Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

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Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

Pokemon Generations Review

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It’s time to review the recent web series that Pokemon got. It was a relatively short show as it only had 18 episodes and they were each 5 minutes. It was a good show, but also very disappointing as I had been expecting something a little more grand. From the premise and the poster, I was awaiting a magnificent look at the best moments in Pokemon history, filled with a lot of great high budget fights. Unfortunately, that was not to be. There are little to no fight scenes to be found here so the series plays out like a commercial. Really, I feel like these were made to be little cutscenes inside of a Pokemon game and wouldn’t be shocked if they announced something like that in the future. It’s important to go into this series knowing this beforehand as you’ll enjoy it a lot more. There won’t be any fights, just think of the series as a commercial for the games.

The first segment is just an overview of what’s to come. We see Pikachu take on a lot of Legendaries and prove that he is the strongest Pokemon of all. It was an interesting way to start the series and I wasn’t against it since I love seeing Pikachu wreck everyone. Unfortunately, it did give the wrong impression as this segment did have a lot of Pokemon action. No full fights as they were all interrupted, but it was still epic. The second episode sees Looker attempt to capture Giovanni, but the mastermind had already escaped. It was a fun little sleuthing episode even if you knew from the start that Looker was doomed. He’s no Red and that’s the only person who can stop him. Looker actually appears quite a lot in the series so if it ever got a full anime, I could actually see him being the main character.

The third segment is easily the best one. It’s about how Blue took down the Pokemon League and became the champion, only for Red to arrive and dethrone him. While most of the fights are skipped over, we do get some nice trash talking and Blue’s voice actor does a great job in the role. The whole thing felt epic and it’s always good to see Blue getting his props. Especially since he didn’t look particularly good in Origins. Next up, we see Lance and Dragonite attack a Team Rocket base and they witness the Red Gyarados. This was another fun segment and Dragonite got a lot of personality. It’s safe to say that the villains stood absolutely no chance against an opponent of Lance’s level. He could wipe the floor with them without even trying.

Next up is the weakest one so far. Looker asks Silver to tell him where Giovanni is, but the kid doesn’t have any answers at the moment. It was also bad timing since Silver was getting ready to take on the Pokemon League and Looker was throwing him off of his game. The discussion is interesting enough, but since you know that the series isn’t very long in the first place, it really just feels like filler. Following that is a story about how Suicune, Entei, and Raikou originally started out as normal monsters and after dying, Ho-Oh brought them back as Legendary Pokemon. I was glad about the twist since the animal violence would have been terrible otherwise. The story is still a bit of a downer as the humans chase off the legendaries anyway. This segment was probably the most boring one as nothing really happened.

The next two segments are essentially flipped versions of each other as one deals with Kyogre and the other with Groudon. It’s not surprising that Groudon had the much cooler version as we see a trainer infiltrate the base and some really cool music is playing in the background the whole time. That part was the best part of the segment and even beat the main plot of Groudon’s awakening. The legendary Pokemon waking up was neat and then they destroyed the world, but it was more of a disaster scene than a fight so I was still hoping for some extra action. The music ensured that the Groudon segment was good though while the Kyogre one was a little underwhelming.

After that was the Deoxys vs Rayquaza segment. Finally, a segment with a big fight scene! Naturally, this was one of the best ones and perhaps it was the best aside from the Blue one. This fight was handled really well in the movie and I was glad to see it return here. Deoxys is easily still one of the best Pokemon out there. After that was a horror episode as a girl and her Chansey walk into a spooky mansion. It was a change of pace and wasn’t so bad I suppose, but the main character really annoyed me. She was scared of everything even though she has a Pokemon and likely dies in the end. Cmon….I expect that from horror movies, but not in Pokemon land where you have Pokemon fighters at the ready. I thought that the scenario didn’t make much sense.

Now we arrive onto the Dialga and Palkia plot. They get captured as per usual, but luckily Giratina is here to lend a helping hand. This was a fun segment and I did like that Giratina got the last laugh against the villains. Legendaries should always show the humans who’s boss in situations like this. They certainly have the power so there is no excuse not to humiliate the humans. The 12th segment had Heatran show up and take on Looker and a kid. It was a fight scene so that was neat and while Heatran isn’t the most interesting Pokemon to fight, he is still pretty tough. Looker showing up again also made the episode feel plot important.
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The next episode saw a bunch of the gym leaders come together to try and fight the region’s equivalent of Team Rocket. Naturally, the special ends before the fight can really get started, but it’s still a fairly neat premise. Usually the cliffhanger would be exciting, but it doesn’t work when you know that the next episode is just going to completely ignore it. After that was a segment where the world is frozen. This one was probably one of the weaker ones again. It had some nifty energy blasts and what not, but it’s the kind of segment that could have really used an extra battle scene or two. It just felt a little hollow.

Luckily, we returned to the action with the next segment as N showed up to try and save the world. He gets crushed, but at least we actually got to see the fight this time. I feel like he should have put up a better fight to be honest. The segment ends when the main character comes in as backup and that’s a good thing for the villain since he would have been doomed. This one was solid so it was followed up by a more underwhelming one. Lysandre tricks the world into thinking that he is a good guy by day while actually being a villain by night. The special doesn’t really go anywhere so it is the ultimate definition of a 5 minute filler episode. We are nearing the end now so episodes like this one are the kind that you do not want to see.

The second last episode sees a girl get a meta human suit and perform super feats. Unfortunately, she uses her skills for evil since she has been mind controlled. It was a good special although her Pokemon should have dodged the blow. Looker returned once again for his final appearance and showed that he still had some moves. Finally, the last episode was very underwhelming as it was the most disappointing episode in the whole batch. It starts off with some hype as a guy showed up to challenge the champion, but then cuts away to an incredibly boring flashback that lasts all the way through the special. Disappointment….that’s basically what the whole series boils down to.

Well, the animation is pretty solid for the segments. I suppose they were able to save a lot of the budget by not having fight scenes so it could be used for the environment and destruction moments. I’d like to see a whole series of this, but I suppose it would take a while. That’s why I would have settled for one well done 30 minute episode as opposed to 18 5 minute ones. Hopefully they do something like this soon as an Origins sequel or something. The soundtrack was also fun as it had a lot of good themes and some familiar ones. The show had fun experimenting with different genres and tones so that allowed it to use a bunch of different themes.
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Overall, You can kind of get the gist of what I think of the review from the tone alone. The show should have done a better job of marketing itself as a series of commercials rather than a revisit to the best moments in Pokemon. They wasted too much time on stories and flashbacks when they could have been used for fights instead. The Pokemon anime has more action on a week to week basis, which is too bad since I was hoping that this series would have focused on all the action since they could use a higher budget for the 5 minutes. Despite all the disappointment, it’s still a good show in its own right. It won’t last you very long of course as combined it’s only about an hour or so, but it’s a good little watch. At the very least, it should be a little nostalgic if you’ve played all of the games. I’m still behind on those, but I’ll catch up one day. The final takeaway that you should get from this review is that the directors, producers, and anyone who had a say in Generations should be fired ASAP and replaced with people who know what they’re doing. There’s no excuse for having a Pokemon anniversary series that is light on action. Now, the next big Pokemon product to look forward to is the reboot movie. I’m definitely pretty hyped for that one so hopefully it doesn’t let me down!

Overall 6/10

Transformers Rescue Bots Review

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It’s time to look at the recent Transformers show that may have finished. There’s always the chance that they could announce a new season at some point, but for all intents and purposes the show is over. It had a good run and seeing as how it is the longest Transformers show of all time, it left a good legacy. I originally started watching the show way back in 2011 so it’s been quite the ride. It’s a nice enough show.

A routine space mission goes wrong one day and four rescue bots fall to Griffin Rock. They are met by the Burns family and quickly realize that they will have to work together if they want to save the island from the many disasters that plague it. By work together, I mean that the humans call the shots and the Autobots help out as best they can. By the end of the show, several other Autobots appear and we even get some guest star appearances from bigshots like Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee.

One thing that you need to be aware of before starting this show is that it is aimed at a younger audience than the rest. What this means is that you can’t go in and expect a bunch of fight scenes. The show is really aimed at the same audience as Arthur or My Little Pony. There will be some danger scenes like a tree falling down or robots gone haywire, but typically that’s the extent of it. Occasionally there will be a real threat like a mad scientist and his robots for the really big episodes, but this show is more about friendship and morals at the end of the episodes.

It’s a show that is definitely better one at a time than in big marathon batches, which sets it apart from the average show. Watching it on my own probably wouldn’t be all that exciting and other shows like Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures were actually more engaging even if they weren’t as good in terms of quality. Still, you can find the fun in any show and at least you’ll get used to the characters the more you watch the show. Shows like this one are better to watch with other people so you can poke fun at it or do drinking games like taking a shot every time someone is super polite or passive aggressive. That happens a lot in the show since the Burns family has to be careful not to outright insult the townsfolk.

The animation is flash based or at least it looks as if it is. It’s definitely not all that good and I’m thinking that flash animation just has a very low ceiling. It can look clear, but it’ll never get above a certain point. So, I wouldn’t say that Rescue Bots has bad animation I suppose, but it would certainly be near the bottom of the scale. There are few shows that I’ve seen with worse animation and this could be bottom 3. There aren’t too many tunes to be found here, but at least they are memorable. Especially since the same danger theme played at the first commercial break for just about 90% of the episodes. After a while, you could easily anticipate the theme and predict exactly when it would show. There were a few other tunes as well and even if they screamed “Public Domain” music, they weren’t all that bad. They were passable and there’s only so much that you can do for talking scenes anyway since a big fight theme would have been out of place.
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Chief Burns isn’t the main character, but he may as well be. He’s the head of the family and always takes charge. He’s not afraid to defy the Mayor and he gives out the morals a lot of the time. Burns makes the hard calls and he’s probably the best character in the show. I still love the name as well since Burns is a really cool last name. Cody is the real main character and he’s one of the nicest kids that you’ll ever meet. He takes things in stride and can’t wait until he is old enough to have his own Rescue Bot. It’ll take some time, but at least he will have a lot of experience in the field by then right? There’s definitely nothing to really dislike about him. Kade is the hotshot who is sort of tough, but not very smart. He’s the character who usually gets humiliated so that the others can learn a lesson. His overconfidence would be a good trait if he could actually back it up from time to time, but he just gets defeated over and over and over again, which is a little sad.

