Black Rock Shooter Review


Black Rock Shooter is one of those shows that I knew nothing about except the design of the main fighter. One of the oldest music themes in my favorites list is “Battle of BRS” which may be from this show but I was listening for it during the show and didn’t notice it so maybe it’s from the OVA or something else. Either way it’s cool to be entering into this adventure now and it’s definitely a great show. It’s a fun divide between the human world and the other place where fights rage on forever. It’s short but makes the most of the length.

The show starts off by introducing us to Mato who has had a very fun life up to now. She really enjoys reading a book about the bird who saw a million colors and has lives her life modeled after that. Mato enjoys everything and sees life as being something amazing. When she sees her classmate Yomi is really by herself and not having a good time, Mato tries being her friend. This will be tough though as Yomi is shackled by her sick friend Kagari. Mato will have to learn what it means to go through both emotional and physical pain on this journey of hers but she doesn’t want to stop trying to get Yomi to a better place.

The plot changes over the course of the 8 episodes but a large chunk of this is really about Mato learning that there’s more to life than just pure joy even if it would be cool if that was the case. So by trying to help Yomi she ends up throwing her own life off of the clear path it was on. That’s why throughout the show Mato is just great. She doesn’t get down easy and she’s always going out of her way to help out the other characters. She helps out quite a few characters before this is over.

Now I should talk about the other world. It’s a very interesting concept and one that the show dives into quite a bit by the end. So in this show, every character has an inner self which is quite literal. This self is born to fight on your behalf in the other world. Mato’s counterpart is Black Rock Shooter. So BRS’s objective is to protect Mato’s soul and get rid of anyone who endangers it. It is quite literally a life built for nonstop fighting. There is never an end to the battles and there are always more fighters to battle.

As a result it can be a depressing existence for these beings. Fortunately they are built to have no emotions by default but as we see in the show, it is possible to develop them. So all these years BRS has been fighting off enemies and protecting Mato. I’d say she has done an excellent job of it considering that Mato’s had a near perfect life. It’s important to note that the humans don’t know about their inner selves or at least most don’t. Mato has dreams about BRS on occasion but that’s really the extent of it.

When your inner self is destroyed, you lose all memory of whatever had been causing you pain. So, lets say someone bullied you at school and stole your lunch. Your inner self absorbs that pain and if the despair is too much then it will cause your real self to also be empty inside. If someone destroys your inner self containing the despair, your real self will completely forget it. It’ll be like that deed never happened to you so you now have peace but it’s a false peace since you’ve lost your memory. So one of the trials here is deciding if what BRS is doing is right. After all, aside from protecting Mato she is going around and destroying all of the negative inner selves.

This is helping these other people by conquering their despair. It takes Yomi and Kagari from each being near suicidal to being able to be happy again. So it does seem like a really positive thing but it completely erases all of their bad memories which does have a big impact. There’s a whole debate to be there for sure. My short answer though is that BRS is doing good. She is protecting Mato and if she didn’t destroy those inner selves then they would have possibly destroyed the human hosts as well. It’s hard to say for sure but it definitely seemed to be going that way.

BRS seems like one of the only positive inner selves though. So I wonder if you have to have despair in order to generate one of these or if we just don’t see the positive ones. I am going to assume it’s the latter for now and BRS is intentionally only going after the evil ones. If so, it speaks even better of BRS even if by the end some characters are convinced that she may destroy the entire world. BRS is very determined and gets the job done, that’s definitely very impressive. She is easily my favorite character as well. She takes some really heavy blows and always manages to get back up. Additionally, just imagine what it’s like to be locked into a never ending conflict for years and years at a time. You have to have strong mental fortitude to keep up with that and we see that BRS really is a strong soul.

That’s about all I need to say on the Other World so you get the gist of it. We see several other inner selves of course as each main girl has one and they all try their best to fight off BRS. Aside from Strength none of the others get any real character but the designs are all fun. Of course they do give us a ton of great action scenes as well. It’s all very styalized and is using a noticeably different animation style than in the human world. It helps to make the fights stand out and I definitely liked it quite a lot.

The fights are great throughout and you really feel the blows. If handled wrong this could have been excessively violent but it’s all styalized so it never actually feels that way. The characters are almost like machines fighting and I’d say this is intentional to show how they have been containing the despair for so long and nothing phases them. BRS will be getting pummeled over and over only to jump up and land a powerful combo. The other world scenes are definitely the best part of the show.

Not to say the human stuff is bad, I’ll get onto that shortly. The human stuff is really good too but it’s nice to have a literal battlefield where we see how the emotions are affecting these fighters. It also adds the action genre to the show which is never a bad thing. The fights remind me of Madoka a bit with how everyone has an absolutely massive arsenal where they can spam their attacks at will. These fighters never run out of attacks to use and will fight until one of them is completely destroyed.

So now lets get to the human part which is almost like a different show. Maybe that’s part of what makes the show so effective, it’s like two shows for the price of one as we switch into worlds. For an emotional story like this where Mato is helping everyone out, I’d say a crucial part of whether it succeeds or not depends on how dark each person’s story is. It’s very easy for a show to write everyone going through absolutely horrible tragedies where the scars will be with them forever. Fortunately the show has a lot of restraint and while all of the characters are in bad situations, it never crosses that line.

The darkest situation is the first friend for sure which is Yomi. So here’s the situation. When they were kids, Yomi was best friends with Kagari. Unfortunately Kagari got injured and blames Yomi for this. Yomi must now play with her and her alone at all times. If she tries to play with anyone else Yomi will guilt trip her further. Unfortunately Yomi’s mother is also in on this and doesn’t notice how Kagari completely terrorizes her the whole time. Yomi is now too scared to do much of anything and even allows Kagari to physically injure her. This is where Mato steps in to save the day.

This is the kind of situation though where I have to blame Yomi quite a lot though. I get why she feels guilt here but at the end of the day the injury was actually more on Kagari when you think about it. Additionally, guilt can only go too far. Yomi has already given Kagari many years but when it comes to letting your friend stab you and scare everyone away that’s just going way too far. I wanted to see Yomi stick up for herself a bit here. It’s a character arc I’ve seen before definitely and each time I think it just goes way too far.

Yomi ended up being my least favorite character in the series as she just keeps sinking even after the arc. You’d think that the experience of having a possessive, abusive friend would help Yomi learn what not to do in friendship. Instead she becomes unreasonably jealous of Mato’s other friend Kotari. It would have been so easy for the 3 of them to be friends. Mato and Kotari were both all for it but Yomi of course had to make sure this couldn’t happen. It takes forever for Yomi to finally turn into a decent character. In a sequel I’m sure she would look better but in this show she was really annoying with how this all ended up. I still think there was no reason for her to go off the deep end. (Not gonna blame the inner self for any of this)

Kagari was of course an awful bully in the first half but fortunately after BRS saved the day she was able to become a good character. I mean she still has some moments that seem off like when she yells Yomi not to be too clingy but I guess she was trying to be nice about how she framed it and just didn’t know how to do it. It’s hard to just forget about the first half so I wouldn’t say Kagari is a good character. She is on a good track to be a better person going forward though.

Another character who needed help was Arata. Her situation isn’t nearly as bad though. Basically she likes a guy but he’s a wimp who lets his friends make fun of her for that and does nothing to stop them. Now that Arata had her heart trampled on like this she has retreated within herself. She has always internalized all of her issues and believes that anything bad that happens is her own fault. It’s a rationale she uses to make sure that she never gets sad but of course this is catching up to her. It doesn’t help that Saya is always making some little comments about this but I’ll talk more about her shortly. I liked Arata quite a lot though.

Internalizing like that isn’t healthy but it is certainly better than blowing up at the other characters and causing a scene. Arata never does that and does ultimately stand by her ideals of rising or falling on her own merits. You’re rooting for her to have a happy ending by the end of all this. Her inner self is probably the weakest one as she doesn’t really fight but it makes sense. Her inner self has no despair to absorb since Arata keeps it to herself and the inner self probably doesn’t even know what to do at this point.

Now lets talk about Saya. So for most of the series Saya was my favorite villain. She’s the counselor at the school but her actual role is the opposite. She will call in a student who is having a bad time and will intentionally give them bad advice. For example Yomi arrives in a very bad mental state and Saya tells her that nobody needs her. Arata mentions how things went badly for her and Saya basically says that’s a good thing. Mato goes in for help and Saya literally starts choking her before saying that she lost control for a sec.

It’s how not subtle Saya is that really sells the character for me. It’s also just surreal because I’ve never seen a character like this. Everyone is caught up in their feels so nobody ever complains about her to the administration so Saya’s really in the clear. The comments are always obvious but when the character questions this Saya will say that she misspoke or just do the classic “Huh?”. It’s very twisted of course since this is a villain who only targets you when you’re already down and in a delicate headspace. It’s why this makes her so unique as a villain though. She doesn’t do anything over the top, she’s not using swear words, beating people up, or doing anything crazy. She’s just using mild comments but ones that are specifically tailored to each character to maximize how hard they will take the comment. Now there are some twists about this that make you think about her character some more. It’s an interesting twist but whether it truly helps her or not can be debatable.

Finally we have Mato’s best friend Kotari and from the start you probably figured that something would happen to her eventually. She’s always happy and cheering Mato on so clearly something is wrong here right? Well, she gets quite a lot of development such as a burning house and growing up in an awful household. It’s certainly not a good situation for her and like Arata she seems to internalize this. At least..that seems to be the case at first. So the next 5 paragraphs are pretty big spoilers so avoid them if you haven’t seen the show yet. This will also tie into Saya as I untangle this a bit. Get ready to skip nowwwwwwwww.

Begin Spoilers. So Kotari actually switched places with her inner self “Strength”. How is this possible? Anything is possible in these things if you believe hard enough. So now Kotari is the one who receives all of the despair and it’s sort of driven her crazy. She has a whole speech about this at the end where she’s screaming about how it hurts but how she’s also still here and she won’t let the pain beat her. The speech itself could be rather inspirational if she wasn’t so crazy by this point trying to murder BRS. The message is good how Kotari has been through a lot but won’t let the pain define her. At the same time, Kotari has completely abandoned the human world so is she really dealing with the pain or avoiding it? She’s clearly been through a lot and was a really good character.

Then of course the character we thought was Kotari for most of the series was actually Strength. As a result I can safely say that Strength is a great character as well. She takes a lot of risks to help Mato throughout the series and was really a nice person to everyone. It seems like she takes her life very seriously since she knows first hand how any sadness would affect the real Kotari in her world. So the setup they have is pretty good and it’s a credit to both characters. Ultimately this can’t last though and the real Kotari will need to go back and hang out with everyone. Hopefully she still has all the memories of Strength and knows what is going on or school’s gonna feel crazy.

Now lets talk about Saya’s plan. It turns out that there was a method to her madness. So she was intentionally breaking each student down to expose their true selves so BRS could destroy them. This would grant the students their inner peace. Then once BRS had absorbed all of that negativity, Saya would destroy her so then Mato would be free and everyone would be free of despair. It’s one of those plans that doesn’t sound crazy at first glance. If Saya succeeds then everyone will be happy so isn’t that good?

Well, it would be except how can she beat BRS? We see how powerful BRS is in every fight and she seems to get stronger after each adventure. Saya’s inner self is powerful as well but definitely not on the same level. Maybe the fact that Saya seems to pretty much be able to control her inner self would make her stronger but I still see no way to close the gap. Saya is also tempted to murder Mato at one point which would have really not solved anything and would have made everything worse. I don’t think BRS ever needed to die though as she only happened to go crazy because of the failed fusion with Mato. Otherwise I think she would have stopped once the threats were gone. So Saya’s plan was very convoluted and was no good.

Here’s another huge flaw in the plan. What if she broke down Yomi and the others too well and they ended up doing something they’d regret? If they died then her plan would have been completely off the rails since she would have indirectly murdered the people she was trying to help. That’s why I think they should have played it straight and kept Saya as a villain. Make her the final boss and that would have been more satisfying. This plan just doesn’t make much sense to me even if it was well intentioned. Reminds me of Athena’s plans in that sense. Plus Saya was just so much fun as a villain. Ah well.

End spoilers. As mentioned, Mato is a great main character so that wraps up what I would consider to be a very impressive lineup here. You really won’t have any issues with Mato because she does her best to protect everyone at all times. She is willing to put her physical and emotional selves in jeopardy to help out as well. Mato really doesn’t hesitate to put herself in harm’s way and while it ends up hurting her, she’s okay if she has helped someone. You can’t ask for much more out of a hero.

The animation for the human world is good too. It may not stand out as much as the inner world but of course that’s because we don’t have big action scenes in the real world. Either way it works well as the animations and designs are on point. The soundtrack is also good. I wouldn’t say there are any really standout themes but the battle theme is good. The opening and ending are okay but I wouldn’t say they are too memorable. I don’t think you’ll be humming these tunes after the show ends or anything like that.

Black Rock Shooter works in large part because of the writing. Of course the fights are good as well but this is really a show that could have gone sideways. Writing an emotional show will always be tougher than a standard action one because you have to be sad without being too tragic. It’s a tight line that you have to walk and this show did a great job with it. It’s why it ended up surpassing expectations for me and is definitely a top notch show that I would recommend checking out. At only 8 episodes you’ll be done with this one in a flash. The story breezes by and the pacing is always quick so you can’t go wrong here.

Overall, Black Rock Shooter is a great show that is emotional by day and action packed by night. The contrast between both worlds is really handled excellently. I would be cool with a whole show for either world but by merging it like this you really get a complete adventure. From the two though, a full show for BRS in her world would be a lot of fun. Since nobody there talks though I can see why this would have to be more of a sub plot though. I mean, not that they can’t talk but as emotionless fighters they don’t tend to talk much. Only BRS and Strength really show any kind of emotion here. Well, it’s nice to know the story behind the fun battle song “Battle of BRS” now. I’d recommend looking up that tune if you haven’t yet and of course you should check this show out if you’re up for a solid adventure.

Overall 8/10

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Review


Slime season 2 feels like the biggest glow up I’ve seen between seasons since Mob Psycho. Now it may not seem nearly as drastic just looking at the score but I would say it can take a whole lot of effort to go up from being a 7 which is pretty good to being an 8 which is truly great. Additionally I was tempted to push this all the way up to a 9 but I told myself I needed to calm down. The entire last chunk of the season was incredible but I had to carefully factor in what I would consider to be a very rough start. Ultimately the series was able to pull itself up rather well and I’m definitely looking forward to season 3 more than I would have been before.

I would say there are really 2 main arcs here. The second arc is really the highlight but the first one is solid too. It’s just the opening episodes before that which get tricky. So life is good and Rimuru is still building up his alliance in Tempest. At this point he already has a Demon Lord on his side as well as the incredibly powerful Vendora and hundreds of powerful warriors. Perhaps he will be the one to achieve world peace. In the meantime though he has to meet with powerful politicians and share drinks and such.

So this arc was pretty weak….but I consider this to be pre arc. For around 3-4 episodes it just feels like not much is happening. Rimuru is socializing I suppose but it feels like an excuse for just lots of fanservice and not much else. It was a weaker start than season 1 so I was a bit nervous here. I mean the production values are still great and all but where was the fun story? I would even say there wasn’t a ton of world building here. Fortunately that changes when the outside kingdoms decide to attack Tempest which is what really sets off Arc 1 for real. The Kingdom of Falmuth hatches a plan along with the holy Church. They will send 3 humans to frame the monsters for an attack which will give justification for these guys to murder everyone. Meanwhile Rimuru will be held at bay by Hinata, one of the Church’s most powerful fighters. Can Rimuru get back in time to win?

This was great and for another show you might have expected this to be the climax of the season. First off, we now know that there are more humans in the world which is a really big deal. We do know that humans are summoned and saw two of them in season 1 but now you have a fighting force of evil ones. Each human is also shown to be exceptionally powerful as they are treated as a powerful race in this world. As a sidenote, it is nice to see humans actually looking really tough as opposed to just being fodder in these fantasy settings. This also helps make the world feel even bigger as these 3 could be twisted leads in their own isekai adventures and now Rimuru has to take care of them. All 3 of these humans are complete villains of course so Rimnuru does have to hurry.

