God of Highschool Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Dr Stone Season 2: Stone Wars Review


It feels like it’s been a while since Season 1 but now it’s finally time to enter the Stone Wars. Dr Stone has certainly been rising up the ranks quite a bit. It feels like it’s quietly begun to catch up to titles like Clover and MHA but maybe it only seems quiet because the other titles seem to be a lot bigger in America while I guess Stone has Japan at the ready since it keeps claiming the #1 spot in the magazine rankings. The Stone Wars have been hyped up since the beginning of season 1 and this season delivers by wrapping this up.

Well, Tsukasa has built his army of powerful warriors. He also has command over the revival cave so Senku is unable to call for any more reinforcements. Worse yet is the fact that their chief backup scientist Chrome has been abducted. Senku’s army of science is going to need to find a way to break Chrome out and stop Tsukasa all while keeping fatalities to 0. It’ll be the toughest objective he’s ever had to face and yet this kind of thing won’t phase Senku. He’s ready to do whatever it takes in order to claim victory.

As this season is throwing us more into the climax there is less time for the food recipes we got in season 1. There still is 2-3 hovering around like the cup ramen but nothing quite like the Senku Cola which I got the pleasure of making at home one day. Now that was a blast. This time the group has to get some more combat ready equipment on hand so that includes a tank, gunpowder, flash bombs, sonic weapons, etc. They definitely aren’t messing around here since one failure could very well equal death.

The season is only 11 episodes which feels really short but that does mean there’s always something happening in each episode. No time to waste. Tsukasa’s army also gets a chance to shine here as there are quite a few named fighters. Tsukasa and Hyoga aren’t the only ones running around after all. When the power gap is this wide it could be easy to assume that plot hax is the only way for the heroes to win but the difference in science is drastic enough where I’d say it makes sense. Science can easily tip the scales in a battle of humans. This is also all considering that Senku is effectively holding back because he doesn’t want to seriously injure or murder anybody.

If the Stone anime series has any weakness, it’s that the animators still haven’t really gotten used to the action scenes yet. While the animation in general is very solid, the action scenes are quite weak. There’s no impact to any of the blows so even powerful fighters like Tsukasa and Hyoga don’t look as impressive as they otherwise would. To try and get around this sometimes the show will use stills instead to at least have a more detailed shot which works well but I’d like to see the animation take a step up for some of the future fights. Dr Stone isn’t primarily an action series but that doesn’t mean you can’t have great fights right?

The subtitle “Stone Wars” and the excellent promotional artwork can also give you the wrong idea if you haven’t read the manga already. Don’t go in expecting a giant war season where everyone is fighting it out with nonstop action each episode. Keep in mind that at its core this is still a science based adventure where Senku is proving that science can always beat raw power. It would go against the show’s whole message if they were just punching everyone out…although I wouldn’t complain if that were the case because that would be hype. Maybe in a future arc Senku will build them all mecha suits or something.

As for the soundtrack, it’s definitely solid as always. You should recognize a lot of the tunes from season 1. The opening’s pretty solid too so you’ve got a good selection of tunes here. Mecha Senku doesn’t appear much this time but he still gets his moments and usually the music accompanying him is on point as well.

Now the question is, does season 2 beat season 1? It’s very close because season 1 had the big meetings with the characters as well as the tournament. The opening 3 or so episodes of the season may be the series at its peak. Ultimately, I would probably give season 1 the edge but it’s close enough where I wouldn’t say it’s a big deal. They’re both neck and neck and excel in different areas over each other.

Now lets take a look at the characters. Senku is the main character of course and he continues to show why he is the genius of the village. He always has a plan and then a backup option in case that one doesn’t work. He doesn’t always have time to explain things to the others but because of that he is able to even surprise the villains. Now that’s some next level prep work.

Then there’s Chrome who continues to be a great supporting character. He’s nowhere near Senku’s level at the moment but he’s a quick study. Also you have to consider the fact that he had no formal training the way Senku did. Chrome was studying in the stone age the whole time and didn’t have any access to textbooks or things like that. This season also gave him a chance to learn on his own and contribute without Senku being around. In a lot of ways this was Chrome’s season and he didn’t drop the ball when it counted.

Kohaku’s role is smaller than that of season 1 but she still makes her presence felt. She gains a rival of sorts in the gymnast who works for Tsukasa. Finally Kohaku had a worthy rival in close quarters combat. It was a pretty fun battle and Kohaku always adds a lot of energy to the team dynamic. You definitely need to have her around to complete the team.

Gen’s another important member even if he can’t keep up with the main 3. He uses his powers of persuasion to help the heroes when they’re trying to scam the villains. He’s definitely a hero who is very useful to the team. He may not be a fighter but his intellect is close to Senku’s, just not in a science sense. Gen is more about manipulation and is another memorable member of the cast.

Magma surprisingly gets quite a bit to do here. You could say he’s officially one of the supporting characters now although I suppose in season 1 he kept up a steady amount of activity. He’s still not all that impressive though since strength is his only thing and Taiju is stronger than him. So at the end of the day that means he is doomed here. As a character Magma still needs to do a lot more for me to like him.

Meanwhile it’s good to see Taiju and Yuzuriha back. It sure felt like a while since they got to appear and both of them look good here. Taiju is able to put his raw power to good use. He’s still a pacifist so he won’t actually punch anyone in the face or anything like that but he has other ways of showing off his power which really makes him have a commanding presence here. He’s also just very genuine in a fun way. Meanwhile Yuzuriha is a bit of a silent MVP as she singlehandedly saved many lives in this season with her sewing skills. With a lot of people being broken into pieces you can probably see how her sewing skills would be really handy.

Kaseki is still around but there’s a bit less for him to do. He’s one of those guys who is supremely helpful behind the scenes though. Suika is also good for surveillance but is a little too young to be super helpful in the field. Her agility is on point so she can always get away though. These two don’t stack up with the other characters but are pretty reasonable.

That brings us up to the villains. First is Homura and she’s a lot of fun. The fact that she was able to transition her gymnastics into a combat field is already impressive. Outrunning Kohaku who grew up in the jungle while dashing across trees is even more so. Their quick skirmishes are always a lot of fun and Homura does a good job of evading capture even when she was outnumbered around 10-1.

Then you have Ukyo who is one of Tsukasa’s most dangerous subordinates. The guy has super hearing to the point where he’s like a human sub. While the series is still pretty realistic there are slight exaggerations to character abilities to keep things interesting. We saw that with Tsukasa and Taiju’s super strength back in season 1 after all so why not apply that to agility and hearing as well right?

Ukyo’s a pretty interesting character but you could probably guess that from his first appearance in the show. There’s clearly more than meets the eye with this guy and he delivers. Nikki is another member of Tsukasa’s group. Her role is a bit smaller than the others but she comes in handy. She’s another power fighter like Magma, Taiju, and Tsukasa. She hasn’t gotten a big fight yet but I expect that will change eventually.

Then there’s Yo who’s role is also pretty small. His backstory as a cop is pretty entertaining though. The guy is right at home in the cave era with how much he likes to be in control. Yo also has a good backup plan for when things go south so you also have to give him some credit in an intelligence angle as well. Yo’s a fairly all around guy and I like his confidence. From all the villains he’s already top 3.

Finally you have the main two. First up is Tsukasa who already had stolen the show in season 1 and continues to be very strong here. He’s a villain without a doubt but one of those interesting villains who at least has a rational goal. We learn more about it as the season goes on too. It gives some extra depth to his mission and also answers some questions from season 1. Needless to say, the guy puts on a good show and his fight in the climax of the season is a lot of fun. There’s no character even close to passing him as the best in the series.

Finally there is Hyoga and immediately you can tell that he’s a lot more ruthless than Tsukasa. While Tsukasa prefers to avoid bloodshed whenever possible, Hyuga has no such reservations. He does what he wants whenever he wants and is willing to sacrifice other members of the team if it’ll keep him safe. So even if he’s on your side, he’s not someone you want to trust at all. He’s absolutely one of the more dangerous characters here though and makes for a good villain.

Those are all of the main characters I’d say. You’ve got others like Ginro and Kinro running around but they really don’t do much at all here. The show already has a fairly big cast so you can’t have everyone running around the battlefield or it’ll get a bit crazy. The cast is quite solid though which is good, they definitely hold their scenes. The season ends with quite a few direct cliffhangers that’ll help you get psyched up for season 3. Ideally the break won’t be too long since I think the date may already be out too although I forget when it is.

It’s definitely hard to match the war arc since you could say the stakes had never been higher. Tsukasa is the one who was trying to prevent scientific process and was willing to murder to get that across. In theory the heroes shouldn’t be facing any more opposition like that as long as they’re careful who they revive and in this case they already have the numbers advantage. Each arc brings with it new elements though so I won’t talk about what’s to come.

As a final note, I think a lot of Dr. Stone’s strength really comes from the writing. The show is always interesting whether it’s with the war going on or Gen and Senku just trying to scam people into joining their army. The show is able to balance out the humor and action pretty well and you couldn’t do that without a good character cast or solid writing. You can’t really have one without the other and that’s why the series is so effective.

Overall, Dr. Stone Season 2 is definitely a solid follow up to the original. With this arc completed we’ve really made it through all of the set up from the first season so you could say that a big chunk of the story is now complete. Of course we still need to know why everyone got turned to stone though and of course the manga is still going so you can bet that there will be a lot more characters and plots coming up. If you like a good adventure series with fun action and characters then this is a good title to check out. Naturally if you’re someone who enjoyed season 1 then you’ll definitely like this one as well.

Overall 8/10

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Review


The Promised Neverland Season 2 was definitely very controversial to say the least. It really did a number on the fans who wanted a faithful adaption and even to non fans who felt it was super rushed and didn’t feel natural. It’s certainly a unique case where it seems like the studio just wanted to wrap it up as soon as possible. At the very least it was fun keeping up with all the theories on why it ended so quickly and all of that but the burning question is…did it change for the better? Well…I have to say that it did. Granted I was never the biggest fan of the manga but the anime effectively toned down some of the darker elements of the story and made it more of a standard adventure which I’m game with.

Last time, the kids had just escaped and were on the run. Now that they were out of the orphanage they could try and either get over to the proper human world or at least survive somewhere safe. Emma has promised that she would go and save the rest of the kids though so no matter what happens, she won’t be leaving without them. Still, it’s a cruel world out there so this environment is going to test all of her abilities.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with the animation in the first season and it’s more or less the same here. It’s pretty standard stuff with some giant CG demons running around. The demons have lost their edge compared to season 1 though so don’t expect them to be all that intimidating here. They’re mainly only relevant when they’re getting beat up and need Emma’s help. How the times have changed eh? The CG is fairly minimal though and in a way I guess if you’re going to use it for something, demons make sense since it makes them look that much more crazy.

For the soundtrack, it’s also not too memorable. I couldn’t tell you a single theme here. The new theme song definitely isn’t up to par with the original one either. That one’s fairly iconic at this point while this one just sort of fades away. I wouldn’t call it bad, but it doesn’t leave any kind of impact. On a technical level it felt like this show was sort of just going through the motions.

The pacing and writing were fine though. It’s always interesting learning more about the world and there is certainly a whole lot of dialogue here. You can see how things get sped up at the beginning and ending though. Norman showing up near the beginning of the show felt rather crazy since it was a big deal that he was gone. I still have to say that it feels like a lot of plot hax how he actually survived and escaped though. The demons are clearly awful at their jobs as well as the human guards. How do you let a kid escape like that?

There are a lot of plot convenient things happening here though like an old man who has every answer you can possibly need and the villains getting foiled because of numerous traitors and getting overconfident. It also helps that the villains always miss their shots when they’re firing their guns or don’t fire at all. The kids don’t have guns in this version so they’re even more outmatched.

The final episode can be almost funny though with how things are skipped over. The actual promise with the alien thing? That’s a single camera shot here so if you were watching The Promised Neverland for…the promise, then you’re out of luck. That’s not something you’ll get to see here. The show throws in a few Easter Eggs like the wolf girl appearing in a prison cell and at least a reference to GoldyPond but that’s about it for throwing a bone to the fans who missed some of the skipped content. The ending’s far better than the manga version though so I’ll give you that.

That’s enough on the pacing though, lets talk about the characters and how they ended up shaking out in this version. First up is Emma since she is the main character after all. She’s certainly come a long way since in season 1 she wanted to escape at all costs and would slaughter any demon who got in her way. Things are more complicated in season 2 though since she has now met demons who are not really combatants. It turns out that demons have families and loved ones as well so this puts Emma in a rather difficult place.

It does end up hurting her character though because one thing I don’t like is when a character is opposing the main plan but has no actual solution. It’s something you would see a lot of in Attack on Titan. So Norman’s plan is he’ll poison the water and in that way they will end the entire demon race. The scary thing about the plan is how easy it will be and yet it will still be super effective. The demons won’t stand a chance and humanity will finally be saved at long last.