Dani is the pilot in the series and she is always arguing with Kade about everything. While Kade is the one who talks tough, Dani is typically the one who actually is tough. It’s tough for her to balance her piloting job and being a rescue operator in town, but she gets the job done. Graham is the smart one of the group and he likes science so much that he actually finds it enjoyable to talk about. The others don’t agree about the merits of science, but they try to be understanding about it. Graham’s not quite as charismatic as the others, but he tries. Woodrow is the hardcore brother (or cousin, but I think it’s brother) of Chief Burns and his thing is that his voice is always super calm and almost sarcastic. He likes going on adventures and having fun as opposed to the very safe and isolated life that Chief Burns leads. It typically gets him into trouble, but Woodrow is a character that would have been a nice addition to the main cast.

As for the Rescue Bots, Heatwave is the confident leader and probably the best member of the group. He’s very serious, but this isn’t the right show for that so everyone pokes fun at it and forces him to mellow out. By the final episodes he has basically stopped putting up the front because it wasn’t getting him anywhere. Still, the team would be lost without him. Blades is the comic relief member of the group. He is scared by just about everything, but he does like watching a lot of movies. He keeps the team grounded and is always ready for fun. He’s not exactly my kind of character, but his antics can be all right at times I suppose. Boulder is easily the least interesting member of the main crew. He’s very strong so naturally that means that he is the delicate character. He likes nature and reading. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, but the other three have more interesting personalities. There just isn’t much to Boulder and he may as well be Bulkhead given how similar their designs are. Chase gives Heatwave competition for the best Rescue Bot member. He likes the old westerns and does his best to follow the lawbook to the letter. He’s a great law abiding citizen and you know that everything will be okay when Chase is on the scene. Nobody messes with him and Chase keeps the other characters honest. If they even think about doing anything that is morally dubious, Chase calls them out on it.

Blurr is one of the new recruits from the later episodes. Unfortunately, he was nerfed a little too hard in this show. His whole gimmick is that he’s super fast, but he loses a race to Quickshadow and just holds his own against Heatwave. Doesn’t this defeat the whole purpose of his character? He’s portrayed as a hothead who doesn’t like to follow the rules, but the heroes tame him rather easily so he ends up being a character with no real purpose. Salvage is a lot worse though as he is basically Boulder 2.0. He’s also a strong, but really delicate fellow who likes to build things out of junk so that he can prove to the others how everything has a purpose. He never really gets to do a whole lot and the show intentionally gave him the most annoying voice possible. Luckily, we did have one good new recruit. Quickshadow is essentially a James Bond homage and was even featured in this universe’s equivalent. She is deep undercover and shows up to test the Rescue Bots and provide assistance when necessary. She gets a lot of hype and lives up to it for the most part. Her hand to hand skills are at a higher level than the other bots so that’s why it’s a shame that we never got any real opponents for her to fight. That would have been a perfect way to show off her skills, but at least we got to see her embarrass the others in training exercises. Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee were also cool to see. Prime may have been a little unreasonable at times as he would just suddenly show up and bark out new orders at times, but I guess that’s how most of the bots would see him. The Rescue Bots did their best to follow his orders to the letter even if splitting up the gang was a little iffy. He also came in person to help them out once in a while. Bumble Bee’s appearances were also interesting as he transformed from Prime version to Robots in Disguise by the end. It was certainly interesting to see the sudden change in character personality and I can certainly say that I prefer the Robots in Disguise version. It seems a lot more genuine and is also more charismatic.
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Frankie is Cody’s best friend and she’s a kid genius. She appeared a lot less during the final seasons, but still had a moderate role throughout. She’s a nice character and is certainly a lot more likable than her baby sister. Frankie never got her own robot, but she did get a skateboard and an alternate persona so she could help out the gang from time to time. Her father, Doc Greene had a big role as his inventions are usually what ended up putting the town at risk. He has no time to apologize though because he is typically already hard at work building the next one. The voice actor did a good job of making him sound completely oblivious and proud of it too as he kept on making defective products. Morocco is the main villain of the show and the heroes actually have to resort to some morally dubious methods to take him down. Case in point, they mind wipe him and send him to the past so now he can live out his life as a nice person. Yeah….that’s totally shady and uncalled for. The heroes completely crossed over the line on that one and while the show glosses it over….I can’t find myself forgetting that anytime soon. It’s too bad since he was definitely one of the best villains. We had a Morocco doll who took over his role as one of the big villains, but it wasn’t quite the same. No shots intended at the doll…but I would hardly call it intimidating.

Myles and Evan were sub villains that showed up once in a while. Honestly, they didn’t do all that much at all, but I just liked to see them show up because they’re just ordinary teens who somehow cause a bunch of trouble. They break out of jail many times (How?) and they laugh a lot. I suppose I’d be laughing too though if I could outsmart and hack Autobots. That’s not a bad feat at all and these guys were always amusing to watch. Madeline Pynch is probably the biggest villain in the show aside from Morocco. She is rich and uses her money to obtain powerful weapons and skirt the law without repercussions. She has a freeze ray and an invisibility suit thanks to the Burns family not being able to keep them safe and she defeated the whole team at one point. Her overconfidence got the best of her though as she let the team grab the weapons back. She shouldn’t have lost that round, but the show made her a little too powerful. I mean, she even had a memory displacing weapon to trick the heroes with. The plan should have been FOOLproof, but she proved that it was not. Quint is a game hunter who matches wits against the Rescue Bots. He defeats and humiliates them several times over the course of the show in a tribute to the original G1 show where a hunter captured all of the Autobots. He’s a cool villain and I like the accent. His robots are actually pretty overpowered when they first appear as their barriers can easily trap the Autobots. This guy definitely had personality and spunk.

At 104 episodes, the show definitely had a lot of time to throw in many different plots. Since the majority of the episodes were stand alones, that’s almost 100 unique adventures. We got to see the heroes turn into Dinobots and Heatwave even got a boat form. There were other bots who would show up and even other scientists as well. Since this was in the Prime continuity, it certainly expanded the universe quite a bit. It is sad to see the show go since I would have liked it to have kept on extending the episode count. Still, I doubt anything will be surpassing it anytime soon. Getting to be this long is incredibly difficult for an American cartoon nowadays.
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Overall, You should check out Transformers Rescue Bots if this sounds like your kind of show. It’s pretty calming to watch and seeing the characters deal with everyday troubles in town should be nostalgic from the old Andy Griffith show. If you grew up in a small town like this one, then that could help as well. It can maybe be a little boring at times since there isn’t much action, but that’s where the cast comes in. They’ll either make or break the title for you, but hopefully the former. It’s probably the worst Transformers show by default, but it’s still not bad. I’m giving it a 6 because a 5 seems a little too low, but a 7 is definitely too high. It’s just right as the show has decent writing and there are no real negatives to speak of here. It probably is the best time for the show to stop though since the final episode decided to really shake up the status quo and that could have been a very risky move. Maybe we would have gotten some new characters though and that could have been interesting. The show was no stranger to Transforming though as season 1 was very isolated, but by season 4 we had a mini army of Autobots and space bridges to use for instant travel at a moment’s notice. The characters really got to experience a lot during their time on the island.

Overall 6/10

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen 2: Revenge Review

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It’s been a while, but it’s finally time to look at the sequel to the first Orphen show. Interestingly enough, this show took a dramatically different approach compared to the first one. While the first season was very dark, somber, and dramatic the entire time, this one shifts gears into a full on comedy. You can see what the writers were going for here though. In the first show, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to see the cast just hang out and have fun since there were always a lot of things at stake. With the world completely safe once more, it’s the perfect time to pit the cast in all kinds of wonky situations. For the most part, this works well, but some parts of the show really just make no sense. Plot points are brought up and then completely forgotten. It makes for an odd blend, but at the end of the day the show is fairly good. The first season definitely takes the win here as I did miss “hardcore” Orphen from the search for Azalie, but this title has a lot of great moments as well.

Orphen has been having a lot of strange dreams lately. He’s trapped in a cave and bad things always seem to happen. He’s chased by giants, laughed at by the unknown, or even attacked by monsters. The one constant is that whenever he wakes up, he finds the main heroine Cleao in his room to the dismay of both of them. The shenanigans continue for a while until a new character, Licorice shows up. She wants Orphen to come with her to the royal knighthood of honor chaps so that they can properly award him. Orphen refuses so she decides to follow him until he relents. The upside for Orphen is that she is backed financially by the group so now he can use her money and live a decent life instead of scraping for pennies.

Meanwhile, a Red Haired girl continues to follow them and plays the piano during the night. Her plot twist is really obvious and I guessed it as soon as she appeared, but for those who are not too familiar with the trope, it may take a little longer than that. There are also a lot of monsters which keep showing up and try to destroy Orphen from time to time. There seems to be a mastermind behind them, but who can it be? One thing’s for sure, Orphen and the others are not going to be getting a lot of rest this time!

As mentioned earlier, the show doesn’t really know where it’s going at times. Let’s take the first plot, where the two heroes keep waking up in the wrong room. This is never resolved. There is no actual reason for the characters to be sleep walking and if the show intended for this to be a pure comical subplot, then it was not handled well. During the entire show, you’re waiting for the revelation of what is causing this, but it wasn’t to be. We can’t forget Orphen’s dreams either. He gets them constantly and some of them are even used purely for comic relief and have no purpose. One of them does come true by the end, but what about the rest? Has Orphen’s imagination just started to run away with him in his old age? I dunno, it just felt pointless once again.

Finally, Orphen’s new magical symbols are also odd. As opposed to the first show where he could just send off a spell at will, we now get a visual of an odd looking circuit board. We can definitely assume that Orphen is drawing energy from this tech to use his magic. I had a theory going on for a while that this Orphen was a clone and that was going to be the big twist. That would have really been something and I think it could have been handled very epicly. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t to be I guess. It was purely an animation change that the show did for kicks. Gotta save the budget whenever possible right? There is certainly a decent amount of stock footage in this season.

That being said, the animation is reasonably good here. It hasn’t changed all that much from the first season, but it didn’t really need too. As it stands, everything looks to be on point. The fight scenes are always exciting and all of the character designs make sense. It’ll remind you of the classic 90’s days for sure. The soundtrack is pretty uninspiring, but we have 1 or 2 very catchy themes. The theme songs look pretty good animation-wise. I’d say that the first theme song of the original series is probably the best. As for the music of these intros, I’ll update this review with something on those once I listen to them again within the next day or two.

As mentioned earlier, most of the show is rather lighthearted and fairly aimless. While this may not sound good to the action readers in the room, it was rather nice to see the group just hang out and engage in witty banter. There are some shows where you never really get to see the heroes have fun like in DBZ so this is a welcome change. Let’s face it, Vegeta and Goku bickering could make for a lot of good episodes. This cast isn’t quite as dynamic, but they can do a good job so long as the two trolls and Orphen are the main focus. My favorite episode of this season actually wasn’t an action episode, but a comedy one instead.
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In this episode, Orphen gets cloned so that there are 4-5 other Orphens chasing him. Orphen even compliments this concept since the only one who can defeat him must be another him right? I can actually follow this train of logic. The fight scenes in this episode are a lot of fun and the dialogue is also rather strong. This episode simply could not be surpassed no matter how much plot they crammed into the final episodes. Some of those titles did put up a good fight, but none could match the brilliance of this event. If you thought that clone episodes couldn’t really be all that good, you’ll want to watch this one to reassess that statement.