Another reason why the arc stands out is because Rimuru faces his first true challenge in quite a while. Due to the double barrier in place, all of his abilities have been greatly sealed while Hinata is at full power. This does tell me that Rimuru is already much stronger but of course excuses won’t matter if he’s dead. This was a great plan from Hinata from start to finish and I appreciated her confidence. This was absolutely a great fight as well and by this point in the show (Which is still fairly early) I knew that season 2 was going to rebound quite well from those opening episodes. You can almost skip those and not miss much tbh.

Hinata’s skill is something of a mystery though. By the end of the season we see her scaring opponents who are potentially even stronger than a demon lord or at least one with the rank but true power is more of a pseudo demon lord. So in theory Hinata wouldn’t even need Rimuru’s powers to be limited to stop him unless Rimuru had already passed that level. I’m inclined to say he had not at the time but his Gluttony ability bypasses defense so maybe that’s something she knew she had to avoid. Either way this is an arc with a lot of action and an incredible climax which even involves Diablo showing up. Rimuru also gets a big power up which will certainly be handy for later on.

After that we get a break in the action for a while as the next episodes are all meetings after meetings. I actually liked these episodes quite a lot though compared to the non action ones from before. For starters these are all serious meetings and not just an excuse to have a lot of fanservice the whole time. Additionally, I’m always up for a good strategy meeting so it’s nice to see everyone hanging out. It certainly could have been sped up but it’s fine either way. We also get a quick villain meeting which is a lot of fun and sets up the new characters as everyone gets ready for the main meeting.

See, the demon lords have a meeting for Walpurgis whenever there is something big to discuss. Clayman has summoned everyone for important news and now that Rimuru is so powerful and has the rank, he will be in attendance as well. Clayman has been the mastermind for pretty much every event in season 1 and 2 so Rimuru needs to be there to see his future plans and also to throw some threat around. Each demon lord can bring up to 2 attendants as well in case any funny business happens. That said, the attendants would likely be out of luck anyway though.

Meanwhile, Rimuru wants to take the initiative against Clayman and his forces this time so he’s having his army attack Clayman’s while they are both at the meeting. That means they are all sent to different areas to take down Clayman’s Five Fingers, a group of elite fighters. Given how powerful Rimuru’s guys are this is as much of a stomp as you can imagine but we do get a lot of great fights as a result. Even some of Rimuru’s fighters who don’t seem like offensive specialists show what they’ve got when it counts.

I would say this arc even beat the first one. It’s just the perfect climax to everything the series was building up to. Clayman may have looked really bad to the point where I wrote an editorial about one mistake that he made but it was still good to have him as the final boss. It made sense to get him out of the way and now every demon lord has to respect Rimuru and his abilities. You certainly can’t trust any of these demon lords either so that sets up a lot of interesting paths for the future. It’s really hard to say how things will play out as a result since everyone is keeping their cards close to the chest.

I have an eventual editorial coming up about the power levels in the series and discussing how powerful the heroes are so I won’t go into too much detail here. I will say that this is one of the most interesting parts of the series though. There are an absolute ton of factions running around and there are so many big shots that you will be curious how they all stack up to each other. You have the Demon Lords, Elder Demon Lords, Hinata, Diablo, Rimuru, Veldora, etc. Each of these guys have claims to be some of the strongest in the verse but who really outranks each other? Throw in the Clowns who seem to be exceptionally powerful with the fact that Hinata likely has her own bosses and it makes things very interesting. Veldora also isn’t the only dragon. So I won’t start ranking them here based on what I believe to be the correct ladder, but it’s something that Slime does quite well.

I dare say that only perhaps One Piece has more active factions and power level discussions that come from it. Otherwise it’s hard to top Slime with how many moving parts there are and it makes all the fight scenes even more interesting. Another reason why this show is so great is because you are always wondering what is going to happen next. Who will make their move and how will the world change as a result of it? While the Slime show loves its peaceful talks you know that eventually battles are going to break out.

At the same time you are never worried for the main characters though. Rimuru’s army is far too powerful to be endangered by anyone or at least it seems that way. Perhaps before he got a power up but in this season Rimuru gets a massive one which means that he greatly outranks almost every character in the series. While that may be a wrap for most of the tension here, you can still get some similar to One Punch Man by keeping Rimuru out of it. Much like that series I think this one was effective at pulling that off by giving the other characters their own big fights.

It doesn’t hurt that the animation is exceptional. There is a great deal of budget behind each fight with a lot of quick moves and solid special effects. Each battle stands out with the sharp colors and you will be on board right from the start. At no point in the season do you feel like the animation falters at all. Then you have the soundtrack which is also greatly improved from the first season. Surprisingly it feels like a lot of the season 1 battle themes have been completely discarded and replaced. I’m cool with that because these themes are just better. “Going Forward and Backward” for example is my favorite track in the show and it fortunately plays for almost all of the battles. It’s a great theme that immediately increases the tempo and gets you ready for a top notch battle.

I also greatly enjoyed the new theme song that plays for the second half of the show. (First is good too but not in the same league) Now this is a top tier opening with incredible visuals and a really catchy song. I’ve certainly listened to it a fair number of times. It’s also a good first look at Rimuru’s new costume even if he doesn’t wear it much in the season. I wish he would stick to that one because it’s easily his best one. It’s also fun that we’ve finally gotten to the Hinata fight since it felt like it was in the first 3 openings because they never knew when the fight was going to be adapted. Still feels off with how long it took but I guess the animators were really looking forward to that moment.

Rimuru continues to look good in this season and works well as the main character I think sometimes he doesn’t trust his own abilities as well as he should though and gets nervous over nothing. Still, gone are the days when he wasn’t really sure what to do. He’s now learned well how to be a true leader and takes command when needed. It’s hard to believe that the guy was just an ordinary joe not too long ago. Now Rimuru isn’t trying to be a hero but he is doing his best to be a leader who watches out for the people.

For example at one point he has to destroy I think it’s 100,000 people in order to bring back a few hundred. It was a no brainer for him since these guys were on the villain’s side and he needed to get his people back. Perhaps not what a hero would do there as this is the definition of trading lives for lives but it is something you would expect your king or leader to do for you. Rimuru set a strong example for his fighters that he will defend them at all times without exception. You also may feel like he didn’t need another power boost, but why not right? At this point it feels like Rimuru has to be top 10 in the verse at the minimum and I would argue he is likely stronger than that. We probably won’t know for a while.

Either way, Rimuru is able to hold his own seasons really well and had a good rage moment at Clayman when he struck Milim. That was a good way to know that Rimuru was for real. Meanwhile Great Sage is also fun. At this point it’s fair to say that she’s basically a character as she can take control of Rimuru’s body if he allows it so she can fight. Additionally she is always giving out helpful information and is almost like a sidekick that Rimuru can count on. She has a lot of attitude but that just helps for the banter.

After what feels like ages we finally get to see Veldora in his human form in this season. It’s nice to have him out of the prison for a change and his human form has a lot of fun with the cast. He is incredibly powerful as you would expect and certainly doesn’t back down to anybody. He gets a brief fight at the end which will cause you to really wonder about where he stacks up as well. Either way Rimuru has another good friend now and I think Veldora will fit in with everyone really well. He had a great first impression on them after all.

I’m still not a big fan of Gobta but I will give him credit for immediately believing his friend when the humans tried to frame him. Gobta wasn’t having any of that and that’s good because your friend should always have your back when it counts. So he may not be a great fighter but he’s a good friend. Meanwhile Benimaru gets a chance to show what he’s got as well. As always he seems to be the most impressive from his family of fighters and hasn’t really had to break a sweat. He even takes down a very powerful villain from season 1 in an instant which is very impressive. I don’t think he’s demon lord level but this guy can hold his own against anyone under that.

Shuna has her very best appearance in this season. Usually she just appears as the rather quiet and timid princess but here we get to see what she can do on the battlefield. Sure enough, she doesn’t need backup or for other fighters to protect her. She takes one on of Clayman’s leaders and shows him just how outclassed he is against her. Shuna’s magical spells are very impressive and she can be ruthless in combat. Now whenever she stays at the village we know that it’s in good hands.

Shion also looks great here and had one of the biggest improvements from season 1. She has really settled into her role as being Rimuru’s right hand woman and makes sure that nobody slanders him. When the villains start being sassy she quickly takes them out. While she mainly seemed evenly matched with Suphia, I think we all know that she would have won in the end with her big energy attack. Shion even takes a demon lord near the end which is further evidence of her power. In a true one on one fight she will not be going down easy that’s for sure. Her loyalty is also just great and she’s a fun character through and through.

Souei is the ninja of the group and his speed is always very impressive. He doesn’t look quite as powerful as the others but he gets less opportunity to fight like that. When he does join the fray you can usually count on him to get a win or look pretty good either way. The mentor of the group Hakuro gets a pair of fights to himself. The first fight doesn’t go very well for him but the deck was stacked against the guy. Once he is able to fight at full power then everything changes immediately.

Ranga is still around and while he doesn’t really get anything super big to do, he is always a loyal fighter for Rimuru. His ability to hide within shadows is handy and he gets a fight at the end but it’s mostly off screen. Now Milim is a character who gets a whole lot to do. I’m not sure about some of the twists with her though. There is a particularly big one near the end that will reframe all of her actions throughout the season but I’m just not sure that I buy it at all. Seems like a really convoluted way to go about things and it just doesn’t seem to make sense with the flashbacks of around when her plan would have started.

Either way it does show that she has great self restraint though. The characters rightfully do call her out on how this was rather irresponsible but I don’t think she seems too apologetic by the end of this. She is powerful enough where nobody would want to mess with her anyway though. She is one of the 3 top level demon lords after all so there’s almost nobody in the verse who could hope to beat her anyway. It’s why Rimuru got so lucky in having her as an ally.

Speaking of allies, Geld gets to have his first bit of action now that he is a part of Rimuru’s army and he looks good. His raw power is able to overwhelm his opponent’s regeneration. It’s a really intense fight to be sure as he just keeps pounding away at his opponent until the guy just can’t get up anymore. If not for outside help he would have ended things right there. As a power type I’m usually not going to think Geld will win much but he did really well here that’s for sure.

Unfortunately Diablo has not done much yet but he’s certainly a character that you will want to keep a real close eye on. He gets one fight in the season and it’s a really impressive one because he is able to easily overwhelm his opponent who is supposed to be incredibly powerful. In fact, we know he is based on previous appearances so the fact that Diablo is basically able to dumpster the guy is crazy. I have really high hopes for what Diablo will be doing in the future.

Yohm is an adventurer who gets a much bigger role here. He’s a nice guy who may not be extremely powerful but does rather well for himself with a sword. He has a bit of a romance with Myulan going. There is a rival in Grucius but you know that Yohm is the only one with a chance from the start. They three of them have a good dynamic though. I do think Yohm doesn’t handle the situation with Myulan very well though. As soon as things started to get fishy I would have liked for him to have been yelling for backup or trying to interrupt her technique. That would have made a world of difference for Tempest.

Of course things go well for Tempest but otherwise a whole lot of blame would be on Yohm. The most blame would be on Myulan though…you know for being the actual traitor. Ultimately she was under a bad circumstance here but still went through with all of this. Grucius gets some credit for trying to stop this from happening even if he wasn’t successful. I like his confidence but Grucius really doesn’t get any big wins here.

Then we get to good ole Clayman. The man with the worst plan possible and he makes mistakes at every turn. He really was in a good position initially but showed his cards too early and it cost him. Due to some twists it is even worse for him as we learn that Clayman was doomed for the start. He tries for some sympathy points at the end but Clayman was way too far gone by this point. No way you would really sympathize with that guy much. The situation is entirely of his making and now he has to live it.

Meanwhile the Jesters are interesting wild cards right now. They seem to work for Clayman’s boss and are really confident in their skills. It seems like they might all be Demon Lord level and if that’s the case then the heroes could really be in some trouble now. We’ll see how that plays out. Carrion doesn’t look great as far as demon lords go but to his defense, everyone would lose to Milim really. Or at least most of them would but when you factor in that she was sandbagging a bit then it gets really tricky for him. Ultimately it’s probably a good idea that he has decided to work for her though.

Ramiris might be the weakest demon lord here but she works well in the comic relief role. I like to think that she must have a crazy support ability to have become a demon lord though. Surely you can’t make it to that rank without having some kind of ability right? So I’m skeptical at how weak she is and figure she must be hiding something. All of the Demon Lords show up of course and while some are more impressive than others, they all seem like they can fight so something has to be going on here.

Leon is another one of the demon lords and he looks impressive. The guy hasn’t fought yet or anything but he has a confident atmosphere about him and doesn’t back down from a fight. Even Crimson who seems to be at the top regards him with a good amount of respect. While Crimon is always joking around you can tell that he does mean it when he says he would help Leon out if he was in a jam. I like the comradery between the demon lords. I’m sure some of them would backstab the others in a second but for others I do think they would be good friends. take Demon Lord Frey and Milim. They seem like good friends and Frey isn’t really the ambitious type so I don’t think she would have much motive to go around seeking more power. After all they’ve been demon lords for a while so I doubt they want anything to disrupt the balance of power. It’s why things should get crazy once that breaks down.

For miscellaneous characters first we have Suphia. She is one of the beast warriors and fights rather well. I like how aggressive she is and that makes the fight with Shion really good. Then you have the mysterious Yuuki. Remember that he did block Rimuru’s full powered punch when they first met so he can certainly fight. As a bit of a secret mastermind I could see him being a huge focus in season 3 unless he is truly the end game goal. Then there is Hinata who is a bit of a wild card since we don’t really know how the Holy Church will play into things. They seem corrupt already but at the same time I would assume that they won’t openly team up with the demon lords. I would love to see them as a true third party that causes trouble for both sides. Hinata has the raw power to pull this off after all.

The Church is manipulating her but I don’t think that’ll last forever. The question will be if she ends up joining the Tempest Federation or not. Personally I think she will just to make Rimuru’s army of unbeatable fighters even more impressive. Yamza is definitely Clayman’s most impressive minion. The guy can fight really well with a sword and while he was never a threat to the heroes, he looked way better than the other fingers. I wouldn’t have minded seeing him more that’s for sure, but I should be satisfied with his appearances here.

Middray and Hermes are fun characters who serve Milim even if she doesn’t seem to know about the Dragon Faithful group. Hermes is more of a rookie so he tends to lose his cool a bit. I don’t blame him for wanting to fight off Yamza though especially if he believes he could win. The whole arrangement seems one sided for Clayman’s army. Once again, the twist about Milim doesn’t help for scenes like this where they are only standing down because she has cosigned all of this. Not a great move that’s for sure.

I don’t agree with Middray allowing all of this disrespect though. He definitely has to defend himself when the villains are going in like this. It would go a long way to building up the kingdom’s credibility. Especially since he does seem very powerful. Not as strong as Benimaru or anything like that but he can take on many other fighters. Then we have Albis who is one of the stronger beast warriors. She has a full super form and everything which is always tough to defeat. She was the one fighting Yamza too who is an impressive opponent to be going up against.

Then we have the 3 otherworlders. They’re all total villains but made for entertaining characters. First up is Kirara who has the ability to hypnotize people so they agree with her. This doesn’t work in the wonderful realm of Tempest though since the demons can block that ability from working. She can also heal though which is very handy. Things don’t end very well for her though and it’s why you never want to be in a group of villains for very long. They will always turn on you.

Then you have Kyoya who is always acting very polite but it seems to be an act as he is just as crazy as the others. It only comes out during a fight when he’s winning though. Otherwise the guy stays quiet and tries not to make a scene. His sword skills are impressive as is his future sight. With that he can dodge attacks easily. His abilities feel like something an isekai lead could have too so it helps with the whole image of these guys being reverse leads. The otherworlders give us some of the top fights in the season too so credit there.