The problem is that Emma now wants to spare the demons. There are a few problems with that though. For starters, the demons will die if they don’t eat humans are a while anyway. It’ll be the same effect as Norman’s poison water only slower and potentially more painful. Additionally given that they need humans to survive, talking with them is already out of the question.

Feeding them humans is also crazy since that’s how we got here in the first place. Norman does his best to explain this to Emma but she doesn’t really care. Now the show does offer a convenient way out of this predicament but until that solution appears, Emma is rather unreasonable here. There are times where you really have to make a choice. Choosing both sides just puts everyone at risk and it’s not worth it. Emma has a responsibility to the kids she has already saved.

Her lack of determination ultimately holds her back in this season quite a lot. Then you have Norman. I miss his updated manga design though as the guy finally got the big time skip super form that he deserved. In this version he looks pretty similar to how he did in season 1. His plan and motivations are similar enough with trying to end the demons once and for all but it’s all a lot more rushed here. He basically sees a demon with Emma’s name and calls it a day. So much for his determination and will to come out on top no matter what right? At the end of the day he folded like a deck of cards.

I also think he was acting rather rashly by walking into a demon village by himself while his team was busy. He easily could have been taken out by a stray shot and then all of his plans would have been for nothing. Whenever there’s a bad plan like that I have to call it out because while it may have worked, that doesn’t retroactively make it a good idea. In the end Norman was still pretty fun here the whole time though, he certainly still seems to be the smartest character around.

As for Ray, I would say his role here is smaller than in season 1. He used to be the tough member of the 3 who would always play the bad cop role. He would mention the most practical solution while Emma would say the most ideological one. Norman would then try to compromise and find a plan that would save everyone. With Norman gone though, Ray mainly lets Emma call the shots and does his best to assist her. There’s just less character to him as a whole at this point though. He does everything he can to help Emma but doesn’t do much beyond that so he doesn’t feel like the gruff rival anymore.

Don and Gilda still aren’t some of the more likable characters for me though. Gilda gives yet another lecture to Emma about taking too many risks and all that. Maybe Emma wouldn’t have to take so many risks if she actually got some backup once in a while right? That would have certainly helped a lot but Don and Gilda never really do much of anything. I guess they do more than the rest of the kids but that’s almost by default.

Mujika and Sonju get to do a lot more here. As they are demons who can actually converse with the main characters that means there is something different about them. They end up being some of the most important characters in the series due to how their blood works. Without them things would be pretty tough on the heroes. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan though but Sonju does have some fun scenes. The heroes may not want to underestimate him based on some of the things he said earlier on.

Then we have the return of Isabella since you naturally have to bring in this classic villain for the end. She has definitely lost her edge since season 1 though. She acts as a hype person to the kids at times and then makes her move by the end. No matter how you slice it the whole thing is pretty cheesy though. Her character motivations by the end are utterly unbelievable.

If you want a more compelling big villain here then you’ve got Peter Ratri. He’s the mastermind behind everything and is a man who isn’t even afraid of the demons. Now that’s someone to be feared because you never know when he’s going to pop out and start taking names. The guy may be an ordinary human but he is a grown up which means he could technically defeat most of the cast with ease. I was pretty cool with this guy being the final boss, he was a fun enough character.

Finally you have Norman’s new group. These guys were excellent so I’m just sad they couldn’t appear more. First up you have Zazie. He can’t really talk due to how the experiments messed him up but he’s got super strength and is not someone to underestimate. Then you have Vincent who is pretty decent although he doesn’t seem as powerful as the other members. He’s a strategist like Norman although of course he can’t fully match that guy.

For the real stand out characters you have Cislo and Barbara. Cislo is sort of the Captain America of the group. He is a natural born leader who really dislikes the demons but doesn’t show his emotions the same way that the others do. He doesn’t panic and is quickly to call out any member who gets out of line. You’ll enjoy any scene he is in because the guy is just that good.

Finally you have Barbara who goes as far as to even eat the demons she defeats. She really doesn’t hold back and has really been through a lot. It’s why you know that she will never be able to see eye to eye with Emma on this. How could she? She had to live through the worst of the demonic experiments while Emma had a very pleasant life in the orphanage. It’s another reason why it’s really hard to back Emma in her goals throughout the season.

The inclusion of Norman’s group helped transition this into more of an action title since these guys are able to beat demons in large numbers. Since the anime version has no super demons or anything like that, you could actually say the humans were more powerful this time around. That’s kind of crazy to think about but it ended up being the case this time. It’s part of why none of the demons were actually a threat in this one. No matter what they could possibly try, Norman’s group would take them down a few pegs.

This great power does come at a large price though. It’s not sustainable so the characters have to finish this quickly. It should add a layer of tension but at the same time you don’t feel like they’re in too much danger. Norman has already cheated death before, why not do it again now? The guy’s a genius so surely he can think of something.

Ultimately a lot of these things I couldn’t consider to be severe negatives though. The plot hax and sudden character turns always seem awfully convenient but it’s not the kind of thing I dock points for. The show includes some animal hunting for no real reason which can be annoying but the show doesn’t exploit it in nearly the way some other titles would so this one doesn’t sink into the negatives. Ultimately what keeps it from being higher is more due to a lack of positives than an abundance of negatives. At least the series will keep your attention from episode to episode which is important.

Overall, The Promised Neverland may have ended with a rather controversial season but at least it ended. It would have been nice if we could have gotten some more time to have Norman have a proper debate with Emma and Ray though. Surprisingly I wouldn’t say the three of them interact all that much here. Often times they are in different places and so they can’t even debate the whole demon thing much. Norman hands Emma a few Ls and that’s about it for their conversation. The season tackles some pretty interesting themes but with all of the scenes that were cut, there isn’t enough time to try and make the demons all that sympathetic. At the very least the attempt didn’t work this time. If you liked the first season then you should still enjoy this one well enough. The main thing to keep in mind is that the horror genre has been completely removed in favor of more of a classic adventure genre here.

Overall 6/10

Godzilla Singular Point Review


Netflix has had a very interesting history with Godzilla. By interesting, I meant that they tend to throw away the usual Godzilla playbook and come up with something very different. It’s an interesting attempt but they tend to fail a lot more than they succeed. Unfortunately this one is no exception. It’s easily one of the worst anime I’ve seen and I don’t have a ton of hope for the sequel unless it decides to actually have a purpose this time. My main issue with season 1 is that often times there is no point to what’s going on. This anime also shouldn’t have even called itself Godzilla.

The story starts out by following Yun and Habero. They work for a robotics company that sends robots out to their clients. Yun is a genius who can predict events up to 2 weeks into the future simply by analyzing behavioral patterns and such. One day, a song rings out from a nearby facility and they decide to investigate. They end up being captured and escorted out but now crazy things are happening around the planet. A red smoke is appearing and Kaiju are descending onto the planet. It may be the end of the world as they know it, but can this be stopped? They’re going to have to take their Jet Jaguar robot out for a test drive.

Meanwhile Mei Kamino is the main character of the other plot. She has been called in to help the company decide what’s going on with the song since they don’t want to be the ones responsible for the end of the world. Well, the good news is that Mei mostly knows what’s going on. It’s a song from the future using a computer that can’t possibly exist yet and for a material that doesn’t exist in this timeline. Now she just has to figure out what’s going on and they’re good. Can she do it before the calamity wipes out the universe?

There is a ton to unpack here so strap in guys. Before doing that though lets get the rather unimaginative cast out of the way first. You’ve got Michael who is a politician that has a lot of connections. We barely even know what he wants out of this but clearly he needs to be one step ahead of the instance so he can capitalize on it and help his political career. I like the guy’s confidence at least even if he doesn’t really contribute to the story.

Lina is Bearach’s daughter and she doesn’t really do much until the final episodes. She’s not thrilled about how all of these crazy situations require her dad to be away from home so often. Still, Lina has a good head on her shoulders and at least rolls with what’s going on. You won’t be seeing her panic. Bearach is a more tragic character since he’s a complete genius but the problem is that within this series there are at least 4 other geniuses who are smarter than him. At least this guy is pro-active though and does a whole lot more than most of the other characters around here.

Li is one of those characters that the anime ditches without a second thought. She’s pretty smart and has a lot of influence since she made the most headway with the impossible materials. The main issue though is the fact that Mei has surpassed her. Mei continues to find out new things about the material while Li does nothing with her knowledge. Seriously, every episode has her saying things like she is already aware of what Mei has discovered…but to what end? We never actually see Li doing anything to help out beyond just giving speeches.

Kai is a character who will probably be getting a bigger role in season 2. He appears to be a reporter or at least that’s what he claims but the guy is very suspicious. He seems to know a whole lot of what’s going on and the guy just so happens to be trespassing whenever he appears. Not that the heroes can say anything since they’re guilty of the same thing. I like this guy’s energy though so he’s definitely one of the best characters.

Tsunetomo is one of those troll characters who insists on getting in everyone’s way and making a mockery of things. He’s got to be the absolute worst character in the series and every scene with him is incredibly annoying. His partner should have called the cops and had him arrested. When you choose to do nothing like this guy then you’re just a flat out villain.

Goro talks a good game but he’s also a very weak character. The guy just can’t fight and his robots were getting absolutely shredded. I like when characters have a lot of confidence about them but it has to be earned. This guy has yet to do anything that would make you respect his abilities. In the end he just ends up being someone that you will be shaking your head at. He’s effectively the comic relief of the show but never ends up being funny.

There’s not a lot to say about Haberu despite him being Yun’s friend. The guy just doesn’t get much in the way of character. Of course, that’s fairly true for Yun as well. He’s pretty emotionless and his only character is the fact that he’s a genius. I suppose at first they were building him up to be rather skeptical and not trusting of anyone but that vanished after episode 1. He has a lot of good back and forth dialogue with Mei over texts even if the guy always likes to start his sentences with “Let’s assume that..” even when they’re talking about something that has already been proven to be true. I like the genius aspect though so he’s good at least.

As for Mei, she’s okay at best but unfortunately she’s a lot more timid than Yun. She may know all of the answers but has a tough time just jumping into the fray and pointing them out. She ultimately does get the job done I suppose but with none of the main characters being very emotional or aggressive, it means that the show will usually be very low energy.

That’s where Pelops II comes in. She’s really the energy of the series. Effectively she is a free domain AI that Yun came up with and downloads into anything. Each Pelops II is different though and they all have different names despite the base code. This way each plot always has a Pelops with it. I’ll give her more credit than the rest of the characters since half the time the only way to progress is for Pelops to run some simulations and see what’s going on.

All right, we’re through the characters. Unfortunately the animation here is also very sub par. This never looks like a show that came out in 2021, not even close. It’s Netflix so there’s a lot of CGI running around here. Unfortunately it’s not the good kind. This gets shredded by most of the CGI stuff I’ve seen of late. In part I suppose it’s because this isn’t an action oriented series so it can’t really show its stuff.

Godzilla is once again barely able to move. He’s not literally made of rocks like in the trilogy but you can’t expect any real action scenes here. The Rodans can fly a bit and their tussles with Jet Jaguar are about as good as it gets. The hand drawn parts are okay but there are no noticeable moments. So the animation is better than things like FLCL and Pop Team Epic but compare it to almost any traditional anime over the last few years and it’s likely getting stomped. I’ve seen 80s and 90s anime that looked far superior to this one.

I’ll throw the animation a little bone though. The final two episodes actually give me a little hope. Sure, the ending was anticlimactic but I’m talking pure animation here. Godzilla’s Atomic Breath looked really good. You might be thinking that energy effects are the low hanging fruit since they should always look good but you have to start somewhere. It at least made for a good backdrop in the final episodes and looked rather impressive. If the next season has more action, particularly more beam battles then the animation should improve around the board. Now that’s a part of the show that has some potential. If you pause the screen at the right time some of the still images also look good like the Jet Jaguar one I picked out. I really dislike the character design they gave him but the image looks sharp. So it’s very rough around the edges right now but at least there is potential.

As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty solidly low tier. You have a remix of the classic Godzilla theme which is always memorable but it’s a very slow song so it’s not going to make the show seem any more exciting. The only musical theme that I liked a lot was the opening. The intro to the show has a lot more energy and suspense than the entirety of the anime. I’ve listened to it quite a few times now and it’s really solid all around. The images are also cool as they’re vague without being nonsense.

Okay, now lets talk more about the actual show/anime. A huge chunk of the show is told to us via text messages between the main characters. See, when the Kaiju start attacking the first thing everyone needs to find out is why the red dust is appearing. The red dust seems to be connected to the Archetype, a mysterious new kind of object that can use time travel to replenish energy.

We’re first shown this at an expo where it is able to capture two lights, one from the present and one from the future. The kicker? This material is from the future so how did it get to the present? Well, the Red Dust conveniently brought it. How did it do that? The show won’t bother explaining that part but we can assume Ashihara somehow brought some from the future.

Here’s the thing, the show is really focused heavily on the time aspect but it doesn’t make sense most of the time. Okay put it this way, you can have a super computer that brings information from the future. It’s not solid so that’s fine. How are you transporting actual objects from the future without a time machine though? No matter how you slice it that’s pretty iffy. Not as iffy as hiding a code that can physically change the size and shape of an object to also be given super abilities mind you but it’s pretty suspect.

