so he really dislikes her now. (His fault because he starts off by insulting her) When a play reading for Snow White goes wrong, Hime discovers that she does have exceptional voice acting talent…for male characters. This isn’t exactly her dream though and she wants to keep it a secret. She meets up with a voice coach who makes a deal with her. She has to keep performing as a guy in secret by dressing up as a guy and living a double life. If she can pull this off for a while then he promises to make her a big star as a girl too. Hime’s double life has now begun, but how long can she keep up the act!?

Double lives tend to be fun because it just opens up so many possibilities for story telling. It’s part of what makes superheroes fun as well. Hime has to keep on deceiving everyone as she pulls off her skills to the point where she has to even live at a different place temporarily so nobody knows what’s going on. She has some family issues at home though so this is easy. (Everyone has family issues in this series) Ironically enough, she gets along with Senri really well in her alter ego but the longer she keeps up the secret, the harder it will be to tell him the truth.

So there’s a ton going on here which is part of why I said it could have been longer. For starters, she’s in her boy form so long that “Hime” can vanish for whole volumes. It becomes very rare to see her at all sometimes to the point where you get used to her other design more. Each plot also has its own set of characters. As Hime she hangs out with the dropout group where the voice actors/actresses were just not big enough to be popular. At school they all help each other to be better. As “Shiro” she hangs out with the expert music stars and directors and also meets Mizuki, a guy who ends up liking her and is quite possibly the worst character in the series although I do not think this was intentional by the series.

So lets go through each side here. I would say the Shiro plot was the strongest one since it’s really the meat of the series. Having to assume a whole new identity and keep the bluff going allows for a lot of shenanigans to occur but also shows how versatile Shiro is. She is still able to make friends quickly and everyone respects her work ethic. She is still a newbie to all of this after all but begins to improve very quickly. Even the tough director gives her a pass after a while.

While I don’t like him, Mizuki will also stick up for her. This storyline also allows us to learn more about Senri’s situation which is certainly complicated. You know that this alter ego will have to end at some point but it’s fun for the duration of the series. I think Hime should even have kept that as something to use if she’s ever in a tough spot trying to find roles as herself. Or maybe reveal it by being in a show where she plays both roles but I’m not sure how feasible that would be long-term. The more the years go by the more her Shiro disguise likely wouldn’t work. It’s the kind of thing that mainly works because she’s still a kid, well I guess teenager at this point but still on the younger side.

As mentioned, Mizuki is just a character I didn’t like at all. The guy’s a big star who is really timid after things didn’t work out with the first girl he liked. He tried his best to help her out at every corner but ultimately this caused her to think he was stifling her development and she had an outburst before dashing off. Honestly I wouldn’t say he did anything wrong there and the girl just should have spoken up. Regardless this traumatized Mizuki so with Hime he is really trying to have a balance where he helps out but lets her do her own thing.

So that’s good but then he ends up trying to make some moves on her and this is where he faltered badly. He’s the kind of character who is nice one second and then quite rude the next. You were never rooting for him to win with her at any point. His origin was sad so you want to cut him some slack but he didn’t make the double life any easier on her when he starts up with the drama. At least he gave her the glasses which could help her get into the prince voice easier.

Senri gets a big role in both sides of the plot. While he doesn’t get along with Hime at all, he does form a quick bond with “Shiro”. After all, for him it’s just easier to hang out with another guy since he at least has some experience there. Senri easily has the biggest character arc in the series and it’s one that was handled well. He slowly breaks out of his shell and learns how to live normally. I thought his plot was usually the most engaging so I was always ready to see what was going on with him.

He also has the most tragic backstory of the group. So his mother Sakura is the world’s greatest actress. She didn’t start out that skilled but had a drive like no other. She ultimately had Senri as a kid but had stopped being an ordinary person long ago. So she raised him as if they were in a movie. Every action and moment was according to the characters they played and so she didn’t see him as her son. Senri grew up with this rather twisted view of the world where everyone was faking their actions and playing roles. This led to a lot of friendships being broken and his becoming a loner.

It’s easy to see how he doesn’t know how to connect with anyone in the present. It’s not like you pick up social skills automatically. How you’re raised plays a big role there and so he was completely broken since he was raised in a way where he didn’t know what was an emotion and what was the role. In the present it makes for an interesting character trait since he really can’t tell if he is in a role or not. That’s definitely a high level of trauma.

So while Sakura’s skills are very good, this hurts her as a character quite a bit. You like to think that she would have been able to raise Senri a little better than she did but he never ended up becoming her top priority. She would always choose work first and of course work is important but Senri’s life was very nearly ruined as a young age. Without Shiro he would have only grown worse.

Shuuma is Mizuki’s friend and he wasn’t very good right from the start. He jumps right towards bullying Shiro from the start to drive him away from Mizuki. It’s the kind of petty tactic that you can’t really come back from. So while this was short lived, it’s not like he had any great moments after this to improve his character further. Fujimori is another character from the agency plot and he’s much better. The guy is rivals with Mizuki but doesn’t randomly go after Shiro to make himself feel better.

In fact, he quickly learns that teamwork is good and is very supportive the whole time. He does end up getting caught in the romance crossfire between the other characters so they’ll randomly attack him but the guy meant well. He’s a rather minor character overall but he was always entertaining.

That’s about all of the characters from the Shiro plot. Before going over to Hime’s story, just a quick reminder that Hime = Shiro. Shiro is just the cover for Hime when she has to work as a guy for a while and using the separate terms in the review is an easy way to keep the two plots separate. For the most part the storylines and characters don’t interact nearly as much as you would expect. There is some overlap like how Senri is at school and in the business but for the most part he’s more of an exception.

Hime and Shiro have the same personality so there’s no sense in talking about the character twice. Hime is a solid main character. She may not be particularly talented at the start but she doesn’t let this get her down and just keeps at it until she can be the best. We actually do get to see a lot of chapters where Hime is training and practicing various steps. I would say it’s very rare that we see this level of training so the author really did a good job in showing just how much drive she had. If any character deserved to get good then it was her.

This is also what helped Haruka to be a likable character. So in the Hime plot, he has given her the mission to pretend to be a guy for a while to get her networking experience, connections, and basically because that’s the only kind of voice she can use at the moment. He acts tough on the outside but he really does this to help her out. So when she gets bullied or talked down to, he always has her back. There was one scene in particular where they go to Hime’s house because they needed permission from her mother for something.

