B’t X Review

This is a show I sort of vaguely knew about since the Saint Seiya creator is very popular but other than the name I knew nothing about it. It turns out to be a fairly retro mecha adventure and one that I definitely had a really good time with. I love me some some mecha action after all and it all feels very nostalgic. I may not have seen the show before but the animation style and fight scenes definitely feel retro in a very good way. There are a ton of battles here that just keep coming one right after the other. The cast is very solid and the show manages to be really interesting and engaging from the jump.

The story picks up with the genius scientist Kotaro preparing to give a lecture. He’s attacked by a shapeshifting robot but his brother Teppei saves him. Teppei has always been the big fighter of the family while Kotaro has the intellect and together they make the world a better place. Unfortunately the Machine Empire attacks the delegation, murders tens of thousands and kidnaps Kotaro. They have taken him past a zone known as the Area and it’s said to be impossible to get there. The throne is protected by dozens and dozens of fighters each with powerful B’t creatures whcih are basically fancy robots.

Teppei has the Messiah Fist that he inherited from his mentor Karen and can destroy any machine but it’s not quite enough to tip the scales. Fortunately his blood is able to awaken one of the most legendary B’t creatures of all time, X. X only wants to work with Karen but he won’t just turn away from someone in need. After a lot of grumbling on both sides, Teppei and X agree to help each other out. Will they be able to stop the Machine Empire and save Teppei’s brother?

The show starts off real quick with the whole shapeshifting robot although that part gets ditched pretty fast. Ditched might be the wrong word but since pretty much the whole series takes place en route to the area, there isn’t much time to check out the real world and how humanity is faring. I liked the idea of shapeshifting robots being around every corner so the heroes always have to be careful. It almost would have been like a mystery thriller kind of title. The humans feel like they’re probably outgunned though. Put it this way, throughout the series when Teppei is trying to stop the empire, we never see the government stepping in or anything like that. The machines are in the driver’s seat all the way.

So there’s a lot left for the world building but I don’t think this is that kind of show. Most of it is really about taking on lots of enemies and continuing to push past your limits. Teppei definitely has a tough time here but he never gives up and keeps on getting stronger. Meanwhile it’s definitely a lot tougher for Kotaro trying to stay safe and out of danger.

Kotaro is a pretty good main character. Despite the constant danger that he’s in, he still keeps trying to stop the Empire in his own way by finding out the weakness to their trump card, Raffaello. After all if he can figure out how to destroy that thing then the world will really be in a much safer place. Hopefully he does get his own B’t though so he can fight a bit more because the support role is fun and all but he’ll end up staying very overshadowed if that’s the extent of his role. Make no mistake, the cutaways to his plot are always very engaging but you still want a little something more.

Then you have Teppei who is a very solid main character. He has that classic “Can Do” attitude about him. He doesn’t give up and continues to press forward. He definitely gets into a lot of disagreements with X so expect a lot of bickering but it all works out in the end. His battle skills are on point and he will jump into a battle even if he doesn’t expect to win. Teppei is good at thinking outside the box and doesn’t take thing too personal. If a character says he will help Teppei now then the hero will usually believe him and keep it moving. He just knows that the priority is saving his brother and will do whatever it takes to accomplish that mission.

X is a fun B’t and definitely one that has the most emotion out of all of them. They all do have personalities which is actually a big plus of the series but of course as a main character we get to see this guy way more than most of the others. He’s always around either in the middle of a fight or getting a power up. Now I will say that he isn’t quite as impressive as you would expect though. He’s a B’t of legend and everyone fears him but X spends most of the series getting beaten up over and over again.

There are a few reasons for this like his owner not being able to draw out his maximum abilities and his still being damaged but considering his big rep it’s still not always a consolation. You just expect a lot more from this guy and I’d say that X doesn’t really live up to the hype until the very end of the series. I like his personality though so X is still a lot of fun either way.

Karen mainly appears in flashbacks but she works as a good mentor to Teppei. She teaches him a lot and the guy would definitely be out of his league if not for the Messiah fist. Her history is mainly shrouded in mystery which you find out more of as the series goes on. Right now she has one of the stronger moral compasses in the series and she is always trying to make a difference. She can fight as well so I hope we get to see her go up against the villains in the continuation. It just feels like this would be a missed opportunity not to have her join in the fights soon. I want to see her side by side with the main characters.

One of the first villains to show up here was Metal Face and I have a soft spot for the guy. By no means is he one of the more powerful villains but I liked the guy’s confidence and he had a lot of good dialogue. He was someone who didn’t back down from a challenge and had to go up against some of the world’s strongest without anything special on his end. It might be a stretch to call this guy a main supporting character but I can say that he’s persistent and I really liked that about him.

Then you have Aramis who is more about giving orders but not actually doing much. I’m still waiting to see if she can actually fight. If she can then that will help her a whole lot but for now I can’t say that I’m really a fan. She talks really tough but then she folds when the boss shows up. If she can fight later on or defects from the villains then that would be huge and give her some momentum.

After that you have the 4 legendary generals. So part of X’s hype is that he is one of those 4 legendary B’t and that means he has a lot to live up to. The next member we meet is Fou and his B’t. Fou is someone who runs a bit of an orphanage and seems like a decent guy but since he’s working for the villains that doesn’t quite add up. He gets a lot of character development as the show goes on though and I thought his character was handled really well. Yeah he’s definitely not a true hero through and through but at the same time he does have his own standards and code of conduct. He won’t be doing just anything or follow orders blindly.

His abilities also seem extremely impressive. Whenever he shows up in an episode the villains fear him and the heroes know they have no chance. This is exactly how the big 4 should appear and it’s why I’m still waiting for Teppei and X to command that level of respect. Once they can do that then I will know that they have really made it. I hope Fou continues to get more fights as the series goes on because seeing him in action is always great. His B’t is also very solid and a machine that is also very confident in her abilities. They have a good bond going right there.

Then there is Hokuto who seems less like a fighter. This guy is more about studying and using his own genius intellect to better the world….well more like just so he can learn more. I wouldn’t call this guy a hero either but at least he wants to find the truth and that prevents him from being just another yes man. I need to see him actually fight though so for now he is the weakest of the big 4 to me. You absolutely need brawn in addition to brain to come out on top. We do know that he can fight but I want to see just how well.

Finally there is Ron but the guy can definitely be a bit more on the annoying side. He’s very strong to be sure but acts more like a mindless yes man at times. Even when everyone is telling him that something is up he refuses to listen. The guy just jumps right into fights and while it’s good to be loyal to a cause, you always have to be reasonable about it. Otherwise you end up following someone rather than the cause and that can be a really big problem. His B’t has a cool design though and I can still appreciate his power. There aren’t many in the verse right now who can challenge him.

Right now the highest ranking member of the empire that we’ve seen is a kid named Misha. He apparently works as a direct contact to the leader. So the leader gives him orders and he executes them. That’s why even if the kid isn’t very strong everyone is completely afraid of him because if he says the wrong thing then they’re doomed. What this kid says goes even when it’s unreasonable and usually this guy is very unreasonable. Lets just say that a whole lot of empire soldiers are destroyed for no reason during Raffaello’s rampages.

So for Rafaello, he is an absolutely huge robot that continues to grow and get more powerful. As a result this guy is shaping up to be the final boss although unfortunately he is so far the only character not to have any personality. So I hope he gets some quick or that won’t be the most satisfying way to end this. I’m interested in how this plays out though. Right now while he is huge, I have a hard time picturing him giving the heroes all that much of a fight though. They would have him completely outnumbered and would also be a lot faster. That should make the fight seem rather one sided if anything.

Now while the show is great, the only issue I had with it is that they do squeeze in some animal violence. Naturally the empire has a lot of livestock around so when the monster goes crazy on the loose the animals don’t quite make it. The scene didn’t really serve any purpose so I’m not sure why that was included at all. Stick to showing the machine just murder a bunch of humans instead, that’s always a better outcome. In general the show isn’t particularly violent but you can definitely still expect a fairly high body count.

One of the series big strengths are its monster of the week characters. A lot of them are actually really memorable and just as importantly they’re also fairly strong. Now to an extent it can be rough seeing all of these random generals giving Teppei a hard time but it shows why nobody else has ever infiltrated the Machine Empire. They have way too many powerful fighters at their disposal. One impressive fighter was a guy with a hook for a hand. What made him stand out is how he’s punching way above his weight class. You figure this guy should be getting packed up rather easily but instead he just gets right back into the thick of the action and keeps on attacking Teppei. Even without his B’t the guy keeps hanging in there and that’s impressive.

Likewise the first of the demon lord fighters shows up and puts up a tremendous fight. He really almost had Teppei and this is after Teppei had grown way more powerful. This is the case for a bunch of these area fighters and while you may not remember their names at times, you will remember the impact. The series quite literally would not be the same without them. I also like the idea of the demon warriors and hopefully the other 6 look good. The show made the interesting choice of confirming that the first member was actually the strongest one. I can’t remember the last time that happened so it was a good twist. Usually it’s the opposite.

The animation here is pretty good. It may not be stunning but the fight scenes definitely go all out and the character models are on point. I also liked the soundtrack quite a bit. It is a little on the smaller side to be sure but at least the tunes that replay a lot are pretty good. If they weren’t then that would absolutely have been a problem. So on the technicals the series holds up and I already explained how the fights are good. The writing is on point too. There was one annoying kid that shows up for a little while but he was written out before long so that wasn’t too bad.

There is already a lot set up for the next season as well. This one has a cliffhanger as you can probably imagine and it works pretty well. I’d have probably even gone further with the cliffhanger but this works either way. I do wonder if they can really squeeze everything into the next season because it feels like there is a whole lot to do but at the same time I know you can pull a whole lot off when the time crunch is near. So we’ll see which villains get the most spotlight coming up and which ones get the shaft. This season introduced a powerful clown villain by the end so I’m super interested in seeing what happens next.

Overall, B’T X is a great show. If you’re looking for a title with nonstop fights and at least one battle in every episode then you’re in luck. It still seems a little unpopular to an extent as there aren’t a ton of screencaps to grab off of Google without doing more of a deep dive so every person who checked it out can help get the show to be even bigger.. Still, the sheer pacing and hype of all the battles will be enough to keep bringing you back. There just aren’t a ton of old school Shonens like this left so you really have to savor them. I look forward to seeing how the sequel plays out and definitely recommend this one.

Overall 8/10

The Misfit of Demon King Academy Review

It’s time to check out a series where the main character might be more popular than the actual show. That’s a bit of a bold thing to say of course but I feel like this guy gets mentioned all the time. The series is a lot of fun though. I think it did leave a lot of meat on the bone with the premise though since the next season is going to be pretty different based on how this one concludes. I would have stretched out the plot for another season at least but either way this is a great all around title.

The series begins by introducing us to a guy named Anos. He protects a fellow student Misha from bullies one day but then exclaims that he is actually the legendary Demon King that everyone worships. See, the characters may look like humans but the series takes place in a demon society. Everyone knows that the king is supposed to eventually revive but for some reason history appears to have been overwritten and everyone thinks the king’s name is actually Avos. Anos will have to prove himself somehow but in the meantime he must attend school like a normal person. He also ended up being branded as a “Misfit” due to the way the scanner processed his data. A bit odd since he’s the most powerful one there but that’s just how it goes sometimes. Can he uncover the mysteries unfolding around him?

One of the enjoyable aspects of the series is really just the extent to which Anos is confident at all times. The guy is extremely powerful to the point where he can almost literally defeat his opponents with a wave. He destroys someone’s fire spell just by breathing out and his physical abilities allow him to endure any blow. Anos can even come back from the dead at will and has perfect immortality. Now you also have to consider that this is all while the majority of his power is still sealed away. Anos is rarely in danger in this show so you’re not watching it to see him lose.

It’s more like One Punch Man where the fun is in the humor all around him. In one way Anos even has a big edge over Saitama which is that he has much more of a personality. Anos is strong and he knows it so the guy walks around with the confidence of knowing that he is the best. It’s just one of those facts that the others have to accept. He can almost be a bit oblivious about this as well as he doesn’t understand why others don’t recognize him as the strongest. As the series goes on we even see that he’s rather nice for a demon king and is always looking out for others.

It may sound cheesy to hear that the most invincible demon of all is also the most heroic one but on the other hand if he was a villain then it’s not like the world would stand a chance anyway. So it’s definitely a power fantasy type show here but the show holds nothing back and embraces this which makes it work. A show like this will need to still be strong all around to make it work and that’s not a problem here. I enjoyed the cast, the humor is on point, and the fight scenes are really strong when they happen.

I’ve already talked about Anos a lot but to sum it up he is a great main character. He’s a good guy who always tries to do the right thing and doesn’t let anyone impose their values on him. He’s always ready to lecture the other students on what it means to be a true demon king and the guy doesn’t waver. He takes everything in stride and that’s great. No panicking, no second guessing himself. Anos has already had any possible character arcs off screen so you’re looking at a hero in his prime.

The main heroine here is Misha. You can make a case for Sasha, but Misha is introduced first and I would say has a bigger role. She can be rather timid and doesn’t stick up for herself all that much. After meeting Anos she definitely starts to improve there though. Misha has a rather sad backstory and has been through a lot so you can see how she went down that path. I’m still not the biggest fan though as I tend to gravitate more towards the confident characters but she does earn points for stepping up to fight and help as needed. Ultimately she’s not bad and I expect she will continue to improve in the future.

Sasha is definitely a character that is more fun but also makes more mistakes. She’s like a roller coaster going up and down while Misha is someone who is very consistent. Sasha starts off great, gets on your nerves towards the middle of the series, and then bounces back again. Ultimately she has a lot of twists and by the end I can at least understand her choices. They weren’t the best and on the record I do think she should have found another way. Especially when….you’ve got an invincible demon king by your side who seems to have every power under the Sun. Just ask him for help. Seriously that’s all she needed to do and we would have skipped a whole lot of drama.

That’s why near the end it is satisfying to see her and Misha finally trust Anos no matter what and this helps during the climax. The guy has performed so many miracles that I feel like you have to be on his side by the end. There should be no room for doubt and you just keep following him to the end. It’s also the safest place to be…most of the time. More on that later.

Anos’ parents also show up which is rather nice. A lot of the time in these shows you won’t see the parents almost at all but they actually stay relevant the whole way through here. Anos has a good relationship with them and they take all of the twists and supernatural elements in stride. When he grows up in under a week from being a baby they just get excited at how fast he grew. When he ends up being the strongest most popular kid at school they’re still just happy for him. They still act like normal parents in cooking food and hanging out with him/building swords and it’s a surprisingly very wholesome plot. Naturally when they get injured you’d best believe Anos is going to be causing some major damage.

