Transformers Bumblebee Cyberverse Adventures Season 4 Review


Well, who’d have thought that Cyberverse would come back? After the show ended, some time passed and then they announced that the show would continue with 2 mini movies. This basically became season 4 with two, two part events. It still feels rather random but who can say no to some more adventures right? I wouldn’t say either episode is quite up there with the best that the show was dishing out in season 3 but they’re fun enough episodes and the nostalgia is the important thing here. So lets take a look at the two stories here.

The first story has the Autobots and Decepticons preparing to finally make the peace between both sides official. It’s been a long time coming after all and this will mark a brighter day for Cybertron. Unfortunately that isn’t to be as the entire planet is frozen solid. The only ones to escape are the Dinobots and Windblade, but she is quickly captured. Grimlock must unite these Dinobots to that they can use a merged form to stop the group of bounty hunters led by the powerful Trypticon. Will they be able to save the day or will it be curtains for Cybertron?

I have to say that the bounty hunter’s ray is really impressive. The fact that it can take out an entire planet in the blink of an eye is terrifying. It reminded me of the whole premise for Dr. Stone. The Dinobots are really just lucky to have gotten out of that one. It was a bold pick to have them be the main characters here but I wouldn’t say it paid off. This has always been my least favorite incarnation of Grimlock and I can’t say that the other Dinobots are much better. As the big premiere to the new season I would have rather had Optimus Prime or Bumblebee at the ready.

The bounty hunter group isn’t bad though. Trypticon makes for a good leader of course. In this version he is portrayed as a tough boss who talks a good game but does care for his subordinates when the chips are down. He seemed like a really practical guy and someone you wouldn’t mind working for. Then you have Soundblaster who gets a rather big role here. You may chuckle a bit at his villainous origin story of why he turned against Soundwave and the others though.

This did mean that Soundwave got to have a true rival though so that was near. There are a few other forgettable members and then you have the last two, Bug Bite and Nightbird. Now these characters were fun as evil versions of Bumblebee and Arcee. It’s not literal but the character designs are the same so why not right? Nightbird had good close combat skills and Bug Bite was good at always moving and keeping everyone on guard.

So as a whole the bounty hunters were a lot more memorable than I would have expected them to be. They made for good antagonists and were easily the highlight of the two part story event. I just wish the heroes could have been as interesting. The whole Dinobots learning how to fuse thing got old fast and none of the Dinobots have enough charisma to hold their own scenes. They’re easily some of my least favorite Autobots and end up holding the special back. So in the end it’s a good two parter but not a great one.

Finally the other 2 part adventure sees the return of the ultimate Decepticons. Out of nowhere they start appearing on Cybertron only they are fighting each other for some reason. It’s difficult to get them to disengage and Cybertron itself may be destroyed at this rate. One of these robots still appears sentient though and explains that the Autobots can help the rest too. They just need to get another legendary relic of the Primes but it can only be opened by someone with the Matrix. It’s obvious that this is a trap so I’ll jump ahead a bit to say Tam (The sentient robot) gets this artifact and is now intent on using it to destroy all of the Autobots. The War for Cybertron has begun anew. Will any Decepticons continue to aid the Autobots or will we go back to square one?

Now this was a big step up from the first story. It’s a massive upgrade on all fronts from the action scenes to even having more of an ensemble cast. This time almost everyone gets a little something to do. Prime, Soundwave, Bumblebee, Windblade, the Dinobots, etc. Everyone has to pitch in and help this time around because the villains are too powerful for anything else. The perfected Decepticon robots are also impressively strong like last time. One on one only someone like Optimus Prime can defeat them. The other fighters don’t stand much of a chance which is why it was so important to try and shut them down.

Soundwave gets a lot of the spotlight here which was unexpected but his fans should be pleased. His story really goes in a vastly different direction from anything I would have predicted. Not only does he get his catchphrase but he’s well prepared for each battle and is willing to put his spark on the line to help his friends. The episode treats him like the new leader for the Decepticons and he was willing to make peace with the Autobots. Soundwave seems like he would make for a very good leader to the team, someone they could all be proud of.

The Dinobots return and get to use their fusion form but not as much as you would think. Too bad since it should in theory be strong enough to really make a difference in these battles. More importantly, Hot Rod gets to appear for a bit and while he doesn’t look super strong, I’ll take any screen time I can get. Optimus Prime gets to step in as well this time. It’s not a huge role but the episode does still acknowledge him as the strongest Autobot with how he is able to take on some of these robots.

Aside from generally having more action and more of a serious plot, the episode also had a great start. When Astro Train comes falling out of the sky it’ll remind you of the old Infinity Gauntlet comics when Silver Surfer crashed in a similar way. It immediately tells you that something big is about to go down and that’s absolutely right. Even if the main twist may have been telegraphed, the fact that the story has twists and turns is fun. It’s just a well written two part adventure and this feels like a true finale.

As for Tam as a villain, I thought he was solid. He isn’t quite as memorable as the bounty hunters from the first story but I still liked him quite a bit. He had a grand plan and did a good job of executing it. The design was on point and he had a good, no nonsense kind of personality. The show really didn’t hold back with the villains in this season. Both stories had good antagonists.

Season 4 seamlessly blends in with the rest of the episodes so it’s like no time has passed. The score may not be as high as the show but that’s in part due to how many adventures the show got to have and how you knew you’d have a consistently solid time. This season is better than the first for sure but would lose to seasons 2 and 3. I have a feeling it could have easily jumped up another star with more episodes. This one’s just over so quickly and with half the show used up on the Dinobots, that meant it didn’t have a lot of extra opportunities. Not everything has to be the next big hit though and at the very least I can say that I think you’ll have a good time with this one.

The animation style is kept the same from the TV show and still looks good. The animation style is colorful and you quickly know what’s going on. I like it well enough for the action scenes although this isn’t that kind of show so don’t expect any big battles. When it comes to the soundtrack, there aren’t really any memorable themes so I wouldn’t get my hopes up on that front. On a technical level the show definitely doesn’t stand out but it looks good enough.

Overall, Transformers got to have some more fun adventures which is nice. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first one but the second delivered. In the end they balance out well enough so I would call season 4 good and in the end that’s what counts. You may not check these adventures out again but now you can proudly say that the show reached 4 seasons and I’m looking forward to seeing what adventure comes around next. The Transformers franchise never takes a break after all so you can bet that it will be back sooner than later! There are even a few items already lined up in the franchise.

Overall 6/10

Cardfight!! Vanguard overDress Review


The Cardfight Vanguard franchise has really come a long way. It went from being the new kid on the block to being able to stand shoulder to shoulder with pioneers like Yugioh. At this point it can hold its own with any title in the trading card genre. overDress is the start of the newest generation in the franchise. It has a lot to live up to with the original, G, and the reboot era all churning out stellar titles. This one is off to a weak start so far with the weakest season in the franchise but knowing this franchise, you can’t count it out. Both G and the original series had a weaker first season compared to their sequels so this could be a similar path.

The series starts off by introducing us to Yu-Yu (Which sounds like a Yugioh protagonist name) who is rather timid and as a result he is pushed around by his family. They aren’t antagonistic and certainly don’t mean to be pushy but they have a lot of fun dressing him up and he doesn’t do anything more than half heartedly complain about it. One day they dress him up as a girl and he finally has enough of this so he storms off. He meets up with a girl named Megumi who introduces him to the world of Vanguard.

See, the players in this town use an abandoned amusement park to have their games in. It’s like a sanctuary here and it’s led by Danji, who is known as Big Bro by the community. He takes Yu-Yu under his wing and the hero quickly realizes that his life can be a whole lot brighter with this game by his side. Slowly Yu-Yu learns to open up and be more independent as he gains a lot of friends through this. When a challenger named Tohya shows up and threatens these bonds, Yu-Yu will have to fight for his friends.

It’s a fairly quick season at 12 episodes. That may be the standard for a cour but it’s rare to see Cardfight shows with any season less than 20 episodes and usually it’s higher than that. As a result this is more of an introductory view into the series. We get to meet the characters and see what makes them tick. Don’t expect quite as many big battles here, it prioritizes being a slice of life over being a dueling series. You can even go full episodes with no true duels here.