Finally you have Shogo who is effectively the leader here. He can punch really hard and his berserk skill improves his stats even more. That really makes him hard to stop. He ends up taking a whole lot of punishment as the fights go on though. He can dish it out but he certainly can’t take it. I like how the guy is always yelling but he’s definitely not a villain you can count on. Ultimately Razen gets the best of him but things don’t even go very well for that guy either. I liked Razen’s confidence though. I thought his arc was going to be a lot longer and that he would show up later but it just wasn’t in the cards for him.

That wraps up most of the characters in this season. Of course there are a considerable amount of other characters that I haven’t mentioned like the various kings, other members of Tempest, etc but the cast is exceptionally large so mentioning them all would take quite a while. It’s really an excellent cast and that’s part of what makes the show work so well. No matter what plot they go to you can bet that something interesting will be happening. Season 2 is quite busy with all of the plots and sub plots going on.

The show is really a blast and it’s also a very calming title. For most of the show you never feel like the heroes are in danger so you enjoy the spectacle of all the fights without worrying about the heroes much. There is a tense moment in arc 1 to be sure before Rimuru gets his power up but it’s safe to say that after that you don’t get a very serious moment like that again where you think this might get ugly for the heroes. It probably wouldn’t work if every show started making things too easy on the heroes but it’s just rare enough where it works as a change of pace. You’ll be having a good time throughout.

Even when the fights are not ongoing the show has a good amount of humor and solid writing to carry it at all times. Really the only problem with the show here that keeps it from being a 9 is that the fanservice can be quite excessive. Particularly in the opening episodes there is a lot of fanservice and it just keeps on coming. After that the show dials it back to more of a normal amount. Slime isn’t really the kind of series that ever totally gets past this issue but at least it’s mild enough where it takes a decisive back seat to everything else going on. It’s Rimuru’s primary concern when meeting one of the demon lords which is unfortunate for his character. I did say he is improved from season 1 a lot with experience and all but this is still an unfortunate trait of his.

Overall, You’ll definitely have a really good time with this season. Slime has certainly improved since its days in season 1. The animation and soundtrack have never been better. The story is also at an all time high and the pacing is good. The fights are on point and you’ll just be having a great time here. There is just so much action and no matter who is fighting you know you’re in for a treat. The power levels being mysterious is also good since it allows the series to go in a lot of different directions for the next season. Once we know that Rimuru really is the strongest then that’ll probably limit what it can do to an extent. Either way you’ll want to check this one out.

Overall 8/10

My Hero Academia Season 5 Review


It’s always impressive how the MHA seasons keep arriving like clockwork. You can usually expect a season every year and the next one will certainly be coming soon as well. The seasons have all been rather consistent as well with really solid animation throughout. This is probably the first one where it felt like the production started to catch up with them in the end but ultimately you’ve got another great season here. There’s a lot going on so lets hop right to it.

The show quickly opens up with the aftermath of last season as Dabi shows up to taunt Endeavor a little bit. As one of the enemy top commanders it would be great if the heroes could take him out but he’s too crafty and slips away. We then go to the heroes who need to get stronger and have a tournament between classes to pull this off. Class 1A will have to try and take out Class 1B once and for all. Can they really pull this off though or are they already doomed? Class 1B has far less real world experience than 1A but of course their quirks are still the real deal.

This lasts for the first half of the season and it’s a fun arc. The animation really helps to increase how intense the battles are but either way I’m always up for a good tournament. We get to see everyone contribute this way and you know that Bakugo is going to be set. Honestly I think Class 1B should have won the third round based on how things played out but I’ll go into each individual match in a second. All of them were fun though and I liked how 1B’s teacher was openly rooting for them. He may not be impartial but he’s certainly loyal. I’d like 1A’s teacher to have been a little more supportive like that.

After the tournament ends we get the mini arc of Todoroki, Bakugo, and Deku working under Endeavor. We get to see more of his family drama and the heroes learn how to make the most of their quirks. In the background Hawks is working on a mission of his own and it’s hard to tell if he’s a double agent that the heroes can trust or if he’s gone off the deep end. Either way he’s their best hope for secret intel but of course he has to be careful how he transmits the data. This arc’s definitely more on the low key side but it’s another way to build up experience for the main characters and to get them strong enough for the battles that are to come. There’s not a whole lot to say about these episodes but of course it’s still going to be a long journey to even begin to forgive Endeavor. I don’t blame Todoroki’s brother for still being super sore about the whole thing. I can’t say Endeavor ever bounced back for me personally.

Then we get to the arc that most people were really excited for in this season. The big My Villain Alliance arc where Shigaraki and the gang are forced to fight against a new villain group led by Re-Destro. It’s always fun to see a villains vs villains arc and so of course that would be the case here too. The new villain group has the absolute massive advantage in numbers since it’s really hundreds against less than 10 fighters. The league of villains are also heavily weakened since they’ve been fighting almost nonstop for days already. With their abilities weakened can they claim victory here?

Imagine if Re-Destro hadn’t been so determined to beat the villains on his own and had called in the heroes? He could have ended up ending the series early but fortunately his hubris made him want to fight personally. I don’t think he realized that this would be the best path for him as well but figured he couldn’t lose either way. Now there was a lot of controversy about how the arc would be adapted though. The events got shuffled around a bit to try and build up synergy with the movie. As a result, the anime put the training arc with Endeavor before the villain arc. Not a really bad thing on its own, both events are far enough away where they shouldn’t reference each other.

The big problem here is that the anime still includes future scenes…including spoiling the ending of the arc with the result of who won the war and what happened to both team members. Everything is absolutely spoiled with a classic villain meeting scene where we see everyone. We hear about the destruction on the news in the episode and I don’t understand this choice by the writer/director. Surely it would have been incredibly easy to move that scene to the end right? Also, due to so many episodes being for the other events, the my villain arc had to be rushed quite a lot. Many scenes are cut and so the arc doesn’t feel quite as complete as in the manga. It only gets 6 episodes to itself (Although 5 since the last episode is really after the arc) so there just wasnm’t a lot of time. It’s still a very solid arc but it is heavily weakened to the point where it’s fair to say that the Class 1A vs Class 1B arc is stronger. At least in the anime I would say it absolutely is. The first arc has better animation, more big battles, etc.

So that part was unfortunate but even if you know how the arc will end, it’s still a fun journey here. You get to see the villains gaining more power and how this will make things tougher for the heroes going forward. They can’t hope to just roll on past the villains now, although that was never really an option. The heroes are gaining power at a much slower rate than the villains so now the villains may have even taken the lead. To be honest, I would say the villain group is more powerful than the heroes right now. Their abilities are simply too good to be stopped.

So lets go back to the battles for a minute here. Class 1B messed up in the first battle because they really had the edge once Kirishima was taken out of play. On paper 1A is much stronger there but 1B had such a promising start. Unfortunately for them they got a bit overconfident. It was a fun way to start the tournament off. Ultimately most if not all of the other battles would surpass this one but we got to see what Shinso could do in the fights.

In the second battle we had another match that appears to be a stomp for 1A on paper but 1B came out with the better plan once again. This time they were able to close the deal and I was glad to see that. Momo and Kendo have a big rivalry here and it was nice to see. Momo seems to usually come out on top so at least Kendo has a win here. Her plan was well thought out and they took advantage of how emotional the heroes could get. I liked how their shadow guy baited Tokoyami at one point. Ultimately this is a main theme for the tournament with how 1B would make up for their lack of physical abilities with really smart planning.

Then we go to the third battle which is the most lopsided because of how stacked it is for the heroes. I’m not a big Ida fan but I can still say that he is quite fast and a threat in a fight. Then you have Todoroki on the same team? Well, that’s a wrap. This fight may have had the best animation out of the 5. We got some great scenes of Ida dashing around at limitless speed and Todoroki’s fire was really sharp. That said, the tie was not satisfying here. While I think 1A should have won from the start, at the end they should have just lost if this is how it was going to go. With the bar hitting Todoroki like that Rocketti needed to come in clutch for 1B.

After that it was time for Bakugo to take the stage. It’s the most one sided battle out of the 5 and for good reason. Up until now 1B has had all of the planning but Bakugo had enough of that. He conducts a really solid plan for 1A and they have a perfect win. It was a good way to show how Bakugo has been improving over the course of the show and now knows how to be a team player. It isn’t something he likes doing but it makes sense that he would know how to work with others since that will be necessary when he is a pro.

Finally we get to the 5th match with Deku. Of course Deku could solo the entirety of Class 1B on his own so we have to have something to prevent this. In this case it was that Deku develops his new ability during the fight and loses control which gives 1B a chance to come back. I really like Monoma so I was glad that he got to have a good role here. Certainly the standout of 1B. The match is never in doubt but it’s suitably dramatic and works as a good way to end the arc off.

So the arc was definitely a lot of fun. Constant fights and everyone got to show off their stuff so I was satisfied here. I would like to see 1B get to do something more in an action context at some point though. I know that they’re probably outmatched against the League of Villains but surely there’s some fodder they can fight against. It would be good to show that they are still contributing and can fight when the chips are down.

In terms of people choking when they’re about to win though, that happens to Re-Destro’s side a lot in the villain arc. At the very least you feel like Shigaraki and Toga should have lost their battles. Toga was getting utterly devastated throughout the match to the point where she was exploded several times when her opponent rigged the blood flow. Toga should not be getting up from that, much less turning the tables. I know the reporter got overconfident but that was the match to me. Meanwhile Re-Destroy also had such a huge lead but then he started admiring Shigaraki and losing his resolve. It was a shame because that guy was so cool but now he has faltered. I guess that’s why he is no longer the mastermind though. He doesn’t have the grit for this.

Now lets talk about the characters. Of course the main cast has already been appearing for a while so I won’t go super in depth there. Deku still makes for a solid lead. As far as Shonen Jump leads go he has always been one of the weaker ones for me but just going off of this season he doesn’t really do anything wrong. He does well in the fights and you can excuse him sandbagging a bit because if he goes all out he could murder someone by mistake. As the seasons go we should see him displaying more and more power in a safe way.

Bakugo gets a really great role of course with how he commanded his team to victory. It was nice to see and he’s never lacking in confidence. Jiro had a great assist in the match and she is quick to act on the orders. I see them having a good dynamic on the field going forward. Uravity doesn’t get to fight a lot here but she does come in handy for helping Deku come to his senses. Ida has his speed moment and while he ultimately has a rough matchup here, he does help his team a lot.

Likewise, Todoroki has a good moment with his fire and ice abilities but ultimately it’s really hard to use those abilities at their peak without murdering someone so that nerfs him in the tournament. The rest of class 1A is mainly uneventful but of course they are all in this tournament so you’ll see all of your favorite characters doing their own thing and upgrading their powers. We still don’t get to see much of Invisigirl so she is truly living up to her name.

For Class 1B the standout characters start with Monoma of course. His ability to store powers and use them at will makes him a true threat. He even has his delayed effect on one of them which is used strategically. You can see how his ability has its own share of weaknesses since he always has to use borrowed abilities which means that he has less experience than his opponent but his high IQ helps to balance that out. He is not someone that you want to go up against in the field.

Kinoko is an interesting case because she’s like Deku where she has to be careful of how she fights. She can cause mushrooms to appear all over your body which impairs your ability to move and breath. She is also shown to be able to do this across an incredible range as she covered a good chunk of the battlefield. What this means is she could conceivably cause this to appear in your lungs and you’d be dead instantly. Her abilities have countless ways to be used but many are lethal and even with knocking out opponents she has to be careful not to suffocate them. I doubt she’ll ever get to do much again but honestly she would be a huge help against the villains.

As mentioned earlier, I was glad that Kendo got her moment to shine. Even if she doesn’t get to fight later on. That’s at least something she can hang her hat on and she really is a solid strategist. Mudman deserves some credit too for being able to react to Ida’s speed and still land his counter blows. He did quite well in using his ability creatively. Certainly not someone that you want to underestimate.

Shihai also gets kudos for the mind games he was playing the whole time. It was quite effective and he’s a good actor. Then you have Spiral who isn’t super remarkable but his abilities are so basic that it makes him feem like a very earnest guy. Ultimately I think he could have done better here but I won’t forget his abilities too soon. The way he punches while spinning reminds me of Jin from Yu Yu Hakusho.

Shinso gets a good role here as he gets to participate in both team sessions. His ability to mind control you is super handy. Even if it won’t work too well on Deku or Shigaraki, most opponents are immediately going to lose if he can hit them. The trick to his ability is that he needs the villain to talk back to him. Assuming that most don’t yet know about his ability, that makes him a real asset on the field. He also wants to learn mor close quarters combat which is a good idea since that never hurts.

Then we have Endeavor who is of course trying to turn over a new leaf. Props for effort of course. I may not like the guy but it is still important to start trying to make amends as it’s better than just continuing down the dark path. As the number 1 hero he has huge shoes to fill but is doing his best. I would still consider him to be the second strongest hero in the series (That we have seen so far) but I would argue Deku has surpassed him. Endeavor is just able to control his abilities better and then go all out.

Meanwhile Hawks still has the toughest job here as he has to hang out with the villains and learn things. He could be murdered at any moment so he really has to be careful. He does well in his role though and knows how to use his laidback attitude to his advantage. Now that takes us to the villains and of course quite a lot happens with those guys. I’ll start with Spinner since he gets the least to do. Most of his scenes are the ones that had to be axed although to be fair, if I had to axe any scenes I would have gone after Spinner too. He’s just not super interesting compared to the others and he’s a bit weak as well. Right now the guy doesn’t have nearly as much drive as the others.

So first off we have Twice who gets a lot of big moments here. For starters he is able to awaken his quirk so he can now copy anybody he really knows including their powers. That’s a huge power up especially considering that he can now make hundreds of clones. It was nice to see him be able to recover from his split personality issues as well. His backstory is definitely something I’m sure everyone imagined at least once in Naruto as a dark what if route. Well, he’s back and stronger than ever now. He may be a villain but Twice is the kind of guy who really cares about his comrades and so you end up liking him well enough. He’s easily one of the more likable members.

Then you have Toga who is still as crazy as ever. We get her backstory which doesn’t make her any more sympathetic but it isn’t really supposed to. We just learn now that she really was crazy from the start. I’m not a Toga fan and this certainly wouldn’t change my mind in that respect. I have to say that I was rooting for Curious from the start and I still say that she deserved that win.

Next up is Dabi who is great as always. It was a hype moment when the team called him in to help in the fight. Makes sense because without him things would be difficult. His fire attacks are great for fighting many enemies at once after all and one hit could be deadly. Surprisingly he seemed to still be on the losing side against Geten and is lucky that backup arrived. It was a rough matchup for him though.

Finally you have Shigaraki. Oh there’s a guy called Compress? Well he didn’t do anything so he may as well not exist. Anyway back to Shigaraki, I’m not really a big fan of his. I mean he’s your classic crazy villain who wants to see the world burn and all. The insane types can be good sometimes, sometimes not. I’ve always found that specific kind of villain to be very hit or miss. He’s slowly starting to get past his issues like always needing the hands which is good and he’s gaining focus. Down the road Shigaraki could end up being a stronger villain personality wise.

His origin story is also the weakest part of the show as of course he has a dog and you can imagine how that goes. He grew up in a toxic household which ultimately ended up speeding his descent into madness. It’s too bad since things could have been different for him otherwise but the heroes were just not around in time. Not like they can be in every household though. Shigaraki’s father just looks terrible here. You can’t really blame the sister since she’s just a child but he deserves a lot of the blame here.

Of course you aren’t likely to sympathize with Shigaraki much here. Even if his childhood was rough, he ultimately ended up becoming a mass murdering villain so that was that. With his new powers he seems nearly unstoppable though so the heroes are really going to have to put out all the stops here.

As for the other villain group we have to start off with Re-Destro. This guy was great at the start, he has a ton of confidence and has his own empire. He blackmails the league of villains openly and it shows you just how many connections he has. He was making a case for being one of the best villains in the series but unfortunately he completely cracks once he is humbled by Shigaraki. He goes to being someone that is absolutely loving being a minion but way too much. He has no more self dignity anymore and I lost all respect for him so fast. He’s just a shell of himself now.