The characters haven’t changed all that much since the first season as you’d expect. Orphen’s still the tough main character who is always ready to throw out some insults. He’s still a tough mage as well, but is portrayed as being a lot lower on the totem pole than usual. He is actually on the losing side of just about every serious fight in the series. He loses to all three of the main villains in one on one fights and ultimately only proves to be dependable against comic relief characters. I don’t think his fans will be too pleased at that part. I really thought that the writers didn’t give Orphen enough credit in this season. Maybe that will change if we ever get a season 3. He’s still a great lead though and I’d definitely say that he is the best character in the series.

I still have to give Volkan the runner up spot. He’s actually a really great comic relief character and puts most others to shame. He’s very consistent and never has a moment where you’re supposed to feel bad for him or respect his abilities. He plays the role of the comic relief guy right up until the end and that’s how it should be. He never loses his nerve and we’ll always see him try to make Orphen’s life more difficult. It would simply be odd if he ever switched from this tactic. I still don’t care for Dortin though. He doesn’t pull off the road nearly as well. His voice actor does a good job of giving him a very old/raspy voice, but that’s the only real positive for him. He really needs to get behind Volkan and help him out more against Orphen.

Majic is not nearly as terrible as he was in the first show, but there’s still little reason to root for him in this one. He’s still letting Orphen cheat his father out of a small fortune via the tuition when Majic isn’t actually learning anything. We had a whole episode about this and the moral was basically that Orphen is a terrible teacher, but Majic may as well continue to pay him out anyway. Not the greatest ending for Majic fans. He’ll have to really improve for me to like him more as a character.

As for Cleao, she’s still a good main heroine. It’s definitely fortunate for her that she has a super powerful dog in the form of Lucky. Even Orphen’s afraid of that little guy. She may not be able to fight all that much on her own and it can get old to see her quit the group so often, but at least she can be reasonable and her arguments with Orphen are always entertaining. Unlike Majic, she’s actually a very good supporting character who helps to push the show along. There are other characters from the first season who show up like Orphen’s child hood friend and the new leader of the spell castors, Azalie. Unfortunately, they don’t do a whole lot here and their roles aren’t great. You’d think that Azalie would get a lot of hype since she is one of the strongest mages in the world, but her quick cameos are just there to remind the fans that she exists. She doesn’t really get to do anything in the grand scheme of things. As for the child hood friend, his hobby of transforming into a superhero identity is still around, but beyond that he mostly spends his appearances getting beaten up or beating up on weaker monsters. There’s no real middle here and he can’t hold a candle to the stronger fighters. Neither can Orphen though so I suppose we couldn’t expect much more out of him.

Licorice is one of the newer characters and she gets a large role. Unfortunately, she is a pretty bad character. She wasn’t too bad at first as I didn’t mind her gimmick of always mentioning the Royal Knighthood. It could be catchy and she wasn’t bad. However, she started to get a lot worse once she started uncovering the truth behind her past. Suddenly, she would start getting very snippy with everyone and had a tendency of running off into the rain. She tried destroying herself 3 times or more and tended to get in the way of the heroes at all times. She lost any dignity she had by this point and ultimately the show would have been better off without her.

Erukarena is the final boss of the show and is an example of how you make a good final boss. She is a high above being who just so happens to look like a little girl. Don’t let her appearance fool you though, her powers are immense. She has super speed and a wide variety of spells to the point where she is able to take on McGregor and Orphen teaming up. They really don’t fare very well against her at all. She may look innocent, but takes great joy in making life tougher for everyone else. She may not have many goals or aspirations, but at least she makes sure that the heroes feel her sting. The design really worked well this time.

McGregor was the big villain for most of the series. (When he appeared anyway) He got to show off his skills quite a lot as he took Orphen down rather easily. He moves pretty fast for an old man. The show tries to make him a sympathetic character by the end as we find out a few plot twists about his past. It’s all pretty intriguing and while most of his decisions were good, it doesn’t really excuse the fact that he went off the deep end. Whatever the intentions may be, it doesn’t change the fact that McGregor was a complete villain by the end of all this. He was someone who needed to be taken down for the count. At least he made for a good villain though.

As far as the villains go, the final one is Flamesoul. Surprisingly, the show presented him as a greater magician than Orphen. The court room scene with Flamesoul interrogating Orphen was handled pretty well. He’s not the greatest of villains as he can be rather dramatic at times. He doesn’t know that Orphen was actually framed for murdering his mother so he seeks revenge throughout the series. He is definitely lucky to have an array of monsters to back him up, but he actually does a very good job. He came so close to completely getting his revenge here. I definitely liked him a little more than I thought I would by the end, but he does lose to the first two.

Finally, we have Esperanza. I would have liked her character more if she had stuck to playing the piano in the background. Instead, she gets a lot of development and is unsure of what she should do. Protecting Licorice is her main goal, but she also wants to take Orphen down which would be bad for Licorice emotionally. It’s definitely a tricky call either way as it will be tough for the two of them to get along. I also have to say that the kiss between her and Orphen felt very random and out of nowhere. That scene definitely had no real purpose if you think about it. Esperanza may have been mysterious, but unfortunately she was not a good character. I also happened to be playing Sword Art Online Lost Song at the same time as I watched this and that game had the very same twist as this title involving a mysterious red haired girl. It made the resolution to this plot that much more obvious.

Holding back this show from getting a complete 7 is that it did have a little more fanservice than it should have by the end. It’s nothing too drastic, but the little scenes here and there do add up. Most of the comedy episodes weren’t bad, but they were also pretty devoid of action, which widened the gap between this season and the first one. It was very close to matching the score, but in the end it just couldn’t pull it off. I’m sure that a season 3 would likely get the job done though.
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Overall, Revenge is a fitting title for this season as several characters have this motive over the course of the show. It’s not as fitting though when you find out that this season is mostly a comedy. The action scenes do look really good when they show up of course, but it does take quite a while for them to really get going. Once you’re in the climax, you get a glimpse of how epic the show could have been had it stuck to this genre. We do have the first season for that though. If you like the characters then you will still enjoy the show regardless as the comedy is handled rather well. Had some plot points actually ended or been removed entirely, the show would have been even better. As it stands, I’d certainly recommend this show. The franchise may appear to be about 95% dead, but there’s always a chance that we will get a movie or another show someday. Never stop hoping for that sequel!

Overall 6/10

Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Review

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After reviewing the legendary Batman and Superman shows, it’s time to look at something that’s on a lower level. The Hulk show is essentially in the current Marvel show continuity, which means that you can expect a whole lot of comedy with a touch of action at some points. It doesn’t work as well as Ultimate Spiderman or Avengers Assemble, likely because the characters aren’t as interesting. It’s not a bad show and still looks good when placed next to Pac Man, but I can’t really say much for it. Ah well, it made for some good times.

The show ran for 2 seasons and actually had a bit of a long running plot. Rick Jones was turned into A-Bomb due to gamma exposure and one thing led to another so he became the Hulk’s teammate alongside Red Hulk and She Hulk. He decided to start a webshow which would prove that the Hulks are actually heroes. A mysterious being known as Skaar appears and is defeated by the heroes so he joins the team. The 4 of them stop many local threats, but there is typically a mastermind in the shadows. His name is the Leader and I hope you like him since the guy will be a major recurring villain throughout the entire series. The heroes humiliate him in every way possible, but he never stands down so you’ve gotta like his determination. Another plot that comes back a lot is the Kree as Ronan is always trying to get revenge against the Hulk and even the Avengers have to step in at one point.

Depending on how much you buy the whole quantity vs quality, you’ll like the fact that the Hulk show has a lot of guest stars. Some of them actually look good too so that’s definitely a nice plus. They certainly help to spice the show up and provide us with a little variety. Without the guest stars, the Hulk show would likely not be nearly as interesting. As with the Superman and Batman show reviews, let’s take a look at some of the good and bad episodes here.

I’d say that the opening two parter was good as we got to see Hulk fight Skaar and there was certainly a lot of action. Another good episode was when the Hulk’s personality switched so that he became an intellectual who didn’t fight except as a last resort. We got to see the Hulk think his way out of his problems, which was a nice twist and blew the Leader’s plan away. A few of the other nice episodes which didn’t involve guest stars included a challenge by the Titan Xemnu, as he fought all of the Hulks. His physical power was incredible and the fight was actually quite good. Likewise, I liked a roller skating episode that came shortly afterwards as the heroes got to test their skills.

Most of the episodes with guest stars were naturally a lot of fun. One of the highlights was when Ghost Rider appeared to drag Red Hulk to Hell. It was an intense episode and Ghost Rider was definitely given his due respect. He looked very powerful as he should and was no nonsense. The Avengers get to help out in the final two part episode against the Kree. The episodes were a little light on actual action scenes, but it’s always nice to see the Avengers show up and remind us that continuity can be real. It’s like jumping into the Avengers Assemble show.
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The Guardians of the Galaxy also showed up a few times and it’s always nice to see them. They even got to be in a Christmas episode and there aren’t too many shows which let Christmas appear anymore so that was neat. I think all shows should have a Christmas episode at some point. Dr. Strange helped out against Dormammu and his Mindless ones. Those Mindless ones would eventually appear in Avengers Assemble and Ultimate Spiderman so they definitely get around. Even the Silver Surfer showed up in one episode to fight off some nightmares. His voice was admittedly very anticlimactic and not one that I would have chosen for the character. Still, I always liked the Surfer so seeing him back in animation again was certainly cool. Spider Man was also around a few times and he even got to take on Venom in one of the episodes. It was definitely neat to see the Wall Crawler show up and he always makes for one of the best guest stars with his epic quips and constant readyness to show up the Hulks.

Deathlok and the Inhumans also appear in the series. Things get a little dicey for Black Bolt and his friends as they get trapped within a dome, but the Hulks are always ready to help out. The fight with Deathlok was also fun and his guns sure pack a punch. That fight should realistically be a cakewalk for the Hulk, but we’ll just say that he was holding back. The Thing helps out in one episode although his rivalry with the Hulk doesn’t quite work as well when the Hulk is in full control like he is here. It’s just there, but it doesn’t feel as natural. Aside from being on the Avengers, Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man all get episodes in the series. Iron Man probably has the best role as he mostly sticks in character although his defenses shouldn’t be able to be hacked so easily. Captain America gives up on hope with his episode very quickly, which was more than a little iffy.