Slice of life isn’t a bad approach and to an extent Cardfight G did this. I think that one still had many more duels but it did use up the first 30-40 episodes just on introducing the characters without introducing big villains. This one does have an antagonist by the very end but it is very low key. There’s a whole episode where Yu-Yu is sick and the characters have to help him out after all.

There are some moments of foreshadowing like Daji hinting that he used to have someone he looked after and a lady who has some kind of ties to his past. Also Yu-Yu may already be developing Psyqualia to an extent near the end of the season. That’s about it though and the series is a lot happier than you would expect from the opening. The opening is surprisingly somber the whole time so don’t let that fool you. This isn’t nearly as sad a show as it would have you think. For the most part it’s usually fun and games here.

Where the show falters is that it isn’t nearly as funny as it thinks it is. The scenes with Megumi getting the wrong idea about Yu-Yu and Danji for a few episodes barely qualifies as a comedic subplot since you won’t be laughing. Everyone loves to mess with Yu-Yu to an extent where even Aichi would have told everyone to knock it off. The characters just don’t click for the most part. The main, main characters are solid but most of the guys at the club feel like throwaways.

I’d also say that this is a show where you need the cardfights because those are the moments that really give the show its spark. Not including them much is like taking the show’s strongest aspect and keeping it on the backburner. Doesn’t feel like the show is playing to its strengths in that way. There’s a reason why the best moments in the show are all regarding the Tohya plot because that feels like peak Cardfight.

So Danji is an unbeaten Cardfighter with 20 victories in a row. (Not a lot so this guy clearly doesn’t duel too many people. We also see him lose at several points so it seems like only “official” duels in the ring count towards this) One day a guy named Tohya shows up to duel him and break that streak. Tohya has personal reasons for wanting to win this fight as it will help determine his future path. Their battles are great.

The first one in particular goes all out with the animation. On the whole the animation doesn’t pop out as much as the previous seasons. It seems to be using more of a faded color palette so it doesn’t strike you as quickly but when the fights come in we get some really streamlined moments. The speedblitzing and high end attacks are great and it will make you want even more Cardfights. It’s also a glimpse of what overDress could be like in the future with how high energy and epic these moments are. The fight animation deserves a lot of credit and unsurprisingly, episode 11’s animation as a whole is really solid.

Tohya even has a true origin story that is suitably tragic. It shows how serious it can be to misread someone’s final wish on their death bed. Tohya is chained by his past and it shows in his fights. He gets a lot of development and is easily the best character in the series. I was also glad that they played his final moments straight with no cop outs or sudden plot twists. He made his decision and went down a dark path, there wasn’t any hesitating or anything like that.

Out of the 12 episodes he really gets 3 full ones to himself and those are not surprisingly the best episodes in the show. He duels with a fiery passion that you just don’t see much in this season. He doesn’t even feel like one of the normal characters. To him Cardfight isn’t just a game and that really goes against the whole worldview of Yu-Yu and the others. If the show ultimately becomes more of a Shonen battle title in the next seasons then we’ll see if he’s proven correct. That said, while I do like this guy, I do think the final scene and decision with Danji is undeserved. If I were the side characters I would certainly be upset as well.

That’s enough about the best character though, lets talk about the others. Yu-Yu is one of those really timid main characters so he’s not really my style. I always prefer characters who are able to defend themselves and really get into the battle. I can already see his character development in place as he talks tough to Tohya near the end of the season. I can see him being a tough character down the road but he just isn’t quite there yet. Give him another season and we’ll see if he has really made it to the next level or if he just won’t be able to make the jump. At the very least he won’t be dressing up anymore..presumably. The season already gave an excuse in the wrestling episode for that to come back so we’ll see.

Danji is one of the most hyped up characters in the series and it is deserved in a combat sense. The guy is undeniably the strongest character in the series right now. It takes a whole lot to bring this guy to his limits and he will win 9 times out of 10. He isn’t always reliable outside of a duel though like arriving late when the flag was going to be burned and the whole outcome was his fault. The team needed him and he bailed. His sudden decision to step away from the game also rubbed me the wrong way.

He seems like a character who is just very carefree but he takes it to the point of just being irresponsible. Perhaps if we have more context to his decision then that will help things out but in the meantime that just hurts him as a character. I like him well enough and he beats most of the side characters but at this point in time I’m not super impressed with him. I want him on my side in a duel but that’s about it.

Megumi is the main heroine here and she can duel which is always a good thing. That’s a must at this point if you want to be a solid character. She has a tendency to lose a lot though because she lets her emotions run wild with her. That’s something she will definitely have to watch out for in the future but I can see her improving there. Her crush on Danji is probably not going to go anywhere at this rate either so she should be careful there. Like Yu-Yu I expect she will be getting a lot more development.

Now we get to the side characters who don’t get quite as much to do. Zakusa used to be a punk so he can revert to that mode at times where he can’t talk but…it’s not really that cool and more cringeworthy. He’s trying really hard to be the tough guy in the room but I can’t take him all that seriously. He did get one really good win in the show but that’s about it. You don’t feel safe with him as the second in command so he needs to train a lot more.

Tomari is a much more charismatic character and does well in announcing the fights. She gives the duels that old school energy and does her best to support Yu-Yu as well. Unfortunately she doesn’t really duel which will limit her potential a whole lot. Next up is Masanori who is Tohya’s right hand man. We don’t know a whole lot about this guy yet. He seems like a comic relief character most of the time but will then suddenly get serious at the drop of a hat. He really is a mystery but I suppose that’s what is supposed to make the character interesting.

Unfortunately I just don’t like the guy. Tohya has concrete goals and visions so you can at least understand why he is doing what he is doing. This guy? Not really, he just seems to like chaos so far and that’s not really enough to make for a solid character. He’s also just not funny even though he tries to be which is game over there.

The soundtrack is a little limited so far but it works well enough during the duels. The serious duels have good soundtracks to accompany them and that’s what counts. The opening is also good as far as the music is concerned even if it can’t match the originals. Then as I mentioned the combat parts of the animation are really solid and the day to day episodes have their moments. They certainly aren’t bad at any rate.

Right now overDress is like a roller coaster. Episode 1 was solid, 2 was rather weak, 3 was good 4 and 5 were weak, 6 was solid, 7 was straight up bad, 8 was weak, 9 was very weak, then 10-12 end the series on a high note with some intense battles and even a serious mini arc. In particular 11 was the pinnacle of the series as we had a great clash of ideals with Yu-Yu and Tohya. Nothing makes a great fight even better by putting that emotional weight behind it as each character fights for their beliefs. I saw that fight 3 times while prepping this review because it was really spectacular.

Season 2 just needs to continue that energy and that will be enough to keep it soaring. It’s not to say you can’t have stand alone episodes or be an episodic series. That can work but a whole episode where the main character is sick? That’s the kind of episode that’s probably not going to fly even in all star titles like Yugioh GX, Digimon Data Squad, or Beyblade. Being sick just isn’t an interesting plot point in the slightest and I’d say not to even have it as a subplot. The wrestling episode just felt pointless but it’s at least got some dueling there.

The series may prefer to be a slice of life show or at least something more grounded than in previous generations. If that is how it wants to be, then the key will be to make the characters better. Straight up that’s the way to do a slice of life. The characters have to be charismatic and/or humorous. As I said before, the show just isn’t very funny at the moment which limits the slice of life appeal. We need some more banter and having Tohya around as a main character could help with that to an extent. Of course I’m hoping we double down on the hype duels since you can have a lot of great banter and intensity with that. It all ends up snowballing into being a great show when you start introducing those factors.

Ultimately it all goes back to this being the origin of a new generation as I mentioned. It may have been a rocky start but many titles have had a rocky start and gotten really good so we just have to see how season 2 goes. Presumably this title won’t be in continuity with the older titles but right now I don’t think there is anything in the show that would contradict the others so who knows, maybe by season 3 or 4 we’ll have a guest star or two. I won’t have my hopes up for it or anything but that would be fun.

Overall, Cardfight overDress feels like a step down from the average experience in the franchise but it isn’t bad. I would like more of an emphasis on dueling in season 2 or at least more of an ongoing plot though. Some episodes here like the wrestling one or Yu-Yu getting sick just weren’t all that fun. The technicals are on point so once the show finds its footing then it should be all set. I’ll certainly be ready to see where season 2 takes this show. Hopefully Tohya continues to get a solid amount of screen time here because there really is a whole lot you can keep doing with him. I also want to learn more about the mysteries surrounding Danji and see where that goes.