Gigantomachia is sort of a third party villain until he accepts Shigaraki but now we can say he is in the league. He’s super powerful to be sure but one of those really big and not very fast guys so I can’t take him ultra seriously. He’s really good for obliterating tons of fodder quickly though and since it’s hard to damage him, he’ll end up being one of the big players in the upcoming battles.

Back to Re-Destro’s allies, we have Curious next. She’s effectively a twisted reporter who always has to get the scoop even during battle. She’s quite good at her job and made for a fun villain. Curious may be short lived at the end of the day but she certainly made the most of her screen time. Then there’s Geten who also doesn’t appear much but this guy stole the show for me. His fight with Dabi is great and I love the guy’s confidence. Usually you’d assume that ice won’t do anything against fire but Geten showed why his abilities surpass all of that. The fact that he can use water to create a near infinite supply makes me think that he may be more powerful than both Todoroki and Dabi at using his abilities. I dare say Geten was going to easily win if not for the fight being interrupted.

Finally we have Skeptic but he’s more of a support villain than someone who will go in personally. He uses his pseudo hypnosis to get everyone on board and fired up. His abilities also seem to give his fighters a little extra strength so he’s useful to have around. Not really my kind of villain though and he doesn’t leave the same kind of impact as Curious and Geten. Both of those villains you won’t be forgetting any time soon.

For the soundtrack we’ve got a lot of the really solid tunes that are from the older seasons which are always good. There are also some new tracks particularly in the villain arc which are solid. I’m not sure what the name of the theme is, but it plays quite a bit during the villain fights and is a good way to build things up. I like the idea of the villains having their own ost to counter the heroes as well. Ultimately the only aspect that still remains on the disappointing side is the openings. For some reason MHA has really started to have really below average openings. It reminds me of One Piece where the openings just never tend to be all that great. At least MHA had the first opening which was exceptional though, there’s never been a standout tune for One Piece. Maybe it’s a tough thing for long running titles in general as I can’t think of any really top notch Naruto openings. Black Clover would be the exception although Bleach had some solid ones in the mix.

I will give the show credit having 2 intro songs though which is how it should be. When you have 25-26 episodes you should have 2 openings, 4 for 52, and 1 for 13. Every 13 episodes you should have a new opening. Them’s the rules. As for the animation, well it’s pretty great as always. Particularly the first arc with the heroes against heroes. We get a lot of great animation cuts there and top tier moments throughout. The famous cubes for the big moments and the heroes look plus ultra as a result. You could say some of the best animated cuts in the whole series are in the first half.

As mentioned earlier, it does come at a bit of a cost though. The villains arc noticeably seemed to get the worst animation of the series. In the other seasons every episode always looked consistent so even if some fights got more attention than others, it was always at the same level. Here it just looks really different at times, almost outsourced. Even the color palette looks different as it gets a lot brighter and less detailed at times. It may not be on point compared to the rest of the show but I would say it still looks good if you take it as a stand alone. Additionally they still pull out the budget for the final fight of the season which is good. I would say even that one doesn’t look as good as most of the cuts in the first half of the season but it still ends on a solid note.

Also, a part of me is just wondering if maybe the show was just trying something different with the animation. Like if you see the Dabi screenshot above or watch some episodes, it just looks different. It’s why I mentioned potential outsourcing. Perhaps it was a different style they wanted to experiment with and it just didn’t work out as well. I remember Black Clover tried some experimental animation in one of its fights when things were going through a big time crunch and if the style is quicker to animate then it would make sense to use it.

The arc definitely had a lot of really solid animated moments as well even if I don’t think the style was nearly as good as the first half. The less detailed approach may help to mask if this was rushed which could be the intent. I love bright colors like this so the art style worked even if it was less detailed. To put it one way, I wouldn’t mind if it ultimately went in this direction next season even if I would prefer traditional. After all, I really enjoyed the Dabi fight and I thought the scene I attached a screenshot of looked great. It’s certainly eye catching and pops out at you.

Overall, My Hero wraps up another important saga in the mix. It may have been a little less high stakes compared to the last few seasons but we do have a solid cliffhanger to set things up for the next season. Season 6 is really going to be intense from start to finish with nonstop battles so if they need to take a few extra months to set this up that’s fine. It has the potential to be the best season in the show depending on how this all goes. Also, how many shows get to have 5+ seasons like this? Definitely shows how big the series has gotten and I’m expecting more movies coming up as well.

Overall 8/10

In/Spectre Review


I know what you’re thinking. Inspector Gadget finally got his own anime right? Well, not this time but this is still a mystery type show. It’s a very unique kind of approach to it though as the cases revolve around finding an explanation but not necessarily the correct one. I’ll explain what I mean in a moment but it’s a nice way to change things up. Ultimately this is a show you will remember quite well after watching it and I’ll be interested to see what cases season 2 covers.

So the series starts off by introducing us to Iwanaga. She was kidnapped as a child and when she was found, Iwanaga was missing a leg and an eye. In exchange she has now gained the ability to see yokai and helps them out as the goddess of wisdom. There is still some mystery regarding what exactly happened to her but the outside world is unlikely to ever know the full truth here. Well, Iwanaga has been solving mysteries for a while now but her top goal is getting Kuro to fall in love with her. Now that he has broken up with the girl he was dating for the last 2 years, it’s time to make her move!

Okay that’s the plot for the first episode and after that we get the cases. The first episode is important though because it sets the stage for the rest of the series and the dynamic between Kuro and Iwanaga. Also, I would say the first episode is the best episode in the series. Not a diss to the rest of the show but I didn’t feel like it ever quite matches up to the first adventure.

The first episode really has a similar vibe to Death Note. We know there’s something odd about Kuro but it’s hard to say exactly what. Iwanaga is odd in her own way too so who is the hero and who’s the villain here? Kuro gives a story about how his girlfriend Saki broke up with him because a Kappa appeared and Kuro was too scared to help out. Iwanaga counters that this is unlikely and we get an interesting dynamic there. There’s a lot of verbal battles as they compare theories. Finally the episode ends with a massive cliffhanger as Kuro seemingly outs himself as a villain and walks away.

From the first episode you almost get a Death Note meets Carmen Sandiego feeling as Kuro will keep avoiding Iwanaga while she chases him. Things don’t quite go in that direction though as Iwanaga is not scared of his abilities and is still in love with him anyway. From there they end up forming a very reluctant team as they are “dating” and Kuro has to protect her at all times since the world of Yokai is a dangerous one. It’s a different dynamic compared to the first episode but still a good path. That first episode just really leaves a strong impact.

The first case is a fairly small one. So a body was found inside the lake of the Great Snake and so he summons Iwanaga to ask what happened. If the answer is not satisfactory then he will create a giant storm and cause a lot of destruction. Throughout the two episodes Iwanaga poses several theories and explanations on what has happened. This is really the meat of what makes the series interesting. So in most detective shows/movies you will have the main character explain everything as we get flashbacks as to exactly what happened and then we call it a day.

Well we get the explanation and the flashback but then the Snake starts poking a lot of holes in the theory. So Iwanaga switches her story up and you quickly realize that she was completely bluffing the first time. It’s a fun subversion because you are used to the main character being correct the first time around, not having to backtrack and try again. I can’t think of the last time I saw something like that. It happens over and over again as the Snake keeps dismissing the theories until he accepts the last one. Thing is, we don’t know if it’s actually correct. Iwanaga ultimately admits to Kuro that it’s still a guess since it’s not like she was actually there.

Although she did have her mystic Yokai informants to fill in some of the holes but ultimately she doesn’t know if this is the truth. Iwanaga points out that it’s close enough though and works as an “Alternative Truth” which is a main theme of the show. As long as you get to the correct outcome, the details themselves don’t matter and can therefore be made up. Iwanaga’s job is to make everything make sense, not to necessarily uncover the truth behind these mysteries. You can see how that’s a very different perspective from what you may be used to. It makes for a fun watch and becomes a bigger debate/point of emphasis in the upcoming arc. The snake adventure was a good way to kick things off as we see different flashbacks which keeps contradicting themselves as the story goes on. I’ll give the Snake props for shooting down so many theories initially though.

Now we enter the final arc. You may be thinking that this was awful quick but the final arc is quite long which is why it shows up immediately like this. So there is a rumor going around about “Steel Lady Nanase” which is believed to be the undead spirit of Nanase that is going around and murdering people. Nanase was crushed when a giant construction beam broke and fell on her. The circumstances of her death were very suspicious though. Why was she alone in the middle of the night at an abandoned construction area? She was a very well known voice actress of world renown who should not have been there at the time. Additionally, the way she died makes it appear that she didn’t react to the beam falling down at all as if she was already knocked out or put to sleep. Thing is there are no other injuries to be found or any traces of a drug. Naturally Iwanaga is called into action.

With almost 10 episodes for this arc it’s quite a long one as you can expect with quite a few twists and alternative truths mixed in. We also meet a new villain and several new characters. This is a good place to talk about Kuro’s abilities since they will play a big role in this title. So Kuro ate part of a mermaid at some point which is part of his origin story and so he is immortal. Any fatal wound he receives will quickly heal up at all times. Additionally, while he is dead, Kuro has the ability to grab onto the literal strings of fate to determine what path he takes.

This isn’t an invincible ability where he can change the future though as it has some limitations. First, he can only see some branches into the future and can’t follow them along too far before his healing factor kicks in and he regenerates. Additionally, if the future is something very strong then he can’t change it. For example, if a villain is attacking someone, it’s probably too late to change their fate to spare the victim because the action is already in progress. Another wrinkle to the equation is that he’s not the only one with fate altering abilities so if the other user is more powerful than he is, then Kuro will be blocked out.

A side effect of Kuro’s abilities is that his blood is poisonous to monsters/yokai now. So most avoid him by default. Mix that in with his immortality and getting eaten intentionally is an actual battle tactic for him since he can walk away from that while the monster will blow up. So that wraps up Kuro’s abilities and it makes him a very valuable asset to have. Iwanaga always wants him to help out but unfortunately for her he isn’t a great team player and tends to vanish a lot. Ultimately he will show up to help out in each arc though.

It does also feel like the show jumps around a lot. It feels like there is a significant jump between the giant snake case and then Steel Lady Nanase. Personally I’m thinking the show may have skipped some stories to get to the big Nanase case or something but it may just be a normal jump. Either way the duo have really grown comfortable with each other by this case and Kuro no longer denies being her girlfriend. The two of them are just partners in for the long haul at this point although if Kuro’s immortality includes his age then that could be tricky for Iwanaga eventually.

Back to the arc though, here’s a bit more of the details. So of course Yokai exist in this world and the Steel Lady Nanase is very real. The trouble is that spirits grow stronger based on how many people believe in them. Initially there weren’t a lot of people who believed in Nanase, but a certain website has helped her become big through its active forums. It turns out that Rikka, Kuro’s cousin is at the helm and she appears to be using this as some kind of experiment. That makes the case extra personal for Kuro. The problem is that it’s not so easy to figure out how to beat Nanase since Rikka keeps using fate alteration to prevent her defeat.

So the goal here is really for Iwanaga to convince people on the forums that Nanase isn’t real. Effectively she has to make the truth appear to be a lie and the lie appear to be truth. It’s interesting because we know that the villain in this case is telling the truth about Nanase being an evil spirit murdering everyone so in a way you’re hoping that the forum won’t fall for Iwanaga’s fake news. On the other hand, this is the only way to stop the spirit since if nobody believes in her then she will fade from existence.

We get a lot of rules about how this specifically works. The fact that everyone knows how Nanase looks and that someone drew an image of her also made the spirit more powerful since everyone would have the same illustration in their minds. It was really quite the impressive trick by Rikka. Rikka is quite fortunate that the forum was so supernatural though as on Reddit I can’t imagine a lot of people buying into this. They may ironically post about it but that’s really it.

It was a lot of fun to see the forums going though as Iwanaga and Rikka both infiltrated and pretended to be random users. We get multiple episodes of all these users interacting as Iwanaga provides story after story. Like with the giant snake she just keeps on throwing out constant theories until one sticks. I personally thought she should have used a different user name with each one to really split everyone up though. See, her goal isn’t to win everyone over at once but to gradually split up the group so that everyone is believing in different things at the same time. That would weaken the collective image and allow Kuro to take Nanase down.

After all, while Iwanaga is typing all of this, Kuro is fighting Nanase so that she can’t murder anyone else in the meantime. I did have major issues with this fight though. So Nanase isn’t super strong on her own, I mean she is decent but you can absolutely wrestle her to the ground. For someone like Kuro this should be easy right? Nanase’s only big weapon is her steel beam which murders Kuro several times. That’s fair, I accept those losses since the man seems to have 0 fighting instincts. There are 3-4 times in the fight where he throws her beam off of the stairs or she is separated from it.

In those cases he should absolutely be grabbing the beam right? No, each time he’ll just throw her back into the beam, just stand there with a stunned expression on his face, or he’ll destroy her but then she’ll regenerate and just pick up the beam again. Kuro’s win conditions aren’t too hard here. Just keep the steel beam out of reach since she can’t summon it remotely and then get her in a choke hold. He successfully did this and murdered her once but then ran off. Instead keep holding onto her as she regenerates and wait for Iwanaga to solve the case.

I feel like they made Kuro fight super poorly the whole time so that her solutions would work completely but it would have been more impressive if he was just holding her in place the whole time. Maybe it wouldn’t have been as visually interesting but then just keep the focus on the inside world with the texts and the virtual selves. I think that would have worked out quite well if you ask me. That fight just didn’t make sense the whole time and since the climax is so long, it just makes this impossible not to notice.

So lets talk about the characters. First off you have Kuro who works well as the main guy. You feel bad for him to an extent as he clearly doesn’t want to get back into a relationship but Iwanaga is quite persistent. Even now when they are together you feel like he’s just there to protect her but doesn’t really return her feelings just yet. They work better as just being friends but I think we know that’s likely off the table right away. Kuro is never quite as mysterious as he was in the first episode but you always get the sense that he could crack at any second.

He does have some character weaknesses though like how he runs off to take care of the Rikka element by himself and that ultimately comes back to bite him. The whole plot with Rikka does no favors for Kuro either. They are still cousins after all so I don’t care how big the family is, that means Kuro needs to stay out of that arena. At least he’s finally starting to get over that but in the meantime it does hold him back as a character.

As for Iwanaga, her detective skills are on point. When solving cases she is second to none and I do like how quickly she is able to pivot from one story to the next when they are proven to be incorrect. She’s quick on her feet in that respect and is also willing to jump into danger as needed. On the minus side, she can be rather crude at times. That’s almost her whole gimmick with how she obsessively chases after Kuro and tries to keep his ex Saki at a distance. Iwanaga is always calculating and that includes when she is talking to her friends. I’d like for her to be a little more dignified at times though. So like Kuro I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan of her so far.

Saku is the ex girlfriend who gets a big role in the Nanase case. Her first appearance in that arc is quite good as she charges Nanase and tries to fight. Of course it doesn’t work since Nanase is a ghost but I did like her enthusiasm there. She really went for a big punch and since she is usually scared of the occult that was a big character moment. I was surprised when it happened but very much in a good way. You’ve probably noticed a trend with the characters so far though which is that they all have a weak point as well. Saki is no different and my issue is with how she ditched Kuro so easily.

Mainly the show points to the incident with the Kappa as why she ran off. When she noticed that the Kappa was scared and not Kuro, she had to dash out of there because it was all too scary. If she broke up with Kuro because he was emotionless I could buy into that. Or if he started acting evil and edgy, sure that makes sense. Running off because of that? I think that’s a real stretch and even in the present it doesn’t make much sense to me. Later on we see that she knew about his regeneration after witnessing it at one point so I don’t see why this was so much of a shock to her.

At the very least I would have expected them to sit down and talk about it a bit. So that really hurt her character since it makes her look bad. At least it looks like there won’t be a “Take Two” so they will just stay as friends now. One minor character who stole the show for me was Terada. He’s Saki’s superior in the office and while he doesn’t believe in the supernatural he keeps his mind open about it. I was glad that he was trying to crack the case and didn’t just say Saki was crazy or something like that. Unfortunately, going up against a spirit will usually be the end of you and that’s how things went here. At least he was a lot of fun while he was around and that’s how you develop a good one shot character.

