Saint Seiya: Hades: Chapter 2: Inferno Review


It’s time to return to the world of Saint Seiya. The first OVA was a solid start to the Hades saga. I really liked the creative use of CGI which helped to mask the lack of animation at times. It also gave the OVA a very grand feel. Well, that is gone from this special but the animation is much better so it feels like we’re back to the original show in a good way. I would say this OVA improves on the first one even considering that the amazing clash of Athena Exclamations has already passed.

The OVA starts off with with the saints making it into the heart of the Underworld. Their mission is clear, they need to take Hades down and bring Athena back to the world of the living. It won’t be easy though as the Underworld has many castles and specters at the ready to foil their every move. Seiya and Shun are the characters in one plot while Shiryu and Andromeda work with Gemini Kanon in the other. Will the divide and conquer tactic work (Not like it’s really their choice though) or will they now be picked off. Also, where is the man known as Phoenix Ikki?

Maybe part of why this OVA feels like we’re going back to the roots of the show is because we’re going through the whole “Take down each Specter at each castle” routine that each arc of the show always went through. It’s nice and nostalgic to see the characters going through the motions. The big difference here is that we actually have a Gold Saint who can hold his own this time. Kanon really does well in each of the fights and reminds me why he is one of the best Saints in the show. The guy seems more reasonable than most and gets several fights in this OVA.

Before going further, I have to say that it’s still such a cool move when the heroes start taking their opponents down while keeping their eyes closed. It’s probably more of a stylistic approach then their literally closing their eyes at key moments but the animations have always kept this detail and I appreciate it. What’s more hype than letting a villain know that you don’t even have to keep your eyes open to win a fight right?

All right, so back to the plot. Most of the episodes are focused on the Seiya and Shun plot. They make quite a lot of progress through the temples. There is a time limit though so they have to beat these specters quickly. It’s just good nostalgic fun to see them going from place to place. They also make for a good duo with Shun as a support type while Seiya is all about offense. Meanwhile Shun and Shiryu are also on the case but are having trouble defeating any of the specters. It’s a rough stretch for them but up til now they’ve never seemed to be so out of their depth so it’s kind of interesting to see them like this. Then you have Athena and Shaka moving forward with their own plan to defeat Hades which takes a while for any pay off but it’s always fun to have their cameos.

As always Seiya is a great character here. He’s always the last one to give up and keeps on fighting until he gets the edge. It takes a lot of resolve to always be getting up with the ways that the opponents disrespect his Meteor Punch all the time. It never works the first time and yet Seiya keeps at it. You also see a lot more of his personality here as he trolls the judge specter who wanted everyone to keep it down. I haven’t seen Seiya like that since the pre arc.

He has a mischievous side to him after all but rarely gets to show this given that he is in nonstop fights all of the time. This arc actually have him a little time to slow down and have fun with this which was cool. Then there is Shun who still manages to lose all of the time but at least he gives Seiya a lot of moral support. His chains also do save him on more than one occasion so this is far from Shun’s worst appearance. I wish he could get some more clear cut wins but this OVA does throw him a bone so you can expect him to contribute.

Probably for the first time Shun actually does a lot more than Shiryu and Hyoga. I almost don’t need to mention them because these two get one shotted by one of the 3 Judges and then don’t do anything for the rest of the ova. Kanon hard carries them through this arc and they would have been dead many times otherwise. At this point it feels like the gap between them and Seiya is massive. Not so much in pure cosmos but in terms of drive as Seiya gets up while these two stay down. They will have to prove themselves in the next ova.

Ikki takes a while to appear but when he does show up it is certainly worth the wait. He comes in as if he is one of the most powerful Gold Saints. That’s the kind of ability he has and Ikki can really shake the whole battlefield to its core. He even has an expanded origin story that includes Pandora. It feels a bit out of the blue but makes for one of the more suspenseful flashbacks in the series. Ikki was really tough even as a kid.

Part of why Ikki is my favorite character in the series is due to his grand entrances and this one doesn’t disappoint either. He just seems to be a few steps ahead of the other Bronze Saints at all times and knew just when to show up. The villains get lucky that he is summoned away later on or the Specters would have kept taking some heavy hits. Additionally while Ikki is the tough member of the crew and makes the tough calls, he will always put Shun above everything else. Ultimately he makes the right decisions here and it’s a great moment.

The only Saint who deals out as much damage would be Kanon who steals the show as I mentioned earlier. He talks tough to all of the Specters including the 3 powerful Judges. He overpowers their techniques and is even able to fight without his armor. As someone who was not one of the original 12 Gold Saints, Kanon has to deal with not being given the same level of respect as the others and handled it well. It never feels like he will turn to the dark side again and has instead become one of Athena’s most reliable fighters. He has really come a long way here and while he may not do much more for the rest of the series, you can be really satisfied with his role. The guy beat up a whole army of Specters like it was nothing and the judges even have to tell them to leave Kanon alone.

Dohko is still around but he really doesn’t do as much as you would expect in this special. He provides some weapons which are useful during the climax which will have to do. All of the Gold Saints get one last hurrah here before leaving things to the bronze saints. Virgo Shaka’s is the most memorable though as the guy actually did well against Hades. I liked that he didn’t entertain the idea of stabbing Athena for an instant and just went straight for Hades. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t like breaking the rules so it’s a powerful moment.

Honestly this is why I still really don’t like Athena’s plan. It just seems like an awful way to waste most of her own men. Shaka would have done a lot better if Athena wasn’t getting in his way. Her plan to effectively beg for mercy is awful. What’s to stop Hades from claiming he will save the world before murdering her? By the time Athena realizes the flaw in this plan it’s too late because she’s already stabbed. From the start I had major reservations about this plan and this ova did not help matters at all. If anything it just makes every traitor gold saint and Athena look even worse. I’ll probably go more into this after the final ova since we’ll see her complete plan but it’s not looking promising.

Now as for the villains, first up we have Charon who may just be the guy that drives the boat but don’t let that fool you into thinking that he is weak because that is far from the case. He can fight really well and even gives Seiya some trouble. If not for some cheap shots I think the fight would have been over quicker but I give Charon some credit for being a little honorable. That’s more than you can say for most Specters and I thought he was really entertaining.

Then you have Rene who is mostly memorable for all the scenes with Seiya trolling him. It really was one of the funniest episodes in the franchise. The guy’s abilities are good too with how he can toss you around dimensions and use that whip of his. It ties into one of Kanon’s better scenes but without the illusion he may have even beaten Seiya and Shun. Never underestimate the powers of a good illusion.

Pandora is a memorable villain with how much hype she gets. She really does have the specters on a short leash but it seems more like a respect thing than actual power. Unlike Lost Canvass where she can really fight, here she seems to be the ultimate glass cannon. If she can hit you with the harp then she has the edge but otherwise even a normal attack from a Bronze saint can take her down. She spends a good chunk of this special looking shocked or trying to land a sneak attack.

Pandora is a nice change of pace within the villains and I like her well enough but I do think the series could have done more with her as the counterpart to Athena. She is ruthless though and has a lot more agency so that’s still an improvement. In any continuity Pandora is always better than Athena. I doubt Athena would have stabbed the suspicious package the way Pandora did. The tactic may not have worked but it was worth a shot.

A fairly minor villain was Sphinx who did have a good ability to rend the opponents unconscious. If not for Lyra being around he would have been difficult to defeat. You may not remember him for long but Sphinx was reasonable. I had more issues with Lyra in the end. The guy has a tragic backstory but you mean to tell me that he never suspected that the whole thing may not have been an accident? Basically he and his girlfriend had to leave the underworld without looking back but sure enough she did by mistake and turned into stone. This was due to a random bright light.

Naturally it was one of the villains but really Lyra? No suspicions on that? I feel like he should have realized and made a move a lot sooner. His plan was actually not that bad but ultimately it just didn’t work the way he wanted it to. As a silver saint the guy is really impressive, I dare say that he would beat some of the Gold Saints in a battle.

The final one of the normal specters is Valentine who gave Seiya a really good fight. Now granted that Seiya was super weakened and in enemy territory but I think it’s still worth mentioning. You have to have great physical stats to even do that much and you can see why Valentine is such a trusted fighter in the army.

That takes us to the big 3 Judges. Of the 3, Minos hasn’t gotten to do a whole lot yet but his puppet techniques are really lethal. Even Gold Saints are unable to break through his strings. Aiacos has his burning techniques like the Garuda wing and then Rhadamanthys really feels like the strongest member of the 3. He’s also the best one as the guy gets real development and even a true rivalry with Kanon. I like the idea of having a big 3 among the Specters because it really builds up the hype well.

Aiacos has his own rivalry with Ikki and it was a solid fight with a lot of back and forth. Unlike most Specters these guys won’t go down to a single counter attack. As for Rhadamanthys, I liked that he just wanted a good fight and he takes great offense to Kanon saying that the Gold Saints would have wrecked him if their powers weren’t limited. It’s the whole reason he wants to fight Kanon and that’s always a great motivation for me. I was absolutely on board with this.

Finally we have Hades who is the big bad of this saga. He finally shows himself in the second half of the special. I would say it’s worth the wait but he’s not particularly memorable just yet. The guy speaks in a very grand fashion and has a divine aura that forces opponents to back off but we haven’t seen him fight yet. As a god in the series he doesn’t really need to I suppose but he better keep his guard up. I just wish Athena would look tough like this since theoretically she should be about as powerful as he is.

Hades has a great fake out involving a dream which was cool. Ultimately he may get lucky on more than one occasion but you don’t get to be King without having some good luck at times right? I look forward to seeing more of him in the next special. He may not match the 3 Judges but it’s always good to finally meet the big bad and see what his plan is. An eclipse is a fairly original way to cause death and destruction.

There are some meanwhile scenes back on Earth but I haven’t mentioned them much because they don’t really add anything. It’s nice to see that they’re still alive and all but trust me, they won’t be impacting the story in any real way. They’re mainly just here to remind you that they’re around. The best scene on Earth is really the flashbacks with Ikki and Pandora. Those scenes are almost like something out of a horror with how dark the city was that night and how creepy Pandora can be. Ikki having to deal with such painful attacks as a kid is still something else, that kid had grit!

As mentioned earlier, the animation is much better here than last time. We finally have a lot of really good hand to hand battles like the old days and good movement with the energy blasts. It feels like the TV show has come back for real and that definitely feels good. The attacks look solid and the characters’ desperation is really illustrated well. Saint Seiya is a series that really relies on characters giving each other a lot of motivation and pep talks and so you can expect them here as well. They’re handled very effectively.

As for the soundtrack, it’s mostly a lot of classic tunes so they should sound familiar. The opening though really stands out. It’s incredibly high energy and works really well. In general this ova has a lot of energy and helps excel the series. When I say that this ova is near perfect it’s because it shines in all aspects. The Hades are really was quite excellent. Part of what makes it so great is again because it isn’t purely about the Bronze Saints this time. You’ve got the Gold Saints making moves, Athena, Hades, even the Specters get their own development and character moments. It makes this feel like a really complete adventure.

Overall, This will definitely leave you hyped for the third ova to conclude the Saint Seiya saga. I’m ready to see how exciting that one will be. You should probably watch the first ova to really get what is happening here. It won’t make Athena’s decisions look any better but at least you’ll have the context. The ending to this ova is quite striking, Athena’s last scene in particular may take you by surprise. Things aren’t looking great for the heroes but as long as they keep trying there’s always a chance. This ova is just a blast.

Overall 9/10

Beyblade G-Revolution Review


When I watched V-Force, I figured that Beyblade had reached its peak. How could it possibly top that series which was so amazing? Well, somehow Beyblade pulled it off. G-Revolution is the definitive season and it’s so good that it actually entered my Top 5 anime of all time, something that hasn’t been done since Madoka Magica which has now been bumped off. My Top 5. is now 1. RWBY, 2. Yugioh GX, 3. Beyblade G-Revolution, 4. Digimon Data Squad, 5. Cardfight Vanguard. Some titles had to make way for the champ. This series has incredible replay value to the point where I’ve watched almost all of the duels a second time. If you want a show that fires you up, this is the way to go.

G-Revolution really has two main arcs. The first one takes up the majority of the series and the basic plot is that the world championships have returned yet again. Tyson and the Bladebreakers won the first two years but this time there is a bit of a shift. See, the World Championships are going to be tag-team style which means that not all of Tyson’s friends can join in like they would in the 4 man squad. No, this time there can only be one and so Tyson’s friends all bail out on him. He is now forced to team up with Daichi, a new kid around the block who thinks he’s hot stuff.

Tyson and Daichi don’t get along at all. To Tyson, Daichi is an amateur who is going to hold him back and Tyson is also really upset at his friends for just ditching him the way that they did. Meanwhile Daichi sees Tyson as a rival who doesn’t respect him and he really wants to keep on winning until Tyson sees things his way. It’s going to be a rocky road and they have to get better quickly since they are going up against the world’s best. Can Tyson prove that he has what it takes or is it true that he only won the previous years because of his friends?

This arc is completely masterful, there’s no other way to put it. It’s a huge tournament with the best of the best. Sure, it would have been fun to have had some teams from season 2 or 1 to show up, but by and large you have all of the big characters here. Since the tournament is round robin style, you also get to see each team play against each other which is a lot of fun. There are a ton of matchups to be had and of course you don’t know which team will win any given match since you can lose a set and still make it to the finals.

I always like the hype before a tournament match goes on. Seeing the characters slowly walk up to the screen and dredge up their courage is intense. Beyblade knows how to hammer in the hype as you have the announcers going crazy and a whole lot of great music. You’re definitely not likely to be disappointed here I can tell you that much. Each episode delivers with a great amount of intensity.