Then you have Lay who is one of the best characters without a doubt. The guy is a super skilled swordsman with a ton of confidence and the only one who can give Anos a fun fight in the kingdom. Sure the guy is still outmatched but at least he fights hard and is considerably more talented than most. The guy is a bit of an enigma as he shows up out of the blue and seems a little mysterious. The guy fits right in with the cast though and also has a lot of confidence of his own. He doesn’t fall into the social traps the other characters try to get him into and just cares about getting stronger. A solid motivation I would always say.

Emilia is the teacher for a while but she’s definitely more of a passive villain as she believes in the class system. The show has a bit of a subplot there where the demons are divided into different ranks based on power, family heritage, etc. Anos couldn’t care less about this though and same for Lay so as they continue to show off with their powerful deeds more people start coming around to this line of thinking. It’s nice that Anos is performing such a benefit to society!

The hero Kanon appears several times in the flashbacks as someone who worked with Anos in order to make the world peaceful. Anos is the one who came up with a way to stop the war between humans and demons and then Kanon helped him execute this. Kanon feels a little naive though and definitely lacks Anos’ power so things get a bit dicey for him but I did like the guy through and through. He’s someone that you can count on to do the right thing.

Then we have a villain who was actually really powerful in Eugo. This was the god of time and as you would expect that means he can actually fight someone like Anos. Perhaps he is still not a complete match but he would make sure that Anos at least had to use his abilities for real this time. I liked the guy’s design a lot too and against just about anyone else his time hax would have likely dealt big damage.

I didn’t care much for the demon generals like Ivis and friends because they all get mind controlled incredibly easy so you shake your head when they’re around. Anos really didn’t have the best followers if you ask me. I suppose they can still be good teachers at the school if needed but that’s about it. Put it this way, if Anos is ever in danger then these guys won’t be strong enough to help anyway. It’s rough but that’s just the facts of the matter here.

Avos was also a powerful fighter. He is someone who is always in the background during the pre arc around the school and then starts making his move during the underwater arc leading up to the climax. He has a good design and can actually fight which goes a long way. Definitely a worthy foe to end the adventure with, certainly more than the evil humans from the water arc who felt desperate the whole time. The water arc was fun with the fights but you were just waiting for Anos to end everyone as opposed to the climax where Anos was fighting for the world in a high stakes battle.

Now while I thought the show was great, it’s not devoid of issues. One of them for me is how despite Anos’ super powers he does let his friends and family get injured at times. I’m not saying he needs to be omnipotent but with his level of ability that should not be happening. It’s why One Punch Man tries to stay very light because if anyone seriously gets injured then you have to have a hard look at the lead and why he didn’t do anything about it. Saitama can get away with goofing off because he always makes it in time. Likewise you give Anos a lot of slack for being slow to the scene when he saves the day but there are times where he doesn’t make it in time.

A big example of this is him telling Misha to go take down a villain near the end of the series but then he just overwhelms her and stabs Misha a bunch until she’s basically dead. Anos eventually shows up to save the day but it doesn’t feel right because he allowed that to happen. He should have put a stop to that way sooner and then there would not have been any problems. Likewise letting his guard down enough for his Mom to be attacked by one of the vengeful villains was also sloppy. When you have a hero who is this broken with a million abilities then any time he doesn’t make it in time feels sketchy. This is something Solo Leveling did really well as the MC was always everywhere using his broken abilities to keep his family safe at all times.

My only other issue with the series is more of a narrative choice. It’s not bad, but as I mentioned before I feel like the plot just ends a little too soon. So a lot of the fun here is in seeing Anos stroll around campus like he owns the place (Because he basically does) but everyone scoffs at him and tries to put him in his place. People don’t know that he is the demon king and that makes for a lot of fun scenarios. By the end of the season this plot can no longer be used which means that the dynamic will be way different. Sure there may be some characters who deny reality but they will be the exceptions rather than the rule. Another season of Anos being the misfit would have been great because there are so many other fun scenarios they could have done with this.

Have him gradually get more and more people to believe him. I’m sure season 2 will still be fun of course and I look forward to what they will do next but I just enjoyed the premise so much. I guess we’ll see if they bring in new fighters who can give Anos a challenge, or more likely he’ll get some new teammates. When Anos sandbags long enough sometimes the villains do actually start to land some hits or put up a good fight. This season had several fights where he did come close to at least a temporary death even if he would regenerate later on. It just takes a whole lot of planning on the villains’ part and also some luck if we’re being honest. If Anos ever goes all out from the start then they don’t stand a chance.

In terms of the soundtrack I would say the show is in the middle. See, the opening and the ending are both great. Easily the highlights of the soundtrack and they have a lot of replay value. The songs are even used during some of the battle scenes which is a lot of fun. However, the themes within the episode aren’t very memorable at all and I would say are probably a little sub par. So enjoy the lyrical tunes but you probably won’t remember the rest of the ost much.

I thought the animation was really sharp. You get a good amount of movement here and a lot of bright attacks. When the show goes into its action phase the anime is able to keep up and that results in some pretty hype moments. The show always looks very modern and I didn’t feel like there were any times where it looked bad. The aesthetic works well for the vibe the show is going for and so you should be very satisfied here.

At its core one last reason why the show is great is because of its replay value. The humor lands so well that you definitely enjoy rewatching some scenes. The dialogue is absolutely on point and while I would never go as far as to say it beats the action scenes, it supports them extremely well. Every time Anos starts a sentence off with “Did you really think…” you know that he’s about to flex on someone yet again. It’s why I included extra images here so you can see some of the variations. It’s part of why this guy is such a great main character. The humor/action blend here is balanced just right so there is always something to enjoy. Mix that in with the fact that the series is really good about avoiding fanservice and you’ve got something that is also easy to recommend to just about anyone.

The show does have some violence to be sure but I’d say it’s never excessive. The two most brutal moments are likely when Anos murders one guy over and over again and then when Misha gets stabbed to death. The former is certainly more violent but because it’s played off as dark humor to an extent you won’t find it as twisted. Still really dark to be sure though. The second isn’t as violent but because you really thought Anos should have protected her and because she’s so defenseless there then it hits a bit harder. On the whole the show is not one that I would say is hard to watch though and is still tame by and large.

There are also other supporting characters I didn’t really talk about much earlier but in general the cast is still on the smaller side for now. I expect we will continue to get new characters from within the school and outside of it. This is the kind of series with enough world building to be a really long franchise so adding more characters definitely makes a lot of sense with that.

Overall, The Misfit of Demon King Academy is definitely a great show. The anime is off to a powerful start right out of the gate and we’ll see if it can keep this up now that the whole status quo will be way different. I’m confident that as long as the writing stays this good there shouldn’t be any problems though. Anos may not be able to surprise everyone anymore like when he entered the underwater battle to save the day but you can probably still work around that with new kingdoms and such. Anos can continue to spread his wise teachings across the land and beat up anyone who gets in his way. That’s the way to go.

Overall 8/10

RWBY: Ice Queendom Review

It’s been quite a while since this show aired. I ended up reviewing every episode of the show as it came out which is the first time I ever did that but ultimately I never actually reviewed it in its entirety. With volume 9 finished, now is a good time to check that out. I’ll even post my episode reviews below and then I’ll wrap the whole thing up. Basically Ice Queendom is the weakest RWBY show so I’ll get that out of the way first. It has some issues that the main show doesn’t have and ends up not pushing the anime medium to its limit. The show feels low budget and like an abridged version of the real thing. It hopefully brought some new people into the fandom but otherwise you’re better off just watching the original. Of course a copy can not beat the greatness of the original but I will say that it’s still a pretty good show, it’s just not up to the RWBY standard.

Episode 1

“The visuals were fantastic and it definitely moves through a good amount of material by knocking out 2 of the specials and the first episode plus some material from a volume 4 special. The fights look great as Ruby takes down some goons and Blake destroys a bunch of mechs. A lot of effort went into this one and at least at this point and time you can really feel the high budget effort behind this. I would also say it does work well as someone’s introduction to the series. You quickly get the plot and learn about the characters so that’s a win/win. I was quite satisfied here. If I am recommending someone to the series I would actually show them this episode first and then transition over to volume 1 from where this one left off. If episode 2 is as strong then I may do the same for that one.”

Episode 2

“Once again the quick pacing really helped this one jump up near the top. You could feel the budget already dropping from episode 1, however they quickly increased it again for the climax which I appreciated. The fight with the Nevermore was a lot of fun and it’s always nostalgic to see the group in the old days. The episode speeds through several from volume 1 and makes for a really satisfying watch. It still feels like a best hits montage but of course we’re getting closer to the original story so then we can see how that stacks up. Will Ice Queendom still be one of the best or will this be where it falters?”

Episode 3

“Naturally Ice Queendom has a lot going on here as it wraps volume 1 up but makes the very unfortunate choice of cutting out the fight at the docks. I think they definitely should have kept that in but at least we did get the fight between Weiss and the Grimm which was really solid. The animation really shone during that part and this episode had a lot of good development for the characters. The cliffhanger was also really epic. We’re getting into the original plot now so I’m definitely hyped to see how that plays out. Ice Queendom is off to a fast start and has been keeping up rather well so far. “

Episode 4

“Now we’re entering the anime only original story and it works quite well here. We get a whole new environment and get to learn about Weiss’ psyche. It’s an effective way of showing her true thoughts the whole time without having to make it appear too forced or anything like that. It’s the right way to go about it. The visuals still look really good and actually getting a Ruby vs Weiss fight is something we’ve been waiting for throughout the franchise. The battle theme is also on point even if it seems like the show always uses the same ones. The lyrical moments are on point though and this show just continues to operate at a very high level. I’m eager to see how this plays out for the rest of the show.”

Episode 5

“Ice Queendom comes back with another big episode as we get to see Weiss square off with Blake this time around. Ruby’s first mission didn’t go great so she brought Blake and Yang this time around but Yang was stuck on decoy duty for a while so it’s more about Ruby and Blake running around. I do like that Yang is a bit more no nonsense about the whole thing and doesn’t mind taking shots at Weiss here. That’s just her personality and it’s good to see her stay bold, it’s the Yang we’re used to after all. While the fight isn’t quite as good as the last one, the episode has a good mix of action and plot main for another solid episode in the saga. The dream world is certainly difficult to conquer.”

Episode 6

“Episode 6 has our big group fight against Weiss as even Yang gets involved. Interestingly part of the scuffle actually seemed to transform into CGI which was interesting but it was brief. The episode got to show off it’s animation a little more than the last one as Weiss spammed her energy attacks and the heroes had to deal with it. I’m a little skeptical about the main trio not being able to stop her though. It was shown that Weiss upgraded Yang and Blake’s weapons subconsciously so I like to think that they could defeat her. Just knock her out and then take out the Grimm. That would be the most direct way to solve all of this. It’s been fun seeing more into Weiss’ mind and that’s definitely been one of the most engaging parts of the show.”

Episode 7

“It’s Ice Queendom’s first time at the bottom. Mainly this episode allowed Jaune to see into the dream but because of that we’re seeing a lot of things that we already know. The Mini Weisses were fun though and then they even got to turn giant. The cliffhanger is definitely the best part though and that nearly bumped it up a spot but the volume right above this one also had a powerful cliffhanger like that. It’s nice to have Jaune in the mix but I look forward to the volume throwing in some more action in the next episodes.”

Episode 8

“Ice Queendom is in a similar situation to Volume 4 here. Sure, it’s good that the heroes are getting in a little deeper through the dream and learning more but it does feel a bit like they’re treading water by this point. Not much has really changed since the last episode to the point where it almost feels like this episode could have been merged into the last one. In a way I think I just miss the real world by this point as the dreamscape got old real quick. That being said you can tell that we’re getting close to the climax so I’m ready to see how this all pans out.”

Episode 9

“In Ice Queendom the heroes are trying to get closer to saving Weiss but seem to hit a dead end at every corner. It’s just not easy to get to her when she has the home field advantage in the dream world. Blake seems to go with a rather gutsy plan at the end though which leads to a great cliffhanger. The overall episode is a bit on the slow side but the final scene is really what pushes this above the other two volumes. It opens up a lot of fun possibilities for where the arc could go from here and I’m at least looking forward to a really big fight!”

Episode 10

“Ice Queendom is getting closer to the end now as we begin the big Blake vs Weiss fight. This episode spends half of its time showing us what led to Blake embracing the powers of darkness and then the second half continues us from where it left off. It’s definitely a very risky plan and one that I’m not a fan of since letting yourself be controlled can really not end well. I’d say just going up there and winning in fisticuffs would be the best way. Try a sneak attack to get the rapier away from Weiss or something like that. Beyond that I enjoyed our classic divide and conquer approach as each fighter will be going up against a different opponent. With better animation I dare say this could really be a top contender but I did enjoy the Weiss and Blake clashes regardless. Seeing Weiss immediately realize that something was up with Blake was also nice to show that she isn’t totally gone yet.”

Episode 11

“This was quite possibly Ice Queendom’s best episode in the batch. We finally get to see the team fight as a unit on more than one occasion which was really satisfying. The ost was top tier as you’d expect and they really saved up a lot of the budget for this episode. It was an excellent way to wrap up the arc and we got to see how strong Blake would be with the power of Adam. It all goes by really quickly with nonstop action so I had no issues with the episode. It’s just a lot of fun and I always enjoy team fights like this. I hope to see more and more combos from the team in the future.”

Episode 12

“Ice Queendom has been a fun ride and I’ll definitely have a full review up for it soon. In the meantime this works really well as an epilogue episode. A chance to just see the characters interacting and now that they have all had a lot of character development, they’re the best friends you remember. The series really nailed the characters for Blake and Weiss in particular and why they are so great. Both are usually considered to have the most development from the main group and it’s nice to see how they’ve changed. Even the little things like Weiss waiting for Blake afterwards so they could have one last talk and reaffirm how they will change the world was great.”

All right so from the episode reviews you can see how things started out on an excellent note with the volume 1 recap but then the show quickly lost some steam in the original plot. That’s pretty much how I would frame it. The volume 1 adaption was definitely a bit rushed but it was great seeing all of the iconic moments again. The only big miss here was completely cutting out the Torchwick fight at the climax of the volume. That would have been great to have seen in anime format instead of then jumping into the original story. The original story has an interesting premise.

Basically there is a nightmare Grimm that is ridiculously overpowered and ensnares Weiss. The other characters jump into save her along with Jaune but once inside they find out that this won’t be easy. Basically the entire world is in her mind but a twisted version of it and to get to her they have to defeat a lot of other obstacles like statues and such. Additionally once they get to Weiss she is quite powerful and won’t turn good unless they can destroy the Grimm behind her. Make any kind of contact with the Grimm and you too will be corrupted though. So dodging it won’t be an easy endeavor.