Overall 6/10

Fruits Basket Season 3 Review


Fruits Basket has finally reached its conclusion. The anime certainly did a great job of adapting and improving upon the source material. Who knows, it may also have the reverse effect of making the manga more fun if I were to ever revisit it some day. That said, I would say the first two seasons still defeat this final one. It’s pretty inevitable that in any rom-com the final arc will have to get serious and tie up all the loose ends. Well, this one certainly does but it doesn’t allow itself to have as much fun as in the earlier seasons and one villain gets off a bit too easy.

Shigure and Akito really have the biggest roles in this season to the point where you could make the case that Tohru is not the main character. Still, Tohru is still wondering about how to break the curse and what needs to be done. Meanwhile Akito is getting ready to end Kyo’s freedom once and for all. The promised time is nearly upon them after all. There is one thing that could destroy Akito’s plans though and that is the fact that the curse is starting to weaken. Is it finally time for the final banquet?

An interesting part about how Fruits Basket ends is that Tohru doesn’t end up stopping the curse. In fact, nobody does. It’s just an old one that is naturally decaying so characters break free from it randomly. It’s a bit of a twist because the whole series some characters have tried rather hard to break it but it turns out that it was futile all the time. There really was no way to break the curse and you just had to wait it out. That’s also a bit depressing in its own way too.

My main issue here is that Akito was never stopped. She pushed someone out the window and inflicted a lot of mental torture on all the main characters. She drew blood from Tohru in season 2 and landed physical hits on a lot of characters. In this season she goes as far as to grab a knife and actually stab 2 characters as well. Akito is as unhinged as she ever was so by the time you get to her origin story you’re already skeptical.

That won’t change after watching it. This is Fruits Basket, every character has had a rough upbringing but they’ve learned to deal with it. Akito’s isn’t even as bad as some of the others. I would argue that Kyo and Tohru had it worse. It’s maybe on par with Yuki’s but ranking origin stories is pretty sad since they’re all so tragic. Either way the point is that Akito can’t use it as the big slam dunk that she thinks she can.

Akito also hasn’t limited the suffering to herself and has really been forcing everyone else to stay in misery alongside her. If she wasn’t actively attacking the rest of the cast then I definitely wouldn’t have had as much of an issue with her. So all of her scenes would still make me shake my head here. I still say that the characters should have fought back or defended themselves. The curse may turn them into animals but I don’t buy their not being able to fight back. Even here Hatsu comes close to attacking Akito but ultimately stops and just runs off. The characters really let Akito get the better of them.

Yuki had the majority of his character development earlier so he doesn’t do much in this season. Still he has his quick rebound with the student council member Machi. This was definitely one of the more rushed romances since she didn’t get to appear a whole lot but in real time I think they knew each other for a whole semester so at least there was 3 months there. Machi is another character who went through a lot of trauma and definitely still goes through some tough times but she’s handled it pretty well for the most part. This wrapped up that plot in a very resolute way.

Now you could make the case that this is less of a rebound since Yuki took himself out of the competition for Tohru before she made a decision. There’s a fair case for that so while this feels sudden, perhaps you could say it was not a secondary pick. I think Machi probably could have been introduced earlier to set this up but either way she was fun. Yuki’s always been considerate so they’ll get along just fine. Machi’s another character who I would say had a worse origin story to survive through than Akito. Getting framed as a kid will definitely leave you with a lot of trauma after all.

We can’t forget about Kyo of course as he had one of the big plots here. Since Akito plans to lock him up soon, Kyo’s coming to terms with the end of the era for him. He’s pretty much resigned to his fate so he’s still in the phase of trying to push everyone away during this season. Unfortunately by now he has pretty much accepted his fate and is no longer fighting with the same passion he once had.

We get to see his full origin story for the first time. Quite a lot happened to Kyo over the years and unfortunately most of the Zodiac spirits are quite passive so nobody would really help him. Tohru’s mom was probably the first person to really care about him until the Dojo guy stepped up. Even in the present we see that this hasn’t changed. Everyone knows he will be locked up soon but nobody’s doing anything about it.

Aside from Shigure who confirms he would not lift a finger to help, I won’t blame the others yet. For all I know, many of them had plans they would enact on the day of. So in case that is what would happen, I can’t really dock any points there. I’d like to see what kind of legal right the Sohma family would have to lock him up though. I feel like if Kyo went to the cops or something then things would play out pretty differently. I get that the Sohma is a rich family with a lot of power but even they should have their limits.

Of course the romance with Kyo and Tohru wraps up here. It’s not rushed or anything since this has been going on for 3 seasons at least. Fruits Basket is known as one of the Top Shojo’s after all and while I’m not sure I would go that far, the romance is done in the correct style. It’s built up over many episodes to the inevitable conclusion instead of all happening very quickly. At most you may just have to shake your head as how Kyo brings in the drama by suddenly running off again in this season. There’s a lot of running between both characters that’s for sure.

From all of the romances in this series, this is easily the best one without a doubt so it deserves some props there. As for Tohru, she may not get a particularly large role here as I mentioned, but she is still officially the lead and as such, gets a good send off. As a character she is solid as always. She actually does some detective work and tries to talk to as many characters as possible. By the end she does give Kyo a solid answer in response to his origin story while still choosing to believe in her Mother to the end. It was a good way to wrap things up while also staying true to her ideals. So that was a solid way to wrap things up.

Then we have Shigure who is a pretty bad character. He’s not as bad as Akito but I would definitely put him in the bottom 3. The guy is every bit as shady as Akito but always tries to play the fool and act innocent about it. He loves to play both sides and mess with Akito while also pretending to be a friend. The thing is, he is like that to everyone. I don’t see how any character can trust the guy. He’s also rather mean to his editor for no reason as he causes her as much stress as possible. It’s nice to see a Zodiac spirit who isn’t terrified of Akito but there’s really nothing to like about the guy.

Akito’s mother also shows up here. I like the idea of having a character that even Akito can’t mess with, but ultimately she doesn’t do a whole lot. She adds some drama as she is easily able to corrupt Shigure and sets up another character but that’s about it. If you were to remove her from the story it really wouldn’t change much. Especially given that Akito’s origin story doesn’t really end up making the villain more sympathetic.

As for Akito’s right hand man Kureno, I didn’t care for him either. In a way this guy caused a whole lot of the problems that would end up infecting the rest of the characters. If he had come clean about breaking the curse then it would have saved everyone a lot of heartache. The guy also allows himself to effectively be used out of pity by Akito which is a high price for this affair. He should have just stayed strong and been a friend but not go beyond that. Instead he lets himself get abused constantly.

Next up is Rin who was doing a lot of sleuthing of her own. She definitely takes a lot of risks but in this season she just didn’t look very smart. Why believe some random person who is extremely shady when she says that she knows how to break the curse? That’s just ultra convenient and if it requires breaking into the main villain’s room then that is definitely not going to end well. Rin really walked right into that trap and of course she ended up freezing so she couldn’t fight back.

It’s one of those scenes that will make you shake your head. I was glad Rin wasn’t as quick to just forgive and forget with Akito later on. As for Haru, he’s not bad but I definitely think he should have stepped in sooner. He didn’t know about Akito pushing Rin off a building but he did know that she was missing for a while. I’d expect him to have been poking around and Akito’s building should have been suspect number 1. His whole split personality and Dark Haru element isn’t that great if it never shows up when it counts.

Tohru’s two friends from school show up a bit as well in this season but I wouldn’t say their roles are too big. In some respects they have never had as much importance to the story as the various Sohma members but they do remain more relevant than the school friends in a lot of other Shojo titles like this. They’re not bad but they don’t usually tend to have scenes that are quite as interesting as the main cast.

Hiro and Kisa definitely don’t do much here either but at least now that he’s a bit older Hiro isn’t as unreasonable the whole time as he used to be. It was always annoying how he would insult Tohru for no real reason and nobody would really defend her. In his current state that wouldn’t really be much of an issue. Kisa is also here for moral support. She hasn’t really had to deal with as many tragedies as the others and that’s good. It’s nice that at least one character isn’t having to deal with a dark past.

