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

Batman Beyond Review

It’s time for the final main show in the DCAU lineup. I still haven’t seen the Zeta Project or Static Shock yet so those two won’t be getting reviewed for quite a while. I’ll probably be watching them at some point though. Batman Beyond took a very different approach to the Batman mythos and it certainly worked well. I imagine it was probably pretty controversial back in the day and I can only imagine the reaction it would get nowadays. Still, that’s why you have to take a chance sometimes since it can pay off very well.

Batman Beyond takes place well after the events of the original Batman show. Bruce Wayne started to get older and suffered heart problems. He was forced to take off the Cape and cowl. (The final movie in the series has a plot twist so old age wasn’t the cause for Batman’s retirement, but that’s another story) Gotham City has completely reverted back to how it was before Batman showed up. Crooks are everywhere and the civilians are all scared out of their minds. Terry is a teenager who has grown up in this era and has developed into a tough individual who can look out for himself. One day, his father is murdered by the Joker gang so he decides to steal the Batman suit to avenge him. Wayne is reluctant to agree at first, but gets on board and that’s how Terry becomes Batman for the rest of the series. He may not be the genius that Bruce was, but Bruce assists him through a communicator which makes that a non issue. Terry was also already a fighter so we don’t have to watch him act like a total rookie. He handles his tenure as Batman very well.

Terry is the main character and for the most part he is a great lead. While he may not have Bruce’s charisma, he has the passion and hot headed nature that most great anime characters possess. His first episode was a little rough as he was acting out quite a bit, but a tragic attack forced him to mature a lot in that regard. He always sticks up for the weak and keeps his emotions in control when it counts. Terry has no shortage of confidence either and is never afraid to go up against an opponent, even if Batman thinks he should wait. Like Peter Parker, (A character who has a lot of similarities to Terry) Terry has to deal with a lot of romance drama, but it never becomes the main theme of the show or a priority to the point where it would take away from the plot. I was definitely satisfied with having him as the main character.

Bruce Wayne may not be Batman anymore, but he is still rich and retained his intellect. Batman was never feared purely for his amazing hand to hand combat. His genius is what also intimidated opponents. It can be frustrating to see him so old and unable to defeat opponents like Inque, but at least he continues to try so you have to give him points there. That’s why it was cool to see him turn young again in the Ra’s episode since he got to finally fight at peak strength again. The show even managed to give him a stronger sound effect than Terry’s to show the difference in power. Bruce was only a little unlikable in the first episode and you can understand his reasoning for wanting the Batman legacy to die. The last thing he wants is for another ally to bite the big one. Terry wasn’t even formally trained so he would be in a lot of danger. I can get that, but shutting down Terry’s suit while he was being attacked was going a little overboard. Not to mention that sending Terry away without any real help was also pretty bad since he was essentially helping the villains by doing that. Letting Powers steal the company is also something that is hard to picture for such a strong willed individual. I guess you can say that Bruce also regains his old spark while Terry learns how to be Batman. We also can’t forget that he has a real cool guard dog by the name of Ace. I didn’t care for Ace’s episode as it was one of the iffy ones, but he’s definitely a great character. Ace is fearless and never backs away from an enemy. Terry was lucky to have him around quite a few times.

Max is one of Terry’s friends. She has good hand to hand skills and after she finds out his secret, she helps out in the background a lot like Oracle. The heroes are always hesitant to accept her help, but by the end she is one of the gang. She did give us the weakest two part event with the King Cobra villain, but you can’t really blame the character for that. Max was a solid supporting character and I’m sure that her role would have grown more f we had gotten another season since the heroes were working with her more.

Dana is the main heroine of the show. She is around to give Terry a reason to have a daily life, which prevents him from being Batman close to 24/7 like Bruce. Bruce was always in the Batman mindset at any rate I’d say. Dana is pretty reasonable for the most part and there is certainly less drama than some other super hero romances like Mary Jane and Spider-Man. I’m definitely on Dana’s side more than Terry’s for the show since she was always loyal while Terry did cheat on her with someone else. He broke it off fairly quick, but it shows that he went on the rebound fairly quick. It would have been cool to have seen Dana get a crime fighting suit, but I suppose every supporting character doesn’t have to turn out to be a fighter. Dana is smarter than some of the other characters as well since she actually put the pieces together about Terry’s mysterious disappearances.

Barbara Gordon lost a lot of her personality in the transition to the new era and has become another pencil pusher with no real idea of what goes on in the field. The worst part is that she knows who Batman is so she can effectively blackmail the heroes. It is definitely annoying but luckily Batman is always ready for things like this and Barbara got a fairly small role in the show. It’s a shame, but I guess some superheroes lose their likability after they hand the costume in. Powers is really the main villain of the series. There are other recurring villains of course, but Powers is the only one who lasted a full season. He would show up a lot in both major and minor roles. Powers even got special abilities of his own that made him a real threat. The radiation that he emits would allow him to beat many foes despite a difference in power. Sure, he would lose to a really strong foe, but he would give them cancer so it would essentially be a draw. He was a good villain to have since having someone who’s not one and done is always a good thing.
Inque was another villain who shows up a few times and I thought that she was definitely better than most of the others. Her powers make her a really powerful threat to Batman. It’s hard to capture her or to even land any damage because of how she can almost become liquid. Electricity is her only weakness and even then you have to be careful how you handle her. Forcing Batman to swallow her was definitely one of the most traumatic moments of the series I’d say since it looked quite painful. Mr Freeze is one of the few old villains who shows up in Beyond. His fate is rather tragic here as he was a head for many years and once he finally gets his body back, he is promptly betrayed. He really wanted to turn over a new leaf and become a good person, but it wasn’t to be. The betrayal made him go off the edge once more and then he lost his motivation to go on. He was easily one of the best “villains” here and it’s too bad that he couldn’t have a happy ending.

Shriek had a cool design. I figured that was worth giving him a quick write up here. He’s basically a generic villain otherwise. There’s not much to him otherwise. Kobra is a fairly annoying villain who took over the big villain organization at a young age. He’s just that much of a prodigy I suppose, but he went from being a fairly decent rival/classmate to being a generic villain. Now, Ra’s is a more interesting opponent. Granted, his method of kidnapping Bruce Wayne and going about his plan was rather off. He could have planned things out a bit better and then maybe his plan would have been successful. It was still neat to see how he had survived all of these years though. He certainly was a very cunning opponent for the dark knight.

The Royal Flush Gang went after Batman a few times. This show’s Ten got the biggest role out of all the members. They made for good opponents because while they were weak individually, they were a threat as a group. Defeating Batman with sheer numbers was always their plan, even if it wasn’t always an effective one. I like the designs and the concept is fun too. They’re just rich people with a bunch of time on their hands so why not become thieves right?

Finally, we also had the Justice League show up. Their members may not be as impressive as the ones you’re used too, but they can still deal some damage. Superman is still around and while his powers have lessened over the years, he’s still quite powerful. He’s as smart and dependable as always even if his will power isn’t quite as good as it should be. I do like his Justice Lords design, but I do have to wonder why he would ever don that costume. It certainly makes you wonder. Aquagirl’s probably the only super nice member of the group and she does her best to help Batman fit in with the others. She doesn’t seem to be all that powerful when it comes to combat though. Green Lantern comes off as rather annoying and is easily my least favorite GL. He doesn’t appear to have a great imagination and his voice just got on my nerves. It’s easy to see how he died in Justice League. Warhawk is basically a male version of Hawkgirl. He’s loud and talks a good game, but he’s not all that strong. The design was good though and at least he did have enough strategic awareness to come up with a plan when things started to get out of control. I’d say that this already makes him a better character than Hawkgirl for me. Big Barda’s another tough member who doesn’t like Batman. It should come as no surprise that Batman was eager to get away from the team as soon as possible. Lets face it, there was no reason for him to stay somewhere where he’s not wanted.

Lets take a look at some of the episodes of Batman Beyond. Naturally, the opening two parter was a lot of fun. It got a high budget and started the whole series off. It was very fast paced and I was satisfied with the origin. It’s sad that gangs can break in and out so easily in Gotham, but the city has always been like that so it’s not too surprising. The place has always been corrupt and that’s why Batman is always needed. A Gotham without any crime fighters is a very scary place indeed.

There was an episode with a homage to the Fantastic Four as an experiment went wrong (Don’t they always?) and a group of individuals got super powers. It was nice to see how the FF would fare in a DC world and needless to say, it goes as you’d expect. They can’t really handle Batman, but it made for some nice battle scenes. Another good episode was Inque’s debut. As mentioned, she’s an interesting villain and a very deadly one. Batman really had to think fast in order to keep up with her. Since she also ends up finding the Batcave, the heroes have to think about making the place even more secure. Not that it worked as Return of the Joker showed us…

The Mr. Freeze episode is golden. His fight with Powers was a lot of fun. Now, I think Powers should definitely have the edge here and he was winning, but it was good to see Mr. Freeze put up a fight. Powers’ brief fight with Batman was also good. The episode just had a lot of action throughout and the animation was stellar. It’s the kind of episode that you could even watch directly after the first Batman series since it’s a sequel in part to the original. It’s a tragic episode, but an enjoyable one.

Another episode saw the debut of Curare, a skilled assassin. I forgot if the show explicitly said that she was from the League of Assassins, but if not, then an equivalent organization anyway. Her skills were certainly very good and as she has never failed an assignment before, Batman really had to be careful here. By the end she has to watch her back as well since the League is after her, but given her track record, she should be able to hold her own right? Well, that’s exactly what happens as she appears in another episode and we find out that she simply got rid of the organization. That’s why you probably shouldn’t try to destroy your best agent on a whim like that. Both episodes were great and some of the best in the series.

Lost Soul was a pretty interesting episode as someone takes over the Batman suit so Terry must used his hand to hand skills without backup for a change. It’s a fun change of pace since we don’t get to see Terry do a lot of formal sleuthing. He does check things out in his alter ego, but seeing him stick to the shadows is rare. Back to a more conventional episode, Terry is challenged by The Stalker. The Stalker wants to destroy Batman to prove that he can hunt anyone. Unfortunately, he’s bitten off more than he can chew and starts to suffer delusions by the end. Batman completely broke him. The Stalker made for a good enemy though. Babel was another fun episode as Shriek eliminates language. Nobody can understand each other now so that makes Batman’s job a lot harder. He’s got to find Shriek without Bruce’s help. It’s tough, but Terry never gives up so he’s got this.

Another solid episode is when Spellbinder frames Batman for murder. Barbara Gordan is very quick to jump on this so Batman must dodge the official lines and find a way to win. I believe that Mad Stan was also in this episode. I forgot to mention him earlier, but he’s easily one of the best villains in the entire series. I’m being serious here folks, Mad Stan is just amazing. He’s a conspiracy guy who is always yelling and talking a good game. Tell me with a straight face that he doesn’t sound amazing. It’s just not possible. He’s easily one of the funniest figures in the show.

Sneak Peek is a good episode where a reporter learns how to go intangible. Unfortunately, this slowly corrupts him since the powers were too much and he ultimately meets a sad fate. Batman got lucky here since he was completely out of his league by the end. Seriously, there was basically nothing that he could do against this guy since no attack would work. It’s why nobody likes dealing with intangible foes. Repeller had a villain who couldn’t be touched. He had a barrier around him at all times. This guy was also crazy strong and Terry needed some luck to take him out. It’s always been a fun concept and the original X-Men comics had a villain named Unus with the same ability. It’s not used too often though because of how overly powerful it is. Finally, Where’s Terry is another good episode as we see Max and Bruce be the main characters instead of Batman for a change. It plays out like a mystery as they follow a lot of clues to see where Batman is. The episode is a little embarrassing for Terry, but you can’t win em all right?

The show’s animation holds up very well to this day. The futuristic look ensures that it looks about as good as Justice League despite airing sooner. The colors are very good and everything is sleek. Batman’s suit is better than a lot of the redesigns that you see nowadays and is still one of Batman’s best costumes. It may be the best besides the classic DCAU one. (Yes, Batman had 2, so I’m talking about the Justice League one) Likewise, the soundtrack is excellent and one of the best that you will hear in a show. Certainly the best in western animation. It’s just hard to get better than this since every theme is very fast paced and techno. It fits the future environment very well. It also goes without saying that the writing is very solid in this show. It’s the DCAU so you’ve probably come to expect this by now, but it’s still a nice credit to its resume. Nowadays, shows would do a lot to grab writing as solid as this.
Overall, Batman Beyond is a great show. It did a good job of showing what it would be like to be Batman in a future DC universe. It was dark toned throughout, but it was usually not dark for the sake of it and never got super violent or anything like that. There may have been one or two episodes that went a little too far with that, but they were few and far between. The average episode was very solid and this is a series that I recommend to all action fans and especially to DC fans. It’s the next generation of Batman, how can you afford to miss it? Even if you don’t ultimately end up finding Batman Beyond to be more likable than the original, you should end up being a fan by the end. To be fair, Bruce Wayne is still the definitive Batman for me as well, but I actually like Terry more than all of the Robins in the DCAU. He was just written really well.

Overall 8/10

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

Little Battlers Experience Review

It’s time to review a relatively modern action show that is similar to Megaman. In the future, instead of netnavi’s, we have LBX robots. Beyond that, it’s essentially the Megaman series and you can bet that this is a good thing! I can’t say that I’ve seen many anime which had big fight scenes quite as often as this one. The plot may not have been the best, but it got the job done I suppose. Also, plot is always secondary to characters and their action scenes.

Interestingly enough, I got to watch parts of this show in Japanese and in English. One episode I saw in both versions to really see how different they were. As such, I may swap some English and Japanese names now and then, but I’ll mostly be using the original versions. I saw most of it subbed as I only watched 3-5 episodes of the English version. It was definitely fun and both versions certainly have their positives.

The plot revolved around a kid named Ban. He is into the cool new thing on the block which is the LBX fad. These mini robots are able to fight in mini arenas against each other. You can continue to customize your mech until he is the strongest in the biz. The interesting part about this is that the whole world basically runs on the assumption that people won’t use these toys for evil. The toys are actually powered with real guns and weapons. They can also operate in the real world with no limitations. With Megaman, the navis couldn’t run amok in the real world without new tech so it made a little more sense. You’ll have to suspend your disbelief quite a bit right off the bat.

Again though, such things aren’t really too important. It’s all right that this plot development isn’t the greatest one out there. Ban’s father was presumed dead in a plane crash, but the heroes quickly find out that he is being held by a villainous organization. At the helm of this organization is a man named Kaido. Ban will have to team up with his school friends and the government (Or at least, a small faction within the organization) to stop them. It will involve winning many tournaments as there is a secret program within Ban’s LBX, which was made from his father, that is the key to this whole puzzle. The plot takes a lot of breaks for the tournaments, which I was glad about since the tournaments were definitely the best parts of the show. The action was great!

At 44 episodes, the show is decently long running without being as long as popular titles like Naruto and Bleach. There’s enough time for the show to introduce a lot of characters and for the heroes to get a lot of battles. Again, my only real complaint with the show would be the plot at times. I felt like the plot would actually slow the show down as I enjoyed the fillerish parts better than the main story. For example, you could say that a lot of the random fights in the tournament was filler for the real plot of stopping Mr. Kaido. Well, those were the best parts and the episodes where the heroes planned on how to stop Kaido and how to stop the world from being blown up were usually a lot more slow paced. At one point, we got about 3 episodes without any real fights as the heroes made plans after plans.

The heroes prevented an assassination and fought off an enraged employee, but those episodes were typically light on action. They were still good episodes (Well, maybe not the latter) and I like strategic episodes as much as the next guy, but I certainly enjoy the hard hitting battles from the tournaments a lot more. I’m not going to go out there and say that the plot was downright bad. After all, the tournaments are technically still part of the plot right? Still, it wasn’t quite as good as rival shows like Megaman or Cardfight.

I was a little iffy on the animation at first. Most of the show is your standard animation which was a good thing. All of the characters were drawn well and while I wouldn’t call it exceptional, I’d definitely call it solid. It would essentially be a perfect 7, the definition of good animation. For the robots, they were basically in CGI ish looking forms so they weren’t quite as smooth as possible. In that sense, I feel like the animation could have been better and it really stuck out for me a lot at first. As the battles went on, I grew used to the style. Hand drawn would have been much better, but the show really pushed the CGI to its limit. We still got a whole lot of explosions and cool looking beams. The fights were also decently long at times, which certainly helped.
I usually don’t need to really mention this as it will occur in just about every show to an extent, but it was much more blatant than usual here. There is a lot of plot hax and power level inconsistencies riddled throughout the show. It is especially evident towards the climax of the anime as Ban goes from being one shotted and crushed along with all of his friends by the Sephiroth inspired LBX to just randomly surpassing him in the end. He was getting creamed by Kaido’s LBX, but quickly took him out with a single move when he realized the stakes. Jin was getting owned by Kaido and lost an arm (His robot lost an arm to be exact) but started to win because apparently having your speed cut in half and wobbling makes it impossible for a robot to guess your next target. While visually interesting, none of the final fights made any sense on a thematic level. Even Jin’s new super form, which came out of nowhere was more than a little dubious. It’s definitely something that will make you shake your head a little. That being said, plot hax never lower the score on a show, they’re just something to make a note of.

As for the soundtrack, I naturally heard two different versions of it. I got to hear the DUB music from the first episodes as well as the Subbed themes later on. For the dub, it is interesting to note that it essentially has the same soundtrack as Megaman NT Warrior. The waves of nostalgia hit me right to the core and I certainly won’t forget those anytime soon. That being said, the subbed themes had some really good battle themes. In particular, I really liked one theme that was typically used for tension or when something big was about to happen. For example, it played when the heroes decided to go behind the government’s back and storm the villain’s base. It was definitely an epic moment.

Okay, now’s a good time to talk about the characters. No show can be truly excellent with a bad cast right? Luckily, the cast of character is good, perhaps not great as some of the main characters are lacking a little, but most of them are interesting and fun to root for. Let’s start off with good ole Ban. Ban’s essentially your average main character. He’s a little generic, but mostly just in good ways and you definitely wouldn’t call him a bad character. He wants to help his friends and be one of the best LBX players out there. One thing that separates him from other leads is his big commitment to saving his father at any cost. He defies the government and attacks the villain’s base on several occasions. It typically does not pay off, but I always appreciated the attempt. Ban also takes the loss of one of his comrades particularly hard, which sidelines him for a few episodes. Lan had a similar experience involving Megaman, but that was more personal. I don’t think he would have taken this quite as hard.

Ban stands up for heroic ideals whenever he is on screen and he’s certainly committed to that path. He never gets tempted to join the dark side or anything like that. Seeing him continue to improve and level up during his fights is always nice. I would have liked for him to have been a little more competitive or rage induced for some of the matches as he can be a little too laid back. Still, Ban’s definitely a good main character and a likable guy to root for.

