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D. Gray-man Review


It’s time to take a look at a pretty long anime that I watched quite a while ago. This review’s been in the backlog long enough so it was time to knock it out. This was one of the first manga titles that I read way back in the day. I wasn’t particularly impressed with it in the beginning. It got good towards the middle and then got a little too crazy after it turned monthly. The show covers the manga all the way through the good parts and then stops right before we start to get some time skips and other adventures. That’s for the sequel show which adapts the Kanda arc so that should be good. As for this show, it’s definitely a great title.

The series starts off by introducing us to the world of D. Gray-man. When people die, someone can visit them and make a wish to bring them back to life. Should you do so, the Millenium Earl will bring the husk of the dead person back to life to murder you. You’ll then turn into an Akuma, but hey….at least you got to say good bye one last time right? It definitely does feel like this isn’t worth it, but most people don’t know the cost until it’s too late. The Exorcists are the only ones who can fight against the Earl and his legions of Akuma. Unfortunately there aren’t a whole lot of Exorcists left in the world and they’ve been fighting a losing battle for years. Can a local kid born with a cursed arm turn the tides of battle? His name is Allen Walker and there is more to him than meets the eye.

D. Gray-man is a very grim series. That’s not to say that it’s super gritty like Attack on Titan because the show can be pretty light. It’s still a shounen, but when you think about the plot you realize just how serious this is. The heroes learn time and time again that the Earl could murder the whole lot of them at any time. The fact that he chooses to let the human race exist is still a puzzle for the Exorcists. Perhaps he needs enough people to keep the Akuma army going which would make sense. Also, if the Exorcists are not a threat then there is no reason for him to go out of his way to destroy them right? They may win battles here and there, but it really does feel like the war is completely out of reach. They’ll need a few more Allens to even start a comeback.

Lets take a quick step back though. As I mentioned, Allen is the main character here. He has a mysterious past which isn’t looked at much here so there’s always a lot of mystery around him. He’s been a loner for a long time as he worked under General Cross, but now he is ready to join the main order. He’s a powerful fighter and one of the strongest Exorcists on the planet. Once he unlocks his Crown Clown form he can take any Exorcist down aside from the generals. Allen has a lot of your usual main character traits like eating a lot and being rather hot headed, but can also be rather ruthless against Akuma. He believes that destroying them is the only way to purify their souls so he has no qualms about crushing them. The Akuma don’t have hearts and do appear to be dead which furthers his point.

As Allen has some demonic traits the order doesn’t always trust him though. The deaths also take a toll on the guy because there’s no way for Allen to save everyone. For every 5 people he saves another one ends up dying and becoming an Akuma. It’s a pretty depressing cycle for him and as a result it takes him an incredibly long time to regain his powers compared to most leads. I liked him more in the anime than in the manga. He still could have acted faster to save the dog but after that Allen doesn’t really make any big mistakes. He may be outmatched at times, but he’s always fighting to the end. There’s even one match where he continues to fight the Akuma even after he has been knocked unconscious. That shows his determination. Allen also does defy the order at times which is good because those guys always seem corrupt.

Lavi is another one of the main characters and he is the one who was most improved in the anime. It’s not that I disliked him in the manga or anything, but he really didn’t leave an impression on me. In the show he is definitely one of the best characters. Lavi is a bookman and isn’t supposed to get involved with the exorcists. He breaks the rules many times to help them out though and ultimately makes the right calls. While he may not be ready to admit that they’re his friends, Lavi’s actions speak for themselves. Even with his job on the line he goes in to protect them and you can’t ask for a better friend. It’s just a shame that he seems a little weak next to the others. Lavi won’t be giving Allen or Kanda a good fight anytime soon. His hammer is his big weapon and every villain can just slap it to the side.

Kanda is the big rival of the series and definitely lives up to the hype. He has accelerated healing which is very handy and his sword can cut through just about anything. His fights against Tyki and Skin were good showcases of what he can do. He is dependent on his sword though so once it breaks then most of his skills go away. He’s still strong, but in this world you need a weapon laced with innocence to do anything against Akuma. Kanda’s got that Sasuke/Vegeta vibe going and it works quite well. He’s really a textbook rival and the kind of guy you want to have on your side. As you can probably guess he is definitely a standout character.

Lenalee is the main heroine of the show and definitely gets a nice character arc. Right from the start it’s nice to see that she can fight. Lenalee is a very capable fighter and goes through a very similar experience as Allen when she loses her abilities. Both of them have to risk their lives in order to get back into the ring. Her powered up form seems to keep up with Allen pretty well and if anything that means they may have both surpassed Kanda. Just temporarily I’m sure, a good rival never stays down. Her fight against the Level 3 Akuma is top notch and the same can be said of her fight with the Level 4. Lenalee’s a top notch character and part of why the show is so good is because the cast is so strong.

Another exorcist is Miranda, but her role certainly isn’t as big as the main 4. She can freeze time though which is an incredible ability to have. Now, it’s not game breaking since you keep your injuries from when time is stopped, but it will let you fight a little extra even after you should have been dead. Miranda is a great support fighter and her ability also allows you a chance to catch your breath real quick. Then you have Krory who is part vampire. He can bite enemies, but that kind of ability always seems a bit dicey to me. As soon as you face an opponent whose skin is harder than your teeth that’s it. As you can imagine this happens to him quite a bit. Still, he does have enhanced strength and speed so he remains relevant for most of the series. He’s a reasonable side character.

Then you’ve got Lenalee’s brother Komui who is one of the commanders in the order. We learn that he got the position to better watch the organization since he doesn’t trust them. I think he’s too passive though. We learn from Lenalee’s backstory just how extreme they can be. It’s nice that he got such a position, but Komui doesn’t seem to have actually done anything with this position so then what was ultimately the point? It’s not like the corrupt members are scared of him so it feels like his efforts were for naught. I wasn’t a big fan of the guy. His counterpart Bak was way better.

Bak doesn’t mind defying the government and he helped Allen quite a bit. He makes the tough calls and jumps into danger even though he’s only human. His friendship with Fo was also handled pretty well and you actually grew to like that branch more than the main headqarters. Fo was also instrumental in getting Allen back into fighting shape. They sparred quite a lot which wasn’t super convenient for her, but she did it and even gave him a nice pep talk. Allen had a lot of support during his rough patch and that was mainly thanks to Fo and Bak.

Bookman is also around with the group, but he’s definitely one of those guys that you can’t call a true friend. He would be quick to ditch the Exorcists and live up to his role of just being an observer. He doesn’t really believe in taking sides and considering that the Akuma plan to wipe everyone out that just doesn’t really fly. He’s not downright corrupt like Malcolm though. He seems to be the most extreme member of the Order or at least from the characters we’ve seen. He believes that the end absolutely justifies the means and will do anything to destroy the Akuma. Somewhere along the line he became a monster himself. The guy is probably one of humanity’s only hopes against them, but you just don’t want to win at the high price he’ll put you through. I would have liked to have seen at least one of the characters take him down, but no such luck yet.

As for the generals, we get to see them all fight near the end of the series. Most of them haven’t gotten a role beyond that though. The ones with the biggest role is the one with Kanda who likes drawing and Cross. Kanda’s general is pretty annoying the whole time with how laidback he is though. He does a lot of scouting, but never turns up any results so I can’t give him credit. Cross has a lot of bad traits like gambling and messing around, but at least he actually did destroy a bunch of enemy bases and solved a lot of puzzles. He actually made a tangible difference in the war effort and we got to see him fight quite a bit. His battles against the Level 4 and Tyki Mikk show why he got this position. He definitely seemed to be more powerful than the Exorcists and he’s got some great abilities aside from his super gun. I don’t like the guy, but I can respect his power.

Time to look at the villains. Naturally there are a ton of Akuma. All of the Level 0, 1, and 2 are fun enough, but at that level they aren’t a huge threat. Usually they show up so the Exorcists can have a good montage. I suppose the Level 2 fighters were a slight threat in their very first appearance and there’s one fight where they are in the sky and they manage to do some damage. It’s when the Level 3 Akuma show up that things get interesting. For starters, one Level 3 Akuma can basically take on the entire team. Lenalee has to give it her all to take 1 down and even then it was just barely. It was impressive because Allen didn’t seem to do quite as well. Even with Crown Clown form he was getting thrown around a lot. He did last a while even though he was outnumbered though, but the Akuma just wouldn’t stay down. Their speed, power, and defense are all off the charts.

One of the cooler moments in the series is when they make it to the Earl’s island. There are tons of Level 3 Akuma there and just one is enough to be a big deal so you can see how hopeless everything appeared to be. As a result I agreed with their decision to just storm the base and try to assassinate the Earl. It’s not like they could use hit and run tactics to whittle off the Level 3 so at that point you just try to go for the head and take him out right away. This was doomed as well since they had the huge Akuma towers running around the the Earl’s Noah fighters, but no other plan would have been much better.

Then you’ve got the Level 4 Akuma who is my favorite villain in the series. He’s just super intense and the fight with him vs Allen and Lenalee is my favorite in the series as well. This guy’s completely broken. He was able to take many big hits and still kept on going. If Cross didn’t show up then he would have still managed to secure a win which is pretty crazy. If the Earl makes more of those then I just can’t see how the heroes can hope to win without some major power ups. The Level 4 Akuma are basically General level.

The Earl may be the head honcho, but it’s hard to say if he is really the strongest villain around. It makes sense that he would be since the leader usually is the strongest, but I’ve never been too impressed with him He didn’t seem too eager to fight General Cross and Allen was holding his own pretty well. This likely isn’t the Earl’s final form, but he still doesn’t look great yet. He’s definitely a very different kind of villain as he doesn’t mind crying in front of his followers and such. You just can’t forget how many evil acts he does in the meantime. The guy is a complete psycho for sure and it’s hard to see him being redeemed.

From the Noah the one with the biggest chance of turning good would likely be Road. She may not actually be a kid, but she does seem the most innocent out of the group. They’re her family so she fights with them, but she doesn’t seem as openly malicious as the others. Road does do a number on the Exorcists with her attacks though and she is very hard to deal with. She’s rather unassuming but may be the strongest member next to Tyki. Lulu Bell gets the smallest role out of the Noah. She is reasonably tough and was beating the Exorcists when they fought, but that was very early on in the series.

Tyki Mikk definitely lives up to the hype of being a Noah though. Not only is he able to stalemate Kanda, but he also takes down Allen very easily when they first fought. In his final form he’s also far too much for Allen to handle even in his final form. Lavi’s help isn’t enough to beat him either. Tyki seems to enjoy his human life with his gambling buddies, but ultimately he never would have been able to have it both ways for long. The humans aren’t going to survive an Akuma invasion so eventually they would have been bumped off. Tyki’s a fun villain though. He keeps a front of formality in all of his conversations before eventually cracking when things get tough.

Jasdevi is sort of 2 different Noah, but they eventually merge into one. I forgot if that’s how they originally were and then they split or vice versa, but I believe they used to be one. They’re a fun duo even if Cross does mess with them a lot. It’s always interesting to have a Noah who’s part comic relief as they do the dishes in one scene and then murder everyone in another. They’re fairly strong, but not on the level of Road or Tyki. Their traps are really what made them a threat to the heroes during the fight. Then you’ve got Skin who is very strong physically but doesn’t have much else going for him. I suppose you don’t need much else when you’re that strong though. His lightning is hard to dodge and he gave Kanda a good fight. That alone tells me that he is very powerful. That was also one of the better fights in the series. He doesn’t have much personality so I wouldn’t say that I was a big fan, but Skin added to the villain ranks pretty well.

The animation in D. Gray-man looks excellent. The colors are sharp and as I mentioned we do get a lot of really great fights. There’s a lot of detail here at all times and the backdrops are suitably grim. It’s almost always night time in the show with very few episodes taking place during the day. You always feel the impending sense of doom with Akuma around every corner. The animators also really kick it up a notch during the big battles in the tower and everything afterwards. You just feel an uptick in the animation and there’s no comparison when looking at the first episodes and the last ones. Initially I didn’t think the soundtrack was that good when I used to listen to it online. Context does tend to help though and the scenes worked well with the music. It’s not the largest soundtrack so you’ll be hearing the tunes quite a lot, but that’ll give you extra time to get used to them. I didn’t have any issues with them by the end.

Now, why doesn’t the Earl just destroy the Exorcists? As I mentioned we don’t really know why, but my main theory is that he wants them around to destroy the weaker Akuma and keep the supply of Innocence around. We see how the Akuma are gradually growing stronger after each invasion and it’s possible that without the Exorcists fighting them left and right this wouldn’t be happening. If anything the Earl is toying with the humans which could come back to bite him. It’s hard to see how though because the Earl can churn out hundreds and even thousands of new Akuma with his factories as well as the personal visits to people who have died. Meanwhile the Exorcists are lucky to get 10 new recruits a year. Mix that in with the fact that it takes 10 or more to defeat one Level 4 Akuma and then you’ve got a problem. The Noah also appear to be as strong as at least a Level 3 Akuma and while there aren’t many of them here we learn in the sequel that there are many more.

The power levels stay consistent in this series, but we can expect them to start flying out the window soon in order to give the heroes a fighting chance. I expect the ending to be Allen getting a way to shut them all down at once or a non-ending where the author just abruptly ends with nothing resolved. At the rate the series is going it’ll likely still be quite a few years before this happens though. Ideally this will also let the Exorcists fight against the order a little more.

The writing and directing are also pretty good. I don’t really think about directing much, but then I watch Naruto Shippuden and it reminds me why it is so important. The characters are all written to be pretty likable here and their day to day conversations don’t drag on. Flashbacks are used quite sparingly and none of the episodes ever feel like they drag on. Even the scenes of the Noah picking off random Exorcists is handled well as they at least get a chance to use their attacks. You do know that they’re doomed either way though.

Overall, D. Gray-man is definitely a great show. It may have gotten off to a bit of a slow start, but it definitely gets to its peak when the Noah start to show up. The animation is solid and the soundtrack is well rounded as well. If you haven’t seen this show yet and are in the mood for a good action title then you can’t go wrong here. It’s quite unique next to most of the other big action anime with a lot of mystery thrown into the mix with the action and horror. A lot of these questions aren’t actually answered here though so be prepared for a lot of loose ends as the series ends. The manga is still on-going so that is inevitable though. Even if it were not to have continued the ending is still pretty solid.

Overall 8/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 Review


Time to look at the next installment in the Mob Psycho series. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first season due in part to the experimental animation style and Ritsu’s plot line wasn’t all that good. This season improves quite drastically though and even the animation appears to be a big improvement. This is the kind of season 2 you want to see because it takes all of the good parts of season 1 and expands on them. It’s pretty short at 13 episodes but that is a normal length for a show even if you get used to the 26 and 52 episode titles. There’s a lot you can do with 13 and Psycho made the most of it.

Mob has been slowly improving himself physically through the body improvement club and even mentally as he has come to terms with his abilities. He is now almost ready to ask out one of his classmates. Unfortunately there is still a villain group at large which is making it difficult to find the time. He’s also starting to wonder if he should still be working for Reigen now that he knows more about the world and his place in it. He’ll have to find the answers to all of these questions as he fights and hopefully it’ll all just turn out well. He’ll have to be careful though as he may not be the most powerful psychic around anymore.

Mob Psycho and One Punch Man were both created by the same guy and feature a main character who is unstoppable. While that is still true for the latter and likely will always be, Mob does have some limitations. He’s actually a character who can be beaten due in part to the fact that his powers take up a lot of energy so he has to sleep them off and there are enemies who can actually keep up with him. We saw that briefly in season 1 and in this season the big 5 are able to match him for a while. When Mob completely loses control and goes into 999+ mode he is still one of the strongest guys out there though. Either he or Suzuki would be the strongest esper in the world. I wonder if the series will really keep trying to increase the power levels like DBZ or if this was the height of that.

The fights are really why this season is so great though. The action scenes are all top notch and one really great fight is when Shimazaki takes on the whole group of main characters. I always like a good group fight and this one did not disappoint. His teleportation ability is incredibly handy and I’ve always thought that it could be one of the most deadly abilities if used right. Alas, most characters do not use it very well but this guy definitely makes the most of it. A particularly impressive cut is when he smashes Teru through a wall and then through a car window as he teleported mid combo. It’s such a genius idea. I don’t doubt that a lot of writers have thought about doing cool tricks like this but hold back because they either can’t illustrate it well or are worried that the teleporting character would be OP. This guy would be insane in just about any series, but in a title with Espers who can use TK abilities that helps to keep him in check at least to a degree.

One thing I was happy about is Shimazaki doesn’t get nerfed or hit with plot hax. The guy actually improves while he fights and another great scene is when his eyes open and he ascends. No cheesy friendship power victory here folks, they ultimately do need Mob to show up. That would have been an awesome fight, but the resolution that we got was also really satisfying so I can definitely live with it. I talked more about his fights than the character, but Shimazaki is definitely a great character and easily the best villain in the series. He’s really a scene stealer.

That’s not to say that he has all of the best fights in the season though. Suzuki’s fight with Mob is excellent of course and we get a lot of other fights throughout. The last few episodes really focus on the big battles with Claw and ends the season on a high note. It’ll be extremely difficult for a possible season 3 to top this one. It’ll have to be firing on all cylinders, but that’s certainly something that can happen.

Meanwhile Mob has improved a great deal since season 1. He’s not a pushover anymore and he has learned more about the world so people can’t manipulate him as easily. Those are both good things and while it means that we may never get quite the same Reigen and Mob dynamic, their relationship will ultimately be a better one this way. I did get a little worried that Mob’s emotions would nerf him, but it’s a good tradeoff. As I mentioned earlier, Mob isn’t quite unbeatable anymore, but he’s still quite possibly the strongest character in the series. You can actually deal damage to him, but it’s unlikely that you will be able to claim victory. His rage modes in this season are definitely intense. I do feel like he should have been able to see through the fire ploy with his mental abilities but as the show points out, everyone’s mental abilities are different. Mob seems to excel more in defense and offense as opposed to miscellaneous abilities.

