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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

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

Cardfight Vanguard G GIRS Crisis Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tokoha doesn’t really have any more trials left at the moment. She wondered briefly about what she should do in the future, but after deciding on her goal that was basically it. As a result, she’s sure of herself in the duels pretty much from the get go. One source of drama may be coming up though once she found out about Ace’s plot twist. I don’t think that she’s handling it very well, but I suppose it is good to have an optimistic approach. She just needs to be careful not to let it become a liability and endanger the team. That’s where you have to draw the line.
4609039bafaf1dbe5_w
Kamui returns as a regular once again. He even gets his own episode where he attacks an enemy strong hold. It was one of the big plot episodes so it was cool to see Kamui getting such a big role. He did good when it counted. His duel with Chrono was particularly intense as he did all that he could to win. If he won, then Chrono would not be allowed to join them to fight Miyoujin. Kamui doesn’t want to put Chrono in danger so that’s why he has to win. Yes it is a bit of a selfish wish since Chrono has decides to fight on his own, but it is one that I can definitely get behind. After all, who doesn’t want to keep their friends out of trouble? Kamui had to watch Aichi and Kai go through a lot of trials and even turn evil during them. It makes sense that he would do everything that he could to stop that from happening a third time. Plus, he was just trying to win. He didn’t try to do anything crazy like kidnap Chrono the way that Chris tried to nab Sonic in Sonic X. Kamui may be around a lot so it can be easy to underrate him, but as he showed in this series, he is still one of the best.

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

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

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

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

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

Ace is a fairly hardcore villain and one of the better characters in the show. Since Shouma barely appeared, I’d say that Ace took over the spot as the best villain. This is partially due to the fact that he came out of nowhere and took over Shion’s company like it was nothing. His successful mind games are also impressive since Shion was supposed to be over the whole thing and their first big duel was one of the best in the series. After all, it doesn’t get much more high stakes than having millions of dollars on the line and your whole financial future along with it! While Ace may not have done quite as well in the rematch, he didn’t completely crack either. Rest assured, Ace will likely continue to have a powerful role in the next season although his confidence may not be as absolute since his standing in the villain organization is in jeopardy after the loss.
1kxRxal
Myoujin is the big villain who will make his move in the next show. He hasn’t done anything as of yet though. His design isn’t that good as he is very old so I don’t think he can be a very menacing villain. Still, I am glad to have a villain who is lasting a while and for all we know he isn’t the mastermind behind the operation. With someone like Shouma still in the fold, I could definitely picture a betrayal. Shouma doesn’t play well with others after all. Still, I want Myoujin to put up a fight if that happens. Shouma’s role is small as he just makes a few cameos to remind us that he is still around. I was rather annoyed that Kouji stopped Shion from beating him up though. Shion was winning and taking a villain out of the picture this early would be incredibly helpful. Ironically, it seems like he’ll be the first boss of the third series. It’s not as if Shion was going to destroy him or anything. The heroes could have quickly captured Shouma and that would have been awesome. At least they forced a retreat though.