Where the show fumbles a bit is that the heroes try over and over to save her and fail multiple times. This causes the heroes to fall out of the dream and then re-enter so you see the same things over and over again. Once when Ruby lands, once when the team lands, and then once for Jaune. It feels like a way to save on the animation budget at times to be honest and the show unfortunately looks very low budget. Sometimes the fights barely have any animation. It will randomly change to CGI once in a while too and so nothing is very streamlined. The show looks solid during the first episodes for the volume 1 recap and then in episode 11 but that’s about it.

One of the most disappointing parts was when they set up the Weiss vs Ruby fight but then in the next episode it was done as lazily as possible. This happens quite a few times and it’s too bad because you were really looking forward to these battles. For example you have Weiss vs the rest of Team RWBY and there are no memorable shots there. Then you have Weiss going up against Blake for a few episodes and only one really had the good animation. The others were mostly them just yelling the same things at each other. The dialogue could get awfully repetitive as Weiss yells how the Faunus are destroying everything and Blake says that she will liberate them. We get this stalemate of sorts for a while.

It was fun to see a mind controlled Weiss figure out that Blake was mind controlled and swear to save her. I guess even when you’re not in your right mind you know when someone else isn’t either. Now I do want to underscore that the animation can be good at some times but it is rare and very scattered. This is a show that could have used a lot more time in the oven to really hammer everything out and deliver a more complete product. Trust me when I say that doing this would have absolutely been the right way to go about it. Because with top tier animation this would have worked so much more.

I did enjoy the soundtrack quite a lot though. It was different from the average RWBY title for sure but it worked well. Realm is probably the standout song from the ost. It plays a few times and always to great effect. There was another really solid lyrical song as well. The only one that didn’t really work well for me though was the opening but it’s not bad. I just like one part of it a whole lot and the rest is just okay. Still not bad though and while the soundtrack is limited, each tune in the episode ost are solid. You’ll definitely have a good time with the music, no doubt about that.

The show’s original characters don’t get to do much though so you don’t get much of an opinion on them. First up is Shion but I couldn’t tell you anything about that character’s personality or anything really. He’s mainly just a means of explaining the plot and the new Grimm but that’s about it. Likewise the new Grimm is basically just a mindless monster to be defeated so there isn’t a ton to discuss on that front either. At the end of the day most of the discussion will naturally end up being about the existing characters instead.

Weiss gets the most to do here and I’d say her character portrayal is on point. At first she comes across as a bit of a jerk and then tries to play nice with her teammates. In the main show people often mention how she seemed to change a bit too soon and so this show actually addresses that. Basically she was just acting the part of the nice teammate but she didn’t truly mean it. So by going into her dream they were able to have a true heart to heart talk and get to the bottom of this. I thought that was really a great way to use this nightmare bug. Now Weiss could be changed inside and out as opposed to just talking the part and that’s really the best kind of change. Weiss puts up a lot of resistance subconsciously with all of the monsters and such but she herself is trying her best. It was a really fun look into her psyche.

Likewise her whole issue with the Faunus and Blake. I think the premise was a little better than the execution there but the two of them being able to just talk things out was really solid but then when it didn’t work, going into a fight was on point. Sometimes you do need to end up talking with your fists a bit even if it’s not actually the final answer. It’s the driving force that allows you to connect at least. Blake’s new super form was also a lot of fun, I liked the design as there was a lot of inspiration from Adam.

This also led to the climax which actually was excellent. The budget went into this fight as they all fought evil Blake and really got to show off their abilities. It was a true team effort and you love to see it. The fight with the Grimm itself was also solid I’d say. Whenever RWBY is fighting as a team it’s always great to see, they complement each other well with the fighting skills and you get the feeling that if they did this more often the villains really wouldn’t stand a chance. Fortunately for them RWBY is usually split up for plot reasons.

I still can’t get over the fact that the show finally got its full anime treatment. Yes it may not have been quite as high budget as I would have liked but it’s still cool. I also think you really could show someone the first two episodes and then cut to volume 1 to finish it off. I would say the first 3 and then skip volume 1 but it’s rough to miss out on the Torchwick battle because he would go on to become such a major character later on. You really need to see him fight here so you can really understand just what a big threat he was. Ice Queendom’s power levels do get a bit wonky though so you’ll need to keep that in mind. There were a few times where I felt like the heroes should have had the decisive edge by a mile and it just didn’t happen. The show could have just been a few episodes long imo but they had to stretch things a bit.

In terms of characters, well they’re all in character so it works out. Ruby is still a good leader here and while Weiss’ insults may really cut her to the core, she always stands back up and keeps going. Her determination really comes through very strong here. Weiss has a masterful level of depth to her here and is executed perfectly. Yang may come off as a bit meaner than usual with all her shots at Weiss but I like how she always speaks her mind. She still comes through as the power hitter and Blake conquers her fears to allow herself to be taken over all to save Weiss. That’s a lot of dedication right there and so she gets a big thumbs up as well.

As a sidenote, I really liked their winter designs in general. The cold weather type outfits worked well and I always like when characters actually do change their attire based on the weather. Weiss and Blake both have really cool evil forms as well. The designers really held nothing back here and it ended up working out really well. I may take my shots at the animation but the art itself was great so the show always looks really good in the still images. It’s one that will hold up and ultimately I still do really want a season 2. Maybe lets just re-adapt the whole show this time and not bother with an original plot until it’s caught up. Then I can get to see volume 3 and all the tourney battles in the anime style.

Overall, RWBY: Ice Queendom is a fun side adventure. I think they should have planned things out a little better so that the episodes weren’t repetitive though. There’s really a lot of ways you could have done this like make Weiss’ dream world change completely each time or use more check points so it’s different. I think a little less repetition would have just gone a long way here and then you could focus on the story more. It may not match up to the classic RWBY adventures but those are all star titles which surpass the very medium so that’s probably not a super fair comparison. On its own this is still a great title either way and one that I would recommend checking out. So if you want more RWBY content, well you’ve come to the right place.

Overall 8/10

RWBY Volume 9 Review

All right this is going to be a long review so strap in! The greatest show of all time has finally returned for season 9 after so many years. I’d been eagerly awaiting the return and the company’s gone through a lot in the meantime so right now we don’t really know if Volume 10 is coming or not. Everything seems up in the air and if it were to all end here then I would still be satisfied because 9 seasons of content is incredible but of course I will be eagerly awaiting Volume 10. It’s one of those things I can never lose hope on because there’s always a chance and with the amount of buzz the show gets it feels crazy to put it on hold. We’ll get that season 10, but hopefully sooner than later.

Volume 8 ended with the main characters falling through the hole into the ever after. Fortunately they all meet up with each other very quickly so the gang’s still together but it’s not under the best of circumstances. Ruby is feeling depressed after the heroes lost to Salem’s forces yet again and this time the body count was very real. This world is really trippy and every time they try to leave they just seem to be further and further away. It all seems to be following a book that the main characters read when they were kids so they can at least predict some events but their presence as well as Neo’s is already changing things up. Can the heroes defeat her and escape? Also, where is Jaune?

For a big show like this it’s almost hard to know where to start. The volume is a bit shorter than the others since it’s only 10 episodes and they’re all fairly short as it is but because this is RWBY there is a ton to unpack. I’ll probably keep this review fairly scattered as I just type each aspect as I think of it and we’ll go from there. First to get this out of the way, to an extent this volume was considered by some to potentially be a filler season since it was planned out from way before the main plot even started and the mini volume format that the writers would refer to it as made people feel like it was a side adventure. By and large that probably is true. There are some developments here to be sure but at the same time it can feel a bit like Capsule Monsters or Fast Forward in that it’s sort of a break from the main story. There’s no Salem or Cinder here and the heroes aren’t fighting the Grimm. The Grimm don’t even appear.

Think of this as the heroes getting isekai’d into a whole different world for one season. Of course unlike other spinoff adventures they won’t be losing their memories or anything. Their development will be sticking with them for the future sagas. Aside from Weiss who was already perfectly sound going into this world, the other 3 do change and adapt from their experiences here. Jaune and Neo have quite a lot of character development as well. So in a literal sense the season isn’t filler because things did happen. At the same time it is a breather season I would say since it’s not super important to the grand story. On a RWBY binge re-watch if the series ever does end, you could basically skip this volume or jump to the final episode to enjoy the fights. Of course it’s still a great watch on its own so no need for skipping.

Now as this is going to be a deep look through at the series you should be warned that there will be advanced spoilers here. Tread carefully and if you haven’t seen the season yet then I highly recommend changing that first. Trust me you want to go into this fresh because that just makes for the best viewing experience. A show like RWBY has so much replay value that you will keep on watching anyway but it’s still nice not to be spoiled. Then when you’re watching the battle song in the final episode on loop over and over again you will always remember your first experience with it.

First lets talk about Ruby as she gets a lot of focus here. She’s coming off of 2 of her best volumes in the series as she led her team to a decisive victory over the Ace Ops and nearly took down Neo if not for Cinder getting her from behind after that. Well, unfortunately this is her worst volume by far and it’s not even close. Basically Ruby has taken the loss very hard and completely doubts herself as a leader now. Her friends keep trying to ask her what’s wrong and see what’s going on but Ruby pushes them away and ultimately blows up.

My main issue with this is while it’s portrayed as if she was ignored, the characters made every effort to talk to her. It was Ruby who actively pushed them away so I wouldn’t say that they could be blamed for anything at this point. Ruby blowing up at them was just a big L for her and she doesn’t come off very well for just about the entire season. Ultimately this leads to her getting bullied by Neo and ultimately choosing to drink the poison tea and destroy herself. Now, whenever a show deals with taking your own life, that’s a pretty big thing. It’s a huge decision and always the wrong one so a show has to make sure to show this.

The main controversy among this season was how this was handled. After all Rooster Teeth already has a bit of a dicey streak with this since Gen Lock and to a lesser extent, Penny convincing Jaune to destroy her in the last volume. I do think it was the wrong choice to have Ruby do this as well here because that’s just not who she is. She always has some hope and losing it all like this may have been to show how she’s been broken down but it goes too far. I would say the other aspect of this that doesn’t work are the non reactions of her friends and sister in Yang. When Ruby drinks the cup, none of them make a move to stop her, yell or do much of anything. It’s like they were all stunned into silence.

Now you can write this up as a momentary freeze but in the next episodes they are completely over this. They tell the cat that Ruby has to choose for herself what to do here, how she might be a different person, etc. The reactions are so bizarre, they are not being proactive about anything and don’t seem nearly as worried as they should be. Yes in this world death means instant reincarnation so she won’t be gone for good but based on what they have seen, Ruby herself would still be “dead” as her new form wouldn’t have her memories. Look at the paper pleasers for example. So for all intents and purposes Ruby really would be dead and so I don’t understand how nonchalant they are.

I feel like the show got confused midway on exactly what kind of symbology they were going for here. Within the show’s context none of this made any sense considering that Ruby just chose to destroy herself. That absolutely should have shaken up the cast a whole lot no matter how strong they are. Certainly they shouldn’t be grinning in a scene right afterwards. I had similar issues with the Paper Pleasers plot. Basically they are a suicidal cult that wants to destroy themselves because they feel they have succeeded in their mission a long time ago.

In this world once you have completed your mission then you are empty and need to ascend to get a new one. The problem is that this is still death since they don’t retain their memories or experiences and so Jaune tries to stop them. Unfortunately it is portrayed as a bad thing as he should have let them go off to their deaths. I definitely can’t get behind that one either and it was annoying how Team RWBY was so okay with this. Ruby in particular had no sympathy for Jaune at all. Have I mentioned how this is her worst portrayal in the franchise? Yeah it was definitely rough for a while there. Death in general seems to carry less weight than it should. At one point Team RWBY run off when the Jabberwockers appear and leave a whole village to die. Each and every one of them are murdered and we hear the sounds as they left.

At the end of the series Blake asks if they actually helped at all or if they just made things worse and you have to assume the latter to be honest. The heroes left a trail of death and destruction everywhere they went. They destroyed two villages, took down the king, and now the kingdom has no more of the original creatures like the Jabberwockers and the Cat. Not all of that was directly their fault but you’d be hard pressed to say that they really made the world a better place.

Now I am still ready for Ruby to bounce back because she finally goes back to herself in the final episode. Now she is the Ruby that we all know and love. In that sense her character arc sort of just flipped back to her being really confident like in volumes 7 and 8 once more but we can assume with this arc over that she won’t have any more doubts in the future. She also seems more powerful now but it’s hard to scale until we see her back in the real world. Ultimately her arc was filler you could say as it basically reset to where she started but I was glad that we got to finally see her smiling and having a good time again. Her final fight is absolutely the highlight of the whole volume and I’m ready to see her take on Salem. Plus now that she’ll be in a world of Grimm again she can finally use her silver eyes. I get that part of the point of this volume was to take a break from the Salem plot but I still miss Ruby’s cool silver powers. We still need to find out how any Grimm will ever be a threat again since Ruby can one-shot almost all of them at this point so Salem needs to think of something quickly.

Yang looks great here as you would expect. She’s always ready for a good fight and I would say that she has relaxed a bit more now. She’s back to making a lot of puns and just grinning all the time. For a while Yang had always been the heart of the team and kept the atmosphere lighter but she did get a bit more serious in the last volumes. I think this was a chance for her to reset in a way as well and it was a welcome change. She is still the power hitter of the group and does well in all of the fights. The heroes would definitely be lost without her.

Then we have Blake who has unfortunately been flanderized a little bit. She really takes the role of being the nervous member of the group who can’t stand up to Ruby anymore and is the only one to have some self doubt in the final episode. The writers took great care for her to basically not land any real blows in every fight outside of the chess battle and she always ends up being support. It’s fine to be a support fighter but she was one of the stronger fighters back in the day so I’d like to see that return. Blake is still a good character but right now she’s not keeping pace with the other 3 at all and that needs to change.

As for Weiss, I was pleased at just how confident she was. See, Weiss has already been through her character arcs so before the volume started I was talking about how nothing should get to her here. The villain mind games just won’t work at this point and sure enough, they don’t. This was the best attention to detail in the series as Weiss basically tries to keep everyone together. She does act a bit goofier at times which did feel a bit out of character but my headcanon will just be that she is trying to keep the atmosphere lighter since she sees how Ruby is feeling down. Might not be the sharpest theory but at least it works as an explanation. I can buy into it at least. She also finally uses her rapier a bit more here rather than relying exclusively on summons and I appreciated that. With her glyphs she has the potential to be one of the most powerful fighters so lets get back into that.

Jaune gets a big role here as well. He’s been a consistently solid character throughout the series and has had several character arcs. From the characters you can make a very strong case for him enduring the most amount of trauma. Yes, even more than Ruby and Blake I would say. The guy had to watch the girl he loved run off to her death and then he was pressured into murdering another one of his friends. He’s always been powerless to protect those around him and even started to get suicidal in volume 5 with how he kept charging Cinder. He finally got into a good headspace in volume 8 and then falling into the Everafter and being alone for years broke him again. The guy just can’t catch a break but whatever happens he tries his best.