Ami’s the main heroine in the show and unlike a lot of her counterparts, she can fight and isn’t forgotten in the latter parts of the show. At around the halfway mark, she gets a major power up in the form of the robot Pandora, which actually kept her above Kazu for the rest of the show. Sure, she’ll never be as strong as Ban or Jin, but that’s just the way things go. She was a likable character and I’m glad that she was always ready for a fight.

Kazu was a lot more conservative and never picked a fight unless he thought there was a chance of victory. While Ami’s robots specialized in close range combat, he was a sniper. This was a little bad for him as being a sniper meant that his physical capabilities were always rather limited. I wasn’t a huge fan of him and he doubted Ban a whole lot, but he was still a decent main character. At least he could fight and he got a big confidence boost whenever he would win a match. The show could have done more with his character, but being a likable character with minimal development is better than being an unlikable one with a lot of screen time.

Jin is Ban’s rival and at first I wasn’t sure if I could take him seriously. His entrance was decently cool though and it was almost entirely ripped/borrowed from Chaud’s. Like Chaud, he would beat his opponent in seconds and even had a similar design. By the end, Jin continued to make the best choices possible. His sideplot was typically good and his personality made him a much more likable character than Ban by the end. I certainly liked his confidence and as I constantly mention, I love to see characters to really put their focus on speed. His speedy LBX was just the ticket that he needed. He may not have been quite as cool as some of the other rivals that I’ve seen, but he would certainly rank pretty high up in the rankings by the end. Jin was easily the best character in the series and likewise, the franchise. I really don’t see any character matching up to him and things will only continue to look up for him from here now that he is an established character who will likely continue to get hype along with Ban. After all, the final battles were exclusively used for Ban and Jin battles. None of the other characters could keep up, but I suspect that Jin will always be relevant.

Mr. Kaido was the main villain for almost the entire series. He was one of the reasons why I didn’t really care for the plot. He’s just not very interesting and is about as generic as you can get. I respect his LBX skills and he is certainly very powerful. That being said, he could have been more interesting. He was always talking about his big goals and feigning ignorance for all of his evil deeds, but it got old after a while. Of course, there is a twist about his personality and it will certainly make you look a little closer at one of the episodes. Back to his LBX, it was cool to see it copy the heroes’ abilities and its raw specs were already impressive on its own. Kaido is certainly not someone to take lightly. I’ll take power over personality in this case, but there’s no reason why we couldn’t have both.
Gouda was Ban’s first big opponent and his LBX was tough to get by. It was a sturdy close range combatant whose overwhelming power made up for his lackluster speed. Gouda was designed in a way that made him look very similar to Kamina from Gurren Lagann. That was always interesting and I’d say that he was a fairly good character. He felt a little outmatched towards the end because while his LBX got some upgrades, his robot never got any faster. That’s definitely dicey for him. Still, Gouda’s automatically one of the best supporting characters in the show.

Daiki’s also another good character who started out as a bit of an antagonist, but eventually became one of the main heroes. He always loved to look at his tarot cards before a match. Despite his calm demeanor, he definitely gets into the heat of battle and is very confident of his skills. Why not, considering that he is easily one of the strongest heroes. At one point, he effectively caught up to Jin and nearly surpassed him. While Jin and Ban inevitably surpassed him once again, Daiki would be in third amongst the heroes and his LBX is incredibly fast. I always like a good speed character and Daiki definitely fit the bill. Mix in his illusions and this guy was definitely very powerful.

Takuya was the main government liason who helped the main characters a lot. I actually ended up liking him much more than I had expected. He’s not the stuffy official that you would expect and he actually engages in fisticuffs on multiple occasions. It is regrettable that he has no LBX to fight with since you would expect him to have some way to fight, but he prefers to do things the old fashioned way. Sadly, it seems like he won’t be participating in the field that much anymore now that he got promoted to a higher position, but he had a good run while he lasted. Yuusuke was also involved with the government, but preferred to keep a low profile. He had a pretty powerful LBX, but he ended up giving it to Ami, which put him at a competitive disadvantage. Yuusuke’s role was decently big as a supporting character and he was decently likable. For the most part, he was just around, but that’ll do.

Lex is known as the strongest player in the world and he definitely lives up to his hype. He didn’t really do anything for a very large part of the series so I was worried about whether or not he would end up fighting at all. There is a fairly big twist involving the character in the end. We never really got to know the guy so you’re not really sure what to feel when it all goes down. I ended up thinking of him as a good character. He made some random decisions at the end though and seemed to have broken down a bit. I felt like all of his efforts were very half hearted and Lex was a very indecisive character in general. Nevertheless, his LBX was very cool and had a great design. He was a superb LBX and was great at close quarters combat. The final episodes really had a lot of epic battles with high stakes and the tournament battles were a lot of fun as well.

Mika is a character that the writers clearly had no idea how to handle. She was portrayed as the mysterious girl who was probably an expert fighter for a while, but after the first 20 episodes passed, I knew that something was up. Turns out that all of the hype was fake and she just spends her time crushing on one of Ban’s rivals. I’d give the anime points for tricking me…if this wasn’t such a downright terrible twist. She’s a really bad character and I’m still irritated at just how bad she was. Ryuu’s even worse as he’s the average bully type character who likes the main heroine and likes to pretend that he’s really tough. Turns out, he’s actually very weak and Dex from Megaman NT Warrior is much more likable.

Kousuke is one of the final bosses in the show and easily one of the most powerful characters in the series. How good is he? Well, since I’d say that he’s still much stronger than Ban and Jin, his only competition would be Lex. Both of them seem to consider themselves to be the best LBX player on the planet and both of them have super forms. For now, I’m going to say that Lex is possibly a little stronger, but it’s very close and I definitely liked Kousuke a lot. He got quite a lot of hype when he debuted and his entrance was very well done. He also wasn’t afraid of the other villains and I wish that he could have fought some more. Either way, he was definitely an epic character and I hope to see him appear more in the future.

Yagami is a villain who defected to the hero side after realizing the truth about Mr. Kaido. It’s still a little iffy with how he worked for the villain for so long without realizing anything, but better late than never right? His LBX was always surprisingly weak considering his high position in the organization. He came in handy a little in the end, but Yagami never managed to make himself stand out amidst the other characters in the show.
Overall, It took me about a year, but I finally finished the classic LBX show. The characters were solid, the animation was nice to look at, and the soundtrack was quite good. While the plot could have used a little work at times, I’m satisfied with how the show turned out. I would certainly call it a great one and highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good action show. This show has a lot of fight scenes and we get a lot of unique fighters even if the power levels are verrrry wonky. We’re talking Xros Wars levels here folks. I look forward to seeing how the sequels stack up. I have high expectations from them and am expecting another 8 or higher from the sequel. I’ll see you then and until that time, I should have begun wrapping up some manga titles to fill the void.

Overall 8/10

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

Batman The Animated Series Review

It’s time to review one of the most critically acclaimed comic book series of all time! Batman was a series enjoyed by kids and adults alike as it offered many deep storylines while still having a lot of action. I finally got to see the series in its entirety from start to finish so that was certainly a blast. It’s definitely one of the greatest comic book shows out there. I wouldn’t literally call it the best as some put it above Justice League, but it has a high ranking for sure.

The show is quite long, but there typically isn’t much of an overreaching plot. For the most part, the series is comprised of stand alone episodes. There is certainly a tight continuity as characters age and Batman’s sidekicks have to rotate as the original Robin ultimately leaves so Batman has to find a replacement. By the end of the series, most of the villains are safely tucked away and while Gotham City can never be 100% safe, it can certainly try to be a more peaceful place. Also, it should be noted that I’m counting the New Adventures of Batman as the same show as the original. Similarly, I shall do the same for Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. After all, they’re practically the same show right?

A lot of the episodes are pretty iconic and to substitute for a plot stage, I’ll talk about some of the more enjoyable Batman episodes that stuck with me. One of them saw Batman and Robin head into a virtual game to rescue someone’s psyche. The villain had them solve various video game riddles and the animators had a blast making everything look chaotic and wild. It was definitely a lot of fun and I’m always up for a video game episode!

Batman’s team up with Ra’s Al Ghul was a fun episode as they definitely do not get along. Ra’s bodyguard didn’t make things easy either as he kept taking cheap shots at Batman until the Dark Knight finally returned the favor and took him down. Another fun event was the two part episode where Clayface made his debut. Bruce Wayne was arrested, which was pretty intense as that was one of his toughest moments. For Batman, it’s easy to evade justice, but not so much for Bruce Wayne.

One of the best episodes was certainly the dream one where Batman was on the run from the cops. Batgirl died after she was pushed off of a building and Commissioner Gordon decided that Batman had to go. There were several chase scenes and in the end even Nightwing was taken down. Batman decided to finally turn himself in and then even Bane showed up to finish the job.

There are many more good episodes where those came from of course. The episode where Batman is believed to be crazy and taken to Arkham, The two part episode where the Batcave is taken over, The Zatanna guest star episode, The Epic trial where the villains have to judge Batman, and Finally, the episode with The Judge! There were so many good episodes that they should prove to be a good incentive to enter the series and experience them for yourself!

One of the episodes that I didn’t really care for was a Clayface one where his consciousness split into two and one of them became a little girl who befriended Batman and Robin. They tried to save her, but their efforts were ultimately futile as Batman explained that stories don’t always have a happy ending. Certainly a deep moral and one that most current shows wouldn’t tackle unless it involved tacos, but you still end up feeling bad for the girl even if she was never really real.

Naturally, in a show as long as Batman, there will be some episodes that you don’t like, others that were okay, and then the others that were really good or great. No series, no matter how good can hit it out of the park every episode although shows like Madoka, which was only 12 episodes long can basically achieve that. Short shows are the exception to the rule and it’s naturally the hardest for long ones. There were a few animal related episodes, Man Bat adventures, etc that didn’t quite end up being that good, but there were enough good episodes to quickly overshadow that.
Batman is the main character of the show and this is essentially how I became a Batman fan. Well, this show and Justice League. This adaption of the character was just about perfect. Unlike newer shows like The Batman and Beware The Batman, we see the Dark Knight as a very experienced fighter who has already been through many tough fights in the past. He’s not a rookie, but someone who knows how to get the job done. Batman really has a plan for everything and makes it his business to know it all. We see multiple times in the series that Bruce Wayne is Batman’s secret identity and not the other way around.

As Bruce Wayne, he can be a little dicey at times since he still does flirt once in a while, but it’s also nice to see him threaten all of the criminal law makers and corrupt men in public. Clark Kent likes to keep himself hidden from the public while Bruce revels in the attention. Batman’s also a very capable fighter, but I’m sure that you could have guessed that. You really can’t top this portrayal!

The original Robin was definitely a good fighter, but he was definitely no Batman, which the show always made sure to point out. As Nightwing, he finally almost equaled the Dark Knight in skill and he was certainly someone to be feared. He was definitely a likable character and I’m glad that a plot twist stopped him from being ensnared by Catwoman. That would have definitely hurt his character. He’s someone Batman can count on even if he’s really determined to be successful on his own.

The second Robin was a lot happier and more cheerful when compared to the first, but he was also a lot smaller and more vulnerable in a fight. As Batman Beyond would later show, putting him in a fight could definitely be a dangerous move and one that Batman may want to rethink. It was cool to have him in the show though and giving Batman a sidekick is always a good idea. The show can be fun as a Batman solo adventure, but sidekicks spice up the formula a little.

Batgirl’s role was not quite as large as the Robins, but she certainly helped out from time to time. While she did not have the formal training that the other two Robins got (For the most part, we see her training at least once in the show) she’s still very useful against the villains and Batman can always use another sidekick. Batgirl has a competitive personality and she’s always eager for a fight.

Aside from his costumed allies, Batman had a good supporting cast around him. Alfred was a very loyal companion to have and he delivered many good lines during the series. This is certainly my favorite interpretation of the character and he can also fight a little when necessary. Commissioner Gordon and Batman typically get along as Gordon sees the need for a caped crusader to stop the villains when they get outside of the law’s range. Bullock is a cop/detective who gets a very large role as well. He’s always a good rival for Batman since he doesn’t mind lying if it means that the Dark Knight will look bad. He got Batman into quite a few jams during his day and you can always find him eating a donut. He was definitely a lot of fun. There were a few other officers like Montoya, but none of them ever got a big role.

That’s for Batman’s supporting characters when it comes to other nice people, but the show is also well known for its colorful villain gallery so let’s tackle those characters. Naturally, starting off with the Joker sounds like a good bet. He’s Batman’s most popular villain and I think this show played a decently large role in that. A lot of his episodes tend to be quite good and he always ends up being one of Batman’s most dangerous villains. He may not be a master at hand to hand combat, but he has a lot of gadgets of his own and there’s always a few plans in his head. While not as smart as Batman, he’s extremely smart and someone who you could never count out. His iconic laugh is quite good and this was the Joker’s best design.

Two Face is a villain who I typically don’t care for, but I thought that he looked quite good here. The episode where all of the villains were talking about how they almost got Batman was fun, but you feel bad for Two Face in episodes like that because he never comes that close when compared to the others. Luckily, he became The Judge in one of the episodes and got a major power boost. He was able to take out quite a lot of Batman’s old enemies and he nearly beat Batman as well. That was definitely a lot of fun and helped me gain respect for him as a villain.

Catwoman danced between being a hero and a villain throughout the series, but picked the villain side every single time. Even when tempted to become a hero, she couldn’t help but grab some jewels along the way. This leads to the constant chase with Batman and a quick trip to jail. It’s very quick since she escapes almost immediately, but Arkham tries to keep her. That being said, considering how Arkham’s chiefs are sometimes evil, maybe it’s for the best that she escapes. At least this leads to Batman having to supervise the staff a little more. Poison Ivy had quite a few team ups with Harley Quinn. She only fought on her own a few times and some of her plots were quite effective, like pretending to be married to a random joe. Let’s just say that the guy was a little green and he wasn’t carsick! The impressive part was that there was a large timeskip so she kept up the charade for weeks or it may have been months. She almost got away with it, but Batman’s just too sharp.

As for Harley Quinn, she’s essentially doomed to follow the Joker forever. She’s a decently good character and certainly one of the most loyal villains, but that’s why working for someone like the Joker is not in your best interest. The Penguin is actually one of the worst Batman villains for me. I can’t take him seriously as a fighter and I don’t see why he’s still in business. The cops seriously cannot pin any hard evidence on him? He’s mostly just an informant and rarely fights, but that doesn’t help his case. He’s still better than the Mad Hatter though, that guy is just a terrible villain who never had a chance at being likable.
Mr. Freeze got his big role in the movie so he didn’t get a whole lot to do in the show. Either way, it’s still worth noting that he’s a very good villain and a character who is always interesting to see. Riddler is considerably less developed in terms of personality. I actually like his riddling gimmick though and it’s interesting to see him match wits against Batman. Beyond that, he’s just an ordinary joe who’s not a master combatant so he’s essentially doomed each time.

As with Mr. Freeze, Bane didn’t get too much of a role in the show. He did appear in the dream episode to fight Batman though and he essentially won that fight even if there were a lot of circumstances in the background. Scarecrow had multiple designs, but none of them made him a very likable character. Still, one of his designs was actually really epic and made him look like a powerful figure. I have to give some more props to the DCAU for making him look like a threat.

Poor Clayface learned the hard way that being involved in crime can really end up hurting your future. Doomed to be a clay man forever, he tried to cope by being an actor. After all, being able to physically alter yourself can come in handy right? He had quite a few good episodes and he was certainly a likable villain. While not as personally connected to Batman as in The Batman show, he was still a villain who you could almost sympathize with.

Killer Croc is one of the stronger villains in the Batman show, at least physically. He looked decently good in several episodes and he always gives Batman a tough time. He may be a little outmatched when the gadgets come into play, but he’s still a solid villain. Finally, we have Ra’s Al Ghul, who Batman always gives a lot of credit. In the Superman show, it’s mentioned that he’s more dangerous than Joker and Lex put together. Even with Ra’s very large army, I’d say that the line was a big stretch, but it’s always fun to have another intelligent villain in the mix. His mind games with Batman are always a lot of fun. He’s such a good villain that I didn’t even mind the desert episodes as much as I typically would have. I could do without the mild romance between Batman and Talia though. Ra’s is always running against time though as his pit has quite a few exploitable weaknesses.

Naturally there are other villains like Baby Doll, Ubu, Clock King, the Ketchup Man, or something like that….and more. The series is filled with a lot of one hit wonders and some who appear more than once like Talia who I didn’t go over. If you want to see the large array of villains, do yourself a favor and check out the series. You certainly won’t regret it and I’m confident that you’ll enjoy the show.

The show came out during the days when animation was at its height. The show looks great from start to finish as the character designs are crisp and also deep. By “deep” I mean that they don’t look like stick figures or are too stream lined to the point where the characters look a little skinny, (Young Justice) Batman looks like a body builder, as he should. These are the character designs that I grew up with and they remain my favorites. Naturally, this also helps a lot for the fight scenes.

One of the more noticeable differences for the fight scenes compared to newer shows is that you can really hear the sound effects. It’s like comparing the sound effects in Super Smash Bros Melee to the Brawl version. You can feel each and every blow. The music is also very good as it can feel theater-like to an extent. The classic Batman theme is certainly legendary at this point. While the theme song could have been a little more exciting, I do like the music and the TV show has fun with it. Not as much fun as Superman (That show had dozens of unique themes) but enough so that I would count this as a decently big positive.

It’s easy to see why this show became so popular. While it lost a bit of the theater feel as we got into the latter seasons, the first episodes definitely felt grand in scope. If Sword Art Online is the theater version of anime, then this would be the theater version of Western animation. Another thing I enjoyed about the show is the fact that Batman got to appear as Bruce Wayne. If he had gone overboard on the flirting angle it would have been dicey, but he was usually around for his detective wit as well and he even pretended to fight when an assassin appeared from his past. I feel like the alter egos don’t get to appear very much anymore. This is especially evident in Marvel’s Avengers Assemble show, but to an extent, DC hasn’t had time for it either with Teen Titans Go. Showing off the heroes human sides is always a good thing and it succeeded the most with the Superman show.

Now, how does this show compare to the other Batman shows? Against the average array of cartoons, it would be no contest, but all of the Batman shows have been really good so far. For now, we won’t count Batman Beyond since it is a Batman cartoon, but Batman isn’t the main character. The 90’s show is the most grand, but Brave and the Bold had the most guest stars and The Batman had some of the best fights. For now, I’m tempted to say that Brave and The Bold is the best Batman show while this Batman title just barely edges out The Batman. It’s close, but that show didn’t really pick up until the latter seasons and this one had the stronger beginning. Needless to say, all three of the shows are neck and neck!
Overall, Batman The Animated Series is certainly a classic. It got a whole lot of episodes, which gave the show enough time to bring in a lot of villains and establish itself as quite possibly, the ultimate Batman show. The animation and soundtrack were on point and the fact that this is in DCAU continuity was pretty awesome. You can definitely anticipate a Superman The Animated Series review coming in shortly as I also finished that series. Whether you are a super hero fan or not, this is a show that anyone can enjoy.