Momiji doesn’t do much but it is odd how he appears to be a lot meaner and more sinister after the time skip. Maybe part of him realizes that he should have protected Tohru when Akito attacked in the last season. Either way, this would be an interesting new wrinkle to his character provided that he is actually able to be tough when it counts. Only time will tell on that front.

There are more characters of course but this really tackles all of the big ones I would say. The cast itself is large so there will always be a few more hanging around the bends. With 3 seasons I would expect no less. Even some of the Sohma clan members don’t really get to do a whole lot here which shows just how many characters have to be juggled.

The animation is solid as always. It’s not like there are any big action scenes to really test the series but the characters always look on model and everything’s pretty clear. It’s a very consistent show and delivers on that front. The soundtrack can be a little bland though. I wouldn’t say that any of the tunes really pop out at you and the theme song could have definitely been a whole lot more exciting if you ask me. It just feels too basic.

Now time for some final thoughts on the series. Season 3 is shorter than the first 2 so it definitely goes by really quickly. At the end of the day I definitely consider the anime to be a huge improvement over the manga. You’re given a lot of time to get used to the characters and root for them. I’d say the strength of the series is that it does a good job of showing the various emotions of the characters.

The writing is pretty solid as well with each character having to deal with a different issue as they grew up. There are a ton of sob stories and yet I would not say that any two are the same. Most of them are sad without being overly gritty either. This show goes through a lot of different tones but manages to achieve them all pretty well. You definitely won’t be bored.

There is naturally a lot of romances here as well. I would say most of them miss the mark as per the course for most romance titles but at least Kyo and Tohru was a strong one so that’s good since it is the main romance in the series. I wouldn’t say the romance ever really takes over as well so if you’re here for the plot then you should still be okay in the end.

On the flip side, one issue I have is with how passive all of the characters are. I’ve already beaten the point about everyone bowing to Akito into the ground so I’ll sidestep that one this time. Even just with how they obey the formalities and everything feels like they aren’t trying though. So Kyo is going to be locked up in a cave right? Have him decide to move out of town or something. He would certainly be able to leave if he wanted and good luck trying to bring him back. The guy can turn into a monster after all so he could repel any attackers.

The same is true for the rest of the Sohma family who feel like prisoners in the estate. Just get out of there and things will be better. Now granted, the curse is still annoying but it’s not like Akito would ever help you cure it anyway so I’d say your best bet is still high tailing it out of there while you still can. It would have been cool if Tohru brought that up.

As for her mother’s death, I do think part of the scenario was a little forced just to scar Kyo further. The whole “I won’t forgive you” part being spoken out loud out of the whole speech is just hard to buy. It’s the only way you could misinterpret the speech to be something negative so of course that’s what happened. Given how solid her character has been throughout the series, it doesn’t really work as a fake out to the audience and to Kyo it’s just a bit on the contrived side.

Overall, Fruits Basket had a pretty good run. There are definitely a lot of different events that occurred here. The 13 episodes did a good job of really packing themselves in with a lot of content. If you watched the first two seasons then you owe it to yourself to watch this one as well. There aren’t a whole lot of light hearted moments or happy events for the characters this time, but they all finally confront their inner demons so in that sense you get an uplifting feeling there. You know it’ll be all uphill for everyone going forward. Throw Akito out of the show and this would probably be bumped up even further but of course it would be a different show at that point. Time to see what the franchise brings to the table next.

Overall 6/10

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

WandaVision Review


WandaVision is the first of the big Marvel TV shows to come out. One of the big hooks for these is unlike the previous shows such as Agents of Shield or the various Netflix properties, this one would be plucking some rather big characters straight out of the movies and into TV format. As a result you can expect more big events and for scenarios that actually impact future films. WandaVision definitely delivers on this as the events feel quite massive and you can bet that the films will feel an impact here. I did have some issues with the show’s pacing but lets dive in.

The show starts by introducing us to Wanda and Vision who appear to be living in a rather old era. It’s like something out of I Love Lucy or I Dream of Genie with the two getting involved in some wacky adventures. Each episode plunges us 10 years forward in time or at least with what the show is paying homage to but in real time it’s just the next day. Something doesn’t seem right though, why are the characters stuck in what appears to be an alternate world? Something just doesn’t seem right here.

Most of the show is about this mystery. The first 3 episodes keep this up and then in episode 4 is when we finally start to crack the puzzle. As a result it makes things rather interesting for a review since that is about a third of the way through the show. The actual plot twists are at the halfway point so would that be a spoiler? Since the hook of the show is figuring out what is happening I would say it is so I’ll try avoiding those plot threads for the most part.

So, the intro episodes for me are the weak links. The show isn’t quite as funny as it thinks it is with the various homages. It’s fun noticing what shows the series is going for but the issue is that it isn’t quite as good as any of those. The Office certainly made better use of the Mockumentary style, The Brady Bunch seemed to be more entertaining and likewise in each era. I think the issue is that the show was trying very hard to be as wacky and intense as possible to simulate these shows but as a result it doesn’t feel natural.

So I wasn’t big on the old time parts. The whole time I was always looking forward to the meanwhile plots as we see what everyone else is doing. Also, you can start to piece together what the plot is very quickly even if it takes the characters in universe a little extra time to pick up the pieces. The show is at its best when it is fully embracing the twists. The final two episodes are definitely the highlight of the show for that reason. It’s certainly nice to see the characters in a slice of life setting but it would have worked best in modern day.

I was satisfied with the various twists and explanation of what is going on though. It all makes sense and you can also see why it would be hard to intervene at this point since the Avengers aren’t in the best shape at this point in time. Iron Man’s not really in the picture, Cap’s gone, and Thor may be in space right now. You’d have to hope that someone like Ant Man is around and the odds of him even hearing about this event are slim to none.

For the characters, Vision is probably the worst one here. I really can’t cut him any slack. The guy moves as fast as molasses once he finds out more and more information so you can’t help but feel like he’s partially responsible for what is going on. The second he realized that something was wrong you would figure that he would quickly act or do something to help out. Instead he just drags the whole thing out as long as possible well past the point where you will lose patience with the guy. At the end of the day, his acting can help save lives so the longer he doesn’t do anything, the worse it gets. He had to be the most frustrating character in the show without question.

Meanwhile Wanda definitely has a lot to do here of course. Without going into details, you can see how her character has changed drastically even when you just see flashbacks in the show to her younger days. Her powers have gotten quite a lot of respect in the movies so we already knew that she was quite powerful. This whole show is really setting up that she will only get stronger from here. Power corrupts so this is rather dangerous and her actions in the show don’t exactly make her a beacon of hope.

All right, time for a quick pair of spoiler paragraphs. Skip these two if you haven’t seen the show yet but it’s time to dive into some of the bigger items here. All right, so it turns out that Scarlet Witch was holding everyone here against their will. She went from being a morally dubious character to a flat out villain and it’s not really something you might have guessed initially. The show did set her up as being suspicious as early as episode 2 to be honest but it’s all rather gradual. She seems rather insane and spiteful but you may write that off as just being fed up at the villains until it’s too late. I think she is going to make for a very interesting villain. Someone who isn’t quite pure evil yet but is quickly going there. Based on the end credits scene in the show I think she is going to be absolutely psychotic in short order. She does seem to be set off pretty easily and in a way this whole show could be considered as a super villain origin story.

In that sense you can see why the government wanted to wipe her out. Hayward and Monica represent two extremes in the army. Monica is insistent on treating Wanda like a victim who is only holding everyone hostage and threatening to murder her because she’s unstable at the moment. Hayward doesn’t want to try any negotiating and believes just shooting Wanda is the easiest way to do this. As a result both of them seem really unreasonable. I think you’re meant to be on Monica’s side as Hayward starts going so extreme that he even tries to shoot kids straight up. As a premise you do need to take Wanda down for sure, but there should be lots of ways without destroying her. Her durability is still that of a human’s if you can attack before her shield’s up. I do think peace is out of the question once she has hundreds of hostages the way that she does though. With her power said to be even stronger than the Sorcerer Supreme by the end, Strange may actually need some help in dealing with her. I can see why her powers are greater though, if you think about it, she essentially altered reality for an entire town and created new life forms complete with true super powers. That means she can conceivably do something similar like creating the original Avengers to fight Dr. Strange. There are so many exciting possibilities here and needless to say they all spell bad news for Agatha as well since she’s really at Wanda’s mercy right now.