The worst would tragically have to be Thor. In one episode, the Leader becomes the All Father so Thor and Loki decide to serve him regardless of how evil he is. Apparently, they must follow whoever is on the throne as if they were from the Shiar. That’s completely out of character for Thor and it was just odd. The writers clearly didn’t know what to do there.

One of the episodes that definitely wasn’t very good was when the Hulk decided to live underground because the mole people were his true friends. It was pretty hilarious to see how easily Hulk was willing to ditch the surface dwellers, but it still didn’t make any sense and any episode with the Mole Man will typically get a thumbs down from me. Mission Impossible Man was another miss episode. I definitely don’t care for the Impossible Man as a character and this certainly did not increase his chances of being a likable character. We also can’t forget the Planet Hulk two part saga as Ego The Living Planet is involved in a huge twist, which was not a good one. There was also more crude humor than usual to be found there.

I’d say that most of the Hulk episodes were decent. The only bad ones were really the episodes that overdid it with the humor. That just happened to a lot of season 1 episodes as they would sound good on paper and then get a little gross while watching. Season 2 improved on this, they never became perfect, but you could actually go through some episodes without major crude humor attacks. That was a start, but the series never got to see if it could really go on a role.

Time to talk about the characters. Hulk is the lead and he’s definitely very heroic. You wouldn’t know it at first glance, but he really cares about everyone’s safety. Hulk’s a very selfless hero and also quite intelligent as this incarnation seems to have Bruce’s smarts along with his typical strength. He rarely ever enters into a rage and is always portrayed as the most capable hero while also being the strongest. Hulk’s essentially the perfect lead. He may make a mistake once in a while, but Hulk always gets the job done, even when the other heroes don’t believe in him.
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She Hulk doesn’t like the cold, but aside from that she is always one of the more reasonable characters in the show. She has a very inconsistent rivalry with Red Hulk that shows up once in a while. She Hulk may not be as strong as the Hulk, but she helps to remind him not to lose control at certain points and she always has a witty remark at the ready. Red Hulk is essentially a one dimensional version of Vegeta who tries to act as tough as the Hulk even when he knows that the Hulk is actually the stronger, smarter fighter. He is always upstaged, but he continues to talk tough in every episode so I suppose that he deserves some props for that…I guess.

A Bomb is the comedy member of the group so he’s always thinking of some quick lines to remind everyone why he’s so tech savvy. He can turn invisible, which is a great trick, but this is Rick so he doesn’t use it as well as he should. He’s a fairly likable member of the group, although I prefer Red Hulk and She Hulk. The worst member of the team is easily Skaar. Skaar is basically here for the crude humor jokes and they can get quite disgusting at times. It’s best to just forget about him as he never contributes to the show and just brings it lower and lower.

As for the villains, the Leader is certainly the main one in the show. The Hulks won’t rest until they’ve thoroughly humiliated him in every sense of the word over and over again. They force him to plunge their toilets and work at a fast food joint among other things. The Leader puts up with it because he wants to be ruler of the world someday, but it is pretty embarrassing for his fans. His plan with Skaar was also poorly thought out to the point where you will wonder what the point of it is. His whole “Query..etc etc, Answer, etc etc” gimmick was pretty neat though. This is mainly just because the Leader’s voice was spot on. He sounds bored with every line that he utters and while the other villains also push him around, the Leader never loses his confidence.

As for the Abomination, he’s essentially a stronger version of the Leader. He doesn’t get quite as many good lines, but he almost takes down the team a few different times and he even took over the base at one point. Abomination can be a little generic, but he was certainly given more credit here than in Avengers EMH so that’s a good thing. He’s finally almost on Hulk’s level in strength like he’s supposed to be. He even took over a town, which was very…interesting to say the least.

Normally, I like to talk about how good the animation is, but I can’t really say that this time. Whoever draws the character does not know how to draw teeth, as they are simply too big and stand out way too much. Think of the classic shows like Justice League, Spectacular Spider Man, or the old Transformers show. Do you remember the teeth? Naturally, the characters had teeth and smiled sometimes, but you didn’t notice a giant pair of teeth every time they talked. That’s what happened in the Hulk show and it can be quite distracting. The fight scenes can be decent when they happen though and the character designs are good. It’s similar to how Accel World’s animation was terrific, except for the human characters. As with this show, it’s a big enough negative that you have to take a double take. I’m going to give the Hulk show a bit of a thumbs down here, but it has its moments.

As for the soundtrack, you’ll probably forget it right away. This isn’t the kind of show where you will typically remember the music. That being said, I do remember Red Hulk’s theme because it plays whenever he fights or has a meaningful scene. It’s essentially a generic “tough guy” theme, but that doesn’t stop it from being decently good. At least it was memorable and maybe that’s all I could have asked from it. The show did need a theme song though. I don’t see why everyone is ditching the theme songs nowadays. They were classic and theme songs help to take a show to the next level!

One unintentionally humorous thing from the show was that the very first episode had a plot hole. It ended with Rick being taken to the base to heal, but in the second episode, Hulk never actually made it to the base. Whoops…heh heh. It’s something that you would expect from the Hulk show, but at the same time, you didn’t expect it to happen so soon. It had a retro vibe to it I suppose, but it’s something that you’d think the writers would have noticed. Especially since it aired as a two part event.

While the Ultimate Spiderman show has the gimmick of Spiderman constantly breaking the third wall and stopping time, Hulk goes for a more practical option. At the end of every episode, he’ll sit down in front of the camera and explain that episode’s moral in case you missed it. The messages are more inspirational and heartwarming than My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. Now, that’s a little bold to say as My Little Pony has some of the best messages out there, but Hulk teaches you about caring for your family and teammates, ignoring any bad qualities they may have and focusing on the good, how problems shouldn’t always be solved by violence, trusting in your teammates, and dozens of other great morals. It’s never handled very subtlety, but sometimes that’s a good thing. Being able to talk about these things with a straight face is a good thing and the Hulk show is great for impressionable kids you are watching the show.

One of the things that really bogged the Hulk show down was the unfortunate crude humor and the uninspired dialogue. While the crude jokes are not as frequent as Pac Man (That would almost literally be impossible) they can definitely get pretty dicey at times with a lot of sneezing and potty jokes. They force the Leader to live in the bathroom for a while and the toilet is clogged so he has to try and unclog it. It gets preeeetty dicey for him to say the least. If there is a crude humor joke to be thought of, it’ll be in the show and it certainly gets old. The obvious puns and gags from A Bomb and the others can be good as long as they stick away from that area. Ah well, I guess the show didn’t want its solid seven.

Without that, the show would have been decent. It would have been similar to shows like Avengers Assemble and Ultimate Spiderman. I would never go as far as to call them great shows, but they were still fun and add to the mythos of the characters. I’m still really glad that those titles are around and I can’t say the same for the Hulk title quite as easily. Even this upcoming rating that it got is very close as you can make a decent argument for one star lower. I think it was just good enough, but it was definitely on the edge.
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Overall, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. is a show that had potential. It’s essentially a Marvel version of Batman Brave and the Bold, but with less guest stars, sloppier animation, and inferior writing. Also less of a soundtrack, but that’s to be expected. It couldn’t quite keep up with the Avengers or Ultimate Spiderman. It should be really thankful that it got a season 2 as that saga certainly helped the show improve. Otherwise, I’m tempted to say that it could have gotten a 5. Still, there were enough positives for me to call it a decently good show and I’d recommend it to Hulk fans who wants to watch some fun action. That being said, you’d be better off watching the 90’s Hulk show or just going for Avengers EMH. I’m confident that Guardians of the Galaxy will beat the Hulk show so maybe everything will start to look up from here…maybe. Also, make sure that you stick around for the moral at the end of each episode!

Overall 6/10

Slayers Try Review

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It has been a while, but I am finally back with a review for the third Slayers series! I enjoyed the first series and then the second upped the ante in just about every way. Slayers Next will likely be remembered as the pinnacle of the Slayers franchise, but there is still more to come. Slayers Try…tries a little too hard to be a mix of Slayers and Slayers Next by adding some powerful threats, but also trying to go back to the days of random adventures like in the first series. It is a mix that backfires quite a bit like GT, but still ends up being a good show.

Lina Inverse and her gang of heroic crooks are fairly happy about how their latest victory went. They decided to split up for a while and maybe they would bump into each other at some point in the future. Well, this happens sooner than they may have expected! Aside from Sylphiel, the gang meets up with Zelgadis who is still trying to learn the secret of how to transform himself. He’ll never accomplish this goal, but at least he is still trying. Zelgadis decides to stay with Lina and pals after they meet a mysterious figure who goes by the name, Filia.

Filia tells the heroes that they are destined to save the world! Lina refuses, but Filia explains that the heroes are her last hope as all of the best heroes don’t want to do this task. Lina and the gang are forced into accepting the quest under threat of imminent destruction (Lina’s sister is too powerful for them) and they must now….stop this threat. The problem is that they have no idea how to stop the danger that is approaching since the heroes don’t even know what kind of trouble to expect. They only have Filia’s guesses and intuition to guide them! I may as well say that the threat is caused by Overworlder’s (gods) who seek to change the status quo and unleash ultimate darkness across the world!

Typically, it only takes me one paragraph to describe the plot, but a lot has happened so two was necessary here. The lack of plot can be a little eerie, but it works into Try’s gameplan. It want to be episodic like the first series, but with serious stakes like the second one. This is still a dicey mix to achieve and I should explain why it doesn’t work out. The classic way to handle this would be to have the episodic parts for the first half and then to throw in a plot. This has worked in many shows like Trigun, Cardfight Vanguard, Digimon Savers, etc. The problem is that Try threw in the plot as early in as episode 1 and then ditches it towards the middle of the show. We get 6-15 filler episodes in the show.

All right, let’s not guess here. A quick Wikipedia search tells me that we have 7 “filler” episodes. The quotations are necessary as they technically have canon elements. We have a 2 part episode involving a holy grail weapon, which shows us that dark magic can be destroyed for the first time in the series. It is what inspires Lina’s final attack on the monster in the final episodes. 2-3 of the other filler episodes involve finding the characters after they failed in the fake climax, but I would still count them. That’s also not counting the episodes that were 15-18 minutes of filler with a plot heavy beginning/ending.
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So, this really disrupted the pacing. The episodes where the heroes were on the boat were easily the worst ones. Slayers has always been a roller coaster series of ups and downs, but it has typically been more steady than this one. Try’s best episodes rank up there with the best of Next while the worst ones are some of the worst in the franchise. Not really because of anything relating to content, but they simply felt boring and unnecessary. Case in point, the two part episode about getting 2 Kingdoms to make peace with each other. I feel like we’ve seen this plot so many times already and I really didn’t understand what the point of it all was. It destroys whatever tension you had thanks to the villains showing up.