I enjoy all of these theoretical discussions though. That’s the kind of topic you could listen to for hours and at least follow along since it’s usually pretty interesting. Where things go wrong is that the series is supposed to be a Godzilla title. Godzilla himself doesn’t really appear much until episode 8 where he ends up murdering himself by mistake and then he returns later on. Why is Godzilla disrespected so much here?

A single blast from his Atomic Breath was enough to melt him from the inside out? That’s just awful durability. This is also bar none the worst Godzilla design I’ve ever seen. I’ve made fun of the Bear face from the American Godzilla films from time to time and that his design sometimes looks a bit too thick to be ready for hand to hand fights but at least it looks like Godzilla all the way. Same with the chicken form from Shin Godzilla but I still make fun of that one so I wouldn’t put it in the same ballpark.

This one looks absolutely like Titanosaurus and doesn’t look like Godzilla. I don’t know what the animators were doing but they definitely weren’t watching the original films. This is also truly just a mindless monster called Godzilla. Most of the Kaiju here are really only the characters in name only. You have the droves of mindless fodder called Rodan that are barely even sentient as they crash into everything. Are we supposed to take them seriously? You have the climbing Kaiju who doesn’t even get named and a bunch of Manda.

The only Kaiju treated with a lot of respect here was Anguirus. He’s given some pre cog abilities where he can predict the future and dodge attacks. That was cool and a good way to make the time manipulation work for you rather than it being the other way around. It was one of the only moments in the whole show that I would actually say was “cool” and not just emotionless.

Going back to the core issue of the series though, it’s just relentlessly boring and aimless. So all the talks between the two main characters are at least leading up to something right? Well, not really. They spend a few episodes discussing a possible code only to find out in the final episode that there is no code. It was already sent in the past so they just wasted all of their time and ours.

All right, at least we will be able to figure out a way to stop the Calamity right? Wrong, Ashihara figured that out decades ago and put in a program that would make Jet Jaguar ready for this. Pretty impressive that he predicted 50 years ago how the company would build Jet Jaguar and that they would turn on the machine at the precise moment needed to download it.

There’s coincidence in shows and then there’s just the plot saying it’s time to go. The only explanation for this that isn’t awful is that Ashihara is actively time travelling to fix events in the future into his favor. While that is possible, that’s not how the show has been showing us time travel so far. So far it’s mainly been about calculating the future as opposed to travelling.

Let me put this plot in order real quick so we can break it down. This is effectively the timeline of the show. 50BS (Before Show) Ashihara realized that a calamity was going to destroy the world so he built a song into his company’s computer and left instructions for it that were to be opened 50 years later. He then hid the broken bones of an old Godzilla in the basement to transmit the song. Next, he created a computer that is able to read data from the future and buried it into the center of the Earth. He left it with some instructions on how to locate Archetypes and how to build the Orthogonal Diagonalizer which is the only weapon effective against the stronger Kaiju. He then vanished.

So we can now cut over to the present. Everything is unfolding exactly as Ashihara predicted. That’s why we have a Super Computer that is slowly being dug out of the planet and a bunch of Archetypes for things that don’t exist. So we’re in a good spot except why did he have to be so coy about this? If he just left clearer instructions then we’d be good. Perhaps he is a villain since he seems awfully shady but then why even leave all of these notes?

Part of why the show feels utterly pointless is because the main characters didn’t accomplish anything. Ultimately Ashihara did all of the work. The heroes were just following his ideas and recreating the steps he took but even by the end they were too late and he effectively had to step in with the song. That’s why it’s all so aimless and it’s why even the techno babble couldn’t save it.

Usually for these things there is a purpose. Watch A Certain Magical Index/Railgun for a great example of technological speeches and concepts that always serve a purpose. Whether it’s to get a leg up on the enemy or to try and solve some ancient puzzle that crosses the boundaries of magic and science. There’s always a reason that they’re discussing things. Even the Ironman Technovirus movie which was not the best at least had a reason for why they were talking about morality and destiny.

Here? Even the characters seem unsure at times. I still say Yun was bluffing to an extent such as when he started back pedaling in his texts saying “Let’s assume such a material could exist” when Mei just sent him photo evidence of it existing. Maybe he was on auto pilot by then but it could be that he was trying to sound really smart but knew that she had surpassed him by this point.

I’m just not yet convinced about the time aspects of this either. If you could see information from the future then you must be looking at an alternate timeline or else it would keep on changing. So lets say that’s true then it’s still really handy but it doesn’t change the fact that obtaining materials from the future would be impossible. Creating mini loops using the Archetypes would also defy every kind of science law imaginable. If you could pull that off then what’s to stop you from putting the world on loop accidentally? The instant someone weaponizes this it’s all over.

The sad thing is that this show could have really worked if it went in a different direction. First off, this should not be called Godzilla as I mentioned. The Kaiju scenes are all just time wasters and serve no purpose in the story. Cut them out entirely. All right, so we’ve got them out and now there’s no Jet Jaguar either. Refocus Ashihara as the main villain who is introducing this tech into the world. The world is in danger because messing with time is dangerous and the Archetype will cause the calamity.

Now you have Mei and Yun debating about whether the risk is worth it or not. Have one of them think it’s a good idea to keep the Archetypes while the other doesn’t. Now you’ve got an engaging series and a reason for their discussions. Suddenly each conversation has a lot of weight to it because both side is pretty valid. No matter what option they choose, it would be a fun ride all the way to the end.

Because when you think about it, Kaijus just showing up is extremely random. Why would using Archetypes even summon these guys in the first place? The only option the show gives you is that Godzilla is effectively a manifestation of the universe. He keeps things from going out of control. It’s stated almost explicitly that using the computer too much brings about the calamity. So the universe calls in Godzilla to protect the past from being altered?

Now that’s actually a very interesting angle so of course the show doesn’t go there. The Kaiju are all just mindless acts of nature. They serve no purpose here and should have just not been around. Hopefully Season 2 can handle them better. If we get a change in plot I think it’s definitely possible, it just has to be handled with care but surely it will have more of a focus than this one.

Don’t call yourself Godzilla if the star player misses the first 6 episodes. You just can’t do that. We have some mild action scenes but it’s not that kind of show and you can tell since it’s all rather half hearted. I’d also say the show’s directing needs to be more focused. Stop having every news channel cut the other one off. They’re never able to have a full conversation and it’s a gimmick that gets old almost immediately. Come on now, there’s no reason for that. Just let each broadcast play. It’s an intentional design choice so it’s not an error but it’s bad design.

As a final note, the calamity is supposed to wipe out the entire universe. My question would be…how? Godzilla’s laser isn’t destroying a city, let alone the universe. If Godzilla is the calamity then there is no way he is going to destroy the universe. So presumably there has to be another layer here like destroying Earth will somehow affect the rest of the universe. That or when Godzilla died in the explosion, it would destroy the universe. Kind of a desperate move for the universe itself if it’s summoning these Kaiju. I suppose the easiest solution is just that meddling with time causes a paradox which destroys the universe but you definitely have to use a lot of head canon for this show.

I could probably keep going but I think you get the gist of it here. Netflix clearly wants to turn Godzilla into a deep philosophical series and I have no idea why. You can turn any series into that direction of course so Godzilla is just as qualified as anyone but it does take away from the appeal of the series. People watch Godzilla for big action scenes and a lot of special effects. Not for talks on the inner mechanics of the universe. Again, if there was a point to it and not just “Eh, lets just let Ashihara save the day” then it would be different. As it stands, you could remove every human character from the story entirely and Ashihara would have still been able to save the world with Pelop II. That’s the most depressing part when you think about it. (Climax made no sense power level wise)

While this is definitely a show that is getting a low score, what prevents it from going lower is that at least it did have some positives. There were some characters I liked as I mentioned earlier and at least the discussions were interesting. They may have been fruitless but introduced unique concepts at least. I can’t imagine majoring in a field to study things that don’t exist though. How do you get a job off of that or is it something you just have as a personal achievement? The energy effects looked good and we get the occasional battle scene. Anguirus’ time pre cog was neat. It also helps that the show didn’t make any huge mistakes either. There’s no fanservice here or anything like that. If it was less boring it would probably jump up a star or 2 as it is. It’s not like the writing is bad either, it just didn’t know where to go.

Overall, That’s Godzilla Singular Point in a nutshell. I really didn’t think it was possible for the show to fumble the ball so badly but it is what it is I suppose. The show ends with a direct cliffhanger so I have to assume that a season 2 is in the works. Hopefully it should beat the first season. In a lot of ways it shouldn’t be hard but if we’re going to just do everything all over again then there may not be a reason for it to improve. What’s so hard about playing it straight for a change and having a Godzilla anime about giant monsters battling it out all the time?

Overall 4/10

Jujutsu Kaisen Review


Jujutsu Kaisen has quickly become one of the big names on Shonen Jump. It’s quickly approaching the big 3 and hunting demons is always a good concept for a show. This one’s off to a very solid start so I hope to see it continue down this path. With a movie already on the way and a season 2 probably coming pretty quick, this franchise is well on its way.

The story starts with introducing us to Yuji. He’s a nice kid who was born with physical abilities far exceeding that of a normal person. He can run extremely fast and casually match world records on throwing and things like that. He’s a part of an occult club at his school since it gives him a place to just hang out. One day he meets a sorcerer who tells him that Yuji’s friends are in great danger. Yuji manages to save the friends from the demon by teaming up with this guy and swallowing the magical item that was putting them in danger.

The item turned out to be one of Sukuna’s fingers. Yuji is now the vessel for the most powerful curse to ever walk the planet. He has 2 choices, be murdered or locate the rest of the fingers and after eating them all he will be murdered. Yuji chooses the second option so that he can at least save people in the meantime. He is placed into Gojo’s squad along with Nobara and Megumi. Gojo will help his squad get very powerful and perhaps one day he can convince the elders not to murder Yuji.

I’d say that’s the general premise at least. Naturally it’s the kind of series that should have a ton of arcs by the end so the plots will change but it works well as a general story scope. There’s already a lot of lore within the series such as ranking the curses as well as the sorcerers from Grade 3 to Special Grade. The lower you go, the more powerful you are. You don’t need to pay too much attention to it though because as Gojo points out early on, these rankings aren’t super reliable anyway. Special Grade comes too soon so as a ranking it’s incredibly broad.

Right away you can definitely tell that a whole lot of effort was put into the animation here. Mappa didn’t hold anything back and so the show can keep up with just about any other. In particular the show got pretty big for the hand to hand choreography which lives up to the hype. You’ll see characters actually go for wrestling throws and other pretty impressive moves the whole time.

Yuji’s fighting style even feels like that of a boxer at times. He definitely knows how to both land and take a hit. Every fight has really quick movements and nice contrasts with the hits. This one definitely holds up with the animation. I wasn’t a big fan of the opening but maybe it’s one of those that will land more later on.

In terms of music the show is top notch as well. “Looming Threat” is probably the best theme in the show. It only plays very briefly when Yuji nearly gets sniped by the traitors on the other team but the full version even transitions to more of a rock tune by the end which is pretty cool. There’s a lyrical song Megumi gets during one of his fights as well and a pretty inspirational theme for the end of the series.

The show avoids fanservice entirely which is great. I dare say the modern Shonens have all been rather impressive with this so if that’s a trend that will continue I’m definitely on board with it. Black Clover, My Hero, Dr. Stone, and now Jujutsu Kaisen are all modern titles that really don’t have any fanservice which is great to see.

Due in part to the very nature of demon hunting the show can get violent at times though. Definitely be ready for things like a character ripping his heart out or characters basically being blown up/deformed by the villainous Mahito. You certainly get some rather crazy visuals in the world of JJK. It’s also rough for the heroes since they can’t exactly heal someone who has gone through the process. Once you become a demon there’s no way back.

Yuji is the main character and a very solid hero. He wants to ultimately make the city safer and becoming a sorcerer was the easiest way to pull this off. It’s definitely shady how the sorcerer government keeps wanting to bump him off but Yuji doesn’t take it too seriously. I didn’t really have any issues with how he acts throughout the story. He’s always making the right moves and also does a good job of always getting right back up again even when he has to power through a bunch of attacks. Now that’s some solid dedication right there.

He’s sort of like a good mix of Naruto and Ichigo. Then you have Sukuna who is always waiting for his chance to emerge. So far the series is playing him off as a full villain who won’t be turning good. We’ll see about that since it usually feels inevitable in these things but he definitely leaves a strong impression. Whenever the guy appears you can feel his strength and that’s considering that he’s not even at 50% yet. If the guy ever fully awakens then the heroes are going to have a lot of trouble.