The animation is solid as in the last show. The characters all stand out and the battle scenes are fun to watch. There may have been one or two low budget episodes where physics started to get a little wild, but for the most part is was all consistently good. I’ve always liked the animation style of this company. It feels modern and I think the animation will hold up quite well. It’s not overly flashy, but that’s why the fundamentals will age well. The soundtrack is better than the last season’s. Perhaps it is because the stakes are more intense, but it could also be the crossover effect. For example, Kai’s theme returns briefly during his fight with Shion and we finally also have a bit of a villain’s theme for some of the duels. It’s still not quite at the level of the original Cardfight, but we’re definitely getting there. Good themes can always elevate a series.
-Sub--Episode_05-_Cardfight!!_Vanguard_G_GIRS_Crisis_Official_Animation.mp4_snapshot_01.47_-2015.11.07_21.55.33-
Overall, GIRS Crisis added the excitement and stakes that I had been waiting for. This series was still more set up for the big battles to come, but it set the more interesting plot elements as well. Shion’s ongoing fight to restore his company (Although that isn’t really his goal anymore or so he claims) and Chrono’s quest to find his father should be pretty interesting. The father better have a good excuse for just wandering around unless he is a friend of the Dad or something. Seeing the old characters actually get to duel should be awesome and I’m fully expecting Aichi to finally get in on the action as well. The return of Psyqualia would be a nice added bonus as well. There’s a lot to look forward too and the third season should end up being the best G adventure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kouji still tries a little too hard to be the mysterious character, but I suppose he’s not bad. He’s just not very good at the role, but he spends less time on that here since he ends up focusing on actually fighting this tie. He puts up a pretty good fight against Ryuzu and more importantly, he’s able to give Chrono a new card which is critical in the final fight. Ryuzu doesn’t change much from part 1. Perhaps you will sympathize with him more after the back story, but I dunno. He just ended up going off the deep end and probably still would have done so even if not for Chrono. Chrono’s Dad probably should have done more to stop him though. Ryuzu is a cool villain whether he’s in his kid form or adult mode. I missed the latter, but the former was pretty catchy. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him return some day.
91104
Shouma remained a really epic villain. His gimmick about chaos and discord seemed rather plot convenient as the villains had the whole thing sewn up otherwise, but seeing him sabotage everyone was pretty entertaining. He’s definitely not the kind of guy who blindly follows orders. That’s Wakamizu’s job and he’s probably the blandest villain of them all. He just wants to see what will happen to satisfy his scientific curiosity. There really wasn’t much to his character and he wasn’t a particularly strong duelist either so I was never all that interested. He’s probably the most evil of the members though as most of the others had their reasons for doing this or had some conscience about the whole thing. Wakamizu was happy to go along with all compared to the rest.

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

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

Tenkai Knights Review

bda336ba23f1bb9719541b19928d1dca
It’s hard to believe that I started this show all the way back in 2013. It feels like that was such a long time ago, but I suppose that’s the way it is for all shows that reach at least 50 episodes. The show definitely started out as one of the all time greats and had everything in its favor. Unfortunately, it started to peeter out a bit during the second half of the series. Perhaps it is a good thing that it ended before the downgrade could really affect its overall standing all that much, but it definitely would have been nice to have gotten that extra season. 100+ episodes of Tenkai Knights could have put it on the map or at least in the same conversation as Beyblade and the other big toy based shows back in the day. I’m assuming that many of my blog readers won’t even know what this show is because it’s so obscure, but you’re about to find out now!

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

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

The show got a lot of top notch voice actors here like Ichigo’s and Kirito’s to voice two of the main characters. I have to admit that this definitely added an extra layer of epicness to the show. The animation was also solid. I didn’t really care for the scenes where they are robots as much as it would take a noticeable dip, but they would still add a lot of budget to the big fight scenes at the end. If you were worried about the actual fights looking bad, don’t worry about it. The fights are still as good as you’d expect and probably even better than that. The colors were always very sharp and on point and the human animations hold up very well.
9c6fdeba883b2ddf70d38da642b69279
What really sets Tenkai Knights a bar above most of the competition is the dynamic array of music themes. The catchy “Tenkai whoaaaaaaa Tenkai” chant before every transformation is the definition of epic and really gets you ready for action. It distracts you from the recycled footage that is always used for the transforming moments. The battles all have great themes as well and there are just so many to choose from. I believe that part 2 of the show remixed the Tenkai theme and it wasn’t quite as catchy, but it was still solid. The soundtrack is definitely one of the best parts of the show, no question.