Reigen is still an awesome character and my favorite in the series. He goes through a rough patch where he starts to let the fame get to him and doesn’t give Mob the respect that the kid has earned. He takes Mob’s help for granted and learns a valuable lesson from that. It does involve having to get humiliated on a national level but everyone learns through different methods. You just have to find the one that works for you and then roll with it. Reigen also gets to take on one of the big villains here and is always a calm voice amidst a tough situation. He is a little different from characters like King and Hercule in that he may be a poser, but he does have a lot of legitimite skills. If not for half of these villains being crazy psychic powerhouses he would actually be able to really deal quite a lot of damage. I have high respect for how he faces off with these guys all the time without fear.

Then we have Ritsu who has come a long way from his season 1 days. Now he is on the hero side and has become a capable fighter. He may not be on the same level as Mob or Teru but he is strong enough to help out against the members of Claw. His fight with Shimazaki is pretty good. Ritsu’s always looking out for Mob and I do expect that his abilities will continue to grow as well. Another supportive character or characters in this case are the body improvement club. They’re always quick to rush to Mob’s defense even though they are a little outgunned. The fight with Dimple possessing the leader and fighting one of the Claw members was fun. I think what really makes these guys solid is how loyal they are. They really want to help make Mob a better person with no agenda or strings attached.

Dimple is still floating around with goals to eventually possess Mob. It’s at the point where it’s likely all talk though and he seems like one of the heroes. He may not be the most powerful guy around, but he does help out a lot when needed though. Then you have the heroine Tsubomi. She didn’t actually get to appear much in season 1 so it was good to see her get at least part of one episode here. She still has less presence than any other heroine I’ve ever seen, but at least this season gave her a real personality. She seems a bit jaded or perhaps just careful and won’t fall for a scam as easily as some of the other characters. I’m not sure where the series is going with her, but right now she is a solid character.

Teru also returns in this season and is still one of the strongest heroes around. Next to Mob I’d say that he is definitely the strongest although Sho and Ritsu may end up giving him some competition someday. I like Teru’s character. He’s able to keep a cool head under pressure and is one of the more strategic characters. His psychic abilities are versatile and he is able to adapt mid-match very well like when he predicted Shimazaki’s teleportation angles. I see him as a consistent Trunks type character who probably won’t be able to finish off the big opponents but he will always do well against the sub-villains.

As for Sho, he’s a pretty good character. His plan may not have worked, but it is admirable that he was trying to stop Suzuki on his own. We really don’t get to see him in action for very longm, but that’s fine. We get a general sense of his abilities. He was simply out of his league this time. Hatori is one of the Ultimate 5, but the guy gets no real screen time so we can skip past him. Serizawa is one of the more important members of the group. His abilities are quite high as well and he may be the 3rd strongest member behind Suzuki and Shimazaki. He has self confidence issues and gets manipulated a lot. It’s tough for him since Suzuki got to him at a pretty vulnerable time. While he ultimately gets a bit of a redemption arc I would have liked him to have stood up for himself a little sooner. By the time he acted it was pretty late. I can see him being a fun character in the next season. The guy means well after all.

Toshiki has plant abilities that are surprisingly formidable. He gave Mob a reasonable fight with them after all and rage mode or not that is a good feat. The guy did earn his way into the Ultimate 5. He doesn’t get a whole lot to do, but is a quality villain. Then there is Hiroshi who is the power hitter of the group. He isn’t terribly interesting since the guy is just there to punch people out, but he serves his purpose well enough. Then we have Joseph who isn’t actually part of the group. I thought he was a really interesting and fun character.

The series takes a page out of Index III’s book with various groups running around. In this case CLAW had another faction built in thanks to the government and Joseph was the mole. He went around trying to cause a civil war but ultimately it did not impede Suzuki’s plans. It was a good effort though and it’s hard to ever get tired of a good ole villain vs villain throw down. The whole concept of the government having their own Espers is also interesting and I really hope we get to see that plot pursued at some point. Clearly they have some offensive abilities at the ready which is good. That means this government is automatically a lot smarter than most.

Finally we have Suzuki who is the big boss of the organization. He’s a very strategic villain whose plan has been in the makings for around 10 years or so if I recall correctly. His abilities are sort of like All For One’s as he can give people abilities. What he does is he can charge his abilities for years to build it up and can power up other people. Then when he no longer needs to do this he can just re-absorb the abilities back into himself. He’s really a serious threat and there are multiple times during the fight with Mob where he just has the upper hand in raw power. Ultimately Mob proves to have a bit of a higher ceiling, but Suzuki seemed more impressive. Without a 10 year head start Mob definitely wins this, but with the 10 years Suzuki is a total monster. He’s an incredible villain and really ticks all of the right boxes for me. A confident leader who can fight like that makes for a really high quality villain.

Before the whole Claw arc we do get other stories of course which help to develop the characters. In one of them we see an innocent group of spirits and Mob doesn’t want to exorcise them because they weren’t doing anything wrong. This is one episode where Reigen was surprisingly slow on the uptake. I remember thinking that it would have been so easy for him to just pretend that they exorcised the spirits to keep things moving. It’s not like the humans would really know otherwise. Pressuring Mob to destroy them even while knowing the were innocent was pretty out of character. Mob also goes through a lot physically in these episodes like one villain who basically tormented him for years and years in a “what if” future world. That was pretty brutal from what we saw and definitely made for a very dark experience even if it was mostly off screen. Times like that are when you wish Mob had some more mental defenses to fight with. The mind seems to ironically be his weakness.

As I mentioned the animation is a lot better here. When the fights are happening it is near the top of the biz. At times it’s hard to even think that this is the same show. Everything looks so sharp and even from the screenshots I’ve attached you can see how vibrant it looks. Then the soundtrack is also a lot better. In particular Shimazaki has a great battle theme for when he is fighting with the group. There are a lot of familiar themes from season 1 as well and it all comes together for a very well rounded experience.

Overall, Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 is definitely a top notch show to check out. It’s got solid action, quality writing, a good cast, etc. You feel more of the One Punch vibes here as the supporting cast is gradually beginning to turn into a very solid cast. The episodes will really fly by and you may even feel like marathoning the last 4-5 episodes so you can really experience all of the fights in one shot. It’ll just be hard to tear yourself away at that point. Definitely watch this show as soon as you can.

Overall 8/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Sonic Boom Review


The first time I started watching Sonic Boom I knew that I had a winner on my hands. The series is the perfect blend of action and comedy. Due in part to the solid animation and naturally the strong writing as well, Sonic Boom is one of those all star titles that is not to be trifled with. It’s rare to see a comedy centered show actually be really funny throughout as opposed to once in a while but Boom pulls it off.

The basic plot of the show is that a group of friends live on an island. Their names are Sonic, Amy, Sticks, Tails, and Knuckles. This town is fairly isolated so the friends have to try and not get tired of each other or the fact that there is only one eatery in the entire town. They just have to learn to live the sub par food. Meanwhile, we also can’t forget about the evil Dr. Eggman who uses his evil inventions to try and conquer the town or sometimes to fight off tax corruption. One thing is for sure, there is always something happening in this show.

Sonic Boom may be a CGI show but the animation is so smooth and colorful that it is basically on the level of hand drawn animation. The character designs are really on point. At first people did make fun of some of the designs like Knuckles and Sonic but you quickly get used to them. The bright animation works well for the action scenes as well as the back and forth banter. It’s very versatile. Then there is also the solid soundtrack. It’s quite large as some episodes will have guest star montage themes. The normal everyday themes work well too and one of the big ones is the theme that plays when Sonic fights Shadow for the last time. It will keep you guessing throughout the show and that’s the sign of a good soundtrack.

The writing is certainly 5 Star material as the jokes just work so well. Part of it is the delivery of course, but you also have to give credit to the script for coming up with the jokes. In particular Sonic and Knuckles tend to get all of the best ones although every character has their moment. Eggman naturally gets a lot of time to shine as well with all of the banter between him and Sonic.

One thing you’ll also notice about Sonic Boom is that the show can get serious when necessary. Not all of the serious arcs may have always worked out, but for the most part they were pretty hype. The final two part event for the series certainly brought in the hype as Shadow’s battle with Sonic was as good as it gets. We haven’t had many battles with the two characters so it was cool to see them go at it. Shadow certainly had the edge in the fight which certainly makes sense since his speed is comparable to Sonic’s plus he has his chaos abilities like teleportation. It was fortunate for Sonic that Metal Sonic showed up and that fight was certainly epic as well. He was really doing pretty well against both of the hedgehogs even though he was outnumbered. The best part of the episode was still the early part though as Shadow’s takedown of the main cast was particularly brutal and showed him to be a legitimate threat. He did have a rather similar role in both seasons, but because his screen time was rather rare and limited it never actually felt redundant.

All right, let’s look at the cast. Sonic is essentially the perfect lead as he acts just like his hand counterpart, but dialed up to 11. This let him bring in a lot of snappy dialogue while still wrecking everyone when it came time for combat. This is definitely the Sonic that I remember from the games and his character is really done Justice. Whenever he faces off with someone you basically know that he is going to come out on top. Occasionally he will even subvert whatever the message of the episode was on account of being so talented. That just goes to show his skilled he is. He also does a good job of insulting everyone without being all that mean about it. He just tells it like it is and manages to look cool while doing so.

Knuckles certainly isn’t a very smart character and the show makes this as extreme as possible. Such an exaggerated character would certainly be either a big hit or a disaster and fortunately this portrayal was spot on. I think what really sells the character is how absolutely confident he is of being right. If someone tries to correct him Knuckles will typically put on a smug expression and explain why they are wrong. He has delusions of grandeur and at times he has gotten so big into his own ego that he ends up forgetting his bonds with the others. Knuckles is a nice guy, but one who just can’t cope too well with being the head honcho. He is still the power hitter of the team as well so you want to have Knuckles on your team.

For Tails, it’s an interesting case because rather than simply play up the genius angle, they play up the “genius wannabe” card. He is consistently shown to not be as smart as Eggman in this version and his inventions have to be fixed many times. Still, he does send up saving the day a lot through his inventions as well so it basically cancels out. Tails is a good character and he also has a bit of a rivalry with Sonic at times which is pretty fun. Sonic tends to come out on top, but the same can basically be said for all of his rivalries in the show (except Shadow) so that’s not bad. Tails’ best invention was certainly the one that could make clones of the individual. That’s a useful piece of tech for any situation.

Amy has her girl power sticker on for the show and loves to remind Sonic that not all problems have to be responded to with violence. Although, she is typically the one to jump into a fight. Her split personality is played up a lot in the show and makes her a character that can be feared by others aides. You just don’t want to make her angry. Her part time job as a psychiatrist also makes for a lot of entertaining scenes. She may be a little on the gullible side, but she is also the hero who gives the villains the benefit of the doubt more than the others which is surely a nice thing to do. Sonic never tends to buy into the villains actually having a change of heart in this show for better or worse.

Sticks was made up for Sonic Boom so it was always going to be interesting to see what route they took her. She is the big conspiracy nut of the series and spends a lot of her time yelling and trying to tell the cast what is actually happening. Her refusal to use technology does come in handy at times like when the villain tries to mind control everyone through the TV. Such tactics won’t work on Sticks. In a fight she does appear to be the weakest member but it’s not all about strength when you’re looking at a character. She’s definitely not one of the best members of the main cast, but she’s a reasonably solid member of the team:

Then we’ve got Eggman who is definitely a very important character in the series. He keeps everyone in check and seems to have a fairly formalized deal with Sonic that he will attack the town every week or so. They reference these plans quite a bit. Of course, a Eggman does sometimes switch things up if the town gets on his nerves. It’s not a great defense but if we’re being honest the town can be pretty annoying. They’ll try to cheat you out of money or cut out in line. Other townsfolk will try to guilt trip you into helping them and the mayor is absolutely corrupt. Some characters may just sit there and take it, but not Eggman. In all of these instances I am actually rooting for Eggman since he just seems to be in the right. It’s the town that really needs to change, not really Eggman.

Shadow only appears in 2 different stories but they are both quite good. He sounds intimidating for sure and just isn’t someone that you want to mess with. Especially when you consider how strong he is. Shadow may be a little gullible which is an unusual trait for the character and the only one that doesn’t work well, but he looks really good beyond that. His style of chaos control based combat is always fun to watch. As Sonic Boom surprisingly didn’t use guest stars all that often, it made their appearances even more special than usual.

Then we have Dave the Intern. Well, he has many jobs to be honest but he is most well known for his time over at Metburger where he sells fast food that isn’t healthy for you and the ingredients are also very suspect. He tends to get everyone’s order wrong and you run a risk whenever you go inside. So why do people eat there? Well, it’s the only food place in the small village. This is actually mentioned quite a few times and you wonder why the heroes would even live in such a village. There are probably quite a lot of fun theories about this, but I like to think that they are just trying to lay low for a little while. They don’t want to have to constantly be fighting so this was a way to get some r n r, but Eggman showing up definitely broke that plan. Dave is a really fun character thanks in large part to how his voice sounds. He clearly doesn’t want to be at the burger shop and has a lot of goals. Dave just isn’t particularly skilled enough to pull any of them off.

Another fairly big character in the show is Eggman’s twin brother robot from another dimension. His name is Morpho and his accent is certainly on point. I imagine that it must have taken a while to perfect it. He uses his shape changing abilities to great effect as he makes it hard for the heroes to trust each other. Eggman’s mother was also a quality character as she kept everyone in line. The supporting cast is just so great in this show and all of them get their due screen time. Even the old lady who is always losing her baby manages to be a solid character. There’s also a whole group of villains who work at the club house who are sort of like the Cutie Mark Crusaders, but the evil version.

For other guest stars, we’ve got Metal Sonic and Vector. It was a surprise to see Vector show up, but definitely a nice one. He’s not one of the coolest Sonic characters, but it was certainly about time that he got to be in something animated again. Metal Sonic was awesome as expected with his abilities still being top notch. Eggman’s lackeys Cubot and Orbot show up constantly and while their comedic moments don’t work quite as well as some of the others, they have their moments. It’s hard to totally be a bad character when you’re in this show. Even relatively weaker characters like the girl fox who showed up a bit and the old man who guilt trips everyone are more passable than they usually would be.

What really brings the humor home for Sonic Boom is how self aware it is with the characters and what is happening. When it pulls off homages to old sport films or classic moments in the Sonic franchise it works because the writers clearly know what they are referencing. Research was certainly being done on this show throughout. Superman is naturally referenced as well which is hype. Sadly the show did not last long enough for us to get to Super Sonic, but I like to think that the next season would have managed to squeeze that in at some point. There are so many more possibilities for episodes here.

In the end I’d definitely have to say that this is the best Sonic TV show. Sonic X isn’t far behind and then from there they all get rather close. I’d give the original Sonic The Hedgehog cartoon third, Adventures of Sonic 4th and then Underground would take a respectable last place finish. Sonic’s never really had a bad show before and that’s a credit to how good the franchise is. The original movie was excellent as well and hopefully the upcoming one will continue the trend.


Overall, Sonic Boom is an excellent show and one of the best non anime shows that I’ve seen in a long time. You could always expect high quality episodes from week to week. I’m still not a big fan of how many shows like to divide their episodes into 2 parts nowadays, but Boom pulls it off as well as it can. Hopefully it does get another season someday although its odds aren’t looking very great at the moment. I doubt the next Sonic show can surpass this one, but hopefully it is quite solid as well. So if you haven’t seen Sonic Boom yet, be sure to check it out asap.

Overall 8/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

My Hero Academia Season 2 Review


All right, it’s time for the second season to the hit show Hero Academia! The first season really took off and this one naturally followed it with the same excitement. I especially recall seeing it get a lot of buzz when the season first started and I’m sure it held on throughout. On the whole I’d definitely consider this season to beat the first one. It had time for more intense fight scenes and both halves of the season were really solid. I’d argue that the first half beat the second but they both had their share of good scenes.

We start off the season with a bang as the tournament starts. First we get some random events in Olympic style as various teams clash. The episodes are a lot of fun and we get introduced to some new characters like Neito who are extremely good. Once the real 1 on 1 phase of the tournament starts, then things get real. The main highlights of the tournament are Bakugo vs Todoroki and Deku vs Todoroki. Those two fights were leagues better than any of the others in the bracket although that’s not to say that the others were bad. These are just the matches that I had been waiting for. Deku’s had less action than Bakugo’s so it would come in second, but I was glad to finally see him using his powers more.

The dynamic between the characters is also good since any of the 3 can make a claim for being the strongest in the school. I’d say that Deku should easily beat both of them once he gets Full Cowl, but the tourney ended right before that so I was fine with him not being able to match the other two. If Bakugo and Todoroki both fight at full power my money would be on Todoroki, but if Bakugo can use his speed a little more it could definitely go either way.

Then we get to the plot heavy part of the season where the League of Villains attacks again and Stain is around as well. It was the best part of the season to be sure as we got to see Deku, Iida, and Todoroki take on Stain. It’s known as one of the best parts of the season and it’s easy to see why. It stays exciting throughout the whole event and it’s almost hard to go back to the happy days after that. Still, the show manages to pull it off since the directing is quite good and even normal scenes usually feel pretty hype here.

