Transformers: Power of the Primes Review

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It’s time to look at the final installment in the online Transformers trilogy! The trilogy has definitely showed a lot of promise at times but has been limited by how short each episode was. It’s a shame because a full length season of Transformers hype with this backdrop could have been really cool. No sense in thinking about the what ifs though. While this season was not quite as good as the last one, it’s still a pretty fun adventure.

Last time Megatronus arrived and showed Megatron’s crew a glimpse of his power. He’s on a level that none of the other bots could really comprehend. Megatron decides that the team needs to grab the legendary blaster along with whatever other ancient weapons can be found. Optimus Primal agrees to help them but makes it clear that if the situation gets dangerous he will ditch them. The heroes accept these terms and prepare for their final battle. Meanwhile Overlord and Rodimus Prime continue to destroy all robots in their path as they look for Megatron. Eventually all of the fighters find themselves in the big climax.

The show dug itself into a big hole with the final episode of the 2nd series. The issue is that they made Megatronus too powerful. Not only does he have greater physical power than the combiners, but he has the greatest speed stat out of all the robots as well. This makes it so that no fighter can reasonably hope to challenge him and win. What the show does is quickly get rid of his speed in this season and on the whole that works as a big nerf. Suddenly everyone can fight him and the heroes even pin the guy down for quite a while. It’s a bit of a shame, but completely expected since he was simply too powerful. Megatronus is still a great villain though and I like the design.

Overlord also finally gets to have his closure with his subplot about taking down Megatron. Naturally the Decepticon is a little preoccupied at the moment, but Overlord certainly doesn’t care about what is convenient for his arch nemesis. He’s definitely a strong fighter and the show does a good job of depicting that he is a heavy weight. I do think Megatron would defeat him in a fair fight, but it would be a close battle. Overlord certainly does tend to win any fight that he is involved in.

Then we’ve got Rodimus Prime who ends up being controlled by Unicron. It’s certainly a bit of a change in dynamic there as initially you just think of him as an evil version of himself. I wonder if the show always meant for him to be Unicron or if that was changed for some reason. Either way he does make for a good villain although I didn’t care much for his redesign at the end. I thought his normal design looked good as it was. I dare say that he could might have even been stronger than Overlord and Megatron by the end although it’s hard to say since he fought a souped up Primal and that guy didn’t fight anyone else so it’s hard to compare them all. It’s unfortunate for Rodimus though as his ending definitely isn’t very happy.

Meanwhile Megatron makes for a good leader. It was definitely fun seeing him take over for Prime for once. Of course it wouldn’t be so out of place in the comics, but as far as the shows go this was definitely a very new take. Considering who he was teaming with Megatron is definitely the perfect pick for the leader. He gets the job done and has the power needed to back up his command decisions. The rest of the team would have been completely lost without him.

The most annoying character in the series is definitely still Perceptor. He seems to only be around to get in the way. Even while the characters are fighting to the death he is worried about his tech and yells things like “Be careful guys!” This guy is completely unrealistic and doesn’t seem to care about the lives of his friends. That makes it impossible to root for him and at the end of the day you want him off the team. To date he has not had any moment that has made him even close to being a likable character.

Windblade is still solid although her role here is certainly smaller than in the last 2 seasons. While she initially seemed to be more of a leader figure or at least one of the most important characters, that role was given to Megatron so she isn’t left with a whole lot to do. She is still around for the whole season of course, but at this point none of her weapons can even singe the armor of the villains so she isn’t all that helpful.

One of the big guest stars here was Optimus Primal of course and he definitely comes out of nowhere. I’d say that he was a fun character, but he does come across as rather annoying the whole time. He is very quick to try and ditch everyone, but surely he must realize how futile that would be. The villains would inevitably go after him next and he isn’t strong enough to stop them. Helping the heroes is his best chance at ultimately keeping the blaster safe which is his purpose. Also, he definitely should have taken the shot against Megatronus considering that targets don’t get much easier than that. He ends up being really strong, but as a character it is hard to root for him.

We certainly do get a lot of action here which is nice. The climax has a lot of fun moments and the energy blasts always stand out. It is impressive to see Megatronus just rip his opponents apart. I do think the Autobots should look into making their heads a little more secure though given how easy they seem to be to pry apart. In particular this doesn’t end up boding very well for Victorion but I’m confident that the writers just don’t like her at this point. She looks so terrible across all of the seasons of the show that it can’t be accidental. They certainly succeeded since I’m not a fan of her either. The whining can be a little endearing in a comical sense at times, but that’s about it.

Ultimately you may wonder why the Dinobots were added. They were fun to have around of course, but aside from Grimlock the others were just around to get wrecked. Even Grimlock didn’t look all that good for the most part. I do appreciate the fact that the series brought so many people in but it did seem to be more out of obligation than anything else. Even Predaking showed up very briefly for some quick destruction scenes and a fight.

The writing is pretty solid throughout. The script takes itself seriously and works well in constantly showing that the heroes don’t really have a chance without overdoing it. The show isn’t very heavy handed in that respect. Even the characters I don’t like aren’t super annoying or anything aside from Perceptor who is fairly unbearable the whole time. I would be interested in this creative team tackling another show someday but with an actual budget and full length episodes. I think at the end of the day an important thing to note is that the episodes didn’t drag on. It would be hard for them to do so, but nonetheless it was a fun ride.

While the animation still looks like really old PS1 graphics, I still do like it. It’s pretty nostalgic and works well for the mecha. It would never beat any really solid traditional animation style, but it’s still not something that I’d consider as a weakness for the show. It’s clunky and it does make it difficult on the show with the fight scenes since nobody can be too agile but it’s still vibrant for the blasters. It also does get the dark color scheme across pretty well like in the image below.
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Overall, The trilogy is now over. It’ll certainly be forgotten rather quickly and didn’t end up making much of a name for itself but it was a fun ride. At the very least it doesn’t take a whole lot of time since the episodes are so short and there are only 10 episodes. Even watching all 3 seasons back to back wouldn’t take very long either. It does end on a cliffhanger but it’s barely even worth noting since it won’t amount to very much. The odds of this getting a sequel are slim to none. I think the best way to look at this show is as if it’s just a promo trying to get you interested in the franchise. It’s a movie that was split into many different parts to pad it out a bit but if you merge it all then it makes for a fun film that will admittedly feel a little rushed since the plot will change many times during the adventure. If you’re a big Transformers fan then you should certainly check it out. Otherwise it’s probably best to start with a different one like Transformers Prime.

Overall 7/10

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Juistice League Action Review

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It’s time to look at a recent DC show that was rather short lived. Granted, it hasn’t officially been cancelled yet as a few sites still hold out hope on it returning, but the odds of that happening do seem rather slim at times. It’s a shame because the show was fun even if it was severely limited by the dreaded 15 minute format, still one of the worst modern innovations for cartoons in general. We got some action and some more adventures with the heroes so that was pretty cool.

Naturally there isn’t really any kind of ongoing plot here. Most of the episodes are stand alone adventures with maybe a reference or two in there somewhere. Interestingly enough the first 4 episodes was a multi part epic though. It would have been cool if the rest of the show had gone that route. It’s a way that you can get past the animation and the time constraints to tell more of a full story although I suppose that wasn’t the priority here. It’s leagues better than DC’s other current show Teen Titans Go though as this one puts the action as more of a priority than the humor with Teen Titans does the opposite. The humor we do get from Justice League is also just a lot better than Go’s.

The animation will take a lot of getting used to, but specifically it is probably the character designs that seem a little off. Everyone’s super skinny which may just be a flash thing as that’s the same way the characters are drawn in Teen Titans and for the most part MLP. I’m definitely not a big fan of Flash and to be honest at this point I’m pretty sure that CGI has started to pass it for the most part as well. I’m not sure if this is Flash or an odd form of hand drawn animation but it looks more like the former. The fight scenes can be pretty good when the show tries though and I can see them pulling something off with this art. We don’t get big fights all that often though as mostly they are quick skirmishes but we’ll take those. We also do have the good sound effects from the old DCAU days back as well.

There isn’t much of a soundtrack here, but whatever is around goes well enough with the story. Again, you don’t want to expect too much here, but the beginning of the show did have a lot of promise. The first elemental villains that we got were a lot of fun. They were even very powerful as they gave Wonder Woman and Superman a pretty good fight. We had Batman going up against some classic thugs in a fight that may sound boring but it was handled very well and hearing Batman’s old voice again was great. The first few episodes actually took themselves very seriously and it felt like it could be a Justice League sequel.

Gradually the show switched up its approach a bit though. It acts more like a homage to the JL show than a sequel and the comedy episodes became more frequent. There’s nothing wrong with a comedy series of course, but I think the show would have been able to reach the next level if it had just stayed like the first few episodes. For the most part they were the best ones. Other good episodes were: Firestorm’s debut episode where he has to fight off a group of androids, The Time Travel episode where Batman has to stop Chronos from murdering him on his first night as Batman, The Arcade Game where Toyman puts the heroes into a video game, The episode where Lex gets Amazonian abilities, and the one where Lex and Batman have to match wits with the fate of the world at stake.

Most of the episodes are quite solid but in particular those are some of the episodes that I really enjoyed. I could probably count the number of mediocre episodes on one hand in comparison. So at the very least JL Action was always a lot of fun. With each segment being so short it was also pretty clear from the start that pacing would not be an issue. Each adventure feels like it goes by very quickly.

Another thing I liked about the show is that it did give more screen time to some characters who didn’t do a lot in the main series. Firestorm gets a big role and is featured in many episodes. His abilities are very handy to have after all and in general he could be one of the team’s strongest members. Booster Gold also appears quite frequently to mess with time and try to get rich. At the very least you have to respect his resolve since the guy never gives up no matter how many tries it takes. We even get an episode for the Super pups as they fight the Red Lanterns. There was some serious power level shenanigans here since Krypto should have looked a lot better than he did in the fight but I’ll let it slide. In general power levels are often tricky for super hero shows and a good out to use is that the heroes are probably holding back quite a lot in order to not seriously hurt the villains.

Hopefully we do get a full Justice League show at some point. To put it one way, Justice League Action feels more like a RWBY Chibi kind of series where it is made to complement the main title. We need a full length Justice League series to air at some point and then Action could air while it’s on break. Justice League is a huge franchise so you’d think that it would sell quite well and yet DC hasn’t really made a move in a while. It’s a gold mine just waiting to happen.

There’s not much else to say about this show because we’re all already very familiar with the characters and there’s not much of a plot to discuss so even as a show review it’s a little on the short side. As a final note before the wrap up, I will say that Batman and Superman are the best characters as always. They always tend to have great episodes backing them up and the contrast between the two fighters is always nice as well. It’s why they are so legendary at this point.
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Overall, This was a fun DC show. I would put it behind most of the other recent ones but it didn’t really make any mistakes. I’m not a huge fan of the format but it probably did about as much as it could with it while still keeping the comedy elements that Cartoon Network demands. I’d like to see the DCAU return again at some point with a full show. If you haven’t seen it yet then I’d recommend checking out JL Action. It’ll give you a chance to hang out with your favorite characters once again and it should feel pretty nostalgic in general.

Overall 7/10

Dinosaur King Review

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Dinosaur King is one of those anime that everyone knows about but many have not actually seen it. I read the manga but hadn’t seen the show until recently so I was guilty of that as well. It’s a pretty fun show that delivers with the Dinosaur action. It’s about what you would expect as a backup Pokémon show but it gets the job done. The dub even plays up this aspect by having a bunch of Pokémon voice actors play similar characters. Dinosaur King is pretty long so that gives the show time to have a lot of fights and the main characters develop past being archetypes.

The show picks up with three friends looking through a bunch of ruins in their backyard. Their names are Max, Rex, and Sal. They manage to find three pieces of the legendary Dinosaur rock which allows each of them to summon a personal Dinosaur from a card. Max’s Dad quickly realizes that they will have to liberate all of the Dinosaurs from their cards which are in the hands of the future Dinosaur King. If the heroes can snag back all of their the cards (About 50) then they will be all set and ready for action. It won’t be easy though as the villain group of 3 each have their own dinosaurs including a T Rex and a Spinosaurus. Be careful out there kids!

The first arc mainly deals with capturing all of the Dinosaurs. Since they get around 1 an episode it is easy to see how this ight last a whole season. The next one begins with a bang as aliens show up from out of nowhere and kidnap Rex’s parents. Max and the gang have to travel across time and space in order to rescue them while also stopping the pirates from altering the course of history to their own benefit. It’ll be tough since they don’t know where they are even going but at least now they will be able to meet up with a lot of iconic legends from History.

I definitely preferred the first arc and that’s mainly because the villains were better but also because modern day Earth is just a better back drop than the past. If the heroes had gone to the future then of course that would be quite different but the past just isn’t all that interesting. Meeting up with all kinds of famous people does have some novelty, but it doesn’t last long. The only thing that arc 2 has over arc 1 is that I dare say the fights were probably a bit better. I did like all of the armor transformations each side got even if it did mean that we had a lot more recycled animation. The energy sword that we got in Rome was also a blast.

On the other hand, Arc 1 didn’t have Spectre which is already a positive. He’s just not all that funny while the Alpha Gang’s humor isn’t bad. Naturally one thing to keep in mind here is that this series is an action adventure but it’s a very light hearted one filled with a bunch of humor and laughs. That means that how much you enjoy the show will really depend on how funny you find it to be. It’s not like it’s going to be laugh out loud funny or anything but I think the whole thing works out well enough where it’s not annoying or anything like that. The writing is pretty solid.

The writers even got the tiers right as the T Rex beats the Spinosaurus in a fair fight despite the latter being a water type while the T Rex uses fire. In fact, Terry (The T Rex) consistently looks amazing in the show and gets a whole lot of respect. I could definitely appreciate that. Unfortunately the Spinosaurus in general doesn’t look amazing here, but I suppose he at least got to appear quite often which is a solid consolation prize if you ask me.

Max is the main character and he is definitely a fun lead. While he isn’t always the smartest of the bunch he is certainly the most heroic. He is always ready to stop the villains in their tracks at any cost. It helps that Max is the strongest of the 3 and tends to take in the leadership role. He was definitely my favorite character from the trio. There’s nothing really to dislike about the guy as he always does his best to do what’s right and save the world. At most he is rather generic.

Max also has one of the best dinosaurs in Chomp. Chomp is a thunder type Dinosaur who isn’t very quick but makes up for that with a lot of raw power backing up each attack. Chomp won’t go down 1 on 1 very often and always pulls his weight. I dare say that he is the best main dinosaur in the show aside from Terry the hype T Rex. Chomp also gets many different power ups which keep him near the top at all times.

Then we have Rex who serves as the brains of the group. He’s more about making the logical decisions and not running into battle which naturally means that I would like Max a lot more. Rex isn’t a bad character either though, but does tend to make some questionable decisions. Deciding to go back to the future with his parents instead of staying in the present is one that I had a hard time buying into. He grew up in the present ever since he was a baby, I don’t see how he would be able to even have any fun being in the future. It’s great to go with family of course, but he doesn’t actually even know his parents.

I also feel bad for Rex because his dinosaur isn’t all that great. For starters…he’s afraid of the water. That’s a huge weakness since water can be found just about anywhere and the dinosaur doesn’t really get over it until the very end of the series. That’s too little too late. Also, I’ll always take a thunder type Dinosaur over a water one but I guess that’s more up to personal preference.

The third member of the group is Zoe and she can be handy, but does tend to get knocked out of the fights quite often. either she ends up tripping or her dinosaur gets one shotted. She got some pretty bad luck when choosing the dinosaurs because hers is a healer as opposed to being a fighter. Fortunately to try and make up for this Zoe does get quite a few assist dinosaurs which lend their strength in the battles. They actually tend to be some of the strongest dinosaurs in the series so maybe it does end up being a fair trade off.
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There’s not much more to say about her dinosaur beyond that. He (or She) just doesn’t tend to be very useful during any of the fights. Even if Zoe has other dinosaurs that she throws in to help out when things get tough, that doesn’t really help the Dino’s case of being a good character. You’ve gotta be able to fight when you’re a huge dinosaur like that. Just body slamming opponents should be rather helpful as well.

Spike is Max’s Dad and he gets a reasonably important role during the series. He serves as one of the many forms of comic relief in this show but pulls it off way better than the other characters. You actually feel bad for him from time to time since the guy really wants his own dinosaur but everyone always tells him no. He never even gets to have his own fight even at the end of the series but improvises by carrying around a whip. It’s rarely useful as you can probably guess, but it gets the job done.