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

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

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

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

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

Gen was the hardcore rival of the show. At first he’s on the side of evil before eventually joining the heroes. I forgot what his exact goal was, but maybe he just treated the whole thing as a game. It seems like he was always going to betray Vilius so he just wanted to be the strongest being of them all. He sort of came close as the only ones who could stop him were Guren and Vilius. It’s safe to say that Vilius was ahead of him for just about the whole series. By the very end, I like to think that Gen and Guren were stronger than Vilius, but I suppose that it’s debatable. Gen was nerfed quite a lot when he turned good though. He suddenly stopped getting power ups and was heavily surpassed by the main 4. While he was a villain, Gen did quite well though. He was usually on the winning end of fights and he also rose the stakes. After all, he knew who the heroes were in the real world as well so they could never rest easy after that.
wqgsh0s
Beni was Gen’s partner and she certainly had fun with the battles. Her robot was incredibly fast and the writers clearly couldn’t decide how to defeat her. She’s the one character who basically never loses during the whole show and got to show up the heroes several times. They just couldn’t keep up with her and she would have made a great ally for the heroes to have. In arc 2, she couldn’t decide which team to help though so she ends up going back and forth between the two sides for quite a while. Maybe one day she will be a trusted ally, but even at the end it’s hard to trust her since she betrayed the heroes so many times. It didn’t even make sense when she helped the villains out, but I guess she likes to keep the heroes guessing.

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

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

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

Orangor and Scorpidon are responsible for the low point of the Tenkai Knights series. Basically, the main characters are kidnapped and brought to an odd little dimension where the Scorpion rules. To escape, they must defeat him in a Grand Prix or another such event that he dictates. They win several times, but are just thrown into a pit and forced to redo the events. This allowed the writers to use whole minutes of stock footage at a time. They redid 5 minutes of recycled grand prix racing and hoped that we wouldn’t notice…but we did. It was generally just too much comedy over action as well. We lost the Tenkai fights and the races weren’t worth it. Even Vilius showed up to play a game of soccer and the whole thing did not make any sense. It’s as if the genre just suddenly changed out of nowhere. It also dragged on and on for quite a while. I couldn’t wait to see it go and the two new characters never appeared again. Most excellent!
thumbnail_42461
Finally, we have the Tenkai Dragon. He’s always getting captured and kidnapped so you’ll probably feel bad for him after a while. He is said to be invincible and unstoppable, but the villains prove that wrong many times. They even build a Dark Tenkai Dragon, which is just as strong as the real deal. To get the dragons in the first place, you need to assemble a lot of artifacts. By the end, it barely even feels worth it anymore. It was a cool design though, but I could never take the dragon seriously. Honestly, I’d take Guren in a fight against him.

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

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

I’d say that it probably is the ultimate Saturday Morning cartoon. This isn’t counting shows like Yugioh which were originally more Shonen and Cardfight, which never made its way to the big screen. It may not literally be the greatest of all time as there is probably some show somewhere that I may be forgetting, but it has everything that you could ask for from a show aimed at kids. The series plays it very safe content wise, but still gives us great animation and fights. It never resorts to a lot of crude humor or anything like that and naturally the show’s target audience ensures that the title has absolutely no fanservice. There’s no language to watch out for and the writing is pretty strong. Most of the characters are likable and there is a sense of danger throughout. Tenkai Knights really pushed itself as far as it could go and other shows that are now aimed at a similar audience like Pokemon Alola and Monster Hunter could learn a few lessons from this title. You can be aimed at kids and still have a lot of action.
b2b64d141bf53ff7976eaa1c4fb287e9
Overall, Tenkai Knights is a great show. It’s a title that just about anyone can get into since everyone likes a good action and who doesn’t like Power Ranger esque transformations? The show had a very modern/high tech feel right from the start like the PS3 and never lost that. The character cast is great and it performs exceptionally well on a technical level. The series went through a few hiccups during the second half, but it was able to bounce back in the end. I’m not sure what the series would have done for a third part, but introducing some new villains could have definitely worked quite well. There really weren’t many different opponents for the heroes to face so a little extra variety could have gone a long way. Introducing more human world fights would have also been great. We got some glimpses of this when the villains were able to materialize in the human world, but it was mostly used for laughs as opposed to action. Having the ability to crossfuse like in Megaman NT Warrior would have really upped the stakes. It’s one thing to be in lethal danger in another world, but it hits closer to home when your town is the one that is attacked.