In the scene Hime’s mother keeps talking about her other daughter and dissing Hime the whole time. Haruka was quick to take Hime’s defense and publicly support her there. I thought it was a really pivotal moment and you always want to have an ally like that. When Hime gets sick, Haruka helps make sure she gets peace and quiet. He ends up feeling like the parental figure that Hime never had.

While Hime’s mother looks bad the whole time, none of the blame can be put on Hime’s younger sister Akane. Akane is still just a kid and while she is super talented and successful, she is never mean about it. I get the feeling she’d like to be closer to Hime but it just isn’t possible in this toxic household. Between Hime and Senri’s mothers, the series certainly has a lot of broken households where the characters weren’t raised well. At least you’re glad that Akane was able to have a successful life so far.

Then you have Hime’s friends at school who are all in the delinquent/lower class because they struggle with one form of voicework or another. First is Tsukino and her issue is that her voice is just really low. It’s hard for her to use her voice more since she got bullied for it a whole lot. Part of Hime’s role in this group is to get everyone past their fears though and gradually Tsukino gets past hers. I wouldn’t say she gets a lot of moments in the series but everyone got something to do and this was a nice enough plot.

In general I just liked how close knit the group was and how they would all have each other’s backs during the tough times. Shou is the tough punk of the group and basically isn’t doing well because he can seem like a bit of a delinquent. This comes in handy though because he doesn’t let anyone mess with them. Additionally he’s able to be friends with Ume who had a tough time being with others. Ume could be a little stuck up at times and with her talent for writing scripts, she wouldn’t take the voice actors/actresses into account. Gradually she is able to fix this.

That really wraps up both sides of the adventures here. The cast is fairly large here and they’re all balanced well. It does go back to what I was saying about the series being a little short though. With all of these characters I really think it could have been really good to have just had a few more volumes. It feels like there is still so much to do when the series ends. We didn’t really get to see everyone’s reactions to finding out about Hime, her journey into being more successful, etc. You just have to try your best to fit in the pieces when the time skip jumps in.

The artwork here is good. I wouldn’t say it’s one of the stronger Shojo titles that I’ve read in that area but the writing is able to hold it up. You’ll be blasting through each volume because it just ends up being a real page turner. The humor works well enough and balances out the more serious moments here. I suppose the romance wasn’t bad. Any scene with Mizuki in it was always annoying but the rest wasn’t super dramatic nor was it usually the focus so that helped. This way the title got to be more about the various friendships with the characters and how they all help each other to succeed. An academy where you train to be a professional should be a place like that where you can count on others to have your back.

Overall, Voice Over is a series that I would certainly recommend. It’s a fairly unique premise and it’s always fun to see the inner workings of how the voices go. Changing up your voice and doing a lot of roles always seems like something that would be difficult to do. Naturally it’s best when people just like your default voice so you can keep using that but I want to say that most won’t be so lucky. You’ll need to be able to play many different roles. So if you’re up for a light hearted adventure then this is a fun one to check out. Where else will you get a fun comedy with the main character living two lives right?

Overall 7/10

The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún Review


This is a very unique manga title right from the jump although you could probably guess that from the cover. After all it looks like a bit of an abstract title that’s rather dark but with the kid on it you also think of something like Yotsuba. Ultimately I would consider this to be a slice of life for the most part but it’s set in an apocalyptic future so you always feel like there is some danger around the corner. As the series goes on we get some more answers and plotlines to switch things up as well.

The manga starts by introducing us to a young girl named Shiva who is all on her own. Right off the bat you can tell that there are a lot of questions here. Why is this little girl all by herself in the middle of nowhere? Well, a monster appears and says that her aunt will be back to pick her up later. Okay…..this sounds tricky but Shiva is on board. She calls the monster “Teacher” and that will be how he’s referred to for the rest of the series. Her aunt appears but does not look very good to say the least. Shiva and Teacher must now survive by themselves in this desolate world.

I’ll quickly throw in some of the lore now. While more is explained later on, I think it’s best to learn most of the twists first hand so I’ll drop you in with that volume 1 knowledge. The world as we know it is in ruins. Humanity is alive but they’re effectively on the brink and like Attack on Titan, they just live within the walls. The “Other Side” is the rest of the world which is occupied by fierce monsters. These monsters are like trees and immune to conventional firepower. They just don’t seem to die. They aren’t incredibly powerful, you can eventually just stab them to pieces since they don’t regenerate. (Being immortal without regeneration is truly a burden)

The reason the humans don’t just go and exterminate them is due to the sheer numbers of monsters and how dangerous that is. If a monster makes contact with you for even an instant, then you become a monster as well. It’s similar to what happens when a vampire bites you or a zombie makes contact with you. So humans live on their own and let the Outside be as it may. Why Shiva is on the outside is another mystery. Additionally, the monsters all appear mindless and are unable to communicate verbally but Teacher is able to without any issues. Unfortunately he has no memories so he isn’t able to answer any questions directly. In that way both characters are in the dark.

So for a while the two just live out life the best they can. Shiva is still quite young and just having someone to watch over her makes the kid happy. They do their best to make pies, learn how to do daily chores, and go for walks. The whole time it is difficult for Teacher though since they can’t make contact. Every task is infinitely harder whether it’s cooking, cleaning, or just walking around. If his hand so much as grazes her then it could be all over. This is where I’d make the comparison to something like Yotsuba because each chapter would have some new adventure.

The comparison does end there though because of the danger. You’re not going to see big monsters running around in that series after all. This is not an action series but there are some fights that show up now and again. The humans will occasionally try to get Shiva whether it be to “Save” her from Teacher or to take her out. This is definitely one of those series where the humans don’t look very good though so you will not be rooting for them here. If anything you’re just hoping that the monsters can wipe them out and quick. There aren’t ultimately any big winners here though because either way the world is already doomed.

Not surprisingly, with the world in ruins there are definitely some religious themes here on the human’s side. They talk about prophecies and are fairly down the rabbit hole here. Unfortunately most of them are crazy and the only ones who don’t subscribe to this are not really in a position to stop the bigshots. One of the Bishops/Popes looks good in the end as he finally makes the right move before it was too late. Most of the others want to preserve the status quo and fulfill their prophecies even if it means murdering a small child. This is exactly why you root for the monsters half the time.

Also, the monsters get more sympathetic moments than the humans. The series starts to get really abstract towards the end but we learn more about the creatures, their goals, and what they’re doing here. You don’t get all of the answers but as these monsters are emotionless, they don’t really mean any harm. They even come in handy and end up being helpful a few times. You would much rather have them at your back than the humans.