Megumi is definitely one of the biggest characters in the series and he looks good here. While it’s one of those unique cases where you could argue that the main character has already surpassed him, Megumi is tough in his own right. Hey, not every rival can be stronger than the lead right? Megumi talks tough and knows how to effectively fight along with his summons as needed. I do think that summons will always limit you in the end so I’d like to see him focus on hand to hand going forward.

he’s a rock solid character though so I see a good future for him. Then you have Nobara as the main heroine. Her fighting style may be the most unique in the series since you almost always see Voodoo as more of a villain technique. She uses her hammer to punch nails through her opponents and as long as she has a piece of DNA she’s good. It’s really a difficult combat style to get past although her weakness would naturally be against long range foes or close range ones who can get around that. Her skills aren’t up to par with Megumi or Yuji’s yet but she has solidified herself as a tough fighter through and through. Her tag team battle with Yuji was pretty great.

Then you have Gojo, the most powerful fighter in the series. His inclusion is really a big part of what makes JJK so much fun. He’s just a fun guy even without his abilities. He’s very laidback and really allows the students to express themselves. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Kakashi and I suppose he fits that mentor role. On the other hand, he just feels a lot younger and more confident. His absolute confidence is one of the most enjoyable things about him. A lot of characters are strong but will act oblivious or be modest. Gojo’s not modest in the slightest. He’ll tell people to their faces that he’s the strongest and can back it up.

His ability is the Infinity. Nothing can hit him because the distance to infinity will always be just beyond your grasp. It’s a really great ability and you can see how versatile it is right off the bat. He can use it for offense, defense, and even just for speed. There are probably limits to the ability that he hasn’t yet explained but even with those it’s just really hard to get around. Effectively you need to just be able to purely overpower him and break through infinity itself or at least to whatever Gojo’s limit is since true infinity cannot exist.

It’s also a fun dynamic with the villains since they acknowledge from the start that they cannot defeat him. That’s the whole point of why they want to trap him instead. The only other time I’ve seen this is with RWBY where Salem and her cabal have to be careful of approaching Ruby since her Silver Eyes can one shot them. Of course, they overthought it since nobody helped teach Ruby about her abilities which was a cool subversion in itself. Here though Gojo’s power is very much the real deal.

Now, this is part of why I see Gojo turning evil. There have yet to be any signs of this happening yet in the series but it sort of adds up. He’s already mentioned the idea out loud about murdering all of the elders in the Kaisen world. Those guys are so corrupt that they’re practically villains anyway but of course the instant Gojo uses his abilities on someone like that there would be no going back. Gojo continues to be frustrated with the way things are going and I just see him snapping. Who better as the final boss than the man who commands Infinity? Of course it will need to be handled carefully since right now he is easily the best character in the series. You don’t want to mess that up by having him turn evil in the wrong way.

Meanwhile you have the principal Yaga. He has the power to make cursed spirit objects but beyond that he hasn’t really gotten to fight yet. He seems like a good enough supporting character but there really isn’t a whole lot to say about him. We already know he’s much better than the Jujutsu leader though. That guy wants to murder Yuji immediately just for being a vessel. He seemingly has no logical comebacks to Gojo’s arguments on why they should keep Yuji around so the guy already lost the battle. His guitar skills have been shown only off screen so we don’t know how tough he is yet.

Mai is one of the fighters from the other sorcerer division and she’s certainly rather ruthless. She has no problems with the murdering Yuji plan although I guess none of them have any issues there. Her gun skills are really sharp but you do feel like she will need a better weapon if Maki can already catch those bullets. Using a gun against curse spirits also feels like a dead end. I can’t possibly see any special grades having trouble with such a weapon. I do like her confident façade even if she starts losing hype when she starts complaining about the past. In short, Mai made for a good villain but I’d like to see her grow stronger.

Then we have Toudou who is easily the most impressive fighter. He’s so powerful that he is able to take on Yuji in a proper fight. His teleportation ability is also very sharp and makes for some good strategic moments. He has a rather odd tradition of finding out if someone can be worthy to fight him though. It seems to be related to an origin story that hasn’t actually happened yet.

Right now I’d say he’s definitely a standout character. He’s certainly quite obsessed with an idol but at the same time I wouldn’t say Toudouu acts creepy about it or anything. It’s not something I’d deduct points for yet at least and he was also nice enough to give Mai his ticket to one of the concerts at one point which was nice of him.

Mechamaru would be one of the lower members of the team for me so far. Mainly because this guy was absolutely trying to murder Panda and was throwing a pity party for himself from the start. Now, I think its fair to say that he has had a rough time of things to be sure, but it’s still no excuse for going all in like this. His battle with Panda was definitely a highlight in the show though. No doubt about that.

Noritoshi seems like the group’s leader and he does a good job in the role. His skills are impressive and it’s implied that he would have probably beaten Megumi if he was actually going in with 100% of his skills. He isn’t able to do much against Hanami but to be fair, pretty much nobody could do anything at that point. His blood arts seem quite versatile so I’d like to see more of him.

Momo has one of the smaller roles from the team. She can fly rather quickly with her broom and that makes her a tricky opponent to catch. In a fight though? She’s not going to be able to do much at all. She’s also on board with Mai feeling bad for herself. Honestly at that point half the team are feeling sorry for themselves, you definitely can’t compare these guys to the main team. I hope she’s hiding some extra skill beyond her broom.

Then you have Kasumi who’s a lot of fun. She goes down fairly quick against Mai but from the team her moveset might be my favorite. It’s simple but I like her little en field which serves as an attack range and her sword. She is lacking in experience right now but if she can improve her base skills then she should definitely be ready for the big time. Hopefully this loss doesn’t discourage her too much.

Now lets talk about Yuji’s senior teammates. First up you have Maki who may not be able to use curse energy like the others but she’s a master at close quarters combat. Way I see it, you can never go wrong there because when all else fails, you can always count on the abilities you learned on your own. She takes down several opponents on her own and even has a good fight with Hanami so she’s proven herself to be one of the most powerful fighters here. Catching the bullet with her bare hand was also very impressive. She’s off to a great start.

Panda is another fun character. He may be a cursed object technically but at this point he has a will of his own and emotions so you may as well consider him a sentient being like any other. In a way he is a special object in that sense because he is truly alive at this point in time. His battle style is sort of like Yuji’s as well with the various combos he throws out. If he hadn’t been so injured I’m sure he would have contributed a lot to the Hanami fight.

Finally you have Toge. I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of his yet. He has the ability to turn his words into power which is really handy. Effectively he can tell you to go away and a blast of sonic energy will accomplish that task. He has fairly low durability though and can only talk for a little bit before being taken down for the count. Additionally, the amount of words he can say goes down further based on the strength of the opponent. So that’s all things to keep in mind. He means well but I really think he needs another ability on top of that to really make it here.

Now lets talk about some of the villains. First up is Jougo. As the first big villain to attack you know he’s doomed from the start. Still, I do appreciate his confidence since he’s the only villain to just flat out attack Gojo. He wanted to see what this fighter was all about and got his wish. Jougo’s fire abilities look really fierce and against anyone other than Gojo he may have really had a fair shot at winning.

The anime does a good job of showing that he’s clearly in a different league compared to most of the other villains. So he may not have gotten to do as whole lot in the grand scheme of things but I definitely liked Jougo. Then there’s Hanami who is my favorite villain from the show. Effectively she can manipulate the planet itself for a lot of great combos. She can also absorb energy through spores and has terrific hand to hand combat.

Group fights are always a lot of fun with everyone jumping in and out of the fray. This one pretty much goes in that direction as she takes a lot of foes down. The battle with the heroes is one of the most memorable and her defenses were enough to survive Purple as well. That’s no easy feat. The villain group’s off to a pretty solid start all things considered.

Then you have Mahito who is one of the main villains. He isn’t the leader or anything but has a big enough role where you could see him growing into that role. He has a lot of similarities to Shigaraki both in terms of personality and design. Mahito’s ability to alter his soul is also not something you really want to underestimate since it makes attacks really difficult to land. How do you hit someone who’s always something else right?

The guy’s pretty twisted so I don’t see a redemption arc for him or anything like that. He likes to fight which is a plus and the guy gets very active no matter what the situation is. I’ll need him to score some wins or just look more impressive though before I like him more. I have a hard time taking him too seriously since it seems like he’s always getting absolutely pummeled no matter where he goes. Technically the guy is tough though.

Then you have Junpei and I was not a fan of this guy either. Now granted he did get a pretty bad shake. He gets bullied at school for no real reason and no matter where he goes he always runs into jerks. However, this doesn’t give him a free pass to turn evil and do whatever he wants. What really hurt his character for me is when he goes home and sees the murder, he doesn’t come to the obvious conclusion. Why didn’t he stop to think for a moment that the evil curse he was working with may have done this?

The person who died…died to a curse. If you ask me that can really only mean one thing. That should have been the natural train of logic but instead he went in a different direction. Even by the end he’s really slow on the uptake. So I can see why he is a bit of a sympathetic character but he made way too many mistakes throughout the show. It made the task of liking him too hard and ultimately I just never got behind the guy. He needed to be smarter.

Finally you have Nanami who is another senior exorcist. He’s more on the level of Gojo in that he’s a sensei. His ability is naturally not as strong as Gojo’s but he’s still very tough in his own right. His cuts have a lot of power to them and he can even increase his strength in short bursts when necessary. He doesn’t exactly love being a sorcerer but he does what’s needed. His origin story where he helps the cafe owner was definitely pretty fun. Allowing her to keep the curse would have been very suspect. So this guy’s a fun character to have around.

There’s not much to say about Getoh yet since he’s mostly still planning in the shadows. He’ll certainly get a pretty big role in season 2 and going forward though. The guy’s not going to hide forever after all. It is pretty surreal how you see the villains just having fun and goofing off in the little specials after each episode though. Not that you should take those too seriously but it would be something if they do actually just hang out and have fun when they’re not messing with the heroes.

The highlight of the anime for me is definitely the tournament arc. After all that’s basically what it is as the two schools fight each other in the Exchange event. We first see how the Kyoto team are all tools who are willing to murder people aside from Toudou and it adds some stakes to the event. Yuji also gets a chance to show what he can do after perfecting his skills. The fact that he was taking on an entire team at once is crazy impressive.

The climax with Hanami is also really hard to beat. Now that’s how you end the story arc in a big way. There are technically 2-3 other arcs in the show but this was definitely the biggest one. You’ve also got Junpei’s arc which is a pretty solid one. It’s the arc that gives Yuji his resolve to fight on as well as his motivation for the rest of the series in stopping Mahito. The tag team battle with Nanami was also on point and it was the first time Yuji really got to cut loose.

Then you have the final arc with Megumi and Nobara. Megumi’s power up was a good way to end his arc although you definitely feel like he should have used the ability a little sooner since he almost died a bunch of times. It is a last resort and he goes kind of crazy after using it, but it’s still worth it. Yuji and Nobara’s combo attacks against the twins was also really solid. While the two villains weren’t very memorable, it was just a great showcase of the heroes’ abilities.

There was definitely a lot to cover here that’s for sure. The show has pretty nice pacing so there’s always another adventure around the corner. The writing is on point so the show is really good about not having any big weaknesses. Hopefully the heroes do something to keep the elders at bay though because it’s always annoying when the heroes are effectively working for the villains but can’t do anything about it. Even in Naruto and Bleach you always had the bosses basically act like villains the whole time. Yuji is a lot stronger now so he can defend himself, but he really can’t let his guard down.

Overall, Jujutsu Kaisen definitely started off strong with this show. It’s clear that Mappa put in a ton of effort as I can’t overstate how good each episode looked. There were constantly top notch fights that got a big budget and it helps to enhance the overall quality of the show. The story is good and the character cast is on point right now. If you’re up for checking out the next big Shonen title then this is a pretty good one to check out. It’s got all the classic action elements you could want.

Overall 8/10

Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy Review


It feels like ages since this show started. It’s already impressive that the original Rescue Bots got a sequel series and even more so that it got 2 seasons. Clearly the series is doing something right and it does feel like we’re back into a renaissance for the franchise. We’ve got a live action film coming up, another TV show, some animated movies, etc. And if you like the Beast War characters then even more so. Now this series is naturally a lot smaller scale than most of the other titles coming up as it’s more of an educational series but it’s fun enough.

The series takes place several years after the original Rescue Bots show. Cody is now a lot older and Heatwave is the main teacher at this academy. The goal of the school is to train a whole new generation of Rescue Bots now that the others are all masters of their craft. It’ll be difficult though because the new kids are ready for action and on its surface, rescuing isn’t quite the same thing. In particular Hot Shot is a global champion in Cube and it’ll be difficult to get him to switch gears. Well, Heatwave and the other bots have their challenge. Now it’s time to watch the journey on getting these recruits to be the best rescue bots ever.

Each episode is around 10 minutes which is definitely a trend in the west. So if you go by that logic then the series has over 100 episodes but I always merge them to be fair so lets say we have 52. That’s still a pretty good run for this show. There’s a lot you can do with that many adventures and a lot of lessons to learn for the kids.