I do think that the season should have ended on a more exciting note though. We get the big teacher vs student battles with All Might taking on Deku and Bakugo towards the end. He certainly wasn’t pulling his punches as much as you’d expect and it made for a really good showdown between them. That should have been the final episode as opposed to ending with Shigaraki getting in some threats and Deku being humiliated again. It could have been a worse ending as we at least got to see new villains, but maybe it just didn’t help that I’m not too impressed with them yet. There’s plenty of time for them to change my mind in the next season. I’m confident that season 3 will continue to improve the series as it’s going to be adapting my favorite arc in the series. Prepare yourself since it may even manage a 9/10 for that one if it plays its cards right.

Well, lets look at the characters. Deku is still a good main character. He was quick to divert from his main mission to go save Iida when he suspected something was wrong. A hero should always be ready to take the initiative like that after all. In his fight with Todoroki he also did a good job of talking sense to him. I don’t care much for his quirk of muttering to himself but it’s not overdone to the point of annoyance so it’s easy to overlook. Deku really just had two problems in this season. One was when he let Shigaraki get the drop on him and just threaten him for a while. It’s moments like those where you have to use Full Cowl and just blast him off. Especially once he started to get choked. That scene was just brutal for Deku fans because you’d expect him to at least do something. Anything is better than just losing like that.

The other iffy moment is when he is teamed up with Bakugo against All Might and keeps saying that they should run away. Running is never the answer and against an opponent whose main ability is super speed and strength…just doesn’t seem like a good option. I was completely with Bakugo there as the best defense is a good offense. Just fight All Might and claim victory. As the heroes always say, it doesn’t matter who your opponent is as your mission still doesn’t change. You just have to win, that’s the end goal. If they had fought together from the start they probably would have done a lot better.

Todoroki finally gets a lot of development here and he’s still my favorite character. He did a really good job in all of his fights and finally knows that he should always be willing to use his fire. He was the only student smart enough to find Deku in time and does a good job of living up to his rep as a genius. It’s a shame that he doesn’t do much in the future arcs since he has such a nice role here. He’s extremely powerful and dependable. You can’t ask for much more from a character.

Bakugo is also a fun character. In season 1 his bullying could be a little intense, but now that Deku has learned to stand up for himself at least Bakugo doesn’t even try anymore. He still lashes out at everyone all the time and is constantly growling about something, but he’s a solid rival. His attack strategy is very versatile and he’s almost as combat smart as Todoroki. His ego probably isn’t thrilled with how Deku keeps surpassing him, but at least he still just focuses on winning. His only issue at one point was saying that he’d rather lose than fight with Deku since that’s a little too drastic. Beyond that, he’s probably still my second favorite character behind Todoroki and the two of them are pretty close. Todoroki is just still a cooler rival. (Pun intended)

One issue with the heroes taking on villains though is that the main 3 are really the only ones who can fight. I suppose Iida has some combat ability as well, but the kids are just so far behind right now. Uraraka is a fun heroine, but her gravity ability doesn’t really have a whole lot of combat potential. That’s why I’m glad she’s at least learning some hand to hand skills from her mentor. That should make up for her powers and maybe she can find a way to use the two as a combo. Light gravity on herself should allow Uraraka to engage in faster hand to hand combat battles potentially. Hopefully they can do something like that for her.

This is Iida’s final big moment before his character falls down the tubes so I recommend enjoying it. His quest to stop Stain was pretty good, it’s a shame that he just didn’t have the power to back it up. Stain’s simply too fast and Iida is bad at changing directions. It also admittedly wasn’t his best moment as a hero since he didn’t even think about saving the other guy in the crossfire. I would give him a passing grade for the season though since he at least had a good plan for telling Stain. I probably wouldn’t have told the other students either since they would really be in danger at that point.

Tsu gets her own episode but it’s probably one of the weakest in the season. It’s about her helping out on a boat which isn’t bad…but pretty much the definition of filler. It’s definitely fun for her fans and all, but the “veterans” on the ship looked like chumps when they were just thrown overboard like that. They really didn’t expect the villains to try and pull a fast one? That’s a little sad for them if that’s the case. Tsu also can’t really fight so hopefully she’ll get a second power soon.

Momo gets some more development as her battle with self confidence happens during her match against the teacher. She’s a cool character and I think the series can do a lot with her ability. Being able to create anything that she understands is certainly handy. It’s surprising how often she just never gets to appear but maybe that’ll change soon. Kirishima doesn’t have an especially large role here or anything, but he’s still a fun character. His armor ability just has too many limitations at the moment so he really needs to improve it. What’s the point of super strength and durability if it’s only to a mild degree? At least he has enthusiasm.

Kyoka also has a mild role, but she looked really good. At least she’s always ready for a fight and is a capable strategist. She contributed in her battle against Mic with her cool ear drum abilities even if the self damage is a little too high for it to be worth using very often. Tokoyami is also another solid fighter who uses his dark hawk ability and his mind to outsmart the enemy. He’s treated as one of the strongest students and I guess he would be top 5. He’s a cool character that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of as well.

Finally from the main students there is also Mineta, but he is the worst by far. There’s just nothing cool to say about him and he is only here to try and bring in some fanservice. The show is really good about avoiding that trap for the moment so getting rid of him and Midnight would make the show completely stay away from it. Mineta has his own big scene which is terrible and unnecessary so hopefully we don’t go through that again.

The other classes have some pretty interesting students as well. Neito is easily one of the best as his character exists only to make fun of the main students as he reminds them that talents, not quirks win battles. He actually does really good during the opening events. Considering that he has no powers, the guy really makes an impact. I hope to see a lot more of him as he’s the kind of comic relief character that I can get behind. Mei is a tech student who invents a bunch of stuff. She seems to be a fun enough character although none of her inventions seem like they’ll be enough to help her in a real fight. She’ll definitely have to stick to the support role for a little while longer.

Hitoshi can control people if they talk to him which is certainly a very good ability. After all, as long as he doesn’t let everyone know about that, most villains will automatically talk to him for trash talking and the like. How useful this ability is will directly correlate to how well he can keep a secret. Just keep releasing fake truths to how it works through the news and such and he could be a secret weapon. It’s just a shame that this kind of ability never seems to work on the stronger opponents.

There’s not much to say about the teachers. Aizawa still serves as the Kakashi of the series and reminds the kids that you can’t mess with the adults. I don’t buy into him doing well against Todoroki at all, but being able to turn off a person’s quirk is really handy. The no blinking rule isn’t nearly as useful though since it should be easy to make him blink during a scuffle. He needs a stun gun or something. Principal Nezu is pretty cheap as per usual. I still hold onto my pet theory that he’s a traitor as it would at least give his character a purpose.

I actually like Mic. He made for a pretty good opponent during the battle and had a lot of fun with his exam. His ability is a little overpowered for how the test was structured though. Ectoplasm has a really cool design even if he hasn’t done much yet. Having Shadow Clones is always handy as well for dealing with multiple opponents. I hope he is either really fast or has some hand to hand techniques though. Snipe has a gun and he knows how to fire it. The guy didn’t get to do much in this season though. Midnight’s hormone abilities definitely make for one of the most underwhelming quirks. It’s almost as bad as just having a tail, it’s not going to help against a serious villain.

All Might’s fight is pretty good and while that’s basically the extent of his role here, it’s a pretty good one. It’s good that he didn’t go too easy on the kids because then there wouldn’t have been much of a point to the exercise. I still really like his super hero design even if the frail human mode isn’t nearly as exciting or fun to watch. He embodies what it means to be a super hero and that’s why it’s easy to see All Might as the symbol of hope. He’s starting to keep some secrets from Deku, but nothing massive yet so it’s all good for now.

One thing that’s always annoying though is how the grown ups tell the kids not to make the hero call. The heroes being in trouble for helping stop Stain is pretty awful no matter how you look at it. Sure, they weren’t given permission to use their quirks and such but I thought you were allowed to do that if it was an emergency. I feel like that was mentioned in season 1 and this would count. Now they have to pretend that they never helped in the first place which is pretty bad. I’ve seen similar speeches in many shows and I never agree with them. If you’re in a position to help someone but don’t have a license, you still have to act. There’s no time to go and find someone and being a hero means saving lives over following the rules. The heroes need to work on a better system so they encourage other heroes to help instead of stopping them. Considering that most of humanity has quirks in this series, they’d be a force to be reckoned with if they united instead of being forced to hide their quirks.

The League of Villains didn’t do much yet. One of the few weaknesses to the series is that the villains aren’t very interesting. Stain is really good and Kurogiri/Noumu have cool designs. Beyond that, the rest of basically throwaways. It’s hard to take Shigaraki seriously when he’s always grabbing his face to calm himself down. His power is actually very useful but his personality just doesn’t work as the big leader of the villains. He needs some self confidence or a better design at the very least. Kurogiri looks cool and his power is great. He should just overthrow Shigaraki at this point since he seems more qualified to be leader. I’d definitely like to see more of him since he is easily the most interesting villain right now.

Since there are many Noumu running around now, they are far weaker than the one that fought All Might. It’s too bad that they got nerfed but at least they are still a credible threat to an extent. We get quick cameos for Dabi and Himiko at the end. They will do more in season 3. Considering that they seemed threatened by Shigaraki at the end, their hype is basically gone by this point. I can see why Himiko is a fan favorite since she’s totally crazy, but it’s just not in a cool way. Dabi is fine though and I expect good things from him.

Stain is the big villain of the series and he is certainly as cool as you’d expect. He has a great design and his ability is also very handy. Being able to paralyze someone for a few minutes is downright amazing. In a 1 on 1 fight that is an instant game over for basically anyone. No matter what your quirk is, you’re not going to be able to survive for long if you can’t move. I’m pretty sure you can’t even use your quirk while paralyzed although I’m sure there are probably some exceptions to this rule. Since Stain is still alive, I’m definitely expecting him to return at some point.

Whoever the show has hired as the director definitely needs to stay on. I take a lot of shots at Naruto Shippuden, but that’s because I wish it was a show like this one. Basically every scene is interesting and the characters are mostly all fun. Each episode is over in the blink of an eye since nothing drags on and you don’t keep seeing the same flashbacks. Even though the manga starts to go downhill a little after where season 3 should end, I’m hoping the anime can save it somehow. With this team at the helm I do think there is a chance. It’s one thing to adapt the source material and another to make it even better. This show is one of the latter and this is basically the prime of the series so continue to enjoy it now while the going is good.

As you’d expect the animation is really solid for this season. The colors really stand out and everything is very sharp. You can especially see this in the high budget episodes. I’m glad the show got a good budget since just about every character has some kind of energy element to their abilities and you need to be able to show that off. One look at the episodes and you know this is a modern show. The soundtrack is basically the same as in the first season. It can be kind of nostalgic but I hope they add some new tunes for season 3. It’s a good soundtrack, but you should never be satisfied by just reusing old themes and should always incorporate new ones as the series progresses. I wasn’t too impressed with the new openings visually, but I did like how they sounded. The very first opening is still the best by far though. That one’s iconic at this point and is one of the best no matter what opening you put against it.

Overall, This was a great followup to the original season. It worked out well that we got another big villain arc here like in the first season. The first season may have done a better job of being really tense since the kids still hadn’t really mastered their powers yet. It went from happy to serious in the blink of an eye there and it was one of the best moments in the series. On the other hand, this season embraced its nature as an action series more and really stepped it up with the fights. For example, the Stain fight here beats anything that was in season 1. The characters were already developed a lot so now getting to see them fight is even more satisfying. It’s a really solid action show that I can recommend to anyone and it’s not complicated or anything so it’s very easy to start.

Overall 8/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Angelic Layer Review


I read the Angelic Layer manga a long time ago. It was really fun with its constant action and was something that I didn’t really expect Clamp to do. The action scenes hold up as some of the best drawn ones out there. The only thing holding it back was some of the annoying characters who had a running gag of trying to embarrass the main character. The anime did a good job of fixing that although it came at the expense of the fight scenes. They’re still around, but the characters have been nerfed. It’s definitely a trade off I can live with and the anime definitely ended up being a great title.

Misaki has always lived a cheerful life with her grandparents as she went through school and made some friends. That being said, she’s always wanted to see her Mom again after being separated across the country. The Mom is busy with her work so she’s never had time to visit or write or phone so Misaki figures that going to Tokyo could solve this. Once she arrives, she sees an Angelic Layer battle being presented on a TV screen. It is essentially a sport where you fight using telepathically controlled mini robots called Angels. A mysterious man named Icchan helps her pick one out and get introduced to the sport. Along the way she makes a few friends like Kotaro, Tamayo, and Hatoko. Can Misaki make it all the way to the world championships and take the crown? If she does, then maybe she can work up the courage to find her mother, but perhaps she won’t have to look very far.

Right away you can tell that the show has aged well. The visuals are nice and crisp with all of the characters and backgrounds looking sharp. This is great for the fight scenes since they are pretty fluid and you can get into the show immediately. The directing and writing are just on point as some shows take a few episodes to get going, but this one catches fire immediately. The soundtrack is also quite good. The opening is fun and iconic and the ending is excellent. It’s a very emotional yet hype theme that plays during the final 30-40 seconds of each episode. It is especially powerful in episode 13 with the DBZ esque cliffhanger but works well in all of them. Sadly they change the ending for the second half of the show. It’s not a bad ending, but it’s a lot happier so it no longer works well with the cliffhangers. The rest of the soundtrack is also pretty good with some nice battle themes in there. One of them even sounds a whole lot like a Toonami promo theme from back in the day. It’s pretty nostalgic. A minor detail that is also fun to notice is how each tournament stage gets grander and grander. The National Tournament stage is easily the most prestigious one of all and the show did a good job of making them all different.

As I mentioned earlier, the fights are a little different than in the manga. Instead of the more intense blows like DBZ where characters are smashing each other into the ground with enormous force, they’re played out more like if they are dolls or angels. They attack but not with enough force to make you think the stadium is going to fall over and that’s because the show acts a little more like a Shojo the whole time. I’d prefer the manga fights, but these are still good as well. You just don’t want to compare them all that much. The actual hand to hand is still really good and we do get one really intense battle with a lot of craters in episode 13. The Champion’s angel also has a very impressive showing during her first round as she moves so fast that she can dodge while appearing to be in the same place. That may have been a little too exaggerated since she was nerfed heavily after that, but it’s how it has to be I suppose.

There is a little more romance in the show than the manga. I suppose that’s to be expected and at one point the show has quite a few people trying to get in on the action. Person A likes B, but B likes C, C likes E, D likes A. We even get a whole episode for this which of course takes place at the beach. One good thing about this being a Shojo is that the beach isn’t used for fanservice which is great. The show completely dodges that speedbump which is awesome. Many titles struggle there, but not this one. As far as romances go, it’s not all that bad either. Tsubasa was still the best in this area, but at least it’s not too drawn out. Take that episode away and the rest of the series barely messes with that. I think there were only 2 episodes total which focused on it.

Another area where the series excels is its pacing. It never drags on and there are fights in virtually every single episode. It’s always nice to see and while I doubt any title has a big fight in all of its episodes (Probably some exception somewhere) this one came close. The birthday celebration episode didn’t have a fight, but it had a cool hammer and plate minigame that was fun because I remember it from another show, but can’t recall where. It seems like a pretty fun game where you definitely need solid reflexes.

Misaki is a great character and someone that most other leads can learn from. She’s a very happy character who is always trying to make the best of things. She enters every battle with a smile and doesn’t hold grudges against any of the bullies. She simply wins them over to her side and keeps on going. Misaki tries not to let other characters worry either and keeps everything to herself. Of course, that ultimately puts more of a strain on her, but she is definitely a noble character through and through. Unfortunately because of her happy nature, she is also highly susceptible to mind games from her opponents and is a little too trusting. I suppose these traits were bound to occur though and it’s still a good thing that she is such an optimistic person. I believe that I liked her a lot in the manga as well, but the anime did an even better job of developing her character. She’s easily one of the most heroic ones I’ve seen.

Her Angel Hikaru makes for a perfect partner. Her design is on point and the fact that she is a speed model with solid attacks is an added bonus. She even reminds me of Megaman.exe because of the chest emblem she has. I’d swear that it’s practically the same. Hikaru is also so strong that the show constantly has to write excuses to have the opponents even stand a chance against her. Misaki only has 2-3 fair fights during the whole series as in just about every bout Misaki is either distracted or the opponent is cheating to the main character doesn’t just steamroll the opponent. It’s definitely a good change of pace and I rather like main characters who are pros as opposed to just barely winning each time. It can be annoying as these gimmicks keep almost stopping Misaki, but she always gets through.

Icchan is one of the main supporting characters. He’s the head scientist involved with creating Angelic Layer, but he makes sure not to tell Misaki this. He discreetly helps her from the shadows as she progresses in the game and knows more than he lets on. The character has been improved from the manga although he still acts a little iffy near the beginning. He’s a decent character I suppose although his mean pranks can go way too far at some points. It’s always hard to know what to think of him, but at the very least he is a charismatic boss.

Hatoko is Misaki’s first rival and one of the stronger characters in the series. She is sort of like the Chaud and Protoman of the series as she defeats her opponents in an instant and is known as one of the best players in the league. Her Angel is another speed type who is also very powerful. Her fight with Misaki was definitely a lot of fun and it’s just a shame that she didn’t really get to do anything for the second half of the series. Her fight against Shirahime was also very anticlimactic and disappointing. I never really like 1 hit KO matches since it’s hard to do anything epic in that time compared to a more prolonged fight. That’s why Shirahime vs Hikaru is probably the best fight of the series although Kaede’s battle with Misaki is very close. The fact that Hatoko is only around 5-8 years old makes her even more fun since she is such a little kid but can still fight it out with these professionals. She shows that age really doesn’t matter in this game as it’s all about the skills.