Teacher is also the best character here by far. He does have his moments where he loses his way or gets discouraged but if Shiva’s in danger then you can count on him to help. Part of why Teacher isn’t always sure of what to do is because he does think it would be best if Shiva could find a nice human to raise her. As a monster he just doesn’t know if he’s up to the job and it doesn’t help that you will have the occasional human try to make him feel worse about this as well. In that sense it’s hard for him to come to terms with the situation even up through the very end of the series.

It’s also tough being a tree monster. He gets attacked by humans quite a few times and can’t always win. Once you knock him down then it’s hard to keep on fighting which seems to be a weakness for the whole species. There are some bird creatures but they seem to have much lower durability as a result so you win some and you lose some. The battles are a fun change of pace when they do happen. The humans always tend to try and win with pure numbers so expect a lot of gang tactics there. They know that they can’t beat the monsters 1 on 1.

For Shiva, well she’s a little kid so there’s not much to her. She’s nice enough and does her best to try to take things in stride. At first she’s sad and confused but gradually gets used to being with Teacher. Shiva is certainly put through a lot of tough ordeals and doesn’t let any of them break her so that’s a credit to her character. Not the most interesting character but she’s not bad.

The artwork is not really my thing though. It’s very detailed which is good but with the colors and shading it just doesn’t feel as easy to read as some of the others. It’s certainly not a bright style and some pages can take you a little longer to read as a result since you aren’t sure of exactly what is happening. It does help the manga be a little longer though. It’s atmospheric so I can see how the style matches the story but I would call it one of the weaker art styles. The fights and events would be enhanced further with a more traditional look. We do get some very powerful shots either way though as the monsters blend into the darkness.

“Fun” might not sound like the right adjective here, but I had a good time with the manga. I didn’t care for the ending though. It was the wrong way to go about it if you ask me. There’s a lot going on here conceptually as the characters have to tackle a lot but in the end this just wasn’t the satisfying ending I was hoping for. It’s not exactly upbeat and while the series itself may not have been upbeat, I think it would have been a good idea as the adventure came to a close. This one felt more tragic than anything.

You always got the feeling that it might go this way though even if you were hoping for a different ending. Any look at the volumes or artwork within them and you get the feeling that while things are happy now, they could change at any moment. I think that’s all part of the atmosphere that the series built up. It’s something that is hard to capture in a manga so props there and the artwork is a big part of it. I guess I’d think of it as indie artwork. It’s like in a movie that’s made by an independent studio or a game like Undertale. The artstyle, filming angles, and everything about them are meant to let you know upfront that something bad could happen at any point even if things seem happy.

As a result the series is usually tense for the characters and it even happens a few times during the story. Teacher might be playing with Shiva one moment and then she’s gone the next. Was she kidnapped, is she walking somewhere, did she get lost? As a tree his senses aren’t the best and with danger around every corner he is always concerned. As the reader you also don’t know what happened to her most times so you have to wait it out with him as he tries to locate her.

Due to the nature of the series there isn’t a lot of replay value here. It’s the kind of title you read through once to see how it plays out and ends but otherwise there isn’t a lot of reason to go back. It’s very low key and usually you would build up the replay value through comedy or a lot of mystery plotlines to counter that. This one doesn’t have any real comedy like that and for the suspense, that’s never really the focus. There are plot twists and lore in the series but it never plays out like an active mystery in that sense. There is a lot of interesting things that you could do with this world like seeing how the people still operate and more on logistics but since the series is focused on Shiva and Teacher, they never really get into that.

A prequel could be interesting although it would need to be handled carefully. With this world working like the medieval times, I could see the human side being rather gritty if we focused on it. Seeing more in depth how this all started would be fun but I could also see fans not being thrilled about it since that’s never what this series was all about. That doesn’t need to stop the prequel though, I always say that even if a prequel or sequel doesn’t turn out well, it shouldn’t impact the original product. Feelings tend to vary there but that’s my stance at least.

The cast is rather small besides Shiva and Teacher. There is the aunt as I mentioned as well as the Pope, random soldiers, and the other monsters. Some of these characters do get a bit of a roll but as the whole series is shrouded in mystery I won’t go too far into that. For the monster side, they tend to have a lot of grand dialogue so you want to listen carefully to understand the implications of what they’re saying. It’s usually all roundabout and meant to really make you think. This is a series where it is absolutely best to go in blind. It can be a bit of a slow burner so if you go in already knowing the full plot elements then that may feel even more so. If you’re here for the slice of life elements, then it won’t be a concern since those can’t be hurt by spoilers. There’s a good amount of both so whether you’re here for the story or the happy adventures then you should be in a good spot.

Overall, The Girl from the Other Side is a pretty interesting series. I don’t think it ever maximizes how good it could have been since it really sticks to focusing on Shiva and Teacher. It’s all very atmospheric and mysterious with what’s going on here but more of a direct plot as the heroes uncover conspiracies or something could have helped. Maybe give Shiva a time skip so she’s old enough to fight and then you turn this into an action series? None of this is what the title was going for though and ultimately it still managed to be a good title. Not everything has to be the next all time great and this is a very unique story which should be enough to get a lot of fans in. If you’re looking for a series where everything always seems “off” and the heroes have to survive while learning more about the environment and who is around them, then this is a good pick. After all, a world filled with monsters already seems rather deadly.

Overall 6/10

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: Big Bang Mission! Review


The next Dragon Ball Heroes manga has ended so it’s time for another review. I have to say that it’s quite impressive how long Heroes has gone on. If you merge the various Heroes titles together then we’re likely already at double digits. If this keeps up, someday it might even become longer than DBZ. There’s a ways to go until then but I don’t see any reason why this can’t keep on going. As far as I know it sells well enough and is popular so that’s what counts. There’s a ton of action and things going on here so lets get right to it.

The saga starts with Fuu making his big move. The entire franchise has led itself up to this so we have made it to the climax. He is allied with Dogi-Dogi and is intent on kidnapping Toki-Toki, the legendary bird of ultimate power. With these two he can bring the ultimate tree back and if his plans succeed then he will be able to end all of reality. The threat is so grave that all of the gods show up as well as the time patrol. The gods are naturally unreasonable and want to just destroy Toki-Toki. Goku and friends will have to stop them as well as Fuu and all of the various enemies that the guy has managed to recruit across the cosmos. Fight hard Son Goku!!