The fact that he lasted for so long on his own in a strange planet shows just how resourceful he was. That’s why it was a shame when RWBY didn’t back him up. Still, he kept on trying to be the great hero and this is absolutely a highlight volume for him. I would have preferred that he stayed in his grown up form in the present since the design was also so good but I guess this is the end of the road for that. Right now he has a lot of experience though so I hope that is directly shown in the next volumes. He has grown into truly being an excellent leader and will be able to make a difference. The volume really nailed his character from start to finish.

Okay it’s time to talk about Neo and she is the character that the volume fumbled the most. So what do we really know about Neo beyond what we see in the novels? Well, she wants revenge on Ruby for murdering Torchwick and will want revenge on Cinder for being portrayed at the very end of volume 8. We need to remember that originally Neo intended to murder Cinder for Torchwick’s death but the villain told Neo that it was Ruby’s fault. So now that Cinder has betrayed her maybe Neo will double think this? She doesn’t and just goes after Ruby but surely after that she would try to get Cinder right? Well that’s where the issues come in.

When Neo successfully destroys Ruby, she suddenly goes all empty. Basically her purpose was fulfilled so she is an empty shell. That seems to be what the show was driving at and it makes no sense because she still needs to murder Cinder. Her purpose is hardly completed, there’s a lot left to go in her adventure. That was the first warning sign here. Alternately you could say that she suddenly regretted this and thought that murdering someone was going too far but that makes even less sense for such a ruthless calculating villain. Neo was just completely out of character here and so she went from being one of the most powerful, epic villains imaginable to being someone who was just left by the wayside. Even the way her character arc ends was not satisfying at all as she just jumps off to die too and be reborn as something else. Unless she chooses herself like Ruby did, she’ll lose her memories now and that would be annoying.

The show never explained why her powers completely evolved and changed either. Sure, Semblance evolution is a thing but it’s something you need to actually work at. She just got a bunch of new powers and used them immediately. For example her illusions can now talk and they seem to have the original’s memories because she uses some illusions that she couldn’t possibly know about. Penny dying twice for example. It’s all to break Ruby so these characters had to show up but logically it makes no sense that she would know the inner dynamics of exactly how they would break Ruby. That’s really my issue here.

At least she still looks powerful but we don’t get to really see her fight before getting possessed and I wanted to see how the team would fare against normal Neo. That would have really been good to see since I figure she can probably still handle the whole team to an extent. Fans of the Jabberwocker should not be too pleased either. The monster starts off by losing against Team RWBY rather handily and then getting instantly murdered by Neo. The rest of the show they are just clones of Neo’s and that’s not the most impressive way to appear. Cool design but the character sort of got misused a bit.

Then we have the curious cat and he was a lot of fun. He’s the kind of guy who will trick you so you always have to be on your guard in every conversation. He is playing the long game and does a good job of getting the characters to trust him so they can be manipulated. As a villain he also works well and I definitely liked his true form. Automatically I would say he’s probably a top 10 villain in the show and that’s good considering how many there are. Even to the end he was talking tough and I loved how he called the humans weak and insignificent even as they had just beaten him up. Sometimes you have to double down like that. He also made for some of the most intense visuals in the show.

Finally Alyx who was the main character of the book gets a decent role in the lore. At first she wasn’t the nicest person but gradually grew nicer. It’s a classic character arc but they try to keep you off balance with some twists and almost twists. I don’t think she adds a lot to the adventure but she does help to give Jaune even more trauma by the end so he’s not going to run out of that any time soon. The show also heavily implied that she ended up being reborn as the metal crafter although I think that’s a rough fate since it feels like you would be bored for a very long time in that role. You rarely have people to talk too.

The gang also meet a little mouse named Little. She’s a bit scattered all the time and tends to sleep a lot but means well. I was expecting them to reverse the death for a while there like it was just an illusion but ultimately Neo really did get the better of her. Little will likely never show up again in her new super form but if she ever returns that could be interesting. Perhaps Little will even have some fighting ability now.

Now the volume did decide to finally go through with the very controversial ship of Yang and Blake getting together. Long had I dreaded this day but the writers have basically been promising this for years now. A good chunk of their scenes are used for setting this up and general flirting the whole time. So much for Yang’s personality being the flirty one for a while there and Blake’s connection with Sun. Both have been squashed due to popular demand. It was just a matter of time until this happened but it was still unfortunate since they were such good friends and shows don’t need to go there like this. I know they’re now saying this was planned from the very beginning..but I have doubts. We’ll see if they can keep their personalities and stay strong or if this will become their personality and Blake will continue to shrink in fear at every danger so Yang can save her.

I would say the best non action scene in the volume was when the members of Team RWBY met their younger selves. It was great to see the old designs from back in the day and how each character has really changed. As expected Weiss really destroyed her previous version verbally while Ruby got completely devastated since the old her was so confident. The contrasts were really good and of course the art was excellent as always. The show really knows how to make every scene really pop out at you. In general of course the dialogue in the volume is very strong and it helps to make up for the lack of action but this was the stand out scene for me.

Of course the end of the volume gets you hyped for volume 10. The show seemed to be trying not to set up too much of a direct cliffhanger in case it isn’t renewed though like not having any kind of post credits scene this time. That was too bad since I always like a good cliffhanger but at least we still have a bit to theorize on. The last show showed that Atlas has arrived in Vacquo and somehow Amity Arena is back in operation. So the implication is that the distress signal Ruby sent out in volume 8 actually did work and the kingdoms sent backup. It’s a bit funny how the instant the heroes leave things start looking up again.

Of course the portal was set up to send Team RWBY to when they were needed as opposed to where so it could be any kind of timeskip. I’d assume maybe a few weeks or months but nothing too drastic. Anything longer would also be dicey since you’d assume humanity would be wiped out already. Salem and her forces should be having a field day without the main crew there after all. It’s why I can’t wait for volume 10 so we can see what’s been going on. The side story is all well and good but I am absolutely ready to jump back into the action here.

This was the first volume where Jeff would not be doing the music along with Casey and you can feel it as the volume sounds very different. Of course that could be to match with the tone as well. Ultimately it’s easily the weakest soundtrack but there was still a really good song for the final fight. Right now the theory is that it will be called Red Like Roses Part 3 since the opening lyrics are similar but we’ll see. It’s an excellent rock song and really brings you back to the classic days. The other themes are a little more fantastical but there is much less rock than usual. The ending song for the volume is emotional but not one that you would typically re-listen to after the first time. I’ll do a ranking of all the songs once they’re released and we’ll see if the full version buffs them a bit. Still, it’s a good soundtrack just a step down from what we’re used to.

Likewise that’s basically the case for the animation as well. The art is top tier as always and the colors have never been more vibrant. The character designs are on point and they clearly took a lot of time to make sure everything looked great. The only issue here are the fights which don’t have quite as much animation as you would expect. That’s really the only problem here. The fights are still fun overall but you can’t compare them to volume 8. The last fight of the volume though can hold its own with any of them. It’s super short but the part we get was still very crisp, fast, and streamlined. Exactly what you expect out of any RWBY fight so this one really delivered. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a Volume 5 situation.

Instead of them saving all the budget for the final fight since most was spent on GenLock, this time the budget was saved for the end because the group was taken off to work on the Justice League movie midway through the volume and the budget was already smaller. It also explains why the volume was only 10 episodes instead of the usual 12-13. They really didn’t have much room here to do anything more than what they needed to. Hoping that the next volume gets the full budget start to finish so we get a lot more intense fights like this though.

I would mention the flashbacks with Alyx and the gods but those look super low budget intentionally. It’s a narrative decision to make them look like storybooks even if I think they should have skipped that and made it look normal. My motto is that you should never intentionally make animation look older or lower quality even if that’s the intention. Sure you would have to create new 3D models…but then it’s time to start creating. I was glad that the flashback with Summer and Raven was fully animated. It makes you feel like Summer will be getting more scenes sooner than later now that she has a character model and I want to see how the mission with Salem went. Clearly not very well but still there is a lot to fill in there. Meanwhile it was also great to see a lot of the old characters return like Ironwood even if it was just as an illusion. It reminds you just how large of a presence the guy had and still has within the series.

The volume was a bit rushed so it could have used another 2-3 episodes I’d say but at least since it is so short, that makes it even easier to binge. You can definitely watch the whole volume as a movie of sorts and that would work really well. The season has a lot of light hearted moments to balance out the series ones and so you should feel good just going through it all. At the end of the day RWBY is always a lot of fun to watch and this volume is no exception.

Overall, There’s always more to discuss but that’s volume 9 in a nutshell. At the end of the day is pretty much is a side story and one that you could probably skip without missing much for volume 10. That said, it’s more RWBY content so you don’t want to miss that. It will naturally have far less replay value than most of the other volumes though as a result of the smaller cast and stakes. I would say it only beats Ice Queendom and loses to the rest of the main volumes. I’ve already rewatched all of the episodes once via reactions and I’ll be doing it a lot more so either way it’s still RWBY. It having less replay value doesn’t mean that it’s gone after all and there were still a lot of fun moments here. I would definitely recommend checking it out and at least before volume 10 we have the two movies to look forward too. That will have to satisfy the RWBY itch for now but you know as soon as volume 10 comes out, I will be there!

Overall 8/10

Levius Review

Levius is one of those series that I certainly hadn’t heard of before watching but it was quite the solid show. I’m always up for a good boxing title as it goes without saying that it would have a lot of action thrown into the mix. This one has a solid story to back it up as well and the last fight was quite a bit longer than I expected and that’s a good thing. It was quite climactic and usually you don’t see something like that outside of Shonen Jump so that was pretty cool. All in all it’s a great show with solid pacing and you should have a good time all the way through.

The show starts off by showing a city being reduced to rubble and machines kidnap a bunch of people in the area. In particular one girl was calling for help but Levius was too young and didn’t have the power to save her. This haunts him to the present where he is now a boxer. His destroyed arm was replaced with a metal one but he has decided to keep the other one. It puts him at a disadvantage against fighters who use two metal arms but it has sentimental value to him. He aims to gradually become the world’s greatest boxer but his coach Zacks suspects there is more to his dream than that. One day that girl appears again and Levius is determined to save her this time around. Will his strength in boxing be enough?

Now the show does have a plot outside of the boxing stuff but I would say boxing is absolutely still the main focus and as it should be since that’s likely why you’re here in the first place. The world building is more used to help set up Levius’ big reunion with the girl A.J. (Will just keep as AJ for easier typing) It does open up the possibility for a lot of interesting plots in the future but at the same time Levius is just a boxer. He’s not a CIA agent or anything so odds are that he won’t actually be getting mixed up in any of that. Unless a potential season 2 took a really big shift in story the global issues would be a different character’s concern. It’s actually an interesting angle as you assume there are a lot of big battles going on in the outside but we just don’t see them. Picture an end of the world event going on in Transformers but instead we’re following some big races.

The closest this ties in is the fact that AJ’s suit and mech is created by the guy in charge of the evil machine company. His name is Clown which is kind of fun. That’s his last name but it’s still his name. Imagine walking around and when someone calls you a clown you don’t know if it’s an insult or your name? I thought this guy made for an interesting villain but at the same time he wasn’t quite as good as he could have been. What I mean by that is he gives off the aura of being a great fighter and has a lot of mystery to him but in the end he goes out like a chump. It’s going to take some more time for him to build up his hype again. I still feel like he should be able to fight very well and must be powerful but we have yet to see any real proof of this.

Now the cast here is pretty small but that works well enough since the show is so short. It’s only 12 episodes after all so this lets them really dive into the characters. First up is Levius and he’s a solid hero. He’s the kind of guy who will jump in to protect someone even if it could cost him the match. His best moment was definitely when he went into the ring to save Hugo when his opponent was going too far. Levius was also making sure that any plan the heroes went with would be one where AJ was saved since he wasn’t going to resort to murder. He’s a very stand up guy and a determined lead to boot. He went through various fights without having any leads towards his true goal without ever losing hope. He’s also a nice guy too and when he has to let someone down he does it gently.

There’s really nothing to dislike about the guy. He’s a very well rounded main character. Then you have his uncle/coach Zacks who is also solid. Zacks used to be a fighter himself so he makes for a good coach. He knows what it’s like in the ring and always does his best to give good advice. It can be frustrating being the coach because sometimes the boxer just won’t listen to you even when you’re right but he still tries hard. Zacks has a big moment near the very end of the series which definitely helped to make him stand out. He actually contributed in a very direct way which made him stand out.

The mechanic Bill was also good even if he started to crack a bit towards the end. The pressure was nearly too much for him and so his emotionless façade broke down. Ultimately very few characters can truly be emotionless to the very end. Often times they will end up overflowing when the going gets tough which is always the tough part about internalizing. Bill was very good at his job though and even if he couldn’t get it done in the end, he came close and still gave Levius a whole lot of help.

Then you have Natalia who is a fun rival but her power level is a bit lower than I would have liked. The whole show I was expecting her to get some kind of a big win considering just how confident she is. Unfortunately it turns out that she is a bit delusional and can’t compete with Levius. Now she is still a good fighter as she was climbing up the ranks quickly but he defeated her early on and she just never improved from there. She has some more street smarts than he does and comes in handy for training but I would have liked a big moment for her that involved combat. Natalia is a lot of fun but she ultimately seems to be all bark and no bite.

After that you have the other 3 boxers who had a big role. First up is Malcolm and he’s known as a very dirty fighter who will do whatever it takes to win. The guy also murders all of his opponents. No that’s not a figure of speech, he literally makes sure to attack hard enough to always destroy his opponent to the point where that’s his reputation. Yes this is a futuristic form of boxing where everyone has on mecha armaments but even so he doesn’t have to do that. Malcolm is proud of himself for murdering everyone though and that’s why it’s hard to forget this later on when the show tries to paint on more of a sympathetic edge to the guy. I’m just not buying it, you don’t go from being a mass murderer to then forgetting about it. That’s not how this works.

The show sort of glosses this over a bit I’d say. He does end up donating to charities later on but it’s just a bit late for that. He makes for a good villain but it’s hard to see him as anything more than that. A hero or an anti-hero? I don’t think it’s quite deserved yet. He was certainly an impressive boxer though so nobody can really doubt his abilities in the ring. Those were definitely for real.

Then we have Hugo who was my favorite character in the series. The guy is just a very straight laced boxer who goes in and tries to take his opponents down by force. There are no tricks or gimmicks here, the guy just fights very logically and with a lot of force. He puts up a tremendous fight against AJ and really never wanted to give up. It was super impressive so while the guy may not have appeared a whole ton, he left a good impression. This is the kind of guy that you want to have on your side.

Finally we have AJ herself. She has the coolest mech suit in the series to be sure. It just looks really impressive and since she has the best tech developers behind her, her equipment is the most efficient as well. Her own natural fighting moves are really good too. Without the enhancements I don’t see her taking on Hugo or Levius but with them she’s basically unstoppable. I would even say they probably made her a bit too strong because you really don’t see Levius holding his own here. AJ was just too powerful with each hit dealing massive damage.