It helps that the character roster is so amazing. There are tons of excellent characters in the mix to the point where you’ll like almost every team. The only one I would roll my eyes at was the cheating group with the scientist but I’ll talk more about them later. Everyone else were legitimate contenders but of course only one team can win so that really ends up making things pretty tense.

As for the second arc, it’s a lot shorter but still really hype. This time we actually have a whole villain group by the name of BEGA. They intend to really change the Beyblading world and the only way to participate is to join their group. If they have their way then it will be impossible to blade in the city without joining their affiliation. You can see how that would be a big issue. Tyson and the gang have to defeat them and this time we do get a full team of fighters. It’s a 5 on 5 battle so Tyson will have to choose his fighters carefully. While the arc is really just building up to a single team battle, there is a lot of hype leading up to it.

There is a real sense of danger here since a loss will be a loss for the global community but even more important than that, they just can’t afford to lose to these guys. The new villains are mostly rather sympathetic but they all have a lot of confidence and believe they’re the best so if a hero loses he will never hear the end of it. The heroes will need new Beyblades to win and they will have to do it without the help of their old pal Kai. Still, Tyson is up for the challenge.

So the first arc wins for me in part due to how much I love a great tournament but it’s also so much larger that it’s hard to go against it. It has more hype duels by default and of course seeing Tyson go up against Kai again like the good ole days is impossible to pass up. That said, the Brooklyn vs Kai duel is in my top 3 fights of all time for the franchise. It was incredible and the arc has several other fights at that level. Kai takes a beating in the arc but it also shows how the game is so serious. It’s no longer a kids game as Hiro would say.

The animation is really solid which helps as well. You can’t really compare it to the first two seasons. Season 2 had good animation as well but the designs are a straight upgrade here and I would say the animation improved as well. You have some moments where the characters even get DBZ style auras now and some fights feel like they even have hand to hand with how the characters move with their blades.

Another big win for the series is the soundtrack. You can’t underestimate how much a good soundtrack will help take a series to the next level. Unfortunately most of the themes were never released and Youtube only has some of the episode ost but all of the lyrical songs are online. Rise Above The Storm and Swing Low are the top two with ease. All of the songs are solid though so the selection has improved a lot since season 1. These songs pump you up in the battle and the suspense themes leading up to the battles do the job too.

A top tier anime needs to be an all star in every category and that’s exactly what Beyblade achieves. The voice acting, writing, characters, animation, soundtrack, it’s all there. There’s just nothing to dislike in the series and each episode continues to add on to the previous one. Many characters get significant character arcs so nobody really ends as they started. They just keep on fighting to new heights.

Now’s a good time to talk about the characters and man are there a lot of them. So strap in because this is going to be a pretty big review. First up we have to talk about Tyson of course and he doesn’t disappoint. He’s always been a fairly head strong main character. I would say he was definitely the most hot blooded in V-Force but he certainly has a ton of moments like that here. One of his stand out moments is when he calls Ray out and refuses to fight Lee. That was crazy but set the stage as Tyson is not someone who will be disrespected without putting up a fight.

Any scene with Tyson is great. Even when he was being lifted several feet off the ground by Crusher, Tyson didn’t back off. His pure ability with a blade is second to none. It’s extremely difficult to have a masterful series without a top notch main character and fortunately Beyblade got a winner right off the gate.

Then you have his partner Daichi who is pretty fun. I’m still sad they had to cut out his subplots from the manga though. It was cool how we slowly got introduced to his character way before he ever met up with Tyson and friends. Here he just shows up out of nowhere but ultimately I still liked him. He’s definitely more crude than Tyson and friends and his confidence isn’t as well deserved but he has his moments.

I find it a bit funny how Kai seems to have nothing but disdain for him though as he falls asleep during their first match and in the second he chooses to forfeit instead of fight. I think it’s because Daichi doesn’t fit into his label of what a true Beyblader is. Daichi definitely has a heart for the game though even if it doesn’t show in the traditional sense and he even gets a good rivalry with Tala by the end.

Ray has always been one of the strongest members of the Bladebreakers and that doesn’t change here. He has incredible endurance, second only to Kai. At this point he has really mastered his blade. He seemed to be way more harsh to Tyson than anyone else when leaving the team but he definitely does take his Beyblading seriously. In a way you could consider him the secondary rival in Beyblade or just the 3rd strongest in the team. It’s always a fun spot to be in since you get a lot of hype around the board and it’s also good to have the distinction that you are the strongest aside from the MC and rival. Most series don’t have a resolute #3 like that.

He has to carry Lee in a lot of battles as well so it was tough to claw his way to the top. Still, Ray was up for the challenge and is definitely one of the best characters. Speaking of Lee, he really looks bad in this season. Almost every fight has someone overpowering him, outsmarting him, or just tricking the guy. Lee feels like a season 1 character in the worst way as his power level has not kept up. I felt bad for him after a while because it seemed like he could do nothing right. Whenever he tried to help it would just backfire.

I guess there was nobody stronger Ray could pick, but yeah Lee ended up losing almost every fight. In comparison, Max had the best teammate in Rick. You could make the case that Daichi’s a bit stronger but Rick’s very impressive from start to finish. He’s one of the meaner Beybladers and even participates in a lot of underground battles. Still, because of that he has honed his power to an incredible degree. Even Kai was not able to win in pure brawn and had to use his skill to win their fight.

Rick also has a theme song of sorts when he puts his boombox on. The guy doesn’t care that it’s loud, he just cranks up the volume and does whatever he wants. I liked his absolute confidence and I looked forward to his battle with Kai quite a lot. He’s not a team player but definitely an amaing character.

As for Max himself, he was always the nice guy of the 4. I found him to be the weakest main member of the Bladebreakers but it’s all close I suppose. He has a good match with Kai and gets a lot of good moments throughout the series. His defensive style holds him back in my eyes as attack power will almost always be the right way to go but it is undeniable that he is one of the top ranked fighters in the world. He’s a good character, Max may not stand out as much as the others like Ray, Kai, or Tyson, but he still puts in a good show.

Now lets talk about the best character in the series, Kai. This guy’s just incredible no matter how you slice it. Yeah, he always tends to betray Tyson but it’s so that he can fight him in the final round. You can’t fight your teammate after all and the only way to fight him at 100% is to have the world championships on the line. Tyson can’t hold back that way and it’s sure to be a great fight. I would make a solid case for Kai having the most natural talent among any Beyblade character.

His final fight with Brooklyn shows how he can adapt mid-fight and continue with new strategies. It’s always a lot of fun to see him battle and I’ve seen his duels many times. Kai has a cool demeanor about him and the season 3 costume was great. Kai’s just the perfect kind of rival. He’s trained to such a degree that most fights are boring to him at this point and he just wants a true challenge. He certainly puts up with a ton of punishment but it shows how much he loves the game as he gets back up each time.

Boris had a big role in season 1 so it was cool to see him return. The guy definitely lays it on rather thick with how he is a changed man and all of that. Honestly if he dialed it back just a bit his goals would actually be all right. He just had to ruin it by trying to be all controlling. If he hadn’t tried to force everyone to register and all that, I don’t think the heroes would have had a problem with him. Additionally, he actually did not cheat during the tournament which I was surprised about. Maybe to a degree he has started to change. He’s still a jerk but I wouldn’t call him evil anymore.

Garland is one of the new villains in the final arc and he was a lot of fun. The guy thinks he is destined for greatness due to his family history and his abilities are impressive. The fact that he could stalemate Kai speaks volumes. His fans should be satisfied with his showings and he gets more duels than just about anyone else in Bega. His hand to hand martial arts along with his play make him very memorable.

Same goes for Brooklyn and then some in terms of being a memorable character. He starts out as being rather aloof and bored of everything but during a duel his true sadistic self starts to appear. He really enjoys taunting Kai and then completely cracks during his battle with Tyson. This guy’s basically a super villain with how he has powers and his unnatural way of learning everything. He’s definitely one of the best villains in the series and I would put him as a high tier option in the all characters list. He’s not the kind of character you will forget.

Next up is Ming-Ming and she was a surprise hit. I ended up liking her way more than I expected. In part I’d give some credit to the dub voice as the Mini Moon voice is incredibly nostalgic but she also tended to exceed expectations. Not only did she crush just about every opponent in her way but she even won in her big tournament battle. It was hard to see that coming and she shut down all of her doubters. Ming-Ming can be a bit of a troll with how she toys with Hilary as well. Ming-Ming definitely earned her spot on the team.

Mystel gets the least to do from the main members though. For starters, he has no personal connection to the rest of the team or a sob story to fall back on. He’s just a mysterious guy who goes around playing Beyblade. In a way there’s a lot more you can explore with him. He’s certainly very talented and has a unique fighting style. He didn’t stand out to me compared to the others but was a good addition to the team.

Finally you have Crusher who is fighting in Beyblade while his sister is in the hospital with a serious condition. The stakes are higher for him than anyone else as the virtual damage seems to go to his sister. So if he falters in a match then she seems to falter in the hospital. Of course this could be dramatic timing but I can see it being linked since the spirit plays such a big role in Beyblade battles. It can give you great power like with Kai’s transformation or zap all of your strength like with Tyson.

Miguel’s team is the only one that I couldn’t find myself caring about during the tournament. It felt a lot like a similar team in season 2 who ended up cheating a bit. This guy may want to be a good Beyblader but as long as he cheats he will never be on that level which is a lesson Tyson gives him. Miguel does ultimately shape up but it takes him a long while. Maybe because it feels like an old character beat but I just never liked him much. His duel with Tyson was mainly just really fun because of all of Tyson’s trash talking and because every duel in the series is a blast. Miguel had some teammates like Mathilda and Claude but there wasn’t a lot for them to do. Claude was a tattletale who didn’t really help out so it’s not like I would become a fan of that guy either.

Their leader Barthez is effectively just a weaker version of Boris. He’s also in it for direct cheating a whole lot more. It did give Rick a good chance to shine though. At one point Barthez frames the PB All Stars which would usually throw the team into disarray but Rick couldn’t care less. He’s used to playing the villain after all and still won the fight without breaking a sweat. It was one of the earlier moments where I knew Rick was just built different. In short, Barthez makes other characters look good but I still wasn’t a fan of his.

Julia and Raul made for a much more interesting team. They are experts in tag team battles but Raul has developed an inferiority complex since Julia is always claiming victory. He feels like his skills aren’t up to par and gets a whole sub plot about it. They were a likable team and actually got more wins than I had been expecting. They’re a fun underdog team to root for and have a good sibling bond. They may fight a lot but ultimately they always stay close. It’s fitting that they would be a great tag team combo.

Their coach Romero also ends up getting a decent role as he helps Kai when he has to get used to a new Blade. The guy hadn’t done anything in Arc 1 so I thought he was just a forgotten character but he ended up doing quite a lot. I’m not a big fan or anything but my opinion of him definitely improved in Arc 2.

Kai’s partner Tala ended up looking solid as well. He’s one of the season 1 characters so I expected him to look really weak like Lee but this guy actually ended up putting in the work. He was able to contend with a lot of the big leaguers even to the end. He ended up with a tough fate that made him miss a good deal of Arc 2 but he left an impression. His ice attacks are cool and his rivalry with Daichi was fun. His other teammates Bryan and Spencer are the ones who got the shaft though. There just wasn’t a whole lot for them to do except to get wrecked by Garland.

Michael used to be the leader of the All Stars so it’s a bit weird seeing him on the bench the whole time. The dub also gave him a rather odd new voice that makes him sound a lot more whiny. Between that and him not winning a single duel in this season, it was a rough time for his fans. Emily and Eddy also don’t really do anything. I didn’t care for them much because they didn’t do anything to support Max either. It should have felt like a home team for him but that didn’t end up being the case until near the end.

Likewise, Ray’s old teammates didn’t get to do much aside from Lee. Mariah for example gets a duel here and there but that’s about it. Tao gets to appear more as he gives Ray a lot of advice but he had one of the only boring subplots in the series when he takes Tyson shopping. This guy always talks tough but never really contributes so I tend to just tune him out whenever he is on screen.

Ten you have the noncombatants like Hilary. She had a much bigger role in VForce but she is still around for moral support here. She gets along with Tyson a lot better now but they still fight on occasion. It would be nice if she could actually blade with the others so that she has a more active role in the story but at least she tries to help the team get Bey parts when Bega starts to ban everything.

Kenny definitely doesn’t look very good here as he ends up falling for Ming-Ming and just embarrassing himself the whole time. It would have been good if he could have kept some dignity but unfortunately that doesn’t happen so in Arc 2 he just looks dreadful at all times. Any scene with him is one where you will find yourself cringing in shame.

Finally, the last character to mention here is Hiro. He starts out in his Jin of the Gale form which was really cool before eventually appearing as Hiro. He is Tyson’s brother so as you can expect, he has some pretty good skills. He doesn’t actually get to duel a whole lot but he is a cool character. I really liked him as a mysterious figure who popped up out of nowhere and in that sense maybe it’s good that the anime kept him as nonexistent until this season. Whether he is a coach for Tyson’s team or the villains, he is very good at taking his squad to the next level.

He can be quite harsh on Kai though. Almost every interaction they have ends with Hiro picking on him. He even made Brooklyn fight Kai intentionally as a way to get Kai out of the picture. Hiro certainly doesn’t hold back but I would have liked to have seen him fight more. His only real full fight was when he defeated Ray so we do know that he is a championship caliber player but it also leaves you wanting more.

Surprisingly the Bit Beasts are really not a factor this time around. They were a big deal in V Force but in this show they may as well not even exist. They are only mentioned once in a while but aren’t a big deal anymore. I don’t really mind either way but it’s just odd to see them effectively written out like this.