Kotaru is the main guy in the series, but he doesn’t have an Angel of his own so that makes things a little tricky for him. He’s Hatoko’s big brother though so that helps him stay relevant. I’m not much of a fan of his to be honest as he spends the whole show getting pushed around by just about everyone. He does get his own romance plot twice as he goes after Misaki but ultimately allows himself to fall behind to the rival and goes with the childhood friend. This felt a bit like a rebound as he was clearly losing the battle for Misaki and went from not even acknowledging Tamayo as anything other than a friend to completely getting over Misaki (Aside from a brief relapse during the fight) in the course of a day or 2. That romance was a little rushed to be honest, but we’ll roll with it.

Tamayo is definitely more likable than Kotaru. She’s a good friend who constantly roots for Misaki during the tournament and also isn’t petty. She realizes that her chances of getting Kotaru grew slimmer when Misaki joined up, but never resented her for it. Tamayo even told herself that blaming Misaki wouldn’t be fair and she stayed true to herself with that. So even if I didn’t really buy into the romance, Tamayo handled the situation as best as possible so she deserves some points for that. I’m also glad that she can fight and doesn’t take any nonsense from the bullies.

Ohjiro is one of the hype characters as he was the tournament runner up the year before the series started. His Angel Wizard is incredibly powerful because of his seemingly impervious defense. That being said, while I like Wizard, I don’t like Ohjiro. He comes off as too much of a flirt at times and it’s hard to ever know if he’s actually here to help. His prank to Misaki to build up her courage was just bizarre. The guy just rubbed me the wrong way from the start.

Aunt Shoko is a recurring character, but her role never gets that major. Since she is a reporter she is able to follow Misaki around discreetly as she keeps up with the tournament. She’s a nice character and helps support Misaki when possible. Misaki’s mother Shuko has a pretty different personality which causes the two to differ quite a bit. Shuko’s plot was vastly expanded in the anime compared to the manga and certainly made her a better character. I definitely still don’t agree with Shuko’s decisions, but at least they had a decent rationale to them and Shuko did manage to win in a pretty hype way most of the time.

Shuko basically decided to abandon Misaki because her legs were going bad and she decided not to return until they were fixed. The problem is that nothing could fix them in their current state so she kept pushing off the reunion over and over again. Eventually it got up to the point where she couldn’t work up the nerve to meet her. She suddenly decides to do it right before the finals which may not have been a good move. Honestly she probably could have handled it a lot better, but it was definitely an intense way to start the ball rolling, that’s for sure. I’m glad that the show doesn’t even try to hide the fact that she’s Misaki’s Mom from the start because the plot point just seems very clear. Even when the Angel first appears on the screen as Misaki arrives in Tokyo to find her Mom you can basically guess where this is going. The plot could possibly get a little over dramatic at times, but all in all it was a fun little subplot and while Misaki took it pretty hard I can almost guarantee that most characters would have taken it a lot worse. Misaki still handled the situation with her usual dignity and politeness even being the one to ultimately break the ice.

Sai is another one of the big rivals and became the second major threat to Misaki after she defeated Hatoko. Her ice Angel is pretty good since it is a power type but can still move with great speed. It was one of the best fights in the series because there were no gimmicks or mind games. It was simply a really good fight with both characters doing their best to adapt to the situation. Well…actually I kind of forgot about this, but there was a sand gimmick now that I think about it. Still a great fight, but once again the opponent needed an edge to stand a chance against Hikaru. Sai’s a pretty likable character as well as she stays tough and tries to win the tournament for her late sister. Her motives are definitely a lot better than half of the characters in this tournament and she always keeps up a tough exterior.

There’s also Kaede who is Sai’s friend, but a lot more morally dubious. Kaede believes in winning no matter the cost so she allows her Angel to overheat in the hopes of winning the battle. It can permanently damage her angel, but she doesn’t care as long as she wins. While this does make for a great fight, I have to say that I lost a lot of respect for her after that. Kaede’s a little too brutal and forgets that this is just a game. Misaki probably should have called her out on this a little more, but maybe the loss was enough of a message to send. Kaede’s Angel is definitely cool with its neat fighting skills and good dodging abilities. It reminded me of Rosalina quite a bit.

Ringo is a celebrity who fights Misaki early on and has some pretty good abilities. She can fire off invisible blasts of wind and is good in close quarters as well. She’s a pretty fun character to have even if she starts quite the panic during Misaki’s Birthday. The circumstances were only iffy because Misaki didn’t announce her decision in time though so I can’t blame Ringo for it. Ringo’s a fairly minor character in the series, but she appeared enough to be mentioned. There’s also a random boy named Misaki who decides to fight Misaki to prove that boys are superior, but he definitely doesn’t look too good. That was back before Misaki (the main character) could beat everyone with ease so that was his best chance and he still couldn’t take the win. The guy is comically petty to the point where he was an amusing character. You knew that he was doomed from the start though as Misaki was able to beat him while dancing. On that note, I have to say that the show knew when to pour on the disrespect. The heroes including Misaki can be absolutely brutal to their opponents at times. They don’t mean to show off, but it just ends up happening.

Madoka is another one of Misaki’s opponents who acts like a bully and resorts to cheating. It’s a shame since she seemed like a decent fighter, but this proved that she wasn’t actually all that tough. Her sister was just as bad if not worse. Misaki fought quite a few bullies or at least mean spirited characters like this. Another one complained that being tall was annoying and short people always got to have their victories. Misaki promptly beat her and then converted the bully. It’s great how Misaki turns so many lives around just by beating people in front of a national audience. Misaki has definitely made the country a better place.

Finally we have Ogata. He’s the main comic relief of the series, but I had to give him a mention because you can’t help but feel bad for the guy sometimes. I mean, he does ask for it on a few occasions as he accuses Icchan of iffy stuff and makes some big mistakes, but other times he means well and still gets into trouble. Inviting the main characters to the BBQ seems totally innocent..he didn’t realize that Misaki’s Mom would be there and that things could be tricky. The punishments can also be pretty mean like being attacked by an alien or getting tied up. He didn’t ask for this!

I suppose it should be mentioned that the ending of the show is a little cheesy. For once I wouldn’t call it rushed or anything and I was glad that the final episode was basically just one big fight, but they went overboard with trying to make it seem hopeless. Hikaru lost about 80% of her health in a flash and then got hit by a super blast. That should have finished off Hikaru and she stayed down for several minutes. Somehow her health didn’t hit 0 though…then she got hit again…and still had more health while the final boss lost. I would have been okay with that if Hikaru had activated a barrier or had a health regeneration abilitty, but it made no sense in context. She just doesn’t have that much health. Athena was just hyped to no return and it cost the writers a bit. Even in her first fight when she was moving at insane speeds, Athena lost that ability for all of her future fights. It was there for shock value, but then the writers realized that this would be too overpowered. It’s definitely something to watch out for as shows tend to bite off more than they can chew. Sai’s fight with Shuko was also cheesy, but just because neither one of them decided to fight seriously so Shuko won with ease. Isn’t that a little disrespectful to the contestants who lost to these two fighters earlier? I mean, it happens in Super Smash tournaments so it is slightly realistic, but just annoying to watch.


Overall, Angelic Layer is a great show. It’s a lot of fun right from the start. There is constant action throughout it and the pacing is always on point. The main cast is very strong and I could have easily seen this show going over 50 episodes. I definitely wouldn’t mind a sequel series someday where the characters have to fight new opponents or defend the world from evil Angels. I’d also like a sequel since Misaki is past the point of having any doubts so the villains would have to get stronger to deal with her since they can’t play with her psyche anymore. There’s a lot of potential here and a crossover with Megaman.EXE would also be fun since the two titles have so many similarities. If you haven’t seen the show yet, I’d highly recommend doing so. It’s aged phenomenally well and is probably one of the more underrated titles out there. After all, when was the last time you heard this show mentioned in any capacity?

Overall 8/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Future Card Buddyfight Triple D Review


It’s time for the next installment in the Buddyfight series. For a little while there I was worried that it would only get 2 seasons and die out because many great anime don’t make it to 3 seasons. However it did make it and now has a 4th season so we can safely say that the franchise is safe. Even if it were to end soon, it’s had a great run. It’s awesome to be living in a time where we have Yu-Gi-Oh, Buddyfight, and Cardfight all airing new episodes. Buddyfight is the weakest of the 3 at least when it comes to the franchises, but it always puts up a good fight. This season had a rocky start, but by the end I’d say that it surpassed season 2 while still not being able to catch the original.

Gao doesn’t have his Drum Bunker Dragon anymore so he has to get a replacement. He ends up getting a buddy named Bal. Bal is a lot younger than Drum and acts like a little kid. It takes a while for the pair to really get along, but they gradually develop a tight bond. They decide to enter the local tournaments to prove that they are the best and gradually approach the World Cup. However, they will have to get past some powerful rivals like Tasuku, the boy prodigy, and Gaito, a mysterious newcomer who wants to prove his strength above all. Meanwhile, Kyoya has been replaced as the head of the financial company and has decided to enter the tournament as a normal participant. What are his goals here? There are many other foes who have surfaced like the new head and a mysterious scientist with a split personality. Gao will have to keep his guard up at all times since these games may not just be for fun anymore.

Lets talk about why the season had a rough start. It acts a little bit like a reboot at times. It’s not a full reboot though so the best way to describe it is like Pokemon. Ash has gone on all of his adventures, but he is still only 10 years old and forgot a lot of his battle experience and even acts like he doesn’t know some of the original Pokemon at times. That’s how it is here. Gao and friends act like they barely know some of the old characters like Tasuku and many supporting characters. This is only relevant in the first episodes as they all become friends again and act like their old selves, but the early episodes are fairly bizarre. It feels like the writers couldn’t decide if he knows the others or not so it goes back and forth on that.

Another issue is that the show seems to aim a little younger this time. Particularly in the first episodes again, it seems a little like Pokemon Sun and Moon. There are a lot of visual gags now with characters faces getting exaggerated and crude humor jokes. One new addition to the show is Zom-B. His whole character is made for excessive humor as he constantly panics and destroys himself. It’s a running gag that the show spams in almost every episode of the first half along with recycled animation the whole time. None of his jokes are funny at all and he does drag down some of the battles to an extent. I was glad when he slowly started to appear less. As you can tell, I didn’t care for the humor. It did not work well at all.

So you may be wondering how this season could possibly top 2 right? Well, it has less repetition. What severely brought Buddyfight 100 down was how many times Gao had to fight the same enemy. That’s never an issue here fortunately. The season is also filled with nonstop tournaments the whole time which was really good. As a result, the action never let up and there were a lot of interesting fights in the mix. In the end we watch card game shows for all of the epic duels and that’s one of the reasons why this show succeeds. Tournaments are particularly fun to watch in this genre although I’d say that they work in just about every genre as well.

As always, the show doesn’t disappoint with the over the top visuals. Every final smash ends up severely damaging the planet and you wonder how the player can survive the intense virtual damage. All of the character designs are on point and a lot of the monster designs look really good. Gaito’s design is solid and his monster is very cool as well. The show’s soundtrack is also amazing. The show is now at its height in that regard. This is mainly because Gaito’s theme is really good and may even surpass the arena theme from 100. Fortunately that one returns along with the despair theme. Combined, those themes make this show one of the best in the business.

Gao is a likable character as always. He’s not quite as awesome as he was in the first two seasons, but he’s still solid. He’s less intense, but still has a lot of skills. It’s just a shame that he’s not as overpowered as he used to be. I remember when winning every single battle was child’s play for him. Kuguru and Baku don’t really do much in the season. They’re even more irrelevant than they were in the previous two seasons which is a little disappointing for their fans. Fortunately, I don’t like either character much so I’m pretty fine with this.

Bal is certainly no Drum. By the end of the show I didn’t mind him. He beats the new Buddy in the current season, but Drum is still the best. Bal’s true form is really epic to watch and I’m glad that he can actually fight. He didn’t master the form for quite a while, but the payoff was good once he got going.

Tasuku’s as cool as ever. He (finally) quit the Buddypolice for most of the season although there is a slight twist about that. Anyway, he is one character who did not lost his character development. Since he already had a bunch in the previous seasons there is no longer any room for doubt or worry. He is completely sure of himself here and doesn’t have to enter any morally grey areas. Unfortunately this also does make things tricky for him near the climax. He disagrees with challenging Kyoya because he wants to wait for the cops to make a move and thinks it’s dangerous. I disagreed with the rationale there because stopping Kyoya is the safest way to save the world. It’s risky, but still the best move. Still, Tasuku ultimately relented and was pivotal in taking down some of the minions. With Gao being slightly nerfed in the personality department you can make a case for Tasuku being the best character. His buddy Jackknife Dragon is as reliable as ever and serves as a mentor to Bal.

Gaito is the new rival on the block and he’s a really good character. He uses a Dark deck and has shadow energy at all times. This instantly meant that he was going to be my kind of character. His Dragon Abigail gets a lot of development throughout and has a big subplot to himself. I liked him a lot and he is probably my favorite hero dragon in the season. That may seem a bit specific but if we count enemies then I’d probably have to go with Kyoya’s dragon. Gaito gradually does get a little more friendly, but he always stays serious compared to the rest of the characters. Heading off to face Kyoya alone is the kind of decision that I’d expect him to make and it’s one that I supported. I didn’t like his odds going into that fight, but everyone is outmatched against that guy.

Kyoya is the main villain once again. This means that he was the final boss in 2 out of 3 seasons. It could seem repetitive if you see the plot summaries from afar, but it makes sense. True, Kyoya may have had a bit of a personality shift since he seemed like he was turning good after the original season, but his motives are fairly complex. Season 1 was like the opening act for him to gather data and season 2 was something he just didn’t calculate on. I was surprised to see him lose there, but it helped to legitimize the threat. It’s like if an alien attack our world, heroes and villains alike would team up to stop them because we want the world for ourselves. Kyoya just didn’t think it would be enough to beat him. He regained all of his hype in this season though. His new card is great and without plot hax it is virtually unbeatable. There are always some tough questions to ask like if creating your own card is really legitimate or not, but Bal gave Gao, Gaito, and Tasuku one so fair is fair right? It’s no coincidence that the 4 created cards are the strongest either. Why would you make yourself a weak one right?

Azi Dahaka has always been a fun dragon in the series. His fans may be a little upset that he doesn’t really get to activate his master plan and is basically used by Kyoya the whole time, but he still has a very intimidating presence. He’s a good villain to have around for sure. I’ll miss him if he doesn’t return, but I somehow get the feeling that Kyoya will bring him back. If not, maybe this finally was Kyoya’s last hurrah, but I won’t believe that until I see it. Even if he returns as a rival instead of an enemy, I’d be on board with that. Kyoya’s 2 on 1 duel against Gaito and Tasuku is one of the most epic moments of the franchise. The duel may have been off screen, but it’s unheard of to beat multiple opponents. In Buddyfight, that is basically impossible to accomplish thanks to the structure of the game.

Rouga also gets to appear a little, but I have no idea what the writers are even thinking with him anymore. His character serves no point and I just don’t like the guy anymore. That may be a bit harsh, but I used to like him. It just feels like his character has gone nowhere and he hasn’t gotten any stronger while everyone else has improved. He’s not a threat anymore and I think the franchise should just write him out unless they have a specific plan in mind for him. Noboru is the opposite as he’s still a great character as always. It’s just rather tragic as he loses basically every big battle that he gets involved in. He always gets to make a good speech and it gets emotional, but he can’t close it out. It’s because he always ends up fighting the big villains. It’s a shame, but at least he is a character who tries. Actually, maybe he should be known as the best character in the series now. He’s certainly consistent and I’m always rooting for him at any rate.

Lets talk about some of the new characters. Kaido is a guy who loves yelling about festivals. He never gets serious, but that’s part of his character. He always makes sure to have fun when playing Buddyfight even if everyone else forgets that when the world is at stake. He has the largest monster in the franchise which is essentially his gimmick. It’s pretty impressive and he’s a nice guy. I don’t mind him all that much and he’s a decent rival. I don’t find him to be all that cool, but his gimmick doesn’t get too annoying which helps a lot. He’ll either be your kind of character or not. As far as the new additions go, he’s probably the weakest not counting the one shot characters.

Doctor Gara is one of the big villains who shows up and I liked him. His happy personality as a scientist is pretty boring, but his deranged form works really well. I don’t know how everyone kept getting tricked by him, but I suppose it was the Team Rocket effect. He was actually a very powerful opponent and nearly took Tasuku down. Mix that in with his cool design and he was one of the best parts of the season. Buddyfight is probably one of the few shows where the new villains always seem to be cooler than the new heroes. Maybe that isn’t too rare depending on who you ask, but I liked all of the new villains. He may be no Kyoya, but at least he was a threat. His monster: Zodiac was really good as well. He had a great design that was on point.

Genesis is the other big villain who entered the fray. He replaced Kyoya in the company and now makes it his life’s work to mess up Kyoya’s plans when possible. We get a lot of episodes where both characters are constantly trying to one up the other and it makes for an interesting plot. Kyoya always seems to win in the end, but Genesis came close. He may be the single strongest duelist in the game to be honest. His one hit KO combo is incredibly good and it really should have won. He only lost due to the cheese factor and the fact that someone came back from the grave. Yes, one character’s ability lets him keep on dueling even if his life points hit 0. All right, it’s Gaito, I may as well say it since the ability isn’t a huge plot point. Genesis’ final monster form has a really cool design and the next Buddyfight season even brought back the concept. I guess it must have been a big hit.

As always, the show has an incredible climax which just made the rest of the show even more awesome. It made me really realize what a fun show it had been. The original still wins because it had consistent writing and quality the whole time. The climax may not have been quite as explosive and awesome, but everything else made up for that. This show’s climax is easily the best of the 3 seasons and one of the best anime climaxes in general. Part of it is the fact that Kyoya returned as it feels like a big payoff from the 3 seasons.