Okay, spoilers are over now so back to our regularly scheduled program. We have some supporting characters from the old days like Darcy. She’s good at trying to crack the case although she does give the government a lot of grief whenever she helps. She definitely reminds them that she is doing this because she has to and not because she wants to. Monica also gets a fairly big role in the show and looks good. While I do think she needs to look at things in less of a “peace at all costs” approach, at least she is trying to reach out to Wanda. She probably just needed more of a plan though but we are setting up some fun things for her character in the future.

Inside of the dome we also have some supporting characters like Wanda’s kids. I’m not a big kids person but they could have been more annoying I suppose. At least they have powers which is pretty cool. That definitely separates them from the average kids at least since they can now defend themselves. You also have some neighbors like Agatha and I’m sure the instant that name is mentioned a lot of people will have various ideas on how that would play out.

Then the show has a really solid climax which was nice to see. We’re definitely at a point where shows can even look like movies now so I’m glad to see this show embracing that. No reason to shy away from big comic fights now. You can just get straight into the action and we get a prolonged battle from multiple sides which was fun. Things are definitely starting to get high tier by the end and magical battles are always fun. There’s just a whole lot you can do with that.

So WandaVision is a show where I’d say it really turned up once the action got going. Not necessarily fight scenes but once we got less of a focus on the old TV show motif and more into the actual plot. I admit that at times it felt like those scenes were straight up filler that were just holding the big plots up. The TV shows are a big focus of WandaVision so taking them out would effectively be changing the show but I think they could have had less scenes for it. Maybe it was just the execution that was off for me but that’s really the only thing that holds the show back from going further.

In a way the show was going for a low key horror vibe despite the classic show settings because you can see that something is off the whole time. So, if the show had committed to this more fully I think that could have been interesting. Grab a Stranger Things vibe or something with each question leading to more mysteries. You would need to retool the plot a bit but for example, Vision realizes he is in a world created by the Grand Master and none of it is real or he’s in a simulation. He confronts Wanda but even she isn’t real and he’s in Mephisto’s lair. Something like that would have been really scary but those are just alternate paths. I feel like the shows were sort of stuck in the middle so while you had that feeling of unease, it wasn’t quite enough to keep you compelled.

The writing is on point though so whenever the show is in the modern setting then it’s pretty interesting. I always like seeing a lot of government scenes so the moments with Hayward and the team were always fun. He may go all in but at least the guy did his best in commanding the troops. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many average humans you have though, it’s not going to do much at all against a true magic user.

Overall, WandaVision is a fun show. At only 9 episodes it is definitely over in a flash and can feel like an extended movie. It’s a fun thing about having the show format since you can cover a lot more ground than a film ever could. The first half of the show is a little slow and they didn’t have to do the dog like that by the end. Beyond that the second half turns up though. There are a bunch of twists and turns here so while you may understand the main plot and get most of the twists early on, ideally at least a few can throw you for a loop. I wasn’t expecting the after credits scene after all which was really solid. I can’t wait to see where that one goes since we should get more action out of it. I’d definitely recommend checking this title out and we’ll see how the rest of the shows fare coming up. Oh yeah there was also a song that shows up in the show which was pretty catchy.

Overall 6/10

Assassination Classroom Review


Time to look at Assassination Classroom, definitely a title that was a pretty big hit everywhere. This is one of those shows that definitely got a lot of attention while it was around. It had a pretty cool premise and a lot of potential although it ended up holding itself back. The first season makes for a pretty fun adventure. You’ll get to see the exploits of a supernatural teacher as he tries to get Class E into shape. Of course they’re all in Class E for a reason so this won’t be as easy as it seems.

The show starts by explaining that a mysterious being has blown up 755 of the world. He makes a deal with humanity. He won’t blow up the Earth yet but then he will get to teach a classroom of kids how to be great academics as well as assassins. They have 1 year in which to destroy Koro-sensei. If they are unable to complete this mission, then he will blow up the planet. As part of the deal, the government and other fighters can try to murder him as well so long as it doesn’t interfere with the classroom. Additionally, he is not allowed to harm any of the students so it’s a pretty generous deal right? At the same time, what can some kids do against an alien like Koro who moves at mach speed and travels the world on a whim?

From the human characters Nagisa is definitely the main one. He doesn’t have a whole lot of confidence in part because he has never found anything that he is really good at. He tries a lot of things but nothing ever turns out to be a perfect match for him. This class changes everything as he finds out he has a knack for being an assassin. Definitely not the career path he had initially thought of but it could be perfect for this role.

Part of the trouble though is the kids start to doubt if they want to destroy Koro. He seems like a really nice guy and at the end of the day all of his tips and tricks help make them better people. Kuro is always teaching the kids things they didn’t even know about themselves and they are all the stronger for it. Nagisa’s a good character. He could definitely use more confidence but he does get better as the season goes on. He’s got a very tangible character arc there.

The best character has to be Karma though. He’s essentially the opposite of Nagisa. This guy is incredibly confident but also a complete delinquent. He isn’t afraid to attack a teacher or get into fights with gang members. These are skills that help him a lot in this class but would definitely put him in a pickle for normal studies. It’s part of why he’s in Class E since technically his academic abilities are some of the best in the class. Karma can effectively do anything as a student but at the same time this does cause him to be overconfident. While all of the kids seem doomed against Koro since he can move faster than they can even think, at least Karma comes up with a lot of great plans to stop him.

He steals the show in the big story arcs as well like when he faces off against one of the pro assassins’ who can crush anyone with a single grab. Karma also does well against a group of thugs who attack his classmates and on some who tried bullying Nagisa. At the end of the day you can always count on him to defend his allies. Karma definitely didn’t have the easiest time growing up but he puts all of his energy into helping out his classmates in Class E so what else could you ask for from the guy?

Then we have the teacher himself. Well, Koro is definitely a very complex character. On one hand, he clearly has a whole lot of skill even aside from his super abilities. He’s got an analytical mind and is serious about being a teacher so he builds an individual curriculum for each of the kids. That being said, he doesn’t like to show this side of him to the point where he goes all out in making himself look as bad as possible.

Where Koro’s character really gets ruined is in how he is responsible for bringing quite a bit of the fanservice into the show. He is obsessed with reading certain magazines or falling for other characters’ wiles. He has enough ability to purposefully fall into a trap an still escape after all. It may all be an act but he has so much fun with it that it is impossible to find the guy likable. It would be nice if he was serious all the time but it happens so rarely that he even tends to get embarrassed afterwards. Koro’s good at teaching but he’s a bad character overall.

That is the show’s greatest weak point though. It does have a considerable amount of fanservice throughout the show. Mainly this shows up every time Irina appears or for some of Koro’s gags. Irina is the main culprit though. It’s unfortunate since she is a pro agent who actually has a good amount of skills but unfortunately she was trained in the art of seduction as well which the show likes to focus on. She isn’t afraid to mess with the students either if she thinks it will help her out which is definitely rather shameless. This is why she won’t be able to catch up to Karasuma.

Karasuma is an excellent character and definitely one of the standouts in the show. He can fight really well and definitely acts like a full commander. Without him the kids would be in a bit of a tricky spot but with him you feel like they have a chance…at least as much as Koro lets them have one anyway. Against any human you can expect Karasuma to take the win because of his high degree of skill. That said, Koro is a different beast entirely.

One thing that’s a little different here compared to most titles is that the goal appears to be impossible. In Naruto you can picture him becoming Hokage some day. He may be weak at the start but he knows Ninjutsu and has a Fox inside of him so he can pull it off. Same with Luffy becoming Pirate King as he has a Devil fruit and all. The kids destroying Koro? It’s hard to picture because they are just normal kids and he’s a being that can move faster than a fighter jet. I forget exactly what speed they said he is, mach 50 or something. What’s more important is what you see him do. Koro is so fast he is able to have 20 different conversations at the same time with various after images. He is able to play full sport games by himself on both teams. He can move with such crazy speed that the humans can’t possibly even hope to see him.