As a final note, I was glad that Tyson and the others beating the singers who were parading around in front of BEGA. When you start a new arc you usually expect the heroes to lose in the opening round but they managed to stay strong and clutch it out. It was an excellent way to start the second arc. We got a great duel and the heroes kept their hype. It was a nice way to subvert expectations.

Overall, What else can I say? G-Revolution is absolutely amazing and an anime I highly recommend checking out ASAP. Gems like this don’t come every day so you really want to dive in when one is discovered. Beyblade has always been a franchise I was eager to start and it’s been living up to the reputation so far. It’ll be really tough for Metal or Burst to pass this one, but it’s Beyblade so anything’s possible. I’d really like a revival of the original timeline someday though. With everything getting revivals nowadays though who knows…maybe it is in the cards.

Overall 9/10

Tower of God Review


Tower of God is one of those anime titles you saw everywhere. The amount of promotion it got was insanely widespread which is impressive. I’ll give Crunchyroll this, they absolutely know how to promote their materials. I would argue ToG and that tournament show got way more promotion than their third webtoon production but I guess by that point they felt the awareness was pretty good. You couldn’t turn the corner without seeing this one and now I’ve gotten to check it out. It’s an excellent anime to be sure and it’s the kind of show that gets better and better the more you think about it. Usually when you sit back and relax as you think about a show, movie, or game the score might stabilize a little lower since you’re past the initial excitement. This is one of the reverse cases as I walked away from the show thinking it was great; Then after reading a good chunk of the web comic, thinking about it some more and basically ended up going from re watching some clips to the whole show this is really a masterpiece.

The show starts off with a character explaining what the Tower of God is. It’s a tower that goes up to the heavens and contains everything that exists. Any answers, power, or goal you want can be attained by climbing it. Due to the tower having such prizes, the risks are also great. We then cut to a boy named Bam and a girl named Rachel. Rachel wants to see the stars some day and she tells Bam not to follow her as she vanishes. Bam decides to follow as best he can though because he doesn’t want to be alone anymore. He grew up along in a cave with only Rachel’s visits to break up the monotony of each day.

Bam suddenly appears outside the tower where he is allowed to take the entrance exam. He passes and makes it to the tower’s ground floor. He really doesn’t care about the tower or any secrets it may hold, but he does intend to climb the tower so that he can see Rachel again. He wants to understand more about why she left him and how the stars can be so important. He meets up with a mysterious boy named Khun and a powerful dinosaur hybrid named Rak. Together, these three must rise up the tower and conquer the various tests but can they pull this off?

Right away you can see how this will be quite the ambitious series. The Tower is huge with an unknown amount of floors and each floor has a game/challenge that must be completed in order to make it to the next floor. Each challenge can range from an episode to several and there is always the possibility that you might die. You’ve also got a ton of lore ranging from the 10 great families to Jahad and his Princesses. Then you have the Rankers, assassins, and a bunch of other factions all running around.

Part of the fun of the series is that everything’s all one big mystery. Bam has never even been outside before so he knows nothing about this world. We all have to learn about it along with him and most of the answers won’t even be in season 1. The web comic is around 500 chapter so far and this one covers the first 75 so it’s the tip of the iceberg. It perfectly covers season 1 of the Web comic though so the timing was really on point here.

The writing is also really excellent. A big part of the show are the various mind games as everyone tries to out think the other. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems and while characters may tend to overthink things at times, it pays to be cautious. Around every corner is someone who is absolutely brutal and may slay you without a second thought. The power levels in the universe can also get quite drastic as the characters have to remember that while they may be strong…they are only on floor 1. The higher you go the more crazy the opponents will get.

Right away you can tell that the animation style here is a little different. It seems to be modeled after the web comic and has a little less detail at times. It flows together really well for the action scenes though and the character designs are on point. I definitely liked the animation quite a bit and it does shine for the battles like Hatz vs Anaak or Yuri styling on the others at the end. It’s all very smooth and flows into the next scene well.

Where the series really shines though is with the soundtrack. It’s got a very interesting techno theme. In fact, I’d say for the most part the soundtrack sounded like they got it from Toonami bumpers and commercials. The whole thing felt a lot like I was watching Toonami which is pretty nostalgic and also very unique. It’s not a soundtrack I would have immediately connected to Tower of God but it absolutely worked well.

As for the characters, well I have to say that Bam is probably the blandest main character I’ve seen in a while. It may be a bit strong to say he’s the blandest I’ve ever seen but he has to be in the conversation. He’s always got a lifeless look on his face and is basically a one track character who can only think of Rachel. I have to say I was not a big fan of his. This is one of those titles where all of the supporting characters ended up being more interesting. Not to say that Bam is a bad character but if anything you think of him more like a plot device ready to go see Rachel as opposed to his own person. Due to the ending of the season though, you’ll want to see where he goes from here.

There isn’t a lot to say about Rachel in this season without spoilers. She leaves Bam rather quickly and then he sees someone who looks like her in the tower. Can it possibly be the same person? Either way the fact that she ditched Bam so easily and basically told him to stay in a dark cave by himself will probably set off some warning bells for you. She’s a very interesting character to be sure. She definitely wouldn’t rank as one of my favorite characters or anything but I don’t dislike her. If the show was playing her up as a misguided hero or someone we couldn’t understand then I probably would be in that camp. Again it’s hard to say much more for now but I am intrigued at how her plot goes.

Khun is definitely one of the standout characters here. He’s the strategist of the team and those do tend to be a lot of fun, particularly when they are confident in their abilities. Characters like L, Lelouch, Kurama, Eren, Kurapika, and other strategists who know how to break down a plan and acknowledge their own abilities tend to be great. If you’re a genius who isn’t confident like Armin or to a lesser extent someone humble like Shikamaru tend to not excel quite as high for me. Khun is one of those geniuses who knows he is a genius and tends to rub it in everyone’s face.

That’s part of what makes him such a fun character. Whenever he is on screen you know that something hype is about to happen. Right from his very first appearance you already get a good feeling about him and he ends up being one of the most loyal characters in the show. He’s constantly thinking about how to help Bam. Khun’s physical abilities also seemed very impressive when he was able to speed blitz to the crown so he can fight as needed. Then you have the third member of the group Rak. Now, from all of the big characters in the series I felt like he didn’t live up to the hype as much as some of the others. Mainly because the show has to balance a lot of characters so not everyone gets their chance to shine but Rak doesn’t really get to fight any big opponents.

He talks really tough the whole season so I’m hoping he ends up being very impressive but you start to have your doubts after a while. Still, as a comrade he is absolutely someone you want to have on your team. He may not admit it, but he has a good bond with the other characters as well. His chocolate gimmick is also a lot of fun and his brute force contrast to Khun’s intellectual approach gives their team a lot of balance. They may be at odds a lot of the time but at the end of the day Rak does listen to him.

On one of the other teams we have Shibizu. Like Khun he is also a strategist although he’s more low key about it. He may not be a super genius or anything but he is able to figure out most puzzles rather easily. He doesn’t have a lot of skill as he’s more of a standard human but he has a lot of determination and does his best to help out his friends. Like Bam he’s not super stoked to climb up the tower for any one reason and is able to try and help others out without just thinking about himself.

Then you have Hatz who is my favorite character in the series. It’s a pretty impressive title because this series has quite a few high tier characters such as Endorsi and Khun who could be the best character in many other shows or secondary characters like Anaak and Yuri who are also quite solid. Part of why Hatz is at the top is because his intro scene was dynamite. His line that “running away is only for opponents stronger than me” was really good as he attacked the strongest opponent in the area at the time. His twin blade style is also unique as he throws a sword in the air to block an attack while he deals with the other one. His skills are definitely on point.

Hatz gets quite a few action scenes here so I look forward to him fighting again more soon. The third member of the team Anaak is also a really powerful fighter though and someone who sticks out since she has the title of Princess of Jahad. Her Green April is a tough sword to stop too since it can alter its shape and strike from any angle. It’s the kind of weapon you don’t really want to mess with. Even without it she has a good deal of super strength and speed to back her up as well though. That makes her a very solid all around character. While Hatz has his whole thing about being honor bound at all times, Anaak just wants to crush the Jahad family at any cost. We see her origin story and why she wants to do this as well.

Next up is Hoh and we’re finally at one of the weaker characters in the series. The guy gets jealous from day 1 at how much stronger everyone is and so you can’t help but shake your head whenever he is on screen. You can tell that things are going to get dicey for him from day 1. I’m cool with someone just wanting to go up the tower and not making friends but Hoh’s jealousy just makes him such a petty character. I don’t think he quite deserved the big send off/funeral everyone gave him.

Then you have Serena who is more of a normal human like Shibizu. She has a bit of a rivalry going with him and they have a decent fight. Like Shibizu she feels a little out of place next to these guys who can crush mountains but she does well for as long as she can. Her character arc also has a bit of a surprising end to it so that was not something I had expected. Finally there’s Lauroe from their team who is quite powerful. The guy is constantly sleeping and whenever you have a character who is always asleep you can be sure that he’s hiding away a lot of power. His battle with Anaak was quite impressive and so was his big blast of Shinsu. Not many opponents would have been able to endure that. Lauroe’s a very laid back guy and while the sleeping may be a bit much, he’s a decent character.

Endorsi is another one of the standout characters here. She has absolute confidence in everything she does. Whenever Endorsi is on screen you know that someone is going to get absolutely crushed. It’s part of why she’s so much fun. Her only weakness is that her high heels tend to break which is something the anime has a little fun with. Regardless, in a straight fight you can expect that she would absolutely crush almost anyone in this tournament. Her skill are just off the chart and while she at first tries not to get close to anyone, she eventually gets caught up in the spirit of things. At the same time though, she’s not someone you can easily trust as her goals always take priority. You just have to make sure that your existence isn’t in her way. She was very close to passing Hatz as the best character in the series but at least if we go purely from the anime she is still behind him.

Then for one of the other supporting characters we have Paracule who is just annoying most of the time. He’s incredibly weak and is very quick to betray the other characters when it suits him. He’s not someone you could ever trust and he’s always whining. The character is around mainly to serve as a character to dislike but that doesn’t make him any better. It’s hard to even picture how this guy has made it so far. He is quite lucky that’s for sure.

Yuri doesn’t get a whole lot to do here but that makes sense as her abilities are far beyond anything we are expected to see this early on in the tower. You can think of her as a completed Princess of Jahad. A single blow is enough to destroy multiple giant monsters at once and there are few who could hope to be her equal. Then you have the mysterious gate keeper of the tower known as Headon who tests those who wish to join the challenge. He is definitely someone you can expect to be quite powerful although he hasn’t made a move yet. Whether you’re a regular or an irregular he lets you move up the tower. This guy appears to have big plans so we’ll have to wait and see how it goes.

Then we have some of the rankers like Lero Ro. This guy’s pretty fun. He definitely has a merciless persona to him as he isn’t afraid to put people in their place but at the same time he has more of a conscience than a lot of the other characters. He still wants to have a fair tournament and games here after all and suspects that something is up. He’s quite sharp and has quite a few mind battles with Hansung Yu. I certainly look forward to seeing what he does next. You also have Quant who has a lot of speed at his disposal and is pretty strong in his own right. He’s a lot more headstrong though so you can see how these two would make for a good team. Quant tends to take everything very literally and personally but I like the energy he has. He also does not care for traitors in the slightest.

Hansung Yu is easily the shadiest of the rankers though. He appears to be playing all of the sides so we’ll have to see how that plot goes. He’s also clearly a lot more powerful than he lets on but that makes sense since you would expect the ruler of the floor to be at a high level. Lo Po Bia Ren is one of the assassins’ of the tower and is a bit of an odd ball. He seems to have a real form underneath his animal costume but we never get to see it. It’s also hard to say if he’s still around as if he has more than one body at the ready or if it was a robot. Either way he’s a very intimidating villain to be sure. He doesn’t hold back and has a very creepy vibe to him. He’s not quite able to hold back his giant monsters from attacking either. He’s not really my kind of villain next to most of the others so I wouldn’t rank him too highly but he was a very real threat.

Finally there is Hwa who is a mysterious character. Her first appearance has her taking on Endorsi in a straight fight so her abilities are actually pretty good and she mostly sticks in the background after that. Needless to say it looks like she will be playing a big role coming up. I’m liking her character so far and there’s a lot of potential here.

There are other characters of course but I think that sums up most of the big ones. I tried keeping the review fairly spoiler free so you can jump in and see all of the twists and turns. In adapting 75 chapters into 13 episodes you can bet there are some changes but for the most part the series only cut minor stuff out. A ton of Urek Mazino references were cut for example but he won’t be appearing anytime soon anyway. There were a few questionable changes that could come back to bite them if we get a season 2 though like completely changing one character’s personality in the final episode and Khun’s final conversation in the final episode. Both are things you can easily walk back but do go against what initially happened.

For Endorsi, a good chunk of her one way romance with Bam scenes were cut out but I’m cool with that. In the web comic she is pretty much obsessed with Bam to the point where she is constantly flirting with him so the fact that the show dialed down her character is fine with me. The only change that’s a little regrettable is they cut out quite a few of Bam’s speeches which helped to really make him stand out as a character. Perhaps that is why he came across as bland in the show. In the web comic he has easily become one of the best characters although that’s more due to season 2 content than 1 so this wouldn’t have brought him to the top but it would have helped him rise quite a bit. Either way you are safe to jump straight to season 2 of the web comic if you don’t want to wait for the show.

The show ends on a rather perfect note with how episode 12 finishes also. It’s just such a powerful moment as the credits song plays. Honestly this could have been the perfect way to end although episode 13 is pretty interesting as a way to see a different side of events. It’s a good way to connect the dots and all. That said, the very last shot of the season is definitely a huge spoiler for season 2. I’m thinking it’s mainly there for the web comic fans so they would already know about the twist. In fairness to the show, I think most people figured out the twist in the web comic immediately. It’s sort of like Tobi from Naruto. The instant he appeared most people connected the dots. It’s a similar thing here so it’s nice for fans to see this guy but…I would technically still consider it a spoiler.