Luckily, that’s where the good episodes come into play. For just about the whole series, I was positive that this show was going to get a 6. Then we got the good climax, which made this more of a real battle. The fights in this series could take up a whole episode at times, which was great. The final batch of episodes is really one big fight that keeps on restarting and it is good to see the feats from both the heroes and the villains. There is no shortage of action and excitement in the climax of the series and we also got a nice batch of fights during the middle of the series as well. During these two high points, you would never be able to tell that this was the same series that we had started with.

Lina Inverse is the main character and she is once again leading the charges against those who would stand in her way. As a human, Lina is essentially the enemy of all other races so she needs to have a strong personality to combat these threats. Lina has also grown more powerful over the course of these adventures. While she used to not be able to deal any real damage to the big threats, now she has two aces up her sleeve. The Ragna Blade and the Giga Slave. These two attacks have been shown to work on almost any opponent with virtually no exceptions. It likely couldn’t completely KO a Dark Lord (The Blade anyway) but these attacks have allowed Lina to stay on the offensive. Her speed is not increased and I’ll mention that a little more towards the end of the review, but this is still a great improvement. Now, she can back up her tough talk!

Lina’s endearing personality is what makes her a great lead. She certainly won’t take any insults from someone without a fight. Whether it is an ally or an enemy, she will quickly unleash her full power. Lina is still not your average hero as she will occasionally blow up villages and mountains by mistake, but she does end up saving the world so hopefully it all balances out. Slayers wouldn’t be nearly as interesting without her in the lead.

Gourry is Lina’s partner and he’s always been a very interesting character to watch even if he is very unlikable. It is a bit of a tricky puzzle eh? The first episodes of this show continue to prove why he will never be likable, but at least he does provide the show with a lot of its humor. He never understands the gravity of a situation, but that doesn’t stop him from trying his best. Gourry always has his game face on and with his Sword of Light, he can deal some heavy damage to just about anyone. He did go up against Valgaav after all! He’s about the same from the past two series, which is good. If they made him likable, then that would be even better.

Amelia’s role here is certainly smaller than in the first two series. She is still a member of royalty, but she doesn’t get her own adventures this time. She’s simply tagging along for the ride like Zelgadis. She’s still a nice character and she gets her hits in at times. It’s hard to say who the weak link of the team is at this point as it is between her and Zelgadis. It is very close, but she tries her best and fills the team with optimism. They certainly need at least one hero on the team right?

Zelgadis continues to lose more and more of his dignity. I’d bet dollars to donuts that the writers for Try did not like him as a character. He is literally used as bait, an anchor, and simply tossed around when it is time for jokes. He may have been a decent character in the original series and almost decent in Next, but now he’s just a really bad character. I find it almost impossible to like him. It is too bad since he gets a lot of scenes that are supposed to make you say “Snap, this guy’s cool!” That is not my reaction to the scenes and I can’t think of a single moment where Zelgadis actually did a critical thing here. Not a single scene……his fans will not be pleased.
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Filia is the new addition to the group and she ends up replacing Sylphiel. She is a gold dragon and her powers are impressive during her first appearance. As a gold dragon, her speed was so great that none of the main characters could land a hit on her. (An accurate depiction of speed…impossible!) Unfortunately, that’s where the buck stops as she is not really useful against any other opponents for the rest of the series. She evidently has some useful abilities like super strength and her spells, but the enemies are always one step ahead of her. It’s too bad as the exact same thing happened to Sylphiel.

As far as personality goes, she has a little Amelia in her. Filia thinks of herself as a bit of a hero so she is always dismayed when the heroes engage in criminal activities. She also does a lot of soul searching as the series goes on because of what her fellow golden dragons did. Perhaps she takes this a little too personally as she had nothing to do with most of their evil deeds. It is regrettable, but she doesn’t need to lose all hope over it. She nearly jeopardizes the final battle as she proved to be indecisive. Her rivalry with Xellos is fun though and while she is no match for him in a fight, perhaps she can defeat him in the battle of burns. (Burns=Insulting an opponent so well that you metaphysically burned them) As far as the main cast goes, it is: Lina>>Amelia>>Filia>>Sylphiel>>Zelgadis>>Gourry>>>>>>>Xellos. So, Filia’s rank isn’t all that bad. She could certainly better, but her personality fits in well with the team and doesn’t get old quite as quickly as Zelgadis’ gimmick. It’s also good to have a little more muscle power on the team.

Ah…now it’s time to talk about Xellos. A seriously disliked him from his very first appearance. While he will likely never look quite as bad as in Next, he’s still not my kind of character. For starters, he is constantly betraying the heroes to advance on his own goals. He is a monster through and through so he does remind the heroes that they should never trust him. Just because he makes that clear from the start, doesn’t make it any less sad when he betrays them again. Xellos has physically attacked the team during their scuffles and while he typically holds back so they aren’t very injured, he has come close to destroying the world. The heroes really need to treat him like a total enemy and stop pulling their punches. The sad thing is that Xellos could easily destroy the heroes in an instant if he so desires. He is really just toying with them and that can’t help the egos of the heroes all that much. As a villain, it can be fun to see Xellos act so smug and insult all of the other villains, but I wish that the show would totally keep him on the villain side. It would make him much more bearable. Still, it we’re just talking about this series, he is not that bad. I’ll never consider him as a villain though. How would the rankings change if we just counted this series? I suppose that he would jump over Gourry and Zelgadis. It’s possible that he could also pass Sylphiel, but it would be close.

All right, it is time to talk about the best villain in the show. He is also potentially the best character in the series as well. I’m talking about Valgaav! Valgaav is a mix of monster and dragon so his abilities are quite formidable. He is one of the only opponents to be on the winning side against Xellos and he takes on a good portion of the cast at once. That is before the final power up that he gets, which made him virtually unstoppable. He is a villain who had a tragic past and he loves jumping into peril. He’s simply my kind of villain and he acts like other all stars. (Grimmjow comes to mind) All of his fights are interesting and I’m glad that he didn’t decide to listen to Almayce like the average pawn. If Valgaav wanted to do something, then he would just go and do it! He had a nice blend of emotional moments as well as intense ones. Really, when it all boils down to it, Valgaav is probably the best character in the franchise. I thought about it for a bit and there is really no better character. It is a shame since he will likely never appear again, but at least he got a grand role in this series. Thanks to his final power up, you can definitely make the claim that he is the strongest character in the series. The Lord of Nightmares may contest that though. Valgaav got to prove that he was stronger than the other three villains, which is a good enough start for me! Maybe we’ll get a spinoff/prequel about him someday..maybe. (His origin isn’t exactly something that I’m very interested in though so I’d want it to take place right before Try) Valgaav also gave us the very first, big fight of Try so his debut was a very memorable one.

Almayce is the big villain for most of the series, but it is safe to say that he overestimated his power. He’s actually weaker than the other three big villains of the series although it seems like he could potentially still defeat Xellos. So, maybe he also outranks two of the other opponents, but it is hard to say. His design is great and he looked like a very menacing villain for a while. The problem is that he doesn’t know where he stands. On one hand, he is certainly a villain as he is constantly hurting people and endangering lives. On the other hand, he is trying to save the planet while getting rid of Dark Star…..I’ll just count him as a villain.

Because he is constantly switching sides, Almayce loses sight of what is happening and that’s when the villains make their move. Almayce went down rather easily even though he should have been expecting someone to destroy him. He was causing trouble for both the heroes and the other villains. It would have been cool to have seen him fight more, but he still made for a fun boss to oppose the heroes.
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Erulogs joins the fray towards the end of the series along with Sirius. It was odd to see him join in as the series was already heading to a close, but the more villains the better right? I liked him more than Sirius, less than Valgaav, and slightly more than Almayce. His abilities were very impressive as the heroes could not hold a candle to his power. He felt like the average DBZ villain and that is always a good thing. It is too bad that he didn’t get more of a role.

It was still bigger than the role of Sirius though. Sirius is the more rational of the two villains and he wants to learn as much as he can. He also doesn’t mind sparing the Earth as long as it won’t hurt his chances of survival. He is a villain that the heroes can work with and his abilities are still impressive. He doesn’t seem to be as tough as Erulogs, but he is still tough enough to keep the heroes back. While his design was not too good, his personality made him a decent villain.

It is worth mentioning the Dragon King Elder because he is so terrible that it becomes laughable towards the end. Not literally as this guy did single handily bring two different species of dragons to their extinction. (Filia may be the only dragon in existence anymore. Certainly the only Gold one left and the ancient ones are gone as well) The Elder wants the gold dragons to rule over all, but his life comes first and foremost. He is defiant to the end as he dies while explaining that he regrets nothing and he would do it all over again. He betrays his heroes to the villains and doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of common sense. It is regrettable that he became the leader of the Golden Dragons since he definitely did not have their best interests at heart.

Dark Star is the big villain for this series and he lives up to the hype. It is always fun to meet another Dark Lord from the tree of power. Shabranigdo is still the most impressive beast, but Dark Star is no slouch in the power department. Simply by flapping his wings, he can bring the heroes to the verge of death and he can shoot a variety of energy blasts. Dark Star’s flight speed is incredible and he’s a known planet destroyer. Everything about this villain is cool and hie design is actually like the symbiote from Marvel. At least the face resembles Venom. Dark Star is virtually unstoppable and his only weakness are the legendary weapons of light. Without them, you can essentially confirm the destruction of your planet. Spells don’t hurt him because Dark Star’s soul is in another plane of existence so physical attacks are the only way to challenge him. Dark Star made for a great end boss to the series and he’s probably the second best monster villain behind Shabranigdo.

Aside from the serious villains, we also got some low ranking ones to mention. Jillas was mostly played for laughs, but he actually got a serious subplot towards and the end and it hit you right in the feels. (Feels=Emotions. So, if something hits you in the feels, it’s like metaphysically hitting your sad or happy emotion and triggering that feeling inside of you. That’s how I’ve always thought of it anyway.) He has to leave his family at the end to help defend the planet and he also decides to finally move away from his thoughts of revenge. While most of the characters in the series have magical abilities, Jillas is stuck with his sheer intelligence. He is good at making bombs, but that certainly won’t carry him very far against the kinds of villains that are present here. He was fairly likable though at times and he was much better than his partner.

Gravos is an ogre type of demon and he never becomes likable. The writers don’t even try to make him sympathetic aside from an incredibly brief origin story. He means well I suppose as he is just following orders, but he isn’t nearly as interesting as Jillas. At least Jillas has his motivations and desires to keep him going, but Gravos is more of a two dimensional villain. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t exactly help me like his character either.