Because of that, there is no goal to achieve. The kids can study for thousands of years and never get fast enough to stop Koro without some kind of upgrades because they are pure humans. In that sense, this is probably one of the only series I can think of where the goal is actually 100% impossible. There is just nothing the heroes can do to stop him at least without changing the very formula of the series. Koro just lets them think they are close. He has a lot of weaknesses such as water, getting distracted, letting his guard down, etc. At the same time, you feel like aside from the water he makes up the rest of the weaknesses to help their self esteem.

What the heroes need are more supernatural creatures of their own. There is the mysterious Shiro who is an interesting figure because he actually made another tentacle type monster to fight wit Koro. Now this is the kind of guy you can see accomplishing his goals because this adds a layer of supernatural elements to the mix. Of course he’s a villain though so if he blows up Koro that might be dangerous. At the same time though….maybe the humans have a better chance against these guys so perhaps they should help assist?

It brings you back to their dilemma of wondering if they really want to murder Koro. At the very least they don’t want someone else doing it but that could just be denial. It’s an interesting predicament but I will say I’m on the side of not destroying him. Clearly Koro doesn’t seem like a bad guy here. The whole threat to destroy the Earth sounds intense but it’s hard to say if he’s really on the level or not. At the very least, you get the feeling that murdering him just doesn’t sound right. If he tries to destroy the world then you stop him at that point (Not that they can) but not before.

Back to the characters though, one of the students is named Kaede and you could say she is probably Nagisa’s best friend. She’s not very loud compared to the others but she is always willing to help out. She’s a very low key student who is always around though. Then you have Sugino who is good at sports. He tends to take things with a more light hearted attitude next to the other characters and does leave a good impression on you. It’s not likely that you will remember each student a whole lot but the show does try to give everyone at least one episode so they stand out.

For a more powerful student you have Itona who is the tentacle opponent I referenced earlier. He definitely has one of the more impressive entrances in the show as he just walks through a wall to challenge Koro. He also got some pretty intense music and was able to dodge Karma’s insult and then respond in kind. Itona isn’t really used to being around the other kids and acting normal since he focuses completely on battle. He makes for a fun antagonist though and it’s nice to have someone who can keep up with Koro.

Stepping away from the students for a minute, you have Gakuho, the principal of the school. Next to Karma he is the best character. This guy is incredibly impressive because of his intimidating presence and the fact that he is a principal who can fight. He’s not just going to be sitting around giving lectures. No, this is one of those guys who is absolutely ready to fight at any given moment as seen when he literally made someone eat paper and also when he caught a soccer ball at a speed that shattered windows.

He’s probably the only character in the series to not show even the slightest bit of fear against Koro. He’s probably the only person to actually get a clean win against the guy as well. This guy is definitely a scene stealer and I really like that confidence. He is definitely a villain no matter how you slice it though. We find out he created Class E purely as a way to make the other students have someone below them. It’s a diabolical scheme that improves grades through fear as nobody wants to go to Class E. He allows the other classes to pick on them and insult the kids as well in order to boost morale. It’s quite the vicious tactic and no matter how effective it may be, you can see how it’s not the right thing to do.

Then you have his son Gakusho who is also a lot of fun. While he may not have matched the level of his Dad yet, he does want to ultimately surpass him. Whenever he appears he is trying to find some way to close the gap between them although this is easier said than done. His abilities are still top tier though so he can keep up with any of the kids no problem. He has a good rivalry going with Karma as well. His introduction along with the rest of Class A was a really good way to amp up the stakes for the exam arc.

The show handles the exams in a fun way where it looks like the heroes enter a gladiator arena or an RPG to battle monsters. Each question is a monster with the most powerful ones appearing as boss creatures. This was just a good way to make each scene interesting. In general I thought the animation was quite solid here. The colors are very striking with everyone’s distinct hair colors being a good way to tell them apart. All of the character designs are different enough where you could even without the hair I suppose, but it helped ensure that each scene was always colorful. In fact, the animation is even a whole tier above Astra Lost in Space which came out by the same studio a few years later so it shows how much effort was put into this one. In particular aside from the eyes you have the striking eyes which really have a lot of intensity on any zoom in. I think there this show was able to show off the animation was in the impact shots where they put in a lot of shading and contrast effects. The animation was very impressive.

The action scenes are also on point when they happened as well. This may not be a full blown action scene but there were different mini arcs where you would get a fight and they always tended to look good. I also enjoyed the ost. The danger theme such as when Itona burst through the door is definitely the best track of the bunch. It has good range though so you should easily find a good track that you enjoy.

Back to the characters, Ritsu was another student who got a big role here. As an A.I. she is certainly a very different kind of student. Her debut episode was fun as she decided to mess with everyone to the point where they eventually decided to ban her entirely. Her arsenal of weapons is no joke. After her initial appearance she never quite gets a big role like that again but she is always around and tends to be more useful than some of the other students.

Then there is Terasaka who is the most annoying of the students and dare I say he may be the worst one? You can’t trust him for beans and strength is his whole thing but he would lose in a fight to Nagisa or Karma. His whole character just got nullified in an instant. I could brush that all aside if he wasn’t someone who was quick to betray the others but that’s just not the case here. As a result, his character gets a thumbs down.

Finally you have one of the big villains, Akira. This guy gets a decent amount of hype since he is one of the only characters to appear more than once. As a full fledged adult he makes for a difficult opponents for the kids to face off against. Karasuma or Koro could handle him no problem but it’s a different matter for the students. He even assembled a team of assassins which made for a fun mini arc. Some of them were definitely on the real crazy side like the guy who keeps munching on his gun but they all had skills. Akira comes off as really petty next to the other characters though as his life’s mission is to beat up on a kid.

Now, one thing with this show that sticks out more than most is you feel like the kids never truly have a shot against the adults. I’d say the reason for that is because the show is set up as a much more realistic experience than most Shounen titles. So these kids really are just kids. I mean they move with more anime speed than a normal kid of course but the adults still seem out of their level. With the assassins the show gives us a good reason why the fights went the way they did, but for the Akira fight I think you’ll always be a bit skeptical of those moments. I remember during the manga I kept thinking there would be a big time skip to where the main characters are adults but I guess there would need to be a good reason on why Koro just didn’t blow up the planet.

The power levels aren’t enough to change the score or anything but something that’s just worth a note. Either way the show establishes that Karasuma is still the strongest so there’s just usually a story reason why he can’t run in and save the day. Of course there are more characters I could mention but I would say these are the key ones. The next season should also introduce more characters as we still don’t know exactly what happened in Koro’s past. That should be a fun plot point and of course we need some closure for the principal. There’s still a lot of adventures to be had.

Overall, That’s the first season of Assassination Classroom. It’s a well balanced show with a colorful cast and a good amount of action. I’d call the series more of an adventure comedy as we see the characters try out different plans against Koro as opposed to a lot of big fights. That said, I guess those would fall under general action so that works as a genre as well. Their most impressive attempt was near the end of the season at the hotel resort where they set up a ton of explosives and even a TV as they tried getting Koro in a tight spot. It’s another reminder that he is just out of their league though. If you could just tone down the fanservice a good amount and improve Koro-sensei’s character then this show would be able to make it to the next level. Still, if you’re looking for an interesting anime to watch with a fun atmosphere then this is a good one to check out. Definitely be on the lookout for the hype principal.

Overall 6/10

The Promised Neverland Review


It’s time to look at a quick anime that came out a while back. Season 2 shouldn’t be far after though and with the manga being over they can really fast blast now. At 12 episodes this is a pretty quick anime and your classic seasonal type show. It makes for a nice quick watch with a compact cast. The show was pretty unique in its premise so it made some waves. While I wasn’t a big fan of the manga as the concept grew darker and darker in its execution, the beginning always starts off pretty ominous. I think season 1 was a pretty solid adaption with definitely a lot of notable moments within.

The show starts by introducing us to Emma and her friends at school. They live in an orphanage and don’t know anything about their parents. They have numbers tattooed on them but beyond that it’s a very ordinary home where they live perfect lives. The kids all eventually find foster parents before they enter their real teen years which is good too. One day Emma decides to follow one of the kids who is sent out along with Norman and then they find out the truth. They actually live on a human farm where the kids are sent off to be eaten by demons. As the oldest kids with the highest test scores, Emma, Norman, and Ray will be the next ones to be shipped out. Do they tell the rest of the kids, bump off Isabella, or try to escape? There are a lot of ideas but not a lot of time. The heroes will also have to try and keep a straight face in the meantime but will they really be able to do that?