Finally we have the villain Rikka. Eh, I’m not a fan of hers either although we don’t really know her full goals yet. It appears that ultimately she wants to die since immortality is a bit of a curse for her. So, perhaps by figuring out how to make spirits come to life, she is trying to find a way to reverse her own immortality. I don’t really know why she was trolling at the hospital for a few years though as with her immortality she seems to have been okay. When the hospital discharges her eventually she just walks off. Maybe she just liked scaring Saki. (Yeah Saki’s also scared of her which isn’t a great look) I’ll need to see what Rikka’s real motivations are but in the meantime she’s just not a very interesting villain. It is fun to picture her typing on the keyboard as the enemy troll in the final debates though.

I doubt she really knows what she wants to do at this point but it would be hard for the heroes to stop her if she got serious. Put it this way, there’s nothing stopping her from creating a lot of myths around the world and summoning more monsters. Maybe they wouldn’t be as powerful if she doesn’t get the circumstances just right but the heroes can’t be in more than one place. Just summon a bunch of them and watch the world burn. It’s not like the humans can do anything against Yokai so that’s game set and match. Her goal isn’t to destroy the world but if she needs the spirits for her goal…well that’s how you do it.

That about covers it for the characters. There are a bunch of random yokai running around too of course but they’re not quite big enough to go in depth on. As you can see I wasn’t the biggest fan of the cast but they hold their scenes well enough. You’ll still be entertained while going through it mainly because the detective angle is a blast. The series is at its best when the characters are debating viewpoints and trying to find flaws in each other’s arguments. Since Iwanaga is creating lies each time, it makes sense that there will usually be a hole to exploit somewhere.

It does have a bit of a fanservice issue in the final case with Nanase. The fanservice is effectively built into her reputation which is why it’s emphasized and mentioned so much but it’s not really needed. Kuro doesn’t miss a chance to tease Iwanaga on her appearance with this and they mess around a bit but it ultimately felt like a bit of an excuse to use Nanase for fanservice. The rest of the show is pretty much devoid of this so I like to think it won’t be an issue for season 2.

The opening song is very solid here. It’s quite catchy and I particularly like the guitar strum at the beginning. It’s the kind of opening you can listen to a whole lot. Within the show the ost isn’t quite as memorable but it’s hard to top that intro. As for the animation, it’s pretty solid. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly memorable but works well enough for a more mystery based show. The action scenes aren’t quite the focus after all and everything is still clear enough. There are good contrasts with the colors and you can’t mistake the fact that this is a newer anime.

As this is a mystery show you can also expect some of the backstories to be a little dark. Usually with murders that’s how things go but I would say the show never goes too dark with the backstories. At times things can get a little violent as the show exploits how Rikka and Kuro can keep regenerating anyway. Rikka keeps destroying herself to grab onto fate and I would say Kuro is sandbagging to an extent to keep grabbing fate as well. As a result they do die a lot and quite brutally in some ways. It certainly can be a bit much at times and they could tone down the violence in season 2 but for the most part it’s usually not excessive like that. Certainly none of the other cases aside from Nanase were that violent so I wouldn’t expect it to be a trend.

Overall, In/Spectre is definitely a fun show. It may not have gone the route I was expecting with the dynamic between Kuro and Iwanaga but ultimately down the road you always expect a two man show for the detectives. The one solving the cases and then the muscle to back the detective up. (Alternately the second person would be comic relief like with some variations of Watson) The show maintains really solid dialogue throughout with the cases and I like how unique the whole thing is. To get to the next level I’d like the characters to get a little more likable and then we’re really in business. If you’re looking for a good mystery show then this is one to check out. The first episode will almost certainly have you hooked.

Overall 7/10

Tokyo Mew Mew Review


I read Tokyo Mew Mew a while back and it was fun enough. I preferred the manga to Sailor Moon by a large margin but would the same be true of the anime version? Not in this case as the gap between the manga and anime for Moon is like night and day to the point where I would say the anime is really quite good. In Mew Mew’s case I would say the anime does enhance the manga as well but it’s still not quite topping Sailor Moon. This is a fun show all the way through so you should have a good time here.

The show starts by introducing us to a happy girl named Ichigo. Her life has been rather ordinary so far as she tries to balance her school life while also trying to build up the courage to tell Aoyama how she feels about him. Well, that will have to wait as she is blasted with a strange ray along with a few other girls. They are now destined to be the Tokyo Mew Mews. A fighting force of epic proportions that must defend the world from aliens who seemingly wish to destroy it. These powers come with some unfortunate side effects like how Ichigo will gain cat features if she gets too excited. That will make her confession to Aoyama rather difficult. Her only chance is to save the world quickly and put these powers behind her. Will she be able to do this?

At first the show is mainly a monster of the week format. Ichigo will fight a monster and then we move on to the next adventure. Along the way she meets the other fighters in the group and then once the team is assembled we really start to learn more about the villains and their motivations. It’s not quite so simple as just destroying the world and they have some interesting reasons for attacking. You’ll never stop rooting for the heroes but at least you can see where the villains are coming from.

The show does tend to use the same kind of plot cycles like Saint Seiya for a while though. For example, if one character gets a power up, you can bet that the next 4 episodes will be about the rest of the team getting power ups. If one character gets an adventure then the others will each get an episode in turn. It may make things predictable to an extent so I’d like the show to have changed things up more. Fortunately the adventures are all fun though and you’re not really expecting the show to veer off into a crazy direction so it works well enough. The whole episodic kind of experience is one that can always work as long as the writing is good.

One of the reasons why I preferred the show to the manga version is it felt like each of the characters got more personality and development. I usually feel that way for anime adaptions and consider it a strength of the medium. For example I did not like Pudding very much in the manga but thought she was a lot more likable here. Her antics would actually be funny and she did her best to help out. I’m still not a big Lettuce fan in any version but I never tend to like the timid member of the group as much as the more intense ones.

The animation here is solid. In fact I would say it’s surprising just how good it is. The colors are very sharp and the show looks a lot newer than it actually is. I suspect it’s because of the bright color pallete that makes all of the characters stand out at all times. Or maybe this show just got a bigger budget than I thought. The fight scenes that we do get are quite solid too even if they aren’t really the focus here. I definitely had no complaints on that end. Of course there is a ton of recycled footage here for all of the transformations. That always feels like a lazy way to save budget for the show though. Imagine if we got a redrawn transformation every episode. That would take more effort but it would be neat. I’m not a big fan of long transformations though so I wouldn’t mind if you did the DBZ instant change version instead. It’s cool to have a long transformation for the first time though to show what a big deal it is. The soundtrack was also solid. It had quite a few tunes as well so there was a lot of variety here. The theme song is only okay though, I didn’t find it to be too memorable. The best soundtracks tend to be the character themes when they transform and enter battle.

With 52 episodes this means you’ll be seeing a lot of monsters but the show does a good job of not really reusing those. You’re also having fun throughout so it never feels like the show drags on. In fact, I would make the case that it is always good to be a very long show if you’re a slice of life because it lets you get used to the characters. For example Cardfight G may have been one of the weaker seasons for me for a while but it had almost 60 episodes of the characters just hanging out and so when the plot stuff started you were already invested. Perhaps the new Cardfight season could have been better with more than 12 episodes.

So with 50+, you get to know the Mew Mews very well by the time we’re entering the climax. They are all solid characters for the most part too which is important. The writing here is solid from start to finish. Now, I may give the dub the edge slightly because I love how they made all of the characters extremely overconfident and aggressive but this review is really of the subbed version where I saw the whole thing. The writing is still good there as the characters have good dialogue and the episodes don’t drag on. If an episode drags on that usually means either the writer or director did not do their job and that never became an issue here. The show has good humor and dialogue at all times so you’ll be feeling good after each adventure. Now lets talk about the characters.

Ichigo is the main heroine here and she does well in carrying the show. Ichigo has a lot of energy and is a hero through and through as she sacrifices her social life to fight the monsters. She has a bit of the Parker luck at times as things usually don’t work out for her. Fortunately Aoyama is probably the most understanding guy I’ve ever seen in a Shojo series as everything bounces off of him. Ichigo stands him up for 3 different dates? He shrugs and figures she was busy. Ichigo avoids him at school for a few days? Must be a coincidence.

I mean he does get sad at times but he pretty much always gives her a pass. It’s nice to see him be so understanding but at times it feels like he has no real character. He’s just standing around to be the love interest and that’s about it. It’s why I was glad he got some twists and character development since he needed that. Ichigo does well in her spot as the leader here and also appears to be the most determined Mew Mew. So I definitely liked her quite a bit and would even put her above Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon as far as the Shojo leads go.

Since I already talked about Aoyama a bit, lets wrap up his part of the plot. He does have one episode where he has a really good character arc which is when he has to fight Ichigo’s dad in order to date her. The episode wasn’t always played seriously but his resolve was and it’s the first time he really seemed to step out into being his own character. It was satisfying in that respect and it was his best episode. Ichigo’s dad is also cool. The guy doesn’t get to do a whole lot but I do like how protective he is of Ichigo. The guy is absolutely going to make sure she doesn’t get mixed up with the wrong crowd. I also like Ichigo’s mother and how she is always cheering the father on. They have a really good bond going there and it makes for one of the more wholesome relationships I’ve seen for parents in anime.

Next up we have Mint and she is sort of like the rival or Sailor Mars of the group. She is rich and can be rather stuck up at times. She isn’t going to be quite as selfless as Ichigo but she does want friends. Mint is just one of the tsundere types who can’t really admit this. Ichigo helps her reconnect with her family and make more friends so they have a strong bond by the end. Mint also gets a good fight with Zakuro at one point which was really hype. Mint seems like one of the stronger Mew Mew fighters and I liked her tough personality. She’s certainly a standout.

Then we have Lettuce and I never quite warmed up to her. She’s one of those characters who seemed a lot more powerful when she was “evil” than when she formally became a Mew Mew. She has a hard time expressing herself and is really timid which holds her back in fights. Of course there’s nothing wrong with being timid but usually that means that you won’t end up being one of my favorite characters. I tend to like the bold characters and that’s really not her style.

Pudding is a character I usually wouldn’t expect to like very much. She’s the youngest member who can’t really take everything seriously. So Pudding tends to goof off even when things are tough and doesn’t understand that the villains are evil. I think what separates her from some of the other characters though is how she does still have a lot of responsibilities and appears to be a mature character when it counts. She looks after a bunch of orphans and in one episode we see how she has to take care of all fo them in between missions. Throw in the fact that she works in the Mew Mew cafe with the others and she is very likely the busiest member of the group.

I’d still like it if she was a little more serious during the fights or not being oblivious to how the villains are fighting against her but by the end I was a fan. The episode with the orphans is the one that ultimately won me over. Finally we have Zakuro, the most powerful member who is also on the shady side at first. Her character is really impressive here. She gets a lot of powerful imagery like when she appears in the church initially. Now that was a great way to introduce her and she has an aura of mystery that no other character in the show was able to attain. Zakuro gets a lot of cool poses and fights to herself as well which is rare for a supporting character. She seems to be the only fighter who can really take care of herself without Ichigo having to come in and save the day.

I also thought the show was fairly consistent at showing her as the most powerful member. (Aside from Ichigo of course although I do think Zakuro is more skilled but Ichigo has the 1 hit KO moves) Zakuro is the oldest member and likes to play the bad cop routine to get everyone focused. At times she goes a little too far with this though like her attack on Mint and the crew. That felt completely unnecessary and the plan just never ends up justifying that. Should have just stuck with the heroes and attacked the villains from the start. Regardless, she was certainly my favorite character in the series. Definitely a winner through and through.

Then we have the mysterious Blue Knight. The show does a pretty good job of keeping the mystery of who his true identity is. It adds a little mystery to the series and he’s effectively the Tuxedo Mask of the group. He’s strong and makes for a very good ally to the group. He comes in handy on more than one occasion and I like his design. This guy’s certainly someone you can count on to always deliver in his scenes.

I haven’t talked about them much but the Mew Mew girls have two benefactors who set this all up. Their named as Shirogane and Keiichiro and they’re responsible for the alien rays. Basically they needed a fighting force against the aliens and so the girls were chosen. These guys aren’t super apologetic about what happened from the lab experiments but I guess deep down they get worried. Shirogane is your classic tough guy who always keeps an attitude up while Keiichiro likes to appear as a really nice guy. Keiichiro was rather boring for me though and I never liked him much.

Shirogane gets a good character arc though and we learn about the big risks he had to take. He even gets a very emotional backstory that ties into one of the monsters that the group ends up fighting. Shirogane probably had to endure the most before the series starts. I forget what the male version of a tsundere is, but that’s basically him as well. He hides his feelings behind the constant insults but you can always count on him to help out. So he’s a fun character and even Aoyama gets intimidated by the guy and runs off at one point.

I should mention there is a little robot named Masha who helps the heroes by finding Mew Aqua fragments that they need for saving the world and also detects monsters. I wasn’t a huge fan of Masha though as he fails absolutely every time when it counts. By the time Masha senses any incoming monsters they have already arrived so there’s no real point. The heroes are getting absolutely devastated in their home base and this guy’s quiet as a whistle. I will say that episode was really cool though because it makes sense that the villains would eventually attack the Mew Mew home base. It’s hardly a secret and everyone knows about the cafe as it is. Surprisingly the villains never attack after this though despite the overwhelming success of the plan.

It makes so much sense to attack this place directly but maybe it’s against the villain honor code. Not that they all have much of one but at least Kisshu seems like the type of guy who would have unwritten rules. He’s certainly the most popular villain but I was not a fan. His first scene is of stealing a kiss from Ichigo which is always a super annoying shojo trope for villains. How do you end up liking that guy after such a moment? He becomes more and more desperate to be with Ichigo from that point on to the point where it becomes his complete motivation.

It’s not written horribly like in Tokyo Mew Mew Au Lait, but it’s still not a great villain motivation. Especially once we learn his full backstory and what happened to the aliens you feel like he should be staying focused here. He has some good fights and is always ready with the insults but I’d prefer if he had kept his romantic feelings out of this. It ends up completely taking over his character by the end but at least he does get some quality fights in the mean time.

I didn’t care for Taruto either. This villain’s more of a rival to Pudding as he’s the youngest villain who also messes around. He has his whole emotional character arc and all but I just didn’t like him. His romance is even more unbelievable than Kisshu by how much he despites the heroes at first and tries to murder Pudding only to have a change of heart. Nah, I wasn’t on board with this guy. Finally we have Pai as well and he’s also an annoying villain. Ultimately he’s the kind of guy who will follow orders without thinking about it. He’s supposed to be the smart villain of the group who thinks this through but it’s not like he has any big plans either.

Finally you have Deep Blue sama who is mentioned a lot. He is the ultimate leader of the villains after all but rarely appears. For most of the series he is a disembodied voice that just zaps the other villains or reminds them that he won’t give them a 300th chance to beat the Mew Mews. When he finally gets to do something he makes for a deep villain but I admit that for most of the series I only liked him ironically. Your villains can only defy and fail you for so many times before I stop respecting the guy. He did leave Kisshu in a critical state at one point though so he did do something there.

Well that wraps up the characters. So it’s a pretty fun cast overall. As you could tell I much preferred the heroes to the villains here. None of the villains really clicked with me all that much. They could fight which is good but most of the time they let their minions do all of that so it’s not like they are even on the front lines all that much. When they did go there they could usually stalemate or buy some time but they weren’t exactly getting any big wins or anything like that. The heroes meanwhile were putting in the work right from the start.

Overall, Tokyo Mew Mew is a fun show. I had a good time with it and each episode will entertain you from start to finish. It’s the kind of show that could have run for several hundred episodes and you would still have a good time even if the plot didn’t move much. It’s a credit to the writing and characters which were handled well. I can see why the series has such a big fanbase. I’m not going to call it great or boost the score further for being entertaining but at the end of the day an anime’s job is to give you a good time and keep you engaged. This show completely succeeds at that and makes for a very consistent experience. With no real weaknesses to speak of, I can recommend this show to anyone. Whether you like adventure, action, or slice of life, this will tick off all of the boxes.