I have to say that there’s going to be a lot of pressure for the next season I’m roughly 10 episodes in for that one so it’s way too early to say how it’ll fare. Buddyfight generally starts to ramp up the plot and intensity in the 20s as it loves to use the early episodes for character development and world building. You may think that’s a little excessive but it does work. Hear me out, it can be tough to sit through a bunch of episodes that feel like filler, but it absolutely does make you care more about the characters. Why do you think Cardfight was so successful? It takes just as long to get started at times and G gave us roughly 40-50 episodes of pure character development in the form of the first season before the plot really went underway. As long as the episodes are good anyway (Which they were in Cardfight. Buddyfight admittedly does struggle in this area) then it’s fine. It’s shows with lackluster plots like Naruto which gives the impression that development episodes are bad.

A big element in this season which I almost neglected to mention is the legendary Dragon Force. It is a super ability that only the chosen may wield which naturally means that the main 3 characters obtain it. Gao, Tasuku, and Gaito. The ability is pretty handy. Aside from the cool visuals it also gives some nice abilities to the users. Gaito gets the ability to obtain a second life, Gao can attack multiple times, and Tasuku’s also increases his attacks. Clearly Gaito got the best one if you ask me. Each character also gained an Impact Card which is essentially a super attack that their main monster can use. Gaito’s so good that he obtained two of them though.

These attacks and forms get a pretty high budget animation, but it is one that is reused constantly so it’s a mixed bag. Personally I’m all for it. Recycled footage can be a little dicey at times, but it seems more like a fun gimmick than a crutch in this case. I can understand why they wouldn’t want to have to reanimate these moments every single time. It would certainly get old fast.

When it all boils down to it, one of the best parts of the show is the large amount of hype that everyone gets. Unlike World Trigger where it is a little overdone at times, the characters all live up to the hype. Gaito gets some really epic scenes where he takes down enemies even after they figure out his Impact ability. He quickly grew to be one of my favorite characters because of it. Similarly, Kyoya, Genesis, and Tasuku had big moments as well. Unlike Sengoku Basara where the show didn’t want to give up on the hype, this show knew when it was time to choose a winner though. For example, Gaito and Genesis got to fight when both of them were near the height of their hype reputations. There wasn’t a draw though and a clear winner was chosen. The show is pretty good at not having draws overall as there was only one big one that I can recall and even in that instance, Kyoya would have won, unfortunately the machine couldn’t handle the power of his card.

There are some power level stuff that gets a bit tricky. I didn’t really buy into how Genesis was defeated and there may have been a few cheesy moments here and there. Nothing major though and a big part of card games is the luck factor involved. For the most part it was all fairly believable. I’m definitely hoping for a big reunion season soon though with a tournament that encompasses characters from all of the seasons. You have to admit that this would be hype. On one last note, Kiri fans will be disappointed by the fact that he looks terrible here. He nearly resorts to kidnapping Bal to run away from the enemy threat and doesn’t fight almost at all despite gaining these super powerful abilities of his. Not a good look considering his character development.

For fun, here are the card game seasons off the top of my head. Shows without subtitles are treated as the same though and I’m merging Zexal and Zexal II since that’s what I did on this site. The order would be Yugioh GX, Cardfight Link Joker, Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds, Yu-Gi-Oh Arc V, Cardfight Legion Mate, Yu-Gi-Oh, Cardfight Vanguard, Cardfight Asia Circuit, Digimon Tamers, Future Card Buddyfight, Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal, Cardfight G GIRS Crisis, Scan 2 Go, Buddyfight Triple D, Cardfight NEXT, Cardfight G, Buddyfight 100, Buddyfight NEXT, Yu-Gi-Oh Capsule Monsters. I’m pretty sure I got them all. It’s pretty tough to put them all in order since most of the shows are really close to each other. Some are still ongoing as well so they may move up by the end. The worst card show (Minus Capsule Monsters) on the list is still a very good title overall which is why the genre is just so much fun. I’m glad that it has been doing so well as of late.

Overall, This was a great anime. I highly recommend watching this season. The best part is that since they tried to target newcomers with this title, you can go ahead and watch it without knowing much of the series beforehand. The rules are easy to follow and the plot is pretty basic. After all, a tournament is as straight forward as it gets while still being incredibly epic. We also get the awesome climax and there is a real time fight during the night where Bal fights Azi Dahaka outside of the game rules. That was fun and I’d love to see more of that. Please bring Azi Dahaka back as well, there’s still so much that the franchise can do for him. Buddyfight’s action and pacing ensure that this is a show everyone can check out.

Overall 8/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Sengoku Basara Review


It’s time for an anime that is nostalgic in a sense. I played the original Devil Kings game a while back which is what this arc is based off of. Admittedly, I can see how the game would sell better with that title over Sengoku Basara as it just seems a little more intense. The anime did a great job of adapting it and was just about perfect. It was a really well done anime all around and I look forward to seeing how good the sequels are. This will be a tough season to follow though so I can’t say that I’m expecting it to be surpassed. I look forward to seeing it try to prove me wrong though.

The series takes place back in the really old days of warring nations of Samurai. There are many factions along the land and they feud over territory all the time. Despite this, many of them have fairly friendly relations with each other. They don’t hold grudges over destroying each other because it is simply their way of life. Whoever wins, there are no salty losers. That being said, it all changes when the Oda army descends onto the battlefield. They are led by the infamous Devil King who has no such compassion or morals on the battle field. His army doesn’t play by any set of rules and believes in winning at all costs. The heroes of each warring faction must either team up or face annihilation.

This is one of those series that has multiple protagonists through the different factions. Some of them are clearly evil while others are more heroic. You ultimately have to decide which group to root for. There are 3 main heroic factions to choose from with Yukimura’s getting the largest focus. That was where my allegiance was since he is easily the best character in the series. I did like Masamune a lot as a runner up though and the show did a good job of giving everyone a good amount of screen time.

Before talking about the show any further, lets delve into the characters. Yukimura is the headstrong protagonist whose fire abilities really enhance his fighting style. He has absolute confidence and never backs down from a fight. In fact, the moment that solidified him as the best character for me was when he didn’t even back down from the Devil King even when Masamune was frozen in fear. It was the deciding moment between the two and Yukimura passed the test. He may not have done too well against Mitsuhide, but you can’t win em all I suppose and the power levels were wonky by the end. More on that in a bit though. Having Ichigo’s English voice actor also helped a bit as well. Yukimura is one of the best main characters that I’ve seen in a while. He’s honorable, a great warrior, and he has fire abilities. Fire is the best element so that’s always a good sign.

Shingen is Yukimura’s boss and he’s a reasonable leader. He definitely gives Yukimura quite the beating over the series, but the main character is very tough so he can take it. I can’t say that I ever found him to be all that strong compared to Yukimura and Masamune since he is really lacking in speed, but he is still one powerful dude. It would have been nice if we could have seen him get a full fight as Shingen never really got the opportunity. Sasuke is the ninja in the fire squad and he gets a lot of subtle hype. He’s very quick and knows how to get out of a dangerous situation. He never gets into any danger or even ends up nearing a loss. Sasuke is essentially untouched during the whole season so I’d like to see him help out more next time.

Masamune is the big rival in the series and the second best character. His design is really good and his intense personality is fitting for Yukimura’s rival. He also enjoys combat quite a lot and it’s impressive that he’s the leader of his clan at a relatively young age. He gets a very large role during the course of the show. While Masamune may have overreacted at his first defeat and had to be snapped out of his stupor, he made a full recovery. I dare say that the show even hints that he may be slightly stronger than Yukimura. At the very least, he did look a little better against Mitsuhide, but Yukimura wasn’t in the right mindset for that one. Masamune’s 6 sword style was definitely unique even if it’s hard for me to imagine someone using it effectively. That’s a lot of swords after all, but it shows just how good he is.

Kojuro is Masamune’s general and the two are pretty close. Kojuro will defy Masamune occasionally if he thinks that the leader is going down the right path. The leader may not like it at the time, but that’s exactly the kind of person that he wants as his second in command. Kojuro is also a pretty strong fighter in his own right. I don’t think he should really be a match for someone like Mitsuhide, but he’s probably the strongest secondary fighter in the series. His strategic knowledge is just as useful during this war even if Masamune does ignore it for a more direct plan.

Kenshin was another one of the leaders, but he was a little disappointing. He only got to very briefly fight for about a minute or so before being taken out of the equation and all he did was talk. His rivalry with Shingen even felt out of character with the rest of his personality. Honestly, the guy was just a little more on the annoying side and while he may not be a bad character per say, it did feel like he was stringing Kasuga on for a while. Kasuga is his 2nd in command and the head ninja. While she could have had potential as a strong mercenary like Nina Williams of Samus Aran (Bounty Hunter anyway) the show mainly just uses her for fanservice. She is out shined by Sasuke whenever the two characters meet and she also just ends up failing in all of her fights. As she is a professional ninja, you’d think that she could defeat the Devil King’s wife. Kasuga even got her in a choke hold, but then she allowed Nohime to get free and shoot Kenshin. Honestly, that was probably one of the most embarrassing moments in her career. The only moment that may have been worse was when she got one shotted by Nohime again while trying to avenge her master. Kasuga fans definitely won’t be pleased with her portrayal and rightly so. She’s usually a pretty strong character, but she wasn’t given any respect in this season.

Nobunaga or maybe I should say the Devil King, makes for a great villain in the series. He doesn’t appear right away, but still manages to make his presence known the instant that he appears. His theme is absolutely amazing and he is really a perfect villain. He’s absolutely ruthless as well as a brilliant tactician. He didn’t get to where he is by being naive and manages to double cross his lieutenant before he was back stabbed. It was a great moment because being outsmarted would have really hurt his character. I also like the fact that he actually has super powers of his own and that allows him to fight with his gun, cape, and a sword of course. A gun wouldn’t be very useful against most opponents, but since the Devil King is naturally powerful already, he can make it work. He’s one step ahead of the heroes for the bulk of the series and it was even a little surreal to finally see him take to the front lines at the end. Nohime is his wife and probably the only person that he can count on. She’s pretty skilled as she infiltrated one of the hero groups and took out the leader. She also managed to defeat Kasuga pretty easily and just did a really good job of backing up the Devil King overall. She only went down due to plot hax. Unfortunately, that meant that we could never see her get a full fight as her other battles were mere skirmishes.

Mitsuhide Ranmaru really got the shaft from the villains. He’s a kid who is working with the villains, but his backstory isn’t developed here. He can shoot arrows, but that’s about it so he is incredibly out of his depth here. I can’t say that I liked the kid at all so I was glad that the writers threw his character to the curb. Oichi is Nobunaga’s sister and he used her to entangle the clan leader Nagamasa into their ranks. As her husband, Nagamasa decides that he has to help the villains even if his whole shtick is that he fights for justice. It’s a shame since he is always talking about justice, but his honor gets in the way. That was pretty terrible to be honest and then when he finally decides to betray the Devil King, Oichi is used as a hostage. She puts up no resistance though and constantly makes things tough on him. I actually liked Nagamasa so his whole plot was pretty tragic.

Oichi’s a pretty terrible character though. She spends the majority of her screen time on the floor telling everyone to forgive her and asking the Devil King to turn into a good guy. Naturally that was not going to happen and he makes it clear several times that she is expendable. She almost dies a number of times as well. Oichi does have some Devil King abilities within her as well like when she destroys one of the main villains, but it quickly vanishes in time for her to be shot. Her character arc was very poorly developed and never went anywhere. Her powers were also odd as they just randomly appeared for a single scene and then never showed up again. It was as if the writers needed a way to take down one of the main villains and they decided to just make this up. If the powers had transformed Oichi into a good character then I’d be okay with it. As it stands, she basically got her husband murdered and then she went down shortly afterwards.

Tokugawa is the worst clan leader. He can’t fight for beans and he continues to work for the Devil King even when he knows that the guy is evil. Naturally Tokugawa gets back stabbed and he would have lost the battle anyway if there wasn’t any interference. While Tokugawa may try to act as if he’s not a villain, he’s just as guilty as the others if you ask me since he’s working with the villains. He may use honor as a justification, but it’s just an excuse. His main general is Tadakatsu, a giant cyborg. This guy is physically very strong and Shingen even claims that Yukimura would not be able to defeat him. I don’t buy into that and I didn’t really believe the fight either, but the general seemed like a decent character.

There’s also the wandering warrior Keiji. He’s apparently extremely strong, but prefers to goof off and enjoy life while he can. This guy is critical to uniting the various factions to oppose the Devil King as they probably would not have worked together otherwise. He’s not really my kind of character, but the show portrayed him decently well. A lot of times this character trope ends up being a lot worse. There were some other minor characters in the show like a few clan leaders who showed up out of nowhere, but they’re really not all that important. They got a little bonus OVA episode that explains their involvement a little more, but it just shows that one of them is a villain and the other is another battle hungry leader. I actually liked that guy at least. It makes sense that there are more clans across the sea, but the show really didn’t need to add these guys.

While I have some issues with the show that are coming up, they don’t really hurt the show all that much. They’re just things that the writing could have worked on and some viewers may not even notice. The only one that was a little aggravating was the fanservice that would pop up once in a while. It was pretty mild and not too frequent at least, but Kasuga was basically used purely for fanservice. Her outfit is pretty outrageous and I can’t picture a ninja actually using it. I know Marvel’s reasoning for costumes like this for assassins is that they can distract the target which makes the job easier, but that seems more like an excuse than anything else. Whenever Kasuga talks to her boss she makes exaggerated poses as she exclaims her delight. It’s a pretty sad running gag and it’s the only part of the series that has fanservice in it. Take this away and that angle would have been perfect. So, that was definitely a little unfortunate, but I realize that it certainly could have been a lot worse. At the very least, the show never puts any real emphasis on her costume aside from these moments, which could have certainly been a disaster.

One thing that the show is comically bad at is the power levels. You get glimpses of this early on, but it gets worse and worse. All right, we know that Yukimura and Masamune are about equal since all of their skirmishes are completely deadlocked and have to be interrupted. They are seen as the absolute strongest warriors even if the leaders would beg to differ. Then we get Nagamasa who is also able to match up to Masamune. Then we get Mitsuhide who has the upper hand against Masamune (He was weakened though) and later on starts to beat Yukimura. The two of them team up and Mitsuhide is still holding his own. That’s when Kojuro shows up and says that he’ll take care of it. He beats Mitsuhide pretty easily, but that shouldn’t be possible since he’s weaker right? Keiji was also shown to be at around the same level and he also took down one of the big hyped leaders.

The problem here is that the show wanted to give everyone a bunch of hype which resulted in all of them being at the same level. It just didn’t make sense and as a result some characters would suddenly look weak for no reason. Yukimura losing to the cyborg for a while in the fight didn’t work for me and Shingen looked really bad against Mitsuhide. It reminded me of LBX, but that show’s probably The most extreme when it comes to power levels so we’re not quite there yet. You’ll also just be able to tell since the visuals are so exaggerated for the two main heroes. They’re making twisters with every hit to launch hundreds of soldiers away one second, but then they can’t dodge a bullet the next. The heroes are cornered by conventional weapons at some points and it makes you wonder how this is possible. Well, that’s because the visuals are more just for entertainment. They’re not actually jumping and staying in the air for whole minutes or cleaving mountains in two, it just feels like they are. At the same time, that’d be kinda sad and some scenes don’t support this as other characters see the battle and feel the tremors. The other explanation is that they can only awaken their powers at some points like in a video game and their normal mode is just really weak. My own theory is just that the power levels are inconsistent and the writers could have handled it better.

The show made some odd decisions towards the end. The story was really good and this isn’t necessarily a negative, but the ending had a lot of cop outs. At the beginning, characters were dying left and right, which kept amping up the stakes and it felt like a show where 90% of the cast would die off and there wouldn’t be any room for a second season. I’m inclined to think that the writers just wanted more money and season 2 would give them a chance of that. As such, a ton of characters just randomly survived at the end even when it felt like they should not have. Yukimura’s boss, the ice boss, Masamune’s henchmen, they all felt rather artificial when these characters survived. Allowing them to die would have made the ending a lot more impactful. So, I think this decision did hurt the tone of season 1 a bit, but it could help season 2 a lot since not having all of these characters could have been a little tough. Even Masamune may have died if there was no season 2. Fans of these characters should also be happy since they may get a chance to fight more thanks to this.

Finally, I have to point out that the characters in this show have a very distorted version of honor. It’s an old school kind of honor where if you make a deal, you have to stick to it even if nobody else is. An example is how several heroes made a pact with the Devil King and then had to stick to it even while he was murdering their allies and stabbing people in the back. At that point, I’d say that the honorful thing to do is to stop him yourself instead of standing back and aiding him. A lot of characters were confused about that, but at least Shingen and Masamune knew better. Honor like that just isn’t worth it, but you’ll be surprised at how many characters in this series are paralyzed by it.

Sengoku Basara definitely doesn’t disappoint with the epic soundtrack. The tunes are all very high octane and full of action which makes all of the scenes that much better. Nobunaga’s theme is absolutely the best one as you’d expect. It’s very atmospheric and perfect for all of his moments. That being said, the hero themes are also really good and the battle themes are exceptional. There are also some lyrical themes which occur during big fights. Basara’s animation was also the real deal. At times it could maybe be a little too stretched out with the attacks though. It’s like watching a 90’s Marvel comic in anime format at times as it’s all very Topsy Turvy. It may seem odd at times, but overall I’d say that it worked really well. The colors are very sharp and it felt like the anime got a pretty high budget overall. At the very least, you could tell that this was as video game adaption right from the start and I do think it should embrace that fact.