This is definitely a horror anime. The kids know that their odds aren’t particularly good and finding out that you were born to be shipped off isn’t a great feeling either. There’s a lot of things that the kids just don’t know either. What exactly is this planet and how does it work? They can’t trust anything they learned at the school and it seems like escape will be nearly impossible as well. There are a lot of natural defenses to take into account as well and since they are just kids it’s not like they could fight off the demons either. They don’t have any true weapons either and there is a tracker built into each of the kids so the villains know where they are at all times. The deck is stacked against them so the show is mainly about their planning a way out of this.

The season adapts the complete arc and doesn’t really even end with a cliffhanger so it handles all of this rather directly. It feels like a pretty complete story even if there obviously has to be a season 2. The cast will definitely grow in the next season so you can eagerly await that. The main cast we have here is pretty solid though. First you’ve got Emma who is extremely determined and wants to save everyone. Her view is that they can’t escape unless everyone is safe. I feel like they toned down how crazy she can be a bit in the anime as the manga did a terrific job with her close ups. Still, she is still the same character here and does everything she can to make the plans succeed. Emma isn’t afraid of death or pain and will go to drastic measures to make sure things work out. As she is here, Emma’s definitely a solid character.

Then you have Norman who is easily the smartest kid in the class. He has a bit of a rivalry with Ray on this but I think it’s fair to say that Norman is always a step ahead. He finds out quite a lot during the season. He may not always beat Isabella in wits but always comes close so it’s neck and neck. I like Norman’s calm demeanor here even if he’s always got something up his sleeve. He’s also determined to make Emma right so his plans are built with that in mind. By throwing his plans on top of hers he makes them sound even better.

Then you’ve got Ray who is not quite as much of a “Gotta save them all” person as Emma. He looks at things scientifically on what gives him the greatest chance of escape. If he has to sacrifice others to do it then so be it. Naturally this is a very ruthless way of looking at things but you do have to look at the situation from his point of view. Emma wants to bring along kids who are only 2-3 years old with them on a journey through the forest that could last for months and they will be on the run from demons. While anime can help kids be a lot tougher than in the real world, there is only so much you can do with a 2 year old. Can you picture such a kid making this kind of journey? So Ray’s right in that sense that taking everyone would be pretty crazy.

In a way the best thing to do would be to bump off Isabella but at most that would only buy them some time. She has to make regular communications to the demons so if she suddenly stops then that will really raise some red flags on their side. That’s why escape is still the best bet but they’ll need a terrific plan to bring everyone together. As planning is one of the core focuses of the show you can rest assured that the plan is sound. A lot of thought goes into all of this and it ends up being pretty satisfying. If you think about it hard enough of course there are many ways Isabella should have been able to stop the kids. At the end of the day a big part as to why the kids get away with so much is her overconfidence. She thought she had more power than what she really did and also underestimated the kids quite a bit. That can definitely be a fatal mistake.

Isabella is still a good villain though. While she may have made some mistakes here, she’s had a long track record of doing well in the meantime. You can’t say that she didn’t do a great job when she’s maintained the place for so many years. She also has an interesting origin story showing the lack of choices you have in this society. Ultimately you end up being another one of the villains or you die out. There aren’t exactly a lot of rebel fighters out there. She’s still a villain as a true hero would have fought despite all of that though. Sister Krone is in a similar spot as she had to go through the same trials to get this far. After a point the characters just stopped worrying about others and started thinking about themselves. Krone really wants a win here so she can be back in control.

There are two other kids who get a main role in the form of Don and Gilda but they aren’t that great. I feel like they’re just here to get in trouble. There’s one scene where they decide to break into Isabella’s room just to stick it to Emma and friends. It ends up working out but that was such a petty thing to do and it could have literally gotten everyone murdered. Gilda also tends to panic quite a bit. These guys feel a bit out of their league next to the main characters. In some ways it’s not their fault since the main 3 happen to be super geniuses. Don and Gilda are technically still above average in intelligence but in this fight that’s barely even a consolation at the moment.

A lot of the fun in the show is thinking about the various arguments the kids make and who you agree with. There’s also a traitor subplot throughout the show that’s pretty interesting to follow. With all of the dynamics going on in the show there is always a lot of story to follow. Now as for who is right. Emma is naturally right morally since leaving anyone to die is a sacrifice. As it is, kids have been getting sacrificed left and right but you can’t change the past so you may as well change the future. That said, she doesn’t really have a concrete plan to do so. In that case taking Isabella out makes the most sense. In terms of probabilities Ray’s plan makes the most sense. The 3 of them leaving on their own would work pretty well. Then in theory you’ve still got about a year or two before you need to go back and save the rest. Of course sometimes a shipment leaves early so it’s a complete gamble either way. If your test scores are low you get shipped out a lot sooner as it is. If you had someone to protect then that would give some strength to leaving people behind but that isn’t the case so you do need to bring everyone. Better to all die together than 2 surviving instead of most right?

The animation is good. I wouldn’t say it’s anything great, but for a show like this you don’t need anything fancy. As long as the animation is solid you can still get across the horror vibes. The show likes its quick 3D looks as well which are fun enough. The whole thing feels very standard and since this is a pretty modern show that means it still holds up rather well. The real test will be once we get more fight scenes in a future season. Then we’ll see how the animators handle that. As for the soundtrack, I’d say that one’s pretty good. I like the opening song and the tunes during the episodes are suitably ominous. You’re not going to hear a lot of super happy tracks or anything like that of course. The soundtrack fits the tone which is crucial.

Overall, The Promised Neverland is definitely a pretty unique show. As far as the various dystopia futures go, this has got to be one of the darkest. There is really no backup for the heroes and not a lot of hope either. Still, they’ve made progress so in season 2 we’ll see how they use that. If you’re up for a dark thriller then this will be up your alley. It never gets violent or anything like that, it’s just dark because of how the kids are being eaten off screen and all. The show doesn’t beat you over the head with this fortunately so it doesn’t turn gritty. It’s just the premise of the show and Neverland runs with it. If you managed to watch the show without knowing this beforehand then the first episode is especially powerful although odds are that you’ll already know the twist before that happens. Usually even the promos spoil that part since it happens so early. The show builds up the tension through the atmosphere as opposed to crazy shock value or anything outside of that. You might quickly yell plot armor during the final episode when someone isn’t instantly murdered the way the last few were but I suppose it helps to build up the hype for season 2 as well.

Overall 6/10

My Little Pony: Pony Life


MLP has returned with a new series! It’s off to a fun enough start. The animation has taken a bit of a nosedive and I’m never a fan of going for 10 minute shorts rather than 20 but I think this one should manage to be consistently good. I’m hoping the series starts throwing in some fight scenes but either way I’ll be in it for the longhaul.

Overall 6/10

Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga Review


It’s time to look at the next installment in Blue Exorcist. This is a pretty unique season two because for starters it completely ignores the second half of the first season. That’s because the first season diverged and ultimately went to filler. It’s a pretty interesting tactic but one that makes sense and more titles should give it a try. That said, I don’t mind series going all the way back to the starting point because it means more adaptions of hype fights. That said, one problem here is that most of the characters have slid way back in terms of character development. It’s a solid show but definitely one that has its flaws.

The show starts with Rin and Yukio stopping a kidnapper from getting away. The guy seems rather skilled though and was able to easily best Yukio before escaping. This compounds with Yukio’s inferiority complex over Rin getting all the power and friends which causes a bit of a rift between them although Rin is oblivious and Yukio tries not to show it. They each go their separate ways as Yukio is called to a mission in the mountains while Rin goes with his friends to a temple mission. The problem is that nobody likes Rin anymore after the events of the forest arc. Even the super nice childhood friend seems to have turned on him.

Rin does his best to cope with this though. At the temple things aren’t quite as they seem. The two main factions are feuding with each other and the leader always skips meeting. They suspect he may be a traitor now which would be devastating. See, the temple is in charge of protecting two eyes because should they ever be brought together then a giant monster would appear and end the planet. Rin wants to help but he is not allowed to do so on account of his devil powers. Will the heroes be able to get past all of their individual dramas in order to help save the day?