It’s rare that there is so much to talk about for such a short series but that’s part of what makes Tower of God fun. The lore is already absolutely massive in the series and it’s why you can easily see this going on for hundreds of episodes. There is so much to cover and I skimmed over most of the lore in this review but the show breaks it down well. I also really enjoy the way the games are presented. Each game is quite unique and you really have to think your way through them in order to win. Just relying on power won’t help although it is useful. I would say it’s a little like Phi Brain in that sense. My favorite game is definitely the Crown game though as that was a blast but a close second is the very first game as the opponents had to be reduced from 400-200. Less strategy in that one but it was a great way to introduce the characters.

Overall, Tower of God is definitely an elite title. There are less than 20 TV shows I’ve ever seen that were able to grab a 9 star rating and this one is good enough to join them. The characters are fantastic and a whole lot happens. It’s rare that you see a show be able to cram so much into each episode but when you’re adapting 75 chapters into 13 episodes it makes sense that you have to move fast. Especially with how big the web comic chapters are. All told, the show is an excellent adaption and I do hope we get season 2 at some points. There’s enough chapters for at least 5 more seasons minimum and since season 2 of the web comic is close to 4 times as large as season 1, a 52 episode season would be pretty nice to see. Either way this is just the tip of the iceberg so I hope the franchise continues on. If you haven’t seen the anime yet then I would recommend changing that right away!

Overall 9/10

Beyblade: V-Force Review


Beyblade is ready to make its big return with this second season. The original Beyblade season was great, no doubt about that. However, this season takes things to a completely new level as it easily jumps up to one of the best anime out there. That’s right, this one is an easy 9 no questions asked. You’ll get to see a ton of hype duels and a bunch of great new characters. Effectively this season accomplishes everything that the first did and then even improves upon it.

The season starts with explaining that the Bladebreakers have gone their separate ways. Effectively the group has broken up since each member has gone their separate ways. Unfortunately a group of mysterious individuals appear and manage to defeat or at least tie every member of the Bladebreakers. Tyson in particular gets slammed twice by the mysterious Ozuma. These new enemies intend to steal their bit beasts so the Bladebreakers decide to reunite to stop them. This group known as the Sacred Shields aren’t the only group after them though. You’ve also got a group of scientists who keep on sending bounty hunters and trained professionals after them as well. With everyone wanting a piece of the team, can the heroes really escape?

The first episodes are really about establishing the new group led by Ozuma and allowing the heroes to get used to Bey battles at this level again. One thing I was surprised about was Kai’s sudden retirement. That plot didn’t really work for me. So Kai retired because there was nobody left who was worthy to fight and yet it’s not like he beat Tyson the last time so why retire? You’d think he would at least want to end on a win first before stepping out of the game and Wyatt even points that out. Wyatt’s a kid at school who knew Kai and his role is actually rather big due to the influence he left behind on Kai. I wasn’t a fan of the guy personally and stealing someone’s Beyblade is never the right answer. Still, he was right that Kai shouldn’t just ignore a fight like this, especially when someone is targeting him.

Kai does recover from the slow start though and did put up a good fight against his opponent. In general the Saint Shields are a lot more interesting than the scientist villains so whenever the focus was on them that was definitely a good thing. The season really started out with a bang by introducing these Saint Shields and having them easily dismantle the main characters. They didn’t waste any time with that episode 1 fight coming in to the mix of a new rock song. That has to be one of the most influential fights in the series just because of how sudden it was. I always like the plotline where a hero just became world champion or beat the best there was and suddenly is defeated by a new challenger. It really establishes the new villain as being tough.

Naturally this can be tough to execute because you also might just not buy into it. Like Tyson was shattering universes with his Beyblade and now he can’t beat this guy? In some ways I would say they’ve scaled down the feats from the first season so don’t expect the Beyblades to look quite as powerful. Still, the intensity is always present in the battles which is the important thing. The animation is a lot different for the actual Beybattles here but I was definitely enjoying them quite a lot in the season. In general I would even say the battles were better here. In part because the season had the heroes powering up a lot more.

You could mistake this for DBZ as the characters start yelling and powering up their Beyblades. This was executed exceptionally well and really made you engaged in what was about to happen next. The character designs aren’t quite as good as season 1 though even if I think the animation is a little better. The characters just don’t look nearly as powerful. Tyson was ripped in season 1 and now he looks like a kid. Kai’s new outfit also isn’t nearly as cool as the old one. They do keep their strength though even if it doesn’t show like Tyson being able to race across the entire city. At the very end of the season we also get some power levels introduced to the series which was cool. I had definitely not been expecting that.

So the first half of the season is really solid but it’s the final chunk where the series kicks it into high gear. First, with the scientists out of the way, we get the final battles with the Saint Shields. One of the fights takes place during a rainy battle at the amusement park which was a lot of hype. Kai and Ray got to tag team against one of the big opponent teams. Then we had Ozuma and Tyson finally have their big rematch. It was a terrific way to end the arc and you couldn’t ask for better.

The final arc is the best though. A new kid named Zeo has been hanging around with the heroes for a while. He even saved them from the Saint Shields at one point. Well, he goes from being a happy, mild mannered kid to a really intense villain almost over night. The heroes aren’t sure what to do about this yet but there isn’t much time to think about it. The World Championships are starting up again so the Bladebreakers have to defend their title. This time the tournament is in a 2 on 2 setting though where the teams compete in a best of 3 set, one at a time. The bladebreakers split into two teams. You also have the Saint Shields stepping in, the hunters King and Queen, two of the international fighters from the earlier team that got mind controlled and of course Zeo’s team. That means that you have every big character in the season all rolled into one big tournament.

It would have been fun to have seen some of the season 1 guys as well but to be honest most of them would probably get stomped and the season 2 fighters are more interesting anyway. The more the better though if you wanted to make the tournament last a few more episodes. Every single duel in this tournament is incredible and a big part of why this season will be so hard to beat. Every duel just draws you in because of how strong each character’s motivation is. For example, I would say the big highlight battles in the tournament are Ozuma vs Zeo, Kai vs Zeo, and of course Tyson vs Zeo. There are a lot of other hype battles to be sure but in each fight the hero really wants to take Zeo down no matter what.

This leads to a ton of solid back and forth. The soundtrack is also so amazing in the season that each duel is really built up. The first season’s soundtrack was already excellent and this one took it to the next level. It reduced the amount of time the weaker songs played and even introduced some new ones. Swing Low is the standout theme here for sure which always shows up when the opponent is dangerous. Whenever you hear that theme you know things are about to get real.

This climax can hold its own with any anime. Then you also have the fun tournament meetup scene where the fighters get to interact. It’s a small thing but I always love to see this moment especially when it leads to a little fighting the way that this one did. King and Queen definitely love to stir the pot. They are even bold enough to directly cheat in one of the tournament battles. If you ask me that should have automatically disqualified them but of course they are allowed to proceed a bit since the judges just want to see good battles. Otherwise you feel like the Saint Shields may have actually won that battle. I was surprised at how quickly King turned over a new leaf by the end though. Hopefully they return at some point.

Tyson is a fantastic main character as always. You’ll notice that he does seem to be a lot more tense than usual here though. He picks fights with the characters quite a lot to the point where he is always breaking up the band. Being the champion of the world has certainly gotten to him. That said, his skills are still the real deal. If not for Dragoon chickening out on him he may have very well had fewer losses by the end of the series. When he’s not blowing up at everyone Tyson also does have a ton of great lines where he does pat himself on the back. A high energy main character like Tyson tends to always be a lot of fun. He enhances every scene he is in and is just fun to root for. He gives a good amount of pep talks as well. I’d still go with Kai as the best character but it’s awful close.

Then you have Ray who is the team’s consistent third strongest member as always. He is a blast to have around and I always like when a series has the big three established. Think One Piece, Saint Seiya, DBZ, etc. You can always count on Ray to go in there and get some wins. In some ways he even looks better than Tyson as Ray never even entertains the idea of cheating while the others get tempted to do so during the tournament. Ray is all about fighting with honor and to the end. His fights tend to get more intense than the others with how much physical punishment he takes, but Ray always gets back up. It’s too bad that he was the only one who didn’t get to fight Zeo, that would have been fun.

Max is around the whole time so he has a pretty big role but he always tends to get overshadowed by the other members. His Beyblade fighting style is all about defense and to his credit it is handled rather well. He is always relevant in the battles and gets a good fight to end the series. I’m not the biggest fan of Max but he’s fun enough and a good friend to have. At the end of the day he’s a nice guy who fights fair so what’s not to like right?

Kai is the main rival and so of course he is a blast here. Again, I wasn’t big on his first episode though with the whole retiring and then mellowing out. It just didn’t feel like Kai, especially just letting an opponent stomp him like that. As the season went on he quickly rose back to his old levels though and that was great to see. He really serves as a mentor to the group and was probably the only one actually making sure Hilary was okay during the big fights like saving her from the boulder and a big fall. Kai was also determined to stop the part hunters and did a great job. He always brings a ton of intensity to the battles which is important.

Hilary is a new addition to the cast and she’s fun enough. She gets a lot of fun banter with Tyson. Tyson certainly takes a lot of shots at her but she can dish them out just as well which makes for a pretty good balance. If she could duel that would be even better since she could help out in the climax but as it is she’s solid. I prefer her to Kenny who is technically more important to the battles but at the same time I’ve just never been a big fan. He should duel at this point and he is always doubting the team and putting them through a lot of training. Dizzy doesn’t do much as the A.I. but she gets some good one liners and tends to be pretty sarcastic the whole time.

Lets talk about some of the other big characters here. First up is Zeo of course since he is the big villain. He was a fun hero so it made for a fun character arc. I do have to say right off the bat though that I still don’t buy how he was able to take on the complete range of Saint Shields with a single blow and then go back to rookie status after that. I wouldn’t say Beyblade is the tightest when it comes to power levels but that just felt like a stretch. None of the characters seemed to think it was off either. Even if it was a surprise attack, the match should have just kept going.

I also have to admit Zeo’s reasoning for turning evil is very weak and does make him look bad. At the end of the day he turned against his friends incredibly easy which was disappointing for them. Zeo makes for an excellent villain but I will have to say that I’ll remember him as a traitor pretty well too. So, great character but his betrayal was too sudden and too easy. I did like the explanation for why he was so strong by the end though, that did make a lot of sense.

Then you have the various Doctors. Doctor K probably had the most personality since she actually got kicked out and then went right back into the ring with her own team. You have to admire her persistence that’s for sure. She even grabbed a gun to try and shoot the tops herself so you can’t say she does things halfway. Then there’s Doctor B who gets scared a lot. He does a lot of the grunt work of actually challenging the team and bringing the robots so kudos for that. He’s just never really much of a threat though.

Dr Zagart is someone you don’t mess with though. I’d have liked to see him duel a bit too but he does have much more of an imposing presence about him. The guy feels like a main villain and you can tell that he’ll back it up as needed. Much more so than Gideon who basically gets shoved aside and frightened by all of the other villains. You feel bad for him because essentially he is a henchman who is forced to act like a leader until he is tossed aside. Cool character design though. By the end of the series there are so many layers to the hierarchy in the organization that it’s quite impressive.

King and Queen are added near the end of the series but they leave an immediate effect. What better way to solidify yourself as a threat than taking Kai down right? I wasn’t exactly expecting Kai to be dispatched like that so this was a pretty epic way to introduce them. Both of these characters make for really epic fighters. I also like how both of them are ready to jump in when one of them is in trouble. Queen cheats on King’s behalf the first time against Kai and King returns the favor against Mariam. Their costumes are pretty cool too and at the end of the day the impressive thing is really that their skills are the real deal. Even without crazy power ups they were doing well.

That’s one thing you’ll see a lot of here compared to the first season though, rampant cheating everywhere. You have characters using Beyblades that keep on regenerating. Then you have the 2 on 1 battles like I just mentioned with King and Queen. Kai gets double teamed, Mariam gets double teamed, it happens a lot in the series. The most annoying part is when the heroes just get frozen though. If you see your teammate being double teamed you’re really obligated to jump into the fray immediately if you ask me. Anything less and you’re not watching your partner’s back as closely as you should.

Time to talk about the Saint Shields. Mariam gets a lot of development in the group. I like her confidence and she does like a clean fight. You could say she appreciates it more than some of the other members who just want to win at any cost. She certainly taunts Dunga quite a bit but the group is pretty close knit so they definitely get along well when it counts. Dunga is also a solid fighter although he’s naturally not quite as charismatic as Mariam. His brute strength takes him pretty far in the series but ultimately falters when it counts.

Then you have Joseph who probably gets the smallest role out of the group. He just doesn’t have a true character arc next to the others but does have consistent skills. The best member has to be Ozuma though. He seems to take this mission the most personal when it comes to trapping the Bit Beasts. He has a lot of passionate duels and the way he stole the show in the first episode of V Force was just incredible. His entrance was absolutely perfect and his victory over Tyson was decisive. There was nothing questionable, no dirty tricks or cheating. He just won straight up.

Then we have some of the other characters who appeared briefly and then got turned by the Psychic team. Salima tried to stay strong and even did some detective work but ultimately her will power was no match for the power of the dark blades. It was definitely unfortunate but nobody in the series seems to be able to resist its powers so she isn’t alone in this. Kane is another such victim. He was a decent rival to Tyson but you did feel like he had no real shot once he was a good guy again despite a pretty impressive intro. Both of these characters were pretty interesting. They got overshadowed but had a good run. I can’t say much for their two partners though. They were definitely not very impressive in the slightest.