Overall, Sengoku Basara is a pretty great anime. It has a lot of action nonstop and the pacing is really good. I’ve said this many times, but that’s one of the things that I love about 12-13 episode shows. They don’t have to bother with a lot of fillers (typically) or drawn out scenes to buy time. This show just goes all in and never gives you a break to relax. The only real negative here is the fanservice which is fairly limited and the fact that the heroes have horses that they ride into battle. I didn’t really get into it, but there is one scene in particular where a horse dies and that was unfortunate. If it had happened more often, that would have definitely been enough to have really hurt the score. It’s why I heavily advocate against heroes having animals in any capacity as it usually ends up being targeted. Kind of a downer to end the review on that note, but essentially just brace yourself for that scene and the Kasuga shenanigans. Beyond that, the show really hit all of the right notes and I look forward to the next season.

Overall 8/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) Review


It took a long while to get to this review, but I’ve finally made it. TMNT was one of the only big 90’s action shows that I had never watched from start to finish. Well, that finally changed and it certainly lives up to the reputation that the 90’s have created. I can see why no other TMNT show can top this one since it would be extremely difficult. This show handled all of the characters and lore perfectly. With solid action scenes, animation, and a great soundtrack, there is a lot to like here and not much to dislike. It can attract any and all action fans.

The show follows 4 Turtle warriors who become humanoid hybrids once they are exposed to a mysterious ooze. They are trained by a rat named Splinter who teaches them how to master hand to hand combat. They live in the shadows since the general public isn’t quite ready to handle them yet. They work to oppose the various gangs that are around like the Purple Dragons and the Foot Clan. The Turtles also obtain several allies over the years and make a lot of enemies as well. With 5+ seasons and a bunch of episodes along the way, you can bet that numerous obstacles stand in the way of world peace.

Let’s talk about the cast. Leonardo is the leader of the group as always and commands the team well. He trains the hardest and takes everything more seriously than his brothers. He is always calm and collected when dealing with the villains. With all of this in mind, surely he is the strongest right? I’d say that he definitely is. Raphael has always been known as the tough turtle, but in this show, he lags behind the others. Leonardo puts up a great fight against the Elite foot ninjas and just has way better showings in general when compared to the others. Leonardo temporarily became very hot headed like Raphael when his power was not enough to save everyone. It was actually a pretty fun phase and one episode in particular showed how changed he was. When two random guys with wings started a brawl in the city, both Raphael and Leonardo wanted to take them both out instead of talking it through. Leonardo became a better Raphael than Raphael. While Raphael was my favorite as a kid, Leonardo is definitely the best turtle this time, at least in this show.

Raphael is still the second best though. He talks a real good game and while he may not be as skilled as Leonardo or Michelangelo, he is still a strong fighter It would have been cool to have seen him get more one on one fights like what Leonardo got so we could get a better picture of just how strong he really is. There’s not much reason to dislike Raph and the guy makes a lot of good points on how the heroes shouldn’t be hiding all the time. It may have gone the X-men route if they had shown themselves to the world since I’m sure that the humans would try to attack them, but it would be good to get out of the sewer more.

Michelangelo is the comical character of the group and proves that natural talent can go a long way in this group. The other turtles train constantly while Mikey sits back and watches comic books, yet he ends up being a better fighter than Raph and Don. One would think that this is just a fluke, but he outshines them consistently. Mikey’s definitely a likable guy and this is probably one of the only TMNT products that can do him justice. It is very easy to badly write this kind of character since the constant jokes can easily get annoying to see. Luckily the writing is on point. The running gag of Raphael hitting Mikey is also voice acted well on Mikey’s part as he always manages to sound shocked no matter how often it happens. You almost feel bad for Mikey since it isn’t always his fault, but the Turtles are always eager to get into a fight.

Finally we have Donatello. He was always my least favorite member of the group since I always have preferred the fighters. He is written well like the others though and the team definitely does need his expertise on many occasions. Also it is not as if he can’t fight either. He is roughly at the same level as the other Turtles, he just prefers the gadgets angle to being in the fray. His staff is definitely a better weapon than the nun-chucks if you ask me, but it does lose to the twin sai and the sword. His weaponized truck was definitely Donnie’s best idea. Having that thing around was always super handy.

April and Casey are main supporting characters. Their romance could be a little dragged out and unnecessary, but I guess it was handled better than most. Casey makes for a good rival to Raphael, even if he is left in the dust by the end of the series. His beef with the Purple Dragons helped the threat to really hit home. His personality makes Casey a good rival to have around, but a power boost would have helped as well. April is like Lois Lane. She doesn’t have quite as much spunk, but isn’t afraid to get in on the action. She never got to really fight though which is too bad since she does know some mild hand to hand skills. Having a cool crime fighting outfit like in the CGI film would have been cool. She certainly helped the turtles out a lot by giving them a place to stay and providing pizza. The gang would have been sunk without her.

Time to talk about Bishop. It’s a bold move talking about him before most of the characters, but he was a highlight in the show and easily the best character. I can’t say that I had been expecting him to be so awesome so it was a very pleasant surprise. As you may know, I love seeing the government play a role in any action show where they have to deal with supernatural foes or meta humans. I also like it when they look good and Bishop certainly served the country well. He was actually overpowering the turtles when they fought despite being outnumbered 4-1. I dare say that he is the strongest character with no super powers in the show. He may barely count since he may have a super soldier serum or something like that, but I don’t think it was ever stated officially. Capturing Splinter, Karai, and besting the Turtles is really all the evidence you need. Not to take away from his hand to hand skills though, Bishop was just an exceptional character and it’s hard to do him complete justice on that regard. You really have to see the episodes to really appreciate how awesome he is.

Another character who was a surprise hit was none other than Baxter Stockman. I figured that he would be your average mad scientist. He would talk a good game, but would not be able to back it up in the slightest. Stockman may not have turned out to be some kind of intense hand to hand fighter, but he was a lot more confident than I could have expected. He keeps on talking back to Shredder and showing no respect even after getting his arms and legs ripped off. Even losing his whole body aside from his brain didn’t deter him. It’s pretty crazy that none of this caused him to lose his bark. In the end Shredder could not break him so that was pretty good bragging rights for Stockman.

Hun was essentially Stockman’s main rival so they were polar opposites. Hun was very strong, but not particularly smart. He wasn’t nearly as fun as Stockman though and could never hold his own episode in the same way. He made up for it by having some good fights though. He started out at a level where he could take on multiple turtles at once, but by the end they can all handle him rather easily. Another big villain was Karai. She was a little more noble than the Shredder. She was still a villain of course, but she preferred to take the turtles on in fair hand to hand battles. She was definitely quite skilled and proved to be stronger than the turtles one on one except for Leonardo. He would always have the slight edge over her although it was close.

We can’t go on in the review without talking about the Splinter right? As the sensei to the four turtles, he was definitely a force to be reckoned with. I’d say that Leonardo definitely surpassed him by the end, but Splinter never got too weak. He could hold his own and his age never really got to him. His cane could even be used as a weapon even if it was nowhere near as good as a sword. I still disagree with most of his fist decisions about not going to the human world though. It never made much sense and it still doesn’t. If they are going to be heroes, then they will have to confront the villains at some point won’t they? They gradually begin to make their own decisions though and this is especially the case when Splinter is written out of the show for dozens of episodes at a time. I can’t say that I really missed him to be honest.

Another major character in the mythos is the Shredder. He plays a major role in the series like you’d expect. The show took a big gamble as it decided to make Shredder an alien. The show pulled it off quite well so I had no qualms with it. I don’t care for the design, but at least we never get to see it all that much. When he is in the suit, this version of the Shredder still has the absolute best design. He even gets a robotic voice that makes him even more menacing. Shredder proves to be too powerful for the Turtles most of the time as you’d expect, but he never really got any power ups. As a result, I do think that Leonardo ended up surpassing him. Shredder is my third favorite villain in the series behind Bishop and Tengu Shredder. It should come as no surprise then that most of the episodes with the Shredder as the main villain are highlights. He always has a pretty good plan at the ready and action is constant throughout.

Tengu Shredder was another surprise hit although we should say that the surprise was very mild. I was expecting him to be pretty good the whole time, but he went above and beyond my expectations. He was essentially the Shredder, but even more intimidating and imposing. If you’re familiar with the show, then you’ll know that this is a pretty difficult feat to accomplish. His power level was also off the charts and if not for the Turtles getting serious upgrades as well, it would have all been over. To put this into perspective, you can’t even compare Tengu Shredder to the rest of the heroes and villains. Even powerful foes like the Shredder and Bishop are still meta humans. Tengu was above that and his physical stats were something out of an anime. It was a treat to watch.

The show did enjoy its array of Shredders so we got another one in the form of Cyber Shredder. He may have had less personality than the other two, but there’s not much to dislike with this guy. Since he is essentially a data clone of the Shredder, he retains the personality and fighting skills of the original with some data enhancements. He was another fine addition to the cast. Going back to more minor villains, I enjoyed the Evil Turtle Bot. His role in the show is tiny and I probably wouldn’t have thought much him if not for playing the video game. The game certainly made me see him in a new light since he was awesome there. He’s a pretty decent minion and actually gave the Turtles some trouble.

Another good minion was the Foot Tech Ninja. They may have been handled rather easily after their initial appearances, but they looked really good during the beginning. You can’t count these warriors out and they made good use of their tech. Even the normal Foot Soldiers are actually pretty cool minions. I could certainly get behind these guys at any rate. It’s important for a show to have good minions since you’ll be seeing them quite often. The best minions were certainly the Foot Elite though. They were able to hold their own against the Turtles and aside from Leonardo, I dare say that they were winning. They certainly didn’t earn the title lightly and since there are four of them, it makes for a fun fight against the four turtles.

Another faction was the Foot Mystics. They were pretty interesting since I remembered their original forms quite well, but wasn’t aware that they had a true form. I couldn’t take them very seriously as villains to be honest and they weren’t as impressive as the rest of the Foot. Their elemental abilities are handy to have though. Leatherhead is another supporting character that I wasn’t fond of. He became a good guy for a good portion of the series, but he always struggled with the dark side. He rarely got around to actually helping the heroes and while he is strong, his lack of hand to hand skills would have likely been exposed if he appeared more often.

The Ninja Tribunal was a powerful group of warriors who were so powerful that it was easy to assume they had entered the wrong show. These guys didn’t fit in with the others as with the whole season, but that didn’t take away from how awesome they were as characters. The group was pretty mean and I certainly wouldn’t trust them, but they were an imposing group. Were they over hyped? Yeah, they didn’t perform quite as well as one would have expected but at least they still did try to put up a fight. Their character designs and special abilities were pretty fun.

Another super group that may have been a bit out of place here was the Justice Force. They are a not very subtle homage of the Justice League and they tackle the threats that no one else would dare oppose. Unfortunately, we never really got to see how they would fare against the Shredder and the gang. Again, it’s almost as if it was a completely different show when these guys would show up. At most they may have met the Shredder very briefly in one of those alternate future kind of episodes, but I can’t really recall that with any certainty. Their version of Superman and Batman were definitely the highlights here. They acted the part well and did a good job when it came time to fight. Batman’s character didn’t actually join the group for a while, but he took the plunge in the end.

One character that I didn’t care for much was Renet. It’s not to much that she was a bad character, but that she always brought along bad episodes. Each episode she appeared in was a very painfully drawn out filler episode where you would just want the plot to return. She didn’t really add anything to the series and you would constantly just wonder what she was even doing in the show. It felt like some kind of crossover for the fans, but I don’t believe she was ever a big character so that didn’t work well. (At least for me)

Cody was a main character in the infamous Fast Forward season. He’s a nice enough kid and you could make a lot of comparisons between him and Chris from Sonic X. It does feel like he was forced into the series to make the Turtles a little more sympathetic since you could now put yourself in the kid’s shoes. It was a nice wrinkle that Cody was rich though. His uncle may have been crooked, but that didn’t stop Cody from trying to save the day. He’s all right, but the character is so generic that it is hard to dislike him. By the same token, you could dislike him because he is so generic. Serling was a much more charismatic supporting character that was introduced in the season. He got a lot of witty dialogue throughout and had some of the best facial expressions. He actually could fight when necessary and even became a suit of armor for Cody towards the end of the show. His attempts at humor usually worked quite well and fleshed out his character.

The Ancient One is the kind of character that you would expect big things from right? He taught Splinter’s master so he must be super strong? Well, the guy let himself go so now he’s very overweight and prefers to be the crude humor specialist of the show. It’s always sad whenever the guy is on screen and he never fights so that leads me to believe that he is actually not all that tough. It’s a shame, but I guess that’s what happens when you buy into the hype. He was a wasted character and one who luckily didn’t get to appear much.

Viral was a fairly intense villain who appeared in Fast Forward. She had some really potent abilities and it was hard to permanently destroy her since the data could keep on coming back over and over again. She certainly didn’t mess around and while her role was ultimately pretty minor, Viral left a good mark on the show. Another decent group of minor villains were the Dark Turtles. Leonardo’s certainly got the most personality and he came close to turning good even if he ultimately couldn’t make the switch. The other three were comic relief for the most part, but it was still nice to see a team of counterparts to take on the real Turtles.

Khan is one of those characters that will make you take a step back and wonder where the writers were going with him. When he first appeared, Khan got a lot of hype since he murdered the Turtles in the future. Well, after his initial appearance, Khan was treated as a lightweight. The heroes didn’t have to pay any special attention to him and just wrecked him as they would any other villain. I feel like the writers maybe forgot that plot or had to shelve it due to backstage drama and as a result, we skipped Khan’s entire character arc. It’s too bad since the character had a lot of potential and could have been one of the best if handled right.

Usagi was treated as a hype character and you could also say that he was a guest star since he has his own comic series to think about. Unfortunately, I definitely didn’t care much for his character. I’d say that his skills were drastically overplayed to make him appear to be an even match for Leonardo. His advice was never all that good and once Leonardo went into his toughness phase after not being strong enough to save the day, Usagi didn’t do much to help. He was called in to try and calm Leonardo down, but it didn’t work at all and Usagi was always more about talking than acting. The character was just irritating whenever he’d appear.

That was a lot of characters eh? Well, now lets look at the show as a whole. The first season really started the show off on a strong note and you could make a strong case for it being the best season. Shredder Strikes Back, Return to New York, and The Shredder Strikes were all fantastic multi part events. I dare say that Shredder Strikes Back Part 1 is the definitive episode from the entire series. It’s my personal favorite because just about the whole episode is one large fight and it shows why Leonardo is the leader of the gang. I don’t believe that any of the other 3 Turtles would have been able to last very long here.

The next season started off with the weakest big event of the series. The intergalactic space war just wasn’t very interesting and since it was 5 whole episodes…it dragged on a great deal. Luckily, the season picked up again once they made it back home since we got to see more of Bishop and the Shredder. This season spent a lot of time with the Tournament at the end and had a good amount of stand alone episodes as well. It had less stand out episodes than season 1, but when you consider the consistent quality of the show, it’s not as if it was much of a change. Season 1 was more epic, but you could really appreciate season 2 because of how the tight continuity kept expanding the show.

Season 3 is probably the weakest season. Granted, you can have a very different experience when actually watching the episodes as opposed to remembering them from afar. That being said, the only 5-6 episodes were about the Space Invaders once again and that had to be the worst plot. Let me explain why this plot just didn’t work. I didn’t really care about the Dinosaurs or the resistance organization that they were fighting. I just wanted the Turtles to head back to Earth so they could have some good hand to hand fights with the villains. That’s really all that I wanted and this space business just didn’t do it for me. The villains simply weren’t as interesting as the Foot or even dare I say, the Purple Dragons. We did get a pretty nice climax where Shredder, Bishop, and the Aliens all got to play their final gambit. Bishop once again got the last laugh I’d say, but all of the characters got a good amount of hype there. Usagi got to appear here so that was too bad though.

Season 4 was pretty exciting. For starters, this season changed the status quo much more than any other previous season. Leonardo blamed himself for what happened on the fated missile and became a hot head like Raphael. He was more dark and brooding and stopped being the calm and collected leader that he used to be. This made for a lot of great dialogue and it also helped Leonardo keep his place at the top of the food chain. While later seasons started to mess up the power levels a bit, this one could not since it was a part of the plot. The final episode of the season was especially exciting as it directly led into the next big adventure with Tengu Shredder. It was a really bold and epic way to close out the season. This saga also had Leonardo infiltrate the Foot headquarters and basically beat up every single person there. These were the kind of highlights that were lacking in season 3.

Season 5 took a very different approach to the show and it worked well. While the first four seasons were your standard action adventure, I dare say that season 5 was more like an anime. The Turtles had to come together to stop an evil menace and to do this, they would have to learn how to wield super powers. Michelangelo got some great speed and really won out here since his ability was the only one that was lethally dangerous from the get go. The others also got some useful abilities and from there they worked to stop Tengu Shredder. They may not have had a lot of luck in the end since the Tribunal was overwhelmed, but the whole season had a feeling of danger and unease. Something was always happening here and it certainly had the fastest pacing out of all the seasons. Of course, at 12 episodes that was probably a given. Even the 12 episodes part seems like a homage to anime in general. Everyone suddenly got so crazy powerful and the fights were so good that this season really could have been a contender for the best in another title. As it stands, the short length does keep it back ever so gently.