As you can see, this season does bring up a lot of plot points from the past and they are necessary to fully get what’s happening here. The show has a lot of flashbacks though so you’ll be up to speed real quick. Here’s why part of the season can feel like a retread though. In the first season once it turned to filler, the series decided to delve into Yukio’s character quite a bit. It makes sense because the manga had been building up this plot since the start and if the anime was doing its own thing anyway they may as well finish it right?

In the first show Yukio briefly turned evil due to mind control and such and he finally got to properly have a talk with Rin. They squared away their differences and vowed to get stronger in their own ways. While the filler arc wasn’t all that great (Trying to turn the Devil into a sympathetic guy who didn’t know any better is still pretty crazy) this plot was handled reasonably well. It’s about at the same level as how the real one went although Yukio not flat out turning evil here is a plus.

The other plot was about Rin’s friends not trusting him after he saved their lives in the forest. (By the way the friends are pretty awful about this in every possible context. If Rin didn’t step up and fight the guy then they all would have been murdered. The friends are so petty the whole time that it’s crazy) That one was handled in the first show as well so the got back to being on good terms. This show has to go through all of that again since they are back to square 1. It’s not that the show does any of this poorly though. Other shows also handle the same plots over and over again with changes like the Fate series as you go through the different paths. It’s rare that you see it in a classic Jump anime though.

All right, that’s enough about the similarities. The whole thing is pretty fun to look at though. Ultimately it makes sense why the series would ignore it and do things the canon way. The series is only 12 episodes so it definitely goes by you in a blast. It’s very nostalgic seeing the old characters and part of what helps seal that effect is they grabbed all of the classic themes. The Blue Exorcist series had a terrific OST so this was a smart play. I’d liked to have seen more of Rin’s theme as it only gets played once or twice but he doesn’t get to fight much here so I suppose that makes sense. I also like the 90’s techno/jazz theme that plays. It’s hard to describe that one but it’s always sounded pretty great and gets you pumped for what’s about to happen.

The animation is definitely on point as well. I always like how they draw the blue flames here. They pop out at you and the same goes for the fire blasts as well. All of the shots look crisp and modern so I’ve definitely got no qualms about this. On a technical level the show definitely holds its own and maintains a consistent quality throughout.

Rin’s still a pretty solid lead. That’s a good thing because at times it feels like he is holding the entire show on his shoulders as far as the cast is concerned. He’s definitely the most interesting character and always puts up a brave front. One subplot here is that Rin has lost a lot of his confidence after his friends undermining him the whole time but he tries to never let this show. To an extent I feel like it was also the sword trolling him or someone preventing him from using it though. I feel like he should have been able to use it sooner. Regardless, Rin always dives into action and definitely handles the situations pretty well.

Shiemi is the main heroine here but she doesn’t manage to stack up as well as most. The reason for this is even she is unable to stay by Rin’s side and is a big reason as to why he has lost confidence. Later on it’s played more like she was too nervous to talk to him but it was hard for her to rebound from this. In comparison Izumo handles things a lot better. She’s already mean to everyone and isn’t afraid to talk to Rin throughout the adventure. She treats him the same way as normal and at least that helps Rin’s experience feel a little more normal at times. Izumo is also portrayed as one of the most skilled exorcists here. She is quick to help heal the monks and also thinks fast during the invasion. From the supporting cast she was definitely the best one.

Ryuji is more of a mixed bag but I would definitely put him on the lower side. He mainly just gets in Rin’s way and gets the lead into trouble on quite a few occasions. It would help if he could fight a bit more or something but most of the main characters can’t really fight for beans. He had his big moments at the end of the season since this is his arc so I think he’ll be a much better character in the next season. At least he ended strong right?

Konekomaru is definitely the worst character though. He’s the one most actively afraid of Rin and getting everyone else to fear the lead as well. The guy never really minds his own business. Look, I would cut the characters a little more slack if I could see why they were scared of Rin but I’m not really buying it. He totally saved them all. Konekomaru just needs to remember that. He’s also one of the most reluctant to go and help Rin when it counted.

Shima is also pretty sketchy although not specifically for Rin. The guy just never wants to risk his life so he’ll run for safety even if it means that all of his friends will die. There’s no real way to support him after something like that. I did appreciate that he was a little quicker to start being cool with Rin again though.

Yukio is still pretty jealous of Rin’s abilities for most of the series. He covers It up by acting calm and collected but as Shura pointed out that makes it a lot easier for demons to manipulate him. Todo plays a ton of mind games with him for most of the series although Yukio ultimately stays strong. He looks better than his first series self in that respect. I liked the magic trap that he used near the end of the series. It was pretty well thought out and at least helped him start to make a comeback. Todo was a supremely difficult opponent to stop so any measure that slowed him down is solid.

So right now I don’t really care for Yukio but hopefully he’ll be on the upwards trend now. He is still keeping secrets from Rin though so I can’t see that ending well. Mainly Yukio’s worst scene here was leaving Rin to die and even trying to stop him from using the sword. For a proper redemption arc we need Yukio to step in and save Rin next time or at least defend him when the chips are down. That’ll go a long way to raising him up the ranks.

Then we have Todo who is the big villain of the arc. The guy definitely does pretty well here as he holds off multiple exorcists and even eats two different spirits. This gives him incredible powers in addition to what he already had. The heroes really had a hard time taking him on to the point where he probably should have crushed them almost instantly based on the speed we saw from him. The guy was just out of their league and when you mix in his regeneration abilities this makes the matter even worse. He was a fun villain. Ultimately I don’t think that guy will be super well remembered but this series hasn’t really had many good villains so almost by default he’s my favorite villain in the series right now.

The show does suffer from a bit of fan service at times. For the most part it’s nothing crazy but it seems like the mentor’s only role at times. Shura’s whole attack on Mephisto is one of those scenes because everyone knew the plan had 0 chance of success. If anything it just makes her look pretty terrible. Is she really so scared of this guy? Why even pick the fight if this was out it was going to end? She also doesn’t look too impressive considering she’s a mentor since Rin is able to shake her a few times and in the final fight she helps a bit, but not a ton.

It’s always a bit dicey to have a villain like Mephisto working with the heroes when he’s way stronger than them and they know it. I don’t see how they can all get along so well. I don’t think the dynamic works to be honest. He puts them into a ton of danger and helps the demons out a lot. Why is the guy still here? While the heroes are very weak compared to the villains, I wouldn’t yet call it a hopeless situation for them. The reason being that there isn’t really much of a villain group yet. The villains just do whatever they want and usually almost beat the heroes. This random monster (Well the Impure King is a pretty cool name and I guess he’s not totally random but there could be a lot of other monsters like this guy around) is apparently pretty strong but for one monster to basically have the whole order in check is a bad sign for them. Without Rin the heroes would be doomed and they should really start to realize that soon.

We get quite a few characters from the two sects over at the temple although most of them won’t stand out. Mamushi gets a big role since she gets involved in the conspiracy. She appears to be a bit gullible the whole time but is certainly dedicated to the cause. I do think she had good reason to doubt that Tatsuma was on the level though. She was a fun character. Then you have Juzo who was my favorite character from the group. He had some good fire abilities and took more of a leadership role compared to the others. That being said, I do think it was a bit odd that he tried to stop Mamushi from saving the eye. At that point nobody knew who the traitor was, but it was about to be burned in flames and the whole point is that they need to protect it right? Seemed like an odd moment in the show and the defense for doing that was real weak. Finally we also have Tatsuma as a character with a big role but he’s pretty terrible from start to finish. The guy was just impossible to redeem by the end and his actions still make no sense if you ask me. Stirring up trouble and getting the sects to suspect each other of treason was not the right way to handle this.


Overall, It’s nice to see Blue Exorcist back. The manga seemed to start diving off the deep end and going nowhere fast but anime is a solid medium that can make things more exciting. The directing here seems solid so I’m sure they could pull more seasons off. It seems a bit unlikely right now since this one came out a while ago, but there’s always a chance for another season. Considering that this one had to work with almost no fights and was still entertaining I think the next one should be in a good position.

Overall 6/10