Overall 7/10

Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter 3: Elysion Review


It’s time to wrap up the Saint Seiya saga. Chapter 3 closes out the Hades arc. It took 3 OVAs to knock out the arc but I’m glad that they persisted and kept churning these out until it was over. The arc ends in an epic fashion and is certainly not an adventure you are likely to forget. It’s been an emotional ride with the Saints from start to finish but every adventure has to end at some point. With great fights, story, soundtrack, and animation, you are in for a very solid time here.

The OVA picks up immediately where the last one ended. The heroes are finally closing in on Elysion, but are confronted by some more spectres. Shiryu stays behind to fight them while the other Saints arrive to take down Hades and the other two gods who serve him. Meanwhile Phoenix Ikki is getting ready to make his own move but what secrets of the past bind him together with Pandora? Her assistance could be the critical point of the war or if she stays evil, that could signal the final defeat of the Saints. Will Athena’s awful plan look any better in hindsight? Time to find out!

With only 6 episodes the OVA has to move quickly but we still get a good amount of time for the fights which is the important thing. There are a lot of characters running around at this point but the OVA juggles them well. At this point the only plot you probably won’t care about is with the other bronze and silver saints at home. They have a crucial moment where they protect against Hades’ attacks but otherwise you’re ready to go back to the Saints where all the battles are taking place.

Shiryu gets a big role to start things off with his fight against 3 spectres at the same time. I always thought that was a really impressive moment in the manga and it definitely keeps that same intensity in the OVA. Each spectre is no joke power-wise so beating 3 is impressive. You don’t expect the Saints to get a whole lot to do now that we’re near the end so it’s cool that Shiryu got to have one last hurrah. He is around during the climax fight as well but this is a match he can say that he won completely on his own.

For example, Andromeda and Hyoga get moments of their own of course but not in quite the same way. Hyoga takes on one of the top 3 Spectres and even manages to win on a technicality that they can’t exist in the void since they have no god blood while Hyoga does. Then you have Andromeda who is closely tied to Hades with a lot of twists there. This was a good way for Andromeda to finally be relevant though so I was all for it. In a power sense he’ll never be one of the top Saints but he at least did well in trying to hold Hades back the whole time. Ultimately Ikki was never going to sacrifice him though.

Phoenix Ikki looks great here as always. You have to give him a lot of props, right up through the final arc he is holding his own with Seiya and getting involved in the battles. He actually gets to go up against Hades and is the final Saint left standing with the main character. I like Ikki’s confidence and he also tends to be the most perceptive of the Saints. He was able to get here on his own after all which is impressive and he officially took down the final Spectres as he swore to avenge Pandora.

Even the scenes of him as a kid protecting Andromeda are really intense since most kids would have folded at that point. Ikki really did the rest of the Saints proud and I would expect no less from such a true fighter. He always reminds me why he is my favorite Saint Seiya character although Kanon and Aiolos are both very close. Saint Seiya really has a stacked cast here. Then of course you can’t forget Seiya himself who does well here as always. He really has to put up with a lot of punishment but always manages to get up.

He embodies the saint saying that no attack will work on him twice. He may go down after the first hit but once he gets up then you know that there is no chance left for the villains. Seiya’s an inspiring character who leaves his defeated opponents to trail behind him. Ultimately he steps up when it counts at the end of this OVA as well and does well in his golden mode. I would say he tanked the ending and made it back safely but there are definitely different ways to interpret the ending as you see the credits start to roll. Either way it makes for an emotional end to Seiya’s character arc.

The only aspect that isn’t very satisfying is how Seika reappears. So throughout the entire series Seiya has been looking for her but she was nowhere to be found. Even Saori with her vast resources and wealth could not locate her and we find out that Seika just had amnesia and was wandering around for a while. That’s really not a very satisfying resolution, certainly not the one you would expect to see after such a big build up. She comes in clutch with motivating Seiya to fight on but it just felt like this was a forgotten plot point that was thrown in at the last second.

As for the villains, in general I liked all of the important ones. The throwaway Spectres were mainly forgettable but the three judges and then the two gods were on point. The only exception to this would have to be Hades himself. I just never cared much for the villain and seeing as how I didn’t like Poseidon much I guess you could say that Saint Seiya has a bit of a main villain problem. It’s not that Hades is weak or anything but his goals and motivations aren’t super interesting.

So he wants to create a great eclipse so that the underworld will rise and he will rule over all. Athena tries to talk him out of the plan a few times and he refuses but it’s hard to even get a gauge on the guy’s character. He seems to be annoyed when anyone attacks him since the guy sees himself as being above everyone. He has the arrogance of a god type villain but none of the usual charisma that you need with it. I like his character design at least. Hades looks the part and appears as a very intimidating threat. He’s just not interesting and always lets things escalate until it’s far too late for him to stop the heroes. Even in the Lost Canvass he didn’t get to do much and that series went out of its way to develop everyone a whole lot.

For a main villain who improved here, I have to say that Poseidon was impressive. I didn’t like him in the last arc but it was cool to see him pitch in a bit here to help out when the chips were down. It shows that at the end of the day he will protect the planet and that makes sense since if Hades wins that will be the end for everyone. The oceans won’t be exempt from such a fate. It’s a very small cameo but I thought it was an effective one.

As for the gods Thanatos and Hypnos, both of them were fun. Hypnos certainly seems to be the wiser one and also a little more powerful. He warns Thanatos time and time again not to get too overconfident and yet the guy does so anyway. This is often the folly of any fighter who goes up against Athena’s saints. Lost Canvass retroactively makes this look even worse for Thanatos since he never learns his lessons. In this case, I prefer Thanatos’ confidence to Hades though. Thanatos has the charisma that Hades was lacking and I just like to see him talk a good game. He was able to back it up for a while as well with how his fight against Seiya went. Ultimately he gave it his best effort but he just wasn’t strong enough. Hypnos also gets a good fight but it is quite a bit shorter.

Then we have Pandora who I always thought was a very interesting character. At first glance she is just the evil version of Athena only in her case, Pandora was pretty much forced into this life. Her whole family was murdered and two gods threatened to make things quite rough for her if she didn’t help them out. While you can’t really throw out excuses for her since Pandora still acted as a villain, there’s not much stronger coercion than that. Unlike Athena she can actually fight as well. The Spectres are actively afraid of Pandora and she ends up being rather helpful in the arc. Without her, Ikki wouldn’t have made it to the end and without Ikki, Seiya would have certainly been defeated. So it’s no exaggeration to say that she saved the day here. That’s why she is a very memorable character and also a solid villain. Ultimately you know that things won’t end very happily for her but that’s just how it goes.

Finally, to answer the question on if Athena’s mission/plan looks any better in hindsight….it doesn’t. So lets look at the plan here. Athena decided to destroy herself and allowed the evil Saints to murder almost all of her guards so she could go to the Underworld. From there she would travel to meet Hades and ask him nicely to stop his plan of destroying the world. She would let him murder her and in exchange he would stop and allow the world to continue. I have so many problems with this plan but the biggest one is that there’s no reason to assume this would ever succeed. I don’t think Hades has any problems with lying so he could just say “Sure, I’ll be good” and then after murdering Athena he goes through with the plan.

Alternately he doesn’t even need to lie. He could just wink and say he’s going to destroy the world anyway. Athena is far too weak to stop him and she has helped decimate her own forces. Athena is probably one of the worst rulers I’ve ever seen. She is consistently attacking her own members by proxy like when she refused to let Seiya help out and her plans are poorly thought out. At no point in this entire scheme did she do something that made sense. Stopping the Spectres from the start would have been the absolute best plan of hers. Given how powerful the Gold Saints are shown to be, they likely would have won the battle.

The villains can regenerate which is true, but not when Shaka uses his beads so there is a counter. It’s not full proof but the odds of victory would have still been terrific. Athena’s Saints are simply stronger and that’s all you really need to know in such a battle. I never quite forgave Athena’s plan here. At the end of the day it just resulted in countless deaths that were completely needless. None of the characters call her out on this which is probably the worst part.

As expected, the animation is solid here. Considering how much newer it is than the show, it may not look as spectacular as you would hope but it does the job. The character designs are on point and the fights are good. The armors are really shiny which is always cool. If anything that’s the first part that always catches your attention for any Saint Seiya product so you want to make sure that it looks on point. The OVA did well here so I was satisfied.

As for the soundtrack, it’s got all the usual tunes you would expect from the show so that’s good. The battle theme and every other song are just iconic by this point. Eventually I’d like to see the series experiment with some more songs but considering that this was the end of an era, I really don’t see an issue with bringing the same tracks back. It can work as a very nostalgic kind of thing.

Overall, This was a great way to end the Hades arc. It really ended up being a blast and it’s good to have made it to the end. It’s easy to see why the Saint Seiya franchise has expanded so far. The characters are fun and the battles are always intense. The plots are easy to follow so it’s the kind of title you can pick up and watch at any time. The fights are dramatic and the stakes are always super high. Sometimes pride will keep the characters from making the right decisions but you know that the bronze saints will always be around to reign in the Gold fighters if they go too far off the path. If you haven’t seen this OVA yet, then you will want to change that so you can say that you’ve ended the saga once and for all. It’s only 6 episodes so it won’t take long and it’s almost all nonstop battles. After all, this is the climax now so there’s no time to rest.

Overall 8/10

Hawkeye Review


Marvel continues with the next installment in the TV show division. This time it’s Hawkeye and so we’ve finally made it to one of the Core Avengers. The shows have been on an upwards trend for me so far. Wandavision<<<Cap and Winter Soldier<<<Loki<<<What If. Well, this one doesn't quite continue the trend as it loses to Loki and What If but it beats the first two shows. While it doesn't have quite the large scale stakes of some of the other shows, Hawkeye makes for a fun lead. This is more of a fun adventure next to the others and is definitely a good pick for Christmas. You can't go wrong here.

The show follows a girl named Kate Bishop who is an aspiring archer. She looks up to Hawkeye after he saved her during the 2012 attacks. Well, one day she ends up noticing that her mother Eleanor's new fiance Jack seems a bit suspicious. Kate follows him down to an auction when a bunch of thugs burst in. Kate takes the chance to steal the outfit of the Ronin which was on sale and uses it to beat up some crooks. The issue here is that the Ronin is infamous in the underworld because during the 5 year gap Hawkeye was going around murdering all of the villains in that costume. Now Kate is a wanted fugitive by the underworld.

As this involves his persona as the "Ronin", Hawkeye can't really ignore this issue. He heads into town and promises the family that he will be back in time for Christmas. That'll be tough though as the situation gets more complicated with the arrival of Black Widow and one of the biggest crime lords in town. Can Hawkeye help Kate stay out of danger or are they both in over their heads?

One thing I noticed during the show is that Hawkeye is portrayed as being much older than I remember. He didn't seem that way in Endgame but it's almost like Wolverine from X-Men Evolution where he just seems a lot slower and as if he's near the end of his career. Hopefully Hawkeye has some more moves in his arsenal since I'd like to see him around for a while. Of course as a mentor figure which the show is leading him towards, it's fine not to always be in the front lines.

Hawkeye makes for a charismatic main character. He's been around the block a few times and knows how to handle himself in a situation. It can always be a bit annoying when he's telling Kate to stay back when she is saving him though. You get why he would rather not have a kid around but he would have been finished off several times if not for her. There was a key moment when she broke into a villain lair to save him which was certainly a good moment. Hawkeye gradually lightens up by the end of the series though and learns how to have some fun.

As for Kate, she's one of the standout characters here. It's safe to say that her character was always going to be pivotal in the show because if she was unlikable or annoying then it would drag the whole story down. Fortunately she is a lot of fun though and she even reminds me of Katniss a lot. (Which the show references as well) Her outfit and appearance are extremely similar to the point where I'd assume it was the same actress if not for such a gap between now and when Hunger Games came out.

Kate can also fight which puts her well above the average aspiring hero. Now, some of her fights can get a bit cheesy yes. I had some power level issues with this show. They aren't as extensive as the ones I had with Loki but are definitely noticeable. What If had the biggest power level moments but that's to be expected with such a big cast. Kate's a loyal ally and she always has Hawkeye's back. I look forward to seeing her get another big role in season 2.

As for Jack, he's a rather solid fiancé. He's extremely suspicious throughout the show such as when he holds back his power in a fencing match but on the surface it does seem like he's doing his best to fit in with the family. You have to give him a lot of credit there and he even gets a fight by the end of the show. I liked him more than I thought that I would. Then you have Eleanor who wants to make sure and protect Kate at all costs. No matter what lines she has to cross, this ends up being Eleanor's main goal.

I thought she was a really solid character as well. Her very last scene in the whole show felt a little out of character and petty to be honest but she was really solid in every other moment. Kate could potentially end up with a really strong group of parents. Then you've got the villain group who all wear jackets. They're not nearly as intimidating as they think they are. There are really only two important members to the group. First off is Kazi who whines a lot and is always trying to pick the easiest route to success. I never really liked him. I feel like he's only confident when he completely has the upper hand. He's the kind of villain that I can picture making excuses at every corner. He's a decent fighter but takes a lot of Ls in this series. Ultimately I could do without him. He's even trying to translate for someone at the end of the series who knows and understands sign language. I was shaking my head because it seemed like Kazi was just trying to score some points.

Maya is one of the highest ranking members of the gang and she has a lot of development here. She isn’t able to hear but was still able to become a great fighter. It shows the level of talent that she has as this would definitely not be an easy feat. Sound is how you predict enemy movements and prepare for sneak attacks. Without that you’re in a much tougher spot. She can be a bit unreasonable at times though and didn’t really think the whole situation through. I think she’ll get better as she goes on but I wouldn’t say I was a big fan of hers. Much better than Kazi though.

Then we have Yelena who gets to make her big return after the Black Widow film. As always she is a lot of fun here and does her best to try and make sure it isn’t personal to Kate and the others when she takes down Hawkeye. Yelena definitely trolls Kate a lot during their interactions. It’s not that Yelena doesn’t take anything seriously but she always seems to like breaking the ice first. She’s sort of like Spider-Man with how she’s joking around although it’s less on the quippy side.

While she is a lot of fun, I do think the rationale for having her fight Hawkeye felt a bit flimsy. I had a hard time believing that this would actually happen or that Yelena would be so quick to believe just anyone. Not after she has already experienced so much deceit while being one of the Black Widows. It just didn’t make a whole lot of sense there. Now that the misunderstanding is cleared up, it should all be up hill for her. Skip the next paragraph if you don’t want to know about a certain guest star. I don’t really consider this to be a spoiler as I don’t consider it to be a huge plot spoiler or something that would change your experience but even so this is a heads up. If you skip the next paragraph then you’re all good.

Towards the end of the show we even get to see Kingpin for a bit. Netflix fans will be happy since we have one of their fighters appearing in the big Marvel show. That said, while he gets a lot of hype from Hawkeye and the others, I wasn’t very impressed with him. The guy barely has any kind of plan and underestimates his opponents a lot. The amount of times he just throws Kate away instead of knocking her out is quite numerous. Now you can say he’s just trying to be nice and doesn’t want to fight a kid. That’s fair but you still feel like he should have been able to escape numerous times. He’s never been all that threatening though as any hero should be able to quickly beat him since he’s the equivalent of just being a really strong henchmen. That’s why I would have kept him in the background instead of having him appear. It was surreal to have him show up though.

So to quickly touch on the power level stuff, it happened as early as the first episode for me when Kate showed up and took down a whole gang by herself. She was flipping over minions and knocking everyone around. Considering that she never had any real practical experience before now and just the skills she was taught, it felt a bit like a stretch. Then you have Kate giving Yelena a good fight. Sure, Yelena was holding back but since it was putting her mission in jeopardy I would have liked to have seen her show a bit more urgency and take the win instead of it being so even. The difference in skill here should be massive so Yelena would be able to win without going through all of that.