Season 6 brought another twist to the show. It was the Fast Forward season and took a more toyetic approach to the show. It suddenly felt more like a Saturday Morning Cartoon and as such, every character suddenly had futuristic equipment at their disposal. It was a radical switch as the entire cast was switched out for a new one with the exclusion of the main 4 turtles. I thought it was fun enough. On its own, it was still good enough to get a 7, but you couldn’t really compare it to the older seasons. It was fun, but not as epic or action packed as what had come before. The Bounty Hunter Zixx was a decent addition to the cast though. He always had the upper hand on the turtles and was good at getting people to lower their guards.

Finally, we have the Back to the Sewers season. The appeal of this last installment was obvious as the Turtles finally got to go home and relax. Unfortunately, duty called as Splinter was split across the Digital World and Cyber Shredder wanted to break out of there and head to the real world. The Turtles had to move fast and activate all of their Tron gear in order to escape. Because of this, it still had some Fast Forward elements while bringing back the old cast. It was like a fusion of the two and it was a fun enough season. The new designs may have taken a bit of getting used too, but they were still pretty solid. I definitely preferred the old ones as they made for far better fights, but this will still beat most of the modern animated titles.

At 7 seasons long, the show had a lot of time to introduce characters and get you used to the lore. This is part of what made the series so successful. There were a lot of hypothetical match ups that you could spend time thinking about since they hadn’t happened in the show yet. I really wanted to see Shredder fight Bishop or to have any of those two go up against the Justice Force. The two aspects of the show rarely ever met up which is a shame, but I like to think that the series was saving that just in case it ever wanted to do a really big crossover episode. To an extent, the rocket finale was the closest that we got, but I wanted more.

TMNT lasted long enough where the show got to try out a bunch of different genres and we had a lot of action scenes. IT’s worth mentioning that even episodes without a big villain or a lot of fights could still be good because of the solid writing. It was just a well written show and the characters were portrayed in an accurate fashion. My only gripe was the noticeable lack of pizza in the show. TMNT goes hand in hand with pizza. That’s how it is and that’s how it’s always been. I’m sure that the show could have included pizza in more scenes if they wanted to do so. It just makes sense to add that into a Ninja Turtles show. Still, it’s a relatively minor complaint in the grand scheme of things.

One of the best parts of TMNT was definitely the soundtrack. It had a lot of really great tunes and these were themes that you could only hear in the 90’s. As one of the only 90’s shows that I had barely watched from the action genre, this show brought about a lot of nostalgia. I really do miss this style and just watching one episode will remind you of what you are missing. Naturally, the animation is also very sharp. The designs are very wholesome and you can feel every blow during the fights. The impacts had power. The animation style switched a bit towards and the end and it was definitely a step down. It still looked better than the current ninja turtles show, but the glory days were long gone by then. Luckily, that was at the very end so pretty much all of the really epic Shredder episodes had already aired. The show has a similar feel to other big cartoons like Justice League and not only does it age well, but it clobbers a lot of the currently airing shows.

I’m not even typically a huge TMNT fan, but the show was just really solid. Even if you may not have thought the characters were great before, they are solid in this show. A good show can do wonders for a franchise and this show is evidence of that. The recent movies certainly haven’t helped and the current TMNT show looks rather choppy. I’d definitely take another season or this title over that. After all, an element that this show has over those is its tight continuity. You could actually compare it to something like Young Justice as it keeps building and building off of its plot lines. Everything is connected and the more episodes you watch, the more all of the plots start to intertwine. It makes everything feel that much more important. For example, the illuminati guys started showing up very early on in the series and the show kept you guessing as to their true identities for a very long time. While the twist on who they actually were was a little underwhelming, it was always awesome to see those guys apear. They were strong, mysterious, and had everything that you could want in a shadow group who operates behind the scenes.

Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a great show. It’s one of the lost gems of a legendary era for television and I finally got to check it out from start to finish. It had quite a lot of episodes and a high amount of replay value so it’s the kind of show where you can easily re-watch some episodes of at any point. I’d highly recommend this to any blog reader who hasn’t checked it out yet. I don’t expect any of the other Ninja Turtle shows to match this one. From what I’ve seen of the only others, it’s not even a close fight. This one simply can’t be topped and that means that the 90’s (Well, technically early 2000s, but it feels like the 90s so I may as well stick with that) has scored another big win! If I ever do watch another TMNT show to completion, I’ll try not to constantly compare it to this one every episode, but it’ll be tough.

Overall 8/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Cardfight Vanguard G GIRS Crisis Review

I had finished this review up by the time that GIRS Crisis had finished, but the episode count kept on going so I decided to keep the next season under the same review. I already had the review done though so I decided to keep it instead of scrapping it. As a result, the first half is essentially still a review of the G season with its own rating. I’ll just add onto it once the next season is finished and then add the final rating. Think of this like a doubleheader review!
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It’s time to take a look at the big Cardfight G sequel. This is what G had been setting up for after all. To an extent, this season is also mostly set up as well, but the plot does begin to start up. Think of this as the second film in a trilogy where the villain finally makes a move so more heroes are called in to come up with a plan. The big confrontation hasn’t happened yet, that will be for the third season. The main draw for GIRS Crisis is that the heroes have finally acknowledged that they can’t win on their own so pretty much the whole cast from the older seasons return. The crossover appeal is always strong and we get to see how Try3 handles the likes of fighters like Q4, Dreadnaught, Asteroid, etc. This season is a big improvement from the last one as it keeps all of the positive things from G and throws in more hype moments.

Chrono and friends may have stopped Kanzaki, but the hunt for the Depend Cards is still on. Chrono has 3-4 of them in his possession and he can only awaken them through strong emotions. He must engage in powerful duels to do this so he decides to enter the G quest with his team. They will need to conquer 6 areas to get enough points to be known as Generation Masters. Chrono will use this to learn what he wants to do with his life. Shion has been in a difficult situation as well. After losing to the mysterious fighter known as Ace, his family was thrown out of his company. Shion went from being very rich to barely scraping by and his parents had to move away. Shion wants to get revenge and to exonerate his family. He is entering the G quests to get closer to Ace and also just to keep up appearances. Tokoha has decided to go aboard so her goals are set. As a result, she can enter the G quest with a clear mind.

Meanwhile, the GIRS Crisis has begun. A mysterious man named Myoujin has started to summon monsters from Planet Cray to the real world as slaves. They will be his personal army for some kind of master plan. Kouji has started amassing a group of skilled cardfighters of his own to counter this. Mainly, his group consists of the best and brightest Cardfighters from the original series. To determine if Chrono and his friends are up for this task, they decide to test them through and G Quests and Cardfights. Can they prevent Myoujin from summoning his final units and bringing the world to ruin?

As you can tell just from the summary, things are really happening now. In a sense, the filler episodes now are the ones where the heroes go through the G quests, but those are technically important. Not to mention that they are all tournaments in one shape or form and those are always hype. You know a series is doing well when the tournament matches aren’t always the hype moments. Also, the tournament sagas are always the crossover episodes as Chrono’s team duels with the likes of of Ren, Leon, Kai, Kamui, and other big shots. Each tournament is definitely great.

As for the non tournament episodes, those typically follow the trials that the heroes are facing individually. For example, Shion decides to gather information on Ace the old fashioned way. He beats up a lot of thugs and keeps on breaking into strongholds until he gets the answers that he is looking for. He starts to get a little unhinged and Kai also takes him down a few pegs to remind Shion why he is doing all of this in the first place. Kai helps Shion shed his former self and just start from scratch. His riches are gone so Shion has to adapt or fail. Shion does a great job and I don’t mind him getting into a slump again because it is for good reason. Anyone who goes from being insanely rich to losing it all in a day would be crushed. Not to mention the fact that you know it was all your fault because you lost a duel when everything was on the line. Shion gets back up and is poised to be a much better character than he was. I already liked him in season 1, but I can safely say that he is much better now. His upcoming fight against Ace is definitely going to be great. They’ve both taken a win so the next and probably final encounter between the two is surely going to be something great.

With the black coat that he inherited from Kai, Shion’s also able to pull off this new personality quite well. He’s suddenly become the “expert” of the group and you could argue that he may have surpassed Chrono. I’m tempted to say that Chrono’s still the best since he keeps dispatching incredibly strong Card Fighters, but I feel like Shion should definitely be the strongest after all of the training he’s gone through. He’s been put through the ringer, but these tough scenarios have only made him stronger.

As for Chrono, he’s heading into a dangerous spot now. Being Miyoujin’s adversary can be fatal if he truly did have something to do with his Chrono’s father’s accident. Chrono warns his friends as well, but he had to deal with a more personal ally. His mother was never thrilled about Chrono starting to Card fight and lets him know that she’d rather he doesn’t do this. Shin backs her up and challenges Chrono to another serious duel. It’s a tough battle, but Chrono decides that he has to go further and his Mom ultimately gives him her support. It can definitely be tough letting someone know that you’re about to go into an extremely dangerous situation, but it is the right thing to do and Chrono knows it. Now that Chrono’s sure of himself it’s been good to see him just get set in his duels without having to worry about anything. He can really go all out at this point and he continues to be a strong lead character.

Tokoha doesn’t really have any more trials left at the moment. She wondered briefly about what she should do in the future, but after deciding on her goal that was basically it. As a result, she’s sure of herself in the duels pretty much from the get go. One source of drama may be coming up though once she found out about Ace’s plot twist. I don’t think that she’s handling it very well, but I suppose it is good to have an optimistic approach. She just needs to be careful not to let it become a liability and endanger the team. That’s where you have to draw the line.
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Kamui returns as a regular once again. He even gets his own episode where he attacks an enemy strong hold. It was one of the big plot episodes so it was cool to see Kamui getting such a big role. He did good when it counted. His duel with Chrono was particularly intense as he did all that he could to win. If he won, then Chrono would not be allowed to join them to fight Miyoujin. Kamui doesn’t want to put Chrono in danger so that’s why he has to win. Yes it is a bit of a selfish wish since Chrono has decides to fight on his own, but it is one that I can definitely get behind. After all, who doesn’t want to keep their friends out of trouble? Kamui had to watch Aichi and Kai go through a lot of trials and even turn evil during them. It makes sense that he would do everything that he could to stop that from happening a third time. Plus, he was just trying to win. He didn’t try to do anything crazy like kidnap Chrono the way that Chris tried to nab Sonic in Sonic X. Kamui may be around a lot so it can be easy to underrate him, but as he showed in this series, he is still one of the best.

Kouji’s role is surprisingly small in this one. He doesn’t have a whole lot to do here, but he is technically the mastermind behind Plan G so that is a good enough role I suppose. He has embraced his role as another mentor figure to Chrono so there is no case of mistaken identity this time. He is still not as cool as he could be though. There is just something about him that I can’t take seriously. I dunno what it us, but at least he isn’t a bad character though.

Kai is pretty epic as per usual though. He is the hardcore rival that I remember and he managed to take down Shion rather easily. Seeing him take Shion down numerous times was definitely impressive and awesome. He still proved that he is still a nice guy as well though as he did all of that to help Shion get out of his situation. Kai has always been good at encouraging people after all. He is great and still my favorite character. Having him back as a main supporting character is definitely going to be awesome and nostalgic. The other guest stars are cool as well, but their roles are a lot smaller. Ren and Leon are among the big characters who show up.

The only problem with these guest stars is that they are a little underpowered to make the new fighters look better. For example, Chrono actually manages to defeat Ren and Leon. I don’t really think he should be portrayed as quite that powerful at this point. Kai lost to Shion as well. I get that they’ve got to hype the main characters up, but it goes a little far. Still, it was awesome to see the old cast and the crossover factor was handled really well in G. I look forward to all of them getting serious fights soon the way that Kamui did.

Luna is the new beginner of the show. She’s a pop idol, but she wants to learn how to play Cardfight so she can duel with her friend Am. Luna has improved quite a bit. She’s not a big threat just yet, but dueling a lot always helps out and she’s at the point where she is no longer a novice. She really wants to be friends with Am and as a result she is quite hyper. Ultimately, I’m sure that they will become friends and Am is lucky to have Luna around. That being said, hopefully Luna is brave enough to stand up for herself once the plot entangles her in its web as well.

Am is much more laid back and keeps to herself. While on the job Am will throw on a smile and get to work, but she can be a little too serious. It’s often hard for Luna to get Am to relax and Try3 has to have a little chat with Am as a result. Am gets a lot of character development and she will likely have a major role in season 3. Her role will be even bigger than Luna’s and 90% of the supporting cast as well depending on how they go with this. Hard to say what I think of her here without spoiling the twist. Before the twist she was a solid character and I prefer her to Luna. After the twist, she is still a cool character…but in a different way and I’m hoping that the mask doesn’t come back on so to speak so the post twist Am sticks around. That version is cooler.

Ace is a fairly hardcore villain and one of the better characters in the show. Since Shouma barely appeared, I’d say that Ace took over the spot as the best villain. This is partially due to the fact that he came out of nowhere and took over Shion’s company like it was nothing. His successful mind games are also impressive since Shion was supposed to be over the whole thing and their first big duel was one of the best in the series. After all, it doesn’t get much more high stakes than having millions of dollars on the line and your whole financial future along with it! While Ace may not have done quite as well in the rematch, he didn’t completely crack either. Rest assured, Ace will likely continue to have a powerful role in the next season although his confidence may not be as absolute since his standing in the villain organization is in jeopardy after the loss.
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Myoujin is the big villain who will make his move in the next show. He hasn’t done anything as of yet though. His design isn’t that good as he is very old so I don’t think he can be a very menacing villain. Still, I am glad to have a villain who is lasting a while and for all we know he isn’t the mastermind behind the operation. With someone like Shouma still in the fold, I could definitely picture a betrayal. Shouma doesn’t play well with others after all. Still, I want Myoujin to put up a fight if that happens. Shouma’s role is small as he just makes a few cameos to remind us that he is still around. I was rather annoyed that Kouji stopped Shion from beating him up though. Shion was winning and taking a villain out of the picture this early would be incredibly helpful. Ironically, it seems like he’ll be the first boss of the third series. It’s not as if Shion was going to destroy him or anything. The heroes could have quickly captured Shouma and that would have been awesome. At least they forced a retreat though.

The animation is solid as in the last show. The characters all stand out and the battle scenes are fun to watch. There may have been one or two low budget episodes where physics started to get a little wild, but for the most part is was all consistently good. I’ve always liked the animation style of this company. It feels modern and I think the animation will hold up quite well. It’s not overly flashy, but that’s why the fundamentals will age well. The soundtrack is better than the last season’s. Perhaps it is because the stakes are more intense, but it could also be the crossover effect. For example, Kai’s theme returns briefly during his fight with Shion and we finally also have a bit of a villain’s theme for some of the duels. It’s still not quite at the level of the original Cardfight, but we’re definitely getting there. Good themes can always elevate a series.
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Overall, GIRS Crisis added the excitement and stakes that I had been waiting for. This series was still more set up for the big battles to come, but it set the more interesting plot elements as well. Shion’s ongoing fight to restore his company (Although that isn’t really his goal anymore or so he claims) and Chrono’s quest to find his father should be pretty interesting. The father better have a good excuse for just wandering around unless he is a friend of the Dad or something. Seeing the old characters actually get to duel should be awesome and I’m fully expecting Aichi to finally get in on the action as well. The return of Psyqualia would be a nice added bonus as well. There’s a lot to look forward too and the third season should end up being the best G adventure.

Overall 8/10
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Well, not all of that ended up happening in the next part, but we did finally get all of the big battles and the epic climax that I was waiting for. The heroes made their big move and the GIRS Crisis finally ended. It definitely was the best part of Cardfight G so far. If the first season of Cardfight G was to establish all of the characters and the world building and part 1 of this season was to bring back all of the old characters and get the main characters some training, then this is the big payoff where the heroes finally confront the villains.

Just about the whole second half is a gauntlet of battles against Ryuzu’s chosen warriors. Things don’t go well for the heroes at first as the season couldn’t be around 26 episodes if the heroes just won everything right? Chrono and Shion may have reached a really high level where they can fight with the best of them, but the side characters like Taiyou and Mamoru still want to help and that gives the villains some opportunities. Plus, the main characters can’t be everywhere all the time.

Unlike the last half, there is also an immediate sense of danger. The villains go as far as to blow up all of the empire branch headquarters and seriously injure all of the leaders as well. As part of Ryuzu’s plan, they also use Luna as a power source and prepare to destroy the world of Vanguard. The heroes have to move fast this time and while Chrono is the first to take charge as per usual, the others aren’t far behind. The climax involves a giant laser knocking everyone out as they prepare to enter a never ending dream state so it comes down to the main heroes against the big villains. They each get their own episode which makes for a lot of epic fights.

Not much has changed for some of the characters so I’ll keep those brief. Chrono is still a very solid lead. Ryuzu comes close to tricking Chrono, but the young hero stays strong. Shion stayed on his vengeful path, but ultimately decided to help Am and the heroes to rescue Luna. He wasn’t thrilled about it, but at least he made the right call. Shion’s still really close to Chrono with who the better main character is. I may have to say that Shion has the slight edge and likewise in terms of dueling skills. It’s always cool to have two leads at similar strengths.

While Tokoha didn’t have too much of a role in part 1, she gets thrown into the fray here since the situation with Luna and Am is personal. I think she was probably a little naive with how she handled it though since at least Am was actually evil for a while. It turned out okay since Am had a change of heart, but she could have put everyone in danger by meeting up. A hostage situation would have been sad. Kamui doesn’t really have a role this time. He maybe gets 1-2 duels, but part 1 was really his final hurrah.