Dr. Z is the main villain of the first arc and while the guy is a genius you still aren’t supposed to take him too seriously. He tends to break down in tears or his back literally breaks so then his minions have to try and help support him. It can be rather tragic for the guy. Then you’ve got the traitors running around and Z doesn’t have anyone that he can really rely on. You would feel more bad for him, but based on the flashbacks that we see the guy isn’t all that nice most of the time so maybe he’s getting what he deserves in that regard.

Ursula is one of the main Team Rocket members and you could basically call her the leader of the group. She always tends to take charge after all and does have the strongest dinosaur as well. Ursula does also happen to be the most likable member of the group. She has more of a heart than the other 2 as she was willing to spare one of the dinosaurs once after it had helped her out while the other 2 still wanted the money. If there is any member that could possibly turn into a hero one day it would certainly be her.

Zander is often busy trying to get someone’s attention in this series so he definitely didn’t have a chance at beating Ursula. I do admit that his song is actually rather catchy despite being a comic relief romance song. There’s nothing much to really like about the guy though. He works decently well for jokes but beyond that he doesn’t have as much character as Ursula and you can see why he’s the second in command. He’s better than Ed though. That guy easily got the smallest role out of the main 3 and never got a subplot to himself. He was really just around to have to have at least one guy who likes to eat and to make the team a trio. Beyond that he didn’t really have any purpose in the story.
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Rod and Laura are two kids who are also part of the Alpha Gang but you can think of them as the junior members of the group. Of course the irony is that they are way better at Dino fighting than the main 3 to the point where they actually gave Max a few good fights during their short lived period where they were the Alpha Gang’s main fighters. They get a big character arc as well and given that they are kids it’s not as if they were ever totally evil or anything like that. They were definitely on the wrong side, but at least they end up seeing the light. They weren’t all that bad, maybe just a bit on the annoying side.

Seth is probably the only big villain to actually be very serious the whole time. He is never used for comic relief which actually isn’t something that I can say for just about any of the other villains. He knows how to manipulate basically every character who is a part of the main cast. His acting skills are evidently top notch and nobody is ever able to stay one step ahead of him. His final appearance is a little cheesy, but aside from that it was always a blast to see him appear. He’s easily the best villain in the series and besides Max he is probably the best character as well. Throwing him into the show was certainly a good idea.

Helga is the maid who works for the villains and she is always fun. She likes to boss around the rest of the villains and they always have a look of terror come upon their faces when she appears. The lady certainly demands respect and boy does she get it! The characters know better than to mess with her and that is certainly how it should be. The fact that we later find out how she has actual super powers is pretty key as well. It adds a little legitimacy to the whole plot. It’s just a shame that she still manages to lose quite a bit when Seth shows up.

Spectre is the main villain of the second arc and he’s a big down grade from Dr. Z. He is probably the worst villain in the series actually so that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This guy is comic relief and his main dinosaur isn’t even as powerful as the one Seth had from Arc 1, at least I think Seth’s was stronger. Spectre loves singing and trolling which can be good if handled right, but it certainly wasn’t in this case. He brought down Arc 2 quite a bit.

Gavro is the big and strong member of the Spectral Pirates. He’s basically the Ed of the group but of course the big difference is that he is actually pretty strong. It’s one thing you have to respect about the pirates in general. Whether you like these guys or not, at least they are actual threats to the heroes since their dinosaurs are so powerful. Gavro looked his best during his initial appearance. After that he was still strong but they played up his unintelligent side a little more which definitely didn’t help his case.

Then we have Foolscap whose most memorable trait is his whiny voice. It’s a memorable voice so I’ll definitely give him some credit there but beyond that he’s basically also just around for comic relief. Being able to fly would have earned him extra credit but since the other two pirates can do that as well it sort of loses that special value it once had.

Finally we have Sheer who is a step up from the other 2 and is basically a mirror version of Ursula. It would have been a pretty cool plot twist if she had lost her memories permanently and stayed with the ninja squad, but that was never a real possibility. She is a little more serious than the other 2 members though and is an opponent that the heroes don’t really look forward to going up against.

The animation is pretty good. The character designs are solid and so are the backgrounds. Unfortunately the Dinosaurs are in complete CG animation which as you may expect means that they are very stiff and look a little odd next to everyone else. It’s unfortunate but it’s not as if it looks terrible. It’s just a step down from the rest of the show’s visuals and does limit just how good the show can look. The series also uses a massive amount of recycled footage since it incorporates summons for all of the characters, the same card draw animation, the same attacks, the same armor, etc. a good chunk of every fight is the recycled animation.

The soundtrack is pretty decent. There aren’t any hype themes or anything like that but what we do get fits pretty well for the show. Ironically the parody beat that plays whenever Xander takes out his violin is easily the most memorable tune and I dare say that it is the best one as well.
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Overall, Dinosaur King is a fun show. It may not try to be all that unique in the long run, but it accomplishes it’s goal of being a quality dinosaur battle anime. It was nice to finally see the T Rex and Spinosaurus have a rematch. I can’t imagine that it was a coincidence either. The characters are fun and the episodes will keep you entertained. The second arc is g quite as good as the first one but it’s not bad either. I did like the power ups that we got as a result of that and bringing in combo attacks was a good idea as well.

Future Card Buddyfight X Review

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The card game genre is certainly going very well at the moment with Cardfight, Buddyfight, and Yugioh all hitting it out of the park. In particular Buddyfight has been going very well. I believe I said that the last season was the best in the series and this one comes very close to topping it. Just when you think the series has peaked it always returns to go to the next level. This season has three arcs which are all quite solid, but that’s enough build up. Let’s start the review!

Well, it is time for another large tournament. This time it will decide which monster world is the best as each one picks an emissary to represent them. It goes without saying that Gao is chosen for Dragon World. However one big surprise is that instead of Tasuku representing Star Dragon World we have a new character named Kanata. He is known as the no damage fighter and has actually managed to never get hit during all of the battles that he was in. Considering how the game works this is virtually impossible so either he cheated quite a bit or he is just very lucky. The best part is that he hasn’t even played Buddyfight in ages as he ditched the game to play soccer full time. Well he is basically forced into entering so now Gao will have to deal with him.

The first arc being a tournament is definitely a good way to kick things off and we get some nice development for Kanata as well. It is pretty much nonstop Buddyfighting so that’s definitely cool. As hype as the next arc is, I have to admit that this one wins. Still, the next arc starts off with a bang as you might expect. A new villain named Wisdom has shown up with his powerful Gear God. He wants to upgrade the world which means turning everyone into machines and controlling them. He manages to crush Gao as well as Kanata which makes him a legitimate threat. Beneath him are the Chaos 3, a group that should not be taken lightly. Gao and his friends will have to get much stronger if they want to save the world this time. Fortunately Tasuku and the Buddy Police are also on the case.

As per usual a big part of the season’s main focus is on Gao and his new buddy monster Batzz. This guy is a tough character whose personality is probably the most similar to Drum’s. He believes that he is the strongest monster in and people say that he came really close to destroying all of Dragon World before he was sealed away. Gao is determined that they will be friends though and as he is the strongest Buddyfighter they should easily become the best. Of course it won’t be that easy since Batzz has quite the ego at times and doesn’t like taking orders. While he is strong that also doesn’t make him immune to gameplay mechanics. I’d say that he beats Bal for me and it’s pretty tough to say compared to Drum. It’s a close one there but I’ll say that he wins out as Gao’s best Buddy so far.

Gao is a very solid main character as he always is. He’s pretty much the same as in the last few seasons so there isn’t much new stuff to say about him. He is still eager to win and always seems prepared for whoever they throw at him. Even without a buddy he has some good skills at the ready to back him up. At times Gao isn’t proactive enough and it feels like the heroes just wait for the villain to make a move but sometimes he goes with his gut like when he broke into the amusement park. That is definitely when he is at his best.

As for Batzz, he can be a little rough at first as he seems to be all talk and no action but I do like the idea of having Gao team up with the strongest monster of them all. Batzz still has trouble with mini Gear Gods and I have serious doubts on him being the strongest but he is certainly powerful. He is always up for a fight while at the same time being willing to atone for his past by getting sealed up. Once Batzz stopped zapping Gao all of the time he was able to get some real character development. I also like the fusion between him and Gao even if that got ditched for a big chunk of the season.
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Ancient Holy Sword Dragon is basically the sidekick of Batzz. He means well and always defends the big guy, but in his own I wouldn’t say that he’s a great character. He’s not bad but felt rather unnecessary as having one main monster was enough of you ask me. He did help with Batzz’s development though so I can see why he was added.

Kanata is one of the big new characters here and I can safely say that the show handled him really well. As I mentioned earlier he was so good at the game that nobody could even land a hit on him. Realizing that this was hurting everyone’s morale he decided to stop playing the game even though he had enjoyed it and went on to play soccer full time instead. Fortunately he was selected for the big world championships which forced Kanata to realize that the game is still fun and there will always be more opponents. I actually started to root for Kanata towards the end of his duel with Gao because the hero’s deck started to get cheesy as he drew around 6 shields back to back. Kanata winning the tournament would have really completed his character arc. He also ended up losing to Wisdom later on but despite that you can’t really say that Kanata lost his edge. Naturally he does take damage in all of his duels now but that’s because it was never realistic to avoid damage in the first place. It just doesn’t work within the rules of the game. While Gao surpasses everyone by the end of the season again, Kanata gets enough power ups to stay on his level. Considering that he is a brand new character, it’s impressive how high up the ranks he has gotten.

Gaito may be returning from the past season but he is still one of the big three alongside Gao and Tasuku so he gets quite a few fights. The season addresses the weakness behind his Death Count Requiem technique as it does guarantee a win after 3 turns but lasting that long isn’t easy. Gaito is able to speed this up to 2 turns which is huge. It also becomes borderline overpowered but a lot of the abilities started to get crazy in this arc so it keeps Gaito relevant.

A new mechanic that I neglected to mention earlier is Overturn/Overkill. It is a special ability that can be used once per match depending on if your monster has evolved enough to use it. How useful this ability is completely depends on the monster. Gaito’s is extremely good as it skips his opponents turn so he gets to have 2 waves of attacks. Wisdom’s endsvthe opponent’s current turn in addition to letting him summon 3 monsters. That’s the just of the ability and it is definitely a game changer. This instantly puts any fighter without such an ability at a huge disadvantage but fortunately for the cast it appears that everyone learned it.

Wisdom plays a huge role in this story of course and is a very charismatic opponent. His goal of upgrading the world is certainly a fun one and it’s always nice to see him dismiss his underlings so casually. He reminds me a lot of Kyoya and is certainly about as smug. Even his fame and wealth are comparable. He is evidently smart as Wisdom is able to create code and bend Gear God to his will. He is an expert duelist and also has no qualms about taking the fight to the heroes. The batch of episodes where he attacked Gao and Kanata for the Mirage Card was certainly a standout moment. The season definitely wouldn’t have been the same without such a great villain at the helm.
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There is also his butler who is surprisingly a powerful opponent as well. He transforms into a powered up mode rather nonchalantly and may have the best ability out of them all. His flag goes over the opponent’s flag so they can’t use any spells or monsters. Basically unless you have the one specific upgrade card that Wisdom or Kyoya has, it is game over. There is nothing you can even do against this technique so it is easy to see why he didn’t get to fight all that much in the series. It would have been very tough to think of ways to defeat him.

Of course older characters from the series are still present. Tasuku gets a reasonable role here as he continues on with the Buddypolice. While he may not have much time to duel for fun anymore, he has still kept his skills and helps out at times. The only questionable part for Tasuku is that he seems a little more “by the books” than usual. He actually tells Gao and the others to stay back because civilians but he knows better than most just how strong Gao is. It was a rather odd scene. At least he didn’t care much when Gao followed him though so I guess it wasn’t much of a big deal.

Tetsuya and Zanya show up as well but their roles are quite small. They never actually get to do anything important in this season and just serve as a reminder that if you don’t work to improve your skills you will quickly be left in the dust. I suppose I should just be glad that they got to appear? I dunno, I was never the biggest fan of theirs anyway. Their buddy monsters get new super forms though to keep up with everyone else and join the thunder empire though.

I suppose Kiri’s role is kind of important here. He knows about the coming threat and goes over to protect Dragon World while the heroes take on Wisdom. Considering that he is an Omni lord his abilities are never all that impressive. Still, I guess it is good that he is trying his best. He is much better than Guru after all. Guru is an old guy who actually has incredible power. We’ve seen this kind of character many times before but it tends to not work out. This is one of those times. Guru is always trying really hard to be funny but the scenes may just make you cringe. His advice is rarely ever useful and he doesn’t deserve to have such a high power level. The heroes keep on crawling back to his base for more intel over and over again which definitely gets annoying. Hopefully he is written out of the show as soon as possible.

From the Chaos 3 the member with the biggest role is easily Sakate. He is Kanata’s rival so naturally that makes their duels very personal. His dueling style is very unique as he attacks with a bunch of swords instead of monsters. It’s a pretty unique approach and one that feels very useful. I won’t call it OP since having monsters is still really handy but I can see why he is one of the strongest duelists. Brutal’s role is the smallest and he’s the most bland character of the 3. He’s a loyal guy but he really doesn’t have a great reason to follow Wisdom. At the very least he should have defected once Wisdom started going crazy.

Then we have Keisetsu who is taken a lot less seriously than all of the other villains. He is legitimately strong as he gives quite a few characters a good fight, but at the end of the day he just isn’t able to close out his matches. It’s not how you start a fight of course, but how you finish it and this guy just wasn’t ready for that.

The final arc is a nice homage to the rest of the series. It is a shame that the tournament was so small since this meant that it couldn’t bring back a bunch of the older characters but since the first arc was a huge tournament I suppose that the series didn’t want to seem redundant. At the very least we did see all of the villains return like Wisdom, Kyoya, and Bolt. Tasuku and Noboru getting their own fights again was a blast as well. Some of the fights could get a little questionable like Kyoya getting a new super form and 10 hand cards, but not drawing a single shield to win the duel though. I suppose since he was the final boss of a big tournament in the last season they didn’t want to do that again though. Plus going with Tasuku vs Gao is definitely the ultimate homage to the old days for when they were big rivals. This series gave just about everyone the closure you would want to see and the easter eggs to the previous seasons were handled well.
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Then the series even squeezed in one last duel in the final episode which was unexpected. Gao receives a challenge from a new character by the airport and this guy may be the strongest opponent that Gao has ever seen. The scene couldn’t quite decide if it wanted the new character to be super mysterious or more of a happy fellow, but either way he had skills. If not for the plot summary of the next season already spoiling the twist the scene would be even more powerful. Either way it kind of makes you not want the time skip yet so we can see Gao get a rematch but if time travel becomes a factor soon then that might not be an issue. It is a great way to hype up the next series even if it does mean that you will be waiting for the new main character to master the game so we get him at this level. I haven’t seen a passing of the torch moment like this in quite a long time so it was an unexpected surprise.

As always the animation is really high quality. The colors are very sharp and the energy effects are on point. Something is always happening on screen whether it be during a fight or normal dialogue. You’ll never feel bored during an episode of the animation has anything to say about it. The soundtrack is also top notch as we have come to expect from the series. At this point several characters have their own themes and that continues to be a trend. Wisdom’s theme is certainly the standout here as it’s just a great tune. It perfectly builds up the suspense and anticipation of what is to come next.

With the classic era over here is how the Buddyfight seasons rank. In 1st is Buddyfight Triple D. The tournament was just handled flawlessly and is my personal favorite from the whole series. 2nd is Buddyfight X for all the reasons described above. In 3rd is the first season which will always be nostalgic and did a great job introducing the cast. In 4th is Buddyfight 100 which had a very slow middle which brought down the season somewhat, but was ultimately still pretty good. It’ll be interesting to see where season 5 ends up ranking. The show will have to introduce all of the characters and everything so the first season probably won’t be cracking the top 3 just yet but never count a card game show out. It just may end up surprising you.
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Overall, Buddyfight X is definitely a great title both literally and in regard to the whole season. It’s just nonstop excitement and the new characters really worked well and were seamlessly added to the universe. I dare say that it had the highest stakes as well since Wisdom actually did take over some planets and he was playing for keeps here. When he attacked the heroes on the ship they were in real danger. Of course now Gao is fairly OP with his current deck since he has access to so many super forms so he will be ready for any new villains. It’s always hard to see how they will be able to come up with stronger decks and opponents for Gao, but taking away his Buddy has usually worked well since it nerfs him until he inevitably gets some cool special abilities. The next season won’t have to try and work around this though as we are getting a time skip and a new main character. It should be a blast and this era of Buddyfight ended on a high note.