Wyatt is someone who’s worth more than a mention since he was integral to Kai’s plot. My main issue with him is how weak willed he was. First he stole Kai’s Beyblade and then after that he was very quick to turn to the dark side again. I can see why Kai didn’t want to train him because this kid absolutely could not be trusted. No matter how many sympathetic flashbacks the guy got, I was never a fan. Finally we have Gordo who was Zeo’s partner in the finals. It’s clear that the whole purpose of his character was so Zeo could have a partner but the guy was fun. I liked his design which is a total reference to DBZ and the guy can fight so he was a worthy partner.

Right from the first episode V-Force establishes the stakes as being quite high. These fighters are extremely powerful and it’ll be fun to see Season 3 up the stakes again. The question is, can they top this one? The fun part with Beyblade is you know there is always a chance even if it’s hard to picture when you’re coming off the incredible highs of this climax. The season has incredible replay value to the point where you could easily go back to watch some of the big fights again right now. While I’ve mostly been praising the second half of the show, I do want to say the first half is great as well. A lot of the Saint Shield battles are there after all and you’re guaranteed a lot of great moments with the cast filled with action and intensity. You can’t go wrong there.

You can also tell how impressive a show is when there’s a fight where the outcome is already all but determined and they still keep you invested. In a fight like Kai vs Zeo you already know there’s no way Kai can end the arc prematurely. At the same time you want to see just how close he can get. Even fights with throwaway villains end up being a lot of fun because of how well the show executes the battles. There’s also a lot of solid character development everywhere. The main characters are obvious, but take someone like Hilary. She starts out despising Beyblade and giving Tyson a hard time but by the end she is as invested as the rest of the characters. Admittedly she was a lot of fun as one of the antagonists but as an ally she’s cool to. The show has a lot of fun with the dynamics and banter. It almost goes without saying but the writing is absolutely phenomenal here. The trash talking is top tier with Tyson getting a hype line about how he’s seen better duelists in Kindergarten at one point when fighting Ozuma. Lines like that are why Tyson’s still the Beyblade champ.


Overall, Beyblade V-Force is a terrific anime. It’s just incredible how intense the duels are and how excellent the characters are. You can really get behind this as one of the all time greats. I can really see why Beyblade got to be so great. There’s nothing that this show doesn’t execute at a masterful level. It definitely deserves to be up there with the all time greats like Yugioh and Cardfight. The best part is knowing that Beyblade still has tons of episodes and seasons left to go. If you haven’t watched Beyblade yet, you definitely need to change that as soon as possible.

Overall 9/10

One Punch Man Season 2 Review


Anime is definitely one of the most amazing mediums there is. It never ceases to really bring you into a show. Even anime that I haven’t given the highest of scores will usually have some kind of epic confrontation that takes it to the next level. As a result I tend to really get into various series. I was on a Sword Art Online high for a while, then there was RWBY, One Punch Man and of course Black Clover. There are many great shows, but then at the top you’ve got the elites. These are shows where you are engaged no matter what is happening on screen. It could just be the characters hanging around chatting and you’ll be interested because the characters are just so well written. Then when the action comes you know you’ll be in for a good time. One Punch Man is the second greatest manga I’ve ever read and the first season is easily in my top 10 shows. Season 2 continues the series on a supreme note and I certainly hope to see the franchise continue to go for many years to come.

The season really has two main story arcs going on. One arc follows Saitama as he decides to enter a martial arts tournament to see if some of these fighting techniques will help him face off against a worthy opponent. He’s tired of one shotting monsters all the time so perhaps this will give him some kind of a challenge. This is Saitama though so it’s going to be hard to find such a challenge. Meanwhile the monster association has started to make their first moves against humanity and so the heroes could really use him right about now.

The other big arc follows a new character named Garou. He has dubbed himself the “Hero Hunter” and aims to defeat all of the S Class heroes. He believes that monsters are always portrayed in a negative light and bullied by the humans so he will become a monster that defeats them all. His quest leads him up against most of the series’ biggest fighters as he gradually goes from taking on weaker opponents to some of the strongest in the series. As he becomes a bigger and bigger threat the heroes are forced to acknowledge his power.

It’s easy to see why the 12 episode format is so popular. One Punch Man is able to go at a very quick pace much like season 1 and so there is never a minute of dull time. The plot is always progressing and we go from fight to fight. It helps to really capture the high level of intensity from the manga which is ideal. This season is also covering the beginning of the greatest arc in the series which is a really great place to start. It’s a little hard to know what to talk about first. I guess a logical part is the writing. In most shows it’s hard to like the whole cast, but OPM really manages to do a great job here. I can’t think of any character that is downright bad….well there is one. I forgot he appeared in this season, but I quickly double checked and Puri Puri Prisoner showed up after all. He would be the only negative character. The others ranging from heroes to villains are all pretty spectacular.

Another positive in this season is that it goes out of its way to build up the monsters as a real threat. In season 1 we did see a lot of powerful enemies that dealt major damage until Saitama took them out, but as a whole the society was pretty much okay after each encounter. There were slight hintings in the background that something was coming though. Season 2 is the payoff with that as we find out that there is a monster association led by Monster King Orochi and they have plans on how to deal with the heroes. It’s really the worst nightmare of the hero society since these guys are all mega powerful and know how to pick off the heroes. It’s a fact that there are more monsters than humans so if they properly gang up then it’s hard to see how they could be defeated.

I always like a good villain meetup scene so the episode where we first see Orochi and his full staff of monsters is excellent. I also like how they trolled the humans by pretending to be interested in a truce only to start shooting anyway. These monsters are ruthless and most of their members are actually cool monsters and not just throwaways. The series went out of its way to establish a lot of these guys and that’s great if you ask me.

In particular I liked 2 of the monsters in this season a lot. First is the cockroach guy who has a cool design and gave Genos a real fight. That alone is enough to make him pop out on my radar. Then you’ve got Gouketsu who has a great design and a solid presence. I would have liked to have seen him fight some more opponents to really see him in action before he left though. While we didn’t get that, it’s still clear that he is one of the strongest fighters out there.

We’ve already got an engaging story and excellent writing so that’s how you know you’ve got a winner. Next up is the animation. It certainly took a lot of heat as soon as the first promo came out with people saying that J.C. Staff was going to ruin it and that it couldn’t match up to the original. To start with, season 2 was never going to pass the first one. To date One Punch Man season 1 has the greatest animation I’ve ever seen. I don’t think it will be passed in the near future, that anime just looked perfect and it was fitting since the manga has the best artwork I’ve ever seen in that medium. You simply can’t top it. That being said, season 2’s animation is still great. At its absolute worst it’s still pretty good.

Just look at any of Garou’s fights and you’ll see how stellar it is. Genos vs Sonic and Genos vs Cockroach are also great fights and the same goes for Suiryu. What I’m basically saying is that all of the fights are great. This season uses different animation techniques which may take a little time to get used to if you watch both seasons back to back, but they aren’t bad. We get more air slash effects to compensate for not being able to animate every little detail like in season 1. It’s also more of a fluid color scheme that has less detail, but still gives you a lot of movement. I’d say it’s similar to the older seasons of Cardfight vs the newer ones, DBZ vs Super, or Naruto vs Boruto. In general I think a lot of anime are going towards this more streamlined era of less detail. It’ll be up to personal preference though and it’s all done within reason. For example, Black Clover falls under the “more detailed” line of anime but for big fights they tend to switch to simpler designs. Super interestingly went the opposite direction as the first few arcs were very simple so they went for a detailed look in the Tournament of Power.

In general I’d say that the detailed approach will look better than the simple designs. It’s clear that it takes a lot more work and effort to get it across, but if it’s something that’s 5x as hard to do and only makes 2x as much money (if even that) then it’s likely not worth it from a studio perspective. As long as the animation is still great I’m cool with whatever they decide to use. At least it’s not all CGI right? Now that would be something for me to get disappointed at. Season 2 has a few CGI gradients put onto the characters at times, but it’s never a full transformation like the Colossal Titan in AOT or anything like that. The actual fights are always still hand drawn and that’s the important thing.

The soundtrack is also great like with season 1. I wasn’t a big fan of the opening though. I dunno, both OPM intros haven’t really been my thing which is surprising since they are rock based. Maybe season 3 will get that one across. The new theme we have which plays during Bang’s scenes is excellent. In particular when it shows up during his fight with Garou it’s perfectly timed. It starts out as a fairly soft theme and then really picks up. Every show should have a standout theme and this is the one for this season. We also have the return of the Genos theme which was slightly remixed and still sounds great.

It’s a small complaint, but the sound mixing did seem a bit off at times. The Genos theme in particular was one instance of this as you could barely hear it playing during his fight with Garou. The sound effects were way louder than the music. Then some of the sound effects don’t have quite the pop you would expect during some battles. I didn’t notice the effects sounding weak for any of Garou’s fights though as it was just in early episodes. Perhaps it’s something that was quickly addressed.

Most of the big characters from season 1 return here which is definitely good. Saitama is still a great lead. He’s just a nice guy who’s pretty relatable and does really want to be a great hero. It must be tough being the strongest, but he’s never even been remotely tempted to turn into a villain which is good. The series could easily have had him try to be a villain so he could see if the S rank heroes give him a good fight but it hasn’t gone in that direction. It’s also always cool to see him transition into his cool hero persona.

King is one of the big new characters in this season and he definitely makes a positive impact. Everyone believes they he is one of the strongest heroes out there because King always happens to be in the right place at the right time. He is similar to Hercule from DBZ only King is fairly selfless and isn’t here for the money or power. He just wants people to leave him alone so he can play his video games. King does step up when needed though. One of the main reasons why he is such a fun character is he actually does give good advice and solid speeches. His character definitely goes in a different direction from how you’d expect and it works out really well.

Bang was in the first season, but this is the first one where he gets a fairly significant role. Since Garou was one of his students he wants to defeat the villain personally. This leads to him taking down a lot of thugs and ultimately helping out a lot in the climax. He is treated as one of the strongest S class heroes for sure although his age does factor in a bit. He’s not quite as powerful as he used to be although you wouldn’t guess it from his fights. He’s probably one of the best Shonen mentors I’ve seen in a very long while. You can’t even compare him to someone like Master Roshi. Garou manages to stay relevant next to the main characters and is just a good guy. Then we get to see his brother Bomb. Bomb’s not one of the more popular characters but he is quite solid in his own right. He is able to keep up with Bang blow for blow and just having him along as backup is incredibly handy. There would be too many enemies if Bang had to worry about them all by himself.

Meanwhile Sonic is awesome as always even if his role is very small this time around. He still has his super speed and confidence when he fights the other two ninja but this season is mostly just not about him much. His quick fight with Genos was also great. I like the rivalry between them. Genos gets a solid role meanwhile. Unlike season 1 where he basically lost every fight he actually scores some impressive wins here like against the cockroach monster. Garou also takes down a legion of enemies all while overwhelming Garou. It’s great to see him improving although I expect ultimately he will still be losing to most of the bigger fighters. It just wouldn’t be One Punch Man without Genos breaking down at least once. He never loses confidence though and that’s why he is the best hero.

Another new character is Suiryu and he’s definitely a hit. At this point Saitama already has 2 solid rivals in Genos and Sonic but why not add in a third one right? Suiryu is a martial arts master and quite possibly the strongest non hero out there. He is able to easily defeat A rank heroes and I dare say that he could give some S Ranks a run for their money. His pure physical abilities are off the charts and I always enjoy confident characters like this. He completely overwhelms his opponents in the ring and is only stopped short by Gouketsu. I don’t believe any of the villains under that guy would have been able to do much here. I really hope Suiryu gets to appear again because this guy has potential. The scenes of him getting beat up by the villains are probably some of the most emotional in the series.

Then we have Garou who really lit up the anime with his appearances. He gets stronger as he fights which is always a great trait to have. A good villain should always have an interesting backstory as well and Garou’s is top notch. He does have a point that in a lot of the old monster type shows the heroes would pick on the monster unfairly. Just look at the original Ultraman. Part of my complaints with that show was that not all of the monsters would be evil, but they’d all be beaten and blown up anyway. Garou takes this down an extreme path and does without a doubt become a villain, but it’s still a solid motivation if you ask me. He’s borderline the main character of season 2 and should play a large part in season 3 as well. Garou faces off against crazy odds in most of his fights and easily feels like the most dangerous villain. Take this into consideration, he was giving Genos an even fight despite being almost unconscious and losing his vision. Garou at full strength at this point would be completely insane.

Then there’s Fubuki who hasn’t yet had a lot to do in the show. She’s a fun character and I look forward to seeing her get more fights in the future. Her dynamic of not wanting to be saved by Tatsumaki is good as it’ll make her get stronger and is also a good motivation in general. Saitama was that making the Fubuki group is a bit of a waste when you can just get stronger but it isn’t so easy for most.

So in the end does season 2 manage to dethrone season 1? The answer is no, but it’s a very close fight. Season 2 does adapt what I consider to be some of the best scenes in the series. The season has higher stakes and more emotional moments because Saitama just isn’t around to save the day as much. It has a grander feel, but ultimately season 1 wins with how phenomenal it is. Having the greatest animation of all time certainly helps, but we also got to meet all of the S ranks in the cool climax of season 1. Boros made for a great opponent and I also enjoyed a lot of the light hearted moments with Saitama and Genos. A whole show of them hanging out would be a lot of fun as well.