While the series is typically very light toned, there are a few moments of violence that clash with the rest of the series. The battle between Xellos and Valgaav was pretty brutal and likewise for the origin stories of Jillas and Gravos. This happened in the previous two Slayers series as well as everything would be very chipper until a sudden violent scene makes you take a double look. It’s nothing over the top though and it is typically quick so you don’t need to dwell on it, but the violence is certainly around. The dragons get extinct…twice, and they certainly don’t go down without a fight. Xellos vs Valgaav is still the one that will stick out the most simply because the show still plays Xellos off as a hero of sorts and this is certainly not heroic behavior. He is a monster and he is technically a villain, but the heroes barely treat him as such.

It is also about time for me to quickly address the plot hax that is present here. Now, this is a problem is virtually all forms of media and in almost all titles. Still, the plot hax is especially prevalent here as Lina and her friends are a group of humans who are trying to stop extremely powerful forces. No matter how many great spells they get like the Ragna Blade, there is no way that Lina and friends should last a minute against such powerful foes. Almost all of the high level monsters and gods are shown to move at hyper speeds. Lina is still a human and can’t run much faster than a normal one. At most, she is Captain America level in speed and power. She should still get speedblitzed at the beginning of every match.

The Slayers verse seems to place a lot of emphasis on physical power and none on speed, which is a little misguided. Raw power does not matter if you cannot hit the opponent and that’s my main problem with the title. Lina should be way too slow for any of her attacks to be useful here and she still manages to get in some good hits at times. It’s just a little odd and certainly unbelievable, but it is simply the route that the show has gone. Perhaps the writers feel that Lina and her pals would be less relatable if they had special powers aside from their spells. It’s their choice I suppose.

The animation is a step down from Next, but it still looks good. I’m assuming that the budget was likely reduced, but the series still has enough juice in it for some epic action scenes. The rest of the series is just a little more pale and dated than the vibrantly colorful Next. The fights are the important part though and the long action scenes are as good as you could have hoped for here. The heroes give it their all now that they can finally fight a little more: Gourry with his improved Sword of Light mastery, Lina with her Ragna Blade, Zelgadis with his sword, etc.

There’s not much to say about the soundtrack since it is the same as in the previous two shows. As for the theme song, it is all right, but it could be better. It is just not as exciting and moving as it could have been, but it is not a bad theme song either. Perhaps the end themes of the Slayers movies have simply spoiled me as they would certainly work better as a theme song than what we got here. The theme song is also a little misleading. As the overall soundtrack has not changed, Slayers Try sounds just as good as the first two installments.
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Overall, Slayers Try is a good series. I was hesitant to give it the full 7 as it did have its share of issues with the pacing and just not being quite as fun as the first two series, but it comes very close to reaching that mark. The soundtrack has not changed and the animation has only dipped a little. The main team of Lina and Gourry is still one of the driving forces of the show. The ending certainly feels like it could have been the end of the franchise, but it still would have been a sad one as I disagreed with Gourry’s decision. We got to meet some more powerful beasts from the Slayers verse and I look forward to eventually seeing an ultimate confrontation between the humans, dragons, monsters, and gods. My money is certainly on the monsters, but it would be a good fight. The balance between humor and action can be awkward, especially when mixed. Xellos being defeated by a song towards the end was a little random, but I’ll assume that he is just trolling as per usual. Jumping from serious moments to comedy ones is a delicate art that is hard to master. Slayers Next probably did the best job, but Slayers Try gave it a fair effort. I recommend checking this series out if you want a good fantasy title and while you don’t need to watch the first two series first, I would still recommend doing so. At least, Slayers Next, since one of the main villains wants to destroy the heroes because of what happened there.

Overall 6/10

Samurai Jack Review

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Samurai Jack is a retro show that a lot of people like. It’s known as a classic and it probably rivals famous action cartoons like the Powerpuff Girls back in its prime. Unfortunately, it infamously ends with nothing actually being resolved so it can be a pretty disappointing way to end the series. It’s a good title, but the problem lies in the fact that most episodes are filler. Because of that, some episodes are really good and some are downright bad. It’s good to check out, but you’ll probably want to skip some of the filler episodes that couldn’t stack up to the rest.

The plot of the show is that a demon by the name of Aku has enslaved the planet. Samurai Jack’s parents (and effectively the whole planet as collateral) were taken from him by Aku and he has trained his whole life so that he can get some payback. Just when he was about to defeat Aku, Jack is sent to the future. Aku’s reign is now absolute and defeating him will be difficult. Still, Jack shall never give up and he will find a way to stop Aku! Even if it takes a lifetime.

The show made it through 4 seasons, but that doesn’t help its case as much as you would expect from the average show because of the fact that over 90% of the series is filler. There are good episodes and then there are bad ones. The final 3 episodes of the series are all pretty bad for example while you may have random ones in season 3 that are very good. It’s something that you have to take on a day by day basis and it can get pretty tricky. It’s why I don’t recommend such a format for any show.

It is intriguing to see just how big the planet is though. Jack comes across countries from all sorts of different time periods. A lot of them just don’t make sense when compared to others and that’s one of the things that makes the planet so much fun. One corner may still be in the 40’s while another one has tech from the year 3000+. It’s too bad that everyone doesn’t unite to stop Aku, but I have a feeling that it could have happened if the show ever got an ending. It was practically leading up to that as Jack went around the world helping people.

Samurai Jack is a pretty good protagonist. You could even say that he is great although he doesn’t always look as good as you would expect depending on the episode. He is tricked into losing his memory at one point and he does tend to let his guard down around female villains. Jack is an honorable swordsman so he never actually lets romance get to him, but he doesn’t try as hard to escape it as he should. His swordsmanship skills are top notch and Jack has been shown to take on whole armies in the past. It’s rare that he ever loses a fight and Jack always gives the match his best effort. It’s hard not to like such a fighter and the show likely wouldn’t be half as good without him. Once in a while, an episode won’t be from his point of view so it’s always fun to see how he looks from an antagonistic standpoint. There are at least 2 episodes where he is the main villain and those are always sad since the “heroes” usually have some kind of reason as to why they need to defeat him. Of course, they’re doomed so it is always for naught.

Aku is the main villain of the show and he is the kind of villain who isn’t for everyone, but will certainly get some fans. I am not a big fan of the villain. Aku can be pretty funny considering that he rules the planet with an iron grip, but that’s about it for qualities that I like. His goals are pretty generic and his “invincible” abilities never actually seem that great. It’s a little hard to see how he managed to defeat all of the heroes on the planet. Depending on the episode, he can be a cruel tyrant or a misunderstood anti-hero. He just doesn’t take anything seriously which is why his attitude tends to shift a lot, but the heroes can’t forgive his actions. He is still a villain no mater how heroic he may seem at times.

The Scotsman is really the only recurring member of the supporting cast in the show and I believe that he only appears in 3 episodes. It’s possible that it’s more like 4-5. Out of 52 that’s not bad….I suppose. He is Jack’s rival and a nice ally to have. He’s definitely not as powerful as Samurai Jack, but he gets by pretty well on his own. He has a machine gun and he’s a very physical fighter. His accent makes him easy to identify in a crowd. The Scotsman is very charismatic and it was fun having him in the show. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing more of him.

One factor that does hurt the show quite a bit is the animation. I really don’t care for the style that is used here and it makes the show appear to be decades older than it actually is. You can basically see most of the animation shortcuts that are used without any effort. Considering that this was airing back during the good ole days of Pokemon, we know that the animation could have been significantly better. As it stands, the fight scenes were very good at their height, but we know that they would have been even better with the proper animation techniques behind them. It’s the main reason why this show wasn’t a 7 and who knows, an 8 may not have been out of the question with better animation although it would have been a bit of a stretch.

Due to its episodic nature, the series falls into many holes. Aside from the romance one, we also have the animal violence tropes that we always try to avoid. This happens in quite a few episodes and animals are enslaved in another. It’s the kind of thing that you never want to see in a show, but it typically pops up as a show gets more episodes. Whenever that happened it would be pretty sad and I would just hope that the show would get better next time.

On the bright side, there are many great episodes to counter those. Typically, the duel episodes are the best one. There are probably around 10 or so of those where the fight gets to last for nearly the whole episode. The train duel and the battle against the guardian of the portal come to mind, but there are many others. Even Jack’s battles against Aku and the Cyborgs tend to be pretty long. There are also heist episodes like one where Jack has to stop a James Bond figure from looting a pyramid before him.

Once again, that’s why having every episode be a stand alone with the occasional two parter is super risky. The quality of each episode really varies and ultimately this helps to keep it from the elusive 7. There are enough episodes that simply aren’t very good, which is enough to keep it from that spot. At it’s best, Samurai Jack is 8 star worthy and at its worst it’s probably a 3-4. I certainly would have liked more of an ongoing plot here.

The soundtrack really varies and it’s probably one of the most diverse ones that I’ve ever heard. It definitely gets a 5 star rating there since it’s usually pretty enjoyable. The themes tend to fit the episodes and they also help with the fights. The show is definitely more dramatic than your average cartoon and the fights can get really intense. The musical themes that accompany them help to solidify this image and it really helps the show.

There’s not a whole lot more to say about the show. It’s a good action show and it tries its hand at many different kinds of stories. It tends to feel pretty high quality and that’s always a good thing. It’s too bad that we never got a real ending, but there’s always a chance that we will get something at some point. We just have to keep on waiting and hope that they do come through with a new film or give us the ending via the comics.
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Overall, Samurai Jack is a pretty fun show that really gets hurt by the amount of filler in it. It’s made that way though so you could also just not think of them as filler episodes and just consider the series as a bunch of short stories. There’s not necessarily much of a timeframe to be noted so the stories can take place at any time. It’s a show that feels like it’s not meant to ever end and you just get to see Jack go on all kinds of adventures. Some are good and some are not. If you’re looking for a good action show then I definitely recommend checking this one out. The fight scenes can definitely be really good and it has a good soundtrack. Updating the animation would certainly help its case a lot though. We’ll see if you like Samurai Jack as a character as much as I did.

Overall 6/10

Guilty Crown Review

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Guilty Crown is a pretty interesting anime. The ending is pretty infamous and I can see why. (Although I probably have different reasons for my thoughts on it) You probably wouldn’t be able to guess the plot based on the title, but it’s okay since the title is pretty original. This definitely isn’t one of the best anime out there as it starts out strong and then ends on a weak note, but the concept is good and the show may be worth checking out.

The show starts off with good ole Shu Ouma as he’s just trying to live an ordinary life. The event known as White Christmas happened about a decade ago and Japan was weakened to the point where other countries decided to walk in and pulverize them. Now they are completely dependent on these countries to help them and they don’t have any form of real power anymore. This “White Christmas” infected many people and they quickly died or were left in a coma. They essentially turned into crystals. They aren’t crystals, but that’s how it always looked to me.