Rescue Bots Academy is a very laid back show so from the start you have to make sure that you’re not expecting big action scenes or anything like that. This is a slice of life adventure that is aimed at a very young crowd after all. Still, it has to stay interesting and have some kind of focus in order to keep a positive score since whether you’re aimed at 1 year olds or 10, there should be a point to the whole thing.

Fortunately Rescue Bots Academy makes for a good watch. I don’t think it’s a title that you will want to marathon a whole lot but each story is very different so that does help. It’s also fun to see the old Transformer characters running about. You could even say that Hot Shot makes for an even better character than Heatwave was back in the day. I do miss the humans a bit here though. Yes, it’s rare but this is one of the few cases where humans help to enhance the experience.

Back to Hot Shot, the reason why he is the best character here is because of his absolute confidence. The guy is a cube champion which you will be reminded of a whole lot. Most of his morals are about learning to trust others and not keeping so many secrets. He’s a hard nut to crack but gradually throughout the show Hot Shot learns what it means to be a true leader. Ultimately he has the clearest character arc out of the whole cast and he never lost his edge. There’s just no way Hot Shot could be anything but the best. Even his transformation ability is the best as he can turn into any kind of vehicle even if he can only do it once a day.

Then we have Whirl who is the second best member of the group. She’s a stickler for the rules so she’s the polar opposite of Hot Shot. She is willing to bend them a whole lot more than Chase though and I suppose that’s why she is a cadet. She’ll probably be much more rigid about it once she grows up. A lot of the times she is the one coming up with plans and as a detective in training you would certainly say she is the brains of the group.

Wedge is the tough guy and in a way tries to be the rival to Hot Shot. He can’t quite keep up but at least he tries right? He has a good amount of power and part of his personality is that he really looks up to Bumblebee. This results in him trying to show off a lot of the time and it ultimately ends up backfiring quite a bit.

Then we get to the final two Rescue Bots who can’t really hold their own with the main 3. Hoist is the most nervous bot of the group and has a lot of self confidence issues. He does his best to get over his fears but that doesn’t really happen until the very end of season 2. Hoist just wasn’t quite able to get into the action like the others for a while which is why for me he was a lot less entertaining. I prefer when the characters just dive in.

As for Medix, I dare say that he’s even more by the book than Whirl. The guy doesn’t really know how to have a good time for the most part. A lot of his morals are about learning how to adapt due to this. It’s always good to have a medical bot on board at least even if nobody ever really gets injured in the show. At best you have Chuck, the indestructible testing bot who gets beat up a ton but the point of his character is that he can’t be injured anyway.

For the humans we have Cody as the main character. Unfortunately you won’t really be seeing Chief Burns or any of the other classic characters beyond a quick cameo or guest star appearance like the mayor. Cody’s a good character but he rarely gets to do much more than say a wise line or two. Cody has a friend named Wes who gets an episode or two to himself. The kid wants to hang out with the Rescue Bots but they’re not the biggest fans of humans yet as they find them to be a bit too weak.

This does lead to one of the cheesiest scenes in the series when Wes actually manages to snag the Cube when it’s tough even for robots to do it. Hmmm, I guess he got his hype though. For the true Autobots, we get a few of them from time to time. Optimus Prime shows up at the beginning and ending of the show to drop some sage advice on the characters. His role is never more than a quick cameo here and there though so don’t expect anything big.

Bumblebee gets a few episodes as we explore what it’s like to be a true scout. Wedge also gets to see his hero in action. We also get to see that he really is faster than Hot Shot when Bumblebee tries to humiliate the little guy. The moral of that episode was about teaching the right way so it was good that he showed Hot Shot what’s up although it would have been fun if Hot Shot had actually won that match. Now that would have put Bee in a rather sticky situation. It was nice to see at least one of the old guard getting to do quite a bit.

Perceptor and Ratchet also get to show up from time to time. Everyone tends to like their classes since they know their stuff and how to make things exciting. Surprisingly we even get Lazerbeak from the Decepticons only the bird has turned over a new leaf now. He’s here to help and support the heroes whenever possible. It’s definitely a pretty emotional sub plot I suppose although his change of heart seemed rather sudden. I suppose he never wanted to be evil and just followed Soundwave around? Hmmm…not sure I buy that one.

From the old Rescue Bots it’s very noticeable that Blades, Boulder, and Chase don’t get a whole lot to do. They may show up for a few episodes here and there but it’s a very rare sight. Especially Blades who is an exceptionally rare guest star. At least we do have Heatwave though and that guy shows up in virtually every episode. It makes sense that he would be the teacher after being the main Rescue Bot. He’s learned a lot of lessons as it is so it’s easier to teach them.

Then we have the Dinobots. Grimlock easily gets the biggest role as he became a Teacher himself which was pretty impressive. Just goes to show that anyone can do it if they put enough effort into the mix. Unfortunately Grimlock was objectively not a good teacher as he would constantly break equipment and even taught the wrong moral by mistake so the kids had to correct him. The guy always tries hard though.

The other Dinobots like Sludge and Snarl don’t do much until the final episodes. They become friends with Hoist which keeps them around as supporting characters since they’re needed for the morals. They’re definitely not the smartest characters which even leads to them being framed. I would say they’re some of the weaker characters personally. Then you have Slash who shows up at the very end of the series. She’s not a fan of humans and seems to be more of a rebel compared to the others.

She’s fun even if she ultimately has to lose her edge really quickly since being a rebel wasn’t going to be tolerated in the academy. Finally you have Scorch who also has a small role but as a rival of sorts to Hot Shot he was a fun character whenever he appeared. Part of why the Cube episodes in the show are the best ones is because I like to see some good competition and for Hot Shot to live up to his hype. To his credit, Hot Shot was not bluffing. He really is a cube master.

While there is never any real action in the show, occasionally we get some moments that at least give you a sense of competition like the Cube episodes and even this one tournament episode that occurred. Hot Shot may not have looked so good there which basically means that humans have built robots that surpass Cybertronians but at least it was cool to see. Who’d have thought this show would have a tournament? It may not be played super seriously but that’s just how it goes.

The writing in the show is good. You clearly see each lesson and moral as the show goes on. It stays interesting enough which is always good. It’s 1 peg below the average title I would say just because it is a little more limited in what it can do. I would sooner pick all of the other Transformer shows which makes sense since they’re allowed to execute on the actual concept of the series which is battles with Decepticons. Naturally this one can’t go quite so far.

As for the animation, I would say it’s fairly below average. You definitely wouldn’t expect to see any cutting edge spectacles here. Shows like Sonic Boom, Kim Possible, and other shows tend to look quite a bit better than this one. I suppose the character designs and environments aren’t bad though. At the very least everything is always clear. Potentially the animation could have gotten a chance to show off if we got some action scenes sort of like My Little Pony, but without those the series just never jumped up like that.

The soundtrack’s a little limited but it’s not bad. Each theme gets across what it was going for in the scene. You have the danger themes, happy ones, etc. It’s all rather by the book but because of that you’re never confused on what the themes are going for.

It would have been fun if the series could have maybe gotten around the no danger rules a bit more though. If the show can’t put anyone in true peril, have some more sport competitions. The fun thing about those is that you’re not in mortal danger but it still ups the stakes because you absolutely don’t want to lose. A mini arc about the Rescue Bots having to put aside their differences to be the best team in the land would have been a lot of fun without a doubt.

Overall, Rescue Bots Academy is a good follow up to the original show. I would say the original one still wins though as it felt like they were able to do a whole lot more. Not only was the cast significantly bigger but they were allowed to have real danger scenes. You had a Decepticon show up once, an evil scientist, characters nearly getting squished, etc. The first show had way more danger than this one so I suppose this one was aiming even younger. Still, if you really like Transformers and don’t mind watching educational type shows then this one makes for a decent watch. There are certainly no real negatives to be found here, it just won’t have any episode that really pops for you.

Overall 6/10

Anonymous Noise Review


Anonymous Noise is a title where I started the manga much sooner than the anime, but ended up finishing the show version first. Sometimes it just ends up working out that way. The anime is pretty quick after all. It’s a really solid adaption of the manga to be sure and while it does end really early, there isn’t a big divergent point so the anime could just get a season 2 someday and wrap things up. There’s definitely nothing about the adaption I would give a thumbs down.

The series starts with Nino at her first big day of school. Right away you can tell she probably has some kind of story since she’s wearing a medical mask as if this took place during Covid-19 but of course the show came out way before that. We gradually learn that she had two different origin stories. First she met up with a kid named Momo who she would hang out with. They had a great time singing and such but one day he vanished. Nino got depressed but then she met another boy named Yuzu. Yuzu couldn’t sing because he would vanish if he did but he would write music for her to sing. This went well until he vanished as well.

Cut to many years later where Nino is a teen now. She is still really into music though and decides to join the school’s music band. Surprisingly….Yuzu is the leader of this band. That’s right, they are reunited although he doesn’t seem thrilled about it and won’t even talk to her. Then Nino finds out Momo might be around but he is avoiding her as well. The only constant she has is music and she is going to use her voice to reach everyone. She aims to reach Yuzu as a friend and Momo as something else.

The opening episode has to be one of the strongest premiers I’ve seen in a while. It really does a good job of introducing all of the characters and setting the stage for the plot. The animation was really solid and there was a lot of energy throughout the episode. The colors are used well and the songs are really on point. I dare say it may even be the best episode of the series although the one where the cliffhanger had the characters finally meeting was pretty hype.

A lot of the suspense here is really because initially as the audience we know all of the characters but naturally they don’t know each other. For example, Yuzu and Momo actually become good friends but neither one of them know about the other’s relationship with Nino. You know that eventually they will find out though which is where the suspense comes in. The only question is, how long will it be until they find out?

Also, giving Nino two different origin stories was certainly a bold move. It’s not really something you see all that much. I remember there being one show/movie where the character’s friends all got murdered twice with a few years in between so I guess that counts but it’s super rare. So that was also another pretty interesting thing in the series.

The writing is on point and the character cast is pretty strong for the most part. The animation is also really solid. I like the contrast with all of the colors the whole time. It helps make the show feel even newer the whole time. A lot of effort was clearly put into this for sure. Then you have the soundtrack which is pretty excellent as you would expect from a music based show. The band Nino is a part of specializes in rock songs so you can expect to see a whole lot of that. There isn’t a big variety in songs but the series is only 12 episodes after all so that makes sense. You can only squeeze so many things in.

The opening and ending songs are both really solid as well as the songs they play in the show. So with all of this in its favor the show is basically firing on all cylinders right? There is only one thing that’s not so great and that’s the romance. Granted, I would say the romance is actually better here than in the manga in many respects since it ends sooner so there’s less jumping around. That said, you aren’t really given any good reasons to root for either guy.

First up is Momo. He’s taking on the role of the “mean boy” so get ready for him to constantly give Nino the cold shoulder. Now that might not be bad if he was just ignoring her or something but he openly goes past that with how rude he is. He insults her singing voice in front of everyone, tells her not to talk to him, insults her friends + the band, etc. So he goes out of his way to be as much of a jerk as possible. This never really stops Nino from chasing after him but you feel like it should. There’s just no good reason to root for the guy.

The only redeeming part for him is that he does have a fun supporting character in Kuze. She’s always messing with him and basically forcing him to make the right decisions once in a while. Without her at the ready he probably would be really doomed right about now. If anything I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of her in the series. Her scenes always tended to be a lot of fun.

Then we have Yuzu. So he is definitely the nicer guy even if at first he tries to play it cool as well. It doesn’t last past the first episode though and after that he’s good friends with Nino. The problem of course is that he doesn’t want to be just friends but doesn’t know how to tell her this. He’s always trying to climb out of Momo’s shadow but it’s a pretty tough challenge since the guy is just so talented. Yuzu’s best chance is to beat him in a battle of the bands but since he can’t sing he’ll just have to hope his song can do it. Both of them are primarily song writers after all so that’s where it will hurt the most.

I can’t really get behind the guy though because aside from the fact that he’s not straight forward with his feelings, he tends try and make advances to Nino even when she’s in a vulnerable spot. He’s not above winning as the rebound guy and he even steals a kiss at one point. That definitely doomed him absolutely. While I do like him more than Momo in the manga, if we strictly go by the anime Momo would probably have the edge here. It helps that his character hasn’t done multiple 180s at this point yet.

Naturally not all of the subplots can have a chance to shine just yet. With a limited amount of episodes that mainly meant some of the supporting characters would have to bow out. For example, Miou is one of those characters. To make the romance situation even more complicated, she likes Yuzu and is always dismayed since he only has eyes for Nino. Meanwhile, another member of the band named Haruyoshi likes her. The anime hints at this a bit but there’s never anytime to go into it.

That’s probably for the best since it would have been really rushed if anything happened just yet. He actually tries to confess to Miou at leas once but she assumes its a joke and keeps on going. Haruyoshi wasn’t very confident though so he did say it as if it was a bit of a joke. He’s a fun enough character here. Haruyoshi helps keep the band together and never really panics much.

Miou’s also a solid character as she’s one of the only characters who feels like she has always got Nino’s back. Some of the other characters may waffle around a while but she’s always right there with some good advice. That’s considering that she didn’t even intend to become friends with Nino for quite a while.