Overall 9/10

Yugioh Arc V Review

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I have finally completed Yugioh Arc V! It was definitely a pretty intense Yugioh series and rose up to being one of the best ones. I had a feeling that it would become really good since this was hyped as the crossover series, but the other titles all left a high bar for it to follow. Initially the series reminded me a lot of Yugioh Zexal with the animation and the music that the dub used for it. As the series went on it came into its own though and peaked during the second arc. It’s definitely a very strong title that I dare say is second only to GX. Usually I put the Yugioh rankings at the bottom, but there aren’t too many so I’ll just put them up here. 1. Yugioh GX, 2. Yugioh Arc V, 3. Yugioh 5Ds, 4. Yugioh, 5. Yugioh Zexal. I won’t bother with season 0 or Capsule Monsters as they aren’t even strong enough to really rank at all next to the others. As always this means that the bar is set pretty high once again for the next Yugioh series. It’ll be interesting to see where that one ranks, but either way I do think that it will be quite excellent!

The series starts off by introducing us to Yuya. He is an aspiring Dueltainer who wants to become the best like his dad was. He even goes to a proper school for it which is led by his best friend’s (Zuzu) dad named Skip. Skip claims that Yuya will become a great star through him. That’s when Yuya is challenged to appear against the World Champion on TV to avenge his father. Yuya can’t turn down such an opportunity but is he ready? The pre arc is Yuya taking on all kinds of opponents and improving his act. He can’t just win, he has to claim victory while having fun and helping the opponent to smile. That’s what being a duel tainer is all about!

The intro episodes do a decent job of setting the stage. The pacing isn’t bad, but the supporting cast isn’t great. As with 5Ds, the main supporting cast is written out of the adventure pretty early on and that was a great move. We lost the annoying kids and only kept Zuzu and Sora. The rest were all left behind. Backtracking a bit, Yuya’s tournament is interrupted when the Obelisk Force shows up and starts turning everyone into cards. Yuya is able to fend them off, but his world takes considerable damage and Declan reveals that he had anticipated this attack. Yuya reluctantly agrees to go along with him and so starts the battle of the 4 universes, Standard, XYZ, Fusion, and Synchro. Yuya must duel as hard as he can to stop the evil plans at work here and to save Zuzu who is one of the main targets that the villains are after.

Once the dimension is initially attacked then the series really accelerates into top tier status. The whole 5Ds arc was just amazing and one of the best arcs in all of Yugioh. Everything happened here and all of the subplots that had been growing converged at this point. It was just amazing and in particular the scene where all of the characters met up in the old subway tunnel was superb. The only downside to this is that naturally the next arc couldn’t quite compete as the heroes went to XYZ world and then to the Fusion dimension. Those arcs were fun as well, but they couldn’t even come close to 5Ds. I suppose that it’s not a surprise though since typically the last arc in a Yugioh series isn’t the best one. Battle City destroys Millenium World, The Yubel Arc beats the Nightshroud one, etc. Still, it needs to be said again that Arc V has no bad arcs, it’s just that the 5Ds one took it to the pinnacle of perfection. It’s probably also because Turbo Duels took the place of Action Duels.

I didn’t actually talk about it earlier so I should do that now. Action Duels were invented for this series and think of it as a more interactive style of dueling. Instead of sitting back and waiting for your turn you get to run around in search of the action cards. It’s purely luck based what the card will do, but typically it lets you block an attack or power up your monster. It’s a decent concept, but the luck factor makes it too easy on the writers. Put Yuya in a sticky situation? Have him get an action card that lets him block the attack. You can even get more than 1 Action Card in a single turn which is sketchy. At one point Yuya even starts to use this as a crutch and the way I see it is if you have to run for the action card right away then you weren’t the better duelist in that moment. I think this gimmick didn’t need to happen, but I suppose it is fun to see everyone running around. They just should have tightened up the rules like how in the manga they mention that only a certain amount of action cards are put on the field per duel and you can only use one per turn. Adding some rules like that would make it more balanced. I have no complaints about pendulum summoning though. It’s just insanely OP, but for the most part only Declan exploits that as everyone else uses it to summon fairly weak monsters half the time.

Yuya is the main character of this installment and one of the best Yugioh main characters to date. Jaden is still the best and Yami Yugi is second, but I’d put Yuya right up there at 3rd. 4th would be Yusei, 5th Yuma, and then currently Yugi’s out at 6th. Yuya’s main gimmick is that he’s a performer so naturally he has to stay cheerful a lot. The problem is that this gets tougher and tougher as the villains get serious and do everything in their power to break him. Yuya gives in to his rage several times and even mentions at one point that he’ll just have to save the smiles for later. When his friends are involved you can bet that Yuya will get serious.

Of course it may be a little alarming if you wanted him to stay in happy world, but realistically it’s hard to be putting on a show and grin ear to ear while your friends are being captured or defeated as you duel. You gotta put your game face on and Yuya’s smile card is a pretty terrible spell if you think about it. Yuya has some of the best rage modes in all of Yugioh. He really was at his best when he was dueling seriously. Yuya was always a talented duelist, but by the end he definitely was ready to be considered as a world class fighter. There are few who can go up against him since Yuya has now mastered all different summoning methods. (At least the ones available in his series. I guess there is maybe Ritual summoning, but there just wouldn’t be room in his deck for that) Yuya definitely never stopped in his quest to fight Zuzu and is the kind of guy you want to have as your friend.

Zuzu is the main heroine of Arc V and fortunately she is also a capable duelist. We don’t get to see her duel much at all in the second half of the series, but she got some quality duels before that. Zuzu learned fusion summoning from Sora so she was certainly highly proficient at it. She even did a good job during the big 5Ds tournament later on. While she may have not been able to win the whole thing she definitely didn’t lose without dealing major damage. Considering that a lot of characters ended up losing out by the end of the series Zuzu definitely got a happy ending. As far as the heroines go I would rank her above Tea and Tori pretty quickly. It’s a little closer with Alexis and Akiza, but I think Zuzu would beat them for now as well so at the moment she is the best heroine in Yugioh.

Yuto probably gets the biggest role from the other 3 personas that Yuya has. It’s a little ironic since Yuto was the first one to get blown away, but this lets him act as a Yami Yugi sort of character. Surprisingly he only takes control of Yuya’s body a couple of times during the course of the series, but he’s usually around to give some advice. The thing is while he gives good advice he is always quick to crack when the pressure is on. Then he actually ends up hurting Yuya in a sense since he’s just weakening the hero’s willpower. He’s certainly a very likable character though. He did fight hard to defend his planet so it’s almost a shame that he didn’t get to do it longer. He’s basically Yuya if the hero grew up in a war torn world, but that’s basically the point. His main dragon has the best design from the 4.
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Then we have Yugo who is the polar opposite of Yuto. His world’s a really happy one as the villains haven’t gotten there yet. He lives without a care in the world, at least until Rin vanished. Then he began searching for her across the 4 dimensions. It’s still a little iffy how he jumped dimensions in the first place, but with the universe being so unstable I guess it’s bound to open holes for the others at times. He has an ongoing rivalry with Yuri. At one point I thought they were never going to get to finish their duel, but at least it finally got to happen near the very end of the series. He’s definitely a very talented duelist although I think he may have been the weakest of the 4. That’s not really a bad thing since they’re all so skilled, someone had to be last right? He’s a fun character even if he has a tendency to joke around a little too much when the stakes are high.

Finally we have Yuri who is the only evil member of the 4. He enjoys dueling opponents weaker than him and then toying with them. It’s how he gets his jollies, but his skills are the real deal. He didn’t become the top ranked enforcer for no reason after all. His dragon looks sort of like Biollante and it’s distorted appearance can also make the creature not even look like a dragon at times. He even came close to taking down Supreme Yuya which is no easy feat. Another really good villain and a reminder as to why Arc V was so great. The cast was absolutely stellar.

Celina is my favorite member of the 4 heroines. She’s the most skilled of the group and is always eager for battle. She started out on Leo’s side, but quickly realized that this may not be the right side. She thinks about it logically and makes the hero call. Celina is basically Zuzu but more aggressive so it’s easy to see why she is one of the best characters in the series. It’s just too bad that she never really got to properly duel in the final arc, but she had a lot of screen time prior to that.

Rin might get the smallest role from the girl although you could make a case for Lulu as well. We never really get to see Rin fight in her own mind, but I like to think that she was a decent duelist. She seems like a nice kid. Likewise, I’m sure Lulu was a quality character as well. We don’t get to see her much beyond flashbacks, but I guess it was tough for even this show to give everyone some big duels. She serves more as motivation for some of the characters to stop the villains than as an actual duelist, but it would appear that she can duel since she does have a duel disc and during the mind control saga her abilities were acknowledged.

Kite is the big guest star from Yugioh Zexal. Surprisingly Zexal only got one guest star while every other region got 2. I suppose maybe it’s because Zexal was fairly recent so there was less nostalgia for it. Well, either way he is the best option they could have chosen from their. His abilities are as good as ever and I always love seeing his Galaxy Eyes show up. He can definitely hold his own with any of the other fighters.

Shay is probably the closest thing to a rival in Arc V except for Sora. The reason why Sora may edge him out there is because Shay’s beef is never really with Yuya and they just don’t get to compete much. Shay is an amazing character though and continues Yugioh’s tradition of having great rivals. He is absolutely determined to save Lulu no matter what it takes. He is constantly barred by obstacles in the form of Declan, The Fusion Dimension, the 5Ds Dimension and others, but he never stops. He’s honed his skills quite a lot to always have the power to save his friends. Always training like that is definitely what you would expect from a character like this. His deck is also great since he uses a lot of monsters that are considered weak but when they activate their abilities they get very strong. His top monster only has 100 attack points before its ability activates. Now that’s what I call a great deck that follows his life philosophy of working together to protect your friends.
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Shay’s only competition for best character in the series is Sora. It’s a very close battle for the top, but I’d give Shay the edge in the end. Still, Sora is an excellent duelist in his own right and could even be the strongest in Duel Academy. Unfortunately we never got to see him have a proper duel with Yuri for the title. That rushed, cheesy battle at the end doesn’t count. Sora ended the series with 13 wins and 5 losses which is quite impressive. I always liked his confidence and he became a bit of a wild card for a while before formally joining the heroes. His turn around was also handled well as he didn’t suddenly become a hero or anything, but he did become friends with Zuzu and decided to protect her even though it was against orders. That makes sense and naturally this eventually led to him being one of the heroes. His nice guy act near the beginning was pretty convincing as well.

Declan is the main hype character of the series. He’s portrayed like Kaiba, but I wouldn’t call him a rival to Yuya. It’s an interesting dynamic and the show keeps him in a very mysterious light for most of the show. It’s hard to know on whose side he is on. Is he a villain or a hero? That will be answered by the end, but he isn’t afraid to sacrifice a few lives to save the world so he can be quite ruthless. It’s hard to call him out on it either as Yuya attempts to, but is quickly beaten down. There just aren’t many fighters who can take Declan down as his cards are the very definition of overpowered. Arc V got extremely high tier by the end with the sheer amount of special abilities that each card had. It was just crazy. I’m not really a big fan of Declan honestly, but he is a good character. He wouldn’t be top 5 or anything, but it was great to have what you could call the lesser of 2 evils teaming up with the heroes the whole time. For the most part he is a nice guy though and the show does portray him as a hero by the end even if you may have your doubts on that. He got to be a lot less annoying once he went with the other heroes to the next dimension and they parted ways. At that point he was on close to equal footing with the others rather than being their boss.

Gong is one of Yuya’s best friends and like me he does not care for action duels. As a result, he will go out of his way to avoid using them in a duel. He prefers to win with his Heavy style. Gong’s not a bad character, but I just didn’t care for him. The strong type rarely works out for me and his deck always felt outmatched before he even started dueling. He’s not annoying so I’m fine with him getting a lot of screen time, but I certainly wouldn’t say that he was very impressive.

Then we have Sylvio who is supremely confident, but his skills can’t really back up his tough talk. He’s one of those characters who somehow keeps his confidence even after he suffers a string of defeats. In a way that is quite admirable. He is a fun duelist to have around and at the very least he is good for morale. His deck isn’t even half bad either. Against most opponents Sylvio would have a real chance at victory, but when the high tier opponents come out to play he has absolutely no shot.
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Crow is one of the big 5Ds guest stars and he’s a good character. He can be a bit annoying and tends to not be very nice to the heroes, but his skills are the real deal. His Blackwing combos are pretty similar to how they were back in the 5Ds anime. He gets a lot of hype and even gets to have a proper duel with Yuya where the right winner was selected. Crow just has to be careful about holding those Ls because he seemed a little salty to me.

Jack Atlas also shows up and naturally he gets a bunch of hype. He’s still the Master of Faster so taking him down isn’t easy. His first duel against Yuya is one of the best in the series. Yuya manages to summon one dragon from each summoning style and Jack is still able to counter him. The guy can be rather harsh on Yuya during their duels as he constantly criticizes him being an entertainer, but most likely it’s just because he doesn’t like for anyone else to be in the spotlight. Jack’s always been a critic so I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. From all of the guest stars I’d say that Jack certainly had the best role.

Moonshadow is one of the main characters who never got to be very likable. It’s certainly odd because he is around for most of the series and yet he never really does anything all that important. He can fight and he does save people but half the time you will just be wondering why he is even in the show to begin with. The heroes were doing just fine on their own and this ninja just lacked personality. Ah well, I think he was just a miss for me, but he’s not necessarily a bad character.

We can’t forget about Riley. The character gets 100 episodes of character development as he learns that Declan really is here to protect him. Then…he betrays him just because a girl he’s never even met before tells him that the right thing to do is betray the heroes. This character never really got past that. I get it, Riley’s never been the most outgoing character and getting pushed around is part of his character. It’s still not a good defense for him going against the heroes so easily. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when this happened. I’m glad Declan showed him who the true duelist was and I don’t often root for Declan. Riley was just being incredibly annoying at this point.

We definitely got to talk about Yusho for a bit as he is one of the worst characters in the series. He’s Yuya’s Dad so that’s to be expected since the Dads often look pretty bad in all of these card shows. Still, he ditched Yuya for basically no reason and then never even tried to get back. What’s worse is that he was gone for years and yet he made no headway in the Fusion dimension. You’d think that being there for years with his supposed world class abilities would be enough to save the place, but I guess not. For all of the hype that he always got Yusho never appeared to be a skilled fighter. He also doesn’t seem like a very smart one as even when some biker gang people tried to go after Yoko he was talking about smiles and all that. The guy is so incredibly exaggerated and that may not have been too bad if he hadn’t ditched Yuya, but he did. It’s just hard to simply wave that fact away and you just end up disliking the character. He even attacked Yuya from behind when the hero was so close to beating the Professor. Had Yuya done that he could have saved the world right then and there instead of dooming several characters.

Yoko is Yuya’s Mom and she’s a little more reasonable than Yusho. I’d say a lot more, but she has an annoying running gag during the early tournament. Instead of rooting for her son she decides to root for a local cook named Reed since she is apparently a huge fan of his. Naturally this isn’t meant to be taken seriously as it’s just a harmless gag, but an annoying one nonetheless. Imagine trying to win a tournament for your friends and family…then turning to the audience and seeing that they’re not even rooting for you. That’s gotta sting.
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Skip Boyle is Zuzu’s Dad and he’s actually a lot better than the others. Not only is he one of the only characters to remember Zuzu right away, but I believe he is the only one to remember her on his own. He even skipped out on the tournament because he knew something was wrong. It would have been nice to have seen him duel at some point since it is certainly hinted that he has some skills, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The other local supporting characters from the school weren’t good though. They are the 3 kids who try to give the commentary during Yuya’s duel and they fail quite badly at it. They are just annoying and in particular the one who always yells Goose Pickles is really bad. It’s hard to say what the show was going for here, but certainly nothing good.

Back in the early days of the show we had 3 students from Declan’s school who were tough rivals. These characters were Dipper, Julia, and Kit. Julia certainly got the most screen time and character development from the 3 as she came close to uncovering the mysterious happenings with Shay and Declan and even became a rival to Zuzu. Then some memory stuff happened which caused Julia to forget about all of this and that’s around when her role disappeared completely. She was a fun character though so it’s almost too bad that she was left behind, but I suppose her skills had simply reached their limit. Dipper and Kit never seemed like much of a threat anyway so it’s easy to see how they were left behind.