Throw in the speed as well and Levius was outmatched. I sort of buy into the whole taking advantage of her rage and making her sloppy at different points in the fight but lasting long enough to pull that off is where I have my doubts. Still a great fight though and the perfect way to end off the series. It was everything the show had built it up to be and it would be difficult for any sequel fight to top this one. Especially since it was basically 3 episodes long.

As for the animation, it is CGI so it’s not quite going to hold its own against the big hand drawn titles but I thought it looked well enough. They did a good job with the fights and the character models are on point. It definitely beats some other CG titles that I’ve seen in the past. Then with the soundtrack it’s good but not super memorable. I thought there were some decent action tunes mixed in there and the theme song was decent but on this aspect it’s a little more forgettable.

The show always does a good job of nailing the build up to the fights. I like the way the arena looks and you feel that excited crowd atmosphere for every fight. We get good cliffhangers during the episodes and the pacing is on point. The dialogue/writing are good as well and so the show can hold its own even when the action scenes aren’t happening. It even takes some time for more emotional type moments with the characters as they want Levius to abandon the fight several times when his opponent seems too powerful.

Ultimately Levius doesn’t waver which is why once again he is such a great character. No matter who is trying to get him to quit the guy just won’t listen. Above all else he has his own moral compass and knows what he needs to do in order to win. The show also doesn’t waste much time on the past. We get quick flashbacks for Natalia, Bill, and Zacks but it’s always very quick since they know we’re more interested in what’s going on in the present. Everything else can really just wait until another time.

If I have just one minor issue here it would be that the third last episode overdid it with the flashbacks a bit. It felt like half the episode was the characters remembering things and considering how short the show is, I don’t think almost any of them were necessary. You could have one or two quick ones if you want for narrative reasons but that episode was spamming them. I figure maybe they wanted a very specific episode ending cliffhanger and so this was for the pacing but it felt a little bit forced.

On one more positive note, I like how in detail they went on the actual boxing training. We got to see them practice the moves that Levius would be using in the actual matches. Each time it felt like there was actual coaching and adjustments happening which was nice. It’s not overdone or anything, it just helps add extra context and detail to the fights. I thought it worked out really well all around. The spin punch for example was a really fun technique and I also liked the side step technique Levius learned later on. The blur effect and the squeaky sound effect was satisfying. Moreover it felt like a technique that really could be effective with some practice and not something the show just made up on the fly.

In the end, if I was in this future there is no way I’d ever want to be a boxer though. It feels like you are constantly at risk of dying there and your opponent will get off completely free each time since it’s still just within the rules. One realistic element they included here is about bribing the association though. One boxer lands a hit on the referee but because of her group’s pull there are no penalties or anything like that. It’s pretty crazy but that’s the power of widespread influence I suppose.

Overall, Levius is a great show. What really seals it is how solid the fights are and the characters hold their own as well. You’ll have a lot of fun watching the show and it has a good amount of replay value. The ending is very satisfying so there really aren’t any weak points here. It’s also a very safe recommendation to anyone whether they be action fans or looking for a good story. The series has 0 fanservice in it which is always impressive and so the writers are confident enough in their story to keep everyone’s attention the whole time. This show really does all the right things and will be remembered fondly. It’s crazy to think about how this was all G3 level fighters, just wait until we reach G1! I’d definitely recommend checking this show out.

Overall 8/10

Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya – Battle for Sanctuary Review

It’s time to jump back into the world of Saint Seiya. It’s definitely impressive how many times we get to see the classic arc of the Bronze Saints running through the temples. This one does a good job of redoing the saga. Ultimately while the CG will always have its limits against the classic hand drawn style, it does a good job with the colors and action. It’s also setting up some original storylines for this version which is a good way to differentiate itself from the original story. All in all, whether you’re a fan of Saint Seiya or not you should still have a great time here.

Well last time things ended on a rather intense note as Athena was stabbed with an arrow. Basically this was no ordinary arrow and any attempt to pull it out of her would destroy the goddess immediately. The only one who can take this out is the Pope but he is the one trying to murder Athena. Seiya and friends have no choice but to go and invade the 12 castles and reach the Pope in Sanctuary. To do this they will have to defeat the 12 Gold Saints, the strongest fighters in history. Can they pull this off or are they already doomed? They won’t know until they try and as they are true heroes they won’t back down until they have made this a reality. It is time for their ultimate battle.

One of the fun things about this arc is how it’s basically nonstop action. The heroes go from one fight to the next without much in the way of breaks. It’s also what makes their victories even more impressive because they are fighting the strongest foes in existence and they are doing this without stopping to catch their breath or anything like that. Of course you know that Seiya is ready for such a challenge but what about the others? They haven’t had a chance to do much of anything in the Netflix version up to now. Well, you will be glad to know that they look better here even if Seiya is still the one doing most of the work.

One of the original storylines I mentioned involves Genet who didn’t just get written out of the story this time. Instead she continues to act as a knight and has been added to the Marin subplot. She gets an original scene involving confronting her master and at the rate we’re going she may get even more screen time in season 3. This change works pretty well as it’s a very natural way of expanding the cast and I think she has a lot of potential here. Hopefully she really gets to show her stuff and even takes down a strong opponent. I’m not asking for a gold saint in particular but beating a silver saint for example would be great.

One addition that didn’t work as well was Virgo Shaka’s skeleton minions. I didn’t really see the point of these guys. I suppose they were there to temporarily split up the saints again but it felt more like the show was stalling for time than anything. Like they were just here so that the season could end at a specific point. Perhaps that is exactly the case but they weren’t very interesting villains and of course one turned huge. That’s the CG dream after all, to throw in a giant boss. Even the movie did that but there was just no point for these guys and I couldn’t take them seriously. Since it didn’t come at the expense of the main story though I was okay with this.

Tauros looks impressive here as he takes out all of the saints aside from Seiya in one shot. Those guys were definitely found lacking when it counted but they did a good job of showing Seiya overcoming the odds. One thing I’ve really liked here is how he grows wings of energy when he powers up. It’s a really nice touch as the Pegasus saint and also makes him stand out. So I thought that was a really good idea right off the bat. I also like the way the cosmos is portrayed visually. When Seiya powers up you can really tell if he’s burning the cosmos at a higher level or if he can go even further based on if it’s just blue or blue and red. So the fight was satisfying.

The show also gave a better reason for why he and Mu aren’t helping out more. Because in this show they actually are helping out but then they get taken out by the Pope. It’s little details like this which the show executes well. It’s effectively looking at some of the criticisms of the arc and making changes to make things work a little better. Even the whole prophecy angle about how Athena will cause everyone to die is better than them blindly following the Pope. Not by a large margin mind you since I still blame them a whole lot but it’s still something. Every bit counts here.

Then we have the Gemini armor who crushed Hyoga rather quickly (This is a really bad season for Hyoga I have to say. He got wrecked by Aldebaran, then he got wrecked by Gemini, and then he got destroyed by Camus. The guy could not catch a break here) and then we get the good fight with Andromeda. It was certainly Andromeda’s stand out moment in the season so far as she made the most of her chain. I may not be the biggest fan of the chain in general but it still does turn up when it counts. The Gemini armor is also fun with how he makes the illusions and changes the fights up. You can’t approach him the way you would an ordinary foe.

Not much to say about Camus since he shows up and takes care of business immediately but I like how cold and calculating he is. The guy may not be heroic but you can imagine him protecting his temple with ease. Deathmask is still the biggest disgrace to the Saints. I can’t believe this guy was ever allowed to be a Gold Saint because you’d expect them not to employ actual mass murderers right? It would have been nice if they threw in a line about how the Pope only recently brought him in as a gold saint. That would have done wonders for the saints in general. Of course it was nice to see Shiryu crush him either way.

Then we got the really big fight with Aiolia which was always a standout battle. This guy’s light speed punches are incredible and he just keeps making them faster and faster. It’s a fight where Seiya has to keep on getting stronger and it’s fair to say that Aiolia has to be one of the most powerful Gold Saints. He at least does his brother proud in deciding to finally question the Pope and seek out answers. Unfortunately it doesn’t go great but the attempt was nice. He’s one of the few Gold Saints who is actually likable as a person rather than just as a villain to be defeated. We also get to see Aiolia take on Milo and considering how weakened Aiolia is, it was impressive to see him going toe to toe like that. I doubt many other Saints could have pulled that off.

Of course then we get to Virgo Shaka who is always very impressive with his power level. Many consider him to be the most powerful Golden Saint and those who don’t say he is second to Gemini Saga. You can make good arguments either way although I always do give Gemini Saga the edge here. His raw power is just so incredible but Virgo Shaka is clearly giving everyone a good fight. Fortunately Phoenix Ikki shows up for his big fight in the season. (Yeah I’m not going to call him Nero) Definitely one of the standout fights in the whole season with a lot of back and forth as we see exactly why Phoenix’s cloth is so legendary. No other cloth can regenerate like his and Ikki is basically immortal due to being the Phoenix saint. It’s a very potent combo to be sure and keeps him in the fight at all times.

Then we end with Seiya taking on Milo which was a cool way to end the season. Basically once again Seiya is the last one able to fight and you can bet that he won’t be going down easy. His dedication has earned him a spot as one of Jump’s top heroes. Meanwhile the other old bronze saints get to show up to protect Athena but in general that subplot does feel a bit out of place. The randoms of Sanctuary are treated as pure comic relief and it was a bit off putting just how extreme they were. It was like the show was trying a little too hard to be funny. I think Saint Seiya can certainly inject some humor into the mix if they want to but you have to be a little more subtle than this. You’re more likely to roll your eyes than actually chuckle at the characters. They are also insultingly weak so there is no salvaging them there.

Now with the animation the CG here is pretty good as I mentioned above. The colors are sharp and so the fights work well. There is more actual choreography and movement here than last time so the fights feel like they have a lot more substance. The theme song is still great here and so the show flows well on a technical level. The 12 episodes really fly by and I don’t really have any big negatives for the show. It adapts the source material pretty well and for the most part the additions only serve to enhance the story. The one exception would be the skull knights under Virgo Shaka and the comic relief soldiers who attack Athena. Those still aren’t bad enough to really hurt the series either.

It’s only natural that this beats season 1 also because it’s adapting source material that’s a lot more hype. 1 had a lot of great content to be sure but the Gold Saint fights are legendary for good reason. There are so many engaging moments here so each episode is a blast and a half. The cliffhanger here is also super effective and really works well to end things off. You can already recognize the formula to the fights so you sort of know how it’ll play out but that doesn’t take away from it being an emotional moment. Saint Seiya pretty much invented the classic format of being knocked down but getting back up again. It’s all about determination and these characters have that in spades.

Throughout the show all of the bronze saints are great. Andromeda can fight when she needs to, Hyoga always has his confidence even if he gets stomped a lot, and Shiryu is always fighting at a high level. He probably starts on a higher base level than Seiya. The difference is that Seiya has the best durability and continues to get stronger as the fight goes on so by the end he is always super powerful. His confidence feels the most earned from the group and he also takes this the most personally in protecting Athena so he just refuses to go down. Of course we saw a lot of that in season 1 already so I’m focusing more on Ikki here.

This is the first time we get to see Ikki as a hero and it’s really an incredible moment. Ikki can always be trusted to show up and protect Andromeda when it counts. He may have lost his way for a while there but now he is back to being the very dependable big brother that he always was. His fighting style is also noticeably different from the other Saints which helps him stand out. He’s all about outlasting the opponent and trading blows while Seiya tries to go for speed. Ikki just knows that the longer the fight goes on the more the advantage is on his side and it’s a smart strategy considering his abilities.

Overall, Saint Seiya is a franchise that keeps on expanding and you love to see it. I definitely won’t be forgetting this series anytime soon. Hopefully season 3 doesn’t take too much longer to come out but in the meantime you should definitely check this one out either way. It’s got a lot of top tier fights and a solid story so there is no reason to miss out on it. The show has no weaknesses which is rare to say about a show and the only sad thing is that it’s only 12 episodes. They cover a lot of ground here though. Hard to say what my next Saint Seiya review will be at this point but stay tuned as there is always something else on the horizon!

Overall 8/10

Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya Review

Saint Seiya is one of those franchises that just keeps getting better and better with age. The fights are always incredible and the characters are timeless. It is really like the original DBZ from back in the day. When Netflix announced a CG series I would say the two reactions I had was “Not CG!!!!” and “Glad we’re getting Seiya back”. At the end of the day I would have preferred some top level animation for a fun reboot but I’ll still take this so we have more content in the franchise. The show actually changes quite a few things up which is why I would call it an alternate retelling. The names are different, some attacks aren’t translated and the government gets involved this time. I actually think the show should continue to change things rather than being a totally straight adaption. It allows the series to really duck the usual comparisons that it would get right away and helps it to stand on its own as a stand alone show. That said I would have liked it if the names had stayed the same since they take a lot of getting used to.

So the series starts off with a Gold Saint appearing in Seiya’s home and kidnapping his sister after taking down some government workers. Seiya and his sister Patricia have the ability of the cosmos which allows them to perform superhuman feats that should be next to impossible. Unfortunately that was not enough to take down a Gold Saint warrior. Those fighters are way too powerful. Years pass by and Seiya figures his sister is dead as he has been unable to get any leads on her or on the mysterious gold saint. That’s when he is taken in by Sienna and her grand father who explain the lore about powerful Saints which will save the goddess Athena from the evil gods. Seiya doesn’t buy any of this hogwash for a second but they explain that it is the only lead to his sister so he’s in. Basically he first has to earn a bronze armor of his own and then he must compete in a tournament with other Saints. The difficult part here is that there is a guy named Vander who wants the power of the Saints for himself to save the world. Seiya and friends will have to watch out for this guy or be crushed in the process.

The season is pretty quick so we don’t really get to the Gold Saints much as this is mainly pre arc. At times it can feel like the series is going a bit fast to tackle everything but it goes at a good speed for the fights which is the important part. I mentioned that there were some changes here so lets look at the biggest one. It’s the inclusion of Vander who believes he is trying to save the world from utter destruction. He’s one of those villains who has some good ideas but unfortunately the heroes don’t really get to talk to him much initially and the guy goes off the deep end very quickly so he can’t be reasoned with.

I understand why he is skeptical to just let the Saints handle everything because what if they lose? In fact the prophecy claims that the Saints will lose this time and Earth will be destroyed so maybe taking matters into his own hands wouldn’t be such a bad idea. In fact he has done quite well so far in building a whole army of Saints which can even overpower Bronze Knights. He did this by himself with a small group so imagine if he had a bunch of real resources at his disposal? The bio engineered Saints have a great supply of cosmos and incredible defenses. They can draw on more power from the generator as needed too. If only Vander could have played ball and tried to meet the Knights in the middle then Earth would have been in great shape for the fights to come. Instead Earth is more defenseless than ever before now.