Overall, One Punch Man Season 2 is a great follow up to the original and a top notch show in general. When you combine both shows you’ve got 24 episodes that would be hard for any title to match. If you haven’t seen this show yet then you need to change that. Each episode is guaranteed to get your heart pumping as you enjoy the excellent action scenes. It’s really rare to have such a well balanced show on this level so the wait for season 3 is definitely going to be tough. I hope they launch the next one right away. Since the seasons are only 12 episodes that should help them pump it out quickly. Whether they adapt the rest of the arc or not I just want to see more One Punch Man!

Overall 9/10

Future Card Buddyfight X Review


The card game genre is certainly going very well at the moment with Cardfight, Buddyfight, and Yugioh all hitting it out of the park. In particular Buddyfight has been going very well. I believe I said that the last season was the best in the series and this one comes very close to topping it. Just when you think the series has peaked it always returns to go to the next level. This season has three arcs which are all quite solid, but that’s enough build up. Let’s start the review!

Well, it is time for another large tournament. This time it will decide which monster world is the best as each one picks an emissary to represent them. It goes without saying that Gao is chosen for Dragon World. However one big surprise is that instead of Tasuku representing Star Dragon World we have a new character named Kanata. He is known as the no damage fighter and has actually managed to never get hit during all of the battles that he was in. Considering how the game works this is virtually impossible so either he cheated quite a bit or he is just very lucky. The best part is that he hasn’t even played Buddyfight in ages as he ditched the game to play soccer full time. Well he is basically forced into entering so now Gao will have to deal with him.

The first arc being a tournament is definitely a good way to kick things off and we get some nice development for Kanata as well. It is pretty much nonstop Buddyfighting so that’s definitely cool. As hype as the next arc is, I have to admit that this one wins. Still, the next arc starts off with a bang as you might expect. A new villain named Wisdom has shown up with his powerful Gear God. He wants to upgrade the world which means turning everyone into machines and controlling them. He manages to crush Gao as well as Kanata which makes him a legitimate threat. Beneath him are the Chaos 3, a group that should not be taken lightly. Gao and his friends will have to get much stronger if they want to save the world this time. Fortunately Tasuku and the Buddy Police are also on the case.

As per usual a big part of the season’s main focus is on Gao and his new buddy monster Batzz. This guy is a tough character whose personality is probably the most similar to Drum’s. He believes that he is the strongest monster in and people say that he came really close to destroying all of Dragon World before he was sealed away. Gao is determined that they will be friends though and as he is the strongest Buddyfighter they should easily become the best. Of course it won’t be that easy since Batzz has quite the ego at times and doesn’t like taking orders. While he is strong that also doesn’t make him immune to gameplay mechanics. I’d say that he beats Bal for me and it’s pretty tough to say compared to Drum. It’s a close one there but I’ll say that he wins out as Gao’s best Buddy so far.

Gao is a very solid main character as he always is. He’s pretty much the same as in the last few seasons so there isn’t much new stuff to say about him. He is still eager to win and always seems prepared for whoever they throw at him. Even without a buddy he has some good skills at the ready to back him up. At times Gao isn’t proactive enough and it feels like the heroes just wait for the villain to make a move but sometimes he goes with his gut like when he broke into the amusement park. That is definitely when he is at his best.

As for Batzz, he can be a little rough at first as he seems to be all talk and no action but I do like the idea of having Gao team up with the strongest monster of them all. Batzz still has trouble with mini Gear Gods and I have serious doubts on him being the strongest but he is certainly powerful. He is always up for a fight while at the same time being willing to atone for his past by getting sealed up. Once Batzz stopped zapping Gao all of the time he was able to get some real character development. I also like the fusion between him and Gao even if that got ditched for a big chunk of the season.

Ancient Holy Sword Dragon is basically the sidekick of Batzz. He means well and always defends the big guy, but in his own I wouldn’t say that he’s a great character. He’s not bad but felt rather unnecessary as having one main monster was enough of you ask me. He did help with Batzz’s development though so I can see why he was added.

Kanata is one of the big new characters here and I can safely say that the show handled him really well. As I mentioned earlier he was so good at the game that nobody could even land a hit on him. Realizing that this was hurting everyone’s morale he decided to stop playing the game even though he had enjoyed it and went on to play soccer full time instead. Fortunately he was selected for the big world championships which forced Kanata to realize that the game is still fun and there will always be more opponents. I actually started to root for Kanata towards the end of his duel with Gao because the hero’s deck started to get cheesy as he drew around 6 shields back to back. Kanata winning the tournament would have really completed his character arc. He also ended up losing to Wisdom later on but despite that you can’t really say that Kanata lost his edge. Naturally he does take damage in all of his duels now but that’s because it was never realistic to avoid damage in the first place. It just doesn’t work within the rules of the game. While Gao surpasses everyone by the end of the season again, Kanata gets enough power ups to stay on his level. Considering that he is a brand new character, it’s impressive how high up the ranks he has gotten.

Gaito may be returning from the past season but he is still one of the big three alongside Gao and Tasuku so he gets quite a few fights. The season addresses the weakness behind his Death Count Requiem technique as it does guarantee a win after 3 turns but lasting that long isn’t easy. Gaito is able to speed this up to 2 turns which is huge. It also becomes borderline overpowered but a lot of the abilities started to get crazy in this arc so it keeps Gaito relevant.

A new mechanic that I neglected to mention earlier is Overturn/Overkill. It is a special ability that can be used once per match depending on if your monster has evolved enough to use it. How useful this ability is completely depends on the monster. Gaito’s is extremely good as it skips his opponents turn so he gets to have 2 waves of attacks. Wisdom’s endsvthe opponent’s current turn in addition to letting him summon 3 monsters. That’s the just of the ability and it is definitely a game changer. This instantly puts any fighter without such an ability at a huge disadvantage but fortunately for the cast it appears that everyone learned it.

Wisdom plays a huge role in this story of course and is a very charismatic opponent. His goal of upgrading the world is certainly a fun one and it’s always nice to see him dismiss his underlings so casually. He reminds me a lot of Kyoya and is certainly about as smug. Even his fame and wealth are comparable. He is evidently smart as Wisdom is able to create code and bend Gear God to his will. He is an expert duelist and also has no qualms about taking the fight to the heroes. The batch of episodes where he attacked Gao and Kanata for the Mirage Card was certainly a standout moment. The season definitely wouldn’t have been the same without such a great villain at the helm.

There is also his butler who is surprisingly a powerful opponent as well. He transforms into a powered up mode rather nonchalantly and may have the best ability out of them all. His flag goes over the opponent’s flag so they can’t use any spells or monsters. Basically unless you have the one specific upgrade card that Wisdom or Kyoya has, it is game over. There is nothing you can even do against this technique so it is easy to see why he didn’t get to fight all that much in the series. It would have been very tough to think of ways to defeat him.

Of course older characters from the series are still present. Tasuku gets a reasonable role here as he continues on with the Buddypolice. While he may not have much time to duel for fun anymore, he has still kept his skills and helps out at times. The only questionable part for Tasuku is that he seems a little more “by the books” than usual. He actually tells Gao and the others to stay back because civilians but he knows better than most just how strong Gao is. It was a rather odd scene. At least he didn’t care much when Gao followed him though so I guess it wasn’t much of a big deal.

Tetsuya and Zanya show up as well but their roles are quite small. They never actually get to do anything important in this season and just serve as a reminder that if you don’t work to improve your skills you will quickly be left in the dust. I suppose I should just be glad that they got to appear? I dunno, I was never the biggest fan of theirs anyway. Their buddy monsters get new super forms though to keep up with everyone else and join the thunder empire though.

I suppose Kiri’s role is kind of important here. He knows about the coming threat and goes over to protect Dragon World while the heroes take on Wisdom. Considering that he is an Omni lord his abilities are never all that impressive. Still, I guess it is good that he is trying his best. He is much better than Guru after all. Guru is an old guy who actually has incredible power. We’ve seen this kind of character many times before but it tends to not work out. This is one of those times. Guru is always trying really hard to be funny but the scenes may just make you cringe. His advice is rarely ever useful and he doesn’t deserve to have such a high power level. The heroes keep on crawling back to his base for more intel over and over again which definitely gets annoying. Hopefully he is written out of the show as soon as possible.

From the Chaos 3 the member with the biggest role is easily Sakate. He is Kanata’s rival so naturally that makes their duels very personal. His dueling style is very unique as he attacks with a bunch of swords instead of monsters. It’s a pretty unique approach and one that feels very useful. I won’t call it OP since having monsters is still really handy but I can see why he is one of the strongest duelists. Brutal’s role is the smallest and he’s the most bland character of the 3. He’s a loyal guy but he really doesn’t have a great reason to follow Wisdom. At the very least he should have defected once Wisdom started going crazy.

Then we have Keisetsu who is taken a lot less seriously than all of the other villains. He is legitimately strong as he gives quite a few characters a good fight, but at the end of the day he just isn’t able to close out his matches. It’s not how you start a fight of course, but how you finish it and this guy just wasn’t ready for that.

The final arc is a nice homage to the rest of the series. It is a shame that the tournament was so small since this meant that it couldn’t bring back a bunch of the older characters but since the first arc was a huge tournament I suppose that the series didn’t want to seem redundant. At the very least we did see all of the villains return like Wisdom, Kyoya, and Bolt. Tasuku and Noboru getting their own fights again was a blast as well. Some of the fights could get a little questionable like Kyoya getting a new super form and 10 hand cards, but not drawing a single shield to win the duel though. I suppose since he was the final boss of a big tournament in the last season they didn’t want to do that again though. Plus going with Tasuku vs Gao is definitely the ultimate homage to the old days for when they were big rivals. This series gave just about everyone the closure you would want to see and the easter eggs to the previous seasons were handled well.

Then the series even squeezed in one last duel in the final episode which was unexpected. Gao receives a challenge from a new character by the airport and this guy may be the strongest opponent that Gao has ever seen. The scene couldn’t quite decide if it wanted the new character to be super mysterious or more of a happy fellow, but either way he had skills. If not for the plot summary of the next season already spoiling the twist the scene would be even more powerful. Either way it kind of makes you not want the time skip yet so we can see Gao get a rematch but if time travel becomes a factor soon then that might not be an issue. It is a great way to hype up the next series even if it does mean that you will be waiting for the new main character to master the game so we get him at this level. I haven’t seen a passing of the torch moment like this in quite a long time so it was an unexpected surprise.

As always the animation is really high quality. The colors are very sharp and the energy effects are on point. Something is always happening on screen whether it be during a fight or normal dialogue. You’ll never feel bored during an episode of the animation has anything to say about it. The soundtrack is also top notch as we have come to expect from the series. At this point several characters have their own themes and that continues to be a trend. Wisdom’s theme is certainly the standout here as it’s just a great tune. It perfectly builds up the suspense and anticipation of what is to come next.

With the classic era over here is how the Buddyfight seasons rank. In 1st is Buddyfight Triple D. The tournament was just handled flawlessly and is my personal favorite from the whole series. 2nd is Buddyfight X for all the reasons described above. In 3rd is the first season which will always be nostalgic and did a great job introducing the cast. In 4th is Buddyfight 100 which had a very slow middle which brought down the season somewhat, but was ultimately still pretty good. It’ll be interesting to see where season 5 ends up ranking. The show will have to introduce all of the characters and everything so the first season probably won’t be cracking the top 3 just yet but never count a card game show out. It just may end up surprising you.

Overall, Buddyfight X is definitely a great title both literally and in regard to the whole season. It’s just nonstop excitement and the new characters really worked well and were seamlessly added to the universe. I dare say that it had the highest stakes as well since Wisdom actually did take over some planets and he was playing for keeps here. When he attacked the heroes on the ship they were in real danger. Of course now Gao is fairly OP with his current deck since he has access to so many super forms so he will be ready for any new villains. It’s always hard to see how they will be able to come up with stronger decks and opponents for Gao, but taking away his Buddy has usually worked well since it nerfs him until he inevitably gets some cool special abilities. The next season won’t have to try and work around this though as we are getting a time skip and a new main character. It should be a blast and this era of Buddyfight ended on a high note.

Overall 9/10

Yugioh Arc V Review


I have finally completed Yugioh Arc V! It was definitely a pretty intense Yugioh series and rose up to being one of the best ones. I had a feeling that it would become really good since this was hyped as the crossover series, but the other titles all left a high bar for it to follow. Initially the series reminded me a lot of Yugioh Zexal with the animation and the music that the dub used for it. As the series went on it came into its own though and peaked during the second arc. It’s definitely a very strong title that I dare say is second only to GX. Usually I put the Yugioh rankings at the bottom, but there aren’t too many so I’ll just put them up here. 1. Yugioh GX, 2. Yugioh Arc V, 3. Yugioh 5Ds, 4. Yugioh, 5. Yugioh Zexal. I won’t bother with season 0 or Capsule Monsters as they aren’t even strong enough to really rank at all next to the others. As always this means that the bar is set pretty high once again for the next Yugioh series. It’ll be interesting to see where that one ranks, but either way I do think that it will be quite excellent!

The series starts off by introducing us to Yuya. He is an aspiring Dueltainer who wants to become the best like his dad was. He even goes to a proper school for it which is led by his best friend’s (Zuzu) dad named Skip. Skip claims that Yuya will become a great star through him. That’s when Yuya is challenged to appear against the World Champion on TV to avenge his father. Yuya can’t turn down such an opportunity but is he ready? The pre arc is Yuya taking on all kinds of opponents and improving his act. He can’t just win, he has to claim victory while having fun and helping the opponent to smile. That’s what being a duel tainer is all about!

The intro episodes do a decent job of setting the stage. The pacing isn’t bad, but the supporting cast isn’t great. As with 5Ds, the main supporting cast is written out of the adventure pretty early on and that was a great move. We lost the annoying kids and only kept Zuzu and Sora. The rest were all left behind. Backtracking a bit, Yuya’s tournament is interrupted when the Obelisk Force shows up and starts turning everyone into cards. Yuya is able to fend them off, but his world takes considerable damage and Declan reveals that he had anticipated this attack. Yuya reluctantly agrees to go along with him and so starts the battle of the 4 universes, Standard, XYZ, Fusion, and Synchro. Yuya must duel as hard as he can to stop the evil plans at work here and to save Zuzu who is one of the main targets that the villains are after.