Reed Pepper is a duelist who uses a lot of food puns to throw his opponents off their game. It’s definitely a valid technique and it was always fun to see him duel. He may not have been the strongest duelist out there, but he lasted quite a while and put up a good fight against the Obelisk Force. Definitely not a character that you could take all that seriously, but his character was still executed well. Then there is Aura who is able to look into her crystal ball to see the future and other such things. There wasn’t much of a point to her character so she vanished right away, but I guess the character wasn’t all that bad. Honestly all of these Arc 1 characters just seemed to vanish right off the face of the Earth.

Iggy was a bit of a bully duelist who thrives on knocking around opponents while dueling. Naturally this would usually be against the rules but in an action duel anything goes so that makes it okay. He’s a decent duelist as well as he was certainly outplaying Yuya for most of the duel. If you think about it, if you need action cards to win in the first place then the opponent is probably the more skilled fighter. I can’t say that Iggy was too interesting, but as a minor villain I suppose that he got the job done.

Leo Akaba, AKA the Professor is one of the big villains of the series. He doesn’t do much until the end of the series as you might expect, but he makes for a fairly intimidating presence while sitting on his throne. He gets an origin story for why he is doing this and at least it is one that I can understand. His daughter was destroyed in stopping Zarc so now he wishes to bring her back. Unfortunately the only way to do that is to destroy 3/4 of the current population in the universe. However, this 3/4 of the population were created through her death so do they count as people? Leo doesn’t really seem to care either way as he intends to get his daughter back at any cost. Naturally this doesn’t change that he is a complete villain, but it’s a good motivation which serves him well as one of the final bosses. He is also a pretty good duelist in his own right and possibly top 5 in Arc V…possibly.

Then we have Barrett who is Leo’s most faithful subordinate. He is even willing to betray Selena in order to carry out his orders. He is a soldier first and foremost. This guy won’t give up on the mission no matter what and as a result he makes for a great villain. He put up a great fight against Yuya as well and proved himself to even be capable of taking on Yuya in his rage form. Definitely one of the best villains in the series.
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Next up is Dennis. He’s definitely not a very good character. I didn’t like him before his big twist and I certainly didn’t like him afterwards. He just doesn’t make for a good character as the guy can be rather goofy and hard to take seriously. His character also goes through too many characters arcs as the last one is just impossible to believe. The guy was simply too sinister to suddenly just roll over and admit that he is a good man. Definitely very cheesy and I like to think that he was still arrested after this.

Aster is one of the big guest stars and he gets a nice role here. He is one of the high ranking officials in the Fusion Dimension so naturally he is a very formidable duelist. He gives Yuya a real run for his money and it’s just very nostalgic to see him. The writers chose well in selecting him as one of the GX characters to make an appearance. His elemental hero deck was also pretty good as expected. Then we have his two underlings Gloria and Grace. They are introduced rather late in the game, but don’t really get to do anything so I almost wonder why a fairly big deal was made out of them in universe. They got a considerable amount of hype and I guess they lived up to it to an extent, but they probably needed one more duel to really legitimize them as a threat. Still quality villains, just underused.

Then we have Alexis who is another one of the guest stars. Seeing as how she is one of the big resistance members her fans are sure to be pleased with her role. Alexis is also one of the only characters who realized that there was something fishy with Leo’s plan and didn’t blindly follow along like the rest of the characters. I am a little skeptical of how the happy go lucky students all quickly decided to join into the cause and become mass murderers, but I guess they will do just about anything if it means playing more Yugioh I guess.

The Obelisk Force deserve a shoutout since they were quite skilled for underlings. They were actually beating named characters in their first appearance and typically you would expect them to be about as strong as Storm Troopers or something like that. They definitely surpassed their limits. Naturally they were nerfed a little bit after that, but were still a fun group of villains. Who says that these guys have to just be around to get stomped?

Roget is a fun character from the 5Ds arc. He is very good at manipulating people and naturally he even does this to Yuya by convincing the gullible characters that they are on the same side. Naturally it wouldn’t work on any of Yuya’s close friends, but the others are fair game. Roget can duel but only does so when absolutely necessary. He leads a very balanced life as all people should. He made for a great counterpart to Leo and even had ambitious plans of his own. I wouldn’t have minded if he had ended up overthrowing Leo, would have made for an interesting plot.

Shinji is the very enthusiastic leader of the 5Ds rebellion and boy does the guy love to talk! He gives speech after speech about the rebellion and how they can conquer the surface dwellers. It’s pretty amusing even if that isn’t really the intention. The guy just has a very one track mind and is quick to say that anyone who opposes him is an enemy. That drive isn’t a bad thing and it isn’t even misplaced, but the guy doesn’t seem to know much about tactics. You can’t just storm the streets and defeat the government in a day. Still, he made the most of his soapbox while he was in the tournament.

Then we have Sergey who is essentially a slightly weaker version of Barrett. His character is fairly similar as well but he is the unhinged version. He thrives on pain which can certainly make for a very odd character quirk. The guy is definitely a threat in a duel though and even manages to defeat Zuzu. Without Sergey Roget may have been in trouble, but that’s why they say that it’s always good to have at least one powerful underling. I don’t care for Sergey much as a character, but he is a tough villain for sure.

Ray was Leo’s daughter and she seemed like a very heroic character. She didn’t hesitate to make the ultimate sacrifice to stop Zarc. She seems to have some mystical abilities or simply great knowledge to use those cards so effectively and then to communicate with Riley afterwards. I still don’t get why she would tell him that letting Leo win was the best answer though. Sure, fusing the dimensions would bring her back along with Zarc so they could do the whole thing over again, but trying to stop him first seems a whole lot less risky if you ask me.
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Finally we have Zarc. He’s the big bad of the series but before he obtained almost limitless power he was just an ordinary duelist who liked the sport. He aimed to become the best player in the world and was able to realize his dream. That was certainly quite the feat. The power did go to his head and he turned evil though so I guess the guy didn’t have a whole lot of will power. He makes for a pretty great villain though even if he doesn’t always make a lot of sense. He wants a good duel and is always looking for one, but then when people challenge him he claims that it’s a waste of time and is constantly insulting them. I guess it just goes with the whole over confidence thing, but you’d think that he would be a little happier about getting to duel so much right?

I do have to quickly mention that the series does have a pretty bad ending though. I dare say that it’s even terrible. I won’t say who, but there are at least 3 main fatalities, but depending on how you look at it millions of people died. The villains planned to merge the 4 universes into one which merges people too. Well, the plan was sort of stopped, but not really leading to a rather odd mismash of things. Memories don’t match, some people are back and some likely aren’t. We’re just supposed to accept this and know that sometimes the heroes don’t always win, but it’s just a real downer. Especially since I liked the 3 characters who were erased. Only now they are stuck in someone else’ body, but not in the more direct way that Yami and Astral were put on. They’re more like Yuto so it will be tough to take direct control and eventually they will be assimilated. It’s a very dark ending and one that I wasn’t satisfied with at all. I’d say to just skip the final arc, but beyond that last bit the actual arc was really very good. I’d say the best thing to do is watch the final battle with Zarc and then turn off the TV. No reason to see the final mini arc that just destroys what the ending should have been.

As to what the final arc did right, the battle gauntlet with Zarc was great. Pretty much every important duelist lines up to fight him back to back. The duel is several episodes long and everyone gets to do their best. My only question each time is why everyone would jump into the duel midway. All that does is lower your attack points to 2000 when if they waited a few seconds later they would have been at full power. It is understandable if you’re trying to save the person, but not if they are about to lose anyway. You’re just jumping into an unwinnable position, especially since Zarc already had a great combo on the field and over 5000 life points. So, a little plot hax there, but nonetheless it was a great climax. I always like it when a bunch of heroes try to rush the final boss. It’s a fairly rare occurrence as well which is likely why it is so special as well. Zarc was a really fun final boss and he will certainly be remembered.

Since this show showed us that a big crossover show is possible next we need to have one where all of the main characters meet. If it wants to be ambitious it can be a long title where they don’t all meet up at first. The first 12 episodes could just be the 5 main characters having their own adventures until suddenly an event occurs which forces them to meet up and duel. I’d suggest another invasion series with dimension against dimension but that just happened so a fresh plot would probably be good. Some kind of tournament is a safe bet and with their dimensions on the line everyone would have to enter. A standard 3 vs 3 team style tournament would be best and that’d be awesome. It likely won’t happen, but I can dream. Regardless, it was smart of Arc V to make the plot one huge war. It definitely ensures that every fighter is always dueling at their peak since the stakes are so high.

I think that’s actually a pretty big reason as to why Arc V is so great. It probably has the longest ongoing plot from all of the Yugioh titles. For the most part none of them are quite as focused as this one. They usually have long tournaments and adventures, but not one large plot that keeps going the way that this one does. Arc V does break it up into arcs of course, but the war is always going whether it is in the forefront or the background. It’s really just one long mission for roughly 100 episodes and it’s just hard to beat that.

As you can probably guess the animation is excellent here. The character models are all on point and the action sequences are great. It’s really at its best when Yuya’s eyes begin to glow with his Zarc mode. The energy effects in general are just great and you can easily tell that this is a newer Yugioh series as the animation is unmatched. The soundtrack is also quite excellent. We get a lot of great battle tunes and even a retro 5Ds selection as well. No GX tunes that I could recognize popped up, but that’s okay. I’d still give the soundtrack a full 5 stars as it hit all of the right notes and also had a lot of variety. It goes without saying that the writing is dynamite as well.
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Overall, Yugioh Arc V is a superb show and will go down in anime history as one of the all time greats. It has over 100 episodes so that gives time for a lot of duels. The plot is very engaging and the show never lets up in just how exciting it is. The crossover angle just helps with that even more. I would highly recommend this show to fans of the genre and to anyone that likes a good action series. The show has no real flaws which is quite impressive and the main cast is really good too. When a series has all of the elements like this one does (Animation, Pacing, Writing, Music, etc) and executes them well, success is basically guaranteed.

Overall 9/10

Cardfight Vanguard G: Z Review

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It’s been a good run, but Cardfight Vanguard has finally ended. With 370 episodes across both generations that is quite a lot of Cardfights. It’s really comparable to Yugioh at this point. Naturally that franchise has more total episodes and it would be tough to ever match that number, but once you cross 100 episodes you can certainly be counted as a legitimate powerhouse. I’ll be sure to rank all of the Cardfight seasons at the end of the review. Most of them are super close so it’s definitely a tough one to decide. All right, lets dive into Z!

Right away you can tell that this series is going to be intense because you only use the term Z when the series is going to have a ton of action. Vanguard does not disappoint here as action is absolutely what you will be getting. The last season ended with the heroes defeating the main 3 Diffriders and winning the tournament. That may have been good progress in the fight against evil, but Kazumi was never the main threat. The Apostles of Gyze are around now and they need a vessel for their leader. Their plan is unaltered, they want to awaken the 6 Zeroth Dragons to pave the way for Gyze. The members decide to split up and take Team TRY 3 out of the equation pre-emptively. (Pretty smart move honestly) The heroes will have to move quickly to stop their plan and they will need teamwork, but the situation is already quite personal for them so it may be tough to move in with a clear head.

As this season is only 24 episodes (The shortest in the franchise unless you count one of the G seasons that was merged together with another one in the Dub) the plot has to move right away so there is no waiting around here. That’s the bonus of continuing the plot of a previous season. There is no need for build up or character introductions since that was already done last time. As such the villains attack Chrono and Shion within the first 3 episodes. The Apostles really look very impressive from the start here as the heroes just seem like no match at times. The most impressive member would be the one who fought Shion at least when comparing their initial appearances. The show dropped the ball on him a bit though.

Almost every episode has a big fight occurring in this season. As the villains aren’t playing games around you also see a level of desperation among the heroes that hasn’t happened too often in G. At the very least, it usually doesn’t happen quite so soon. One small moment that I really liked here was how Chrono used a Zeroth dragon with no hesitation. Usually when the main character relents and uses the dark power of a villain there is a lot of drama or the character gives it some long thought. Chrono just went for it. For context, he was up against the leader of the Apostles. If he wins this fight he can save his friend and eliminate one of the biggest threats to the world in one move. None of his cards are strong enough at this point, but if he uses one of the evil deity cards that he swiped from another member it will give him a chance.

Dark power like this never comes cheap though. The price for playing a Zeroth Dragon is that if you lose the duel all of your Grade 4 cards will be atomized and so you will be losing all of your strongest cards. It’s a steep penalty since you are essentially powerless in a duel without those. before G you could get away with it since Grade 4s didn’t exist, but now that they do they are absolutely essential. The stakes are high, but it would have almost been selfish of Chrono to not use one just for that. He had a world to protect.

Naturally I was a big fan of Chrono here. He definitely looks like the experienced veteran that he is here. It doesn’t mean that he is now the strongest player in the world but he certainly ranks up there. He takes risks and is always ready to defend his friends. Chrono is the kind of guy that you want on your team for sure. He won’t back down from a duel. Chrono has definitely developed into a character worthy of his mysterious deck.

Shion is still Chrono’s rival but at this point that is rarely evident as he has completely mellowed out into being a friend. I suppose it’s a good change of pace to have a rival who isn’t super rude or obnoxious the whole time. Shion is finally back to being master of the Kiba empire at this point so as you can imagine he feels pretty unbeatable. That’s why his first fight with Valeos was so intense because it was basically unheard of for someone to have the upper hand against Shion. It also showed that the villains recognized him as a legitimate threat. Shion’s role in this season is still rather small but it is a good one nonetheless. He does get his revenge for the earlier loss as well.

Then we have Tokoha who has started to bounce back from the last season. That one didn’t go so well for her as she absorbed quite a few losses and wasn’t really in a right state of mind since Miguel was taken out of the picture. Now she has mainly recovered from this and is back to being a strong contender. Like Shion she doesn’t get too many duels here but still gets to help out in the final battle.
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Kazuma certainly has a large role in this season and is probably the most crucial aside from Chrono. Now that he has his brother back Kazuma is ready to take the fight to the villains. While he is a very strong fighter and Kazuma’s confidence is at an all time high, he still isn’t quite ready to take on these villains yet. Things don’t go very well for him, but I do appreciate the attempt. Kazuma still has a cool deck and a nice theme. Couple that with his character development into a more confident character and he is one of the best members of the main cast. At the very least I think he would be second among the main G heroes.

Kazumi was one of the big villains of the last season since he was being possessed but it’s important to remember that he was a world class duelist even before all of that. It is fortunate for the heroes that he is around. Kazumi’s a nice character and you will get some Itachi vibes from him. Unfortunately he doesn’t look great when it comes to dueling. After all, what better shock value can there be than taking down the former Under 20 champion? Winning and losing are t everything though and it doesn’t change the fact that he is quite formidable.

Arata and Makoto are a little important in this season because of what happened to their friend Noa who was possessed by the dark side. Still, they really can’t fight so for the most part they are stuck cheering everyone on in the background. The characters really weren’t needed to be honest but I guess it would be weird if they had just vanished. They aren’t bad characters, they just aren’t ready for a villain of this magnitude.

Noa is one of the big villains and probably the strongest aside from perhaps Gyze. He was in the shadows a lot for the last season but his presence is always felt. He has the Link Joker deck which is still the best one in the series. The monster is the only one who doesn’t just fade away after being defeated or turns good. This guy can’t stand the humans and does his best to bury them. I would have liked Noa to have dueled a little more to be honest, but I’m certainly satisfied with how much effort it took to bring him down. Having Aichi and Kai team up against you is always a sign of respect.

Kouji is definitely an interesting character. I’m still not really a fan of the guy. He is essentially the vanguard of the heroes but his plans never seem to be very good. The villains always have the drop on the heroes and while he may have been very powerful back in the day, Kouji seems a little outmatched against all of the new villains. He has softened up completely into a nice guy, but never likes to admit to it which leads to him always trying to keep to himself. He’s not as bad as in previous seasons as he has finally stopped doubting Chrono’s ability, but the guy just needs to be cooler. Maybe a new costume would have done the trick.

Saori doesn’t last too long in this season as he was mainly a big character in the last season, but he is still a lot of fun here. He still has one of the best battle themes out of all the characters and he is just a tough fighter. Saori has a lot of doubts about what he is doing, but ultimately just stays on his path. The villain’s confidence is really what makes him a fun character.

Aichi finally gets to duel a little more seriously here which is good. In general I still think the original cast didn’t get to do a whole lot compared to what I would have liked to see. They did have 4 seasons (Aichi only had 3) so I guess that was enough fights. I don’t like how Aichi has basically retired from Cardfight but I suppose as long as his skills don’t get rusty he will always come to help out when it counts. Likewise Kai is also here to fight the good fight. He gets 2 big fights against the villains which is good. Wakamizu actually does give him a good fight, but the outcome is what matters and at the end of the day Kai is still one of those guys that you never expect will lose.