Overall 8/10

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

Future Card Buddyfight Review

Buddyfight really started out strong. It came out of the gate swinging and I liked the new battle style a lot. It didn’t revolutionize the card fighting genre like Cardfight, but it was a fun approach to the new style of play. The characters were likable, which made for some good intro duels. The middle of the series is where Buddyfight began to lose some of its steam as the show started to get a little repetitive. Luckily, the final tournament showed up and helped to break the cycle. We had a lot of fun duels towards the end, which was intense. Buddyfight ended as it started, a very fun show with lots of excitement.

Gao Mikado is the main character and one day he decides to start Buddy Fighting competitively when he draws a good Buddy. His Buddy is Drum and he comes from Dragon World. Let’s take a step back quickly and look at the universe. Drawing a Buddy opens a portal between dimensions and the monster inside of the card actually appears. Luckily, all monsters (for now) are friendly so this is safe for all people. Even villains enjoy having their buddies so that they can improve their abilities and really break the law. Gao and Drum bicker a lot, but they ultimately become close friends who help each other when the going gets tough.

The series starts off cautiously and Gao duels many opponents who become his friends and rivals. Then a tournament is announced and Gao decides to enter to show the world how great he is. The tournament will be tough to win as many new faces show up, but they don’t scare Gao. Gao thinks of himself as the Mighty Sunfighter so he never backs down from a fight or from a challenge.

Part 2 of the series is where the stakes start to get higher. A villain group known as Disaster has shown up and they want to rid the world of adults. By opening a portal to the dark part of the monster world, they can end everything! A betrayal also rocks Gao’s world and the heroes will never be the same again. Gao will have to brace himself as he tackles this overwhelming challenge!

Let’s start off with how to play the game. The gameplay is unique in the sense that it is all about offense. Each turn involves you attacking the other player and you don’t have to take time to defend. Each turn, you can summon monsters until their combined level is three. Then, you attack the other player and try to get his life down from 10 to 0. There are naturally spells and traps to augment the gameplay as well. It results in a very fast moving duel, which makes it difficult to stretch into multi parters. Even the final fight of the series is barely more than one part and if you cut out the subplots, it probably could be one episode.

The clan that you choose will determine what your fighting style is like. Gao uses a Dragon deck so he focuses on attacking until his opponents finally go down. Katana World is about misdirection and fooling your opponent and Magic World is totally for defense and gimmicks. Naturally, Dragon World is easily my favorite since offense is definitely my style, but they all have their merits and weaknesses.

Gao is the main character of the series and also one of the main highlights. He’s one of the better main characters as he is determined and always wins the right way. He doesn’t use any stall tactics or overpowered cards to win as he chooses to talk with his skills. He’s one of the only main characters to ever go from the premiere to the finale without losing once. I doubt that many characters could hope to pull that off and the series isn’t exactly short. There are over 50 episodes to be found in Buddyfight. “The strongest deck in history” is his catchphrase and it shows how tough he is. Gao’s modest at times, but he knows just how good he is.

His partner is Drum and they definitely had a lot of banter during the older episodes. Towards the end of the series, they definitely became close, but still had some banter at times. Drum’s not bad, but he’s surprisingly weak considering that he’s the classic partner of the series. Not a problem though, he has some super forms to help him out in that area. He’s not the best monster, but certainly not the worst one and at least Drum has character.

Zanya is the calm and collected member of the group. He uses ninja cards to defeat his enemies and he has a trap card, which can be used to stop just about any opponent when used correctly. While he is very tough and the characters always acknowledge that, he’s not quite as good as Gao or Tesuku. He’s better than guys like Tetsuya and Shido, but he still needs a game changer if he wants to be among the best. I’m confident that his skills will be at that level at some point and we just have to give the guy some time. The only thing stopping him from being a really cool character is his gimmick, which gets old quickly. Zanya is deathly afraid of girls and he can’t talk or duel when in front of them. You can see how this becomes a problem and it is brought up constantly. I still like Zanya a lot, but this does take away from his coolness factor. Zanya is a big believer in honor and justice so you can see why I like the guy. He has some pretty emotional duels during the series. His buddy has a really cool design, but is almost always silent so he doesn’t get to have much of a personality. Ah well, at least Zanya’s a cool fighter. The next ally of Gao’s is decidedly less quiet and fierce.
Tetsuya’s whole gimmick is that he loves dancing. His friends fear that it takes up too much of his time and that he’s not totally devoting his energy to Buddyfighting. They’re not wrong, but Tetsuya is still a good duelist. While he is decidedly weaker than Gao or Zanya, Tetsuya always gives it his all and comes through when the team needs him. His jingle is surprisingly catchy and you may find yourself dancing to the tune when he begins the duel. The fact that he mixes in Banana’s with his hair is brilliant and one of the reasons why you shouldn’t underestimate the guy. While he is rarely solemn, Tetsuya knows when it’s time to be serious. His buddy probably has more personality than all of the other monsters. The demon has his own TV show and actually does some undercover work to help the heroes find the location of the villain’s base. He is also a whole species in and of himself, which saves a lot of time for when he has to check out multiple locations at the same time.

Tasuku is the boy genius of the series and it feels like the show heavily considered making him the main character. The show’s endings are always about him and even the opening gave him a decently big role. The show may have also just been trying to make him a fan favorite from the start. It wasn’t hard since Tasuku is a great character from start to finish. He goes through a similar character arc that Kai went through in Cardfight. The series seems to really love using the redemption plot device as a character will get a taste of darkness and the terrifying power that comes with it, but ultimately returns to the light for good. This happened to Rouga, Kiri, and Tasuku in the show and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens to more characters. (To a lesser extent, you could say the same for the final villain of the show)

Tasuku is a nice guy and he always has fun when he is in a Buddyfight. He helps Gao enjoy the game and encourages younger players as well. He gets frustrated when the police force is corrupted and goes too far in his attempts to make everything all right on his own. Luckily, that’s where his Buddy comes in. Jack is a dragon and like Drum, he gets a lot of development. Jack is a buddy who really cares about what is going on in the human world and he plays a pivotal role in getting Tasuku back to the side of the heroes and he refused to become a villain. Having a good friend is always important and the bond between Tasuku and Jack is a strong one. These two will certainly continue to be some of the highlights of the show and Tasuku is easily my favorite character aside from Gao.

Kiri was once one of Gao’s best friends until he changed. He was very timid and also weak when it came to Buddyfighting. As a result, Kiri got bullied all the time and decided that he needed more power. The villains were glad to give him that and now Kiri was able to use his powers in the real world like Rouga, Gao, and Tasuku. He instantly became one of the strongest fighters in the series and he was pretty hardcore as the Grim Reaper. To quickly specify, the monsters are already real for all of the players. The only difference with Disaster Force/Future Force is that you can also make spell and equip cards real. This is still really good as Kiri has his Winter Wonderland (Not the exact name) card that can make a blizzard appear out of the blue.

Kiri was a decent friend at first, but certainly not my kind of character and he was a lot like Syrus. I was glad to see his character go through a mini arc and he ultimately became a hero again. The only difference is that he now has a lot of power. I’m confident that he will be able to help Gao out a lot in future arcs. His power up certainly helped him as a character even if I don’t care for his buddy. He just doesn’t do anything for me at the moment and needs some more personality.

Shido is one of the worst villains in the series. Apparently, he is still one of the better duelists in the school, but I can’t take him seriously. He is typically used for comic relief and isn’t much of a threat to someone like Gao. He is constantly being humiliated and appears far too often if you ask me. His partner is Sofia and she is portrayed as the serious member of the group. The problem is that she’s not much better than Shido and I have not been impressed with her either. She gets nonstop hype, but the hype never seems to transform into something more than that. I feel like the writers really don’t know what to do with her at the moment and it shows. I’m sure that she will start fighting more at some point, but for now…she is simply biding her time.

Rouga was the first real villain to show up and he stays as a supporting character throughout the series. He goes from being a true villain to a misunderstood rival who is just looking out for his friend. The turnabout certainly is cheesy and he looks really bad when he lets the main villain get under his skin. When taken seriously, Rouga is a good opponent for Gao. The problem is that he doesn’t know whether he is a villain or a rival most of the time. It’s safe to say that he’ll just be a rival in the sequel series and that will mean that Gao has yet another on. Depending on how many guys you count (Tasuku, Noboru, Kazane, Zanya, Genma, Tasuku……) it’s a long list. I suppose that a lot of people will be gunning for you once you’re at the top. Rouga’s buddy is pretty cool as he is one of the only monsters to have a decent amount of personality and Cerberus never backs down from a fight.
He’s decently tough and doesn’t feel like an average monster, which is a good thing. I don’t think that Rouga has been handled particularly well in this series. I still like him as a rival for Gao, but he has certainly dropped in the ranks from his first appearance and it will take a while for me to be able to take him seriously. At this point, he just seems to be a little out of his league.

Genma is another rival of Gao…in a sense. He has less of a role than the others, but he’s a decently strong Buddyfighter. I’ve never been a huge fan of his though and he comes off as very arrogant at times. He also takes it very personally when his friend uses a counter card against his iconic monster. That would be like me getting upset if someone counter picked to Olimar to defeat my Captain Falcon in Smash Bros. It’s a strategically sound move so I can’t really agree with him here. Genma’s tough, but his whole strategy does revolve around his dragon so once it is defeated, he is essentially doomed. I do love his recycled footage yells though and he really gets fired up when dueling. He can certainly be better, but a lack of screen time probably didn’t help his case either.

Jin is a sneaky member who is always hard to pin down. Is he helping the heroes or on the side of the villains? The answers to these questions are eventually answered and he does play a decent role in the series, but he is a bit of a lightweight. I’ve never considered him to be very tough and he gets himself into some pretty tight pickles during the series. He needs a new deck as stealth doesn’t work out so well in this game. He’s not really my kind of supporting character, but he’s not bad.

Noboru is Goa’s original rival. At the very least, I would consider him to be Gao’s main rival as they actually got some trash talking in and Noboru really wants to defeat Gao. I don’t see that happening anytime soon as the gap between them continues to grow, but it’s still good that Noboru is trying to get on top of the situation. Surpassing Gao is just tricky for any opponent. Noboru’s buddy is a little on the dull side though as it is an old man who doesn’t have any cool special abilities. It’s impressive that Noboru can still win with his current deck as it is just a really watered down version of Gao’s. Nonetheless, I do really like Noboru’s character and he should go far in the series. He even gave Tasuku a good fight!

Terumi works for Disaster and she probably has the toughest time out of all the members since she starts to see the light and is quickly thrown out of the picture. The heroes never did give her a happy ending and it doesn’t seem like that is going to change in the sequel series. She was never a very likable character for me as she was infatuated with the leader of the villains even though she should know that he didn’t actually care for her. She was used from the start and never did anything about it.

Elf was another member of Disaster and he was not very good. Elf rarely ever fought and it was hard to gauge out good a fighter he was. It barely even mattered though since he was more interested in talking a good game than actually backing it up. His design was meant to be his whole gimmick and that will never be enough to actually be a very compelling villain. He also didn’t get any real character development unlike the other characters and I wonder if he will return soon.

Gremlin is one of the members of Disaster and he’s a decent fighter. While not quite as impressive as some of the other fighters, his legendary deck building skills are why he is feared by so many. He built the decks for all of the other fighters after all and that takes dedication. By the end, he has essentially seen the light and remembers how the game should be played. I can’t say that I really bought his sob story though as it seems like he just jumped off the deep end for the lolz.

Kazane was Gao’s final rival of the series and she just popped out from nowhere during one of the episodes. She helped Gao to remember what it was like to really enjoy the game and Kazane’s a fun character. She’s easy to root for and while her deck isn’t particularly impressive, her skills are certainly real. Her role has stayed small so far, but I’m sure that the writers have big plans for her at some point although she’s quickly fading away from being a main supporting character in the sequel series. Big plans or not, she’s a fun new rival for Gao to have. He certainly has a lot of them now!

Kemura is one of the weaker supporting characters, but I’m not too surprised since he debuted alongside a group of fighters who were essentially filler. His gimmick is that he’s constantly trying to eat his buddy and it is reused way too often. It wasn’t even funny the first time so you can imagine how tedious it gets by the 5th or 20th time. The only reason why the group was ultimately a good idea was because we got to meet one good character. Kirisame is a swordsman and his skills are about on par with Zanya’s. He’s a strong fighter all right and he even shows that he could give Gao a good challenge.
Kyoya is the big villain of the second arc and he is certainly powerful. He took out Tasuku when they fought and he actually stood up to Gao. Granted, Kyoya didn’t stand a chance against the world’s greatest Buddyfighter, but he still tried hard and gave it his all. His goals didn’t make all that much sense though and it is hard to relate to the guy. His voice also wasn’t that good, which may have helped to prevent me frombeing a fan of his. His super form looked cool though and he is a powerful villain. He just wasn’t very good or interesting.

Azi Dahaka got a ton of hype throughout the series and fans of his were likely disappointed that he was used as an after thought in the series. After being shown to be the big mastermind behind Disaster, he didn’t do anything until he was summoned and then Gao still managed to take him out in a single hit. He did have a very ominous speech where he mentioned how Gao and the others have sealed their fate by defeating him, but that hasn’t gone anywhere at the moment. Still, the hype is real and it’s safe to say that defeating him a second time will not be so easy.

Baku and Kuguru are essentially Gao’s best friends. Baku makes the decks for Gao while Kuguru gives him the necessary intel for the fights. It’s too bad that they never got into the game as they could have been good Buddyfighters. They aren’t bad characters and are all right I suppose, but they definitely don’t add much to the series. Baku had his subplot with the Gremlin, but that’s about it. They aren’t bad though and every hero has to have a few friends. They help Gao when he’s down.

Buddyfight’s animation is quite good. I remember thinking that it looked solid from the start and the sequel series managed to improve the series even more. This title can hold its own against just about any other show. It’s still not going to be in your top 3 of all time or anything like that, but the animation is still great. Certainly well above average to say the least. The fights certainly look good and likewise with the overall animation. It’s just like Cardfight Vanguard in that every part of the animation stays consistently bright and solid throughout. The character designs and backgrounds never falter.

The soundtrack doesn’t get overshadowed as it is also quite good. The villain theme is certainly my favorite piece of music in the series. It is definitely dramatic and does a good job of building up hype for a fight. The openings are pretty lackluster though and a little worse than average. Again, the sequel series managed to improve in that area. Still, the overall soundtrack is good. I won’t call it great like the animation, but you’ll enjoy the themes and the villain music really makes up for the rest of the tracks.

Buddyfight is a great series through and through. I remember being properly hyped for the fact that Cardfight was getting a spinoff. The Cardfight cast even appears for an episode as a little cameo before getting written out. I hope to see a crossover between these two series at some point. They are certainly some of the best anime titles to have come out in the last few years and have helped to bring card game shows into the light once again. With those two going on alongside Yugioh Arc V, it’s a good time to be a trading card fan. Now, we just need Buddyfight to get its first film.

Buddyfight is a very light toned show for the most part. For a while, there isn’t much danger so the characters just have fun dueling. As expected, things began to get serious during the second half of the series and Buddyfight was able to bring us some thrilling and emotional battles by the end. Some of the fights between Tasuku and Gao at the end were amazing along with Tasuku’s battle against the enemy. The scene where the Reverse Dragonic Punisher first appears is one that you won’t forget in a hurry and it was certainly one of the best animated scenes of the series. The show really had some good variety when it came time for the duels.

As I mentioned in the intro, the pacing can be a little iffy sometimes. Buddyfight is the kind of show that doesn’t mind having several rematches and seeing the same characters fight too often can take away from the excitement. It’s similar to how I never like to see someone duel twice in a row in Cardfight because we will have just seen the deck. That happens quite a bit here, but luckily the duels are so fast paced that it is typically okay. I think that the show slowed down considerably towards the middle of the series, but the strong beginning and ending kept it in the great category. Buddyfight 100 is starting to make the same mistake though except that it has a weak beginning so far. I’m confident that it will be able to get past this issue.

In the end though, where does Buddyfight rank among the other card shows? Welllll…it would have to be in last by default. It loses to Cardfight and all of the various Yugioh Series that I’ve seen. I’m confident that it would beat the original Yugioh though and if we count it, Capsule Monsters as well. Considering the fact that Buddyfight is still a great show, you can see how steep the competition is in this genre.
Overall, Buddyfight was a really fun watch from start to finish. Finally, we had another original franchise that was introduced to the market and ended up being a big success. It’s hard to state just how excited I was so see a new series on the air. I was confident from the start that it would be really good and I got to watch it weekly from day one thanks to the official Youtube site. Nowadays, it’s hard to create a new franchise out of the blue that still ends up being so good. Buddyfight was over 50 episodes, which gave it a lot of time to flesh out the characters and give us some good stories to go along with the fights. The animation was very good and the soundtrack was good enough to make sure that it was an epic anime in all categories. Even if Buddyfight temporarily faltered at some points, It’s a show that excelled so much that this is barely noticeable. The sequel will have a very tough time taking it down. I highly recommend this series to all fans and you won’t be disappointed upon checking it out!

Overall 8/10

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

Yugioh Zexal Review

Yugioh is currently the greatest franchise of all time. It has exceled in every area and that is a feat which is nearly impossible to match. It currently possesses the greatest movie of all time and the greatest TV show of all time. Yugioh also has another 9 star show in 5Ds and a great title in the original. The video games have been terrific and R/Duelist ensure that the manga section is elite as well. From this, you can probably see why Zexal has so much pressure on it. Zexal probably has the worst rep from all of the main shows, but it is debatable as many people do not like GX with a passion. Zexal ended up being a great show, but it is safe to say that it could never end up reaching the same level as any of the previous three shows. A fate similar to that if Cardfight G at the moment.

The show takes place many years after 5Ds. Technically, it may not be in continuity, but there are enough nods that we can essentially place it in the timeline. Just in an unofficial way like Avengers Assemble. The story follows a kid named Yuma as he goes through his days striving to high five the sky. He is a terrible duelist, but he never gives up and has a lot of fun. One day, he gets a pendant and a spirit named Astral appears. The spirit has lost his memories and needs to recover the 100 Number Cards to get them back. Naturally, Yuma decides to help and Astral decides to make him a better duelist along the way.

The first arc mainly deals with a large tournament. Mr. Heartland is one of the organizers and it is safe to say that he is corrupt. His boss wants to do something shifty with the numbers and he coerces number hunter, Kite, to join the fray as well. Throw in a bunch of other characters and we’ve got quite a tournament. Can Yuma defeat all of these fighters!?