Once the dimension is initially attacked then the series really accelerates into top tier status. The whole 5Ds arc was just amazing and one of the best arcs in all of Yugioh. Everything happened here and all of the subplots that had been growing converged at this point. It was just amazing and in particular the scene where all of the characters met up in the old subway tunnel was superb. The only downside to this is that naturally the next arc couldn’t quite compete as the heroes went to XYZ world and then to the Fusion dimension. Those arcs were fun as well, but they couldn’t even come close to 5Ds. I suppose that it’s not a surprise though since typically the last arc in a Yugioh series isn’t the best one. Battle City destroys Millenium World, The Yubel Arc beats the Nightshroud one, etc. Still, it needs to be said again that Arc V has no bad arcs, it’s just that the 5Ds one took it to the pinnacle of perfection. It’s probably also because Turbo Duels took the place of Action Duels.

I didn’t actually talk about it earlier so I should do that now. Action Duels were invented for this series and think of it as a more interactive style of dueling. Instead of sitting back and waiting for your turn you get to run around in search of the action cards. It’s purely luck based what the card will do, but typically it lets you block an attack or power up your monster. It’s a decent concept, but the luck factor makes it too easy on the writers. Put Yuya in a sticky situation? Have him get an action card that lets him block the attack. You can even get more than 1 Action Card in a single turn which is sketchy. At one point Yuya even starts to use this as a crutch and the way I see it is if you have to run for the action card right away then you weren’t the better duelist in that moment. I think this gimmick didn’t need to happen, but I suppose it is fun to see everyone running around. They just should have tightened up the rules like how in the manga they mention that only a certain amount of action cards are put on the field per duel and you can only use one per turn. Adding some rules like that would make it more balanced. I have no complaints about pendulum summoning though. It’s just insanely OP, but for the most part only Declan exploits that as everyone else uses it to summon fairly weak monsters half the time.

Yuya is the main character of this installment and one of the best Yugioh main characters to date. Jaden is still the best and Yami Yugi is second, but I’d put Yuya right up there at 3rd. 4th would be Yusei, 5th Yuma, and then currently Yugi’s out at 6th. Yuya’s main gimmick is that he’s a performer so naturally he has to stay cheerful a lot. The problem is that this gets tougher and tougher as the villains get serious and do everything in their power to break him. Yuya gives in to his rage several times and even mentions at one point that he’ll just have to save the smiles for later. When his friends are involved you can bet that Yuya will get serious.

Of course it may be a little alarming if you wanted him to stay in happy world, but realistically it’s hard to be putting on a show and grin ear to ear while your friends are being captured or defeated as you duel. You gotta put your game face on and Yuya’s smile card is a pretty terrible spell if you think about it. Yuya has some of the best rage modes in all of Yugioh. He really was at his best when he was dueling seriously. Yuya was always a talented duelist, but by the end he definitely was ready to be considered as a world class fighter. There are few who can go up against him since Yuya has now mastered all different summoning methods. (At least the ones available in his series. I guess there is maybe Ritual summoning, but there just wouldn’t be room in his deck for that) Yuya definitely never stopped in his quest to fight Zuzu and is the kind of guy you want to have as your friend.

Zuzu is the main heroine of Arc V and fortunately she is also a capable duelist. We don’t get to see her duel much at all in the second half of the series, but she got some quality duels before that. Zuzu learned fusion summoning from Sora so she was certainly highly proficient at it. She even did a good job during the big 5Ds tournament later on. While she may have not been able to win the whole thing she definitely didn’t lose without dealing major damage. Considering that a lot of characters ended up losing out by the end of the series Zuzu definitely got a happy ending. As far as the heroines go I would rank her above Tea and Tori pretty quickly. It’s a little closer with Alexis and Akiza, but I think Zuzu would beat them for now as well so at the moment she is the best heroine in Yugioh.

Yuto probably gets the biggest role from the other 3 personas that Yuya has. It’s a little ironic since Yuto was the first one to get blown away, but this lets him act as a Yami Yugi sort of character. Surprisingly he only takes control of Yuya’s body a couple of times during the course of the series, but he’s usually around to give some advice. The thing is while he gives good advice he is always quick to crack when the pressure is on. Then he actually ends up hurting Yuya in a sense since he’s just weakening the hero’s willpower. He’s certainly a very likable character though. He did fight hard to defend his planet so it’s almost a shame that he didn’t get to do it longer. He’s basically Yuya if the hero grew up in a war torn world, but that’s basically the point. His main dragon has the best design from the 4.

Then we have Yugo who is the polar opposite of Yuto. His world’s a really happy one as the villains haven’t gotten there yet. He lives without a care in the world, at least until Rin vanished. Then he began searching for her across the 4 dimensions. It’s still a little iffy how he jumped dimensions in the first place, but with the universe being so unstable I guess it’s bound to open holes for the others at times. He has an ongoing rivalry with Yuri. At one point I thought they were never going to get to finish their duel, but at least it finally got to happen near the very end of the series. He’s definitely a very talented duelist although I think he may have been the weakest of the 4. That’s not really a bad thing since they’re all so skilled, someone had to be last right? He’s a fun character even if he has a tendency to joke around a little too much when the stakes are high.

Finally we have Yuri who is the only evil member of the 4. He enjoys dueling opponents weaker than him and then toying with them. It’s how he gets his jollies, but his skills are the real deal. He didn’t become the top ranked enforcer for no reason after all. His dragon looks sort of like Biollante and it’s distorted appearance can also make the creature not even look like a dragon at times. He even came close to taking down Supreme Yuya which is no easy feat. Another really good villain and a reminder as to why Arc V was so great. The cast was absolutely stellar.

Celina is my favorite member of the 4 heroines. She’s the most skilled of the group and is always eager for battle. She started out on Leo’s side, but quickly realized that this may not be the right side. She thinks about it logically and makes the hero call. Celina is basically Zuzu but more aggressive so it’s easy to see why she is one of the best characters in the series. It’s just too bad that she never really got to properly duel in the final arc, but she had a lot of screen time prior to that.

Rin might get the smallest role from the girl although you could make a case for Lulu as well. We never really get to see Rin fight in her own mind, but I like to think that she was a decent duelist. She seems like a nice kid. Likewise, I’m sure Lulu was a quality character as well. We don’t get to see her much beyond flashbacks, but I guess it was tough for even this show to give everyone some big duels. She serves more as motivation for some of the characters to stop the villains than as an actual duelist, but it would appear that she can duel since she does have a duel disc and during the mind control saga her abilities were acknowledged.

Kite is the big guest star from Yugioh Zexal. Surprisingly Zexal only got one guest star while every other region got 2. I suppose maybe it’s because Zexal was fairly recent so there was less nostalgia for it. Well, either way he is the best option they could have chosen from their. His abilities are as good as ever and I always love seeing his Galaxy Eyes show up. He can definitely hold his own with any of the other fighters.

Shay is probably the closest thing to a rival in Arc V except for Sora. The reason why Sora may edge him out there is because Shay’s beef is never really with Yuya and they just don’t get to compete much. Shay is an amazing character though and continues Yugioh’s tradition of having great rivals. He is absolutely determined to save Lulu no matter what it takes. He is constantly barred by obstacles in the form of Declan, The Fusion Dimension, the 5Ds Dimension and others, but he never stops. He’s honed his skills quite a lot to always have the power to save his friends. Always training like that is definitely what you would expect from a character like this. His deck is also great since he uses a lot of monsters that are considered weak but when they activate their abilities they get very strong. His top monster only has 100 attack points before its ability activates. Now that’s what I call a great deck that follows his life philosophy of working together to protect your friends.

Shay’s only competition for best character in the series is Sora. It’s a very close battle for the top, but I’d give Shay the edge in the end. Still, Sora is an excellent duelist in his own right and could even be the strongest in Duel Academy. Unfortunately we never got to see him have a proper duel with Yuri for the title. That rushed, cheesy battle at the end doesn’t count. Sora ended the series with 13 wins and 5 losses which is quite impressive. I always liked his confidence and he became a bit of a wild card for a while before formally joining the heroes. His turn around was also handled well as he didn’t suddenly become a hero or anything, but he did become friends with Zuzu and decided to protect her even though it was against orders. That makes sense and naturally this eventually led to him being one of the heroes. His nice guy act near the beginning was pretty convincing as well.

Declan is the main hype character of the series. He’s portrayed like Kaiba, but I wouldn’t call him a rival to Yuya. It’s an interesting dynamic and the show keeps him in a very mysterious light for most of the show. It’s hard to know on whose side he is on. Is he a villain or a hero? That will be answered by the end, but he isn’t afraid to sacrifice a few lives to save the world so he can be quite ruthless. It’s hard to call him out on it either as Yuya attempts to, but is quickly beaten down. There just aren’t many fighters who can take Declan down as his cards are the very definition of overpowered. Arc V got extremely high tier by the end with the sheer amount of special abilities that each card had. It was just crazy. I’m not really a big fan of Declan honestly, but he is a good character. He wouldn’t be top 5 or anything, but it was great to have what you could call the lesser of 2 evils teaming up with the heroes the whole time. For the most part he is a nice guy though and the show does portray him as a hero by the end even if you may have your doubts on that. He got to be a lot less annoying once he went with the other heroes to the next dimension and they parted ways. At that point he was on close to equal footing with the others rather than being their boss.

Gong is one of Yuya’s best friends and like me he does not care for action duels. As a result, he will go out of his way to avoid using them in a duel. He prefers to win with his Heavy style. Gong’s not a bad character, but I just didn’t care for him. The strong type rarely works out for me and his deck always felt outmatched before he even started dueling. He’s not annoying so I’m fine with him getting a lot of screen time, but I certainly wouldn’t say that he was very impressive.

Then we have Sylvio who is supremely confident, but his skills can’t really back up his tough talk. He’s one of those characters who somehow keeps his confidence even after he suffers a string of defeats. In a way that is quite admirable. He is a fun duelist to have around and at the very least he is good for morale. His deck isn’t even half bad either. Against most opponents Sylvio would have a real chance at victory, but when the high tier opponents come out to play he has absolutely no shot.

Crow is one of the big 5Ds guest stars and he’s a good character. He can be a bit annoying and tends to not be very nice to the heroes, but his skills are the real deal. His Blackwing combos are pretty similar to how they were back in the 5Ds anime. He gets a lot of hype and even gets to have a proper duel with Yuya where the right winner was selected. Crow just has to be careful about holding those Ls because he seemed a little salty to me.

Jack Atlas also shows up and naturally he gets a bunch of hype. He’s still the Master of Faster so taking him down isn’t easy. His first duel against Yuya is one of the best in the series. Yuya manages to summon one dragon from each summoning style and Jack is still able to counter him. The guy can be rather harsh on Yuya during their duels as he constantly criticizes him being an entertainer, but most likely it’s just because he doesn’t like for anyone else to be in the spotlight. Jack’s always been a critic so I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. From all of the guest stars I’d say that Jack certainly had the best role.

Moonshadow is one of the main characters who never got to be very likable. It’s certainly odd because he is around for most of the series and yet he never really does anything all that important. He can fight and he does save people but half the time you will just be wondering why he is even in the show to begin with. The heroes were doing just fine on their own and this ninja just lacked personality. Ah well, I think he was just a miss for me, but he’s not necessarily a bad character.

We can’t forget about Riley. The character gets 100 episodes of character development as he learns that Declan really is here to protect him. Then…he betrays him just because a girl he’s never even met before tells him that the right thing to do is betray the heroes. This character never really got past that. I get it, Riley’s never been the most outgoing character and getting pushed around is part of his character. It’s still not a good defense for him going against the heroes so easily. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when this happened. I’m glad Declan showed him who the true duelist was and I don’t often root for Declan. Riley was just being incredibly annoying at this point.

We definitely got to talk about Yusho for a bit as he is one of the worst characters in the series. He’s Yuya’s Dad so that’s to be expected since the Dads often look pretty bad in all of these card shows. Still, he ditched Yuya for basically no reason and then never even tried to get back. What’s worse is that he was gone for years and yet he made no headway in the Fusion dimension. You’d think that being there for years with his supposed world class abilities would be enough to save the place, but I guess not. For all of the hype that he always got Yusho never appeared to be a skilled fighter. He also doesn’t seem like a very smart one as even when some biker gang people tried to go after Yoko he was talking about smiles and all that. The guy is so incredibly exaggerated and that may not have been too bad if he hadn’t ditched Yuya, but he did. It’s just hard to simply wave that fact away and you just end up disliking the character. He even attacked Yuya from behind when the hero was so close to beating the Professor. Had Yuya done that he could have saved the world right then and there instead of dooming several characters.

Yoko is Yuya’s Mom and she’s a little more reasonable than Yusho. I’d say a lot more, but she has an annoying running gag during the early tournament. Instead of rooting for her son she decides to root for a local cook named Reed since she is apparently a huge fan of his. Naturally this isn’t meant to be taken seriously as it’s just a harmless gag, but an annoying one nonetheless. Imagine trying to win a tournament for your friends and family…then turning to the audience and seeing that they’re not even rooting for you. That’s gotta sting.

Skip Boyle is Zuzu’s Dad and he’s actually a lot better than the others. Not only is he one of the only characters to remember Zuzu right away, but I believe he is the only one to remember her on his own. He even skipped out on the tournament because he knew something was wrong. It would have been nice to have seen him duel at some point since it is certainly hinted that he has some skills, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The other local supporting characters from the school weren’t good though. They are the 3 kids who try to give the commentary during Yuya’s duel and they fail quite badly at it. They are just annoying and in particular the one who always yells Goose Pickles is really bad. It’s hard to say what the show was going for here, but certainly nothing good.