I also liked seeing the government show up to get some fights although the show could have done better with the power levels. There is one moment where the government shows up in a helicopter/plane and the Saints start talking about how they’ve got no shot and are going to be obliterated..only to destroy it in one shot as always. I don’t care what guns they have on those planes, one good hit from a Saint will break it every time so there is nothing to be afraid of. The characters always seem to think that a vehicle is safe only for a Saint to break it in the next scene. You’re better off on the ground at that rate.

I’ll never be able to take the government or any other human faction seriously against the Saints because they are so outmatched but at the same time it is nice to see them. I do think with the world going into danger soon it makes sense to show the real life impacts f that and that’s something that the show did pretty well. I hope to see this continue more. Also as a side note, I like how Seiya grows actual wings when he powers up his cosmo like a real Pegasus. It is a fun visual that makes a lot of sense if you ask me.

The soundtrack here is pretty solid. The opening is a lot of fun and works as a great remix. It gets you pumped for what’s about to happen. Within the actual show the osts are good too but my only issue so far is that there isn’t a lot of variety. You’re going to be hearing the same songs playing quite a few times the more you go through the episodes. I think just adding a handful of other themes would have helped prevent it from feeling like they were cycling through the same tunes all the time.

As for the graphics, well I would say the CG here is pretty good. It definitely looks like a video game and what enhances this even further is how each character jumps into a pre set animation cycle whenever they go into their final smash. Remember playing Marvel vs Capcom and activating your final smash only for someone to activate theirs a second later so yours does no damage while they get all the hits in. That’s basically what happens here on a number of occasions. Where the animation struggles a bit is during the actual combat. Often times the projectile attacks will look cool but the show doesn’t have a whole lot of choreography for most of the fights. This results in faster battles than you would expect. Battles are very important in Saint Seiya so I’m hoping we can get this upgraded a bit in the second season. Having animation that looks good is really important but having great fights is equally critical.

As always Seiya is a great main character. He is determined to save his sister and fights off all kinds of odds in order to do so. He’s the kind of guy you want to have on your side because he will never give up and he will continue to fight to the last man. He always surpasses his limits and gets a lot of great character development even over the course of these first episodes. He was always willing to defend those in trouble but by the end he has really begun to understand what it means to be a knight of Athena. Can’t wait to see more of him soon.

Meanwhile Andromeda is a girl in this version which was a pretty big deal back in the day. Ultimately her personality isn’t much different though. Perhaps she is a little bolder but that’s about it. Although by default I actually prefer her to the usual version for that reason since Andromeda was never my favorite Saint. She gets her whole plot with Phoenix here but for the most part isn’t winning many big battles outside of that. I should mention right now that Seiya easily steals the show and gets the most to do here, the rest of the Saints aren’t able to do much of anything. I mean they’re strong and we see them do cool things during their debut appearances but Seiya gets almost all of the fights to himself. He’s the guy you call in to fight all the real enemies and it shows what a gap there is between him and everyone else.

Cygnus is extra confident and mean in this one which is nice. He’s got an edge to his fighting style and even comes close to murdering Athena at one point. He does mellow out super quickly though. I think it would have been more effective if he had lost to Phoenix or something which caused him to really change his ways. Alternately I would have just kept him as being really gruff for the whole season and think that would have worked well. Regardless he’s a quality character and a good addition to the team. Definitely someone you don’t want to mess with and he is supposed to be one of the more powerful Saints with how he could keep up with Dragon and Seiya while the others couldn’t.

Dragon has always been one of the most consistent Saints. He has a lot of power as well as great discipline which allows him to attack and defend at the right times. He has his unbreakable shield and unstoppable fist which makes for a tough combo. He gets his big fight here while blind which was always impressive and gave Seiya a good match. Dragon is probably the most honorable member of the Saints and is always determined to fight for justice. He doesn’t like cheap tricks or winning in any way that isn’t 100% fair so it’s easy to like him.

Then we have Phoenix as one of the big bosses for the show. He had a very intense backstory so you can really see how he cracked. The guy was put through the wringer back during his childhood and really never caught a break. The show doesn’t hold back with the ordeals he had to go through and so now he just isn’t the hero that he once was. Of course in part due to the hellish training he had to go through, Phoenix is considerably more powerful than the other bronze saints. It’s always impressive just how strong he is and he never ceases to amaze during the battles. His fights are always cool and he has the best looking attacks. His fire techniques don’t stop and he’s easy to root for even when he isn’t the most heroic out there. That’s just how he rolls.

Meanwhile Sienna makes for a good Athena. She has the most powerful warriors on the planet trying to murder her and yet she doesn’t live her life in fear. She’s doing her best to hang in there and continue to fight the good fight which is admirable. She even gets to use her magic powers to block opponent attacks at times. I still wish she could fight more since Hades and Poseidon have no problem shattering worlds and firing off big energy blasts. You can’t tell me that Athena doesn’t have that kind of power within her somewhere right? Like it wouldn’t make sense that she couldn’t fight because in theory she has more cosmo than almost every other character in the series.

This is where I have to throw in that as always Aiolos is the best Knight here. He understood that murdering a literal baby was wrong and made sure to save her life even though he paid the ultimate price for it. That’s absolutely what you have to do if you consider yourself to be a true hero. I don’t see any of the other Gold Saints doing that to be honest. The Bronze Saints would but you still would expect the Golds to be better. One change this series did to try and make this not feel as bad is there’s a prophecy that the pope made up which says that Athena will lose the war. So he tells them that they should just murder her and fight the war on their own. This plan doesn’t make much sense though because you are just making your side even weaker and will lose by a greater amount now. Cmon that’s just easy match but the Gold Saint have about as much integrity as your average pickpocket so they are easily taken in.

It’s good that we have future arcs where they look good because this is why they always make me just shake my head at how villainous and unreasonable they are the whole time. I’ll at least give Aiolia some props because he is able to listen to reason after Seiya messes him up a bit. He also did seem to save Seiya’s sister although he’s intentionally vague about the whole thing. He really should have at least tried to tell him something about her instead of being cryptic. Would have made things easier later on I would expect. The rest of the Gold Saints are total sellouts as you’d expect.

Same with the Silver Saints to be honest. They show up to get absolutely devastated the whole times. The one who can read minds was fun though because that’s always such a good ability. I always like seeing how the heroes can get around that. Do they have to shut their mind off or just move really quickly? To date Yusuke Urameshi had the absolute best way of dealing with that. Man that series has so many good moments and Seiya is on that level which is why this series is so great. Even the weaker villains like Misty are able to see through basic traps and give the heroes trouble. I do like that because even if they aren’t the nicest folks, they had to go through a lot of diligent training to get to silver rank so it makes sense that they could do this much.

Then you have Shaina who really wants to beat Seiya up. Ultimately her character arc feels a bit rushed as the show gets through her scenes quickly but she’s fun as always. I liked her rivalry with Seiya even if it ends up being one sided very quickly. Seiya just improves too fast for anyone to keep up with him. There is also Marin who trains Seiya but I never liked her quite as much. I think she could have been better at assisting Seiya and giving him backup when needed. She is always using trickery and just overthinking everything though. Just team up with him already and the heroes can have another fighter in their group.

Finally we get to two of the other bronze saints who get a role. First up is Cassios who has a lot of raw strength but that’s all that he has going for him. It’s naturally not going to be enough against someone like Seiya whose punches break the speed barrier and will eventually go faster than light. That’s not the kind of power that you can really hope to deal with easily. He just isn’t that kind of fighter. Then there is Unicorn who has his little rivalry with Seiya as always but unfortunately he doesn’t get a ton of screen time. See I would have liked to have seen him absolutely giving Seiya the work or one quick fight between them. I always thought he was a lot of fun at least but he’s more of a comic relief character here and doesn’t get a big role.

The season ends with a massive cliffhanger that gets you hyped up for what will be coming next. That’s always a good way to end things off so I’m pretty psyched for what will be happening soon. At the end of the day this was a very fun show with a lot of action and quality visuals. Perhaps it isn’t the remake that people had been waiting for but if it had to be CG then doing this alternate version was absolutely the way to go. It keeps you on your toes and takes some interesting approaches to modernizing the story. I just think they should keep doing that in the next seasons too as you then have to keep your guard up to see what will really be happening next.

Overall, Whether you call this series Knights of the Zodiac or Saint Seiya, it will always be a really big franchise. The names can be hard to keep track of so just think of them by the names of their cloth/armors since those never end up changing. The show has no real weak points which is the main reason why I rank it so highly. The story is very engaging and I never got bored while watching this. If anything it just ends way too quickly so you wish there were more episodes right off the bat. Still the series did continue and will keep on going so at least there is nothing to worry about there. It’s certainly one of the upsides about starting a series once it has already been going on for a while. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out, it’s pretty nostalgic to see Seiya’s first fights again and the show isn’t lost in the shadow of the original.

Overall 8/10

Mob Psycho 100 III Review

It’s time for the end of Mob Psycho. It’s always a pretty big achievement when an anime completes a full adaption of something. No stopping in the middle, detours, or big breaks. This one just went straight through and now you can recommend it to anyone as a complete story. You just love to see a full success like this and season 3 ends on a great note. I would still say that season 2 is the best one and it’s really hard to top that teleporting fighter but this season continues to operate on a high level with excellent animation, music, and characters. So there’s a lot to like here from start to finish.

The show starts off with more of a casual episode to get you used to what’s going on. You see Mob and Reigen on a more standard adventure with exorcising. It works as a good revisit into the characters before we get to the really serious arc. A good chunk of the series is about The Divine Tree and it’s also the best part of the season so we start off strong right off the bat. Initially starting off as a small plant, this thing starts to grow and grow until it’s an absolutely massive tree that dwarfs everything in sight. It’s mind controlling everybody within the city as well, even those with psychic powers. Its reach continues to grow more and more to the point where it may be a threat to the planet. Mob isn’t too concerned initially but once it starts going at the friends then all bets are off.

I think part of what really worked for this arc is just how ominous it was the whole time. The music gets noticeably more serious during all of the episodes with the tree. The animation does a great job with the lighting to make everything look dark as well and so everyone is suspicious. Whenever someone talks to Mob you have to wonder if they are under mind control or if that is what they are really thinking. This was done really well with Reigen at one point where you just don’t know exactly which way to think. Of course if you are not too sure then leaning towards mind control is the best bet.

The best episode cliffhanger was the one when Mob decides to walk into the Tree so go and have a talk with the main villain. The whole time he sort of figures that it is probably Dimple but he just doesn’t want to believe it. They’ve been friends for so long and it just didn’t make sense to him which makes for a solid dynamic.

In a way the setup may have been too good though because there were a few parts of the arc’s resolution that I found to be a little disappointing. For starters my main issue was that Mob tried a little too hard to be diplomatic here. Lets keep in mind that pretty much the whole city is under control at this point so the villain’s gone very far. He’s turned Mob’s closest friends and family against him including his brother Ritsu and his friend Hanazawa. I was hoping we’d get to the point where Mob decides to just take him out with force.

We do get a big fight scene but not with Mob this time. Mob’s determined to just go in with peace. It is of course an interesting angle but I admit that in this case I didn’t want that. The setup was already so masterful with setting up the stage and how everything was so ominous. So you were ready for the big fight which would be extra personal if the leader really was Dimple as opposed to some random guy at the top of the tree.

The possibilities were all just really great. So yeah I wanted a little more than that. Hanazawa had an excellent intro in this arc though as he stormed in to take the villain down. I liked that he didn’t hesitate at all and just dashed in. A lot of times when someone notices a villain around you get some build up and then maybe in an episode or two he makes it, but here he just zoomed over immediately and got into a big fight. That was great.

The climax does have a big fight involving the tree though so I was glad about that. It did save the climax for me because that fight was spectacular. It also led to a really emotional way to end the arc. One character got himself into a rather sticky situation by holding back for so long though. If he hadn’t done that then the climax fight would have been a whole lot easier. Sometimes you can’t afford to be too nice or things definitely get a little tricky.

After that we get into the only weak part of the season. The kids decide to go on a field trip into space to meet some aliens. It’s an emotional story or at least that’s what they’re going for but it was just a bit boring if anything. This is more about character development but it’s focused on side characters that you don’t really care about. Tome is nice and all but she’s never been a huge character in the series and really just gets overshadowed the whole time.

The rest of the club just aren’t very likable. I guess the guy who has actual telepathy was a little better at least. Having actual psychic abilities is always a really big deal and sets him apart from the rest of the characters. I just would have made the aliens evil or something to spice things up. The arc may not have been as original if it did that but it could have been cooler. This one just feels like filler the whole time but without any really fun character moments or at least humor to get you through.

Fortunately after that we’re right back on track with the big climax to the series. Mob has decided to finally confess to Tsubomi because she is moving away and this is effectively his only chance. The tricky part is that the whole school wants to confess to her. He knew that she was a really popular girl but even he probably underestimated just how popular she was. There’s no way to break through the crowds of people and he doesn’t want to be forgotten so he calls her up to have an official meeting place. Now nothing will stop him from meeting up with her and confessing his feelings. Whether it be a tornado or the entire cast of the series going up against him, he will crush them all!

The final arc really lets you get to see pretty much the entire cast one last time so that was cool. There’s also a whole lot of fights here as everyone gives it their all so that was nice. This feels like a final arc in every way whether it be tying things to the beginning by having Tsubomi return or just having everyone basically give their goodbyes during combat. It’s a nice blend of emotional moments and big fights here even if you know that most of them just do not stand even a small chance at victory.

Now I do have a small issue at the trigger to the arc. Lets just say that it involves Mob getting hit by a car/truck and no matter how distracted he is, I don’t see this playing out the way that he did. Psychic abilities are always such a great barrier to have and when we’ve seen him getting thrown through cities and everything is just feels a bit weird to see something like this lay him out. Of course it was a fantastic cliffhanger to end an episode with and the sound of the lights changing worked really well.

The show does know how to land the emotional moments. As expected the animation here is definitely top tier. The fight at the end of the tree arc is the single best looking fight in the season and you can tell a ton of budget went into that. It’s almost like a big sci-fi Gundam fight with all of the lights shooting out everywhere. We also see some really great durability feats and you can feel the increasing amount of despair and dread as the enemies just won’t let up. The rest of the season also has consistently great visuals for the psychic abilities being thrown around.

The soundtrack doesn’t stand out as much as in season 2 but it’s still a well rounded blend of songs. The opening hasn’t grown on me yet but the ost within the episodes is good. The production values here were definitely on point.