Overall 8/10

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

My Hero Academia Review


It’s time to review one of the most popular anime from a year or so ago. This show was talked about quite a lot and was compared to One Punch Man constantly since both shows came out at around the same time and dealt with superheroes. I’m not going to prolong the drama this time though, One Punch Man wins this fight. Both of these titles are great shows, but there is a big gap between incredibly amazing and great. My Hero Academia is a great show, but it’s not stellar to the point where I could easily rewatch the whole show again. One Punch Man has a better cast, universe, animation, soundtrack, fights, potential, and just hype in general. The two shows can’t really be compared as it stands now, but OPM did have a really fast start. Season 2 will likely not be quite as hype although there are some big scenes coming up while Hero Academia’s season 2 should be leaps and bounds above the first if handled right. Perhaps that is when the comeback will happen so either way, we’ll be comparing both of these when the season 2’s come out.

The story follows a kid named Deku. In this planet, almost all people are born with quirks. Typically you’ll gain one that is similar to your parents. Unfortunately, Deku is one of the few who is quirkless. He has no powers, but Deku has always looked up to superheroes and wants to be one anyway. Fortunately, he meets up with All Might, the world’s number one hero. All Might decides to give Deku a portion of his powers. Deku can now join up with the other students at the most prestigious school in the world, but will he be able to keep up with these borrowed powers? He also has to be careful since he is now one of the world’s strongest beings and he could easily destroy one of his classmates by accident if he were to go all out.

As this is just season 1, most of the episodes are for world building and character introductions. They do manage to squeeze in one fight with the villain group during the final few episodes though. That is definitely the best part of the season although I also liked the hero vs villain mock battles that occurred a little before that. The only part that gets annoying is Deku’s narration during the episodes where he foreshadows events. It usually ends up just being clickbait and the show doesn’t really need it since the actual content is interesting enough to get you to check in anyway. Of course, I believe that it was in the manga as well, so it’s not as if the show just randomly added it.

My Hero Academia has a lot of energy and instantly feels like a modern show. All current shows should feel like this and the same thing applies to a video game. If it doesn’t feel new and modern, then something is wrong. My Hero Academia definitely had a pretty good budget. The colors stand out and the characters are streamlined. The show did a good job with this since some of the designs could have easily been a little clunky. Kaachan’s in particular stands out since the design is very convoluted when he’s in his superhero form.

That about covers the animation. The best animated scenes are typically when Deku is about to throw a huge punch. The energy effect through his arm came out well. Naturally, the soundtrack is also really good. The theme song is still one of my favorites in anime and I listened to it quite a few times. There’s a lot of competition nowadays though so it could easily drop off of the top 10 given time. The villain theme is also very good and brings the hype when the villains make their move. There’s also a decent hero theme and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a pretty diverse set of themes, but there are only 13 episodes so some don’t get to appear too much. Between the opening, fight themes, and the villain themes, My Hero Academia is definitely set and has a great soundtrack that can hold its own with the best of them.

Deku’s a reasonable lead. Standing up to Bakugou near the middle definitely helped his character a lot. If he had been super timid and just run away the whole time, it would have been annoying. Even if they ultimately decide to make Bakugou nicer so he can be one of the main heroes, at this point he is just a bully. The only way to deal with those is to teach them a lesson and claim the win. The sad part is that Deku could easily beat Bakugou with a single hit, but such a blow could easily kill him so Deku has to try and win with strategy. Deku just kept making the right calls throughout the anime and they were ones that other leads might have hesitated for. For example, Deku jumped in with a 100% shot at Shigaraki when All Might was cancelled. The attempt didn’t work, but at least Deku was willing to blow his arm off to help. He kept on jumping back into the fray even when the teachers and other kids told him not too. Deku’s definitely one of the bravest guys here and now that he also has more self confidence, I look forward to him continuing to improve in the next season. Having a main character who is extremely powerful and smart without being arrogant is also very unique. There aren’t many characters like that around.