Kamui also looks solid here. He has done a good job of keeping up with the other characters over the years. While he isn’t in the top 5 at this point he still helps out a lot against the villains and it’s always nice to see him around. Misaki finally gets a duel of her own. The series took its time with her, but having her take on one of the big final villains was certainly good. I am a little skeptical on her being strong enough to take on this particular opponent, but perhaps her deck was simply well suited from the job. In a duel you never ultimately know who is going to win. Her tactical style does bring out the best from her deck as well.
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Valeos is a bit of a tragic case since I actually liked the villain quite a bit. He was a credible threat to the heroes and seemed to be the main thinker of the villains. Going after Shion’s OP sword was brilliant and taking it out of the equation definitely helped their goals get a bit easier. That’s why it makes no sense when he suddenly goes insane near the end. The show was slowly building up to this as we gradually got hints of his psyche decaying, but why did it have to happen at all? It came out of left field and seemed to just be an excuse to let Shion have the upper hand. If he didn’t crack then I don’t really think Shion would have been a match for him. Not sure what to think of this guy by the end but at least he had a great intro.

Gastille is essentially the deputy of the villains. Gyze is certainlty still the leader but while he is out of commission Gastille tends to call the shots. He is a powerful villain, but one who doesn’t get to appear a whole lot. Still, he does really well in his brief appearances and I liked him. He’s still not the best villain since Noa and Saori are around but otherwise he is probably the beast. You get a Ren vibe from the guy with how confident he is. Well…okay all of the Cardfight characters are confident, but they tend to show it in different ways.

Taiyou was one of the big members of Chrono’s team for the last few seasons, but his role in this one is rather small. He gets badly injured after one of the early duels and never really recovers after that. You still have to like the guy’s dedication though. He’s very loyal to helping out the heroes and won’t hesitate to throw himself into harm’s way. He eagerly attacks the villains and while he doesn’t succeed, he did put up a good fight.

Then we have Wakamizu who is probably the least interesting villain. He’s technically pretty smart and the villains would have had a tough time without him, but his deck isn’t quite as good as the others. He’s deceptively strong, but I just didn’t care for the guy much. Not a bad villain, but I suppose he was simply outshined. His master Gredora was certainly more compelling even though her screen time was incredibly limited. At the very least she felt like more of a commander though. She was also a villain who actually cared about her subordinates and quickly went to defend Wakamizu after he was defeated. It’s always nice to see villains who also show loyalty and that’s why Gredora was a villain worthy of an army.

Gyze is the big boss of the series. Naturally this means that he is asleep until near the very end though. He gets 2 duels which isn’t bad, but I would have liked to have seen him more. The guy serves his purpose as a big final boss though and puts up a good fight. He just wasn’t ready to deal with the likes of Team TRY 3. He did come close to destroying the world though and I like how even in defeat the world would get destroyed by the sheer impact that it had on space and time. Gyze is definitely not the kind of opponent who does anything halfway. He did have a pretty cool design and his special ability of bringing in all of the Zeroth Dragons at once is really useful.

As always the animation is certainly stellar. The character designs starting from the last season certainly look really good. Chrono and the others look more experienced than they used to be and they also act accordingly. They get the respect you’d expect them to have considering that they have saved the world a few times now. The duels are as sharp as ever and the colors are vibrant. There is nothing negative at all to say about it. Then the soundtrack is just as impressive. I really like the new bumper/music that comes at the start of each episode. It’s a very dramatic theme that has you keep your guard up. It also really supports the feeling of dread that the heroes have. Each character still has a battle theme and most of them are quite epic. Even the few characters whose theme doesn’t absolutely stand out still have a good one. The best theme is definitely the red haired kid’s, but Kazumi’s is also excellent. You have a lot of options to choose from. Cardfight never disappointed on a technical level (Or any level for that matter) and this last season was no exception.
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All right it’s time to rank all of the Cardfight seasons! There have definitely been a lot of great ones over the years so it’s tough. I know the first and last place ones off the top of my head, but the rest get really tough. Still, I gotta make the tough choices at some point so it may as well be now.

1st. Cardfight Vanguard: Link Joker. Pretty easy number 1, this was the best season by far and the season was completely amazing. Really has everything that you could ever want in a single season.

2nd Cardfight Vanguard. The original Cardfight definitely helped get the series on the right track. It’s really rare to see a main character who actually loses as many fights as Aichi. If handled wrong that could have been annoying but overall he learned from his losses and got really good. It was just a great season and is also super nostalgic.

3rd Cardfight Vanguard Asia Circuit. This season probably has less memorable aspects to it compared to the other seasons, but this was the big Psyqualia boom. Everyone had it from Leon to the leader of the kid squad to Ren and Aichi. I still miss Psyqualia to this day so that was a lot of fun and the season was basically nonstop tournaments so you really can’t go wrong there. The climax was also super hype as you would expect.

4th Cardfight Vanguard Legion Mate. This season is tough because I thought it was awesome from the plot to the execution. At the same time it was a little short. I guess 33 episodes is a solid length, but it’s really close between this and NEXT. I’ll give Legion Mate the edge because having Kai as a main character was hype and the loser of each match getting burned was definitely a very real way of raising the stakes.

5th Cardfight Vanguard G NEXT. Definitely the best G season. The tournament was really good and Kazumi was just such an awesome villain It was also really long so we had time for a bunch of fights. We hadn’t had a tournament that was this long and serious since the original Cardfight days. The new animation style also worked quite well for this saga and the first episode was the perfect way to hype up the new villain.

6th Cardfight Vanguard G Z. This season is very close to NEXT, but it mainly loses out because it’s a lot shorter. There’s less chance to quite match the hype that was behind NEXT. Still, a great way to end the series and 6th is certainly nothing to be ashamed about when it’s relative to other Cardfight seasons. A superb show in all aspects.

7th Cardfight Vanguard G Stride Gate. We finally got the payoff to the first G arcs here and it was definitely a lot of fun. I liked the main villain and this is really where Chrono came into his own as a solid main character. He didn’t fall for the mind games of the villains and kept dueling as he knew best.

8th Cardfight Vanguard G: GIRS Crisis. The plot started to get moving with this show, but it was still a little slow. Not a whole lot happened here compared to what you might guess from the title. The heroes were still trying to get recognized as serious fighters here, but it would be a while before the grownups would acknowledge them.

9th Cardfight Vanguard G. Still a very solid show, but pretty much the whole season was just character introductions. While that is similar to the first half of the original Cardfight, we didn’t get a big payoff at the end like the original. There was no Psyqualia equivalent or an antagonist quite as interesting as Ren.

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Overall, This was a really great way to end the G part of the series. By the end of its run it had really solidified itself as an excellent show even without the influence of the main series. I currently have Cardfight Vanguard as a whole in my top 5 shows. If we count G separately then it would likely still be in my top 15, perhaps just barely making it into Top 10, but no guarantees there. Throughout the various sagas the characters got a lot of development and we got a bunch of great characters. The animation and music were on point and this show has met the high bar that the card game genre has set. I definitely recommend checking this show out. Honestly, it’s best if you start with either the first G series or the very first season as opposed to starting with Z, but either way you’ll have a blast here. I look forward to seeing the retro season coming up.

Overall 9/10

Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On Review

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It’s time to look at Monster Hunter. An anime that may be different than what you’re expecting as it is based on a very specific game in the series that is about riders instead of hunters. The series never really manages to break out of its shell and become something too epic which is a shame. There are certainly some more interesting things they could have done here and it could have potentially opened up into something like Pokemon. Still, it’s a reasonably good show and one that lasted for a long time so the show had time for a lot of things to happen.

There are two main arcs, but lets say 3 since the pre arc was rather long. The start of the show is about Lute, Cheval, and Lilia as they journey throughout the village and into towns as they learn more about being Riders. Unlike Hunters who destroy monsters for rewards and safety, Lute and the gang grew up in a village where they live as pals. Lute aims to prove that having kinship with a monster is the right thing to do while the hunters aren’t very sure. Hijinx ensues and the cast often have to wonder if this is the right call. Even if it is, how will they convince anyone to change sides? To become a rider you have to get a special jewel and to do that you basically have to join a village so that’s a tough sell for anyone.

The next arc is the darkest of the show as Cheval’s life is forever changed when a blighted monster destroys the village. He decides to avenge his family by hunting down and destroying all blighted monsters. Lute doesn’t think that this is the way to go though and decides to purify all of the crystals instead to stop the corruption at its core. The two of them become enemies now and while Lute is convinced that they can still be friends with differing opinions, Cheval doesn’t agree. He aims to destroy Lute once and for all to prove that sometimes Kinship isn’t enough to keep two people together.

Finally, the series brings in a new group of villains known as the Black/Ebon/Dark Riders who show up and kidnap Avinia. They aim to bring the world to its knees by performing a forbidden ritual and getting unlimited power. Lute and Cheval have to try and stop these guys, but the problem is that they are outnumbered and these villains are also way too powerful. They will need some kind of power up to hold their own. The other villagers realize that they will have to get stronger as well, but can they bridge the gap in time?
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The show’s tone was all over the place, but for the most part it was rather light. Think of it as a classic slice of life series for a while as the heroes head to various towns and chat with people. That’s why in some cases the episodes could get a little boring since the cast isn’t amazing. Then the show gets really dark for the main Blighted Monsters arc. One thing the show is rarely clear about is if defeating monsters means destroying them. It seems like this is the case due to how everyone reacts and Lute always tells everyone not to defeat the monsters except for when he does. The show’s just really not consistent here. This may be more the dub than anything, but it really tried to never use the word destroy. As a result, “defeated” is the term always used even when a monster is slain.

That’s why the middle arc gets really dark as Cheval goes around destroying all monsters who have been in contact with the blight and even any other that just gets in his way. Lute and the others are unable to save any of them. Chieval even commands a Nargacuga of his own as a revenge of sorts for the main one dealing with his family. He is very mean to it of course and then abandons it. Cheval never really had to answer for all of this much and I just felt bad for the monsters. Then of course we have the hunters running around slaying them all. It’s definitely a rather brutal world that Lute and the others live in. The worst part is that Lute has his kinship stone which can purify all of the blighted monsters but he typically forgets about this and still tries to take some of them down at times. This whole part of the saga definitely brings it down quite a bit and is one of the main reasons why the Black Rider arc ended up winning. At this point the monsters started getting written out a bit although Shadow still destroys quite a few along the way as well. I guess they all need to become pals with a main character quickly before it’s too late.

Lute is your typical main character. He believes in the power of friendship (Known as Kinship here) and is always willing to lend a helping hand. He’s really close with Navirou so they trade insults quite a lot but all in good fun. Lute’s only real flaw at times is just how much of a pacifist he is. Even when being attacked he refuses to fight back if he is up against a fellow rider. This is at its worst during the final arc when he first fights with Gale. Considering that this guy kidnapped one of his friends and may destroy the village, Lute really has no time to keep trying to dodge the fight. You’ve got to make a stand and it’s not like simply fighting the opponent is the same as destroying him. Aside from that it is nice to have a more experienced Lute for the final arc. He is treated with a lot of respect at the end since he did help save the world and his new design does a good job of getting that across without any words. As soon as you see the design for the first time you can tell that he has gotten stronger.

Navirou is Lute’s travel companion and he is very useful for navigation in his mind at least. He is the main comic relief character of the series so you can probably guess that he isn’t very good at almost anything. He does have some thunder abilities which are really handy when Navirou actually remembers that he has such a power. Unfortunately that isn’t very often so don’t expect to see it much. Navirou’s cross armed salute is probably his best running gag but I also don’t mind his “Navi rules.” Cutting out some of his comic relief would probably have been nice though or even some of the cat episodes in genera. Overall I think he worked well as a support character and I’m glad he was around but the character could have been better.

Lilia is technically one of the 3 main characters for a while but starts to get written out by the end. Her path in the show was doomed from the start as she did t have a monster to protect her. Without a monstie in an action show like this, of course she wouldn’t ultimately stand a chance. It’s the same situation as being in a Pokémon show without catching a Pokémon. Lilia decided that she wanted to be a researcher instead which is fine but that kind of character rarely gets to do all that much. Lilia ends up being rather bland as a result.

Then we have Cheval who is the main rival. He gets a very Sasuke esque role here as he starts out by being one of the more heroic characters, but quickly starts to let the darkness consume him. He goes as far as to try and destroy Lute multiple times and nearly destroys one of his own Monsties. His whole arc gets rather dark at times. Naturally he also gets the redemption arc at the end as well. It may be a little tough to buy into as well especially since he did claim quite a few victims. Lute may accept him, but should he? Ultimately it’s hard to see Cheval as anything but a villain even by the end. It’s a shame because his character type is always nice as he becomes the rival that he always should have been by the end. The guy certainly went through a lot of character changes.

Avinia is a mysterious figure who shows up in the series from time to time before getting a big role in the final arc. She does lose this mystique almost right away but it was nice to finally have another rider who could fight. At the time Lute was the only heroic rider so he really needed an ally. Unfortunately, we never did get that Avinia vs Cheval fight I was hoping for. Once again I can say that the show dropped the ball with Avinia quite a bit. She has one of the best designs in the show and a monstie with a lot of potential. Despite this she rarely fights in the series and spends most of the final arc on the sidelines. Considering how powerful she apparently is, I would have liked to have seen her play a more active role. Still a cool character but one who wasn’t given enough to do in the show.
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Of course we can’t forget about Deb….Li. Every character in the series likes to mess up his name and it is heavily implied that this is intentional. That’s because they say his name normally when he isn’t around. We already have a handful of comic relief characters but I guess you can never have too many as this one was thrown in as well. For the most part he is about as obnoxious as you would expect. He yells quite a lot and can’t seem to do anything right. The one running gag that he does right (Aside from the whole name thing since that one is decent because of how Debli panics every time) is when he Rides on. The animation and fake sound effect that he gets for it is handled beautifully. Debli toes the line between being a sympathetic character and an annoying one and does a good job of making it ambiguous. In the end I was okay with him although I wouldn’t have been sad if he had never shown up.

Reverto is probably one of her biggest unintentional jokes in the series. He gets a lot of hype throughout the series as being one of the world’s greatest hunters. If that really is the case then that doesn’t bode well for the hunters in general. He can barely handle any legitimately strong monsters and forget about taking down a plot important villain. In this show all hunters can do is swing their sword around and hope to land some good hits. They have no special abilities or even any enhanced physical ones. They are just guys with swords. Of course one of the main themes of the show is that the Riders are right and the Hunters are wrong so I wouldn’t expect them to look that good but they look downright horrible by the end. Hundreds of hunters can accomplish what a single rider can because they have no special abilities. Why would they possibly not want to become riders then? How have they not all been wiped out by this point? Anyway, there isn’t anything actually wrong with Reverto as he is a decent character but you just can’t take him seriously when he is fighting because despite all of the tough talk you know that he won’t end up coming out on top. He is just there to buy time for Lute.

Simone would fall into the same issue except from the start she is portrayed as a researcher rather than a fighter. Her intel is rarely useful and barely goes beyond the realm of common knowledge but I guess her role isn’t all that bad. She’s just not a very interesting character and none of her scenes really leave an impact. Cut her out from the show entirely and nothing really changes at all. That’s never a good sign.

Dan is one of those comic relief characters where you aren’t sure if it is intentional or not for a while. Technically you would think that he is rather skilled since he is rather old and teaches the kids, but they end up surpassing him very quickly. Part of the issue is the fact that he chose a very weak monster to be his monstie. He never explains why he doesn’t just pick a different creature. Perhaps it has sentimental value or perhaps he just isn’t the smartest rider in the group. Either way, his character doesn’t work too well and his “In top Form” battle cry is so half hearted that you will wonder why they built a whole character around the line. As you can tell, many of the supporting characters just aren’t very interesting. I won’t even get into the various elders who never do anything or the riddle master who is just annoying.
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Mille is one of the side characters who is actually good. She can fight and in the final arc is probably the strongest rider aside from the main 2. (Lute and Chevall) O would have liked her to have gotten more of a role though. From the start of the show you got the impression that she may turn out to be a bit of a rival or at the very least would remain as one of the main fighters for a while. Instead she is effectively kept to the background for most of the show. Still a good character but she could have been even better.