Likewise on the rooftop fight, Yelena is considerably more powerful than the other 3 fighters. She should have completely knocked them for a loop and there was no reason to retreat. Just secure the victory and take them out. Yelena was the most nerfed character here and while I can see why this was done, I think it could have been smoother overall. Power levels aren’t the kind of thing that loses a show any real points but it’s still something you want to try and avoid.

The rooftop fight is the best battle in the series though. It’s cool to have two different fights going on at the same time here. All of the combatants knew how to fight as well so there was really a lot of action there. Hawkeye isn’t a show that’s filled with action scenes but the ones that we do get are all pretty good. As mentioned before, what makes Hawkeye really work is that it’s just a lot of fun. The writing is good and there is consistently solid banter throughout the show. Each episode really flies by and the pacing is good. There’s no episode that is boring and something big happens in each one. The show makes the most of its miniseries format.

For the soundtrack, the show doesn’t quite match up to some of the previous ones but we have some good tunes on occasion here as well. Whenever a Christmas song shows up that’s always a lot of fun. Season 2 won’t be able to rely on those songs though so that means the show will need to develop more themes soon. One episode had a good end credits theme but for the most part the show usually didn’t have anything too spectacular.

Meanwhile the team had a dog who was fun in his quick appearances. I’m still game for the dog never appearing again though as it’s too risky. There’s also a group of would be adventurers who help Hawkeye and Kate at times but they’re probably the cheesiest parts of the adventure so you really don’t need them here. They somehow manage to beat a few henchmen and that just shouldn’t be happening. As it is I didn’t believe it when Kate was taking everyone down and she is considerably more skilled than these guys. I think the best thing to do is to really just keep those guys out of it.

The show has an after credits scene but it’s definitely skippable. It’s one of those scenes that isn’t actually plot important nor does it contain any of the good characters. I wouldn’t even call it entertaining so just skip it and go full blast towards season 2. Of course it may be a bit of a wait before that comes out but I’m expecting good things from it once that does eventually happen. The cast here is just solid and will hold their own in a sequel.

As a final note, I liked the way that they filmed the car chase scene in one of the episodes. The way it was filmed was really unique and just helped to make the chase feel different from most car battles. We got to see how arrows can be quite useful for attacking and defending even while in the car. There are a lot you can do with trick arrows in general so I would like to see more of those in season 2 as well.

Overall, Hawkeye is another fun Marvel show. The shows have done a good job of really feeling like the movies both in tone and graphics. The special effects here wouldn’t be out of place in a future film and since all of the big characters are here, it does feel like a proper continuation of their stories. There’s a lot you can do even if the characters stay in the town and fight local threats. Especially with someone like Hawkeye who was really built for street level encounters. His whole jaded outlook towards being a hero will always be a fun contrast to Kate’s more upbeat personality. In a way it’s fitting that this review is shorter than the other Marvel shows so far because there is less to talk about. There’s no time travel, moral debates with terrorists, seeing a lead get corrupted by her own power, having a battle across realities, or anything like that. Hawkeye isn’t a show that has any tough questions or big plots to deal with. It’s really a street level adventure dealing with some mild villains. It may not leave you with a whole lot to talk about, debate, and theory craft but you’ll leave the final episode satisfied that you watched a fun adventure fold. At the end of the day, that’ll always mean that the product was a success.

Overall 7/10

Pokémon Evolutions Review


Pokemon has had quite a few mini series so far. They all tend to be pretty solid. Some are more action based while others follow the story more. They’re always a glimpse at some fun concepts for an ongoing story but at the end of the day they can sometimes just make you wish that it was a title that you could pick up and watch for 20+ episodes. Well, Evolutions is the strongest show to date. It may also make you wish that they could just adapt all of the games like this already but each episode does still manage to have a complete story within so it doesn’t feel like you’re missing everything. There are 8 episodes contained within and each region gets an episode. I’ll break them all down below.

The first episode is almost a somber one to an extent as the champion Leon recalls the big battle against Chairman Rose’s legendary monster. Even Leon’s Charizard wasn’t quite a match for this powerful Pokemon. They got to show their strong bond here though as Charizard never gave up and Leon gets his swagger back by the end of the episode. Leon’s always been a fun character since his whole thing is that he is incredibly powerful. While I wouldn’t say he is the strongest Pokemon Trainer out there, he has earned a very solid reputation for himself. If we get to see him take on some more powerful trainers and continue to win in the main anime that could change things. Either way this was a good episode to start things off with. It’s not one of the most intense ones but with the action scene we did get and the solid animation, it was a good omen of things to come.

Episode 2 brings in the Sun and Moon cast as Necrozma shows up and starts dishing out the damage. Lunala has to fight against him and it’s nice to actually see Lunala fighting with great animation like this. Lunala has rarely gotten the spotlight compared to some of the other legendaries so this was a good chance to change things. That being said, Necrozma is not a Pokemon that goes down easily and is even one of the stronger Pokemon legendaries I would say. This one really ends with a lot of momentum on the villain’s side. The fight is one of the best in the series and you can feel the tension. It was an excellent way to continue on from the first episode.

In the third episode we get Lysandre making his speech about why he’s actually the good guy. We see his past and also how he originally had good intentions that just started getting more and more extreme until he was completely the villain. It’s a much weaker episode than the first two. Not a bad one but I think the issue is that he just isn’t a very convincing villain. See, someone like N I could understand. I think you can make some valid points for why Pokemon should not be fighting and he just made sense. There’s just no part during Lysandre’s pitch where you actually think he’s in the right, especially not when he’s strapped to a giant machine and fighting off the other Pokemon. A villain with a strong goal is always at least interesting though so while this episode couldn’t compete with the first two, it still kept a high amount of energy.

Following up that episode has N appear which is quite fitting since he was a good comparison in the last one. It’s from Ghetis’ point of view for the most part though as we see how he orchestrated all of these events. He was at the front of the situation from the very beginning and it turns out that he really was a tactical genius. I was never a big Ghetis fan but his plan was sound. N is really the one doing all the work though as we see him take down the Champion and get ready to fight the main character. It’s another reason why I always found N so fascinating. Defeating a champion is pretty much unheard of except for the main character and rival. A villain taking down the champion has never really happened before. This episode didn’t have any really long action scenes but it was really hype throughout.

Episode 5 is certainly more of an upbeat one. We get a glimpse into Barry’s life as he lost to Team Galactic initially and then pressed forward until he gained the skills needed to stand up to them. It’s one of the more emotional episodes. He may not be as strong as the main character yet, but he’s giving it his best effort. I always like how stoic the main character of the relevant Pokemon game is in these episodes but more on that later. It was a bit more low key than the last episode but still a fun adventure and it ended up covering quite a lot.

Episode 6 is my favorite episode in the series. We get to see the ceremony with Zinnia as she explains the prophecy of her people to Ruby. They climb up the tower as May tries to get the stone back before they make it to the top where the summoning begins. This was a really powerful moment in the manga with how Zinnia lived her whole life for this moment only to find out that she wasn’t the right person. It’s definitely tough because she did everything that she possibly could and yet it was not enough. That’s the kind of thing that’s hard to really get any silver lining out of. Still, she makes the hero call and lets May be the one to summon Rayquaza and save the world. She at least gets to have her fight at the end though. It’s a dynamite episode from start to finish, Zinnie continues to show why she is one of the best Pokemon characters and we still do get some action in this episode even if that isn’t the main focus this time around.

It’s fitting that episode 7 is my least favorite for the ultimate whiplash. Episode 7 has a few girls telling a story about Ho-Oh and Lugia. If it sounds familiar it’s because we also got a story for the Johto portion in one of the previous Pokemon miniseries when we learn how the dog trio were created. Is Johto just not good enough to get the big action treatment like the others? I guess the most interesting thing here is seeing how the Pokemon contribute to the show. It’s like real life special effects in this verse but at the same time there was just no big hook and to me that’s what held this episode back. The whole time you’re waiting for some kind of fight or something but it never comes. The artistic style here was a big step down from the other episodes as well. Ultimately it was just not a very engaging episode.

Finally we end with Kanto so you know things are going to get hype. Green is searching for the final Pokemon in the Pokedex: Mewtwo. Unfortunately another trainer is already in the cave so now it’s a race to the finish. That said, both trainers have a good amount of chivalry so there isn’t any cheating or things like that. They both want to win in a clean fashion. At first I didn’t recognize Green since it appears more like her new design. I actually thought that it was the Let’s Go main characters at first and then Red and the others would get their cameos. Red and Blue do get a quick cameo at the end but this was in fact Green. (Don’t know the names of the Let’s Go crew assuming that they have new names) This was a great way to end the series though. It doesn’t quite defeat the Zinnia episode, however it had the longest action scenes. Not necessarily in a fighting context but with all the acrobatics and running around in the cave. We also got to see a fun look at how some of the gameplay mechanics would work out like how a fight is initiated when two characters meet each other’s gaze. Of course the guy chickened out the first time though.

There you have it, those are the 8 episodes of Pokemon Evolutions. The animation throughout the series is really solid. The battles are on point and the character designs are smooth. I dare say that the animation here could hold up with the main series and the battles in particular probably beat some of the main title fights as well. Of course I imagine it’s easier to make the fights look spectacular when it isn’t weekly 20+ minute episodes. The soundtrack also deserves a lot of respect here with how many solid tunes and remixes we get.

Pokemon Evolutions succeeds in all areas and just makes for a really fun experience. As mentioned, it feels more self contained and complete compared to the other Pokemon titles. I would say this is the best one. Yes, the episodes still tend to have cliffhangers but we got to see the fights before that happened as opposed to the battles being left to your imagination. That’s a big difference. Also, this series covered more of the big events. You’ll likely remember all of these scenes from when you played through the video games and that’s a lot of fun since now you get to see it happen in real time.

Additionally, the video game main characters all look really hype. You have Ruby who gets to prove that she is the chosen one to go and fight with Rayquaza. Then you have the main character of the Diamond and Pearl games who is holding his own against Jupiter and the others. Green gets to show her persistence in combat and Red/Blue appear to be pros as always. The fact that they are all silent for the most part just increases their mysterious aura. Not all of them are silent though like Green has a lot to say but for the most part they silently dare their opponent to make a move. Their unlimited confidence makes it easy to see how they would end up becoming the champions.

Now that we’ve gotten to explore all of the regions a bit, I’d really like to have a crossover at some point. Pokemon Adventures did this so why not a show right? Red interacting with Black or Green meeting up with Platinum would be a lot of fun. If they can keep this big animation budget as well then you could also splurge on some really big fights. Of course the best way would be to have a full TV show for this but even if the episodes were shorts, you could still do a lot. Maybe go back to the series’ roots and make it a big tournament anime. The possibilities are really endless although my money would be on Red to go all the way of course. You couldn’t rule any of the other characters out though as they all became champions by the end of their journies.

Overall, Pokemon Evolutions is a really solid title. It’s a short one so you’ll definitely be done with it in a blast but it should help to inspire you to go back to the games or read some of the manga. If you’re a Pokemon fan then you will definitely have a major blast with this one and even if you don’t know Pokemon (Somehow) you should still be able to enjoy the quality writing and pacing of the episodes. Given that you can easily complete the whole series in less time than it takes to watch a movie, there’s no reason not to watch this one. Hopefully at some point this leads to a full movie or show but in the meantime I’ll be satisfied with getting another mini series as well.

Overall 8/10

Alien Nine Review


Alien Nine has definitely got a handle on the strange atmosphere that only a few shows I’ve seen like Serial Experiments Lain have pulled off. There’s always a sense that something’s about to happen no matter how happy the scene is and so you’ve got a full sense of danger there right off the bat. That said, as a darker magical girl show, this one doesn’t quite reach the hype and levels of intrigue as Madoka. It ends up being rather twisted for the heroines but not always in a cool way.

The 4 part show introduces us to a world where alien invaders are common place. They crash on the school all the time and the local alien defense force takes them out. The defense force is made up of 3 girls from their respective classes. It’s a job that most of the girls don’t want but some don’t mind doing it. Basically each class holds a vote like for a student president and then they send their representative off to go and fight the alien monsters. This year the 3 girls selected are Otani, Kasumi, and Kuni. Otani is really not happy about this while Kasumi is thrilled and Kumi is more ambivalent. In order to fight off the aliens, the girls have to wear symbiotes which protect them as automatic defense weapons and shields. Now since these are symbiotes that at least hints that there is some give and take here. Is this really all above board and why do the aliens constantly attack this school?

I feel like the show drops the pretense of this being your classic magical girl adventure almost immediately. The symbiotes look creepy from the start and the OVA always has a lot of moody music and a dark color scheme. It’s all for that spooky atmosphere I mentioned earlier. Of course, it still does have its share of happy scenes, you’re just always waiting for the catch. Things continue to get more serious as we delve into the show and see more of what makes this school tick. As a short OVA, it does end on a big cliffhanger and doesn’t exactly cover the whole thing but that does make for a hype ending.

You could say the main plot is when the giant alien known as Yellow Knife appears. He claims to be Kasumi’s brother but this is likely mind games on his part. This was an easy way to get Kasumi on his side to fight against the other two. It’s a rather intense climax filled with dreams and inner visions that aren’t real as the teachers try to get control of the situation. You’ll want to stick around to the end as that’s when we get to some of the big cliffhangers. Lets just say that the body count is rising here, one character just can’t catch a break.

So lets talk about what didn’t work first and then get to the positives. Well, Otani is a really bad main character, there’s just no way around that. She is constantly crying and just doesn’t want to be an alien hunter. It is a dangerous job so that’s understandable but if she’s going to be forced to do this you’d like to see her really get tough. That said, she’s so young that it seems awfully mean of the parents to allow this to continue. We know the teachers will try to keep her in it as part of their nefarious schemes but unless the parents are in on the take, I’d like to see them try to help her get out of this a bit more. It’s really like Otani is being tortured by staying here. With one host getting eaten and another one murdered, you feel like Otani can only survive for so long.

With the main characters being so young, they’re effectively trapped in a lot of these decisions because they just aren’t old enough to get out of it. Having a character as reluctant as Otani is more tragic than funny the whole time. She really has to put up with a lot and will almost certainly be traumatized by the time she’s an adult at this rate. Otani has to see creatures get blown up right in front of her on multiple occasions after all.

The symbiotes themselves don’t really seem good or evil so much as they’re just there to help their owner. They’ll destroy any threats as they deem necessary although the teachers ask the heroines not to let that happen. Their having to lick the characters after the mission seems completely unnecessary though and just another creepy part of being an alien fighter in this world. It definitely gives Otani even more of a reason to want to quit right away. There are no noticeable upsides to being an alien fighter, especially when it seems like the group never actually makes any progress on this.

Kasumi is the only member of the 3 who actually enjoys the role and she is the most entertaining character as a result. All of the skills come naturally to her and she can even fight off opponents personally without having to rely on her symbiote. I like that at least someone came ready to fight here and so it’s a shame that she has to miss out on most of the climax.

She is rather obsessed with her brother who moved away though which starts to get to some almost disturbing territory with Yellow Knife manipulating her and some of the visuals that we get. It’s not cut and dry like Wixoss so you could make the case that it’s normal but it did feel like the OVA was getting there. Either way, the whole alien merging into her like a Chest Burster was one of those weird scenes that isn’t weird in a good way. The show even squeezes in a chest burster scene early on as the characters watch some kind of alien film.

The creatures get blown to smithereens during each of the fights. It’s monster blood so it isn’t quite as drastic as if they were normal creatures. It’s green and all although it can be a bit excessive, reminded me of Planet Hulk in a lot of ways. It’s less of an action context when Otani is going around slaughtering them all when she’s being mind controlled which may be why it feels more intense but it’s just another check on the list of reasons on why Otani would like to get away from this job as soon as possible. At least no real animals appear here which is always a good thing.