As for the characters, Mob is a solid lead as always. He has definitely learned to voice his feelings a lot more than he used to be able to. He may not be talking up a storm like Reigen or anything like that but he’s not super quiet anymore. He’s even able to help talk other characters through their issues a bit which would have been unheard of back in the day. Perhaps he also needs to learn to draw a limit to when the time for talk is over a little more but it’s still a positive trend for him. His abilities are also still easily the strongest in the verse and it’s one of the reasons why the season isn’t trying to introduce a villain who is stronger at this point. It would be a little hard to buy at this point.

Then Reigen is a great character as always. He still loves to swindle people as much as possible for big money but he always gives Mob a fair shake. They have a great dynamic and he’s someone that Mob can trust when the chips are down. Reigen gets a big role as always and he is pivotal in the climax. He tends to be the comedic highlight of the show and he still is, but he really does well in the serious moments as well. It’s why he is just such a great character.

Hanazawa is also someone who has exceled throughout the series and it’s no different here. He’s the first one to go up against the tree and he also moves in quickly in the final arc. He may tend to be outmatched against some of these villains but he is always training and increasing his abilities. Apparently he made a huge jump in power since the last time we saw him and that’s really impressive. I would love to see a spinoff about him and what he was doing in the meantime. Ultimately he has become the ultimate defender of the planet and does his best to save everyone at all times. You have to respect that and he doesn’t have to worry about holding back or anything like that. He’s just around when you need him.

Ritsu also gets his moments to help out and be supportive here as well. He hasn’t really trained his psychic abilities as much since he mainly wants to lead a normal life but you figure as Mob’s brother he will always have a good amount of power at his disposal if he can unlock it. The anime handles this really cleverly when he appears with a bit of a subversion on what’s happening. That was probably Ritsu’s best moment in the entire series. So he ended on a good note.

Unfortunately I have to say that Dimple could not copy this. He actually went way down for me in this arc. Ultimately I thought he made the wrong decisions here and his reasoning for them was even worse. It’s just hard to overlook what he does here even if he has second thoughts later on. He is strong for sure and I was glad that he got a big role to wrap up his character arc but I have to say that it was a lot different than what I was expecting but not really in a good way. He does get some really good moments here but they just weren’t enough to fully redeem him.

Serizawa’s role here is really small and I’d say that’s due in part to just how the show is going about this. If this season was going all in on the action with some final big threats then I think his role would have been big since he is still rather powerful. Since it was more of an emotional journey though, there just wasn’t much room for him. It’s not like he has known the rest of the cast for very long so there weren’t any opportunities for big speeches and moments for him.

Tome at least got her big role for the 2 episode mini arc but that wasn’t really my favorite part of the series as you saw above so it’s a mixed thing. Tome also felt a little petty with making decisions for everyone by herself. By the end she’s okay but she always was overshadowed by other characters. Mezato gets even less to do here and really just makes an appearance to round up the cast. Goda is fun as always. I feel like the body improvement club gets a moment in every season where they come in to help.

They always get absolutely destroyed but they never give up regardless. That’s what I like about them and they are the best friends a guy could ask for. Tsubomi’s role isn’t all that big. In a sense you can say that the events are happening because of her so the role is big in that sense but her screen time isn’t massive. I still like her as a fun heroine though. She’s very unique with her portrayal and it works really well. She isn’t afraid to reject any suitor who comes her way and she has a whole lot of determination. She is the only one who doesn’t fall for the tree’s traps

This was also established in a previous season when she interrogated Reigen. Tsubomi makes up her own mind and doesn’t let anyone try and trick her. So Mob knows that she will give him a straight answer to his confession. Honesty is the best policy and she is cool with giving a very direct answer at any time. She also keeps her promises even when it’s tough like staying on her bench through a full tornado.

Suzuki gets to appear briefly here which was nice since he was one of the most powerful villains in season 2. He’s definitely still got a lot of power but of course he used all of his reserves in the last season so his abilities took a huge hit in this season. It explains why he doesn’t look quite as impressive here since there’s no way he could already regain 40 years so soon. His son Sho also gets to help out though and it’s nice to see them team up. Ultimately they can’t do much more than just delay the inevitable but every minute helps in this kind of thing.

Finally for the two big villains of the arc, the Divine Tree was actually a really good villain. He has a lot of presence throughout and incredible abilities. Against most opponents the Tree would just be way too much to stop. He’s incredibly impressive and his goal is simple but effective. I was impressed at least since I wouldn’t say that my expectations were super high initially.

Then you’ve got the final boss. I’ll call him “Dark” for now. Dark is an interesting figure and he’s powerful as well as good at the mind games. I thought the show handled his introduction well. I can see how he would effectively be born out of the circumstances because things were rough for him for a while there. From his point of view you also see why he wants to be free. Yeah he’s definitely a villain so you don’t lose sight of that but they do a good job of making him a sympathetic kind of villain. As the final boss he made a lot of sense even if again I would have liked some more action there.

The season definitely goes by really quickly. I suppose that’s what 12 episodes will do to you but it’s also because the writing is so good. Yes I would have liked some more action in here since with these powerful fighters you could really have a lot of great visuals. We even got a glimpse of this with the big Divine Tree fight after all. So don’t go in expecting a ton of action but the show still holds its own with the writing.

Overall, I’d be able to recommend Mob Psycho III to anyone. It’s a great show that completes Mob’s big character arc. He’s really grown up now and is a very changed person from how he started. At its core this series was always going to be about his development and it works well. With a solid supporting cast the show was always going to be a really solid one. Of course I’d be down with a big sequel series one of these days. Who knows, maybe that’s coming at some point.

Overall 8/10

Revisions Review

Revisions should remind you a lot of Attack on Titan in several ways. The main character is big into revenge and the world is quite apocalyptic so it’s got those vibes right from the jump. A whole lot happens in the show and it’s got a satisfying ending so this makes for an impactful 12 episodes. There’s a whole lot left to look at for future seasons so hopefully we get a sequel at some point.

The show starts by introducing us to Daisuke who trains hard every day. The reason for this is that he was kidnapped as a child and saved by a mysterious lady named Milo. She told him to train because one day he would have to save everyone from an impending disaster. Many years have passed though and everyone thinks that Daisuke is crazy. Even his friends don’t have his back and prefer not to even think about that incident which disturbs Daisuke. It’s like they’re just trying to forget everything for some reason. Still, the prophecy comes true when the city is suddenly transported into a desolate future where monsters have invaded. Milo appears again and gives Daisuke a mech suit which he can use to fight the invaders off. Finally all of his training has paid off but Daisuke almost seems happy about this which concerns his friends. Their friendship will be tested as humanity tries to survive this crazy situation.

Right off the bat this is a great premise. For once it’s not just one character who has been isekai’d but the entire city. So you’ve got a bunch of people all trying to adapt to this crazy situation in the future going up against monsters and the like. It also gives us a rare opportunity to se the government’s reaction to this. Naturally some of them crack under the pressure immediately while others stay the course and do what they can to help. It’s a nice dynamic that we don’t see too often. Additionally there’s an alien race that is here claiming they can help but it all could be a trap. So there is a lot going on in every episode.

This show starts off strong right out of the gate with a very powerful first episode. While the show is usually not all that violent, it does go all out in the first episode as the monster shreds everyone to pieces. We get to see which characters are brave like Daisuke and which ones end up cracking like the teacher but more on her later on. I thought the show did a good job of not dwelling on the violence too much while still emphasizing the danger here. Daisuke was also a great character right out of the jump and the mystery about what Milo said at the beginning was also very interesting. I do think that the show doesn’t capitalize on every plot that it throws out there like one involving memories that I thought was going to be a big deal but it covers a lot in 12 episodes. I actually thought this was going to have to run for 24 for a minute there but they do tie just about everything up.

This is an example of higher quality CGI as well. It’s still CG so I won’t say that it’s perfect but we have some solid action scenes here and the character models are good. There are a lot of great still shots that really stand out as well. The soundtrack is also good. I wouldn’t call it great, but I liked a tune or two in there and the opening is definitely catchy. On a technical level the show doesn’t falter and since the story is already good that’s a double winner right there. The pacing is really good and the story is on point so there’s a lot to like here.

The show doesn’t have any real big negatives either. The cast is strong and there’s never a dull moment in the series. There isn’t much fanservice at all and the violence is manageable. This has to be one of the rare apocalyptic shows that doesn’t feel it has to shove numerous character deaths in your face every episode and have everything be grim dark. There are some intense scenes like someone being destroyed in their suit, a few characters get blown up and squashed but it’s usually not as graphic as you would expect. Things are dire for the heroes but they still keep their hope up all the time. Some characters can be annoying and others are traitors but at the end of the day part of the theme is about humanity relying on each other and strong community spirit which works out well.

As I mentioned earlier, I liked Daisuke a lot as the main character. People called him crazy and gave him a hard time but he didn’t let that stop him. He still trained each and every day and never lost sight of his goal. I really like that kind of dedication in a main character. It’s certainly not easy and yet he was still able to pull it off. I doubt very many characters would have that level of conviction. While the characters get worried about him, I do think that Daisuke had his head on straight the whole time. Of course he is excited to be saving lives and using his abilities but I never thought this turned into anything twisted or that he lost sight of the overall goal. Everyone was just really hard on him the whole time and I thought it was a bit much.

He even gets locked up at one point after saving people. A lot of times the characters really don’t appreciate the hero until after the fact, that’s for sure. Then you have Milo who has a big role here. So we get into a little time travel with her and it’s time for me to explain more of the plot. So with the city trapped in the future, the way to go back is to destroy the main core device at the villain’s base. The Revsions (villains) seem to have the tech to voluntarily bring people through but don’t want to. They claim that Milo’s group, the AHRV are the real villains here and want to keep humanity trapped in the future for their own gain. So they will bring some selective people back to the past and this is part of what gets the local government into a civil war. Some believe the revisions and others do not.

It gets a bit deeper from there but you’ve got the basic structure now. Milo is sent on different missions across the timestream in order to ensure humanity’s survival and that is what led her to the past to save Daisuke and the other kids. That past hasn’t happened yet for her though as she doesn’t jump until the future so she doesn’t know Daisuke and friends. It makes for an interesting dynamic where they are just complete strangers to her. Milo is a solid character for most of the show though. She’s a good ally and someone who can actually fight.

She tries to play nice with the government and just be helpful as needed but sometimes this does put her in a tough spot when they get corrupt. On the whole I was on her side a lot until the end where she really started to fall flat. My big issue with her is that she goes way too far in following orders. I figured she would have her big moment where she just tells off the group and does the heroic thing but it doesn’t happen. In fact, she was seemingly about to follow their last order which would have made her a huge villain.

That was disappointing and it did do a lot of lasting damage to her character. It’s difficult to recover from this and so by the end she became a bad character. She cracked under pressure is what it boils down to. She was someone that I thought all of the characters could trust and in the end that was not the case. I like my characters to be independent and break the rules when they have to. Someone who mindlessly obeys all orders will always falter when it counts.

Of course she still isn’t close to being one of the worst characters. For starts you have Yumiko who is a teacher that can’t handle the pressure at all and goes as far as to lock a bunch of students on the roof so that they can get eaten by one of the Revision monsters. Gee that’s real helpful…it would have been bad enough if she just ran off but locking them up there was awful. Then there’s also a brief moment where she seems to be making a pass at Daisuke who is one of her students just so that he can protect her. As the protector of humanity he would have saved her anyway but that was a really bad moment on her part.

We can’t forget about Mr. Muta either. He’s the mayor and the guy is the biggest coward in the series. He agrees to all demands by the Revisions without complaint and doesn’t seem to care about how obviously shady they are. From his perspective, as long as he lives he doesn’t care how many people they murder. It’s a shame that he had to be the leader since he gets the humans into a whole lot of trouble on multiple occasions. Things would have gone quite a bit smoother if he wasn’t involved that’s for sure.

So lets talk about the good government figures here. First up you have Izumi who is a very loyal cop who works for Ryohei and does a good job of watching over the kids. It’s a really dangerous task since she has no mech suit and any of the Revisions could destroy her in an instant. Unlike certain other characters Izumi doesn’t crack under this pressure though. Instead she continues to fight hard and does well within her role.

Another solid character is Ryohei and he’s the guy who really takes charge while everyone else is in a panic. He gets some good plans and actually listens to the other characters as a good leader should. Muta gives him a lot of issues throughout but once Ryohei is really on top then he does a good job of gripping the reins. He’s also one of the few characters who will give Daisuke the time of day. Ultimately he won’t always have the kid’s back but at least he tries from time to time.

As for the other kids, most of the time they tended to annoy me. First up is Gai who seems incredibly jealous of Daisuke for the most part. He really dislikes how Daisuke is always talking about being a hero and saving the day. Gai even tells Daisuke off after the lead saved his sister from almost being hit by a bike. Sure Daisuke may have been a little over the top but the fact that he is trying to protect everyone should really resonate as a positive thing for Gai. I don’t get why he is so upset the whole time. Tensions run even higher when Gai is chosen as the official leader of the mech unit over Daisuke.

Gai gets even more unreasonable from this point on to the point where he asks for Daisuke to be kept off the team for the final mission. He’d rather that the guy rots in jail even if it means they have one less mech suit to fight off an entire Revisions army. Gai lets his personal feelings cut through way too often. He has his share of hero moments but ultimately he’s a really annoying character that is hard to root for. I never thought he was a good choice as leader and most of the fights between the characters are directly his fault.

Lu is much more reasonable and one of the few characters who would stick up for Daisuke at times. She is careful not to rock the boat too much though and tends to not get involved in the discussions too often. By the end all of the kids have mech suits so she is able to help out in the fights too. I thought she did a good job and was one of the nicer characters, I don’t blame her for not speaking out more too. It would be tough to do when everyone is against Daisuke.

I was not really a fan of Marin though. She’s the classic shy character of the group and has a hard time voicing her feelings. She wants things to stay the same as they used to be with everyone being friends but that really has not worked out for her at all. The group is just drifting apart and there doesn’t seem to really be a way around that. She has her spotlight moments in the show but on the whole I wasn’t impressed.

Daisuke’s final friend is Keisaku and boy does he go through a lot. The guy got sent to the future along with his mother so that’s a massive red flag right off the bat. Parental figures tend to have a rough time in these things. Daisuke has his uncle warp with him too but the mother angle will naturally be a whole lot more personal. Keisaku is fairly quiet and also just follows Daisuke’s lead but that means he also bottles things up a lot and is under a lot of stress.

He goes to great lengths to try and find his mother when she is taken and of course most of the characters say this is reckless but Daisuke is eager to help. Again, Daisuke is leagues above the rest of the characters. So I’m with Keisaku on this because with Revision monsters running around there is no time for a slow and steady approach. She needs him as soon as possible after all. Even if he enters a fight that’s a little bigger than him, he doesn’t go down without swinging and doing damage of his own. He did his best to surpass his limits and cause as much damage as possible which I appreciated. He was a very solid character throughout.