The second arc deals with the Barian Emperors. They have arrived on Earth and wish to destroy Astral and his world along with him. Yuma will have to level up his dueling abilities even more if he is going to defeat them, but things get personal when he finds out that there may be a traitor or two in his midst. His bonds of friendship are shaken to the core. How can Yuma fight for his friends when they may not even be his friends!? The stakes get higher in this arc and it is also a lot darker. I definitely can’t forget the arc opener…that was intense!

Zexal distinguishes itself from the other Yugioh series with how exaggerated the dueling is. Not that the stakes are the highest or anything like that, but you can do almost anything in a single turn. Need to summon 6-8 monsters at once? Not a problem! Need to do the triple fusion to build the overlay network and summon your favorite monster on the first turn? No worries, you can even deal some damage while you are at it. The combos are seriously overpowered here. It is to the point where you need a dynamite hand from the start or else you are doomed. Luckily, the duelists have luck and Shining Draw skills on their side.
To counter all of the monster combos, we have constant traps at the ready. There are likely more trap battles here than in the rest of the franchise. Duelists are constantly playing spell and trap cards so often that it feels like a classic DBZ fight! “Are you done?” “Almost, but first I activate…” This happens soooo many times during the series. I thought it was overdone, but I suppose that spell and trap cards are fun to use. It makes for sone great boasts during the duel.

There are quite a few deux ex machinas to be found as Yuma will unveil a new card at just the right time! He also got some new cards when he first leveled up into his Super Saiyan form. A pretty good bonus if you ask me! This is regrettable, but I know that it is pretty hard to avoid considering how strong the villains are at times. The new cards are typically fun, which is always good.

The new gimmick that is added to the actual duels is that you can now Exceed summon. It is similar to fusion and it’s almost the same thing. The main difference is that your monsters need to be the same level. You don’t need to tune them or activate a card to fuse the monsters, the levels just have to align and then you’ve got a new monster at the ready to help out! It’s not a bad gimmick and it’s fairly easy to use. It’s a lot better than Cardfight G’s gimmick, but it’s probably not quite as fun as Synchro Summoning. Also, the show’s exaggerated play style points out the holes in this technique as you can seriously take advantage of the new way of summoning. It was still a fun addition to watch while it was around though.

Zexal’s animation is big, bold, and bright. Similar to how the 90’s comics loved their exaggerated panels and colorful designs, Zexal takes a similar approach. Other anime that have basically done this include Saint Seiya Omega and Digimon Fusion. It is certainly not my favorite style and I prefer something more streamlined like Yugioh GX, but I suppose that it works well enough. The animation is still pretty good even if it is not great. Some episodes spared no expense like Kite’s first duel or some of the big budget battles that would pop up now and again. You certainly would not mistake this for being an older title and it took advantage of the many energy attacks that were present. Unfortunately, a lot of the monsters still manage to be in total CGI, which looks significantly less impressive. Nothing beats watching a hand drawn monster appear to take names and beat up on the opponents. It’s a lot more satisfying to watch after all.

Zexal’s soundtrack is certainly one area where it does not impress. Most of the themes are fairly generic and you will forget them very easily. Most of the tunes aren’t bad, but it just felt like no real effort was put into them. That being said, you will probably start to like them by the time you are done with the show. You will have heard them many times after all and since the array of themes is rather limited, they have to keep playing them for each battle.
Kite is the best character of the show so we may as well talk about him first. He is Yuma’s true rival in the show although you can make the case for Shark as well. Kite uses a Photon deck and what is unique about it is that he rarely exceed summons. He prefers to fight with more traditional techniques like tribute summoning. His Neo Galaxy Eyes dragon is a true beast and a worthy opponent to come up against. I liked Kite right from the start and his ability to manipulate the flow of time was excellent. He provided the show with a good enemy and he is probably the only human who was able to help a lot in the final battle while on his own. It doesn’t get much better than facing someone while in outer space!

Shark was Yuma’s first rival although I would argue that Kite fits the roll a little better. Shark duels rather early on in the series, but then he takes a backseat for a while. It is hard to say why, but if just felt like Shark wasn’t around as often as the others until the Barian arc. He did have quite a few important duels and he was in the climax so I am not sure why I get that feeling. Either way, by the end of the series he is easily in second or third as far as the most influential characters go. (Minus Astral)

Shark is a good rival. He lost rather quickly as a lot of shows like to have the hero beat the rival in the first episodes, but things went up for him from there. He was definitely one of the more likable heroes. Then, the final arc happened. Let’s just say that the “I fight for my friends” idea was thrown out the window. Shark was torn between his loyalties to Earth and his real home. Ultimately, he decides to choose the latter and that would have been ok if handled differently.

The problem is that there is no good reason for Shark’s last few decisions. He wants to protect some people, but he is conveniently forgetting that those people have been causing damage and mayhem in the city. He should also know that Yuma and co are not planning on doing anything drastic so they could all talk about this. Unfortunately, Astral is also very frustratingly extreme on the issue, which does not help. The whole climax could have been avoided if Shark had simply agreed with Yuma. That way everyone would coexist in peace. Astral’s clan wanted war as well, but it would be easy for Yuma to calm them down since he did save them a while back. Ah well, Shark still proves himself to be a very good duelist and he still did help out a lot. He is easily one of the best heroes for the first arc and he is an intimidating fighter in the final one. We can’t really call him a hero anymore though since he destroyed another hero and attempted to destroy an entire race.

Yuma is the main character of the show and he upholds the tradition of most Yugioh leads having a name that begins with a Y. Jaden may have not confirmed to this tradition, but he is Jaden. His skills allow him to write his own legacy. Yuma is pretty bad at dueling when the show first starts. He is probably worse than normal Yugi was at the time although it is probably debatable. As the series progresses, Yuma becomes a pro in his own right. I would certainly still consider Yugi, Jaden, and Yusei to be better duelists, but Yuma’s deck is probably better than Yugi’s (Minus the God Cards) and Yusei’s. Yuma’s many variations of Utopia will serve him well. Yuma’s deck has an incredible number of cards as new ones keep on popping up whenever he is in a pinch.

Yuma is the only lead in Yugioh who gets multiple super forms as the series progresses. His first form is probably the best as he becomes a Super Saiyan! That was definitely pretty awesome. Naturally, his forms come with their own special abilities like Shining Draw. Shining Draw is very useful as it allows you to draw any card that you want. This naturally shifts the balance of power in any duel. I am inclined to believe that Yuma also gets a degree of flight, super strength, and speed, but it is a little hard to verify.

As for his personality, Yuma is a decent lead. I prefer my main characters to be more confident and talented, but Yuma still has other good traits. He never gives up on his friends as shown in his final duels with Vector, Shark, and Astral. He’s definitely a hero and Yuma would never destroy a villain. He tries to see the good inside of every character. Yuma may take it to extremes, but at least you know that you can certainly trust him in a pinch! When he is serious, Yuma can be a real threat as a duelist and his skill progression was handled rather well. If he could have fewer comic relief scenes at times, he would be an even better lead.

Astral is a ghost who accompanies Yuma for the duration of the series. He lost his memories and he needs Yuma to get them back. The two heroes have a number of good adventures, but Astral still keeps his original goal in mind. He wants the complete destruction of Barian World. Nothing Yuma says will change his mind so they eventually engage in a duel. It is rather disappointing to see how low Astral has gotten in that final duel. There is a twist which suggests that Astral may have just been testing Yuma, but I still wonder about that. If Yuma had not that the proven the heart of the cards was with him, I think we may have had to say goodbye to Barian World.
Astral’s gimmick is that he’s new to Earth so he asks a lot of questions and makes observations. I don’t tend to care for a character like that and Astral may be a pro, but he’s the kind of guy who rarely makes his own decisions and simply listens to the corrupt men in charge. He never ended up being a good character for me, but he could have been a lot worse. At least he fought when the going got tough.

Dr. Faker was one of the first big villains of the series. He was never a favorite of mine, but he had a pretty nifty super form. He also gave us one of the best battles of the series, which was a lot of fun. That being said, he just didn’t have a great design and lacked the personality needed to make a villain really threatening. I would say that Vetrix was an improvement, but not really. Zexal really struggled with the villains in the first part of the series. Vetrix’s voice took away any mystery that he could have had. His deck was pretty handy though and it was certainly dangerous. That just didn’t make him a great villain.

I’m afraid that Yuma’s friends weren’t great. Bronk was your average bully who wasn’t good at dueling, but eventually became Yuma’s friend. Unfortunately, his skills never got better. Flip, Caswell, and Cathy were around, but they never helped out or became likable characters either. Tori is the main heroine of the series and she does her best to cheer Yuma on, but the show missed its big opportunity by never really letting her duel. This means that she was relegated to the background and never had much of an impact on the story.

Rio is Shark’s sister and she doesn’t really get to appear until the start of the second part of the show. She is a very good duelist and a nice supporting character to have around. Finally, we had a friend who could duel! Unfortunately, that was around when the twist about the Barian Emperors came around so her days as a hero were very limited. She was a tough duelist until the end though and her ice deck was fun.

Dextra was one of the allies/rivals from the early part of the series along with Nistro. They faded away in the final arc, but they still tried to help. Dextra was a good character although she never got to do all that much and her overall fight record wasn’t that great. Nistro talks a good game, but his actual skills aren’t quite as good as he would like to think. He still put up a good fight against one of the Barian Emperors, but he was doomed from the start.

Quattro tries to be like a rival to Shark in the series. He doesn’t duel the guy enough for us to really count it, but that’s what his personality is like. He mellows out after the first arc though and manages to be more likable than Trey, but not quite as cool as Quinton. It’s almost hard to imagine how he could have become so nice after he was so evil at first, but it just shows that he had some fast character development. He was a fun supporting character.

I didn’t really care for Trey though. He was the nice guy of the group, but he was tricked rather easily and this leads to disagreements with Yuma. He does help Yuma out of a few jams though so his helpfulness should not be overlooked. Most of the other heroes aren’t quite as useful when push comes to shove. Quinton is still the best of the group and it isn’t just because he has one of the coolest number cards. He’s a good duelist right up until the end and he puts up a good fight against Mizar, which is more than most of the other characters can say. He has an air of confidence about him and that makes Quinton a worthy hero to have on one’s side.

Dumon is one of the nicer Barian Emperors. He’s actually very reasonable and if the other emperors weren’t always looking for a fight, the heroes could have likely made peace through him. It wasn’t to be though and unfortunately, Dumon is also one of the weaker ones. His deck simply wasn’t very imaginative, but his design was cool. Mizar is easily one of the cooler Barian Emperors and I remember how epic his first appearance was. After having to watch Girag for so long, I was thrilled to have someone around who could fight. It was also the first time that Shark, Kite, and Yuma had gathered together in quite a while. Mizar’s Galaxy Eyes made for a great monster and while he may have been cannon fodder for the final boss, Mizar never backed down.

Girag is one of the Barian Emperors and he’s one of the main reasons why the show got off to a slow start at first. (Minus the first episode) It’s really hard to take him seriously and he’s actually a fairly weak duelist. His number isn’t very impressive and he spends a lot of time getting taken out or simply relying on minions. It’s a good thing that he had other emperors to back him up. Alito was a decent one who used to be a bit of a boxer. His deck was the most normal out of the emperors as he didn’t rely on a lot of fancy tricks to win. He simply hit hard and hit fast. Alito’s certainly a little gullible and it can be sad to see him turn on Yuma so suddenly, but he ultimately realizes that he has to fight to win. Behind Mizar and Vector and Nash and Rio……he is the best one…which is sort of saying something right?
We also can’t forget Dark Astral. He was a pretty fun villain to have. It was also a fun plot since we didn’t know that numbers could have a will of their own before that moment occurred. He got several power ups and proved to be a thorn in the side of the heroes for quite some time. I liked his character a lot and his ending wasn’t very satisfying, but you certainly can’t say that he didn’t have a lot of action before that. He got to fight quite a few times and he displayed a whole lot of power while he was around. He was a very threatening villain to be sure.

Eliphas was one of the big members of Astral World and the only one who could fight aside from Astral. His design was very good and you could certainly tell that he was a threat to any duelist. His cards weren’t very overpowered or anything, he was simply a very good duelist. It was fun to see him upgrade his monsters over and over again to be sure. He’s a rather unreasonable character and one of the main reasons why Astral ended up making some bad decisions. I certainly can’t call Eliphas a hero, but he made for a fun villain although his appearances were brief.

Mr. Heartland is one of those characters who will leave you in suspense for a while. He appears a lot in the show, but he rarely ever gets to duel. He gets an intriguing super form in Zexal II, but it certainly didn’t help me become a fan of him. He was another uninteresting villain. Meanwhile, Yuma’s Dad seemed like a good character, but his plot never really went anywhere. It seems like he’s still alive of course, but he just never checks in on Yuma. He prefers to help from the shadows, but he certainly could have helped the heroes save the planet if he had wanted too. I’m not sure how much of a duelist he is, but I’m willing to bet that he was a powerful one.

Vector is one of the biggest villains and also one of the best ones. He uses trickery to make the heroes lower their guards before striking. He’s an excellent duelist as well so you shouldn’t underestimate him either. In terms of raw power, he was easily one of the biggest threats that Yuma had to face. It’s a good thing for the hero that they’re just facing each other in a duel right? Vector spends most of the season pretending to be Yuma’s ally and his scheme works rather well. It’s pretty disheartening for the heroes to find a traitor in their midst, but that’s just how smooth Vector is. His Barian form was certainly cool. Shark should have been a little more alert when around this guy, but in the end, the heroes were ready for his tricks. Without him, it would have been very hard to have taken the Barian Emperors seriously. I’d say that Shark is still the best villain, but it’s between Vector and the upcoming villain for second place.

Don Thousand is the ultimate villain of this series and he was an epic way to end the series. He wasn’t the actual final boss that Yuma had to face, but he felt like it. His true form looks like something you would see out of Toriko and his deck doesn’t disappoint in how powerful it is. Don Thousand can actually rewrite reality thanks to one of his spell cards so he can change your card into another one. It’s the kind of ability that is almost impossible to stop and it’s a lot of fun to see how powerful a card can be. He can certainly hold his own against any other final boss in the Yugioh franchise and he’s also one of the cooler ones. It was seriously fun to watch him duel.

One area where Zexal surpassed the other Yugioh series was in how many filler or “filler” episodes that it had. Some of the battles may have technically been important for the number cards, but they were effectively filler. This happens for most of Yuma’s early tournament battles as well as his early days and even the Barian Emperor had some when Yuma had to fight random people who were taken over by Barian Force. The filler episodes certainly slowed the pacing down and weren’t as exciting as the big episodes. As such, you need to be a big fan of the actual dueling or that will hurt the experience for you a bit. We have a whole episode about Yuma dueling a guy who liked tomatoes and Yuma has to eat them during the duel. It’s pretty surreal.

As with most Yugioh series, the tone is very light at first, but then things get serious towards the end. It’s almost a tradition at this point that the whole supporting cast has to be eliminated towards the end. It happened in GX, and now it happened here. Okay…that’s two out of 4 series, but we’ll see what happens once Arc V arrives. Either way, the stakes were certainly very high. Perhaps not quite as much as GX, which was the original, but still higher than you would have guessed from the beginning.

The climax of each arc is also pretty great as you would expect. I actually preferred the first big battle as it was Kite, Shark, and Yuma against the villain in season 1. Season 2 couldn’t top that so it was just Shark and Yuma against the villain. Still really epic of course, but nothing beats a 3 on 1 duel. The animation and tension greatly improved in Zexal II so it really did put out all of the stops. One of the reasons why Yugioh always has such a great climax is because it already established all of the characters early on in the series. This means that you will be caring about each duel at the end and the stakes keep getting higher and higher. Also, I still have to say that the first episode of Zexal II was brilliant, so brilliant that it holds up against the climax as well.

Zexal is well over 100 episodes, which is a pretty good size. It’s shorter than 5D’s, which was shorter than GX, which was shorter than the original Yugioh, but I’m satisfied as long as we continue to crack 100 episodes. As I already mentioned, it’s not quite as good as the first three shows either, but it’s still a great show. It’s simply tough to top those legends as the first three Yugioh series were basically all stars. The main reason why Zexal can’t top them is because the soundtrack, animation, and duels are typically not as good as say, 5D’s. Ah well, it’s not the newest kid on the block now so a little pressure will leave it for a while.
Overall, Yugioh Zexal is a great show despite its flaws. It easily cracked the 8 stars rating and exceeded expectations that may have been had after the first episodes. We got lot of great duels. The animation was very good and the soundtrack had some good moments although it was certainly unimpressive. Zexal may be at the bottom of the hill for now, but once Arc V starts in America, it should be able to move up a spot. At the very least, I don’t see it passing Zexal until it has 50+ episodes. If you liked the other Yugioh titles, I recommend this one. The card fighting can be a tad exaggerated in their constant traps, but it will be a long, yet fun ride. Even if you just want a fun action title that is fairly light, this is a good bet. Watch out for the statue reference to GX.

Overall 8/10

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

Soul Eater Review

Soul Eater is one of those titles that you have definitely heard of, but may not have seen. It’s simply around and every anime fan gets around to watching it at some point. It’ll either live up to the hype or it won’t. I’d say that it ended up being a very good show. It had a bit of a rocky beginning and a rocky middle, but most of the series is simply very good. It has certainly earned its solid reputation as a great action show.

The kids study at Death Academy on how to be great meisters/weapons. There are two types of people in this world. Those who are born as sentient weapons and those who are the normal humans who control them. We have 7 main characters, three humans and four weapons. They just want to be the very best and a weapon’s ultimate dream is to consume 100 souls so that they can become a Death Weapon. So, they go around vanquishing evil spirits, which takes up most of the pre arc. The first real arc involves the witch known as Medusa. She has assembled a team of super villains (Naturally, one of them is a Werewolf) to infiltrate Death Academy and awaken the ultimate evil of legend….The Kishin. Death can’t have this so he sends the kids after her. Let’s see if they can do this!

The second arc is much more complex as we have a lot of plots lying around. Medusa is still up to her evil tricks, but she is no longer the main target of the heroes. That honor goes to her sister, Arachne. She wants the Kishin’s madness to consume the entire Earth and she has a very large organization that will do her bidding. Each of the heroes is currently facing his/her demons so they’re rather preoccupied at the moment. Trust has been broken and many old villains are showing up as well. With one of their comrades going off the deep end, Death City’s inhabitants may be stretched too thin to really do anything about this predicament.

First off, let’s look as the music in this show. Soul Eater’s soundtrack is definitely great and I’d give it a 4/5. Both of its openings are catchy and rank up there with the best openings. The second one in particular is a pretty fast paced rock song that transitions pretty well from fast to slow and vice versa. A pretty good battle theme is also used a few times throughout the series. One scene that comes to mind on this is Maka’s battle against Jack The Ripper. I instantly loved the song and that was only the start of the epic array of themes to come. Black Star’s theme is a very good inspirational piece and Death The Kid’s works well for fights. It actually does feature rapping, but you are too focused on the battle to hear what is being said. So, I can’t totally vouch for it but it works in the moment.