A terrorist organization known as Funeral Parlor starts to get more and more publicity. Shu doesn’t have anything to do with them at first, but when a girl by the name of Inori appears; Shu decides that it’s time to get his game on. He is able to draw on the power of the Void, which basically means that he can stab a person and draw out their true soul as a weapon. Inori’s is a sword, which is lucky since that’s basically the best weapon that you can ask for. Shu beats up a lot of robots and joins the group, but he has his doubts. They are terrorists after all, but they do help people and beating up on the corrupted government is always satisfying. Shu must make a decision….

That is essentially Arc 1. Arc 2 is really hard to describe without seeing Arc 1, but I will do my best. Shu is a changed man after the traumatic events that occurred in the first part of the series and now he has become a much crueler person. I identify him as the main villain of the arc, but the corrupted government has added a major player to their side, which helps to even the playing field. The government still wants to murder everyone indiscriminately, but Shu isn’t much better as he allows gangs to start piling up and beat on the weak. There aren’t any characters to root for and the plot gets dicey when we find out some twists about the person who caused White Christmas. Inori is also suffering from what appears to be a split personality and there is now another character that can use the void. It looks like it’s time for America to step in…

Shu Ouma is the main character of Guilty Crown and he gets a bunch of character development! Unfortunately, he actually gets too much development and ends up becoming a very unlikable character. At first, Shu is a nice guy who just lacks confidence. He doesn’t try to save Inori when some guys show up to take her away and it haunts him for a while. He’s not very confident in using the voids and the terrorists tend to push him around and Gai also beats him up once. Despite all of this, I didn’t mind Shu all that much. He didn’t go and betray the heroes after all. He really just wanted to help out Inori and that meant helping out Gai’s group as well.

Things took a turn for the worst in Arc 2. After the traumatic moment causes Shu to rethink his actions, he becomes a dictator. Now he just wants to stay as their King and he’ll make sure that everyone obeys him by force. He pushes them all to the breaking point and quite a few students are injured and some are destroyed thanks to his plans. Shu wants to win at all costs so he ends up losing his morals. He basically became the main villain for a while and I could definitely not root for him. Shu died out and he couldn’t make it back up to the top. It’s one of the many reasons why Arc 2 managed to bring the show down.

Inori is the main heroine and she’s a tricky character. She’ll be decent in one episode and then she’ll lack the willpower to stop herself from attacking people. There is a twist about her dark side, which definitely helps to explain some of her shady actions. She is one of the big members of the group, but she rarely gets to see any action. We know that she’s handy with a gun and good at hand to hand combat, but these moments are few and far between. Mostly she only appears for a developing romance with Shu so I would have liked some fight scenes for her. It would give her a bigger role and more to do in the show. She does get a role in Arc 2, but due to certain circumstances, this barely counts. She’s definitely not the worst heroine out there, but she could have been a lot better.
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Gai is one of the key players and he went from being my favorite (or close to) character in the show to sinking down quickly once Arc 2 began. Gai is the tough leader who makes all of the tough calls and willingly descends into the darkness so that others can experience the light. He’s a decent enough guy, although Shu does manage to rattle him after a mere episode or two. Gai knows some basic hand to hand skills and he’s also a skilled tactician. Gai is one of the main reasons as to why the terrorist group is still alive, but his methods can be underhanded and he’s definitely not someone that you can trust. Amidst all of that; Gai was great at what he did and while I may not have appreciated him as a hero; he made for a good villain/anti hero.

Once Arc 2 began….it was basically Game Over for his character arc. He decided to embark on an incredibly risky plan that really had a 100% chance of major casualties and a very small chance for success. It was definitely not one of his better ideas and it was hard for his character to be redeemed even if the plan could have been successful. He just crossed the line along with Shu and many of the other supporting characters. At least Gai was still able to talk a good game and he even talked back to the government!

Ayase is one of the main supporting characters and she is unable to walk so she has to rely on a wheelchair. Luckily, she also gets to pilot one of the mecha robots, which basically gives her the feeling of walking since she can run while in the mecha. Since it’s all virtual…she’s basically able to walk, but only when mentally inside the robot. Ayase is definitely not one of my favorite characters. She’s nice enough at times, but she doesn’t contribute much to the story. It’s also not fun to see her on screen because you know that she’ll probably get bullied by some of the mean students. Since she can’t move and she has a tendency to hit the ground; things don’t go very well for her. Luckily she has a lot of friends on campus, but it can still get dicey. She also has a tendency to overreact when inside of the robot.

Tsugami is Ayase’s partner and she always coordinates the plans for the heroes. She’s likable enough and Tsugami is easily the most cheerful member of the group. She treats the whole thing like a game on the outside, but she still takes it seriously. Tsugami also knows some mild hand to hand, but it would appear that it’s not as impressive as she would have you believe. Tsugami’s hacking skills are only rivaled by Kenji’s and she’s definitely one of the main reasons that the terrorist group has gone so far.

Segai is the main villain of the anime. It’s a little bold to say that, but he fits the bill more than any of the other antagonists. He’s always around and he loves to mess with their minds. Segai tries to turn Shu to the dark side; which is a lot easier than one may think. Segai is pretty cunning and since he is pretty high on the political totem pole; it’s a simple matter to blackmail most of the heroes. Luckily, blackmail doesn’t work on terrorists right? Unfortunately, I never got around to liking Segai. Sure, he has a gun and he’s pretty good at being a villain, but I just don’t like his personality. He’s the type of guy that spends too much time masquerading as a hero in public. There’s just nothing “cool” or “epic” about him and that means that I will never become a fan.

Shuuichirou Keidou appears out of nowhere to become the final big villain of Arc 2. He’s not likable in the slightest and one may wonder as to the point of his whole operation. What’s really in it for him aside from random destruction? It’s a little impressive that he made it so far considering that he’s only human, but I just didn’t find him very interesting. He’s merely another villain that will need to be dealt with by the heroes. His design was pretty good for his role so I give him props for that.
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Haruka Ouma is Shu’s mom and she doesn’t get a huge role, but she becomes a little more important in Arc 2. The fact that she suspected how corrupt her employer was and didn’t do anything about it is a little dicey. Her whole plan was very dangerous since the chance for success was slim. Haruka generically likes to mess with Shu, but that’s something that the parent always does to the protagonist in anime. It’s unfortunate, but just how it goes. Overall, she was all right at best. Haruka definitely could have been a lot better, but at least she is good with a gun.

Daryl Yan is one of the bigger villains of the show. He starts off as a terrible person and then we’re supposed to start feeling sympathetic for him. Daryl finds out about a pretty big twist that shakes him to the core. What’s even worse is that he begins to get acquainted with one of the heroes and he’s going to have to make the tough call. I can’t say that he was likable and the second half can be seen as cheesy. His character arc is also all over the place as he gives in to his craving for destruction towards the end and he takes some characters down. Daryl is not a character that you will likely be able to root for and he’ll just be forgotten with some time.

Dan Eagleman is easily the best villain of the show. You seriously cannot compare him to the other fighters. He’s enthusiastic about his job and he always attacks his duties with gusto and finesse. That’s what I expect to see from someone with the legendary name of Dan! His ending is rather abrupt and a little disappointing, but his few scenes are very impressive. There won’t be another epic villain like Dan in this show.

Mana is another character who appears out of left field and we mostly get to see her through flashbacks. She is definitely not one of the more likable characters and she doesn’t respect family boundaries. Not to mention that she uses people to get her way all the time while trying to act innocent. Her goals are pretty chaotic and she didn’t really add anything to the show. Her appearance did help to wrap up one of the subplots, but it was not enough to redeem her character.

Yuu is a mysterious figure that appears during the second half of the show. As with Shu, he possesses the power of the void within him. He has a lot more experience than Shu and it makes you wonder why it took so long for him to appear. They don’t really explain why he’s here as they only make brief statements about him. The character stays shrouded in secrecy from beginning to end. He is pretty tough so that part is cool, but he doesn’t have much personality. He’s a decently good villain and he puts most of the others to same.

Kenji Kido is the definition of a filler character. He gets a ton of hype and contributes nothing to the actual story. I’m still unsure as to why he was added to the series and I can’t say that he’s likable either. He’s a mass murderer and the heroes want him to help! Sorry, but the situation wasn’t so dire that they needed to bring such a villain on board. Kenji has one scene that’s supposed to be impressive where he proves that he can hack a computer with the best of them. That’s cool and all…but it’s not the “impressive” scene that I was looking for. Shu basically crushes him when they first meet and that’s when I realized that Kenji was all hype and no action.

Yahiro (Sugar) is a character that I disliked almost immediately. Let’s just say that his “Sugar” nickname wasn’t given for the greatest of reasons and it meant that there was no way that I would like him. He’s really not someone that you can trust and I don’t see why Shu stayed as his friend. One would think that he would get better in Arc 2 after he’s learned about friendship and all, but…this Is Arc 2! Yahiro quickly makes all of the wrong moves. Going behind Shu’s back about the power level listings was pretty low and then he was quick to turn on Inori. (Albeit…he had some decent reasoning behind it, but the punishment was too drastic…although Shu created the law….so we’ll keep going around in circles) Either way, Yahiro just wasn’t likable and he’s partially responsible for how twisted Shu became. Not to mention that he helped Shu achieve these corrupt actions so he’s not exempt from the blame.

Souta is another one of Shu’s friends. He’s pretty direct, but he can also be very unreasonable. He doesn’t make it easy for Shu to fit in at school and he also happens to like Inori, which ups the drama. He doesn’t really do anything in Arc 1, but he was all right for the most part. Souta’s definitely not my kind of character, but he wasn’t terribly unlikable…until Arc 2 came along! In Arc 2, Souta is very insecure and he’s worried about the power level rosters that are being handed out. To prove just how epic and powerful he can become; Souta heads into enemy territory. Can he take down the large and powerful mechs on his own? No worries…Souta brought his friends! Let’s just say that this wasn’t a good move and it put a lot of good people at risk. It’s not as if he was going to be blown up for his weakness back at base. If he had stayed, Shu may not have been as much of a dictator and Arc 2 could have been saved.

Hare is technically a supporting character for most of the series, but it’s easy to forget that she is around. Hare is one of Shu’s classmates and as such, she doesn’t get involved in any of the missions. She is a pretty nice person and Hare is a lot more likable than Shu. Unfortunately, she doesn’t really have any abilities to fight with so she really doesn’t stand a chance. Still, she’s a solid supporting character and she doesn’t start to spiral down during Arc 2 like the next character.
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Arisa is another character that isn’t very important to the story, but she does get a larger role in Arc 2. After Shu has basically become a corrupted person; Arisa decides that she will have to use her charms to plant an informant among his ranks. After degrading herself to get the necessary data; Arisa decides to go along with the plans to show how awful they are. It may be at the expense of hundreds of fighters, but that isn’t a problem for her. It’s just what Arisa needs to do right? I definitely wouldn’t say that I’m a fan of her, but there are so few characters to like once Arc 2 begins.