Chiharu is the first main Revisions member to get a role. She tries to smooth out the negotiations with the humans and even takes a humanoid form in order to chat with them. That said, I’m not sure that her plan was very well thought out. Her current form at least has some superhuman abilities to it but ultimately she wants to switch to a fully mortal body. I guess everyone wants what they can’t have but it’s a downgrade and puts her in immediate danger. The way things work out for her certainly wasn’t great and in general I would say that the villains in this show were on the weaker side.

The next villain from the big 3 is Mukyu and she has the form of a little girl. She likes beating up on Nicholas while he’s in the teddy form but is more of a follower than a leader. Chiharu makes all of the tough calls and Mukyu just roots for her from the sideline. She doesn’t see the writing on the wall until it’s too late either. The only villain who really looked impressive was Nicholas, but perhaps too impressive. He has advanced gravity powers that can even render a mech suit helpless.

He seems like the most powerful members of the villains by far to the point where the heroes have no shot. I think the show should have absolutely toned that down a bit. It then goes even farther when he has powers that are basically cosmic in nature. Revisions may not be a realistic show but the power levels were very grounded throughout so this sort of broke the logic of the universe. There was just no way the heroes could realistically take this guy down and so the climax does get a bit iffy on the power levels. I would say that the writers got themselves into a hole here. He did make for a good villain though.

There is also a mysterious creature/robot hybrid that shows up once or twice and is pretty cool. This fighter is incredibly powerful and really gives the heroes more than they can handle when he appears. I liked his savage fighting style and for a while there I figured he wouldn’t even be able to get this plot wrapped up before the season ended. The show pulled it off though. This is perhaps another area where the villain was a little too strong but it did make for some good fights. Maybe the show should have just boosted up the heroes a bit to even things out. That would have solved the power level issues and also been cool visually.

I did mention there was one plot which didn’t seem to be resolved though and that involves their memories. So when Daisuke remembers the past and is always talking about being a hero, the rest of the characters aren’t so sure. So then they try to recall the past but all of them remember Milo saying completely different things. In one flashback she says to trust the others, in another she says not to trust anyone, in Daisuke’s she says to be a hero, etc. Nobody can agree on what she said and it’s like she talked to everyone at the same time with different conversations. I thought this was going to delve into multiple timelines or something but it’s never acknowledged or brought up again.

That means we’re probably supposed to just take it as the characters not remembering properly due to stress or something but it’s a bit hard for me to swallow. I wonder if the writers just forgot about this. In general the time travel is a key part of the show so you’d think it would be top of mind but at the same time there isn’t too much depth into the mechanics. Basically the patrol agents go into the past which directly effects the future but seems to not actually create a new timeline. It’s an interesting mix of sorts and I’d like the series to have explained how it works a bit more in depth here.

Agents of AHRV can apparently see multiple timelines at once due to their quantum brains which is another concept that isn’t really explored much. I can’t say that the time rules here make a lot of sense but it does give the writers a lot of freedom to do whatever they want. This is especially crucial in the climax of the show when one character is messing around with multiple points of time at once. It’s a pretty interesting group of scenes for sure and I like the Sci-Fi concepts that mess with your head a bit. I’m sure if needed you could make it all work out with a long thesis and with more time I’d like to do that, but either way it’s an enjoyable scene. Again it stacks the deck too much against the heroes but lets not dwell on that.

The series leaves room for a sequel with how it ends and that’s always a good thing. It would be interesting to see how this all plays out because none of the groups seem all that trustworthy. AHRV is clearly one of those really shady groups that believes any sacrifice is worth it if it will save humanity. The issue is that they have absolutely no scruples as a result and will do whatever they feel is necessary. Probably not the most trustworthy group to have your back right? Of course they’re still better than the Revisions who are basically using sacrifices to power their human bodies.

If they do a sequel, I could see Milo being the only returning character. Have her assist a different timeline with a new temporal problem and that could be the format for the series as it goes on. I think that could be a good focus but it’ll be tough to have a main character as good as Daisuke was. It’s hard to have lightning strike twice like that. As for the villains, we’ll see if they try to go for a bit of gray again. At the end of the day the Revisions were basically victims of how things turned out. They just ended up taking thing way too far in their attempt at revenge and equalizing things. I don’t blame them for not trusting the heroes since the humans are often super corrupt and all but they’re no better with how they sacrifice people all the time. I think the Revisions as a concept were interesting and how they became Revisions but it never went to the point where I found them to be too sympathetic.

There is even the twist about the Revisions monsters which as I mentioned you will see coming right from the jump, but it doesn’t land nearly as hard as this twist in other titles because we’re not given as much reason to doubt if destroying them is still the right thing to do. Based on how it is presented here, you still need to take them out at the end of the day so it doesn’t really change anything as far as the objectives go. I assume in a sequel the whole concept of them would be gone though. Only way I could see them returning is if it turns out that the future didn’t actually change yet and a big plague is still coming. Then the heroes have to try and change the future again and I guess the theme would be that the future is impossible to change and they have to try and beat it somehow.

Overall, Revisions is a great show and I would recommend it. It does a good job of showing characters under stress and bringing some fresh perspectives into the apocalyptic future. You will probably see some of the twists coming while others you will not and it’s just a really solid sci-fi show. It’s got a nice blend of action and fun sci-fi concepts to play around with so you can enjoy it as a fan of many different genres.

Overall 8/10

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Ultra Romantic Review

Kaguya has been a pretty great show through and through for the first 2 seasons but could it deliver in the third? Well fortunately the answer is yes there. Season 3 is another great installment in the series and this continues to be the definitive comedy series out there. It’s got all the fun interactions and character drama that you could ask for with its usual assortment of references to everything. The amount of detail and care that goes into this show is always very impressive.

I’d say the big arc in this season is definitely the festival at the end but of course we have a lot of fun segments throughout the season so I’ll talk about some of those. The season also has its share of serious moments and in a way you could say this ended part 1 of the series depending on how you break it up. Either way it’s fitting for a season 3 to go all out since it ends the trilogy in a way.

The first episode starts off strong with 3 good segments right off the bat. In the first one Ishigami has to find a way to subtly let Ino know that her earphones aren’t plugged in before the others hear. Considering how mean she is to him on the daily, it’s nice that he’s still looking out for her. It’s not an easy mission by any stretch since she’ll probably yell at him no matter what but fortunately he finds a rather unique way to get around this. I thought it was clever at least and as always he was taking the high road there.

Then you have a segment that really feels like the classic season 1 days with Shirogane realizing that Kaguya doesn’t know how Line messaging works and capitalizes on it. It’s probably one of his biggest clear cut wins in the entire series. It wasn’t a tie or one of those debatable moments, he just saw his opportunity and took it. The whole thing was retro in all the best ways. Finally we had a segment for the arm wrestling which had some DBZ action in there. All in all, that’s exactly how you want to do a premiere. All of the segments were a lot of fun.

In episode 2 we get to see the Ai and Shirogane dynamic again as she is sent to a party to watch over him and decides to mess with Kaguya some more. She definitely likes messing with the main heroine but of course Kaguya reacts quite strongly each time so it’s easy to do. There’s also a segment with trying to get Ino and Ishigami to be nicer to each other although that doesn’t go super well. This episode isn’t quite as strong as the first one though since it doesn’t have any segments that knock it out of the park.

Then in episode 3 we finally get Maki to really get a big role. She’s one character who really took a while to get a big role but makes the most of it. I always thought she was a lot of fun and the show nails her character perfectly. She has a tragic lot in life as the guy she liked ended up going out with her best friend instead. That’s a rather bitter pill to swallow but she takes it in stride or at least as well as she can. She gets two segments in a way as another one was because her friend thought that Maki was tempting the guy away.

The third segment here is finally back to a group game which is nice. Everyone gets to use their own strategies here to try and come out on top. I always like the game segments because they’re super entertaining. Seeing everyone try to accomplish their agendas is priceless and it makes the games a lot higher stakes than they would be otherwise.

After that we really begin the Ishigami and Tsubame plot in earnest. He’s finally trying to get courage to ask her out and this leads to another studying session. Whenever Kaguya teaches him it’s always fun because she’s just a really good teacher. He also does want to learn and so it’s a lot healthier than the Chika and Shirogane dynamic. Of course that one’s a lot of fun too but this is more of a proper teacher and student bond. The final segment is more of a sleepover adventure which isn’t nearly as solid.

We get to have some fun rap segments after that. Rap isn’t really my thing as I tend to find it to be one of the weakest music genres but it works well enough here. Shirogane really gets to try and get his message across this way. Then we have another Maki segment as she gets to vent to her friends. It’s nice that Ishigami and Shirogane are always there for her because otherwise she’d have to keep it bottled in which is no fun for anyone.

Another fun segment after that was the student teacher conference as Ai and Shirogane’s parents help Kaguya out since her guardians weren’t around. They did a good job of stepping up in the moment and it made for a very amusing turn of events the whole time. Beyond that we get closer to the festival arc as it starts to really be around the corner. Shirogane steels his resolve to have her confess by that date so the stakes are still rising.

After that the festival really begins in earnest. We get a lot of Kaguya and Shirogane moments, Ishigami trying to get to Tsubame, and more plots. Just about every character is here and that makes sense since no student can afford to miss the big festival right? Anyone who is anyone will have to attend and help make the whole thing a huge success. The festival is rather long but never drags out or gets dull because of how much is going on the whole time. The whole thing is a lot of fun and of course we get to see Shirogane’s big plan. The whole series will never be the same after this.

As you can tell from the episodes, one reason why Kaguya is so good is because the humor is top notch. The characters are all a blast and have great dynamics with each other. The writing is top tier as well and then the show goes the extra mile with the animation and soundtrack. The theme song’s visuals are really catchy and throughout the show it feels high budget. Then you have the soundtrack which is also top tier. This show is treated like a big budget action title in terms of how much effort is put into it and it shows.

The storyline was also building up to this for a long time so the payoff really ended up working. It all builds together to really make this a masterpiece. I really don’t have any negatives to say about this one. If I had to drilldown on something minor, there was a moment or two where the show would pick a random angle that felt like a tiny bit of fanservice but on the whole the show has been quite excellent at avoiding that. It’s all so minor here I wouldn’t consider it to be an issue. Kaguya is really high brow entertainment through and through.

As always Kaguya is a fun main character here. Her strategies are always on point and the back and forth with Shirogane is the meat of the show. This time you could say he actually had the edge for most of the show though because he had his goal to make her confess while she was still used to him trying to dodge her. It’s like he had extra intel you could say so he steeled himself and wouldn’t get flustered the way he usually would. That’s not something she had previously accounted for which is what put her in a tough spot.

As for Shirogane, his plan was really on point. He put a whole lot into this and it paid off quite well. I always like how he’s determined to learn new talents and everything too. I doubt any character works quite as hard as he does. The guy never really gives himself a breather or any kind of break. He just keeps on improving and working to make everyone’s lives better. It’s why he’s so worthy of the title of class president.

Chika’s role isn’t huge here but she’s always around to have fun. Especially when there’s a mystery to be solved or a game to play. While she may have gotten one of the mysteries wrong, I did like her enthusiasm the whole time. She was so happy when she thought that she had cracked the case that I felt bad for her afterwards. Chika definitely nails the comic relief character role down to an art.

Ishigami continues to be a great character here. His character development has been super smooth all the way through. He’s always trying to do the nice thing and he’s slowly bursting out of his shell. He consistently has great character moments in every season and this one’s no exception. While I’m not really rooting for him to get with Tsubame, at least it’s another way to motivate him to study. His days of slacking off are pretty much over at this point.

Then we have Ino who is still fun but always aggressive towards Ishigami. He can’t really do anything without her throwing some shots his way. Ino always seems bitter about the guy which makes for a fun running gag but as a character you can see why he wants to avoid her after a while. While I would put her as the weakest member of the council for now, she is still a fun character and does add to the dynamic. Right now her friend Kobachi doesn’t at all. I can’t say I’m a fan of hers yet.

Ai is a fun character as always though. Her ninja skills are still on point but gradually Kaguya is learning how to fend for herself and not have to rely on Ai all the time. This also gives Ai more freedom to think about what she really wants and this is a plot that should continue on into the future. Then there is Tsubame and she’s a nice enough character. She did her best to break Ishigami out of his shell and should accept some of the credit for doing that. As for how she took the whole confession angle, it was all in the heat of the moment so all things considered she handled it well enough.

Now for me I’m mostly a fan of Kaguya because of the humor and all of the mind games. It’s what really put the series on the map for me as a top tier contender through and through. I’m less big on the romance in general so as the series gets more serious we’ll see how it can keep up. The first two seasons didn’t really deal with romance seriously at all as it was all about the cat and mouse games. Well, now we’re starting to get more into the serious side of it so I think it’ll be hard for the next seasons to beat the original 3. Still, as long as they keep putting this much effort into it, then they should work well enough. Also while I like Ishigami a lot as a character, I do think his romance plot is a lot weaker than Shirogane/Kaguya’s.

At least as far as romances go, Kaguya and Shirogane’s has been done the right away. It’s been built up for several seasons now and part of why the show is so much fun is because they just want to be the one to win the love game by getting the other one to confess first. So it’s a fun dynamic and once the romance gets serious, at least there’s been a lot of build up the whole time. Ishigami’s is much more of a quick romance in comparison and then with Ino you already have the show hinting that it wants to add some more drama into the mix. Right from the jump you could see how this one won’t work as well and it doesn’t work within the show’s tone quite as well either. There are no mind games to be had here (None yet anyway) and it’s all just a bit basic. Keep Ishigami as the fun video game guy and Ino as the stickler for the rules and then you’re all set.

As a side note, I did think it was fun how they switched up the ending animation for one episode where the characters are in some kind of neon lights band. The animation went crazy on that one but it was fun as a little experimental moment. Then you also had Ai’s brief song which felt really high budget and the music for that was cool. So the show isn’t afraid to mix things up every now and again. It’s a difficult show to predict compared to most and I would say that’s a good thing. You always want to stay unpredictable.

One thing we haven’t gotten from the show yet which would be fun would have been a school against school battle. It’s unlikely to ever happen as the manga is nearly over too but with so many strategic juggernauts in one school, imagine the possibilities of putting them up against another group? That would be a blast and we don’t actually get to see the Student Council teaming up a whole lot like that. Maybe do it as a quiz show or some kind of Olympics event where you keep switching activities. I’m sure our team would win but that whole scenario would be a blast.

Overall, Kaguya delivers another excellent season with this installment. It’s absolutely a show that you could recommend to anyone who wants a fun laugh or a good time. The production values are really impressive and the character cast is super dynamic. You could put two of them into any situation and you’ll be able to get a lot of fun jokes out of it. That’s when you know that a series is really on a good track. There are no weak episodes here and the 13 episodes will really be over in a flash. Now with the movie announced, we’ll see how long it takes to do season 4.

Overall 8/10