Soul Eater’s animation is definitely very good. It isn’t as flashy as you would expect for a modern battle anime, but it makes up for this with how smoothly the scenes transition from one moment to the next. No shortcuts are taken with the animation here so you can look forward to some great fights. You definitely feel the blows as if this was one of the great shows from the 90’s. The character designs are top notch as well and I don’t recall any bad animation here.

Speaking of the fights in the series, Soul Eater has a pretty diverse selection going for it. The three main characters have different fighting styles that help to make fights against the same person feel different. A good example of this is Krona. He battles Maka and Death The Kid, a short range and a long range fighter. Needless to say, it is a pretty fun contrast. (Even if Kid was using a lot of hand to hand in that battle…) There are a lot of characters in the series so there is never a long period without action. The longest period that I can think of would be the start of Arc 2 and that was one of the lowest moments for the show. The battles against Crona and Mifune are typically the highlights of the series, but we can’t forget about Medusa or the Kishin either!

Unfortunately the show does fall into the fanservice trap. This is particularly present in the first few episodes and then it starts to die down. The author probably just wanted some quick ratings so he choose to take this route, but it is never the right call. We have the generic hot springs scene, and many chest gags that can be pretty sad to watch. I think it is safe to say that my hopes for the series were pretty dimmed after the first 3 episodes. There is still some of this in the series as it goes on, but it rarely happens so I’m glad that the show managed to nearly eliminate this negative by the end.

The overall atmosphere of the show is pretty similar to Blue Exorcist or early Naruto for the most part. The series is pretty light with a lot of serious fights. This changes in arc 2 of the show. It tries to be a lot more solemn and dark, which doesn’t totally work. We get a whole episode about Stein turning crazy and another episode about Medusa wrecking lives as she shape shifts. Those are 2 of the episodes that I remember disliking and there may have been a few more before the show hits its stride again. I remember watching the show stay in its slump for what felt like forever, but I had been watching it weekly so it probably wasn’t all that bad. A few episodes was all that it was before the show went back to what it did best, solid fight scenes! The tone shift does work at some points though like with the brilliant endings, but other episodes are simply wasted. This show may have the record for the most episodes in a row with a great cliffhanger. The climax is full of them and it is great. Once again, I have to mention the end theme for the episodes. It’s easily the best end theme of all time and I doubt that it’ll lose that title anytime soon.
Maka is basically the main character here and she is definitely a good character. She has her flaws to be sure and I ultimately prefer Black Star, but she does beat Kid. She likes to study and she is determined to become a great Meister while the other main characters typically do not care or worry about such things. She becomes obsessed with stopping Medusa as the series comes to a close and it definitely upgrades her as a character. Unfortunately, her rage moments typically do not help her claim victory. She has to battle a lot in her soul to keep from getting infected with the madness and the fear abilities that the villains use and it is definitely a weakness for her. She ends the series on a high note and that’s always a good thing.

One of the reasons why she is a good character is that she is very well rounded. She has her issues to be sure, but none of them involve her going too far or doing something that would make me lose respect for her. She still strives to be a hero and she gets a lot of great moments during her fights. I’d compare her to Misaka from Railgun. I’m still more of a Misaka fan, but Maka’s pros and cons are pretty similar to the thunder lead. A lesser main character could have hurt the series since characters are very important here so the author did a good job of choosing her as the main member from the three groups.

Soul is her partner and he always likes to be cool. He can turn any part pf himself into a blade, which definitely comes in handy during a fight. He has even more trouble with the dark side than Maka and it overpowers him more than once. He still does manage to get through it in the end and he is a pretty loyal friend. He is definitely another solid character. It would have been cool to have seen him fight on his own some more, but he is used to being a team player. He actually has a backstory, but the show never really goes into it. It just pops up once in a while.

Black Star is the best character in the show and it isn’t even close. I have to say that his voice definitely clashed with his personality at first. One can make the case that it still clashes and that I have just gotten used to it. It is hard to say for certain if that is the case, but I still do like the voice now. (I can definitely admit that Kirito’s voice would have been a lot more appropriate) He is a lot like the Naruto from the old days. He prefers to fight someone than to think of strategic ways to win and he is always brimming with confidence. Unlike Naruto, you can safely say that Black Star is an all star right from the get go. One can make the case that he is definitely the strongest from the main three pairs and I would agree. He doesn’t hesitate to abandon protocol to avenge his friends like when he attacked the enemy base on his own. He has all of the traits that you would want to see in a great character and any appearance by him is typically awesome.

Kid is a pretty good character for the most part. You really just have to ignore his first appearance and then he’s a pretty solid hero. His fighting style is pretty unique and I actually don’t mind his symmetry gimmick. I do think that it can be very overdone at some points since he’s more interested in that then fighting, but that goes away during his serious fights of course. One frustrating thing with this character is that he is said to be very powerful, but we rarely get to see him exhibit this. Either he’s holding back or there’s not a tough character for him to fight against. His final smash during one of the final episodes isn’t all that impressive considering how long it takes him to charge up the move. He’s pretty good, but he’s definitely more suited to being one of the supporting character than the main character. He wouldn’t be able to hold his own series the way that Maka or Black Star could.

His father may be Death/Shinigami, but he’s not as cool as you may expect. We learn that he was a pretty fierce fighter back in the day, but he didn’t want to scare the kids so he decided to start being more of a comic relief character. That doesn’t really change so that’s how he acts for the whole series. He does get a pretty good fight against the Kishin though so he does add to the story. He’s also pretty shady in the second arc and you start to consider that he may actually be an antagonist. He’s not bad compared to most comic relief characters, but he would have been more fun in his true form. It’s a shame that we only get to see it in flashbacks.

Professor Stein is the teacher for the main characters so his role is similar to Kakashi’s. He’s meant to be a pretty experienced and level headed fighter who bails the kids out of a tough spot once in a while. The problem is that he’s just not as likable as Kakashi. One of the reasons why I could never be a fan of him is the fact that his gimmick is a little too evil. He likes to dissect things and people and it’s something that he never gets over. It’s typically used in comic relief of course, but then he gets a subplot in arc 2 about the madness consuming him. Let’s just say that his willpower is not enough to help him out and he keeps on reverting to his old ways. He definitely looks good when he fights, but he hinders the heroes a whole lot more than he actually helps them. I’d take Captain Bravo from Buso Renkin over Stein any day…and Bravo made a huge error of his own at the end of the series.
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Sid is an assassin on the side of the heroes and he’s not bad, but he’s not great either. He’s your average “government lackey” character who just follows orders without asking questions. He’ll do anything that the Shinigami asks him to do without hesitation. He definitely doesn’t mind destroying his foes and that’s why he’ll never be a true hero. He’s just a hit man who happens to side with justice..for as long as the Shinigami does anyway. I also probably dislike the fact that he gets a little too much hype sometimes. There’s no way I can believe him taking on Mifune in an even fight. That’s just not going to happen and he actually holds his own for a while…the very definition of plot hax!

Crona is definitely one of the more interesting characters in the show. His first fight with Maka is pretty great and then he gets a few other battles as the series goes on. He looks pretty bad in the final fight, but we were already in filler land and the writers wanted him out of the way. As far as his personality goes, Crona isn’t all that likable. He’s pretty easy to manipulate and he’s not the kind of guy who will charge at the enemy with unwavering confidence. The madness consumes him pretty easily and he makes quite a few bad decisions throughout the series. I definitely don’t like him as a character, but he makes for a great villain. He’s one of the strongest in the series and you always get excited when you see him challenge one of the heroes. The show teased at a Black Star vs Crona battle, but it was not to be. I have to say that the battle could have had the potential to have been the best in the series, but the battle that we did get was still pretty good so I guess it was worth it. (Black Star got the short end of the stick though since he fought a pretty weak opponent)

Tsubaki is Black Star’s partner and she gets more development than the others. She’s always very polite, which helps her put up with Black Star’s big talk about becoming the greatest someday. Naturally, this means that she has a tragic history and she gets her own episode about it. We get to see how she can do battle without a meister and she’s definitely a tough weapon. She’s definitely more likable than Kid’s partners although I think Soul is still better. Tsubaki’s a weapon that you definitely want to have on your side.

Patricia and Elizabeth are the partners of Kid and they’re easily the worst ones. I don’t actually like either one of them. One of them plays the role of the happy fighter who is usually very sweet, but can turn serious at any moment and the other one is afraid of ghosts. They just don’t add anything to the show. They have a backstory, but it’s only briefly looked at so it barely counts. I think the author was probably just running out of main character ideas so they were just thrown in at the end. Still, not all of the weapons can be great right?

Marie joins the series towards the end and she’s one of the legendary Death Scythes so she’s definitely powerful. She uses a hammer to fight although we don’t see that until we’re nearly at the final episode since she rarely does fights. She’s definitely not my favorite character in the series. She does a pretty bad job of watching over Professor Stein and then her attitude towards Crona isn’t great since she was practically begging to be betrayed. I definitely didn’t care for her from start to finish.

Justin is another Death Scythe and he has a rivalry with Giriko. They get to fight around 5 times and just about each round is a stalemate. You’d think that Giriko would quickly win since the matchup just doesn’t seem even, but I guess Justin is just tougher than he looks. His attacks are all pretty fancy and he’s always listening to music. It’s a pretty fun gimmick and he definitely loves to mess with Giriko. He’s probably a little too devoted to helping the Shinigami out since he treats him like a god, but he’s still a pretty good character.

Spirit is definitely a bad character and he also doesn’t add anything to the story. He’s the Shinigami’s partner so he makes for a good weapon, but his personality is annoying. He’s like James Bond and Captain Kirk in that he’s always into physical desires without worrying about nobility. There’s a reason why his daughter isn’t a big fan of his. It’s heavily implied that his playing around is why he ended up getting divorced. He tries to have some cool moments, but I definitely didn’t like him.

Excalibur is an intriguing character who pops up once in a while. He gets two episodes devoted to himself so he’s probably a fan favorite. He likes to talk a lot, but anyone who can get past this will gain a whole lot of power. It’s never been used in a serious situation, but that’s just because nobody can deal with him. Excalibur seems to like annoying people so he may even be doing it on purpose. Unfortunately, this means that he’s basically a filler character. He’s decent, but he just doesn’t add anything to the show.

Time for the 3 big villains of the show. Asura, also known as the Kishin, gets a pretty big role in the climax of both arcs. He’s a powerful fighter and his fighting style is similar to the average DBZ villain’s. He shoots a lot of energy blasts and he’s also good at hand to hand combat. Unfortunately, he turns into a huge being at one point so his fight scenes take a slight dip, but they are typically pretty great. He’s a solid fighter, but he’s a pretty bad villain. He’s afraid of just about everything and the way that he loses is pretty bad. Ah well, I guess I’ll still take the fights!

Arachne is the mastermind behind the second arc, but she mostly hides behind her minions. When push comes to shove, Asura and Medusa are great fighters. Arachne seems like she is a tough fighter based on her first appearance where her nail is able to block a blade, but it seems like that was just fake hype. She never looks impressive like that in the show after her initial appearance. It’s definitely disappointing for her fans since she had started out on such a high note. Everything went crashing down for her from there. She’s definitely not my kind of villain either.
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Luckily, Medusa is much better than the other two villains. She convincingly plays all of the heroes for potatoes as she infiltrates the school as a nurse. Her vector plates make for a very lethal ability since she can combine it with her striking power. A single cut can do a lot of damage and it’s tough to dodge her attacks when you have to watch your step as well. She’s definitely pure evil and she’s always thinking of a way to make life miserable for someone. Medusa always talks tough and she’s basically how you would picture an enemy leader. She always has a backup plan in case things go sour and it’s really hard to take her down for good. As long as one piece of her remains, you can bet that she’ll survive. The one thing that hurts her character is really that she forces us to watch an animal violence scene. It’s the only one that I can remember although there may be more. It’s still pretty sad either way since it was rather unnecessary. Beyond that, she’s a pretty good villain.

Giriko is pretty tough and I definitely liked him as a villain. He’s very skilled and he typically overwhelms the heroes with his razor sharp attacks. He can move at high speeds without any difficulty and he can keep on fighting for long periods of time. He is also not afraid to talk back to the higher ups and he’s constantly antagonizing Mosquito. He’s the rival type of villain that you always look forward to in a show. (Like Grimmjow) It’s a tough call, but I’d say that he’s the best villain in the show.

Mifune is Black Star’s rival and they get to fight several times. That’s one of the perks about a show being 51 episodes, there’s plenty of time for rematches. Their fights are all pretty great although I’ll always consider Black Star to be the better fighter. I can safely say that he doesn’t win all of the fights so that can be a little hard to take. The third fight also heads into dicey territory as Black Star starts to lose it, but luckily we get a shonen moment to diffuse that. Mifune is pretty noble and he’s only on the side of evil to protect a little kid. She’s definitely a liability for him and the villains take advantage of it. So, I guess he’ll still be in the villain category for now, but he’s very likable and it would be nice to see him team up with the heroes someday.

Mosquito is one of Arachne’s minions and he’s decently tough. He has a rivalry with Giriko so it’s nice to see that he’s not just all talk. He can transform his body to past states, which can be very useful since he was an excellent fighter back in the day. The anime doesn’t get to show off all of his forms since it diverged, but he still looks good. It’s hard to buy the fact that he is holding off all three of the main characters, but I guess that’s some good hype for him. He’s a pretty good villain.

Eruka mostly gets spends her time getting bullied by Medusa the whole time. Her fate is pretty sad in the series and especially when you consider the fact that there really isn’t a way out for her. She got into this witch business and now she’s paying the price. She’s not a good fighter so she mostly just executes the peaceful parts of the plan. Like blackmailing other villains and infiltrating hideouts. She’s definitely not my kind of villain though.

Free is a werewolf who is pretty skilled. He can regenerate, which comes in handy and he has a pretty unique cube ability. He can’t really control it though so he can be a risky ally to have in a fight. He’s also the kind of guy who typically loses. It’s just hard to have confidence in him even though he’s technically powerful. His strength and speed are considerable and he was able to take on Maka and Black Star at once. We know that he’s pretty evil from his back story, but on screen he actually seems like a pretty likable character. He’s definitely one of the more fun villains.

Blair is a witch who appears in the first episode of the show and she’s not a great character. She is mainly used for fanservice and she rarely ever gets to fight. When she does, it’s typically against a weak villain so she’s not really contributing all that much. She’s technically a strong fighter, but she just doesn’t show off her abilities very often. The show would be better off without her.

Soul Eater diverges from the manga during arc 2, which was definitely a risky move. It paid off in a few ways like Maka’s new super form and the array of epic cliffhangers, but there were many ways were it failed. One of them was the fact that Arachne was basically thrown to the wayside and the ending of the series is also very anti climatic. I’ve never seen an anime end with plot hax that was out in the open like this one. Usually, there is some subtlety in how it’s handled, but not here. Let’s just say that the power of friendship wrapped in a punch will always be able to save the day. It’s fun for the main characters, but it’s definitely not a great way to end the series. I haven’t finished the manga yet, but it’s safe to say that the manga route is better thus far. The show probably would have had a better time if it had stayed true to the manga since it would have avoided some of the episodes during the slump, but I still did love a lot of the cliffhangers and epic moments at the end. There are pros and cons to it naturally so you can look through this paragraph and see if the pros outweigh the cons or not. We definitely missed out on a lot of new villains with the filler ending, but at least the Kishin finally got to fight.
Overall, Soul Eater is a very good show. We get several glimpses of greatness from it and it would have been an easy 8 if not for a slump that lasted for a few episodes and the excessive fan service in the earlier episodes. Those do take it down a few notches to the point where it was a tough decision. It is safe to say that Soul Eater can defeat most of the other 7 star shows and that it would lose to the average 8. I think it can squeak by to the higher rating and I just advise you to be wary of the first three episodes….or just skip them altogether. I definitely recommend this title if you can get past the early fanservice and don’t mind the dark tone that comes in for a few episodes. Beyond that, it is basically nonstop action with a very interesting cast of characters. The great soundtrack and animation also help the show to stand out in a crowd. Afterwards, we will see how you think it compares to Naruto.

Overall 8/10

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

Scan 2 Go Review

Scan 2 Go is a show that I started a little over 2 years ago. It was a pretty solid series, but then it was pulled from TV…never to be shown again. Now, it has finally made it to Youtube so I got to blast through the final 7-8 episodes. Let’s just say that this is a great show that really manages to hit it out of the park in several areas. On the surface it’s just another awesome toyetic show, but it decides to go all Gurren Lagann on us in the final 2. This title is pretty obscure so let’s go over the plot first.

There’s a plot? Of course! Kaz Gordan is from Earth and he has three friends. Together, they form Team Jet and they are training to become the best racers in the universe. Scan 2 Go is a futuristic game that lets you mentally synchronize with your (tiny) toy car as you travel across dangerous tracks. The game never really hit it off on Earth, but every other planet is playing it. Kaz convinces his teacher to let Team Jet travel across the universe after he crushes him in a toy car fight. The heroes win tournament after tournament as they meet strange allies and tricky villains. There are many tournaments and training sessions throughout the show, but it’s difficult to call them actual arcs. One of the big story arcs was when the team went to Gurao to train since that’s where they got to bond with their allies. Finally, the team went back to Earth for the universal tournament. The final Grand Prix to decide who the fastest racer in the universe is. Unfortunately….an old enemy has decided to show up as well. There will be much more about that in a moment.

Scan 2 Go’s animation is actually pretty good. To an extent, I expected this, but it really shines during the space battles or really any scene with Ryu. The energy attacks are great and I’m convinced that this show could have pulled off a hand to hand battle scene. How does it stack up against other toyetic shows? I think that the animation is behind Cardfight and Buddyfight, but it beats Tenkai Knights and the original Yugioh series. Animation isn’t typically a gamechanger for a show, but it sure makes the racing scenes more exciting. I can’t say that any episodes had bad animation and that’s always a good thing.

The soundtrack for the show is one of its biggest strengths. There are technically not a whole lot of themes in the show since the old ones just play again and again and again. That’s all right though since they’re so good. From the starting theme, “Scan 1….” so Ryu’s theme, Scan 2 Go’s music selections are intense. The Ryu one is definitely intense and it makes for a very good villain theme. It’s in sharp contrast to the racing theme that typically plays since that one is very fast, but hopeful. Unfortunately, the opening isn’t very good, but this is the kind of show that can get by that thanks to all of its other strengths.