Now, as always one of Heroes’ greatest strengths is also its weakness. There are a ton of battles going on and numerous characters show up at the drop of a hat. The good thing about this is that there is never a dull moment around. The bad part is that some plots don’t end/will never finish and some battles have to be done off screen or ended real quick. There are only 15 chapters here after all so even though the length is rather long for each chapter, there is only so much you can do. For example, the gods were getting a lot of hype for this arc as we would finally get the big Goku vs Beerus rematch but the gods are written out after the first chapter. The fight that we did get was fun but I really wish it was longer.

The artwork is definitely really good though and I dare say that the artist has been getting better and better. Sometimes the dark color from the energy being produced can be a little overwhelming so you can’t see much but it isn’t done as much as in the first Heroes arc. At this point the art has really been cleaned up and it could hold its own with DBZ and Super.

For the characters there are quite a lot here but the writer does a good job of always distinguishing the two Goku and Vegetas. The Super versions of these characters are eager to fight at all times and have that youthful optimism. The Time Patrol Goku and Vegeta seem a lot older and wiser to the point where they’re really just here to complete their business and move on. At times you may see some of that old cheerfulness with Goku but it’s rare as the guy is just so serious now. You get the feeling that he would pack Beerus away if they fought but then again I think the same thing about the normal Goku too.

In the first arc of the series which is the first 6 chapters, we get to see quite a lot of fights so lets go through them. I’ll at least go through the big fights like Dr. W vs Goku and Vegeta. This was a really solid fight. While W was on the defensive for most of it, we got to see how he used his intelligence and gadgets to his advantage. His constant teleporting around was handy and of course he also had Janemba to send after the villains. Ultimately this turned out to be a new version of Dr. Wheelo and a big improvement over his first appearance. I was really pleased with how he turned out here.

Janemba also looked powerful as it took limit breaker SSJ4 forms to take him out. The guy definitely got his due respect. Bojack and Turles also appeared to give Goku and Vegeta a good run for their money. For returning villains they were really good picks to bring into the mix. Particularly Turles as I always liked that guy. Bojack’s cool as well of course and with their big power ups they were able to buy some time.

I should mention there was also a subplot with the demons showing up. As always they appear to get some action and help out but you always feel like they are a rather random group that doesn’t ultimately get to do a whole lot here. The demon side has a few factions as well so it can be hard to keep them straight. One day I’ll know all of their names by heart and that will make it easier. In the meantime it’s always nice to see them but I don’t have much of an opinion on their individual members. They all seem like useful fighters and solid characters though.

Broly randomly shows up near the end but random or not, I was glad to see him. The guy adds some extra energy to any scene that he’s in. It’s also impressive that his power level is so high that he can go up against Vegito and Gogeta level fighters. You have to admit that this is really impressive. He gets to appear a lot but he’s really earned it so I hope he’s in the next saga too.

Then of course there is Fuu who gets several super forms here. The guy really doesn’t give up and he did well to make it this far in his quest. Making enemies out of the gods and the saiyans would usually leave you dead by now. He’s done well as the mastermind and even more importantly, he proves that he could fight up close and personal when needed. As a result this is a villain that everyone can respect and there are few who could even try to stop him anyway. At this point his abilities are just far above most others.

His parents Towa and Mira also get to appear here. They look good and have his back the whole time. He probably still shouldn’t trust them too much since demons can rarely be trusted, even when they’re family. Towa has powerful barriers and Mira is a solid close combat fighter so they really make for a good pair. It was nice to see them and of course they also get to fight against some of the other demons which made for some good battles.

That about wraps it up for arc 1. Before heading into Arc 2 I can definitely say that this was an excellent way to kick things off. There is no down time in the chapters and the fights were a blast. While there will always be some power level concerns when every character is a universe buster at this point, the arc mainly did well with this. I would make the case that Goku should have easily crushed Beerus when they fought though. There’s no way they’re still on the same level.

In the next arc, well Fuu’s plan worked and a new universe was born. So Goku wakes up there with his only ally being Hearts. The two of them have to fight their way out while finding the other heroes and then perhaps they can undo Fuu’s time stop and take him out for good. Everyone else also finds themselves in sticky situations on this new planet and may have to team up with unlikely allies.

The first big fight here is with Goku and Hearts vs Cooler and Frieza. Now you may wonder why Goku doesn’t wreck them immediately but remember that Goku just came out of his fight with Hearts so he’s super weakened. Still, with Hearts they are able to come out on top (And the help of a mysterious Saiyan) so things worked out well. It was a good way to kick things off and with two mysterious Saiyans running around, there was a nice sense of excitement in the background. Were these guys friend or foe?

Vegeta and Turles had an even tougher opponent in Cumber. Cumber was able to take out Vegito back in the day and even stalemated Ultra Instinct back to back. As you can imagine he was definitely winning this fight for a while. Turles got to have some really emotional moments as he helped Vegeta though and this ended up being one of the more satisfying fights. ONe really fun thing about this arc is how many Saiyan battles there are. They just kept on coming which is a very good thing.

One of the Saiyans turns out to be Zamasu in the end while the other one keeps his mystery. They end up fighting but it’s clear that Zamasu had the edge. That guy is definitely still one of my favorite Dragon Ball villains. He’s just so cool and always has a ton of confidence. That’s exactly what I want to see in my villains and apparently he even took down 99 other Gokus across the timelines. That’s extremely impressive and he also gets what might be the longest fight in the series aside from Fuu. That has to count for something.

The series gave him his proper respect and even a cool SSJ3 form. Goku and Vegeta even had to enter the hyperbolic time chamber to train for a while to beat him. After that was the only fight where you had to seriously question the power levels. Krillin has to go up against Dr. Wheelo. Now, Hearts did provide some backup support here but mainly it was Krillin all the way. I feel like that guy would lose immediately against Wheelo.

Krillin’s no longer in the same leagues as the others and hit the limits of what a human could do a long time ago. Throwing in Hearts at least helped a little though like when he pinned the guy to the ground with his cubes. At least it showed that Wheelo was not going to get hit otherwise. It doesn’t excuse the fight but at least an attempt was made. It made more sense to have Gohan win. Gohan’s fight was against Bojack instead and it was a fairly easy win. I don’t think Gohan really needed that rage power up and should have won anyway but the outcome’s the important thing.