Bakugou is the rival in the show and he’s certainly a little more extreme than some others. He’s not as bad as Gajeel from Fairy Tail since he doesn’t go around crucifying all of Deku’s friends before immediately turning good, but it is still impossible to sympathize with him. He threatens Deku constantly and even burns a notebook that Deku spent years filling up with data. He’s never remorseful about this either and still has the gall to be upset at Deku for actually defending himself. This plot line will continue for a while and the whole time it’s just hard to even remotely see Bakugou’s side of the story. He’s a solid character when he’s not around Deku though and he does help out a lot in the final battles. He’s one of the few characters with a combat quirk so he really needs to put it to good use. Bakugou’s a good character as an antagonist, but if he’s meant to be more like Sasuke from pre Shippuden or Mika from Seraph in the sense that we should empathize with their goals and motivations…then it’s not working so far.

Uraraka is the main heroine, but she surprisingly hasn’t gotten to do much yet. She’s a nice enough character and she went out of her way to save Deku from what could have been a very embarrassing entrance into the school. She can be rather oblivious and unfortunately her power is one of the worst in the series, but at least she’s a good friend to have around. I am hoping that she gets a power up at some point though. Iida is another one of the supporting characters. He’ll get a major role in the second season (or 3rd) so stay tuned for that. He’s a good character at the moment. Iida’s an ultra “Follow the rules” kind of character, but he pulls off the role well. Abandoning the others to go and get reinforcements was a bit risky though. I’m not saying that it was totally the wrong call, but this is where you separate the champs from the supporting characters. True, getting reinforcements is good to secure a win, but you’ll likely lose some friends along the way. Staying can be dangerous, but then you’ll all live or die together. I think a true hero has got to stay and if anything, act as a decoy or a sacrifice to let the others get away. I think that would have been the right move here.

Todoroki is another rival for Deku and he’s my favorite character in the series. He hasn’t done much yet, but he’s the strongest student at the school (Aside from Deku) and he has a very cool and calm demeanor. He’s the kind of character who would really stand out in just about any show and you can never have too many rivals. His personality will get heavily nerfed in the future so enjoy him while you can. Having elemental powers is always really handy as well since what you can do is really only limited by your imagination. Another student who is around is Asui. She’s also not much of a fighter, but she gives Deku a lot of support at well and is really good in that kind of role. Her frog-like athletics allow her to cross large areas with a large bound so she can get teammates out of harm’s way.

There are a lot of students and it’s going to take a while for the show to really introduce them all. I suppose that more of them will show up in season 2, but in the manga some of them never got to really do anything. That’s the problem with such a large cast, but at least it means that every supporting character is actually a real character and not just a nameless individual. The others are good so far and they’ll make for a decent supporting cast. It’s hard to say where they stack up against Naruto’s. One day I’ll have to compare them more. The only bad one is Mineta, but man….he is a terrible character. He’s the one bad aspect of the show. The show really has virtually no fanservice, but Mineta always has to have the sketchy lines and his running gag of going after the female characters to grab them is just unnecessary and terrible. Even if the characters try drowning him afterwards, it’s a little too late and the problem is that none of the characters seem to even care. I hope he’s written out of the show at some point.

As with the students, there are a lot of pro heroes, but most of them haven’t done much yet. All Might is the main hero of course and while he is a homage to Superman, he’s not quite as transparent. As he appears more and more, you get glimpses into the fact that he has to keep a lot of secrets from the rest of the world. He believes that he is a symbol of peace to he has to seem invincible so villains won’t try to make a move. I can understand the logic, but people are going to find out about his weakness so he needs to tell more of the heroes as soon as possible or they’re going to be in a lot of danger. I also think All Might could have let the other heroes help out a bit more. Surely Todoroki would have been some help against Noumu. He did save All Might after all and the fact that his abilities are long range means that it’ll be tougher for the villains to hit him. From All Might’s point of view though, he made the right call. No need to put the others in danger, but I would have liked to have seen the kids defy him more.