Let’s talk about Ryu. He changed the entire series, which is very impressive. Until he showed up, Kaz just had fun outracing everyone and showing them why his Falgor was the best car in the biz. That all changed when Ryu introduced the notion of racing to destroy the other competitors. His car is the fastest and the strongest in the series so none of the other racers can hope to beat him in a fair race. Luckily, that’s not what he wants anyway. He just wants to destroy the universe! As you can imagine, that was pretty shocking to see in this show. Until then, one could argue that the strongest fighters weren’t even planet busters…so how did we upgrade to universe busting?

Well, Ryu is a living embodiment of a black hole and the power gem that is on his forehead gives him additional power. His car has the ability to instantly regenerate injuries although it may just be Ryu’s ability that transfers to the car since they are fully synchronized. Ryu is so great that he actually pulls off a feat that people have been waiting for DBZ to show. He destroys a moon just by having his car ram into someone else’s. It’s a great scene and it’s pretty tragic since you’re not used to seeing other people get injured in this show. That being said, Ryu goes even farther than that.
Only one character is destroyed in the entire series and you can probably guess who did that. Ryu has a climatic battle with the greatest racer in the universe..or at least, the man who was the greatest racer in the universe. It was a very fun, high budget battle in space and we got to see both of them really put everything on the line. That was easily the darkest episode and the moment where the series had changed forever. It’s hard not to quickly begin to love Ryu as a villain. He toys with all of the heroes and he is the only one who seems to realize that their cars can be used as weapons. After all, they can shoot thunder, make tsunamis, black holes, etc. Why should they only be used in races?

Another reason why the final episodes were so great was because we finall got to see the mysterious council make their move. It really felt like a moment out of Shonen Jump when we got to see Ryu fight these new characters. They all had unique powers and they talked a good game so it was pretty great. I don’t think anyone ever questioned who would win the fight, but it was just fun to see. Ryu’s car also gets to smash through an entire army and it can move so quickly that it turns into a giant meteor.

It doesn’t stop there though as its gravity powers (Or Ryu’s) are enough to push the Moon out of orbit and send it crashing to Earth. Ryu’s universe destroying plan is also rather simple. His car just needs to win one more big race to have enough power to make a black hole big enough to suck everything in. (He absorbs the powers of those he has defeated after all) Naturally, Kaz and friends are here to stop him so it ends up being a 8-12 vs 1 matchup in the final battle. It’s pretty great to see, but the heroes sure look weak and completely out of their league compared to such a fighter.

The heroes are able to let their cars reach FTL speeds as well, although I found Ryu’s feat more impressive since he was doing it on his own. That being said, it’s intense to see them just cruising past planets on their way to victory. I also have to give the show some props since the easy way would have been to just have had Ryu die when they pushed him into the sun. Let’s just say that it’s not enough to stop him. I think that he should have been able to have just left and regrouped somewhere else, but it was pretty much impossible to stop him so they had to end everything somehow. At least the heroes got to try their luck at pushing a moon. It’s a good strength feat since we need to keep in mind that Wonder Woman, Superman, and Martian Manhunter teaming up couldn’t move the moon while the heroes from Gurao were able to move it. (Even more impressive is that the Moon was already crashing so it’s different from pushing a Moon that’s in orbit.) Other heroes come to help after that, but the heroes already got the main job done.

Now, all of this does bring to mind one big concern with the sport and why you have wonder about how safe it is. The show is rather inconsistent in showing just how synchronized you are with the car, but it seems to suggest that you feel the virtual damage that you car does. It’s why the humans will wince or groan with pain after a big attack or end up getting knocked down. They also seem to abandon the real world completely, but is this physical or just mental? At the very least, your conciousness leaves like in Sword Art Online, but other times we see the fighters just appear where the cars are. (Even if it’s thousands of miles away from the arena) So, it’s possible that their physical bodies are able to instantly warp to their cars or they are spirited away during the match. However, they stay at the racetrack at other times to trade insults with the others.

Ultimately, I don’t think that the show could really make up its mind on this. I’ll just think of it as throwing your conciousness into the car, which is why you feel the damage and wind up wherever the car is. After all, we can’t really look at Zero’s battle with Ryu any other way. How else could he breathe in space and follow Ryu there? (Ryu can breathe in space, but he’s not even human so it’s all right) I’ll just add that you can quickly go back to the real world as well or stay there the whole time depending how synched you are with your car. Naturally, this means that mind games work very well in this series.
I still haven’t mentioned what the risk of racing is have I? Well, if you feel the virtual damage, then you are put at great risk. One fighter ended up synching with his car while in space so when the car was blown up, the guy was either blown up with it or he ended up suffocating. Luckily, it seems to be the former. Another guy is obliterated by an energy blast because his car was. There’s no way that you can find this hobby safe and it makes you wonder about all of the one shot characters who got crushed throughout the series. It seems like the virtual damage doesn’t affect you if you don’t have a high synch rate so the throwaway characters might be safe, but it’s still hard to see how this sport is condoned. Maybe that’s why Earth isn’t exactly head over heels for it. Well, that’s enough about how awesome the series is for now, let’s look at the rest of the characters. (Since I basically already talked about Ryu a lot. He’s my favorite character in the series while I have to boot Kaz down to number 2)

Before Ryu took the spot, Kaz had been my favorite character in the series from the very first episode. He’s just awesome and a shining example of how I want my main characters to look. Kaz doesn’t pull any punches whether he’s racing against little kids or old men. In the very first episode he ends up beating his mentor so that he could escape Earth and race in the big leagues. It was pretty cool since the future is luckily safe enough that 10 year old kids can fly around the cosmos unchaperoned. (Unless you count their little robot friend.) Kaz always has a lot of determination and he constantly mentions how he wants to be the Fastest in the Universe. It’s a noble goal to be sure and one to be proud of. He makes quite a few rivals along the way, but he’s never outmatched for very long. His car’s special ability is that it can fly, which actually isn’t one of the better abilities, but it hasn’t failed him yet. While Ryu wields the power of darkness, Kaz holds the power of light and there are only two to three other characters who have wielded a similar power in the past. Zero and one of Kaz’s masters come to mind. Unfortunately, he only uses it a few times throughout the series and surprisingly not in the final fight. That’s a missed opportunity, but it doesn’t stop Kaz from being one of the best main characters out there. I agree with just about all of his decisions and he doesn’t make any huge mistakes throughout the series. No, Kaz is all about the win and then the team..in that order. His Galaxy Falgor is also cooler than almost every other car in the series.

Shiro is the main rival of the series, which guarantees him a spot in the top 5 of the series. He has ice abilities so he can freeze an entire battlefield and stop everyone in their tracks with minimal effort. Unfortunately, he can’t totally control this power and he ends up turning into a wolf sometimes. He seems to be part of a wolf changing species, but he looks pretty human while in..human mode. His car is pretty great since aside from ice abilities, he can also teleport. That is very handy to have in a race and it’s hard to see Shiro ever losing once he gets that power. To an extent..you’d be right, but it’s also partially because his role is lessened a whole lot by that point. By the end, he’s barely in the show anymore aside to just be in the background. No matter, he’s still a pretty great character. The only part of the show where he got to be a little annoying was when he was having a lot of internal drama and he let Ryu play him like a puppet. That was pretty sad, but luckily it was also very brief. Shiro is one of the only racers who can actually give Kaz a fight so he needs to stay in the game!

Zero is known as the greatest racer in the universe and Kaz has always wanted to surpass him. It’s a little sad that they never get to have a proper race since that would have been pretty great. Zero is essentially perfect, which irritates his rivals, but shows why he has so many fans. He doesn’t use any gimmicks or cheap tricks to win as he just races from start to finish. That being said, his decision to fight Ryu may not have been his greatest one. It was an awesome moment since Zero had gotten a whole lot of hype while Ryu was the mysterious son of the black hole. Zero put up a good fight since his car could shoot lasers and he held his own while in space. It was an admirable fight and it was a great way to wrap up his character arc. Let’s just say that I wasn’t going to forget him after that. I’d actually say that he is one of the coolest characters in the show and I’d probably place him at third behind Ryu and Kaz. That final fight certainly did a lot to help me gain respect for him.
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Fiona is the main heroine in the series and she has a long lasting rival in Hebina. Her car’s ability is that it can navigate through a race track by using its gliders to look at the stage layout, but the writers probably realized that this wasn’t much of an ability so she gains thunder powers as the series goes on. Those are very useful to be sure so I was glad that she got those new powers. She likes to think that she’s just as good as Kaz in a race, although all of his allies seem to illogically believe that to an extent. Even if Kaz proves them wrong over and over again…their honor is at stake here! She’s definitely better than Myron and Diego, but Shiro would take the number 2 spot on Team Jet…if we decide to count him. She’s definite a pretty likable ally and at least her skills are considerable. She may be top 3 as far as toyetic heroines are concerned, which is a feat in itself.

Diego is the Dex/Bud/Bronx of the show. He’s always eating except when he’s too nervous or upset to do so. His car is pretty slow, but strong. The problem is that there are several other cars that are simply stronger than his, which takes away his only gimmick. How can he hope to win a true race with such a car? Typically, his will power is just that much better than his opponents so he is able to get an extra boost to win the day. I can’t say that I believed many of his wins though and he’s not one of the better allies. He gets a subplot where he feels like he is the weakest member on the team and the sad part is that it’s probably true. Kaz puts a lot of effort into training, but we never see Diego proactively decide to do this. He’s too interested in eating so why should he expect to be strong? It was emotional and all, but he really doesn’t add anything to the show. I still wouldn’t go as far as to say that he’s a bad character though. He’s just not that good.

Myron is one member of Team Jet that I definitely didn’t care for. He’s the smart member of the group, but that doesn’t stop him from still wanting to be one of the fastest racers in the universe. He’s asking for too much if you ask me. His Storm Slazer actually has a pretty good design and it’s gimmick is that it can drive well over ice, sand, and water. It can also drill under the track to hide if necessary. The problem is that Myron is always quick to turn against Kaz since nothing can ever be his fault. He’s worse than Diego and some of the allies from Gurao, which is pretty sad for him. He was definitely a little worse than I could have expected.

Dradd was Kaz’s first rival and he stayed with him until the very end. He has a rivalry with Ryu going on, but he has to get in line since Kaz and Taiga also have beef with the guy. His car’s special ability is that it can hit the ground hard enough to make it jump forward. It’s pretty nifty, but not that practical compared to the other cars. Power is his thing like with Diego and Ryu, but he’s probably second in that category. He talks tough and he is older than Kaz, but he had to start his training from scratch since he had stopped improving. He’s the best member from Gurao. That may not be saying a lot, but his races are fun to watch and I definitely wouldn’t call him a bad character. He’s outmatched against Kaz, but that’s just his bad luck right?
Taiga is Kaz’s second rival and I guess that makes him rivals with Dradd as well to an extent. He races so that he can become better than Zero and then a big rivalry starts with Ryu. He is a good racer, but his will power isn’t so great and he can be manipulated rather easily. He’s not bad, but he tries to act a little too cool at different points and it just doesn’t work. He’s a decent rival, but I’d say that Kaz is clearly superior in a race. I could probably take Taiga a little more seriously if he could have convincingly defeated Diego in the race, but it was a little too close for comfort. He talks really tough the whole series, but he’s usually on the losing end of a race. At least he learned the values of friendship by the end…

I’m starting to realize that the sad characters were not great in this show. I liked Shiro, Zero, Kaz, Fiona, Dradd, and Ryu. That sounds like a lot, but considering how many characters are in the show…that’s a pretty small number. I just ended up not really feeling like the other characters were that good. Kraken is no exception as he is a King who enjoys the game, but it rather overconfident about it. His voice doesn’t help matters at all, but the worst part is that he just doesn’t seem to be that good. His car can shoot large waves of water, which is a pretty great technique, but his car isn’t great on the ground…and that’s where almost all of the races take place. He bonds with the heroes at one point, which gets them all on his side, but he didn’t get me on his side.

Hebina might be the worst member from the Gurao team since she is clearly a villain who just happens to race. Her abilities are not great so she constantly cheats to ensure that she claims victory in her battles. None of the other characters call her out on this half the time and she certainly didn’t earn her spot with the best in the Final Grand Prix. Her theme is also awful and the only piece of music that I didn’t like. It’s not an exaggeration to say that she may be the worst character in the show. Her gimmick is that her car can make illusions so that it looks like her car has multiplied. It’s not very original though since a shadow council member could do that with his car and likewise with Kaz’s original teacher. She’s going to have to do better than that if she wants to be an expert racer and hopefully she becomes likable someday…but the sequel series would really need to change her character to make that possible.

Jack is a cop who also happens to be a racer and he’s definitely not likable. He’s probably the weakest racer from Gurao and it’s hard to even remember what his gimmick is. He definitely has something since his character needs a gimmick, but it probably wasn’t that great. He has a hero moment towards the end of the series where he destroys a meteor, but it just doesn’t make up for a whole series. He needs to just stick to one field and master it instead of dabbling in both. He constantly goes after Hebina, which would be okay if it was just to arrest her, but he doesn’t take his job seriously enough for that. He just likes to give her a hard time. He must have been lucky to have made it to the final grand prix.

Ray is Kaz’s teacher from Earth and he’s pretty cool. His attitude is similar to Kakashi’s in that he is always very confident and mysterious. It’s a little hard to take him seriously since he was defeated in the very first episode of the series and then disappeared until around episode 49, but he quickly made up for this in the final race. His skills are apparently up there with some of the world’s best and that’s pretty cool to see. From Kaz’s three teachers he was definitely the best. Master Hippopo is arguably the strongest master since he’s the leader of the super council and he fought Ryu, but he was certainly not very likable. The only good scene with Hippopo aside from his fight against Ryu was probably his “death” in one of the earlier episodes since Kaz got to have a rage moment as he dueled against Hebina. Now that was intense!

Antares was one of the less interesting members of the main guys. He is a publicity guy first and foremost. He like to always be in the spotlight and he acts as if his races are just shows for his adoring fans. That ultimate comes back to bite him in the final episode. His car’s gimmick is that it can use its tail to do a flip on the track so that it can dodge attacks. It’s pretty useful, but definitely not the greatest bonus for when it comes down to a contest of speed. I just don’t really find him to be that likable and I also doubt his skills.

I have to say that the ending wasn’t great though. I Loved the huge climax and how out there is got, but some parts were still a little disappointing. One part that I was underwhelmed by was Kaz’s big charge against Ryu. He decided that winning on his friends sacrifices wouldn’t be worth it so he attacked Ryu in a rage moment. Unfortunately, he is just thrown to the side and he couldn’t deal any damage. He didn’t even last 5 seconds so that was pretty sad. I also think that they should have just said that Kaz was the winner at the end instead of just saying that all fans of the series were winners. That’s a bit of a cop out right?
Overall, Scan 2 Go is a great show and it’s certainly not one that you’ll want to miss out on. The series mostly doesn’t have a whole lot of stakes in it since it’s just about seeing the heroes race as they get through their challenges, but that definitely changes once Ryu enters the show. Before Ryu’s appearance the show still would have gotten a 7 easily, but his battles gave it the push that it needed to reach the elusive 8. It’s a great experience from start to finish and the visuals as well as the soundtrack only help to enhance that. Kaz is a likable main character and Ryu’s a great villain so you don’t need to worry about the characters dragging it down. Some subplots like Shiro’s origin don’t really go anywhere and we could have done without it, but maybe it’ll be in a sequel at some point. Regardless, the show just wins on all accounts so you definitely want to see it as soon as possible!

Overall 8/10

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

Tsubasa Spring Thunder Review

It’s time to review the second Tsubasa OVA, which is also the final one to ever be created. For better or worse, the franchise ended (On TV anyway) with this installment so does it provide us with a lot of closure and such? No….not quite. Luckily, this turns out well for us in the sense that it is basically nonstop action. This OVA raises the stakes from the last one and we have less exposition so more time for fights. As you can tell, this one easily defeated the last OVA!

The plot continues after the heroes saved Fai from the sorcerer….is that really how the last OVA ended? Wellllll…maybe not, but they assume that you guys read the manga so it’s okay to jump a lot! Kurogane loses his arm and someone goes to get him a replacement when an old foe appears. Remember Seishiro, Syaoran’s mentor? Well, he’s back to keep on searching for the vampire twins and he also decides to intimidate the heroes as a consolation prize. Syaoran isn’t having any of that and he attack the man. He shall get the feather at any cost! Unbeknownst to the heroes..the other Syaoran also approaches! (The original Syaoran who was with us for the whole series before turning evil…that Syaoran)

Now, this OVA can be a little cruel to longtime fans of the series who didn’t read the manga since it skips a whole bunch of story arcs while including flashbacks that reference them. It’s an intriguing strategy and one that many will not really appreciate. It’s probably a lot more fun if you’ve never seen Tsubasa before since it’ll be a mystery. (I said something similar for the last OVA) Starting off with the heroes escaping from a dying world after murdering the magician who had been hyped as one of the ultimate villains since the very first episode is rather anticlimatic as well. I’d be pretty disheartened if Frieza or Aizen had been taken out off screen like that. We also don’t really hear the plot twist about Fai’s name. (Tsubasa loves its name twists…..just wait for Kurogane’s!)

So, the continuity of this OVA is definitely a little dicey, but if you read the manga everything will still make a lot of sense. At first, I was pretty skeptical about Kurogane losing his arm since it seemed to be counterproductive at the time. It would just reduce his chances of escape right? Luckily, we just find out that he had to sacrifice his arm to save Fai and escape. (Fai’s always getting rescued now and that’s a trend that won’t end anytime soon) Tsubasa saved itself from that small stumble.

This OVA is only two episodes so it’s extremely short. Luckily, it tries to make up for this with all of the action and its a winning strategy. The first episode mainly deals with Syaoran’s fight against Seishiro and it’s nice to see how Syaoran’s improved since their last encounter. (Different Syaoran, but same fighting techniques) However, Syaoran has not improved nearly as much as you would have thought and he’s still losing pretty badly in this fight. I love his determination, but it’s disappointing to see him so outmatched here. Things get even dicier for him in the second episode since he goes up against Dark Syaoran. (I’m going to just say Dark before his name to make it easier to tell them apart) Dark Syaoran is much stronger than Seishiro in my opinion although I’m sure that many would disagree on that. Syaoran puts up a brave fight, but I seriously don’t see him posing much of a threat for the experienced villain. The fight scene is fun and it’s nice to see the contrast of fire vs thunder.

I definitely enjoyed the action scenes in this OVA more than the last one’s. They weren’t rushing and the fights were allowed to really develop. The energy attacks from Seishiro’s blade as well as the two Syaorans also helped since energy attacks tend to look pretty great when they’re used in such a high budget OVA. One area where this OVA lost to the last one is the theme song. The last one was lacking in images, but the overall atmosphere helped it and the green circle was ominous. There really isn’t anything redeeming in this opening and it’s just very boring. I don’t know what happened, but it feels like it was created as an afterthought. There’s no action scenes or anything and it just shows all of the characters a bunch of times. Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z has openings over 20 years ago that were better than these. There’s no excuse for a bad opening these days since so many anime produce great ones every year!