One of the shorter fights is Omega Shenron vs Cumber. It comes out of the blue but it’s tough to see the final boss of GT going up against the strongest villain in Heroes. Cumber has really been getting a lot of screen time lately and I’m glad about that. He’s really a lot like Broly and I’m a big fan of Broly too so including both of them is genius. That leads to the climax with Fuu where we get the true final battle. There are quite a few big power ups and super forms at the ready as well.

It will satisfy you as the ending to the arc. It’s a great payoff for all of the waiting that we had to do as well as the hype behind Fuu. In the end, his plan lived up to the hype that he had been giving it the whole time. He really ended up being one of the strongest fighters in the whole Dragon Ball franchise even outside of Heroes. I suspect that this will finally be the end of him for a while but he definitely had a good run. He basically got to appear and be doing a lot in 3 different series. Now that’s impressive.

I didn’t talk about him much here but I should quickly mention Trunks. Previously he has been the unofficial main character of the series. As the main time patroller and someone who’s just really invested in this, the series always finds a way for him to appear. He’s the first to defy Beerus and then he also shows up to help against Fuu in the end. While he can’t compete with the other powerhouses for long periods of time, the series gives him a lot of hype in these moments. Trunks ends up being a very valuable ally to the team and he’s a fun character so that’s always nice to see.

Overall, Dragon Ball Heroes continues to be a very strong part of the Dragon Ball brand. The fact that they can just grab anyone from any part of the series is what makes the possibilities endless. The art is also very good here and the plot is strong so it feels like a very valid part of the verse. I certainly hope this keeps on going for a very long time. The latest saga just started after all and it looks to be another winner. Of course this title is nonstop action so if you don’t like big battles then it may not be for you but who doesn’t like big battles right? It gets your heart pumping as you see how hype this is and at the end of the day the series is also just a bunch of fun. It always leaves you with a grin.

Overall 9/10

Tokyo Shinobi Squad Review


Time to check out the next cancelled title. Tokyo Shinobi Squad did make it over 19 chapters so I suppose that it deserves some kudos for that. Still, it is easy to see why this one did not continue. It’s a shame because there was a lot of potential here but I guess it just didn’t get good enough, quick enough. If you like ninjas and/or sci-fi then you will have a good time here. Since it didn’t get many chapters before ending, it makes for a quick read.

The story starts off by introducing us to the current world. In the future, ninjas are back in business since the entire world has devolved into a chaotic region. The world is unified, however it is unified by the darkness thanks to Globalization. Basically the Japanese Prime Minister thought that uniting the world would be a good thing but instead terrorists and other villains used this as their chance to make a move. As a result, there are no real governments or police officers anymore. What remains are really just there for show. No, every big company and group hires ninja to actually do the dirty work. This has created an entire movement of ninja within a master association and a lot of freelancers as well.

There is no safe spot in all of Tokyo or the rest of the world now. That takes us to the intro where a kid named Ed is being chased by a bunch of thugs. He’s saved by a ninja named Jin. Jin’s ninja squad is different from most as he is very selective about his targets and only accepts missions that he perceives as just. Ed can’t pay him for being rescued but Jin decides to look after the kid anyway. Ed has a legendary scroll of memory manipulation and now he is being chased by villains all over the place. Can Jin protect him?

The other part of the world building is that scrolls are effectively guides on how to learn special techniques like elemental blasts. If you study one for a long time you can eventually use the power. Some takes years and some take months depending on both the rarity of the scroll and the talent of the user. Fortunately the main character Jin is a prodigy so he’s master lightning spells like crazy. Although there are some power level issues here but we’ll get into that here.

The intro is really just about beating up some gangsters. The first real arc has the heroes go on a mission to grab some data. Taiga is one of the members on Jin’s crew and he doesn’t approve of En joining up. He thinks that the kid will hold them back (Valid point) and that this is too dangerous. (Fair) Jin uses this as a way to show Taiga how En can contribute. See, the villains are attacking so there’s no way to download the files. Fortunately En has a complete photographic memory so he is able to memorize 1TB of data within a few minutes. That is impressive and it’s also impressive that the computer could show that much info at once. That’s the most impressive part tbh.

Jin deserves some praise for putting En in a position to succeed here. It was a fun enough story but the first chinks in the power level armor are discovered here as Jin gets nervous about having to deal with fodder. After all lets think about this for a second. En had to memorize this quickly because the heroes had to run. This implies that Jin and the crew were possibly going to lose to random minions?? Now that’s wild.

In the next arc, the heroes have to guard a model since a lot of models have been attacked lately. This time the main characters are Jin, En, and Papillon who is the strategic member of the group. We get some decent action scenes here as Papillon fights her opponent while Jin and En dash out of there. Why did they have to dash? Because the villains are too strong! Notice a pattern here? It all ends well and Jin gets a good fight in the intro as well but you just feel like he should be doing better considering how impressive his reputation is supposed to be.

We then enter the climax of the series as a training arc begins. I’m starting to think it’s true that doing a training arc nowadays is ill advised as series seem to keep getting cancelled after doing that. So each squad has to go back to the association once a year to validate their ranking and potentially move up. This is apparently Jin’s squad’s first full year so this is a big moment for them. They end up partnering with another group of fighters who know Jin from way back in the day. Their leader is like Rock Lee, he has physical powers but no ninja abilities.

The test has several steps including beating up minions and heading to a gladiator arena to fight off a bunch of opponents. Honestly the tests were fairly entertaining. Perhaps a little generic but I had a good time with them. The battles were solid and Jin was finally winning his fights without being in a lot of trouble so that was good. In a way this ended up being the final arc even though we had some stories after that so at least we ended with some action.

After that we got two one shot stories and then the final event. The first oneshot story doesn’t have much of a plot except as a very convoluted excuse to have Papillon and Jin share a kiss accidentally. It involves a cleaning lady bumping them together which is as contrived as it sounds. The next story was Taiga’s origin on how he joined the group. He was certainly more of a delinquent back in the day. It’s nice to know his origin but with the series winding down it felt like this was something that could have been skipped.

The final two stories have the head of the ninja association show up to demand that Jin hands over the legendary scroll that he’s holding onto. Apparently it’s actually one of the 5 McGuffins and they feel Jin’s squad isn’t ready for this responsibility. He might be right to be honest and Jin does get wrecked here so they have the right idea. We then get a big time skip and a huge cliffhanger to end things off with so it’s time for that sequel to be announced someday. I think it is better to end things off on a cliffhanger instead of abruptly ending things because it at least does open the door to a sequel someday. Perhaps your next series will be a huge hit and then you can use your clout to continue this one. At least I like to think that’s what the author was thinking.