Guilty Crown doesn’t have an overabundance of fanservice, but it is definitely around. Inori’s costumes usually aren’t the best and we can’t forget about Arisa’s tricks. The robots also give the pilots a lot of feedback when they are damaged and the animators use it as a chance to give the female pilot unnecessary movements. Even the hacker gets some for no reason as it should have been a cheerful scene. So, there isn’t quite as much fanservice as in other shows, which is definitely good. That being said; there is still much more than I would like and it’s too bad that more shows cannot be basically perfect like Yugioh GX. That show managed to be epic without relying on such cheap tactics.

The first arc was pretty good because it was an interesting concept. Using people’s hearts to fight the villains is a risky gamble, but the powers are immense. Then, having the “heroes” actually be terrorists is unique, but I can see a lot of people not getting on board with that idea. There was some sci-fi and the night elements made the show have some thriller aspects as well. Arc 2 seemed to have forgotten that.

In Arc 2, the focus is really centered on the school and the stakes get a lot lower. Things get a little more supernatural as we have ghosts and spirits and other beings with mysterious powers. Unfortunately, nothing else was that good about it since this arc wrecked most of the cast. A lot of the plot twists were unnecessary and the ending was downright terrible. It would have been hard to crash and burn as much as Arc 2. Turning the main character into one of the big villains is really hard to pull off correctly and Guilty Crown definitely didn’t succeed.

The show also portrays the students in a really terrible light. They seem to only care about losing their morals and hurting others. When the students see a defenseless person on the ground; they immediately try to gang up on her and show just how awful they are. Luckily, the heroes are usually around, but what about when they aren’t? At one point, two of the heroines get tied up and the students decide to publicly search them in case they have the terrorist logo. Luckily, the heroes are there to stop things before they go too far, but they aren’t as hardcore as other protagonists so they wait a while before stopping the proceedings. Sure, some students may be like that, but it’s sad to see everyone looking so evil. The scenes are also just in bad taste because we really don’t need to be seeing that. We get that bullying takes place and students can get attacked by gangs of other students, but it’s unnecessarily gritty. Likewise, in one of the first episodes as someone is beaten to the ground and then shot. One thing that I’ve never liked is seeing a defenseless person get beaten up in an extended scene. There’s just no reason to see it and I prefer to have close fights.

On the bright side; the Government actually gets involved. At one point, they consider launching the nukes and America looks very impressive. Unfortunately, the terrorists are too powerful at that point and all of the various governments around the world are helpless to stop them. It’s a little scary how quickly one man can surpass the government in power, but it happens very quickly in Guilty Crown thanks to the ultimate weapon. America may have technically looked weak in that scene, but I like how tough they looked and how quickly the government went to the nuclear option.

The animation for the show looks very good and I was especially impressed with the first episode. Daytime scenes tend to look great with many companies and the night scenes are where you can tell if the animation is great or only decent. Guilty Crown has a lot of night scenes and they look great, which shows that they did a good job. The fight scenes (Which are rare in the show) are very flashy and everything about it really seems modern. The character designs all stand out (For the main characters) and I really have no complaints with any part of the animation. Everything was done very well.

The soundtrack is a little forgettable. The fight theme from the first episode was pretty good because it felt nice and theatrical. I would definitely say that it is a good soundtrack overall, but you likely won’t remember the main pieces all that much. The opening songs for the show are another matter as you will remember them. They may not be as catchy as the openings to Railgun or Soul Eater, but they’re good enough.
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Overall, Guilty Crown is a show that had a lot of promise and manages to squander most of it. Between unnecessary student bullying, innocents being assaulted, and fanservice; the show barely manages to hang in there. The cast isn’t that great, but at least we have some solid animation and music to help out. I wouldn’t recommend this to fans who want more of a light tones anime to watch and have fun with. For that, go check out Railgun. It was tough on deciding whether to give this one a 5 or a 6, but I believe that the first half is slightly good enough to float the series to the next level. (I don’t do 5 and a half. Only whole numbers!) So, I halfheartedly recommend that you may like this series if you don’t mind the grim tone and you like to see robots and school scenes in one anime. Otherwise, you may want to wait until the new Yugioh Series comes out!

Overall 6/10

Trigun Review

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Trigun is one of those anime that is very well received. It’s rare to find someone who dislikes the show and it has become a classic. Shows about a gunman can be pretty bad, (Name generic live action cop/mafia show) but they do have a lot of potential as well. (Black Cat, one of the greatest manga series ever and also a pretty good anime)

The first half of the show may take you by surprise. Vash The Stampede is wanted for 60 Billion Double Dollars. 60 Billion is already a lot and that’s not counting the Double Dollars! (Well, that’s just what they call the currency, but it’s still intense!) Vash is rumored to have destroyed an entire city (While sparing everyone) and he’s one of the meanest folks around! Millie Thompson and Merril of the Insurance Corporation are tasked with finding him. The (Really flawed) plan is that they will stay by his side and keep him out of trouble. If Vash really is this deadly, that may not be the best move.

Vash may surprise you as well. He’s a happy fellow who never draws his gun unless he needs to do so. He’s nothing like the rumors paint him to be. He manages to dodge gunfire all the time, but to the unsuspecting passerby, it looks like it’s all just an accident. Vash’s abilities have been honed over time and he’s mostly just looking to live a life of peace. Unfortunately he seems to be cursed, but more on that later.

The first half of the show is pretty episodic and pits Vash against a lot of bounty hunters and authority figures. Along the way, the gang meets up with Nicholas D. Wolfwood. Woldwood is a travelling Priest or so he claims. His cross is actually a large weapon that can fire bullets and rockets. Wolfwood is definitely less merciful than Vash and this sometimes leads to delicate situations.

The plot really begins once the Gung Ho Guns start to attack. They are a group of highly skilled villains who want to make Vash’s life as miserable as they can. They try their best and definitely start to increase the body count. Once they are introduced, the plot finally starts. Knives wants to destroy the human race and he’ll stop at nothing to succeed.

The villains are able to wipe out the population an entire city in a pretty short amount of time. Time is definitely not on Vash’s side as he’s thrown from one tragedy into another without any time to rest. The series definitely picked up during the 2nd half, but it’s certainly not as cheerful as the beginning of the series. Prepare for the stakes to get high!

Vash The Stampede is the main character of the show. For the first half, he comes across as being pretty annoying. He’s a very skilled gunman, but he never takes anything seriously. Later on, we find out about his back story. Let’s just say that having a gun turn into a giant alien arm is not normal. Is Vash really human? Well, the answer to that may surprise you. Vash made a solemn oath that he will never take the life of another living being.

The oath applies to animals and creatures as well, which definitely helped Vash rise in my books. Lately, we’re always seeing “Heroes” make the “tough” choice and cross the line. They always try to justify it, but it doesn’t make it right. After all, Light Yagami was doing it for the “right” reasons wasn’t he? Vash is put into a lot of tough spots and is forced to make difficult calls. He’d rather die than destroy anyone, but his friends are put in danger and things get really dicey for him.

Vash has to make the ultimate choice. If he doesn’t pull the trigger, his friends will die, but if he does, then he’ll be no different than Knives and the other villains. The 2nd to last episode explores it all and has a nice moral. Vash realizes that there is always a chance for redemption and the difference between making a mistake and being a villain, is that he knows that he’s sinned. Vash tries to make up for it and continues to abide by his beliefs. The series actually has some Christian themes towards the end, such as forgiveness and redemption. One character in particular is changed by it and Vash definitely puts up an effort to act in the right. The series ended on a high note for me, because of the good messages at the end. It’s what turned Vash from an unlikable character to a pretty cool one.

Nicholas Wolfswood is another character who went through some drastic changes. He started out as a Priest, but the Church that he represents is pretty different than most. It can hardly be called a Church from what I can gather. Nicholas believes that sometimes you must destroy the enemy if you are to win. It’s a belief that most Marvel/DC characters seem to believe. Nicholas continues to believe this, but one day he destroys an enemy, but he starts to have doubts. It may not have been necessary to destroy him and he finally begins to realize it.

Nicholas enters his big battle against a Gung Ho Gunman. Nicholas is winning, but can he win without destroying his opponent. Nicholas does pretty good and he ends up making the tough choice. Sometimes, it’s better to lose a battle, than to win by losing your morals. Nicholas ends up going to a church and confesses his sins for the first time. He may have been a Priest in name only, but by the end he seems to finally convert. His ending can be seen as tragic or happy depending on how you view it. Personally, I’d say that it is emotional, but still positive. Things could have been much worse for him, if things had played out differently.

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Millie and Merril are supporting characters, but they’re not quite as good as the first two characters. They don’t really have much of a point in the show and only serve to keep the show cheerful. Or at least, as cheerful as the show can get towards the end. Knives is the big villain at the end, but he misses out on most of the series. He appears at the end, but is it too late to become a likable character? I can’t say that I’m a fan and he was actually pretty underwhelming at the end. Sure, he was decently tough, but Legato seemed to be more impressive. Knives basically stands for everything that Vash is against.

Legato is an intriguing villain and you would think that he was the leader for most of the series. He is easily the strongest villain in the series and his telekinesis is very dangerous. He was a decently cool character, but towards the end, he wasn’t as good. He was just another pawn in Knives’ game after all.

Those were pretty much all of the notable characters. There were others of course, but they weren’t so great. I can’t say that I really liked any of the other characters, but some of them made for tough opponents. One of the things that I never got over, was how different Vash looked with and without his glasses. It was like he was a whole different person. I never got used to how he looked with them on, but it’s not a very frequent occurrence.

Towards the middle, we get an origin episode, which is completely different from the rest of the series. We find out a lot of crucial facts, but it wasn’t one of my favorite episodes. It was a change of pace, but it’s mostly a tragic episode that makes things even worse for Vash. The crew is really awful and their scenes are pretty cringe worthy. Vash also looks pretty bad and my favorite part of the episode was the last 10 seconds, where Vash makes his decision.

The soundtrack is pretty catchy for the show. I liked the ost and while it may not be legendary like Naruto or Bleach, it was pretty good. In the end, that’s what counts after all. I recommend this anime. A lot of people will enjoy that it can be emotional and action packed. The villains do tend to run their mouths with some language, but as long as you focus on the pwnage and action scenes, you’ll be all right. The show never gets too violent as well and if you don’t mind Naruto and Bleach, you’ll be okay as well. There are a lot of similarities to Black Cat, even the main characters are pretty similar with their attributes, choice of weapon, and ultimate attack. This show’s no Black Cat, but it definitely gave its all!

Overall 6/10