Aside from the opening, the soundtrack is pretty good. Naturally, most of the selections are from the show so they are tried and true. They never get old and it’s very well rounded. I’m pretty sure that my favorite theme didn’t play this time, but I suppose that it can’t make the cut every time. (Even though it is the best theme….)

I would almost say that Syaoran is a 5 star protagonist in this OVA. (5 out of 5 of course) However, there is one scene that holds him back and it is near the beginning. Seishiro starts to intimidate the heroes and he beats up on Fai for a while…and nobody helps. This is actually worse for Kurogane (Since he does nothing, but Syaoran should have done something. Syaoran does challenge Seishiro to a match, but it’s only because he wants the feather. He seemed to not care about what was happening to Fai, which was pretty out of character. Aside from that brief moment, Syaoran was basically perfect.

At this point, Sakura is basically avoiding him (As seen in a new flashback) so he is basically alone. He’s still intent on getting the feathers so that Sakura can have her memories back, but he’s going to have the short end of the stick either way. He’s still very resolute in this decision and he’ll face anyone to get the feathers. He never backs down and Syaoran is just a great hero. He’s certainly more heroic than your average fighter and he doesn’t even need any comic relief scenes to balance his personality out. He’s completely serious and stone faced the entire OVA and it works for his character.

Dark Syaoran mainly appears for the second episode, but he does get a pretty epic cliffhanger for the first episode. He definitely means business and to be honest…I’m basically rooting for him. I try to root for both Syaorans equally, but Dark Syaoran is technically the character that I’m more used too and if you didn’t see the last OVA, you wouldn’t know just how evil he is. From this perspective, he seems more like an anti-hero, although a strong case can be made that he’s the villain since he’s willing to destroy the other Syaoran. Regardless, his goal is to help Sakura get her feathers back and the main difference is that he doesn’t take no for an answer. His design is epic and you can tell that he’s more on the dark side than the regular Syaoran. Dark Syaoran definitely helped the series excel to new heights!
Sakura is a lot better here than in the last OVA. She is typically awake…well, she’s awake inside of her dream anyway. It’s an interesting moment since she has a meta conversation with Watanuki and it’s all very deep. (Literally since they’re basically underwater) It can be a little upsetting to see her avoid Syaoran, but we do find out the reason for it at the very end and it’s explained more at the end of the manga. It makes sense to an extent since we wouldn’t want Syaoran to get any false hopes. Her final moment is not that great though since it’s something that we’ve seen a lot of characters do in the past and it’s always a clock stopper. (Not in a good way…I want my action scenes to keep on going!) She doesn’t fight in this OVA, but we can always hope that she’ll grab her gun and take on a villain someday.

As mentioned earlier, Kurogane looks really bad here. Not only does he freeze up when Fai is attacked, but he has been reduced to sitting on the sideline for all of the battles. Gone are the days when he was a big fighter. (He does get a big fight soon, but it is not animated at this point in time) He does have some scenes with the princess where we find out new twists and such, but it’s not really going to help him rise up the ranks. I like him as a character, but I just didn’t care for him here. Just counting this OVA and not the previous one + TV show, Kurogane just wouldn’t be that great.

Although, Kurogane would still be better than Fai. Now that Fai is basically powerless, he’s really no help to the team. He tags along and gets beat up by the enemies, but that’s about it. We know that he’s a very good hand to hand fighter from the TV show…unless he was just amping up his abilities with magic. Still, I would expect him to do better and I’m sure that he would have some good moments in the future. This OVA just happens to take place at a time where he doesn’t really have a role to speak of. It’s a sad time for him and Kurogane.

It’s good to see Seishiro appear after being gone for so long. He’s easily one of the best characters in the franchise and his character is still a mystery. He seems to have joined the side of the heroes in this OVA sine he’s a lot friendlier then he once was, but you still have to question his goal. What will he do with the vampires once he finds them? It’s too bad that Seishiro won’t stick around to help since he could definitely do a lot of good. He may be the strongest hero at the moment and that’s saying something! I guess he’ll just have to let the main characters do their thing, but it would have been nice if he had stayed with the party.

The tone of this OVA is a little more like the show. There are still a lot of twists, but it’s a little lighter. The stakes haven’t gone down, but these two episodes feel like they could have been in the animated series. Maybe the director changed or it’s just a coincidence in the story. The Kamui arc was likely darker in the manga as well. This one had more nostalgia for me in that sense and that’s always a nice plus.

The ending may be more than a little dicey for Tsubasa fans and for those who just picked this OVA up on the fly. The ending gives us a huge cliffhanger with the heroes deciding to take out the main villain once and for all as they make another dimension jump. After all of the adventures, we are finally at the final battle! Only to find out that the series was not going to be continued and that you would have to read the manga and try to decipher the fight scenes to see it! On one hand, it’s not cool since you’ll never see the ending, but I do have to admit that I’m a sucker for a good cliffhanger. That type of ending really makes me jump on the hype train! It’s just so intense and it’s one of the ultimate cliffhangers! (Another example of an ultimate cliffhanger is Goku finally arriving to his allies’ aid against Frieza or Sasuke preparing to fight Gaara after some intense training. Shonen Jump is full of these scenes and it’s one of the reasons why they are awesome!)

Overall, Tsubasa definitely ended on a high note with this OVA! It’s a mixed bag since it doesn’t really tie up most of the loose ends and it doesn’t really end, but it was still a very fun ride. We had a lot of action and the soundtrack/animation will hold up very well for many years. Bringing back Seishiro and Dark Syaoran was a good way to bring in most of the villains and Fei Wong got his little cameo. Kurogane and Fai looked really underwhelming and this is their last animated appearance to that could be a little disheartening to their fans. (Not quite as bad as being a fan of the evil sorcerer though…) I definitely recommend this OVA to Tsubasa fans and to anyone who enjoys a nice anime fight! It doesn’t really have any negative qualities and it fixes the mild issues that I had with the first OVA. (I’ll miss the Angelic Layer crossover from the manga, but I suppose that this was how it had to be. Hopefully it’ll get animated someday) This is something that you’ll be glad you saw!

Overall 8/10

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

A Certain Scientific Railgun S Review

The first Railgun show was pretty fun and one would likely expect the sequel to be even better. Luckily, this is the case with Railgun S and it amps up the stakes in every way. That can be a good thing for some and it may be too different for others. All I can say is that action fans will definitely approve! Time to see why Railgun S is so great!

The first Railgun show was very lighthearted and I’d call it a slice of life with some action. Railgun S has two arcs and the first one is complete action with some drama and emotional moments. It’s a lot darker than anything we saw in the first show and the violence is also heightened. The best part about this is the fact that most of the fanservice has been eliminated from the show, which is terrific! The second arc goes back to Railgun’s roots and the show becomes a lot happier once again. After the amazing first arc this may be a disappointment, but it’s still fun.

Before the first arc begins, we get a quick stand alone episode where Misaka gets to show off her abilities and she takes down some villains. After that, the arc quickly starts and it takes up most of the series. When Misaka was a little girl, some researchers took some of her DNA and they decided to illegally clone her. They want to create a Level 6 fighter that can surpass all others. They approach the world’s strongest Esper, Accelerator, who accepts their terms since he wants this power. He has to destroy 20000 clones of Misaka to unlock level 6. Accelerator isn’t fazed by this and the massacre begins. The clones are to fight him in one on one battles and they don’t mind the fact that they will be destroyed since it’s just what they do.

The real Misaka finds out about this and decides to stop Accelerator, but she has no chance in a physical fight. She will have to destroy all of the facilities in the city so that the researchers cannot continue their experiment. The problem is that these researchers have hired a group of powerful Espers to take Misaka down…and one of them is another Level 5! Misaka has never faced such a large scale fight before and (since her friends won’t help at all) she may need the help of Academy City’s strongest Level 0….Touma! This arc was awesome and I’ll continue to talk about it in the later parts of the review.

Arc 2 lowers the stakes so it’s more of a happy mystery, but things still get tense at times. Febri is a mysterious girl that the heroes find in the park one day. There’s something off about this occurrence and meanwhile, some scientists want to defeat the Espers. They’re mad because they are some of the smartest students around, but nobody wants to recognize their true greatness. To get back at them, these students are going to use their mecha army to wreck havok on the city and destroy everyone. Looks like a job for Misaka and pals!

It’s a little hard to try and make Arc 2 exciting because it really wasn’t. A lot of it didn’t make a whole lot of sense and it was hard to take the villains seriously after seeing someone as powerful as Accelerator. Arc 2 also didn’t contain as many fights as Arc 1 and none of them were quite as epic. Ah well…that’s why we have Arc 1!
For example, my favorite part of the series was the gauntlet against ITEM. It even surpasses the Accelerator climax because it’s 2-4 episodes of nonstop action and battling. (Technically Accelerator vs Touma is just one fight after all) The ITEM group really gave Misaka a challenge and it was awesome. It helps that I love the new villain group trope and I had been wanting to see another Level 5 do battle. We got to see Misaka’s determination in that battle as she fought well past her energy limit and she had to think of inventive ways to use her abilities so that she could walk out of there alive.

Misaka is just as likable as in the first show, but we get to see more of her abilities in this show. As I mentioned in my previous review, there wasn’t really anyone that could be a challenge for Misaka. Her electric abilities were too much for her opponents and until we saw the only two Espers in the world who could defeat her; that didn’t seem like it was going to change. Luckily, we got some great fights in Arc 1 so we got to see what Misaka could really do. She’s easily one of the strongest Electric users out there and she’s proven that she can hold her own show as well as Touma…maybe even better.

Touma continues to prove that he’s the perfect side character. As a protagonist he ranged from cool to downright awful. As a side character in Misaka’s show, he’s always awesome. I didn’t really think that he could look better in this show than in the last one, but I quickly changed this view. Touma got a pretty cool cliffhanger where he clenches his fist for no real reason, but things get epic once he joins the fray. He’s decided that he’s going to take down Accelerator so that he can save the clones (One of which became his friend) as well as Misaka. To do this, Touma is going to have to enter the ultimate fight. The Strongest Level 5 vs the Weakest guy in the world. If all characters were as cool as Touma, then the world of media would be much different.

Railgun S continues to have great characters as Accelerator is introduced. Misaka is a perfect main character; Touma is the perfect side character, and Accelerator is the perfect villain. It’s impossible to sympathize with him and you really can’t wait until he’s defeated. I actually became a pretty huge fan of him in Index and he’s my favorite character in the franchise, but for now we’ll have to settle for liking him as a villain. If I were just counting this show, he would be under Touma and Misaka. He’s an incredible villain, but you really can’t root for him while he’s destroying everybody. Accelerator succeeds as a villain because his abilities are very hard to overcome and he’s also very confident. Unlike other villains, Accelerator can back up his tough talk.

Frenda is one of the members of ITEM and she’s the first one to challenge Misaka. She’s actually pretty good at hand to hand fighting, but she specializes in medium to long distance attacks. She can plant her dolls at key areas and then set them to explode once the opponent gets near and triggers the trap. She’s essentially like Batman in the fact that prep time greatly helps her fighting capabilities. She’s one of the better members of the group even if her abilities can’t really stack up in a one on one fight.

Mugino is basically the leader of ITEM when they’re in the field. She is a level 5 and her ability allows her to shoot powerful lasers that can go right through steel walls. She can also use them defensively to protect her from all incoming attacks like Gaara’s Ultimate Defense. She’s definitely a powerful opponent although I’m sure that Misaka would be more than a match for her if they fought on equal terms. Mugino is a decent character, but her abilities are great so I’m glad to have her on the show. Hopefully she gets another fight at some point.
Kinuhata (Super strength) and Riko (Telepathy) don’t get to do a whole lot in the show so it’s harder to talk about them. Riko can sense where an opponent is by their AIM fields so she’s good to have in a group. Unfortunately, that also means that she wouldn’t do very well in a one on one fight. She’s a decent character, but her natural abilities just aren’t that great and she has to augment them artificially. I have a feeling that this won’t help her in the long run. Kinuhata is the most interesting member and she could present a challenge to some of the heroes. Her ability seems to make her body impervious to injury to the point where she can block bullets. It’s not absolute, but a stone wall defense like that is pretty great in a fight and she’s also very fast.

Shinobu is a researcher who was involved in the cloning operation that was taking place in Academy City. She didn’t mind them at first because she thought of the clones as inorganic. They weren’t really alive and they didn’t have emotions because they were linked through a network. Eventually, she realized that they were just as real as normal people and she made it her life’s goal to save them. Unfortunately, she is only a mere mortal and that’s not good in this show. She looks very bad in Arc 2 and her plans don’t really help in Arc 1 either. She has good intentions, but her methods are pretty ineffective and I really didn’t care for her. She just wasn’t that likable.

Kuroko doesn’t get a particularly large role in this show. She’s as unlikable as ever, but the show also gives her a subplot where she decides that she won’t try to find out what Misaka is up too. (Misaka is going around blowing up government facilities to stop the experiments) The show plays it off as a good thing and Kuroko gets to show Misaka that she trusts her judgment and everything. Misaka even indirectly asks Kuroko if she would try to stop her if Misaka did something to wreck the city. Kuroko said that she would and Misaka had to leave her out of her plans. (Although she already had been)

The problem is that Kuroko should have tried to find out what Misaka was up too. Misaka definitely could have used some backup in her fight against ITEM and having Kuroko along would have helped a lot. A true friend would have made sure that Misaka was okay. Especially after Misaka kept coming home with injuries and fatigue. This is just one of the many reasons as to why I don’t like Kuroko and it’ll be hard for her to bounce back from these moments.

Kongou gets a slightly larger role in this show than the last one. She still doesn’t get along with Kuroko that much, but she does get along with Misaka. Along the way, Kongou has pretty much joined the main characters as one of the mainstays for the battles. In Arc 2, she’s around for most of it and she joins in the help Febri. She also finally gets to use her abilities a lot and we see that she can make things launch. (If she hits a truck, then it will zoom forward with rocket power) She’s a decently likable character, but she would never become one of my favorites due to her personality. She’s a nice person, but she can’t show it since it would wreck her image. Ah well, at least she tries to help out.

Saten, Uiharu, Banri, and Harrue don’t really get to do much in this series. They’re around as supporting characters of course, but you likely won’t miss them as the episodes go by. If you liked them in the previous show, then you likely still will. If you didn’t like them before; I don’t see why you would change your mind here. Saten can still be inconsiderate of Uiharu and I can’t take her seriously. That’s part of why the climax in the second arc felt forced and there were a lot of moments that were cheesy. Things shouldn’t have turned out so well for the heroes once these 4 got involved. I’m not going to mention the villains from Arc 2 because they are barely characters. They’re just generic scientists who don’t realize that they are outclassed and they want to make other people as sad as them. (They also get an extremely cheesy moment in the last minutes of the final episode, which was pretty laughable)
While I did mention that Railgun S is a lot more violent than the original Railgun, it’s mainly due to a few select scenes. They all take place in the first arc and the second one really has little to no violence. Accelerator is able to blow people up by making contact with them and he does this to one person, but a security camera shields the viewer from seeing this. Someone’s leg is also taken in another scene and those are really the two big violent moments. The leg yank is easily the most disturbing scene since it’s pretty unexpected. This isn’t anything to turn you off from the show though because aside from those two episodes, the violence is minimal. The whole first arc is dark, but not necessarily violent. There is a lot of action so the heroes/villains get injured, but nothing really graphic aside from those moments.

Luckily, this also meant that there was no time for fanservice. The anime still manages to sneak some in once in a while, but it’s a dramatic step down from the first series. I’m glad that they did this and it makes the rest of the anime easier to appreciate. Fanservice sucks the life out of all anime and it forces you to drop some of the all stars like Gurren Lagann and Bleach down a few pegs. Hopefully the next show in the Railgun franchise can continue with this.

The soundtrack in Railgun S is excellent! I liked Railgun’s soundtrack, but Railgun S takes it to a whole new level. The ending theme when Misaka goes off to fight Accelerator in their first round was incredible and it felt like something that you would hear at the theater. The battle music was also a lot more intense and the overall soundtrack was phenomenal. The two openings were pretty fun, but opening 1 was definitely the best since it had a lot of action to go alongside the fun music. We even got some fake foreshadowing to trick the fans and I always like that because it gives us hypothetical battles. Railgun S definitely hit it out of the park with the music and the final episode gets some guest star music from the first show. That episode was filled with music that kept on playing right after that others.

Not to be outdone, the animation is also a few steps up from Railgun. I can now say that the animation looks pretty incredible. The character designs are effectively the same, but they’re more streamlined, which helps for the fights. Touma’s fight against Accelerator stands out as well as Misaka’s gauntlet against ITEM. Even scenes with less stakes like Misaka’s Railgun against the villains in the first episode looks really good with this animation. Great animation can definitely make a fun show even better.

One of the big questions that may be brought up is whether Railgun did better with the dark toned part of the franchise or if it should have stayed happy and chipper. I’ve never been a fan of everything being grim and that’s one of the enjoyable factors of the first Railgun. Every episode was pretty happy and there was really no dark moments in the show. We had some sad moments, but things tended to work out by the end. Still, that couldn’t last since part of the plot for this series was how Misaka would have to combat the darkness of Academy City. The first arc of Railgun S is dark, but it’s done in a pretty decent way. It’s not gritty for the sake of being gritty and there is still some hope for the heroes. (Although Misaka’s friends don’t help in this) This arc was the best in the franchise so Railgun S definitely succeeded with this huge tone shift. Now, if the whole show had been dark like that, it could have gotten a little dicey. It’s a lot harder to keep a show interesting and good with a dark tone. It’s easy to slip up at some point and just make things too dark with excessive violence or unnecessary sob stories as the series gets longer and longer. That’s why it’s best to just have an arc for it and then it can be a masterpiece like this one.

That’s why I’m glad that Railgun’s light moments stick around. Unfortunately, this also means that they try to play up the friendship angle and it doesn’t work in this case. Aside from Kuroko, Misaka’s main friends are all very weak and they shouldn’t be able to help out. Arc 2 tries to show how helpful they can be, but it was very cheesy. They decide to hold off thousands of robots along with the rest of the students, but they should have been mowed down. The robots were way too powerful for them and realistically there should have been heavy casualties. In that case, it was definitely all right for Misaka to proceed on her own. Every time she has to clue the rest of the characters in; Misaka has to slow down in her investigation. I’m not opposed to telling the other characters and I believe that Misaka should have told Kuroko back in arc 1. Of course, Kuroko may have told the police and that would have wrecked things so it was a gamble either way.