Speaking of which I didn’t really talk about Nino herself all that much. From all of the main characters I’ve seen she may be the one with the shortest attention span. Characters will be talking to her and then she’ll suddenly talk about something completely unrelated. Other times she’ll just tune out mid conversation. Fortunately the characters don’t take it as being rude but it’s so extreme that Nino feels quite unique.

When she isn’t having more comedic moments like this, she is quite serious about studying and everything. Even when she loses herself in song, she is able to keep concentrating on the outside such as when she was able to save Yuzu when he dropped his pick. She has a good awareness about her at all times except when it comes to romance of course. She makes for a fun main character.

Kuro is the last member of the band but his subplot never even starts or gets hinted at. That’s fine with me but effectively that means he is an empty character here. Aside from being in the band he doesn’t actually have a role in the story. He seems like a nice guy though and his drumming skills are certainly necessary to make sure the whole group has a good time. Finally you have Yana who is the manager of the band. I like his confidence and he doesn’t back down from a challenge. He gets them good gigs and really earns his keep.

The big climax here is really the battle of the bands which is a fitting way to end the show. All of the plots have a big update here and while nothing ends, it’s the kind of ending where you can easily fill in the gaps yourself. In general as I mentioned the romance wasn’t really my thing but I did find the story to be very engaging. The directing and everything was solid so the show never got boring. It’s a pretty easy title to binge.

As the story goes on you’ll end up seeing why Momo and Yuzu ended up leaving so suddenly. You can judge their actions further from that. Thing is, for me at least it doesn’t excuse their actions anyway. Couldn’t they have apologized, tried to find her, or at least acted friendly at school? A random bully from pre-school made more of an effort to be Nino’s friend than they did. In a way that’s just embarrassing for the two main guys.

At the end of the day, what makes the anime work is that it’s just a fun watch. There’s a lot of good banter between the characters. Nino definitely takes a lot of shots at Yuzu’s height but he never takes it personal which is good. Miou’s probably the most sympathetic character here since you get the feeling that she has absolutely 0 chance with Yuzu from the start since Nino exists. It’s a lot harder to sympathize with Momo/Yuzu since they’ve created a lot of their problems just by how they handle each situation. They would still have some family issues regardless but the situation would have been better for them.

It’s also fun how the band has such a revolving roster depending on the time of day. For example, Nino’s band is technically a secret one which is why they all wear masks. So by day at the school there is the music club which is the full team + Miou. Then at night it’s the team without Miou while she joins Momo’s team. Then by day Momo is writing songs for other groups. Each character is really wearing a lot of hats here. Of course Nino should be a giveaway in either team since she has a tendency to start screaming out the lyrics. The anime handled how this works really well as she effectively yells out all the lyrics. Fortunately since it’s a metal band that doesn’t seem to bother the audience much so they tend to get into it.

It partially ties into why she wears the mask. I didn’t delve into it much but it’s also more of a focus in the manga with how she begins to suffocate/want to scream without it. Basically the mask psychologically helps her not break down while she’s wearing it. It’s similar to how Yuzu believes he can’t sing and Momo can’t even think about writing if he sees Nino. Each character has a lot to deal with which is why the show can also be quite dramatic.

Overall, Anonymous Noise definitely makes for a fun show. If you’re looking for a good slice of life/romance title to watch then this is a good one. The musical scenes definitely help to take the series to the next level. It’s almost like a sports anime in that sense and that’s why the show is at its best when it is focusing on this aspect. The CGI for the shows is quite noticeable to be sure and can’t match the hand drawn parts of course but it’s nothing too bad. You’ll probably be focusing on the music anyway. After watching this one you will be all set to continue on with the manga to see how the story ends.

Overall 7/10

The Law of Ueki Review


The Law of Ueki is a manga that was a lot of fun back in the day. It tends to be overlooked when talking about some of the top action titles but it can certainly hold its own. The series had a lot of fun characters and engaging fights. It’s no surprise that the anime really handles this quite well too. You can really divide the anime into two sagas even though it’s all the same tournament. Pre Celestials and Post. Either way you should have a blast with both versions and with a satisfying conclusion you can put this away as a very complete anime.

Law of Ueki opens up with a premise about a big tournament about to be held by the Celestial King. The winner of this tournament will receive the Talent of *Blank* meaning that you can write down whatever is there. Naturally that’s a very enticing prize for most. Each Celestial is able to choose one human to represent them in the tournament as this is a battle through proxy as the celestials would be too overpowered. You are allowed to give your candidate one power that you currently possess.

The candidates then have to seek each other out and defeat their opponents. Each time you defeat an opponent you also gain a personal skill like the talent to dance or things like that. Defeat them all and you will presumably win the tournament. Injuring non ability users is a strict no no though as you will lose a talent for each person you injure. Lose them all and you will cease to exist.

That brings us to the main celestial Mr. K who is thinking about having Ueki be his candidate. Mr. K is determined to see if the boy has an air of righteousness about him though and gives a lot of tests. Ueki completes each one as the guy is just a nice kid by default so Mr. K selects him. Ueki makes the rather interesting decision to take the power of turning trash into trees. Will he really be able to win this tournament with such an ability? His best friend Mori isn’t so sure so she decides to tail him everywhere to keep him safe.

Mori’s definitely a great friend to have. She really has nothing to do with this battle and prior to the series it’s hard to say if they really were true best friends. Still, she knew he was in danger so she jumped in to help which is definitely a heroic thing to do. Throughout the series she always has his back. She may not be the biggest fighter but she does participate in the tournament and does well when needed. Mori is quite determined and doesn’t go down easy. I would go as far as to say she is one of the better Shonen heroines.

The opening episodes of the show are mostly about introducing us to Ueki’s opponents, future rivals, and how the fights will go down. Ueki will typically end up going against a power user not because he really wants to win but because he realizes that it will be a bad thing if these guys get the talent of blank. Let’s just say that they don’t exactly have an air of righteousness about them after all so they would definitely end up leading the world into ruin. Sometimes their wishes aren’t super crazy evil but they’re always very selfish.

Ueki shows these guys what’s up by taking them out and he also gets more familiar with his ability. He doesn’t mind using it on humans when he sees anyone acting with evil intentions though. Due to this Ueki quickly starts losing a whole lot of talents. It’s a good thing Mori is here or he would probably go down to 0. Still, aside from one episode about track and field where he wasted talents for no real reason, each of the other times it felt necessary for him to use his ability or people would really get hurt.

The power to change trash into trees is a unique one so I give the series credit there. In general I thought the author was very creative with the abilities. Being able to turn towels into iron is another unique one for example or being able to put a portrait of someone’s face to simulate their voice. They aren’t abilities I’ve seen anywhere else or that I expect I’ll see in the future.

Ueki’s power system is also pretty well thought out. Each ability has a limiting condition that must be applied in order for it to work and also to negate it. That means there is a lot of strategy here instead of going for the I win button each time. Every character has to watch their actions closely which makes for a lot of nice back and forth battles.

Then the second half of the series I’d say is when the Robert’s 10 shows up although you could also make the case it should be when the tournament’s next round starts so they all go to the Celestial World. If we go with the latter, a big change is this is now a team tournament to Ueki teams up with Ai, Sano, Rinko, and Hideyoshi to form their 5 man team. Additionally, Ueki starts to learn some new abilities thanks to being a celestial and the concept of a grade 2 weapon is introduced as well.

Ueki getting some twists and a power up was pretty good because it does explain why he survives some absolutely brutal attacks throughout the course of the show. They are moves you wouldn’t expect a normal human to walk away from but taking a beating in anime isn’t exactly a new concept. So even without the twist I don’t think it would be a big deal but it is part of what makes this knowledge effective.

The major change here though are Ueki’s new abilities. Now that he has celestial weapons, super speed, and a bunch of ranged weapons, the whole tree power grows less and less helpful. It makes sense because such an ability had huge limitations from the start but you do feel to an extent like it changes all battles going forward. Now instead of strategy it was more about spamming your celestial weapons so for better or worse it completely changes how all of the fights go.

Personally I was a fan of it though. No matter how you slice it, it would have been a little cheesy for Ueki to have caught up to the others without some kind of big boost. Most of the other characters still have to rely on their natural talent so for their battles you still have the strategy. Ueki also does his best to mix and match weapons so it’s still unique.

Ueki’s just a pretty great character. At times they definitely use him to parody some of the usual moments. One such scene is when a guy he barely knew gets super injured so Ueki goes into a rage mode to fight Robert. The next episode Ueki doesn’t even remember who the guy was though which is super random but he did barely know the guy so maybe it actually makes sense. Ueki’s all about winning the right way and saving everyone he can. He’s a classic main character who always stays very heroic.

You could say the main rival of the series is Sano although Li-Ho could make a case for that as well. Sano’s another heroic guy and his ability of turning towels into iron may not sound impressive but he makes it work. Sano is a master strategist so coming up with plans on the fly like that is really what makes him stand out. He ended up easily being my favorite character in the series due to how impressive he was.

Sano makes up for his lack of pure strength with plans and this is something that comes in handy right through the final episode as well. Whenever you need a hand, Sano is your man. Rinko is another one of the main allies and while she is also a strategist, her methods differ greatly from Sano’s. She prefers to think everything through before making a move while Sano acts as he goes to test out his theories and troubleshoot. While neither approach is objectively better I would go with Sano’s in a fight.

Both of them have issues thanks to this during their team fight and in that case I thought Sano was right since you can’t just hide. Rinko’s power is to turn beads into bombs which is handy but since it’s not the most mobile technique the opponents tend to use that against her. She gets a glove near the end of the series that amps up her powers to a great degree but it’s so late in the game that she doesn’t get to use it a whole lot. She’s a fun character though.

Finally you have Hideyoshi who was added so late in the game that I don’t really think there was a reason for him to be included. He doesn’t really add anything to the dynamic that wasn’t already there and he can’t fight for beans. I won’t take any shots at the guy because he’s okay, but he just didn’t feel necessary is what I’m trying to say here. His power needs a lot of work.

Mr. K gets a fairly big role of course but I admit that he tended to be more annoying than anything. I liked him when he was alive. Despite his tough talk he did come to help Ueki when it counted. Where he got more annoying was once he was dead. The guy went out of his way to try and not hear about how Ueki was doing. It’s all just an act of course but he goes to such extremes that he just ends up being unlikable. So…yeah I wasn’t a fan by the end.

Tenko’s a much better ally for Ueki. He’s willing to make a lot of sacrifices to help him out and isn’t ashamed to be helping him. Now that’s a true ally. Then you have Yodogawa who is not the most loyal guy around to say the least but he gets a lot of fun scenes. There’s a certain track from the OST that plays for all of his scenes and it’s really great. So this guy worked rather well as a comedy character.

Now lets check out some of the villains. First off is the main villain Hanon. I guess I should say final villain as opposed to main since he doesn’t appear for quite a while. The guy is very powerful and really sets his own plans. I like that he’s not just someone who simply follows orders. He also likes a good fight and even entertains Li-Ho on this for a while. That said, he did try going after a random dog so it was lucky that Ueki was there. It could have gotten very dicey. I like his combat energy but going after a dog is just plain petty.

The other big villain is Robert and he really serves as the first huge obstacle in Ueki’s way. His bubbles ability is actually a lot cooler than it sounds with how it can raise and drop objects. Once he takes out the celestial weapons don’t expect that you’ll see a lot of this again though. He served as a good benchmark for how you could measure the rest of the characters. Robert is quite twisted to be sure and the show executes this well. He’s quite the intimidating villain.

Li Ho isn’t really a villain per say but he is a powerful obstacle in Ueki’s way. Part of this guy’s hype is he is so strong in martial arts that he doesn’t even use his super power. The show really milks this since the whole time you are waiting for him to use his abilities. The guy is very determined not to do so which means you can certainly appreciate his resolve even if you feel like he should put his pride aside to just win the fight. His battles against Ueki and Hanon are most excellent and he is definitely one of the best characters in the show.

Onimon is one of the earlier opponents but worth noting as he’s a fun character. He’s really powerful with his whole cannonballs attack and he has a good honor code in place. He’s definitely determined not to win his fights with cheap shots or anything like that and I always like characters like that. Winning isn’t enough, you have to win the right way.

I should also mention the King. He doesn’t get to do a whole lot but as the Celestial King his abilities are absolutely top caliber. There are very few opponents who can take him on. You feel like he probably should have acted a bit sooner though as his plan was very shaky and full of holes from the start. If he had a better plan or thought things through a little more then things would have been very different here. He’s a charismatic guy but there’s no excuse for not acting so I’d give him a thumbs down.

Each of the Robert’s 10 gets a role of course but lets talk about some of the biggest members. First has to be Don as the guy had a big grudge against Ueki from the start. His power to turn rings into rockets was also very impressive. His raw power was absolutely insane and he’s a good example of someone who just isn’t very compatible with the trees ability. Ueki needed something more to take that guy down.