Instead a lot of screen time is wasted on Hyoro as he tries to overcome his timid nature. The plot does not go well and he even sides with the villainous Chevall to take on the village. Yes, Mille does this as well but at least she was already a quality character. Hyoro never ends up becoming a good character and even after he gets stronger off screen for the final arc it’s hard to ever gain respect for the guy. He just never had a big moment where he got past his fears and did something amazing. Instead he essentially proved his doubts right as he never got to be all that strong. Genie is Hyoro’s older brother and the main reason why the kid turned out the way that he did. Genie can be overly critical of Hyoro but of course he says it is only to make Hyoro better. I didn’t mind Genie, but he was a rather half hearted bully who couldn’t back up his tough talk. Ultimately he was about as weak as the other side characters and Hyoro likely surpassed him in the end.

Gale is the Shadow Rider with the biggest role in the series. He gets to fight Lute quite a few times and his skills are the real deal. He is also the strongest member I’d say although Shadow would give him some competition for that title. He gets quite a few plot twists. While his plan may not have been amazing and he probably should have tried doing something a little earlier, he did make for a good rival. He just kept getting stuck in rather bad situations. While he was also unable to make the hero move at the end which nearly caught him, it’s a mistake that I could sympathize with since he was so close to finally accomplishing his goal. It was an intense moment and he’s in my top 3 characters in the series. I’d say that he is second only to Lute.

Next is Shadow who is certainly the 2nd coolest member of the group. Her speed is astounding to the point where the heroes can’t even keep track of where she is. There is a plot twist about this that I was a little mixed on. It is essentially a nerf, but I didn’t see it coming so I’ll give the show that. I also think Shadow’s rage mode should have kicked in instantly after what Anvis ends up doing to someone instead of waiting til their next meeting. It’s not as if anything would have changed in the outcome though.

Then we have Mad who is one of the villains that you can’t take seriously. I guess in the end the Riders could only score a 50 as 2 of their members were good and the others weren’t. Mad is just one of those guys who only cares about his looks and as a result he can be defeated if you simply get some dirt on him. Even his monster’s design isn’t all that good. It’s basically just a huge worm so that’s not too impressive. Same goes for Wrath but to an even bigger extent. Wrath is the strong but not smart type, but he isn’t even all that tough. There’s nothing original or interesting about him as a character.

Finally we have Anvis, the leader of these guys. Somehow he was able to gain control over an Elder Dragon even before undergoing the complete power up ceremony. Considering this, he does earn the title of being the strongest rider in existence. He makes for a solid final boss and a solid character all around. He definitely thought things through and stayed one step ahead of Gale and the heroes for a while. He’s a considerable improvement over the doctor who was the main villain of the first few arcs. He is reduced to comic relief for the final arc and was never much of a threat anyway. His episodes had a tendency to simply be rather boring so I was fine with him being gone.

There are also the Numbers, but they never had much of a point in the story. They are really just around to get their long piece of recycled animation over and over again. The show certainly loved doing that to save on the budget. The animation for the show is fairly decent. It does take a lot of shortcuts by using recycled animation constantly though. This becomes a bigger issue in season 2 as we even get little scenes of the characters reaching out when calling their monsties. It feels really forced and I could have done without that. I’m happy they all got armor but it just feels like another way to save on animation. It also uses quite a bit of CGI. We do get some real animation whenever a big fight happens though. Some of the special abilities also look really good like Chevall’s energy disc. Overall, the animation wouldn’t hurt the show, but it wouldn’t really help it either.

The soundtrack is rather bland as well unfortunately. You will definitely start to remember the tunes after a while since they keep on popping up, but that’s because the soundtrack is just really limited. I would have loved to have had some really great tunes to amp up the fight scenes, but alas it was simply not to be. This title could not deliver.

Finally I have to say that the show’s ride on mechanic seems rather odd. Basically the monstie that is summoned shows up when a character strikes the pose. The show portrays this as the monsters are just hiding nearby until they are needed but what are they doing in the meantime? Shouldn’t they just be with the heroes then? Lute has over 6 monsties in the show, but only uses his main one for basically the whole series. What is even the point of everyone having up to 6 if they only use one for all of the fights? They should have just had Pokeballs of some kind to keep the others in as that would make more sense if you ask me. I think the show dropped the ball a little on the collect them all aspect of the series.

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Overall, This isn’t a bad show. I’d say that Monster Hunter is fairly decent. The problem is that it’s only average or below average in most areas. There isn’t a single section that I could point to and say that the series was amazing. On the contrary, the series could be a little boring at times. The characters just aren’t strong enough to hold the show as well as others could. It got a little more exciting towards the end but the show also amped up the crude humor and comedy to match. I’d recommend checking it out at some point if you need a good fantasy show, but there are many others that I would suggest seeing before this one. At least there is a lot of content here since the show managed to make it to around 70 episodes. That was actually pretty impressive.

Overall 6/10

RWBY Review

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It’s time to take a look at the greatest TV show of all time. For a long while Yugioh GX held that spot and I never thought that it would be surpassed or even that it could. Then one day I happened to notice the twitch marathon channel tuning into RWBY. They were in season 2 and I saw the hype battle between team RWBY and Torchwick. I stuck around for about 4 episodes before deciding this was a show that I needed to watch and so I went back to the beginning and marathoned it. I’ve since seen most of the episodes 3 times thanks to various reaction videos and the fights more times than that. It’s certainly a title that I imagine will stay in 1st for a very long time.

There are 5 volumes so let’s go through them all from the beginning. The premise of the series is that the planet has been overrun by the Grimm. These are shadow creatures who destroy at random and thanks to their sheer numbers humanity has had a very hard time dealing with them. Fortunately they found out how to harness aura. Aura allows you to shield yourself from injury and also lets you augment your attacks. 4 kingdoms arose and various little villages sprang up as well although those tend to be destroyed by bandits or Grimm monsters. The people who fight back against the Grimm and defend our borders are known as Huntsman. They are our last defense.

The series focuses on team RWBY who are comprised of Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long. They don’t actually form until midway through the season though. The first volume is mainly set up with the heroes having their first real confrontation with the enemy near the end of the volume. It’s definitely a really fun volume and one that has aged pretty well. It got the ball rolling for the series after all and did a good job with everyone’s personalities.

I should also mention that part of how the series built up a lot of hype before even airing was through the 4 character shorts they released before the series even started. Each of the main 4 characters got their own and the shorts were all about the action. If we count them as episodes then they are all likely still in the top half for me. All 4 of them are excellent but if I had to pick a favorite then it would be the Yang special. It’s the longest which leads to the most action, but she is also the most enjoyable character of the 4. You may have expected the show to be a little different than it was if you saw the 4 shorts and then went into the show, but ultimately the fights do come so it’s not as if they were cut off entirely. It was a wise move to make the shorts about the fights as a glimpse of what was to come.

Volume 1’s soundtrack is also amazing and some of the best tunes in the series are in this volume like the theme song. This Will Be The Day is a song that I have heard well over 100 times at this point and it certainly never gets old. It’s very fast paced and gets you psyched up. Then we also have Red Like Roses II and even just the normal instrumental tunes that show up. The animation was pretty simple and not too detailed here, but it really showed up whenever an action scene would pop up. It’s a really balanced volume.
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Next up was Volume 2. Now that the heroes had scored their first win against the villains they were ready to try again. The first half of the season follows their attempts to shut Torchwick and his cronies for good. We also start to get some set up towards events in season 3 like the villains big move and the tournament. They also squeeze in a school dance and even an invasion. Season 2 throws in a bunch of new characters and has a lot of fights so it’s definitely the logical next step from volume 1. It’s essentially better in every way which is always how you want a show to be. It should get better with each season.

The animation has noticeably improved from season 1 as everything just looks more modern. This translates really well into the fight scenes as well. We get some of the best fights in the series here like Yang vs Neo or the team against Torchwick. Each half of the season has a nice climax and there are no bad episodes here. Well, the whole series has never had a bad episode so that goes without saying. We got some new tunes to write home about here as well like the great opening, Die, and Sacrifice. Little did I know that the series would get even better.

Season 3 is the absolute peak for RWBY and a major part of why it is the best show. The tournament finally starts up and lasts for the majority of the season. Then the villains finally make their big move which leads to a lot of fights. Almost every big character who was referenced or introduced earlier gets to have a nice role here as well. The episodes also start to get longer in this season which is good since the ongoing plot starts to take root here. We are introduced to the concept of the 4 maidens and the relics which is what the rest of the series will likely be about. At the very least the next 2 volumes are about this plot and it stands to reason that volume 6 will follow suit.

The animation is at its best here for the fights as my personal favorite match happens. (Yang vs Mercury) Divide is really a highlight song for this volume as well and it works perfectly for the end credits. The climax of volume 3 is also the most ambitious yet as we finally get to see what some high level fights look like. By high level I’m not necessarily referring to animation as they’re all high level up to this point, but in universe what some of the stronger fighters can do.

Then we move on to volume 4 which definitely gets pretty interesting for the series. Unfortunately I’d say that this is around the same where the series got really mainstream. This one decided to go for an even more plot based approach with minimal action. The animation style was also completely overhauled and so we lost 2/3 of what made the original seasons so amazing. We still did keep the solid soundtrack though and while we lost the pacing, things do get intense when they finally happen. Volume 4 is easily the weakest season for me, but theoretically it is meant to help Volume 5 be even better since the whole volume is set up.

Volume 4 isn’t completely devoid of fights either. We get Qrow vs Tyrian which is known as one of the best fights in the series and I would absolutely agree with the consensus. Then there is also the season finale fight against the Nuckle which isn’t a personal favorite of mine, but it is certainly a fight. I’d say that the season had 4 real fights which isn’t half bad. The actual animation does look sharp so it’s not as if the overhaul was a strict downgrade. On the contrary, the character models are on point. Everyone basically looks the same except for Ruby and now they’re in HD. The real problems with the animation is the facts that the animators don’t seem to know how to use it.
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There were a lot of behind the scene issues here and I also suspect that the show was trying to nerf all of the characters a bit to mask their animation inexperience. The characters go from being incredibly fast powerhouses who felt like DBZ characters to suddenly being very mortal. Their attacks lack any actual impact anymore and they seem to have trouble with monsters that wouldn’t have stood a chance back in the day. As big a deal as it was in volume 4, I’m afraid that these issues would rear their head even more in volume 5. 4 also made sure to cram in as much exposition as possible to the point where it would take them 5 minutes to say something that you would figure out in 1. This may be my least favorite volume, but it’s still good on its own. It would probably just be a 7 as opposed to a 9 much less a 10. As far as the soundtrack goes we were introduced to Qrow’s new theme which is definitely very solid and Yang’s theme from the end credits which still ranks as my favorite song. A close second is the first volume’s intro with Divide being third. This is the End could end up passing those once the full version is released though. I also liked Weiss’ song “This Life Is Mine” which was another standout hit. The franchise has never had a season go by without some new epic songs.

Then we have volume 5. Here we finally get the big payoff as the heroes and villains have their first confrontation since volume 3. The battle for the next kingdom finally begins and we have our first Maiden battle. Naturally the big hype for this volume is that team RWBY is finally together. Maybe that’s another area that hurt the last volume. Seeing Mercury and Emerald get to fight again was pretty fun as well and as a whole the volume was just a lot more epic than the last one. If we had the same level of fight quality as volume 3 then 5 would have had a real shot at being the best.

The problem here is that the lack of fights is even more glaring than in volume 4 and likewise with the nerfs. Everyone seems to fight in slow motion for the most part. Compare Yang’s fight against the bandits to her fight against the gang members in the original Yellow trailer. The volume 5 fight just doesn’t look impressive at all. The choreography may look nice, but there’s nothing impressive about how quickly she is taking them down. In the time it takes her to beat one guy she has probably steam rolled 2-3 in the yellow trailer with a flurry of more powerful blows. This may have all been to make the Maidens look more impressive. I heard that the big fight at the end took 6 months to animate. I am really hoping that this isn’t true. While it does give a concrete reason for why the fights have come to a halt in the later volumes, it would just be a bad sign for future seasons. We need every fight to look like the final one, not just one per volume.

I also do have to admit that volume 5 wrecked the climax. “The More The Merrier” is definitely one of my favorite episodes in the franchise as it perfectly set up all of the fights. Yang vs Mercury, Qrow vs Raven, Ruby vs Weiss, etc. When the episode ended we even got a conclusion to one of the fights so you expect the rest to continue. The problem is that they don’t. None of the fights ever actually happen as it cuts away every time and we just see the aftermath. It doesn’t even make sense half the time as in one scene the heroes are basically out of energy and getting obliterated and in the next cut it is the exact opposite. The power levels also got quite wonky by the end and the way Raven’s plot ended in volume 5 was actually terrible. Volume 5 was still a lot of fun regardless and it was certainly hype, but it could have ended on a much better note. The soundtrack was great as always though. I did enjoy the new opening quite a lot and the song for Raven vs Cinder is definitely one of the best in the series. I think volume 5 may have introduced the largest amount of epic tunes out of all the volumes since we also got From Shadows Part II and the theme from Yang’s new trailer. Raven vs Cinder is also one of the best fights in the series so it shows that the animation is still on point. Volume 5 has a lot of replay value and you can definitely see the episodes quite a few times.

All right, it’s time for the bulk of the review which is looking at the large cast in the series. Brace yourself as I will talk about almost every character who had a reasonably large role or has survived and thrived as a meme like Pilot Boi. Naturally we should start off with the main character Ruby. From the first trailer you may have expected her to be a very intense character of few words who viciously finishes off her opponents, but she’s actually rather timid and mild mannered around others at first. This doesn’t apply when she is fighting off villains though as she eagerly jumps into battle in episode one against Torchwick and his cronies. That scene alone had me convinced that she would be a great character. She doesn’t back off when bickering with Weiss and always does her best to help everyone out. She didn’t blame Pyrrha for what happened to Penny which is good since that would have been an annoying plot and she put up a great fight against Neo and Torchwick. At the end of the day she is also a smart tactician and that is really what makes her a dangerous fighter. Once she finally masters her white eyes then she could be the strongest in the series or at least top 5.
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Next up is Yang who is the best character of the four. She can turn Super Saiyan when taking damage and tends to have the best themes as well. Yang has always been known as the power hitter of the group and tends to be trusted to take on the strongest opponents. In volume 2 she is left to face off against Neo while she takes on Mercury in volume 3. While she isn’t quite the strongest character in the series, I’d say that she is definitely the most powerful student. She wasn’t able to train much during volume 4 and it’s unknown if her robot arm will be as good as her old one (I’m inclined to say that it isn’t as good) but it’s safe to say that she has retained her rank among the other fighters. Yang didn’t look good during volume 4 with her depression subplot but by volume 5 she is over it and finally back into the fight. I’m looking forward to seeing her get some more fight scenes as Yang is still my favorite hero in the series and 3rd favorite character overall.

Weiss was Ruby’s rival for a little while and definitely was the meanest of the group. It basically comes with the territory of being rich and gifted with immense power. She eventually learns how to be a team player though and probably has the best synergy with Ruby. They tend to pull off some really good combo attacks like the one against the Nevermore or their overall strategy against Torchwick’s robot. She has transformed from a close range fighter to more of a long range summoning specialist over the course of the volumes. We haven’t gotten to see Weiss fight all that much compared to the others, but it’s fair to say that she has the potential to be the strongest member. Her elemental abilities and glyphs already make her a dangerous opponent so throwing in the summons makes her a fighter who can be lethal at any range. I’m still a little upset that she was defeated so handily against Vernal, but since she wasn’t really able to practice or spar at all for a very long time, I can buy into the excuse that she was rusty and out of practice. All of team RWBY (minus Ruby) have had really extensive character arcs so it’s a little bold to say that Weiss has had the most development out of all of them but a case can be made in her defense. Either way she is definitely a great character and the 2nd best member of Team RWBY.

Finally we have Blake. She’s probably dealt with the most issues out of the team as she had a tough childhood and basically now has to assume command of an army at a young age. As she is a Faunus she has superhuman levels of ability but at the same time she has to deal with all of the social stigmas of being part animal. Blake is my least favorite member of the cast since she ditched everyone to run away from the villains in order to save herself. Sun eventually talked her out of it, but I was never really able to get around that. I can understand why Yang was so upset at her even if the two eventually made up. Hopefully that’s the end of that plot so in volume 6 we can skip ahead to the epic fights. Blake was hit with the nerf hammer the hardest though along with everyone in her plot like Adam but more on that later. I think what hurt Blake a little as well was her incredibly long subplot that took up a big chunk of seasons 4 and 5 with a bunch of characters that I didn’t care about either. She’s a good character overall, but was definitely at her best in volume 2 if you ask me as she desperately kept searching the city to destroy Torchwick. She had a tangible goal there and really worked to get to it. Here she now has an army and can cross large distances in impossible times to help foil an invasion but she still doesn’t seem to have the same drive and intensity that she used to have. Now if she could get a little stronger for volume 6 that could help her. It will be very tough to pass any of the other 3, but that’s not really a bad thing since they are all very solid characters. Someone has to be last after all.