So the story was good here and the artwork is also pretty solid. It’s certainly better than a lot of the other titles that I had been reading through and it’s very easy to follow the action scenes along. The fanservice is mainly kept to a minimum, Papillon is the only character who has to go through this. I do think the way her powers are set up (She fights by using her clothing which disintegrates the more she fights) was really only created for fanservice which is disappointing but she only gets 1 real fight in the series so it doesn’t end up becoming a big issue.

Now, like I said, the power levels are a bit iffy here. It really all revolves around Jin. So when the series starts we are introduced to Jin as a super prodigy. They haven’t seen his level of talent in a long time and he’s going to shake up the entire ninja world. If this is the case then why does Jin get nervous when random chumps show up? Either the average fighter is so weak that even as a prodigy Jin should be having trouble here or the author just didn’t execute well.

I have to assume the latter here. They really should have just cut all mentions to Jin being a prodigy and treat him like a normal main character who gets the job done. I think that would have gone a long way towards helping his character make more sense. After all, I do like his personality and he does well as the lead. He has a lot of confidence and is always trying to help everyone. I can certainly appreciate that and while it may all sound generic, it really works. The guy is clearly a good leader and would only get better. It just feels like he doesn’t live up to his tough talk nearly as much as he should and it seems like this is because the bar was raised way too high right from the jump.

En was okay but not great. As with many kids in action titles like this, he just can’t fight much so I feel like he holds the characters back a bit. In that sense I thought Taiga had a point, the kid’s just too young. After the timeskip En seems like he’s really ready for this and would make for a good addition to the team. Before then he can be a support member but shouldn’t be out on the field. Naturally he gets captured at least once during the series and it makes things tough on the heroes.

Then we have Papillon who is a solid heroine here. Her whole romance towards Jin feels completely out of nowhere though especially considering how the two were making it clear that this wasn’t the case early on. She does well in the fights and helps Jin accept the right missions when even he has doubts. Without her the group may not have lasted too long since he needs someone to reign them in. Then we have Taiga who is the power hitter of the group. Potentially he may be even stronger than Jin based on the opponents he takes out. Again, this should make absolutely no sense so I like to think Jin would still win with his speed but you’d think that this shouldn’t even be debatable. I like how loyal he is to Jin and he beats up anyone who badmouths him.

There’s Kenryu who is the guy who knew Jin from back in the day. It’s always good to have a human in a world filled with magic just to show that they can keep up. Ultimately the power creep would ensure that this guy is doomed but at least early on it’s a good idea. I like the guy well enough and he has a solid honor code which is always important. The guy has a good rivalry with Jin although long term I think Jin’s going to need a rival that poses more of a serious threat.

Finally for the heroes we have Shimon who was Jin’s mentor and he’s one of the highest ranking members of the ninja alliance. The guy is strong and proved it by absolutely wrecking Jin. He seems like a nice guy who is ultimately shackled by the rules but does his best to give Jin a chance. It’s a shame that he only got to appear in the last 2 episodes of the series but he still makes his presence felt the whole time. That’s how you know that he’s for real.

Then there are a few big villains. We’ve got Kanan who knows how to go in disguise to mess with the heroes. Unfortunately I wouldn’t say that he was all that memorable. In fact, that’s an issue with most of the villains. There weren’t any who really made me think “Wow this guy’s amazing!” I think part of the issue is that they all feel like similar characters. They’re evil Shinobi who are evil because…they’re evil. There isn’t a whole lot of character outside of that even if their powers are different. The guy with ice abilities gave Jin a good run for his money for example but beyond his abilities what could I really tell you about the guy? He talks tough and all….but that’s about it.

So the villain cast was on the weak side even though I enjoyed the heroes. Now, I think it’s safe to say that this was cancelled in part because of the training arc and in part because the series did not do everything it could with the lore. There was a ton of lore and world building at the beginning but ultimately it just didn’t amount to much. So what could the series have done to avoid being cancelled? There are 2 changes I would suggest. The first is to remove any reference to Jin being a prodigy or he needs to win his fights a lot easier and not be scared of random minions. You have to do one or the other and that would fix the main character’s inconsistencies. I get the feeling that the series was trying to make him like Gintama who is a top tier fighter in his verse but constantly sandbags. The issue here is that we have no indication that Jin is messing around, he’s always talking really tough after all while Gintama has more gags.

The other thing is we need some kind of mystery or intrigue. This may seem random but here’s why. Globalization destroyed the world here but how? Perhaps there is some conspiracy in here so what I would do is make that the real reason for why everyone wants En’s memory scroll. This could also give En a reason to wonder if Jin is really helping him or just wants the scroll. As the series goes on and En starts to learn his abilities, he would find out more about the events and that could last for the first few arcs. It gives you something to think about in addition to the immediate issue. That’s my 2 cents on what could have helped this series at least.

Overall, I did enjoy this series. I thought that the action and heroes were good. It definitely worked as more of a unique title for me and I do think it had a lot of potential. It already had a very different feel from Naruto so I don’t think it would have felt like a clone even though it is ninja based. Jin’s Lightning Blade technique does feel like it’s straight out of Naruto but that’s where the similarities really end. I would recommend giving this one a read. Even though it’s cancelled it still makes for a good story and it’s never a bad idea to meet more characters right?

Overall 7/10

The Seven Deadly Sins: Seven Days Review


Next up on the Seven Deadly Sins spinoff list is more of a romance title. Yes, Seven Days is a title that I would consider to be a romance first and foremost which is a first for this series. The main manga certainly had its share of romance plots but it was always an action/adventure as the main genre. Well, this title is exclusively about the romance between Ban and Elaine which is a change of pace right away. I’m not a big fan of the romance myself but the story is told well. We get some action and the characters are nice enough so that ends up being a win.

The story starts off by explaining that Elaine is one of the fairies tasked with protecting the fountain of eternal youth from any who should go into the forest. Fortunately she is not alone, her brother is the fairy king and he is incredibly strong. There are many powerful fairies within the forest and even the trees automatically protect against intruders. Unfortunately a bunch of the fairies were suckered by a corrupt human who kidnapped them and the King went off to save them. The rest of the fairies quickly ran away back to the Fairy Realm so Elaine is tasked as the only fairy left who must protect the whole kingdom on her own. The King said he would return shortly but now 700 years have passed. One day a mysterious traveler named Ban appears and he is in search of the fountain of Eternal Youth. Elaine must stop him but he seems different from the rest.