Then you have Marco with his lava ability. Honestly if not for being with Rinko and then trapping Ueki in a tough spot, he would have gone down quick. The guy is good at playing dirty though so he’s pretty memorable. Then you have Taro who is the strongest member of the group. With his lasers and saws it’s tough to take him down. Of course that’s against the rules but it’s not like the Celestial King is paying any attention right? People break the rules constantly in this tournament. Taro was a solid villain though.

Kabara is another tough member. While the guy got humiliated in the end, he did look good in his fight with Mori. A fight that was quite original I might add and really stood out. Then you have Carpaccio who is more like a street gang guy but a very tough one to be sure. His ability to copy powers was already tricky to deal with and then when you combine it with all of his other abilities the guy was a true menace. Definitely not someone who could be taken down easily.

Margarette is a villain who doesn’t appear until near the end of the series but he was also impressive. His grand master plan is certainly ambitious and even end of series Ueki would have a tough time with him. (Ueki would probably still win though) This guy was fun and I wouldn’t have minded seeing him appear a little more just so we could learn more about the guy.

Team Marilyn was certainly one of the most impressive teams in the tournament. Mainly due to their leader, Marilyn herself. Her super speed ability is so broken that even by the end of the fight there was no way for Ueki to beat her. It’s why you have to wonder where she was during the climax as she could have actually given Hanon a good fight. The celestial weapons are all too slow to hit her after all so maybe she could have even won.

Her fight against Ueki is probably the best battle in the series as well. It’s just really good and it fits in well with the rest of the fights because the team battle was also the best in the series. Each member was very dangerous so everyone on Ueki’s team had their work cut out for them. It also helps that nobody on Marilyn’s team was even evil so at times you aren’t sure who to root for. You can just enjoy a battle between two elite teams.

In comparison, Team Barrow at the end isn’t quite as impressive. Sure, maybe they could beat Team Marilyn but I think it would be close and not a guarantee. They have no single member stronger than Marilyn, however as a whole their members are way stronger than her teammates so it does even out. Barrow’s members are all solid. They have Celestial weapons that have different gimmicks so each one has to be handled in a different way. Underestimate them at your own peril.

Law of Ueki has a lot of great humor which is worth noting. The characters lend themselves well to the humor such as Yodogawa being foiled in his plans or Ueki trolling his music friend. Mori’s antics as she tries to use her powers can be a great bit of fun as well. The show also subverts your expectations at times like when one character is gearing up to use some kind of super ultimate attack only to be foiled in the end before he can even do it. Scenes like that really land.

The show has a solid balance of being serious, funny, emotional, and dramatic. To an extent this is true for any good show of course. I’d say where this show really hit the next level and got big was the Robert’s 10 arc. Now I think Ueki took a huge risk that he didn’t need to in trying to join but he was definitely determined. The challenge where he had to lift a block up for several days without moving was crazy. Especially with the characters beating him up and jumping on the rock during the process.

That has to be one of the most intense scenes in the whole show. I’m sure Ueki was definitely ready to take them out after all of that. Even while being undercover Ueki made sure that nobody was going to push him around which I appreciated as well. He matched them blow for blow. That’s also the arc where we started getting a lyrical song before the episode would end which was a great way to end the fights.

The theme song just sounds really epic and it’s part of why you should always choose an opening with that in mind. A similar scene is when Ueki shows up near the end of the series with another inspirational track. The show puts the heroes in some really tight corners so when they get out it definitely feels pretty hype.

The animation is definitely very nice here. The battle scenes are on point and there are a lot of nice effects. Each attack looks good and the hand to hand battles have a lot of smooth transitions. The soundtrack is also pretty solid. I wouldn’t say most of the tunes seem to stand their ground when listened to on Youtube but when you mix them into the scenes with context I thought they were quite impressive. Both of the openings are also really good. The first one in particular stands out and really works well when the heroes have a big moment to end the episode.

Overall, The Law of Ueki is a great anime. It’s a show built around a tournament which is always a lot of fun and they are able to develop each character really well. The 50+ episodes all flow by really quickly. Before you know it they’re gone and that’s always the hallmark of a solid title. I can easily recommend this to anyone who likes a good action anime. It’s written well and every aspect of the show holds up well. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a Plus anime someday to see the characters return.

Overall 8/10

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Review


Marvel is keeping it going with a second live action show connected to the movies. Following up on WandaVision this one is more of a down to Earth story with two characters still trying to move on after Cap seemingly died or at the very least is super old right now. Personally I’m in the “he’s dead” camp myself but you never know when he might pop out to mess with everyone. This one’s a good show and I would put it above the WandaVision show. As it all takes place in the modern day you can expect a lot of setup for future events.

The show starts with showing us where the two characters are at. Falcon is in a rough spot financially since being an Avenger and a top ranking government agent doesn’t pay very well. (I still have major issues believing this by the way. There’s absolutely no way the government could let this happen. Even without Tony there should be some way he should have a lot of money right now since being a free lance government worker pays really well and with the Avengers press and such that should add up.) He and his sister may even have to sell their boat which is causing a lot of tension between them. Surely Falcon can find a way to get past this but it’s going to be difficult.

Meanwhile the Winter Soldier is trying to deal with his guilt of murdering so many people back when he was a Hydra agent. He is going to mandatory counseling to deal with this and has been working as a vigilante to try and commit a lot of good deeds to overwhelm the negative ones. It hasn’t stopped his nightmares though and he needs something big to take his mind off of things.

Well, they’re in luck. A terrorist organization known as the Flag Smashers have popped up. They go around burning buildings and destroying property to realize their goal of “One People One World” Effectively, they are saying that the world was better during the 5 years when everyone was blinked out of existence and they want everyone to go back to that time. They are led by Karli, a super soldier who is willing to do whatever it takes to get this mission accomplished. Sam and Bucky are going to need to unite forces to stop her.

Right off the bat it was nice to see some pseudo Avengers action here. One of the highlight battles was definitely when they engage the Flagsmashers on the train and get some assistance from the new Captain America, John Walker and his partner. With 4 on 4 effectively you figure the heroes would win but they still get rolled up like a burrito. It just goes to show that they are still lacking that power hitter to win the day but it was a well balanced fight that went back and forth.

All of the battle scenes here are on point. There’s a lot of good choreography throughout. That said, Falcon and John feel incredibly outmatched here since they are normal humans dealing with super soldiers. They should be getting rolled every time they try to fight because the gap is just too huge at this point. Especially as in later films we’ve seen more of what the super soldier serum could really do for Cap. It’s not a level of power that you can easily match.

The show only lasts for 6 episodes but it gets to accomplish a whole lot within that time such as plot setups for the future and different developments that will be relevant to the films coming up. One character who was fleshed out really well here was John. I rather liked the guy and thought that Sam and Bucky were way too harsh on the guy. He really was just trying to help initially but all they had to offer him were insults and a bad attitude. You can see where his character arc is going from there from the start though.

It’s a classic Ironwood kind of path although handled with a lot more subtlety. By the end you can’t even say John is fully evil or anything. The fact that his emotions run away with him is incredibly dangerous though so he’s likely going to end up more like Punisher than the actual Captain America. Still, I look forward to seeing more of him. He’s a versatile fighter who was usually fighting against bad odds and still did well.

His 2 on 1 fight against the other heroes was impressive, so impressive that you could make the case he would have beaten either one of them 1 on 1. That would scale him to possibly being even a little stronger than Steve who was initially getting overpowered by Bucky at times although I suppose since then he had surpassed him. John does have a whole lot of combat experience though so it makes sense. To him the whole thing must feel unfair as two vigilantes are trying to take away the shield he got from the government. Mix that in with the other events from that day and he had a really rough time of it.

On the government crowd we also have Sharon who finally gets to appear in the universe again after being gone for a long while. She’s a fun character and definitely doesn’t seem to have an issue with murdering her opponents though. She has managed to survive for a long while on her own which has definitely had an effect on how she sees things. Sharon will be an interesting character to keep an eye on.

Zemo also gets a big role here. Yes, I do think the heroes busting him free as part of the plan was an extremely risky plan that could have easily backfired. I disagreed with it from the start mainly because of how many innocent people would and probably die die during the escape. It’s glossed over but they had to free a ton of prisoners to keep the guards busy and we see a lot of guards getting knocked out during the chaos. Considering that all of these villains were incredibly dangerous like Zemo, I doubt they would be taking prisoners.

So the benefits didn’t outweigh the dangers there. At that point you could easily be rooting against the heroes for the rest of the show and I wouldn’t blame you. It was pretty shocking how dubious a decision that was. Zemo’s a fun guy though. He’s certainly as villainous as ever but he does agree that the Flagsmashers are a big concern since the guy really doesn’t like the super soldier serum. He’ll be an ally at least for a little while but he’s not someone you can turn your back on.

Joaquin is Falcon’s main army contact and the guy does pretty well for himself. He certainly isn’t someone who is ready to fight with a bunch of super soldiers but he does well when needed and finds out a lot of info. Then there’s Falcon’s sister who is fun enough. She helps to keep him grounded and is doing what she can to stay afloat.

Now let’s look at the two main characters and the main villain. Falcon leads the title card so as you can imagine he is effectively the main character here. A big part of the story is his character development from giving away the shield to ultimately deciding to take on the mantle. You’ve probably seen certain shots from the final episode between the film announcement and the big deal it got but he will certainly be entering a new status quo going forward.

I would like for Falcon to get a super soldier serum of his own just because I don’t think it’s possible to compete for long without powers but maybe that is coming up. He’s a good character here and there’s a lot of nice banter with Bucky. Falcon does fumble the ball towards the end though with his speech about how Karli wasn’t a terrorist. You can understand the idea behind this and not rushing to conclusions, but he shouldn’t have used her as an example.

Let’s face facts here, she blew up several buildings that still had innocents inside, she was going to blow up a bus of government officials to send a message and she was just getting started. She was getting more and more extreme throughout the show so calling her a terrorist is fair. His main comeback seemed to be that she had a good message but your intentions and goals don’t matter when you cross a certain line.

After all, there are tons of villains who had goals that people may even agree with but the methods are what nullify them. The universe is over populated so you may agree with Thanos on reducing it, just not by destroying people. Adam Taurus fought to help give the Faunus equal rights which everyone agreed with but he wanted to do that by murdering people so it voided the cause. It’s the same thing with Karli. Maybe they can think of a way to make the world better but it doesn’t change the fact that she and her Flagsmashers were absolutely 100% terrorists.

So I think Falcon got caught up in his feelings a bit there with a character who had just threatened to murder his sister an episode ago but otherwise he was a fun lead. It’ll be good to see how he handles the mantle in the next season. Meanwhile Bucky is definitely the more down to Earth guy in the group. I would say it seems like he was nerfed quite a bit to make sure he wouldn’t just outshine the rest of the cast though. Based on how well he fought Captain America he should absolutely be dominating these Flagsmashers. Unless it’s 4 to 1 or something he just has way better combat experience and his arm is on point. There’s a 1 on 1 fight where it’s fairly even near the end and I feel like Bucky should waste the guy.

On a personality level though Bucky is finally getting past his old feelings of guilt so I think we’ll see a more confident version of him if we get a season 2. It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Bucky fan in just about any incarnation but he’s not bad here. At least I’m glad we don’t have to deal with the mind control and such anymore. Now he works pretty well as an anti-hero and the banter with him and Falcon is always a positive. His super rushed romance that doesn’t go anywhere could have been skipped though.

Finally we have Karli. In case you couldn’t guess, I was not a big fan of hers. In part it’s because I don’t exactly see her group having any tangible ways to make the world a better place. Okay, she’s upset that half the world came back and destroyed the world unity that people had. Since she can’t destroy half of the population to bring things back to normal (Although I wonder if that was the plan pre-Covid. If it was, then that changes everything) how does she propose the world make this situation work? She doesn’t offer any solutions throughout the whole show.

Presumably she tried peaceful options earlier based on her dialogue but we never even learn what her proposal is. She always goes right to burning buildings and beating people up so there isn’t even any kind of agenda that you can get behind. Ultimately that’s why I can’t get behind Karli because her group didn’t seem to even have a tangible goal.

There’s also a guest star that shows up here but I won’t go into that here as it’s probably the first guest star from one of these shows that I didn’t even know was in it. So that was a nice surprise and her role is pretty good. She gets to show off her skills rather quickly. Including cameos and guest appearances like this also helps to cement this as something really in the universe which is always nice to see.

As always Marvel delivers with a lot of impressive effects here. The show does really feel like you’re watching an extended movie which is always impressive. TV Shows have certainly come a very long way from how they used to be. It probably helps that this is a mini series. I also like how the events seem really important to the movies. With a show like Agents of Shield no matter how many times they may say it was canon or the show would have references, you suspected that nothing big would ever happen because the execs would worry that people wouldn’t watch it. Sure enough, Shield is basically not cannon to the extent that nothing there mattered if you just watch the movies. While the movies could somehow back out of the events for WandaVision and this show, I find that to be 99% unlikely. There just seems like no way it would be possible. The events here are massive which is nice to see.