We looked at team RWBY so now it’s time to look at JNPR. Pyrrha may not have been the leader of the team, but she was their best fighter so I’ll discuss her character first. For many series there is a character that I place as my favorite before properly watching the series like Gaara in Naruto, Piccolo in DBZ, etc. Pyrrha was the character that I chose in RWBY and while she did get surpassed by quite a few characters she is still certainly one of the best ones. Her fighting abilities are on such a high level that she was considered to be a prodigy. Pyrrha is also one of the nicest characters in the series and tries to defend Jaune when people make fun of him. Her big fight at the end was great and she never really had a bad moment in the series. It’s just a shame that she couldn’t have appeared more than she had.

Then we’ve got Jaune who is basically the polar opposite of Pyrrha. He isn’t particularly talented at anything and as a fighter he is one of the worst in the series. He isn’t very fast or strong and is basically a human fighting among heroes. Surprisingly he has yet to get a power up at the moment, but as a result he also wasn’t nerfed when everyone else was so that has helped him close the gap a bit. His speed now seems to be on roughly the same level as everyone else. He does have a healing ability in his back pocket which is sure to be helpful as well. He was a really solid comic relief character for the first 3 volumes. Now he is more of a quiet rage character who blows up when the villains appear. He definitely works well in both roles but he desperately needs a power up at some point.
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Nora and Ren had a high bar to get over since Jaune and Pyrrha were so solid. They never quite make it up there, but they aren’t bad characters. I guess they just don’t add much to the story. Nora is always fairly cheerful and is low key known as one of the stronger fighters in the school. She has a lot of raw power at any rate and while she doesn’t tend to take anything too seriously she does know when to turn the comedy switch off when necessary. I do think she is basically irrelevant at this point as far as the power levels are concerned, but her fans will be happy that she gets her moment in volume 5. Then we have Ren who suffers from the same issues as Nora. In his case he isn’t the super cheerful character, but the quiet one. As a result he tends to be a little slow on the uptake and gives the characters obvious exposition or just acts as a nuisance. His past traumatized him quite a bit so he was ready to desert Ruby and Jaune just to get out of the area. Later on he gives a big speech on what the meaning of character development is. Maybe if Ren gets more screen time that isn’t him just talking that would help as he had some potential when he briefly fought against Tyrian. In theory he has more proper hand to hand training and warrior skills than some of the other characters, but it never seems to be all that important. He’s not my kind of character, but he’s not bad.

It’s time to look at the first big villain of the series, Torchwick. Torchwick is a great villain and certainly one of the best ones. He manages to balance out his sarcastic humor with his more intense scenes to become the great villain that he is today. Considering that he seems to be a normal crook with no aura or anything, it’s actually very impressive how well he fights. He was holding his own against Blake and Sun. Later on he was even giving Ruby a good run for her money. He’s definitely a villain who steals the show during every appearance that he is in and Torchwick will not be forgotten.

Neo was Torchwick’s right hand woman and she is definitely one of the strongest villains. She defeated Yang with absolute ease as she was just toying with the hero during the whole confrontation. After that she went on to overwhelm Ruby in their fight although it wasn’t as one sided as you would expect. Perhaps Ruby’s fighting style would be tougher to counter since she isn’t a hand to hand combatant, but the fight was too brief to really speculate on all that much. The show actually did a good job of balancing Team RWBY for a while there as they were all about equal overall but with different fighting styles so the matchups were very important. Despite being one of the best villains as well as one of the most powerful Neo surprisingly hasn’t done all that much in the series. She’s had 2 fights and that has been it. Hopefully she will return in volume 6.

Salem is the big bad. She’s the leader of the villain organization but hasn’t gotten to fight yet. She talks tough in the background though and it can be very reasonably inferred that her abilities are considerable. Honestly I find it hard to believe that she can keep up with some of the faster opponents while in that cloak and she always walks around as if she is very old. These can all just be red herrings though and I expect big things for when she actually fights. Salem’s definitely a very good leader for the villains though as her design and voice are perfect for the character. She feels about as intimidating as the embodiment of darkness should be.

Cinder isn’t the leader of the villains, but she is the figure head. She carries out all of Salem’s orders and is the face of the villains to the general populace. Her plans started very early on in the first volume even as we slowly learned the chain of command. She was a considerable fighter from the start and only grew stronger once she obtained the Maiden abilities. It’s easy to see why she is a fan favorite and I definitely like Cinder a lot as well. She is powerful and intelligent which is the ultimate combo as a villain. She even outsmarted Raven even if she wasn’t quite as powerful in the end. If her character arc has finally ended then it was still a very satisfying adventure. That being said, I would certainly like for her to return so we can get some more Maiden battles.
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Mercury is a really great villain who is certainly one of my favorites. Honestly the villain ranks are stacked with awesome characters like him, Neo, Torchwick, Emerald, Cinder, and Adam. So…pretty much all of the main villains from the early part of the series. Mercury actually ranks above all of them as my number 1 favorite character in the series. It’s hard to say exactly when that happened, but I just love that smug arrogance that he has. He looks and sounds like Sasuke as well which fits the character. It’s hard to say exactly how strong he is since he threw the fight with Yang, but at the very least he is quite high tier. It’s hard to say at this point if he is still stronger than each of the members of Team RWBY, but I’m inclined to say that they haven’t quite caught up to him. I feel like his role in the story is almost over though so hopefully he at least gets one more fight.

Emerald is Mercury’s partner and definitely doesn’t seem to like working with him all that much. They’ve been teaming up for quite a while though and usually have some fun banter going back and forth. What makes Emerald really shine is that she’s not only a great villain, but also performs very well as a fake hero. She’s really over the top with how cheerful she can be and would fit right in with the heroes if it wasn’t an act. Her illusion abilities are very hard to deal with and her close combat skills are also top notch. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing her fight again.

Pilot Boi got to appear for a cameo in volume 4, but didn’t really get huge til volume 5. He was voted as the greatest RWBY character in the Reddit poll and I can definitely sympathize with them. He’s an incredible character and to say that he is just a meme would be doing the character a great disservice. Every line uttered by the Pilot Boi is gritty and to the point, but not in a bad way. He just lays out the facts honestly. He only cares about himself and his money so everything else isn’t his concern. Even Weiss knows better than to mess with the guy. There are a lot of fans who hope he survived the crash and I do as well. He needs to return and to get an action scene to prove that he is more than just a fad. Just listen to his lines and you’ll see why he is such an iconic character.

Then we’ve got Ozpin who is the head of the school and later inhabits the body of Oscar Pine. He is always very shady and likes to keep a lot of secrets. We’ve certainly seen this kind of character many times before and I’m typically not a fan. He is no exception either. Ozpin doesn’t think anything through. The whole point of the school he built was to defend the Relic that was hidden there from Salem by essentially having an army of powerful students there at all times. The problem is that he didn’t tell them about this or even how to fight since they all tries to run away when the villains showed up. He doesn’t tell Ruby how to use her powers and doesn’t even tell his teammates when they are heading into a trap. He is definitely a “The ends justify the means” character who would fit right in with the villains. He can’t be trusted if you ask me.

Oscart is an interesting character as I thought his name was Oscar, but the credits of volume 5 corrected me. I guess I’ll spell it the easier way anyway though. He’s a rather annoying character for many reasons. One of those reasons is that he doesn’t know anything so the show has to waste time explaining basic concepts to him like aura and how to fight. He has never trained before, but suddenly he is on the level of the other heroes thanks to Ozpin hax? I don’t like that one bit and he does quite a bit of whining and panicking throughout the show. He never develops into a good character and it’s taking him way too long as it is. Hopefully he is better for volume 6 as right now he just exists to make the power levels wonky and to be the Chris (Sonic X) of RWBY.

Winter is Weiss’ older sister and a very accomplished fighter. She has had a very minimal amount of screen time so far, but has still managed to become quite the fan favorite character over the years. Her fight with Qrow was very impressive and I would like to see her fight more in the next volume. Like Weiss she has quite a lot of confidence. Having her around to teach Weiss more would be good and she is just a solid character to have around. She will also help to keep Qrow in line and her presence would force him not to slack off. After all Qrow was clearly losing his touch in volume 5 as he got humiliated by Hazel. He looked so terrible in the whole volume that I have to wonder what the writers were thinking. Qrow is a very powerful huntsman who is fast and strong. He was able to compete with Tyrian after all. How is he too weak to even injure Hazel? His sword should absolutely leave a dent and then he is also too slow to dodge any of Hazel’s attacks either. Their mini spars were always just annoying and it’s been tough for Qrow. Don’t worry, he’s still a pretty awesome character though. His first scenes are still classic as he is always drinking and insulting everyone. He’s quite smug and knows how strong he is. Volume 3 was certainly his best volume.
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Next to Cinder, Tyrian is probably the most impressive of the enemy fighters. I would like to see him go up against Neo, but at the moment I would give him the edge in a fight. He’s definitely a very psychotic villain as he laughs a lot and certainly enjoys inflicting pain. His fight in volume 4 was really good and you have to appreciate how he likes to skip the talking and go right into the action. He’s vicious as you would expect a villain to be and from the cabal he is definitely the best member. Lets contrast that with Hazel who is the worst one. He wasn’t necessarily a bad villain during his early phase as he always talked with a soft voice and didn’t like violence. Then we learn about his sob story where his sister died and suddenly he turns into the Hulk with a mechanical edge to his voice. As soon as he became super bulky and slow I knew that he didn’t stand a chance here. Not only is his reasoning quite poor since it makes no sense, but turning him into the “strong but not smart” trope is never a good idea. Even his ability to block out pain isn’t a very useful one to have if you ask me as it can serve as more of a liability than anything else.

Back to the heroes we have Penny who is an android with super strength. She befriends Ruby and the gang and is also a pretty nice character. She can be a little naive being a robot and all though which doesn’t quite help her to rank with the other characters. Still, she pulls out all of the stops when it comes to the fights though and her battle with Pyrrha was also quite impressive. She may not have done a whole lot during the series but was a nice character to have around.

Raven is definitely one of the best villains in the series. It’s fair to call her a villain since she does murder a bunch of innocents even if I wasn’t too consistent in counting her as one during the review. She doesn’t really get to do anything until volume 5, but stopping Neo in her tracks just by appearing was a great way to debut. She looked terrific in volume 5 as she won every fight that she took part in and may very well be the strongest character in the series at the moment. Her ability to teleport is definitely a very potent one. Giving up the relic still makes absolutely no sense, and Raven’s plan to deal with Cinder was bad as well, but she’s still a great character. Raven may not be a great tactician, but she is a superb character and that’s what counts. She could potentially be top 5 as well, but there are probably 10 characters who are top 5 material which is why it gets tough.

Adam is another one of those characters and he looked great in the first volumes. He appeared to be a hype rival type character in the Black trailer and then ended season 2 on the most epic note possible. In season 3 he looked spectacular with how easily he defeated Yang and Blake. In Volume 5 I liked his new costume, but that was about it. He went from being Maiden level to going down to a single blow from Blake. It’s really hard to get back up from such a disgraceful performance. No matter, either way he is still a personal favorite character of mine and I would still say that he is one of the strongest in the series. You just have to ignore the plot armor/convenience of many moments during the V5 climax.

Vernal is one of the newest characters to show up, but she has already become quite solid. I gained a lot of respect for her during the fight scene with Weiss. Her choice of weapon is definitely quite good as it is basically a Tron disc like the one Tyrian uses. It can also shoot out laser blasts which is really handy. Her skills are the real deal for sure and I would like to see more of her in action although that doesn’t look likely at all. Her role may not have been huge, but it was memorable.

It’s time to look at the characters from Blake’s plot. First up is Sun who is the best of these characters. His best role was certainly in season 1 as he decided to help Blake out by fighting Torchwick. Right from the start he was a loyal partner to have at the ready. The romance angle started getting played up a little more in future seasons which wasn’t great, but at least he is always a solid character. He still seems to be quite a bit stronger than her and it’s impressive that he’s managed to keep up so well. He’s just a very solid character.

Then we’ve got Blake’s parents Kali and Ghira. They’re pretty reasonable characters and are much better than Weiss’ parents. They are pretty understanding about Blake’s running away and have totally forgiven her. They do a good job of managing their country and affairs while remaining grounded. Then you have the childhood traitor Ilia who decided to team up with Adam to destroy Blake. Well, you know how I typically don’t forgive traitors. Ilia falls into this same hole as the heroes forgive her almost instantly, but I can’t. She was perfectly willing to destroy everyone and would have done so if she wasn’t stopped. You can’t just shake your head and allow her back into the fold so easily. She’ll have to really prove herself to become a better character. There were also a bunch of random villains in this mini arc who forked for the two fox brothers, but they were all very weak and expendable. One of the hype villains got one shotted by Kali who was holding a tray! That’s when you know that the villain can’t be taken seriously.

Finally I’ll mention some of the more minor characters that I almost skipped. We have Glynda who is the first huntsman that we see in the series. Her abilities haven’t really been explained in universe yet, but I’m sure someone has figured them out by now. They seem like transmutation or time alteration, but either way she always looked impressive. That’s why I am hoping we see her fight an actual opponent at some point since surprisingly that hasn’t happened yet. We’ve also got Ironwood who has seen a little more action than her. He seems to be a bit of a Superman figure with how he talks and the design. However, the series is hinting that he could become a bit of a villain as he gets more and more desperate to protect his kingdom. He also has 2 seats on the council and may get corrupt with power. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but at the very least I am definitely a fan of his at the moment. Neptune deserves a quick mention, but honestly he never contributed much except towards the dance plot. He’s not a good character honestly and would probably rank as one of the worst in the series. He’s not funny and we don’t need one of those characters who is always flirting in this show. I can see why he was written out so quickly.

Oobleck is one of the teachers at Beacon and he has super speed along with a close range fire gun of sorts. It’s a pretty interesting weapon. He’s not a bad character, but never really does all that much as he makes sure to vanish before the real enemies show up. Port is another teacher and he gives some decent life lessons. He can be a little annoying though as his scenes drag on so fortunately he doesn’t appear much. Then we have Taiyang who is Ruby and Yang’s father. He seems like a decent fighter, but he will probably be more impressive when we actually see him get to take on a villain. I’m expecting big things from him since he was on the same team as Raven and Spring. Considering how good a fighter Yang was back in the day I don’t agree with Taiyang’s analysis that she uses her Super Saiyan mode too much, but I guess as long as he snapped her out of her depression I’ll let it slide.

Then we’ve got Cardin who was the big bully for season 1. He never really shows up again after that, but he was an entertaining guy. Cardin was certainly clever though and manipulated Jaune and the others like a champ. Flynt was a pretty good fighter from the tournament who actually managed to take down Weiss. His fighting abilities are nothing to scoff at and I liked his theme music as well. I was less impressed with his partner Neon, but I suppose she had fun during the fight so that’s nice. Maybe if she trash talked a little better or just didn’t talk much then I would have been more of a fan.
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Then we’ve got Junior who was humiliated by Yang. He’s not a great character at all, but he is surprisingly brave as he stood up to Yang after she demolished all of his men. His two subordinates were great though as the twin dancers really gave Yang a run for her money. Then we have the original Spring Maiden Amber. She was clearly not a great fighter as she was beaten rather easily even though a Maiden is supposed to be crazy strong. She should have practiced more and I question what she was doing all by herself anyway.

Lionheart is one of the more recent villains and he’s definitely no good. He’s not meant to be an interesting villain anyway though as you’re supposed to notice how cowardly he is and then shake your head. There aren’t really any good qualities about this villain and it doesn’t help that he is also super weak. Watts is one of the members of the villain group, but he has yet to fight. Still, he is a solid villain so far as he really likes taking shots at Cinder. He always knows just what to say and that’s why he also needs to be a good fighter just to make sure that he can back up the tough talk. Sienna was the leader of the White Fang who was hyped for quite a while so it was rather funny how her plot ended. She was a good character, but definitely not a particularly smart one since she didn’t seem to see any of the events coming before they happened. Finally, there is also Adam’s right hand man who fought Weiss during season 2. He never got to get a final fight to finish up his character arc, but from how decisively he was able to defeat Weiss we can tell that he is very powerful. It would be great to see him fight again, especially since the character has no name at the moment.