Elaine has good reasons to be really jaded at humanity. She has the ability to read minds and so far everyone who has come to the fountain to gain eternal youth has been a complete criminal. They all end up being liars and try to attack her right away. Fortunately she has been strong enough to defeat them all with ease but between that and a lot of the fairies being kidnapped, the humans do not look very trustworthy at all. Ban’s really shown to be the only good human here.

It is unfortunate that the rest of the fairies look so weak though. Losing to random humans like this isn’t a good look for them. If these were higher ranked villains then that would be different but the way they lost was sad. Even Elaine who looks impressive against the humans ends up faltering when an actual monster shows up. The Fairies definitely need some good power ups so they can alter the balance of power because this is really not working out for them.

Yes, a monster does show up in the second volume to add a little danger to the equation. Of course if you’ve read the main series then you know how this adventure has to end. In case you haven’t, I can say that this definitely changes the dynamic of the series and ties into Ban’s role in the main title. The ending is definitely an emotional one but with enough hope left where you know the characters can still have a chance.

The battle scene was also solid. It’s cool to see Ban fighting back in the day before he got his powers. He was still a strong fighter but of course not on the same level that he is currently. He fights more carefully than in the main series since he really can’t afford to be getting hit like normal but in the end he still can’t quite go up against the really strong opponents without his abilities.

Ban’s a likable character here. He’s quick to give up on his journey when he learns that it will hurt the forest and from then on just tries to help Elaine get through her boredom. I’m still not a fan of the romance angle here but at least through the series we take 7 days before they start to be together instead of right away. Still not a whole lot of time but since they’re both bored with absolutely nothing to do, it’s 7 days where they’re hanging out 24/7 instead of some hours at a time.

I also think the artist did a better job of drawing Elaine to look a little older at least. We know she’s 1000+ years old and all but when she looks too young it just doesn’t feel right. Still not a perfect scenario but better than it could have been. As for Elaine, she’s a good lead. She did well to protect the forest for 700 years without any real backup. (She has a demon dog but he vanishes whenever villains appear) If I was her I would be sore at how everyone just vanished though. The fairies completely ditched her so maybe she should have ditched the forest and left as well. The task just feels completely unreasonable.

It’s also a shame that she doesn’t have more ways to fight off this monster. I feel like she should have some kind of special abilities that would aid her here but she wasn’t really able to do much against this beast. If Ban were not here then she would have gone down in an instant. Ultimately she stayed heroic through to the end though and did not complain as she looked through the forest. It was certainly a relief for her to read Ban’s mind and finally find an honest human for the first time. Having the ability to read someone’s mind has got to be a very comforting feeling since you know for a fact that you aren’t being tricked.

This series (2 volumes, but that’s enough to be called a series I suppose) has a very small cast but I think that’s intentional to show how alone Elaine is. The other fairies appear briefly in volume 1 but after that it’s really just her and Ban the whole time. It’s hard to imagine how she didn’t go crazy just wandering around the forest for 700 years with nothing to do aside from murdering the occasional trespasser. There is some dialogue about how the passage of time feels different for immortals because of just how long it is but that’s still just a really long amount of time.

Also from just reading this series, you have to be mad at the King. He told her he’d be right back and then vanishes for 700 years? Aside from his death or complete memory erasure there is really no excuse for that. I also think there’s no excuse for other Fairies not arriving to work in shifts or to try and get her some intel. They sure show up very quickly in the epilogue when Ban’s around so where were they until then? These are the kinds of allies that you absolutely do not want.


Overall, Seven Days was a fun spinoff. It does show that you can have a quality romance adventure even if you’re not on board with the actual romance. The story’s very low key with lots of scenes of Ban just reading a book about beer labels to Elaine as he wows her with his adventures. The fact that this book is so low key is the point as she’s desperate for any activity that will erase her boredom and it’s a good way to connect the two characters. Elaine was always a fun enough character in the main series while Ban could be hit or miss. He was at his best in this story though and the author understood his character well. The ending is also solid and ties into the main series smoothly. As the story is stand alone you can read this without context of the main series and maybe it’ll even help you to give it a read. Either way, you’ll have a good time reading these two volumes.

Overall 7/10

The Seven Deadly Sins: Original Sins Review


As you probably know, I was not the biggest fan of the Seven Deadly Sins main series. Much like Fairy Tail, it could have been one of the all time elites but was held back by fanservice issues and a really poor main character in Meliodas. Still, with the concept being good, that always means that the spinoffs have a lot of potential since you can possibly get all of the highs without the lows if the stories end quickly enough. I would say this spinoff does a good job of that. It’s not amazing or anything like that but it’s a pretty good collection of stories where the Sins get to do their thing and take out the enemies.

The main story in this book sees Meliodas and the crew take on the vampires. This story is from before they disbanded so it’s fun to see the team together from back in the day. Even at this point they were all incredibly powerful and I think you could do a whole prequel that would be a lot of fun about this era. There isn’t a lot of danger as the heroes completely outrank the villains in every possible way but at least we get to see them all use their signature techniques.

From the vampires the only real notable one is Gelda as she would later go on to have a big role in the climax of the series. She’s certainly smarter than the average vampire and quickly knew the score and exactly how everything would play out right from the beginning. Her request to be destroyed by Meliodas still isn’t the right move here though even if winning would have been impossible. At this point she had no true allies or reasons to keep on going but she could have found some if she stuck around. It all ultimately ended up working out for her but if you read this story before reading the main series then she will come off as being someone who gives up way too quickly.

The strongest vampire was probably the leader who fought Escanor but even then you knew that he was doomed from the start. The art is great as always though so you can really appreciate the villain designs here. They just emit power in every panel. Likewise the heroes all look powerful here and you can see why they are known as the ultimate fighting force in the kingdom. It’s rare to have a hero group who completely outshine the villains like this but that’s just how good they are. It would be difficult for any group of villains to match them. The fights are solid so that’s why the vampire story is very good.

Then there’s a very short story where a few bandits decide to break into the cafe Meliodas owns to harass Elizabeth. Fortunately the rest of the Sins show up and beat up/intimidate those bandits for a while. The group’s always ready to watch out for her that’s for sure. While the story may make it seem like they arrived by accident, you get the feeling they’re all always on the lookout so as soon as the bandits showed up they knew what to do. This was before the popularity poll results in the volume so it was a good way to give everyone a moment to shine first.