Overall, Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a pretty good show. We have a solid cast of characters and a lot of interesting plots going on. I do think the two heroes did really overstep their boundaries as heroes and acted like vigilantes quite a bit. Not a problem as I rather enjoy vigilantes but it’s never really portrayed that way which is odd. You’d think they would be full fugitives by the end of the film no matter what results they got. I particularly enjoyed John Walker’s character arc as he tried to use the mantle well and be the best hero he could be. Whenever I see him swinging Cap’s shield around I do wonder how people don’t straight up get murdered though. Never forget that the shield is made up of Vibranium. You feel like a single shot would utterly shatter someone. I think this show has a better chance of getting a season 2 compared to WandaVision but at the same time the odds are still small since this will probably continue on into the movies. If you haven’t seen this show yet then I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

WIXOSS Diva (A) Live Review


Wixoss has returned although this time we’ve got a completely new cast, rule set and a world that’s so different this may as well be a hard reboot. Whenever a series decides to sort of go back to the drawing board it can be fun to see the new characters even if you end up missing the old ones. Aside from Pokemon, virtually every long running merchandise show has done this like Yugioh, Beyblade, Digimon, Cardfight, Buddyfight, etc. It’s just the way it goes so maybe this is a good sign that Wixoss still has a big future ahead of it. It’s a fun season that is going for more of a slice of life feel than the previous ones. Don’t expect the fate of the world to be in the balance but you can expect a lot of action.

The story picks up by explaining that the game of Wixoss has gotten incredibly big over the years. The top team was known as the Eternal Girls but they faded away into retirement very suddenly. Now the best team in the world is known as Deus Ex Machina and all of the idols strive to match that team. See, the battles are now 3 on 3 and those who fight in the arena as known as Divas. You are expected not only to win but also to put on a good show while you do it. You have to sing, dance, and show the world that you have skills as an idol as well as a player.

Hirana is a girl who really wants to compete with the best of the best but her two partners aren’t really into the game and so they aren’t the most powerful members of the group. Hirana heads to a show to watch some real opponents when she is baited into a fight. Fortunately, the cold hearted Rei happened to be around and Hirana’s good friend Akino who doesn’t like being in the spotlight. This team ends up coming together and winning so they decide to stick through with it.

It won’t be as easy as all of that though because each of these characters bring some baggage along with them. Rei has broken many teams apart because of how cold she appears to be. She wants to win at all costs and doesn’t accept anything less than 100% in every battle. If her teammates don’t live up to this then she leaves. Hirana is sure that Rei is still a good person but the rumors are flying around everywhere.

I will say though that Rei never appears to be nearly as cold as her reputation. Really if you take any scene she is in, you could make the case someone like Sailor Mars or Jupiter may have been colder at times. Rei does have skill though and does seem to be the most talented member of the trio. She’s a fun character and is always willing to try and handle the drama on her own so the rest of the team can relax. She’s selfless and gets the job done.

Then you have Akino and as I mentioned, she does not like the spotlight. You feel bad for her because she did step in to defend Hirana’s honor and overcame her shyness temporarily. It was never expected to be a long running thing though. That was supposed to be one and down, yet Hirana and Rei continue to pressure her to enter again. Ultimately Akino is too nice to turn them down but she probably should have just stayed firm if that really wasn’t her thing.

Especially since you have to dance and sing as well and her auto costume isn’t exactly the most conservative one. You feel like the deck is stacked against her here. From the main 3 she would have to be my least favorite member. I don’t blame her for not wanting to have to go on stage because it isn’t for everyone but I think she should have been more resolute about this. Either you’re in or you’re out.

As for Hirana, she’s definitely a very solid main character. She’s a classic lead who’s all about wanting to win every battle. Her catch phrase is that there are no limits so you always have a chance to win if you put your mind to it. There’s not a whole lot to her beyond that level of determination but it’s enough to build a solid character around. That trait has always been a solid one after all so it would certainly work out in a character.

She is tested after getting wrecked in a lot of battles though. You do have to wonder how much virtual damage you experience in this game. It seems like the games can actually get rather painful which is a little odd but maybe it’s just because it happened so many times in a row. I was pretty skeptical about the climax there to say the least but if it was painful then I can see how it would be traumatic.

Either way Hirana did stay in there for a while though and battled many times so I wouldn’t hold that against her. Her abilities are definitely the real deal and she did well playing in the center position despite not having a whole lot of practice earlier. She also put a lot of time into studying which is important.

Of course they aren’t the only team here so lets look at some of the others. First there is the music team led by Nana. I would say next to Deus Ex Machine this is the best team. They are a well rounded bunch who always put up a good fight and Nana is one of the best supporting characters. She isn’t afraid to throw in some music puns and also has a lot of confidence. She doesn’t give up as easily as most of the other characters and she can duel really well. Her teammates don’t get to do as much but they’re around for support.

Then there is Dr. Tamago’s team. They are all about using data to calculate victory and such. Usually there’s always at least one team for that. They’re a good team but relying on data will always be a rather dangerous way to go about things. You can only learn so much about the heroes without improving the skills of your own group. Her teammates were Big Bang and Koeru. I’ll give Big Bang this, it’s cool that they had an actual A.I. as a sentient partner, it’s a nice twist even if she still doesn’t really get a role.

Next up is one of the more powerful teams and one of the only groups where all 3 members get a big role. This is Mujika’s team and the big deal is that her teammates were Rei’s old group. Mujika gets a lot of hype when she first appears because she’s effectively on the level of the pros. That means that the heroes can’t afford to underestimate her although in a 3 on 3 battle it seems like that’s not something that matters a whole lot anyway. She’s a reasonable fighter though and also helps to stop the drama with the others.

Then you have Madoka who is rather naïve and one of the weaker characters. I won’t go into detail about the falling out with Rei here since it’s a rather big plot point but it goes back to the whole issue where a character just takes someone’s word at face value without even trying to contact the actual person being discussed. It’s like if person C tells A, “Hey, B doesn’t want to be your friend anymore” and you just say “Wow!” Madoka needed to do a lot more ground work here to be honest so a lot of this is on her. She’s not a bad duelist as she actually put up a pretty decent fight against Rei but ultimately she couldn’t quite manage to claim victory there.

The third member is Sanga and she has to be the worst member of the trio. In fact, I would go as far as to say she was the worst character in the series. She’s one of those really petty characters who gets away with a whole lot without any real consequences. The worst part is that Sanga doesn’t regret anything aside from being caught. She doesn’t get as much as a stern talking to here so there was no going back for her. Characters can make mistakes, but her decisions were no accident.

Mikoto’s team are fairly big supporting characters although they aren’t nearly as skilled as a lot of the other teams. They put up a good fight in the opening episode but that’s about it. Mikoto’s all about winning at any cost even if it means breaking the rules and playing dirty. In her mind, whatever you got to do in order to win is what you have to do. Certainly a rather intense mentality on that and one that won’t get her far. She was pretty entertaining though and makes for a very fun villain.

Then you have the big team Deus Ex Machina. The main member naturally has the biggest role here and she’s a fun character. We get the classic plot of her meeting up with Hirana in the real world so they don’t recognize each other only to later fight in the cyber world. It’s definitely a bit of a shock to the lead especially since Deus and the others are much more aggressive on the playing field. The other two members don’t get quite as much to do but the time is rather limited for them.

I wouldn’t mind Deus Ex Machine getting more of a central role going forward. Their team is clearly pretty well focused and they’ve been through a lot to get this far. With their level of skill and ability there is no one on the whole planet (Aside from a possible return of the Eternal Girls) who can even challenge them. Effectively these girls have successfully become world champions which is no small feat. So it was fun to see them. If the virtual damage is really high then the leader may have been excessive when beating Hirana up but if it wasn’t then I think the whole thing was fairly normal despite being portrayed as rather intense. Keep in mind that Hirana has to formally accept each challenge in order for it to continue.

One side character who doesn’t do a lot here but contributes behind the scenes is Azami. She runs the card shop and if you’re any card show beyond Yugioh (Where Yugi’s Grandpa never helped) then you know that she can probably fight. We learn a lot about her and her character arc has a satisfying conclusion. I’ll admit that I was hoping she could have actually fought a bit but I guess that would have to be a season 2 kind of thing. You can probably guess at least part of her story as soon as she appears just because it’s that kind of series. Azami was fun so I’ll expect good things from her.

Pretty much the whole season here is about nonstop tournaments and battles so that was always fun. As soon as one battle ends the next one is usually right around the corner. I’m pretty sure there was a battle in each episode. Now granted, while I would effectively call this a true slice of life, the show tries adding some stakes at the very end. See there is an actual plan beyond just having Deus Ex Machina knock the stuffing out of everyone.

A lot of the Wixoss players are rather soft so just losing once is enough to get them to retire. The “villain” of the show figures that she will get all of the weak players to retire so the game of Wixoss can be pure once more. It’s just too over saturated right now. Here’s the problem….that’s actually not a bad plan. Think about it, there’s nothing evil, illegal, or even morally bankrupt here. She’s not going around insulting the players or bending the rules. Literally the plan is to have the best team welcome all challengers on TV and win within the rules. Their power is just so incredible that a lot of people realize they can’t match up and retire.

There’s nothing problematic here at all. In fact, if you’re going to completely quit a game because you lost once…then you weren’t going to stick around with it either. The villain here is just speeding up the process and it has another positive benefit of giving the Deus team some new challengers since they were clearly bored. The side characters with the right attitude like Nana were also thrilled to have a chance to fight the top team in the world.

So the plan wasn’t nearly as bad as the show would have you believe. For that reason I wouldn’t even consider the “villain” to be evil or even an antagonist. It’s just a nice marketing plan she has that some characters overreact to. I suppose it did give some drama to the final bouts though so that’s always fun. The battles with Deus Ex are undeniably the best part of the season and they stole the show.

In general the show’s just very entertaining so that’ll keep you invested throughout. The main characters have a good dynamic about them. The cast is also at a reasonable size so in the 12 episodes all of the captains get to do something. Their teammates may just be around at times instead of making a name for themselves but it’s all juggled rather well. The writing is on point as well.

The show does manage to squeeze in some fanservice of course so that’s a bit of a downer. It’s nothing too crazy but just the usual tropes of transformation scenes that get recycled in each episode and one beach episode. It’s nothing too crazy but it does all feel rather pointless like the show is going through the motions of adding this because it’s just expected at this point. Akina is the worst example of this since her whole point is that she’s timid and she doesn’t like people staring at her. Why wouldn’t she change her costume? Don’t tell me you can’t change your costume in a futuristic world that is centuries beyond Earth tech. I won’t buy that for a second, it would make 0 sense not to have such a feature. So every episode she has on the same costume is one where you’ll shake your head at that.

At least the animation is solid though. I wouldn’t say it looks quite as good as the original seasons of Wixoss which may be a slight shot since those are older at this point. I don’t know why a newer version wouldn’t look as good but maybe the budget was slashed for this season? It would explain the transition to more of a slice of life setting with less focus on the battles since you don’t need as many solid animation effects there. It also would explain the constant recycled animation in each episode as they transform into their Diva forms.

The soundtrack is really good as well. Part of what helps is that every team has their own signature song so the ost is quite varied. Nana’s team has the best team song but all of the tracks are pretty good. It’s got that classic techno vibe which is always fun to see. Nothing can beat the opening to Wixoss season 4, but the opening and endings here are solid as well.

Much like the earlier seasons this one doesn’t bother explaining the rules much. I still feel like this is a super convenient way for the writers to do whatever they want. You’ll have a character getting blackmailed into not attacking for 8 turns only to suddenly win on the 9th when they can fight back. The rules are so completely lopsided that nothing makes sense. Now that it’s 3 on 3 this only gets more and more noticeable as the characters on the side can level their cards up whenever they want and enter the battle.

The show never makes it clear what each role is or how the battles work. You may as well be watching a game of chance. It’s why I said earlier that the skill levels don’t seem to matter. Whether you’re a pro or it’s your first week of battling it just doesn’t seem to matter at all. That’s one thing the show really needs to work on. The rules need to at least be modestly explained for anyone to take the battles seriously. Otherwise you don’t even need to try and follow along since it doesn’t really matter towards who wins.

Overall, Wixoss Diva is a good follow up to the other series. It does feel like it’s taking the franchise in a very different direction. It’s not trying to be part thriller with showing us the horrors of being a magical girl. This one’s a very up beat slice of life about girls trying to be the top Diva fighters in the world. I expect we may start to ramp up the stakes in a season two but maybe they will actually play it straight. So long as you go into this knowing that it’s not going to be an action title you should have a good time. It’s a well balanced show and tournaments are all the plot you need in these shows. Just seeing the heroes enter battles and win as they rise up the ranks is fun. Now I just hope that if we get a sequel we get to see the Eternal Girls fight this time. Of course the best thing to do would be to bring back some of the older characters into real supporting or even main roles to hype up a crossover.

Overall 7/10