Now on the plus side, the main theme song here is catchy. It’s definitely got a more classic magical girl feel to it. From the theme song at least this appears to be your standard adventure. The rest of the themes within the show aren’t quite as memorable but it’s a decent soundtrack that works well enough in the moment. The animation’s definitely not as high budget but you do get some cool scenes like when the characters block attacks using the symbiote. Having an automatic defense which can also transform into anything is incredibly handy.

In a lot of ways it should remind you of the symbiote from Marvel. These guys can do pretty much everything that Venom can and can also talk. They allow you to resist illusions and generally seem helpful. Now, like Venom it may be hard to trust them at times but since the girls have to put their lives in the symbiote’s hands every day I guess you have to hope for the best. If it’s a true symbiotic relationship where the creature needs them too then it should balance out and they’ll keep you alive.

The final girl from the trio is Kumi and she’s nice enough. She’s always been helping students who couldn’t keep up or just helping everyone at large as student president. It’s why she wanted to join the group so she wouldn’t have that burden anymore but it ended up not working out perfectly well for her. She’s too nice for her own good and still tries to help Otani out. It makes her a well balanced character and definitely the natural leader of the squad. She may not be as powerful as Kasumi, but Kumi is definitely the person you would want to have at your back.

Hisakawa is the main teacher here and she’s as corrupt as they come. As one of the people in charge of the whole alien situation to trap these kids, she is really the main villain if you think about it. The disturbing part is how nonchalant she is about the whole thing. She doesn’t really seem to care for the girls’ safety at all so when she appears you always know she’s about to make some more unreasonable demands. She even wanted Kasumi and Kumi to leave Otani alone. Fortunately they realized this wasn’t quite right and stayed to back her up.

Naturally the Principal is another big villain here since she’s one of the head honchos. You certainly can’t trust her and will want to keep your distance as much as possible. Interestingly, the adults seem to have the symbiotes perfectly merged within them. We see that their hair can turn into drills which is how the symbiotes fight. So either they mastered the control as part of the symbiote bonding or the symbiote just took control. Either way it doesn’t spell a great picture for the kids who have to wear these symbiotes every day.

So lets talk a little more about the setup here. What seems to be the case is that the teachers raise a bunch of aliens in their labs and also create the symbiotes out of some kind of water substance. They then pick a few kids every year to wear these symbiotes. Aliens are strategically let loose within the school to be summarily captured by the kids although they sometimes end up being slaughtered. Rinse and repeat so of course this begs the question of why the teachers are doing this. It has to be for an evil reason or they would just let the kids know that the aliens are being manufactured to test their skills or something.

I think we can read into it based on the adults who have merged with their symbiotes. Most likely what this means is that they are feeding the Symbiotes. So I think the best explanation here is that the symbiotes did take over the principal and by extension they also took control of all the teachers. My only question would be why they don’t take over the whole school. Just have every kid wear the symbiote. With Otani it’s mentioned that some kids have better fusion rates than others so perhaps most people don’t mesh well with the symbiote. I suppose that would work and either way they’ll continue to spread even if it’s slower.

The whole Yellow Knife appearance is what threw a wrinkle into everyone’s plans since this wasn’t something the teachers predicted. They respond incredibly slow to the new threat though so it doesn’t seem to concern them a whole lot. I thought at least the teacher would be super concerned since she already failed once and can’t afford to lose the kids but you never see much of a sense of urgency. Not like the teacher is all that tough though as she was still overwhelmed by the alien’s illusions. Only Kumi really seemed to be able to break through the illusions quickly thanks to her symbiote.

The OVA has a twist ending at the very end so make sure you stay all the way through. It should raise a lot of questions while also leading you into the next act if you ever check out the manga. As mentioned earlier, the body count rises as someone dies but the problem is there are too many suspects to really figure out on who did it. It could be anyone who is being mind controlled, any of the symbiotes, teachers, principals, aliens, etc. Part of the danger in this school is how anybody can be an enemy. You can’t trust anyone, Otani probably can’t even trust her parents since they could be aliens.

In a way it’s like the Secret Invasion in Marvel. If fully realized symbiotes like the teachers don’t even appear anymore and just merge into your hair (Similar to what Otani did during her rage mode) then there’s no way to track them at this point. Any person can be part alien and you would never know it. I think this would have a lot of potential if you wanted to turn this into a mystery thriller or something as a group of humans try to stop the alien invasion. Thing is, it’s probably already too late to stop them. The feats that the symbiotes perform would make it a simple matter to destroy dozens of opponents in an instant. They can block any attacks including bullets and wouldn’t break a sweat. Not that the symbiotes can probably sweat but the point is that there are no threats to them. Humans wouldn’t stand a chance.

Overall, Alien Nine is not an OVA you are likely to forget. It’s got a very spooky aura right from the get go and the fact that the main girls are so young means there aren’t a whole lot of ways to escape. In effect that’s part of why the show can be so unnerving because most Shonen Leads can punch their way out of this but the girls can’t realistically do much. By the same token, that’s what holds the OVA back. The characters can only passively follow along with what is happening. They’re effectively all victims of a much grander scheme. It’s like they’re strapped into a rollercoaster that they can’t get out of. It can all be rather tragic at times and it’s sinister enough where you won’t have a great time here. Almost every scene is someone crying or yelling because of all the trauma. I’d like to see a sequel to this with older main characters trying to fight back against the aliens. Time to uproot the society they’ve built here and turn this into a Shonen. This is the kind of show where there is always a lot to talk about and theorize though. Still, if you’re looking for a very creepy alien invasion story, it would be hard to beat this one. I’d say it’s even spookier than Lain in some ways.

Overall 5/10

Masters of the Universe: Revelation Review


After many years, the original He Man show is finally getting its long awaited sequel. This one was certainly surrounded by controversy right from the jump when Teela ended up being the main character of part 1 along with things getting rather tough for He Man several times there. Still, Part 1 ended up being rather great I’d say and then Part 2 stepped things up further. I think you’ll be quite satisfied with how this sequel series plays out no matter who your favorite character is. (With the exception of Moss Man who is admittedly a little disrespected here)

The series starts off with a bang as Skeletor and his forces attack Castle Grayskull once more. Teela had just been promoted to the Man at Arms role so this is her first chance to prove herself. With He Man and the rest of the army at the ready this should be an easy win and yet it doesn’t go the way everyone had hoped. Skeletor and He Man both die in the carnage. Due to this, everyone learns He Man’s true identity which leaves Teela particularly shattered.

After a falling out among Teela and the royals, she is banished from the kingdom along with Duncan. Teela teams up with Andra and the two effectively work as bounty hunters now. This allows Teela to put some distance between her and the kingdom but deep down she knows that the kingdom needs her. Can Teela find her inner strength to take down Evil-Lyn and the remnants of Skeletor’s army? Also, is He Man really gone for good?

The first arc really goes by quickly. Now, if He Man and Skeletor had actually died then I think the controversy would have absolutely skyrocketed to new heights. If that had happened, then I think it would be fair to say that this really was a bait and switch. That said, there’s no way they would keep the two biggest players out of this. Both He Man and Skeletor return to action before long and we even get some new lore and world building out of it. I’ll touch on all of that as we get through the review but first lets talk about the cast of characters here.

Naturally He Man is great as always. Whether he’s Prince Adam or in his He Man form he tends to steal the show. We see him as a capable hero and a selfless warrior. The show gives him good moments in both forms and he always fights to the end. His single best scene is when he shares a laugh with Skeletor before entering his ultimate mode. Now that was a really intense moment and it also just made a lot of sense. Of course He Man should still be able to use the power without the sword. Now the side effect of him losing his mind is rough but it made sense. The show has characters thinking of new ways to use their abilities and I’m definitely all for it. At the end of the day He Man is as confident as ever and it’s quite deserved.

Unfortunately, as good as He Man looks is as bad as Skeletor does. Personally I didn’t care for his portrayal here all that much. He panics a lot and is suckered by the oldest trick in the book of someone flirting with him. Really…this is what Skeletor has become? I wouldn’t be surprised if some ended up not liking the show just because of him. He does look powerful when he has his own super form but his base form is treated like a joke by the end. You’d think that normal Skeletor would still be able to do something but he really isn’t respected by the cast. He ends up getting outshined by quite a few villains in the show. Throw in how he’s always violent with Evil-Lyn for no reason and he really might be one of my least favorite villains in this show. Maybe…even the worst one?

As for Teela, well she gets off to a very rough start in part 1. I mean extremely rough because she blames He Man for dying and saving the world. That’s the kind of thing you’d expect the school bully type character to think, not the main heroine. She just has a bad attitude throughout and doesn’t really become one of the solid characters until the climax. She can fight which is good but it was hard to get over her blaming He Man for quite a few episodes.

Now she does have a really good moment near the end of the series when she realizes that she can wield the power without agreeing to any limitations. I really liked this part because a lot of times the character would just take the legends in stride. If they’re told to just stay put because that’s the only way they can use the power, or they can only use their power 3 times in a day, the character will listen. Here Teela basically just says “Minez!” and runs off with the power. It’s the smart move to make there. Why listen to the legends when you’ve got the power yourself? This at least helped Teela end on a high note.

Her partner Andra gets considerably less to do in part 2 but she’s not bad. She’s your average bounty hunter genius and tends to bring a lot of custom weapons to the fight. It felt like she didn’t have a whole lot to do and was only here so Teela could have a teammate though. Perhaps in Season 2 she would have more of a role. The cast was rather large so it makes sense that it would be hard to juggle all of them.

Like poor Moss-Man who only appears for a scene or two. It’s not great for his fans but maybe he’ll return at some point. I wouldn’t get my hopes too high for that though. Cringer gets a little more to do here. He’s still not really my kind of character but in his Battle Beast form he helps out quite a bit. It’s just a bit of an issue that he never wants to transform though so it really seems like He Man is mind controlling him in that form. With how the power changes He Man’s mind without the sword, it’s not all that far fetched.

The original Sorceress looks good here as well. The fact that she can’t even leave the castle is an enormous weakness though and she ends up looking bad by the end of the series because of the choice that she did not make. At best you could say there was no way to escape now that she made the contract but at worst you could say that she didn’t think this part through. Her powers always look good visually though and she certainly can fight.

One character who gets a really big role here is the original Man at Arms, Duncan. Duncan may not have He Man’s level of super strength but he is quite strong in his own right and has a lot of good gadgets as well. He’s always got some kind of weapon for the occasion and doesn’t let up against the villains. Even once he is captured the guy is always talking tough. So I was impressed with him, he didn’t really have any bad scenes.

For the villains, next up we have Evil-Lyn. She gets a really big role here which the show starts hinting at early on. She’s always put up with quite a lot but looking back at it, this just makes less and less sense to her. Perhaps she is approaching this all wrong and that’s when she makes her move. I think the show went a bit overboard in how powerful it made her since this leads to a lot of power level issues by the end. That said, I wouldn’t say the show is always amazing with how powerful everyone is, the power levels tend to fluctuate a bit. If He Man is able to go toe to toe with an amped up Skeletor then he should be absolutely decimating everyone else. I don’t want to see it take multiple blows to beat the Mer-Man or for He Man not to instantly take out the Beast Man. Teela and Man at Arms shouldn’t be keeping up with Skeletor’s blasts if he’s fast enough to hit He Man. Things like that.

As a character Evil-Lyn is fun though. I wish she would have tricked Skeletor in a different way as that would have benefited both of their characters though. It may have been the most obvious twist on who the big villain is since many would suspect this from episode 1 or 2 but it was executed well. He Man’s parents King Randor and Queen Marlena also get a role but don’t get a ton to do. They are having a lot of relationship issues as a result of what happened early on. The King looks super unreasonable when he throws Teela and Duncan out of the kingdom and the Queen didn’t really try hard to stop him. They have their emotional moments but if you cut them from the story nothing would really change.

Orko looked really good so I think his fans should have a blast here. His magical abilities have come a long way from his training days and he gets a massive power boost as the show goes on. He doesn’t quite keep up with the best of the heroes but he’s a fun character to have around. Back to the villains, we’ve got 3 more with roles. First is the Mer-Man and his role is the smallest. He seems like a good villain but I’d like to have seen more of him. The Beast Man is a very loyal guy but when asked if he is Man or Beast I felt that he made the wrong choice there. It probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference in how things went though.

Finally we have Tri-Klops and I liked him quite a bit here. He represents an interesting possibility for a third faction of fighters here. Someone who could cause both the heroes and villains some trouble as the series goes on. It’s hard to say how powerful he is. I doubt that he will be a really big fighter physically but I’m sure he has a good amount of tech to back him up.

So Arc 1 is mainly about Teela’s adventures as she deals with her grief. She makes it hard to care about her but the writers likely knew that so just about every episode has a flashback sequence of He Man beating up on some villains. It was a good way to squeeze him into each episode and those were always the highlight moments. The show has a good sense of humor and He Man always had a one liner at the ready. This all made for a nice combo as keep in mind Part 1 would have been an 8 even without part 2. You could still expect a good action scene every episode.

Now we are introduced to a new concept near the end of Part 1 which is that anyone who uses the powers of Grayskull is given a second life. Basically you have fun in the jungle for a while and you can even come back to life whenever you want. The catch is that you can only come back to life once so when you die again your soul is just destroyed forever. None of the previous guardians seem all that heroic to me as they were willing to just stay in this world forever and never came in to help. I was expecting them to pop up at some point but they ended up just staying in this place the whole time. It really wasn’t a great look for these guys who are supposed to be the ultimate heroes. The existence of this world helps give someone a good destructive feat later on but I think this place just shouldn’t exist. It really comes out of nowhere and doesn’t add to anything. It’s also rough for good guys who don’t have the power and have to go to the underworld anyway. Doesn’t seem like a very fair tradeoff. Fortunately one of the heroes realized that and quickly stops one person from being sent back there later on.

Part 2 is really filled with fights the entire time. We get the big army against army fight scene that you’ve been waiting for. With a series like this where each part is only a few episodes, you do see most of the events in the trailers but at least that way you’re always gearing up for the next fight. The show never really stops to catch its break which is good. The pacing is on point.

One thing that pops out at you immediately is how great the animation is. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is absolutely top tier for western animation. I haven’t seen an art style this vivid since Justice League Unlimited. This show would fit right in with the DCAU and can hold its own against any other western show without exception. The fights are really good and you feel the power behind each blow. I thought the show really did justice to He Man’s incredible power and the rush when he gets his power. The first transformation scene was great.

As for the soundtrack, I wouldn’t say it’s super memorable or anything but it gets the job done. The tunes during the action scenes are on point and the show always has a lot of energy. If you count it, the trailer had a great theme with the “I need a Hero” track. Now that’s a tune that’s always in season.

Naturally the show does end with a cliffhanger and it’s an interesting one. I would definitely be down to see how it all plays out but they’ll need to find a way to make it so the villains are a threat. Now that we have He Man and the powered up Teela at the ready, it’s hard to see these villains being a thread without some kind of massive upgrade. I also think depowering He Man again would be a bad move since it just happened so that’s off the table. Maybe have him be busy off planet? Not sure if that works since he is the protector of Castle Grayskull though. Well, they’ll think of something.

Either way we should hopefully get more He Man vs Skeletor moments. Those are really the scenes when the show is at its peak. Each of their fights really ends up being quite the spectacle and as the faces of good and evil in this world, you always want to see them clash. The top notch animation certainly helps with that as well. We also get a cool teamup in the show which is something I was waiting for. If there was a nice He Man moment you were looking forward to or wanted to see, odds are that the show delivers on this. There’s quite a lot of replay value to be had here as well so this is a show you’ll probably go back to or at least to look up the fights.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend checking this show out. It really does a great job of showing the He Man mythos and events. It’s a nice follow up to the original series. Some concepts like the Otherworld may have been best left on the drawing board but I suppose it doesn’t matter much now anyway. I wouldn’t say the show has any real weaknesses. Part 2 covers for any element that may have had you worried in Part 1 and so when you watch it all together, the season works out nicely. My only real complaint by the end is that it went too far in making Skeletor look really bad most of the time so hopefully he can regroup in season 2. It’ll be difficult for the CGI title to even try and match this one.

Overall 8/10