Aizawa is the other hero to get a big role. He’s a cool enough hero and basically plays the Kakashi role here. He’s very strict and pushes the students to their limits. He’s also a fairly good fighter although his powers are really only good for one on one fights. The fact that he can nullify powers means that he can potentially take down some of the strongest villains in the series, but unless he can improve his physical abilities, he’ll inevitably hit a wall when the foes become faster and stronger than mortal levels. We already see that here to an extent, although most villains won’t be quite as strong as Noumu. The principal also appears and I like to think that he’s the spy within the hero ranks. I don’t like him so that’d be a double bonus.

Shigaraki is the figurehead of the villains. We don’t know much about him yet, but he wants to destroy All Might and bring the world to chaos. His ability to destroy whatever he touches is certainly very dangerous. It’s not instantaneous, but it will cause severe damage. His ability is a good counter to Deku since he just needs one good hit to make up for the fact that he would die to a single hit as well. He nearly defeats Deku several times and they’ll definitely meet up more soon. His costume involves multiple hands grabbing him, which is a little odd. He’s definitely a strange villain and not quite as interesting as his partner, but he’s not bad. At least he can fight, which is a good start.

Kurogiri is Shigaraki’s partner and definitely a cooler villain. His shadows ability is actually very overpowered and makes him one of the most dangerous threats in the series. He can appear just about anywhere at any time and the only place where you can hit him is his neck. I’m still a little skeptical on how the heroes missed him the first time if there is a real guy underneath the shadows so I’m going to assume that there’s another trick to his powers. (Or plot hax) He has a very intimidating voice and he’s the main reason why the villain’s plan could work at all. He may not be the leader, but he’s very deadly.

Noumu is a mindless monster with a lot of attack power and durability. This makes him a good match-up for All Might. The design is okay, but it would score more cool points if the brain wasn’t always showing. He’s good as an opponent and isn’t a bad villain. He’s clearly not as interesting as some of the others, but he’s fast, strong, and nimble. He doesn’t suffer from the strong, but slow curse and I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

The show has a good character cast and that definitely goes a long way. The actual universe isn’t quite as interesting as other titles since there isn’t much to explore or other areas to be interested in. As far as we know, it’s just a pretty happy world with heroes. To make up for that, it was essential that there were a lot of likable characters, solid animation, and just good all around writing. Luckily, My Hero Academia does all of this well and the big fight at the end was a nice, epic way to wrap up season 1. Hopefully the series can continue to go on for a long time so one day it’ll be long enough to actually have us compare it to flagship titles like Naruto and Bleach. It’s a solid start to the next generation and it just needs to keep up the momentum.


Overall, I definitely recommend this show. It has a lot of action and likable characters. The producers, writers, and staff involved definitely put a lot of effort into the show. The 13 episodes will fly by before you know it, but luckily season 2 is already on the way. It’s definitely going to be an exciting sequel and the OVA that came out also looks really great. I don’t believe that they ever fix Deku’s costume either, which is good since I much prefer the blue suit that he ended up using for most of the series anyway. This is one mainstream, popular anime that really lived up to the hype. Between this, One Punch Man, and Madoka, that helps to counter Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan. I’ll be reviewing another super hyped show soon so we’ll see if I can say the same about that one.

Overall 8/10

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

Batman Beyond Review

3366496-batman_beyond_soundtrack
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.
bruce_wayne_batman_beyond
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.
justice_league_unlimited_batman_beyond
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

keyart_LBX
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.
Achilles_pilot_trailer_debut
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.
Apollo_Kaiser_&_Claymaid
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.
LBX_Odin_and_LBX_Zenon
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.
Robin_and_Batman_dispute
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.
Joker_Gun
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!
Batman-Top-10
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

Future_Card_Buddyfight
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.
Rouga_Aragami_and_Armorknight_Cerberus_Ace
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.
fdf
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.
Noboru_Buddy_Skill
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.
maxresdefault
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.
Donthousand3
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.
h2zkw04f1jri
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.
ZX13-Kaito_stiehlt_Seele
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?
zexal___third_form_by_kristianthetiragon-d6og515
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.
ZEXAL_episode_82
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

index
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.
latest
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.
Soul Eater 02 094
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.
SOUL EATER - 44 - Large 39
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.
3148150-3100573192-soul-
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