Finally we have the pilot to the Seven Deadly Sins series. It’s always interesting to read the pilot to see how things changed from the original oneshot. For starters, Meliodas actually seems like a decent person here. He has a huge sword as well instead of the hilt that’s missing a blade. The plot itself is the same as Elizabeth shows up to try and locate the Seven Deadly Sins to help her retake the kingdom but they are all scattered to the winds. Her personality is very different though as she doesn’t really have any manners here and is super oblivious to all social rules.

In this case, her being a princess means that she doesn’t have much common sense and doesn’t know basic tasks. Unfortunately this is an excuse for some fanservice. The villain here is a little more deranged and one of those pervy type villains who is extremely annoying so the main series definitely had a better introduction when it comes to the villain. Both the original first chapter and pilot have different positives and negatives so in a way the series just changed up what held it back. It’s a decent pilot but it’s easy to see how this could have taken us down the wrong path.

The artwork has certainly improved from then though. You can’t really compare the character designs from the pilot to the main series, it’s just a world of difference and that makes sense since the artist is a lot more experienced now. With these 3 stories in here, this makes for a fun one shot. It’s always good to see the gang again and I’m glad these stories were put into a manga volume instead of staying in limbo for all eternity. This is certainly the better deal.

The Seven Deadly Sins may not be the best group of heroes out there as I’m not a huge fan of most of their members but it is a nice dynamic with how they’re barely a team. They don’t work very well together to the point where it’s extremely rare to see them all teaming up at the same time. They’re all just too strong so naturally they all have big egos and rivalries of their own. Merlin and Gowther always seem super suspicious so it’s hard to know what they’re thinking. King and Ban are always fighting, same with Ban and Meliodas. Escanor’s personality does a 180 based on whether it’s night or day and Diane is nice enough. Their chemistry makes for a lot of fun banter but usually won’t turn into teamwork. They’re so strong that it’s rarely needed though.

From the 3 stories my favorite one was the vampire story for the reasons listed above. It’s just a very classic action story and seems like the kind of plot you could expect to see in a movie. Second would be the short story about the Sins beating up the random bandits. It was really short but it was nice to see everyone defending Elizabeth there. Finally the pilot would be in last. Still a decent story but between the villain being pretty bad and Elizabeth not being at the top of her game it just couldn’t compete with the others.


Overall, Original Sins is a clever title for having the original story in here but at the same time it makes you think that this might be more of a full prequel instead. I still say that a story about their original adventures in full would be a lot of fun. If you’re a fan of the main series then you’ll definitely want to check this one out. If anything you may enjoy checking this one out if you haven’t read the original as well as it’s a decent jumping on point. The vampire story at the beginning tells you all of the character personalities and abilities while the pilot gives you a good idea of the story. So that way you’ll have a good idea on if you will like the series or not.

Overall 7/10

Megaman X3: Defeat the Doppler Army! Review


Time for another Megaman adventure. This time X is really put through the wringer as the situation gets a lot more personal. The story to X3 is really solid so I’d love a modern remake with full animation and cutscenes. That said, I want X9 even more so we can skip all of that if we can just get the games to continue. There’s so much more to do here!

The story starts really quickly as Zero calls Megaman and explains that everyone has gone maverick and the city is attacked. It really seems like every robot folds immediately to mind control in this universe. Well, Megaman heads over and is quickly betrayed by his old friend Mac. Zero destroys the guy and tells Megaman to keep his guard up at all times. It seems like the nice scientist who joined up recently (Doppler) may actually be a traitor but Megaman likes to think that he is just being manipulated.

Well, lets just say that he wasn’t at least based on this oneshot. There isn’t really time for that kind of twist right now at least. Still, Mac worked well as the opening traitor and while we only knew the guy for a page in this version, it showed how once again Megaman’s friends let him down. He took the Doppler part hard as well so Megaman even has to cry a bit here. It’s nothing new for the hero to get emotional. The one downside to having emotions in a world where nobody else does is that Megaman is often betrayed by everyone and there’s nobody he can really have help him out in this area.

Sure, Zero’s a great friend but as he admitted on multiple occasions, he doesn’t have emotions either so while he can try to console Megaman, it may not be very effective. It’s the thought that counts but in this version Zero doesn’t appear after he saved Megaman in the opening scene anyway. Vile gets to appear briefly which is fun although he’s called Vava for some reason. I assume that was just something up with the translation because I’ve never heard of that translation before.

It was cool to see him and I’d say this is what puts X3 above the other oneshot adaptions. This felt like more of an ensemble cast with the big characters like Zero and Vile showing up. The traitors helped to raise the stakes and make this personal for Megaman as well. So ultimately this was just a fun adventure and I don’t really have much negative to say about it. As always you’re lucky if you are the first robot master to appear. The ice fighters get a full battle here but most of the rest of the mavericks really don’t get more than one panel to them. Megaman even beats around 3 in a page which was impressive.

It makes sense so you can cover as much as possible though. Considering that we got to have Bit and his partner as well as their fused super form too, I would give the manga a lot of credit for including all of the key parts here. I would say that even without any prior context you can really keep up with the flow of what’s going on. You may not get some of the finer details on why everyone’s being mind controlled or being a traitor but that won’t stop you from enjoying the adventure.

Of course the art is pretty solid here as well. The character designs are on point and you can always feel a lot of action during the battles. The pages are easy to read through so you end up blasting through the whole thing right away. We also got the quick Dr. Light cameo and the classic power ups again. I feel like Megaman should just keep those upgrades on all the time but maybe they drain a lot of energy. It would at least spare him the effort of having to go and track them all down every time.

As a final note, I still enjoy Megaman’s confidence here. While he is usually known more for being dramatic and trying to talk every opponent down, Megaman can jump into action as needed. Due in part to the fast pacing of this manga adventure, Megaman usually jumps right into action. He’s shown to have good battle experience as he immediately figures out each maverick’s weakness and ends the fight quickly. So in a way, the fact that everything is sped up just makes him look even more impressive as a fighter.

Overall, Megaman X3 the oneshot reminds me that the game had a really fun story. It’s not a surprise as I did read the X3 full manga adaption not too long ago but it’s always nice to see it presented in different ways. The games really had complete stories and I can see why they were so well liked. We really need them to return at some point and that would be extremely hype. In the meantime, this is a oneshot I would definitely recommend checking out. At around 30 pages the size is good so you get to see all of the robot masters. We don’t cover the full game as there is a cliffhanger at the end but this way you can go and buy the video game to see how this really ends.

Overall 7/10