So far, it probably sounds like Arc 2 was downright awful, but it was still all right. There weren’t a whole lot of stakes, but that’s because it had a more personal feel. Mainly, one girl’s life was at stake, but that’s still enough to get Misaka and the gang involved. Eventually, the scope of the threat got larger, but the heroes were already set. I do like the concept of every Esper in the city joining forces to stop the villain, but it could have been executed in a cooler way. All of the insert songs give the scenes a sense of epicness, which helps to overshadow the inaccurate moments. I just don’t think that things would go so smoothly for the heroes. I also wasn’t a fan of the fact that Misaka needed some help against the army of robots since they didn’t seem so impressive.

The first Railgun show rekindled my interest in the franchise and this one rose it to new heights. Railgun S managed to surpass the two series from the main branch of Index and that’s pretty rare. Usually, spinoffs don’t end up beating the main thing. It’s a pretty good feat for Railgun S and it shows that spinoffs always have a shot. (Unlike the Rock Lee show) Railgun S defeats most of the anime that I’ve seen recently including Sword Art Online, Guilty Crown, Gurren Lagann, and Accel World among others, but it does get defeated by another anime that I’m currently watching. What is that anime? Well, you’re going to have to wait to find out. All I can say is that it’s one of the best anime of all time!
Overall, Railgun S is an incredible show. I’d easily say that it’s one of the better anime that I’ve seen. (I would have said one of the best, but that’s stretching it just a little bit since it loses to DBZ, multiple Digimon shows, Naruto (multiple shows), etc) The animation is top notch as well as the soundtrack and we have some really great characters to root for and against. I still can’t get over how epic and awesome Touma was in the climax of Arc 1 and Misaka is a character that everyone can look up too. She had to make the tough call to fight the whole city and she did everything that she could to save the clones. With characters as heroic as this, it’s hard to go back and watch something like Avengers Assemble! The show also expands the universe a little more while throwing in some more plot points for the future. (Academy City is still evil and another one of the Level 5s seems to have some beef with Misaka) I highly recommend this anime to all readers because it appeals to many different crowds. If you want a dark tale revolving around conspiracies and a lone hero against all odds; it’s time for Arc 1. If you want heartwarming tale about friendship, and second chances with some fun action scenes; then it’s time for Arc 2. Either way, it’s a win/win situation! I definitely can’t wait for the sequel to come.

Overall 8/10

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

Devil Survivor 2 Review

First of all, I refuse to add “The Animation”. It would be like calling the Yugioh GX manga “The manga” since it’s a lot different than the anime. I don’t get the logic and I would sooner eat Spagetti with Cheese! (Actually tastes really good) That being said, I should get back on topic. With an anime that deals with Kaiju and Demons, you can bet that there is a lot to talk about. This is probably the first anime that I’ve watched that was basically an apocalyptic story about the end of the world. I can’t really think of any others like it and it’s also the first big monster show that I’ve seen. (Pokemon and Digimon don’t count because they are Magical Creatures and Digital Programs…….and because that’s a whole different genre in my humble opinion) The show was definitely a success, so let’s see why!

All right, first I should break the bad news. It’s….only 13 episodes!!!!!!! Don’t reach for the power switch yet and jump on the One Piece bandwagon folks! It may only be 13 episodes, but the series is still pretty exciting and cool. I know that it may be hard to believe, but we get a lot of battles in these 13 episodes. 13 episodes may be the ultimate slap in the face for the people who grew up only watching Naruto, One Piece, Pokemon, and Pretty Cure, but 13 episodes can still handle a lot. I’d probably faint if they announced a 13 episode series for something like Medaka Box or Gamaran, but it’s okay when you don’t need to adapt something extremely large.

That being said, the whole 13 episodes fad is tricky. Devil Survivor 2 made the most out of it since just about every cliffhanger was very epic and awesome. A 13 episode series should always feel very fast paced since they don’t have that much time. Short series have an advantage since it’s easier for people to just sit down and watch them since it won’t be a long commitment like Bleach, but it also means that we won’t get to see the characters that often. If Index or Medaka Box had just continued instead of constantly stopping for sequels, they would have adapted everything by now. We need more super long shows in the world. In the end, I think that 13 episode series as only good when you know that you can adapt everything in one shot. I don’t want to see a sequel being announced afterwards because they only adapted one arc. For that, just continue all the way through to the end.

The plot of the show is fairly simple, but also intense. See, Hibiki is a kid who has always led a fun life. His friend shows him a website where you get to watch your best friend die. The site will only send you a clip when the person is about to die so that you can have some advance warning and emotionally prepare yourself. They head into a train station and they both get a message that the other person will die. Hibiki quickly decides to run back above ground, but it’s too late and he gets hit by the train. Norman humans can’t tank such a blow and they both start to die.

Luckily, in a similar fashion as Pat’s revival thanks to Gemini Spark, they get a message asking if they want to live. It’s a tough call, but they both go for life and are revived. Unfortunately, it’s still dark in the subway station and the people around are still dead. Hibiki and his friend (Daichi) notice a classmate of theirs and she’s the only other person who lived. Her name is is Lo Nitta and the three of them decide to leave and figure out what’s happening. The only problem is that the people who died forgot to close their phones and now demons are coming out of them! Hibiki will have to unleash his true powers if he wants to stop them!

After some close calls, they find out that 7 Septentriones will attack the World. 1 Per day. It is the week of trials and tribulations for the humans. We have had it coming for millions of years and this is Polaris’s judgement. If we survive the 7 days and defeat the demons, then we can be granted one wish. It could be anything due to Polaris’s unlimited power. The problem is that the 7 demons are immeasurably powerful and just surviving the week can be difficult. Luckily, someone has mysteriously created the Dead Face program (The site that shows when your friends are about to die so that you can try and save them) and a demon program which allows you to summon demons depending on how strong of a person you are. (Inner strength, not outer strength)
That’s the plot in a nutshell, but there’s always something else right? A shady organization known as JP’s has known about this for years and they are ready. The only problem is that they don’t care about casualties and they don’t mind sacrificing a few billion people for the “greater good” The unfortunate part is that the other organization is really just a few guys with demons who can’t really fight. Both groups have their pros and cons, so Hibiki must decide who he will help. Then a bright idea comes…why should he have to join either group? You’ll want to find out what he decides! Also, the demons can be intelligent and they may not let everything go according to plan.

Hibiki is the main character of the series and he’s definitely a big change from your average hero. His design can be a little off putting at first and he looks more like a support character than a main one. His design reminds me of Lelouch. His personality is still solid, but he’s not the best lead for an anime. He has a lot of “rage” moments and they’re pretty well deserved. The only problem is the fact that he usually doesn’t seem to do anything about them and he actually makes a lot of the same mistakes as Eren Yeager. They both tend to stand back and let the “higher ups” make the decisions even when they know that the decisions aren’t very sound.

To put a perspective on this, Yamato (Who will be discussed later on) and the JP’s group decide that the best way to save the world is to murder Hibiki’s friend. (Lo) Hibiki doesn’t like this and he moves in to help, but let’s just say that he should have left sooner. Hibiki manages to pull himself together after the incident and yells at Yamato a bit, but Yamato quickly defeats him in the verbal fight and leaves…after vowing that he’ll destroy Hibiki. Hibiki doesn’t take the news too well and he’s knocked out before you know it. Not exactly the response that someone like Ichigo would have had.

Hibiki is still a good character and he can be compared to guys like Syaoran and Ichigo, but he just doesn’t manage to be as cool as them. Granted, he only gets 13 episodes to show what he’s made of, but he could have been better. I’d give him a 7/10 if I actually graded characters and he’s still someone that you can root for. He has two demons for the majority of the series. A Phoenix and a Thunder beast. They’re both pretty powerful, although I found the Phoenix to be a little more impressive. Hibiki can also fight on his own and comes equipped with the usual main character powers. Energy blasts, Super Speed, Flight, Barriers, Super Durability, etc.

Lo is one of the main characters and the train crash definitely changed her life! She is a solid character, but she can definitely be a little too nice for her own good. When the government approached her with a plan that will involve destroying her, she should not have accepted. That being said, she did it so that she could help her friends, but was it the right move? I don’t think so. It’s more of a negative for Hibiki, (Since he should have stopped it before things got dicey!) but some of the blame can be placed on her. It’s doesn’t affect her in a negative way since it shows that she’s definitely a true hero, but she just made a wrong call. She may not be as powerful as Hibiki or Yamato, but she can definitely hold her own in a fight and she’s one of the toughest characters in the series.

Daichi is Hibiki’s best friend from childhood and the two are pretty close. Daichi prefers to live life on a day to day basis and he doesn’t give much thought to the future. While Hibiki is always worrying about how he’ll protect Daichi and Lo, Daichi also wants to protect Hibiki. He desperately tries to fight the demons and help Hibiki throughout the series, but the results are usually tragic. His heart’s in the right place, but he was dealt a bad hand. His demons are far too weak to help anyone and that’s his big problem. He’s still a character that you can root for, but you’ve also got to feel bad for him at times. At least he manages to give it his all!
Yamato is the big rival/big villain of the series. He’s as ruthless as they come and no sacrifice is too great for him if it means that he can achieve his goal. His goal is incredibly ambitious and it’s something far tougher to achieve than simply ruling the world. Luckily, Polaris can grant any wish so nothing is too tough anymore. That being said, many people try to get him to warm up to people, but he doesn’t give an inch. He has been training for the demon invasion for many years and he actually does not need a phone to summon his main demon as they have been partners since he was a kid. He is the most advanced in how to use the phone demons and he can also fight on his own like Hibiki. Unlike Hibiki, he has tremendous experience in hand to hand combat and he has all of the powers that Hibiki does, but arguably he is stronger in each of them. This guy definitely can’t be considered as a hero, no matter what his end goal is. I consider him to be a villain, but one who means well and isn’t downright evil like the average villain. Yamato is the best character in the series and I can say that without question. His demon, Baal, is extremely cool and he has some other big hitters. His main monster is Cerberus and he’s as tough as he sounds.

Alcor is a mysterious figure who is around for a large portion of the series, but we don’t find out too much about him until we start to near the end of the series. He seems to know more than he lets on and his power is considerable. Without much effort, his subordinate was able to take out the entire rebellion. He is intrigued by humanity and he wishes to observe the 7 days of Tribulation. It’s similar to how Bass observed the battle with Lazerman and Shademan. Alcor is a pretty likable character and I gained a lot of respect for him during the final episodes. That being said, I was always a fan of the character. He just struck me as an interesting character. The main characters were definitely a little too mean to him at times, but they still got along in the end.

Keita is one of the demon wielders, but he doesn’t get to appear that much. He seems to have some decent acting ability and can be found on TV, but his fighting abilities are only okay. He’s very sure of himself, but this just ends up leading to crushing defeats. He was out of his league in this war and he’s not a very likable character. He’s basically a one dimensional rival and I like to think that he was about to get some character development, but it would be rather hard to prove. His monster is a humanoid who uses his weapon to smash people. It’s not a bad strategy…but not the greatest one either!

Hinako is not really Keita’s partner, but they do work together at times. Her demon, which is useful…but not extremely so. Flying is definitely great since it can compliment someone’s fighting style, but the demon can’t really fight so it’s moot. She’s a decent character, but like Keita..there’s just not much reason to root for her. She gives motivational speeches and tries to help others, but in the end…she should have just worried about her own fighting skills.
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Jungo is a quiet person who doesn’t really talk that much. He has a cat demon that has some pretty powerful explosions, but it ultimately not very powerful. He’s a very skilled cook and he usually teams up with Airi on missions. He didn’t get much character, but in his case it seems to be intentional. He’s pretty dependable and fights to the end, but he’s still not a superb character. He does beat most of the other side characters.

Airi also uses a cat demon and she’s a little more head strong than the other demon wielders. She’s always ready for a fight and she’s one of the few who actually enjoys this situation. She also has an ice demon with considerable power and she’s one of the only members who can actually help out against the stronger opponents. She doesn’t actually get to meet up with the main character at all for the most part, but she gets to talk with his friends and Jungo. The four of them even got to team up at one point! (Although Daichi was a little hesitant)

Joe is easily the worst character in the series and he nearly brought the show down. He definitely brought the show into the hole known as fanservice, but he was luckily written out before that could happen. Still, he’s basically a filler character who shouldn’t be trusted and just isn’t cool. He’s also very weak and never really gets a fight for the entire series. He was likely just here so that we would have a hero to dislike and it did work. This is one guy that you’ll want to see go up against some powerful demons!

Makoto works for JP’s and she’s one of the higher ranked members. She gets her own backstory and will basically comply with whatever Yamato asks for. It’s one of those cases where she works for an evil person, but she still looks up to him and makes the bad calls. She was a nice person, but she puts the group first and ultimately that makes her no less responsible than Yamato for many of the situations. She was also the one who approached Lo with the suicide mission. In the end, that prevented her from being a likable character and she’s just another villain.

Fumi is a scientist and she starts out as an antagonistic character, but there are circumstances involved. From there, she becomes more of a main character and she always seems a little strange. That being said, she’s still the smartest character in the group when it comes to technology and she helps them out a lot with barriers. (Although, it’s ultimately futile to make barriers against universe busting demons) That being said, she’s another person who doesn’t mind sacrifices for the greater good and she continues to serve the corrupted organization known as JP’s.

The Animation for the show is quite good. It’s not overly impressive and considering that it’s 2013, it could probably be better. That being said, after a while, graphics don’t need to continue to get better and better. This show looks really good and that’s the bottom line. It may not stack up against Index or Bleach, but there are still many shows that is does defeat. Most of the series takes place in the dead of light so we get a lot of contrast between the dark setting and the bright energy blasts. The animation definitely rises to its peak during the final few episodes as the battles get more and more intense. The highlight of their animation was definitely in the effects as the blasts really stood out.

As I mentioned earlier, this is really my first horror/thriller anime. It also has some slasher elements in that you can expect most of the cast to be knocked off. Since it’s 13 episodes and the threat is real, you can imagine how fast they begin to be taken down. To put this into perspective, from the 13 main Demon Wielders (Including the main character), at least 11 of them will perish by the end. That’s a pretty big number and you can probably tell that the anime won’t be all fun and games forever. It’s surprisingly not that dark, (Animation aside) but it’s definitely not as upbeat as something like Naruto. Part of what keeps it light is the fact that there’s always hope since the survivors just need to last the 7 days. There still is a constant sense of dread since the human race is basically becoming extinct, but this happens in a good way. The heroes have to question whether it’s worth it to keep on fighting since most of the world has been incinerated anyway.

The show also manages not to fall into any holes. I can actually say that there are no real flaws to the show. Sure, some characters could be cooler and things can always be improved, but there is nothing really negative about it. There’s no fanservice (Will wonders never cease!) in the entire show and no unneeded animal violence. The creatures are mostly humanoid or look like objects and the ones that do look like animals tend to lost in unviolent ways. I got worried in one scene where one of their arms was bit, but the scene cut away and it appears that the bite was unsuccessful because he looks okay in the next scene. I was surprised that the show was so classy and it reminds me that there’s still hope for anime. After the abomination that was Space Dandy, I thought that things could be going downhill fast!

The Kaiju/Demons (In the first episode, the villain is called a Kaiju by the general public and I tend to believe those guys. Still, they are all demons, but we always did need a demon kaiju!) are pretty cool. I don’t really care for the 7 Septentriones that much because they look more like objects than creatures, but they’re still tough. One of them was said to be able to consume the universe itself! That’s a pretty solid feat and he’s nearly unstoppable. It brings up the a little plot hax for the final member of the Septentriones since he should have been even stronger and they acted like he was, but he put up less of a fight. Maybe he forgot how to use that ability since he had so many of them to choose from.

The designs for the demons can be decently good, but none of them stand out that much as being incredibly awesome. Baal was really cool and definitely my favorite from the bunch. Others that were cool were Hibiki’s two demons, all of Yamato’s, Lorelei, Lugh, and Satan. Satan is probably the most monsterish as far as the monsters go. There aren’t a whole lot of them in the series, but there are only 13 episodes after all. They definitely made for solid fight scenes!

So, we’ve got Demons, Lucifer, and Satan. You may wonder if that means that we’ve also got Angels and God, but you’d be disappointed. We have a “god” in this universe, but his name is Polaris and he doesn’t seem to be much better than the demons. After all, he created them all to destroy the humans in the first place and he just seems to be bored of Earth. He has deigned the place to be irrelevant and it cannot exist anymore. It would have been nice to see Hibiki summon a holy being to take on Satan at the end and that could be a missed opportunity. People are always hesitant to show the holy side of things in any form of media, but demons and the devil are considered as safe characters. People seem to accept that they are real without accepting the full story. Of course, with the modern world as it is right now, things definitely don’t look like they’re changing. I’m still waiting for an anime to adapt Revelations, since that would be awesome. (Of course, there would definitely be a lot of pressure to adapt it correctly. One slip up could be very fatal in such a show)

The Soundtrack for the show is pretty good and it definitely gives the anime a horror vibe. That being said, it is pretty varied and accompanies the scenes pretty well. We have some fast paced techno music that is used for the fights and there’s also a great opera music theme that plays when the demons are first summoned. The show’s ending theme is also great and it makes for some really good music during the cliffhangers. It reminds you that the world is ending and that the heroes may not be able to win this time. The opening is all right and grew on me a little, but while the music is decent, the images are really lazy. The opening just shows them all and then shows them all again. The last bit is just clips from the show run at really high speeds. That is Not how you make an opening. Still, the soundtrack is solid overall.
I just need to mention one big missed opportunity that I was a little sad about. In Hibiki and Yamato’s inevitable clash, they didn’t actually get to fight. I wanted to see them pit their super powers against each other and see who was truly stronger. We got to see them both fight against other opponents, but never against each other. When their fight finally did come, only their monsters got to fight. I felt like I got a little cheated out of my epic fight. It would have been the best fight in the show and it definitely would have felt like I was back in DBZ world. Ah well, maybe in a sequel if we get one someday….maybe.

Overall, this is a pretty great anime. It’s short, but it managed not to make a lot of common mistakes and it was a lot of fun. That’s the main reason why it got such a high score. The fight scenes may not be as good as Gurren Lagann, the soundtrack may not be as solid as Accel World, and it may not have the theater quality feeling that Sword Art Online has, but the anime just did a great job of being fun and being unique. It stayed professional to the end and there were no bad episodes in it. (The first three all had that flaw along with others) They did a good job of knowing when to end each episode and we even got a scene after the credits in one of the episodes. The end theme worked pretty well as an ending to each episode and the fights were also solid. Hibiki’s design may still be a little tough to swallow, but the actual character is still pretty good. Yamato makes for a great villain and the characters can get a little high tier. The series starts to feel like DBZ once Lugh enters and Hibiki/Yamato definitely feel like DBZ fighters. I definitely recommend this anime since it’s a horror/action epic that stays classy and gives you some characters that you can root for. You also have to think about the choices that the main character has to make and decide which would have been the right one. Now, I can finally have a horror anime to recommend when I watch a horror film that makes me groan. Haunting in Connecticut

Overall 8/10