Taiyou gets a big role here since Hiroki is his rival. He’s gone through a lot in the series and has become one of the sleeper members of the team. The show treats him as a semi weak-strong fighter depending on the episode. I consider him to be underrated considering how skilled he was back in his evil days. He does a good job of taking on his opponent. He’ll likely never become an outstanding duelist the way Shion and Chrono are, but he’s definitely a guy that you can root for. His rival Hiroki was also a decent villain although he came across as completely delusional. At first he would stand up to bullies, but then he became the bully. After that, he convinced himself that everyone who opposed him was evil while he was the true hero. It was an interesting point of view, but one that didn’t follow any logic. It made for a lot of nice crazy ramblings though. I’d say that Hiroki was one of the weaker villains, but he was tough enough to still be a threat.

Luna is an example of a nice character who allowed herself to make a bad friend. Trying to save Am only led to her being turned evil and being put in a bad spot. I definitely prefer AM a great deal to Luna. Luna isn’t bad, but she’s just not all that tough and lets everyone use her. She never really gets a moment where she stands up for herself or becomes a great duelist. Am was a great villain as I mentioned earlier, but I felt like the writers dropped the ball with her character a little. I just don’t see how she was so naive with the villain’s true agenda when her whole gimmick that she knew the world better than Shion since she wasn’t rich. Her turning to the hero side was a little cheesy, but now that it’s the status quo she could potentially become a cool hero. It’ll be hard to match her days as a villain though. She was easily one of the best villains in all of G.

Kouji still tries a little too hard to be the mysterious character, but I suppose he’s not bad. He’s just not very good at the role, but he spends less time on that here since he ends up focusing on actually fighting this tie. He puts up a pretty good fight against Ryuzu and more importantly, he’s able to give Chrono a new card which is critical in the final fight. Ryuzu doesn’t change much from part 1. Perhaps you will sympathize with him more after the back story, but I dunno. He just ended up going off the deep end and probably still would have done so even if not for Chrono. Chrono’s Dad probably should have done more to stop him though. Ryuzu is a cool villain whether he’s in his kid form or adult mode. I missed the latter, but the former was pretty catchy. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him return some day.
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Shouma remained a really epic villain. His gimmick about chaos and discord seemed rather plot convenient as the villains had the whole thing sewn up otherwise, but seeing him sabotage everyone was pretty entertaining. He’s definitely not the kind of guy who blindly follows orders. That’s Wakamizu’s job and he’s probably the blandest villain of them all. He just wants to see what will happen to satisfy his scientific curiosity. There really wasn’t much to his character and he wasn’t a particularly strong duelist either so I was never all that interested. He’s probably the most evil of the members though as most of the others had their reasons for doing this or had some conscience about the whole thing. Wakamizu was happy to go along with all compared to the rest.

Finally Enishi was the last member of the group. They tried to make him sound noble as a villain with his whole “I’ll protect you” attitude towards Luna. The problem is that he still allowed her to be used as a power source and wasn’t going to do anything about it. That’s a pretty lousy way to protect someone and she would have died if the heroes hadn’t stepped in. It’s a little hard to see him hanging out with everyone as a good guy after that. How I see it, Enishi let the villains push him around and didn’t have the strength of character to stop them. I definitely was not a fan of this guy.

My only real disappointment here was that the old characters didn’t get to do anything. Apparently, they only showed up to train the next generation and to get their cameos in, but that was it. There’s no real narrative reason for them not to help. The heroes should have been protecting the Empire branches. Of course, the villains would have been stopped right away if that had been the case, but it’s still something to think about. It would have certainly made the whole thing even cooler. I’m waiting for the day when the old characters are heavily involved with the plot again or at least get some more fights in a serious setting. The tournaments were awesome of course and I could always use more of those, but seeing them help against a world ending event is what I want to see next.

Overall, Cardfight Vanguard G GIRS Crisis does a good job of improving on the first and making its way to the original series and its level of greatness. Essentially, everything that G did, GIRS Crisis did better and upped the ante. Better fights, more intensity to the duels, higher stakes, better animation, better soundtrack, etc. It did exactly what a sequel is supposed to do. It’s not quite ready to beat the original Cardfight series yet, but lets see where it stands after 4 full seasons. The first season was a lot of fun, but my one complaint was that it didn’t have a huge climax like the other seasons. This one fixed that and just generally had a lot more action and intensity. The tournaments for part 1 and then the big battles in part 2. That’s a great way to pace a season. The animation and soundtrack were certainly on point. I dare say that they got even better during part 2 and at the very least, I’m positive that the soundtrack improved. It’ll be tough for the next season of G to top this one with the new animation studio and all, but I’m sure that it’ll give it a fair shot. NEXT has a pretty interesting premise and plot at the moment. Plus, I’m sure that a lot of elements have yet to even appear. I highly recommend this show and you can get into it even if you haven’t watched the original G. Of course, you’ll be missing out on a lot of character introductions and development since that was the point of the original. Also, you won’t understand why it’s so hype when Kai keeps on crushing Shion. Allow for a little plot hax at the end of that subplot, but it’s pretty real otherwise. The show also ends with a big status quo change so prepare for that!

Overall 8/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Tenkai Knights Review

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It’s hard to believe that I started this show all the way back in 2013. It feels like that was such a long time ago, but I suppose that’s the way it is for all shows that reach at least 50 episodes. The show definitely started out as one of the all time greats and had everything in its favor. Unfortunately, it started to peeter out a bit during the second half of the series. Perhaps it is a good thing that it ended before the downgrade could really affect its overall standing all that much, but it definitely would have been nice to have gotten that extra season. 100+ episodes of Tenkai Knights could have put it on the map or at least in the same conversation as Beyblade and the other big toy based shows back in the day. I’m assuming that many of my blog readers won’t even know what this show is because it’s so obscure, but you’re about to find out now!

The show follows four boys who find lego pieces and are chosen as the guardians of a mysterious planet in another realm. By activating the pieces, they turn into Power Ranger fighters and have to stop the dark armies led by Vilius. Of course, if the heroes die in the virtual world, they also perish in real life. Guren and Chooki don’t really give that last bit a second thought, but the other two need some time to wrap their heads around it. The heroes are strong and can usually stop the villains with ease, but the bad guys do have some advantages. For starters, they are on the planet 24/7 and can attack at any time. Guren and friends have to go to sleep or leave at some point and that’s when the villains can make their move. They have the superior numbers as well and I dare say that they had the better fighters for a little while. Of course, Guren and the others continued to improve at a rapid pace. By the end, the heroes definitely had the edge. Can the 4 part timers really stop Vilius for good though?

It should definitely give you some Power Ranger vibes. The series starts off with a lot of energy and really did everything right. Lets talk about the positives. The plot is pretty engaging and starts off rather rapidly. I’m always a fan of virtual world adventures and you could compare this to Sword art Online, but without taking itself so seriously. There are only 3 main villains, but they had a 4th and a 5th member for a while and they aren’t half bad when it comes to strength. Once the villains unlocked Titan Mode, they were always able to put up a fight.

The show got a lot of top notch voice actors here like Ichigo’s and Kirito’s to voice two of the main characters. I have to admit that this definitely added an extra layer of epicness to the show. The animation was also solid. I didn’t really care for the scenes where they are robots as much as it would take a noticeable dip, but they would still add a lot of budget to the big fight scenes at the end. If you were worried about the actual fights looking bad, don’t worry about it. The fights are still as good as you’d expect and probably even better than that. The colors were always very sharp and on point and the human animations hold up very well.
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What really sets Tenkai Knights a bar above most of the competition is the dynamic array of music themes. The catchy “Tenkai whoaaaaaaa Tenkai” chant before every transformation is the definition of epic and really gets you ready for action. It distracts you from the recycled footage that is always used for the transforming moments. The battles all have great themes as well and there are just so many to choose from. I believe that part 2 of the show remixed the Tenkai theme and it wasn’t quite as catchy, but it was still solid. The soundtrack is definitely one of the best parts of the show, no question.

The main cast was really good as well. Guren does a good job of leading the team and he is certainly well suited for the job. He’s a natural leader and is a lot more ready for anything that the villains can throw at him. While he’s not quite as athletic as Chooki, he can more than hold his own in any event. His skills while in Tenkai form do certainly surpass the others by a wide margin. There’s really nothing to say against his character and he’s essentially just a kid version of the best protagonist that you can think of. He’s a hero who gets the job done.

Ceylan is Guren’s best friend and while he is not quite as outgoing, he’s always got a lot of jokes at the ready. He hits it off pretty well with the others, but is prone to quit or fall into a slump quite a few times. He just doesn’t have quite as much self confidence and determination as Guren, but very few characters do so it isn’t too much of a strike against him. His Tenkai form is ice themed so it’s not quite as cool as Guren’s flaming winged form, but it gets the job done well enough I suppose. By the end of the series, all four Tenkai warriors are very strong so it’s okay even if Ceylan isn’t the strongest. I’d put him at third for the record.

Chooki is pretty similar to Guren. He’s a natural born expert at just about everything and he’s always ready to make new friends. He’s just a cool guy who gets along with everyone and he does pretty well in the Tenkai fights. He’s an extreme contrast to Toxsa and helps to get the guy active in everyday life. Guren’s my favorite character, but Chooki’s definitely right behind him along with Gen. It shows how strong the cast is as Chooki could have easily been the best character in another show. It was an odd creative decision by the writers though since his character is just so similar to Guren’s. Usually a show will try to avoid that unless it goes for debates about leadership or something, but that never pops up.

Finally, we have Toxsa. He’s a big gamer so naturally that means that he isn’t very fit so he has a hard time keeping up with the others in the real world. He’s always talking about Doomsploder 5 and you have to admire his dedication to that I suppose. He’s the main comedy member of the group and really tries to slam the others with puns left and right. I like a good pun, but a lot of his jokes do tend to fall flat. He’s not a bad character, but Toxsa is easily the least interesting and a lot of his scenes are really just filler. It’s a shame since he talks such a good game, but still ends up being the weakest member.

Mr. White is the guy behind the group. He mysteriously knows a lot about the other world and is the one with the portal that sends the heroes back and forth. The show never really gets into his secret origin or that of Guren’s Dad since he seems to know more than he lets on. My personal theory was that Guren’s Dad is Beag’s human operator and Mr. White used to operate one of the robots. Maybe he operated one of the legendary council. It’s not like it’ll ever be explored though and Mr. White just comes across as annoying. He refuses to answer any questions and never makes himself all that useful. Beag is almost as bad. I can see what the show was going for with his character as he naively believes everything that the 4 heroes say and looks up to them quite a lot. He’s supposed to be charming and endearing, but he ends up being rather annoying instead. He also never really does anything to move the show along and could have been left out without really changing anything.

Gen was the hardcore rival of the show. At first he’s on the side of evil before eventually joining the heroes. I forgot what his exact goal was, but maybe he just treated the whole thing as a game. It seems like he was always going to betray Vilius so he just wanted to be the strongest being of them all. He sort of came close as the only ones who could stop him were Guren and Vilius. It’s safe to say that Vilius was ahead of him for just about the whole series. By the very end, I like to think that Gen and Guren were stronger than Vilius, but I suppose that it’s debatable. Gen was nerfed quite a lot when he turned good though. He suddenly stopped getting power ups and was heavily surpassed by the main 4. While he was a villain, Gen did quite well though. He was usually on the winning end of fights and he also rose the stakes. After all, he knew who the heroes were in the real world as well so they could never rest easy after that.
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Beni was Gen’s partner and she certainly had fun with the battles. Her robot was incredibly fast and the writers clearly couldn’t decide how to defeat her. She’s the one character who basically never loses during the whole show and got to show up the heroes several times. They just couldn’t keep up with her and she would have made a great ally for the heroes to have. In arc 2, she couldn’t decide which team to help though so she ends up going back and forth between the two sides for quite a while. Maybe one day she will be a trusted ally, but even at the end it’s hard to trust her since she betrayed the heroes so many times. It didn’t even make sense when she helped the villains out, but I guess she likes to keep the heroes guessing.

Vilius was a very good main villain. He had a lot of power so he could back up his tough talk and he lived up to his reputation. I liked his design and his super forms made him even more dangerous. There was a brief moment near the middle where the heroes had actually surpassed him so the villain needed a power up for a change, but for the most part he did a really good job remaining as a threat. He’s fairly smart for a villain and was able to see through Gen’s deceptions. His only comic relief moment was in a fairly infamous comedy arc that I’ll get into shortly. We can safely ignore it as far as his character goes. He’s easily better than his two generals.

The other main two villains are Granox and Slyger. Granox is your typical strong, but slow and not very smart character. Slyger is quick and a tricky fighter to mess with, but I suppose he’s slightly weaker physically. Honestly, I’d pick Slyger to complete destroy Granox if they were to ever fight. It wouldn’t even be a fair fight. They made for really good fight scenes, but as villains I could only respect Sluger. Granox was just a little too weak and could rarely give the heroes much of a fight. At least Slyger was a credible threat and as mentioned before, Titan Mode really helped them out quite a lot.

Boreas was one of the 4 legendary Tenkai Elders and he got the biggest role of the 4. He helped the heroes out quite a lot from the very beginning. He’s likable enough I suppose, but he couldn’t live up to the hype quite as well as you’d hope. Vilius took down all 4 Elders even while they were teaming up and then brainwashed them to do his bidding. They put up some slight resistance, but it was all for naught in the end. They did have some really cool abilities though and were some of the best fighters in the series. It’s a shame that they always transformed into their giant lego forms for the final battles though since the humanoid ones always did a lot better. They sacrificed their great speed and durability for a little size? Definitely not worth it in the long run. The elders should have spent less time guarding the portal and more time actively fighting. If they had helped to defeat Vilius back in the early episodes, none of this would have happened.

Orangor and Scorpidon are responsible for the low point of the Tenkai Knights series. Basically, the main characters are kidnapped and brought to an odd little dimension where the Scorpion rules. To escape, they must defeat him in a Grand Prix or another such event that he dictates. They win several times, but are just thrown into a pit and forced to redo the events. This allowed the writers to use whole minutes of stock footage at a time. They redid 5 minutes of recycled grand prix racing and hoped that we wouldn’t notice…but we did. It was generally just too much comedy over action as well. We lost the Tenkai fights and the races weren’t worth it. Even Vilius showed up to play a game of soccer and the whole thing did not make any sense. It’s as if the genre just suddenly changed out of nowhere. It also dragged on and on for quite a while. I couldn’t wait to see it go and the two new characters never appeared again. Most excellent!
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Finally, we have the Tenkai Dragon. He’s always getting captured and kidnapped so you’ll probably feel bad for him after a while. He is said to be invincible and unstoppable, but the villains prove that wrong many times. They even build a Dark Tenkai Dragon, which is just as strong as the real deal. To get the dragons in the first place, you need to assemble a lot of artifacts. By the end, it barely even feels worth it anymore. It was a cool design though, but I could never take the dragon seriously. Honestly, I’d take Guren in a fight against him.

Even if we take away the dreadful mini arc, part 2 of Tenkai Knights would still be under the first. The problem is the fact that they opted to do a soft reboot with the same formulaic style. Part 1 was very formulaic as one episode would see Guren unlock Titan Mode, then Chooki, then etc. Next, Guren would unlock his signature skill, then Chooki, then etc. Part 2 decided to do that, but also to dial it up to eleven. First, the heroes lost their Titan Modes, but they learned how to use elemental powers. You would always know that this would take at least 4 episodes since they would learn it one at a time. After that, they re learned Titan Mode, one episode at a time. They also learned how to fuse and naturally, they had to try all of the different variations. Once the Elders were mind controlled, it was the same deal with them. The heroes would fight one per episode and they would all use the same transformation to prolong the fight. It may have been even more repetitive than Buddyfight One Hundred’s battles at one point, but these were still a little better because at least we had some really cool action scenes and it wasn’t the same villain each time.

I think part 2 of Tenkai Knights could have definitely changed the formula up a bit. I think it would have done wonders for the show. After all, the climax was always very intense. The final battles of both arcs in the show are easily 5 star matches and you can always feel the gravity of the situation. The already solid animation would get even better and you couldn’t really discern this show from that of a Shonen during the serious moments. If the whole show could have been like that, it’d be an easy 9. Of course, you could say the same about a great deal of shows since they all try to be at their best for the climax. Tenkai Knights still operates at a rather high level normally, but the extra boost would help.

I’d say that it probably is the ultimate Saturday Morning cartoon. This isn’t counting shows like Yugioh which were originally more Shonen and Cardfight, which never made its way to the big screen. It may not literally be the greatest of all time as there is probably some show somewhere that I may be forgetting, but it has everything that you could ask for from a show aimed at kids. The series plays it very safe content wise, but still gives us great animation and fights. It never resorts to a lot of crude humor or anything like that and naturally the show’s target audience ensures that the title has absolutely no fanservice. There’s no language to watch out for and the writing is pretty strong. Most of the characters are likable and there is a sense of danger throughout. Tenkai Knights really pushed itself as far as it could go and other shows that are now aimed at a similar audience like Pokemon Alola and Monster Hunter could learn a few lessons from this title. You can be aimed at kids and still have a lot of action.
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Overall, Tenkai Knights is a great show. It’s a title that just about anyone can get into since everyone likes a good action and who doesn’t like Power Ranger esque transformations? The show had a very modern/high tech feel right from the start like the PS3 and never lost that. The character cast is great and it performs exceptionally well on a technical level. The series went through a few hiccups during the second half, but it was able to bounce back in the end. I’m not sure what the series would have done for a third part, but introducing some new villains could have definitely worked quite well. There really weren’t many different opponents for the heroes to face so a little extra variety could have gone a long way. Introducing more human world fights would have also been great. We got some glimpses of this when the villains were able to materialize in the human world, but it was mostly used for laughs as opposed to action. Having the ability to crossfuse like in Megaman NT Warrior would have really upped the stakes. It’s one thing to be in lethal danger in another world, but it hits closer to home when your town is the one that is attacked.

Overall 8/10