You can probably accurately surmise how I rank all of the volumes at this point, but I’ll spell it out anyway. Volume 3 is still definitely the best one. It had a large tournament which I am a huge fan of and the best climax. Volume 2 would be my next pick as the fights were top notch as always while still embarking on more of a plot. The third highest is the toughest pick as I go back and forth with them at times. I think I would actually go with Volume 5. Whether it is recency bias or volume 5 having more of a plot and a lot of epic scenes, I have to give it the edge here. Missed opportunities aside, they don’t take away what the show actually did right and it certainly still held up the proud standard of quality that RWBY stands for. Volume 1 is close behind. It’s still very nostalgic with the retro animation and Blake’s battle against Torchwick holds up really well. Finally we have Volume 4. A good volume, but one that could have certainly benefited from better pacing.
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Overall, Now you see why I say that RWBY is the greatest show of all time. I don’t have to go over the soundtrack and animation again like in most reviews since I already touched upon it in each of the volume sections. They are absolutely top notch and it’s hard to imagine that it used to be more of a fan project. I’ll have a review for RWBY volume 6 when it finishes so you don’t have to worry about waiting for another 5 volumes before I churn one out. I’m definitely expecting big things from volume 6 and won’t be satisfied unless it is able to at least crack the top 3 from the volumes. At this point the action should be coming fast and hard with enough subplots and loose ends to keep the pacing quite frantic. Naturally in a show this long it’s hard to express everything about it, but I feel like I’ve gotten all of the major points. I definitely went from not knowing about the franchise to being obsessed with it in a short time. Ah well, only about 6 months until RWBY returns so that’s not so long. That’s not the end for my reviews on the franchise though. In the mean time, I’ll also be reviewing RWBY Chibi once the latest season ends and RWBY manga that should be coming out soon.

Overall 10/10

Luck & Logic Review

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Well, it’s time to look at a new Bushiroad production. The others that I have reviewed have all been excellent for the most part with the occasional 7/10 which is still pretty solid. Unfortunately this is the first negative installment from the company. Luck & Logic falls into the unfortunate fanservice trap which is really what nails it. The low budget doesn’t help much either, but that’s the kind of thing that really just limits a show from getting a higher score as opposed to bringing it down. Still, not every show can be a winner I suppose.

The show takes place in a future where monsters constantly invade the planet through rips in time and space that come from another world. Earth has monster hunters who merge with their partners to stop them. The issue is that there are only a handful of agents in every city and do the monsters always seem to have the edge. Still, there is currently a balance and the system works well enough. Tsurugi was a hero in Hong Kong, but he was forced to enter overdrive to stop the villain and this led to his partner being scattered forever and he barely survived. See, every person is made up of cards and the cost for using this super ability is that you lose all of your cards. If you friends don’t find them in time then you will permanently lose your self. One card is your memories while another is your emotions for example. Since there are dozens of cards to find and they are all pretty important, it is easy to never be the same after such an event. Tsurugi was lucky enough to stay intact though but he is transferred to a new unit where he will get a new partner. Will he fit in with the group and continue to protect the world from monsters? He sure hopes so!

So on the surface this is another classic “Defend the world from monsters” story. It is fairly episodic as each monster is usually defeated in a single episode. There are some underlying plot elements that continue though and it all leads up to the final 3 episodes which is the big plot related fight. That sounds about right for a 12 episode show like this one. The early episodes are all about getting to know the characters. The pacing is solid and the show certainly doesn’t drag on as you can probably guess. There isn’t really anything all that unique about the show, but so long as the execution is on point you don’t need to do anything super special. Unfortunately the show’s main gimmick is what gets it into trouble.

So, as I mentioned you have to merge with a partner to activate your super form which lets you fight the monsters. This form runs out of stamina almost immediately though so try to end the battle within a few minutes. Also you have to be completely in sync with your partner or the transformation will fall apart. The very iffy thing with the transformation though is that you have to kiss your partner or make a whole lot of contact in general, but basically every team goes with the first option. Naturally you can see how this would be a problem. It’s a pretty iffy excuse to just have the whole cast get in on the action and even conceptually it makes you wonder just how tough this is for the characters.

Take Tsurugi and Athena. They know each other for a few hours and then they are suddenly made to be partners and have to undergo the transformation. It’s all rather drastic. Unfortunately the series doesn’t even make the transformations rather tame like Sailor Moon and they have quite a lot of fanservice. Seeing as how the transformations happen in every episode, you can see how this would drag the show down a bit. One of the final episodes is probably the most drastic as everybody transforms back to back in that episode so it’s whole minutes of everybody just transforming. This gimmick is ultimately what hurt the show the most as there just isn’t really getting around this. Both the fanservice and the concept of what you have to undergo in order to transform is pretty bad.

Thanks to these scenes, the series had a real fanservice issue. Then we also had the typical anime character who is obsessed with bringing down the show. In this case the “old man” character was Tsurugi’s dad who is always messing around and trying to get his son to do the same thing. It’s one of those running gags where you have to wonder how people actually find it funny. It’s just grating and fortunately the guy doesn’t appear all that often which is a good thing. With the major issue out of the way now, lets look at the cast.

Tsurugi is the main character here and he is known as the best agent in the world. He was able to overtranz (It’s pronounced like Tranz instead of Trance so that’s how I like to spell it) and live after all which isn’t something that just anybody can do. That being said, maybe anyone could do it as two other characters in the series do the same thing and survive, not to mention that Tsurugi also pulls it off a second time. Tsurugi can’t help it if he is the best and naturally he quickly becomes the leader of the group much to the sadness of the former commander. He’s a nice enough guy who gives pep talks and tries to keep morale high. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much character beyond that and of course I still find it iffy that he had an original tranz partner that he never mentions or seems to care about at all. That person likely didn’t live through the experience or lost her memories but that’s why moving to a new tranz partner is so iffy. He also tends to overreact when Lucifer shows up but I guess he is a big deal.

Athena is Tsurugi’s tranz partner and she seems like a nice enough character. She does hide her connection to Lucifer from the others but I think the heroes made a mountain out of a molehill on this one. It’s not like they were teaming up or anything. She is a very loyal partner to Tsurugi and since he was her first covenentor I don’t have the same problem with them tramping as I did with Tsurugi.

Tamaki used to be the leader of the squad before Tsurugi stepped in and took her throne. She definitely doesn’t take this well and I can understand why she wouldn’t want to be taking orders from someone who came out of nowhere but that’s just how it goes sometimes. In real life that happens all the time as well. She does eventually get past this though and is an okay character. It’s just unfortunate that she looks weak. To an extent all of the characters look really weak, but Tamaki stands out in particular as she doesn’t have any real offensive abilities. She can heal herself and others which is really useful in most circumstances, but not in a 1 on 1 fight like she was forced into during the last 2 episodes. Still, she is good at tactics. Her partner Venus is the worst of the hero partners. To counterbalance how stoic and unmoving Tamaki is, Venus turned out to be a serious flirt. Surprisingly the show doesn’t focus on it much which is a good thing, but since that is her main personality you can see why she wouldn’t be one of my all time favorite characters or anything like that.

Chloe is definitely the best member of the main characters as she is always ready for a fight. Unlike the other characters who are basically all yes men, she thinks about what is being told and decides whether to believe it or not. She is a detective part time as well and her fire form is one of the stronger abilities in the show. Chloe may not uncover all that much in her detective info gathering but the attempt is really what counts. Ultimately, Chloe has more personality than the rest of the cast and fortunately it is a good one. Valkyrie is Chloe’s partner but like the other monsters she doesn’t get a lot of personality. I guess she seems like an okay character, don’t expect her to get too many lines though.

Olga is the big rival of the series and always talks with a lot of confidence throughout the series. You can barely believe your eyes while this is happening since he is the only agent to not have a partner yet. As a result, while he has the very powerful ability of reading the future, there just isn’t much that he can do about it. It was fun to see him admit that Tsurugi was smarter than he looked when the main character admitted that Olga was an incredibly skilled agent. Naturally as Olga was desperate for power this made it easy for Lucifer to begin his plan. I do think that the conclusion to Olga’s character arc was a little rushed though. He goes from being public enemy number 1 to being the leader of the group in the span of a few days? I don’t know, when people try to destroy the world you expect a different kind of reward than that. I don’t want to make the group sound too naive so I should mention that they have bombs floating around Olga’a head in case he ever tries anything. I guess that’s better than nothing.
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Lucifer is the big villain of the series but he was probably made to be a little too powerful the whole time. Without a Tranz partner he was already stronger than the whole hero group and then he got a partner and got even stronger. There was no way he could possibly have been defeated at the end and the fight should have been over in a snap. Granted, Olga wrecked his chances at the end and Lucifer should have just tried to end everything on his own. He certainly isn’t a very cool villain either as he loves his nightclub experiences too much and a subplot is that he has grown a bit of a cult. People get to tranz with him to have a bit of a thrill. I know that the heroes can’t do much about this since he would beat them up but it would have been nice to have seen them try to stop him, but they never made a single move. The monsters of the week were typically cooler characters even if they were basically just around to get stomped. At least they all showed up again at the end of the show…it wasn’t just to save budget.

Asuha is the sniper of the group. She can turn invisible which is always a good tactic and her bullets pack a punch. She also has a more legitimate character arc than most of the other characters as she waits for her mother to show up every night. It breaks curfew but why should Super powered fighters have one anyway? It’s easy to see why Veronica lets it go since losing one of the few fighters that the heroes have just wouldn’t be tactically wise. Next to Tsurugi, Asuha is definitely the most useful member of the group. Her partner is Artemis. Artemis has a more important role than some of the other partners and can always be counted on to at least back Asuha up when the going gets tough. She can be a little abstract and random at tones but never becomes too annoying.

Yukari is probably the worst member of the group by far. She can’t really fight at all and her partner is always making fun of her. She allows him to think that he is her master during the show and never really claims her dignity back from that. Even her costume is fairly half hearted. She is supposed to be the nicest character in the show but once again “nice” became synonymous with being weak which is unfortunate. So much for that eh? Maybe if she kept herself from crying in the last episode that would have at least shown some character development in her defense.

Veronica is the field commander for the Logic troops. She may not be the highest ranked overall but is considered to be extremely powerful. She gets a lot of hype throughout the series but unfortunately never lives up to it. Like most of the cast she seems to just have one technique at her disposal. In this case it is her bombs and such a technique can only carry you so far in a fight. Fact of the matter is that she runs out of stamina about as quickly as everyone else and her bombs have no real effect on any of the really powerful opponents. Veronica is a reasonable leader nonetheless and is at least quick to jump into action compared to other leaders like her boss. The head of the organization doesn’t even seem to have a monster of his own at the ready.

Nemesis is Veronica’s partner and always seems to be very powerful. We never actually see this but it is certainly very implied. Even though Nemesis is very old she still acts like a kid and enjoys having fun just like everyone else. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if she has a darker side to her. Not that this show had time to delve into anything like that though.

Shiori is Tsurugi’s sister but she doesn’t get to do a whole lot during the series. She does get Tsurugi to promise that he will always win in a fight though which he uses as motivation to get past any obstacle in his way. She is a big improvement over his father.

Unfortunately the animation is a mixed bag. On one hand the actual visuals look really good. The character designs are sharp and the colors make it clear that this is a modern show. However, the show does seem to be rather low budget so when it comes time for the fight it suddenly dips in quality. We get a bunch of CGI and there is barely any real animation. The characters aren’t moving and instead seem to be frozen in place half the time. Most battles revolve around the monster shooting a blast and then Tsurugi blocks it. Don’t expect a lot of fast scenes or anything like that, the action scenes are basically turn based battles. It feels like a budget issue as opposed to a director choice, but you never know I guess. The soundtrack is rather generic and I don’t really remember it having any notable themes. Ah well, I guess there weren’t too many chances to play it even if there were a bunch of good themes since the fights never lasted too long.
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Overall, Luck & Logic definitely didn’t have enough luck to actually end up being a good series. It had some decent ideas, but having two characters merge was not a good one or at least not in the way that they pulled it off. They should have just fused DBZ style whether it be through the earrings or with the dance. Either way I could definitely buy into that and it would have solved a lot of the show’s problems. If you don’t mind the fanservice then this is a reasonable action anime to check out. At the same time, there are a bunch of shows that use the same concept but to better effect. The final episode does give you a glimpse at what the show could have been with a proper budget and better fight scenes as it feels a little like the climax of Buso Renkin or the beginnings of a Saint Seiya fight. Having the whole show be like that would have been hype. If you want to check out a better show in this genre, go watch Devil Survivor. That one has a lot of monsters and action but stays classy throughout.

Overall 4/10

Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros Review

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It’s time to look at the Mario OVA which is so obscure that I wouldn’t blame you for not hearing of it before. There are 3 episodes in this OVA which each tell a story that shows why Mario is a true hero. They decide to mess with his origin a bit and each story is a stand alone, but it’s interesting to see Mario be used in a bunch of classic fables like this. It may not be the greatest Mario adventure, but they aren’t bad.

The first story starts with Peach and her Hammerbro parents. They are not able to protect her from the mighty Bowser. That’s where Mario comes in as he is born from a shooting star and grows up very quickly. He heads off to save her, but he will have to deal with many powerful threats like the King of the Koopas. Mario isn’t scared though and quickly gets ready to take them all down. This is a more vicious Mario than we are used to as he even wields a gun. It’s cool to see Mario fight like this. He actually uses some hand to hand skills which is something that never happens anymore. We seriously need the upcoming big budget Mario film to have some real fights. This is the Mario we deserve. The whole special is very surreal though, like how are Peach’s parents Koopas? I figured they would at least be Toads or something. Bowser doesn’t look very good as can be expected though. It’s a short little story and one that is fun enough.

The second story is about Mario but this time he is only 1 inch tall. Mario doesn’t care about this and wants to go check out the big city anyway. He knows that this will help him quickly become one of the all time greats. He meets Peach along the way and has a great time. Unfortunately, Mario’s plans are cut short when Bowser appears and decides to take Peach away. Mario can’t have this so he grabs his sword and then begins a fight for the ages. Mario may be small, but he has some serious moves and Bowser makes the mistake of swallowing Mario without chewing. I never quite get why the big villains do this since of course Mario will stab him from the inside. Bowser didn’t really think this plant through, but I suppose I can give him some kudos for the attempt. It’s a fun special as well although I prefer the first story. Mini Mario just doesn’t make for as endearing a character as his normal form.

Finally, the OVA decides to end with a bang on the last episode. This one is a Snow White homage as Bowser dresses up as an old lady and tricks Peach into biting the poison apple. Mario arrives too late to save her, but breaks into the castle in a rescue attempt. Surprisingly he wasn’t doing too well this time, but granted Mario was outnumbered. Fortunately Luigi comes in to save the day and the duo finally get to team up. It was nice to see Luigi actually show up for a bit since I thought the OVA had forgotten about him. This was the last special but probably also the best one so it was a good way to close things out. The action was on point.

So, it’s hard not to like this special as how can you not enjoy a Mario anime? Granted, the anime is fairly low budget. There is a lot of reused animation throughout the specials and they went for stills whenever possible. There’s not much of a soundtrack here either so on a technical level the OVA is pretty bad. That’s why you always want to have a good story to help counter balance these elements. If this wasn’t a Mario product then it probably wouldn’t rate quite as highly as it does. Still, it is great to see Mario on the big screen so I guess he deserves some props for that.

Even if you combine all 3 episodes the OVA isn’t all that long. You can fast blast through this with ease. The pacing for each special is pretty good as a result. It’s all pretty easily available online if you decide to check it out. Mario makes for a good hero and Peach is pretty consistent. Bowser isn’t a great villain though and you probably won’t be able to take him seriously for any of the specials. I think Bowser Jr/Baby Bowser may have been a better pick here or perhaps a made up villain. Bowser just seriously needs a better goal than constantly trying to marry Peach. It’s a futile mission and one that was doomed to failure from the start.

Overall, The Amada series may not have put Mario on the map, but they gave it a good shot. The special is reasonably fun, but there isn’t too much replay value to be found here. Watching it once is good enough to enjoy the surreal elements of the OVA. After that you’ll probably want to stick to the main Prince Haru movie. That’s where most of the Mario elements stayed after all. Of course, if you want to see Mario with a gun, then you have no choice but to run to this series. Either way, if you’re a Mario fan then I recommend checking this special out. If not, then I probably wouldn’t recommend it quite as highly as you could find better alternatives, but it’s a good adventure story for any viewer.

Overall 6/10