Back in the early days of the show we had 3 students from Declan’s school who were tough rivals. These characters were Dipper, Julia, and Kit. Julia certainly got the most screen time and character development from the 3 as she came close to uncovering the mysterious happenings with Shay and Declan and even became a rival to Zuzu. Then some memory stuff happened which caused Julia to forget about all of this and that’s around when her role disappeared completely. She was a fun character though so it’s almost too bad that she was left behind, but I suppose her skills had simply reached their limit. Dipper and Kit never seemed like much of a threat anyway so it’s easy to see how they were left behind.

Reed Pepper is a duelist who uses a lot of food puns to throw his opponents off their game. It’s definitely a valid technique and it was always fun to see him duel. He may not have been the strongest duelist out there, but he lasted quite a while and put up a good fight against the Obelisk Force. Definitely not a character that you could take all that seriously, but his character was still executed well. Then there is Aura who is able to look into her crystal ball to see the future and other such things. There wasn’t much of a point to her character so she vanished right away, but I guess the character wasn’t all that bad. Honestly all of these Arc 1 characters just seemed to vanish right off the face of the Earth.

Iggy was a bit of a bully duelist who thrives on knocking around opponents while dueling. Naturally this would usually be against the rules but in an action duel anything goes so that makes it okay. He’s a decent duelist as well as he was certainly outplaying Yuya for most of the duel. If you think about it, if you need action cards to win in the first place then the opponent is probably the more skilled fighter. I can’t say that Iggy was too interesting, but as a minor villain I suppose that he got the job done.

Leo Akaba, AKA the Professor is one of the big villains of the series. He doesn’t do much until the end of the series as you might expect, but he makes for a fairly intimidating presence while sitting on his throne. He gets an origin story for why he is doing this and at least it is one that I can understand. His daughter was destroyed in stopping Zarc so now he wishes to bring her back. Unfortunately the only way to do that is to destroy 3/4 of the current population in the universe. However, this 3/4 of the population were created through her death so do they count as people? Leo doesn’t really seem to care either way as he intends to get his daughter back at any cost. Naturally this doesn’t change that he is a complete villain, but it’s a good motivation which serves him well as one of the final bosses. He is also a pretty good duelist in his own right and possibly top 5 in Arc V…possibly.

Then we have Barrett who is Leo’s most faithful subordinate. He is even willing to betray Selena in order to carry out his orders. He is a soldier first and foremost. This guy won’t give up on the mission no matter what and as a result he makes for a great villain. He put up a great fight against Yuya as well and proved himself to even be capable of taking on Yuya in his rage form. Definitely one of the best villains in the series.

Next up is Dennis. He’s definitely not a very good character. I didn’t like him before his big twist and I certainly didn’t like him afterwards. He just doesn’t make for a good character as the guy can be rather goofy and hard to take seriously. His character also goes through too many characters arcs as the last one is just impossible to believe. The guy was simply too sinister to suddenly just roll over and admit that he is a good man. Definitely very cheesy and I like to think that he was still arrested after this.

Aster is one of the big guest stars and he gets a nice role here. He is one of the high ranking officials in the Fusion Dimension so naturally he is a very formidable duelist. He gives Yuya a real run for his money and it’s just very nostalgic to see him. The writers chose well in selecting him as one of the GX characters to make an appearance. His elemental hero deck was also pretty good as expected. Then we have his two underlings Gloria and Grace. They are introduced rather late in the game, but don’t really get to do anything so I almost wonder why a fairly big deal was made out of them in universe. They got a considerable amount of hype and I guess they lived up to it to an extent, but they probably needed one more duel to really legitimize them as a threat. Still quality villains, just underused.

Then we have Alexis who is another one of the guest stars. Seeing as how she is one of the big resistance members her fans are sure to be pleased with her role. Alexis is also one of the only characters who realized that there was something fishy with Leo’s plan and didn’t blindly follow along like the rest of the characters. I am a little skeptical of how the happy go lucky students all quickly decided to join into the cause and become mass murderers, but I guess they will do just about anything if it means playing more Yugioh I guess.

The Obelisk Force deserve a shoutout since they were quite skilled for underlings. They were actually beating named characters in their first appearance and typically you would expect them to be about as strong as Storm Troopers or something like that. They definitely surpassed their limits. Naturally they were nerfed a little bit after that, but were still a fun group of villains. Who says that these guys have to just be around to get stomped?

Roget is a fun character from the 5Ds arc. He is very good at manipulating people and naturally he even does this to Yuya by convincing the gullible characters that they are on the same side. Naturally it wouldn’t work on any of Yuya’s close friends, but the others are fair game. Roget can duel but only does so when absolutely necessary. He leads a very balanced life as all people should. He made for a great counterpart to Leo and even had ambitious plans of his own. I wouldn’t have minded if he had ended up overthrowing Leo, would have made for an interesting plot.

Shinji is the very enthusiastic leader of the 5Ds rebellion and boy does the guy love to talk! He gives speech after speech about the rebellion and how they can conquer the surface dwellers. It’s pretty amusing even if that isn’t really the intention. The guy just has a very one track mind and is quick to say that anyone who opposes him is an enemy. That drive isn’t a bad thing and it isn’t even misplaced, but the guy doesn’t seem to know much about tactics. You can’t just storm the streets and defeat the government in a day. Still, he made the most of his soapbox while he was in the tournament.

Then we have Sergey who is essentially a slightly weaker version of Barrett. His character is fairly similar as well but he is the unhinged version. He thrives on pain which can certainly make for a very odd character quirk. The guy is definitely a threat in a duel though and even manages to defeat Zuzu. Without Sergey Roget may have been in trouble, but that’s why they say that it’s always good to have at least one powerful underling. I don’t care for Sergey much as a character, but he is a tough villain for sure.

Ray was Leo’s daughter and she seemed like a very heroic character. She didn’t hesitate to make the ultimate sacrifice to stop Zarc. She seems to have some mystical abilities or simply great knowledge to use those cards so effectively and then to communicate with Riley afterwards. I still don’t get why she would tell him that letting Leo win was the best answer though. Sure, fusing the dimensions would bring her back along with Zarc so they could do the whole thing over again, but trying to stop him first seems a whole lot less risky if you ask me.

Finally we have Zarc. He’s the big bad of the series but before he obtained almost limitless power he was just an ordinary duelist who liked the sport. He aimed to become the best player in the world and was able to realize his dream. That was certainly quite the feat. The power did go to his head and he turned evil though so I guess the guy didn’t have a whole lot of will power. He makes for a pretty great villain though even if he doesn’t always make a lot of sense. He wants a good duel and is always looking for one, but then when people challenge him he claims that it’s a waste of time and is constantly insulting them. I guess it just goes with the whole over confidence thing, but you’d think that he would be a little happier about getting to duel so much right?

I do have to quickly mention that the series does have a pretty bad ending though. I dare say that it’s even terrible. I won’t say who, but there are at least 3 main fatalities, but depending on how you look at it millions of people died. The villains planned to merge the 4 universes into one which merges people too. Well, the plan was sort of stopped, but not really leading to a rather odd mismash of things. Memories don’t match, some people are back and some likely aren’t. We’re just supposed to accept this and know that sometimes the heroes don’t always win, but it’s just a real downer. Especially since I liked the 3 characters who were erased. Only now they are stuck in someone else’ body, but not in the more direct way that Yami and Astral were put on. They’re more like Yuto so it will be tough to take direct control and eventually they will be assimilated. It’s a very dark ending and one that I wasn’t satisfied with at all. I’d say to just skip the final arc, but beyond that last bit the actual arc was really very good. I’d say the best thing to do is watch the final battle with Zarc and then turn off the TV. No reason to see the final mini arc that just destroys what the ending should have been.

As to what the final arc did right, the battle gauntlet with Zarc was great. Pretty much every important duelist lines up to fight him back to back. The duel is several episodes long and everyone gets to do their best. My only question each time is why everyone would jump into the duel midway. All that does is lower your attack points to 2000 when if they waited a few seconds later they would have been at full power. It is understandable if you’re trying to save the person, but not if they are about to lose anyway. You’re just jumping into an unwinnable position, especially since Zarc already had a great combo on the field and over 5000 life points. So, a little plot hax there, but nonetheless it was a great climax. I always like it when a bunch of heroes try to rush the final boss. It’s a fairly rare occurrence as well which is likely why it is so special as well. Zarc was a really fun final boss and he will certainly be remembered.

Since this show showed us that a big crossover show is possible next we need to have one where all of the main characters meet. If it wants to be ambitious it can be a long title where they don’t all meet up at first. The first 12 episodes could just be the 5 main characters having their own adventures until suddenly an event occurs which forces them to meet up and duel. I’d suggest another invasion series with dimension against dimension but that just happened so a fresh plot would probably be good. Some kind of tournament is a safe bet and with their dimensions on the line everyone would have to enter. A standard 3 vs 3 team style tournament would be best and that’d be awesome. It likely won’t happen, but I can dream. Regardless, it was smart of Arc V to make the plot one huge war. It definitely ensures that every fighter is always dueling at their peak since the stakes are so high.

I think that’s actually a pretty big reason as to why Arc V is so great. It probably has the longest ongoing plot from all of the Yugioh titles. For the most part none of them are quite as focused as this one. They usually have long tournaments and adventures, but not one large plot that keeps going the way that this one does. Arc V does break it up into arcs of course, but the war is always going whether it is in the forefront or the background. It’s really just one long mission for roughly 100 episodes and it’s just hard to beat that.

As you can probably guess the animation is excellent here. The character models are all on point and the action sequences are great. It’s really at its best when Yuya’s eyes begin to glow with his Zarc mode. The energy effects in general are just great and you can easily tell that this is a newer Yugioh series as the animation is unmatched. The soundtrack is also quite excellent. We get a lot of great battle tunes and even a retro 5Ds selection as well. No GX tunes that I could recognize popped up, but that’s okay. I’d still give the soundtrack a full 5 stars as it hit all of the right notes and also had a lot of variety. It goes without saying that the writing is dynamite as well.

Overall, Yugioh Arc V is a superb show and will go down in anime history as one of the all time greats. It has over 100 episodes so that gives time for a lot of duels. The plot is very engaging and the show never lets up in just how exciting it is. The crossover angle just helps with that even more. I would highly recommend this show to fans of the genre and to anyone that likes a good action series. The show has no real flaws which is quite impressive and the main cast is really good too. When a series has all of the elements like this one does (Animation, Pacing, Writing, Music, etc) and executes them well, success is basically guaranteed.

Overall 9/10

Cardfight Vanguard G: Z Review


It’s been a good run, but Cardfight Vanguard has finally ended. With 370 episodes across both generations that is quite a lot of Cardfights. It’s really comparable to Yugioh at this point. Naturally that franchise has more total episodes and it would be tough to ever match that number, but once you cross 100 episodes you can certainly be counted as a legitimate powerhouse. I’ll be sure to rank all of the Cardfight seasons at the end of the review. Most of them are super close so it’s definitely a tough one to decide. All right, lets dive into Z!

Right away you can tell that this series is going to be intense because you only use the term Z when the series is going to have a ton of action. Vanguard does not disappoint here as action is absolutely what you will be getting. The last season ended with the heroes defeating the main 3 Diffriders and winning the tournament. That may have been good progress in the fight against evil, but Kazumi was never the main threat. The Apostles of Gyze are around now and they need a vessel for their leader. Their plan is unaltered, they want to awaken the 6 Zeroth Dragons to pave the way for Gyze. The members decide to split up and take Team TRY 3 out of the equation pre-emptively. (Pretty smart move honestly) The heroes will have to move quickly to stop their plan and they will need teamwork, but the situation is already quite personal for them so it may be tough to move in with a clear head.

As this season is only 24 episodes (The shortest in the franchise unless you count one of the G seasons that was merged together with another one in the Dub) the plot has to move right away so there is no waiting around here. That’s the bonus of continuing the plot of a previous season. There is no need for build up or character introductions since that was already done last time. As such the villains attack Chrono and Shion within the first 3 episodes. The Apostles really look very impressive from the start here as the heroes just seem like no match at times. The most impressive member would be the one who fought Shion at least when comparing their initial appearances. The show dropped the ball on him a bit though.

Almost every episode has a big fight occurring in this season. As the villains aren’t playing games around you also see a level of desperation among the heroes that hasn’t happened too often in G. At the very least, it usually doesn’t happen quite so soon. One small moment that I really liked here was how Chrono used a Zeroth dragon with no hesitation. Usually when the main character relents and uses the dark power of a villain there is a lot of drama or the character gives it some long thought. Chrono just went for it. For context, he was up against the leader of the Apostles. If he wins this fight he can save his friend and eliminate one of the biggest threats to the world in one move. None of his cards are strong enough at this point, but if he uses one of the evil deity cards that he swiped from another member it will give him a chance.

Dark power like this never comes cheap though. The price for playing a Zeroth Dragon is that if you lose the duel all of your Grade 4 cards will be atomized and so you will be losing all of your strongest cards. It’s a steep penalty since you are essentially powerless in a duel without those. before G you could get away with it since Grade 4s didn’t exist, but now that they do they are absolutely essential. The stakes are high, but it would have almost been selfish of Chrono to not use one just for that. He had a world to protect.

Naturally I was a big fan of Chrono here. He definitely looks like the experienced veteran that he is here. It doesn’t mean that he is now the strongest player in the world but he certainly ranks up there. He takes risks and is always ready to defend his friends. Chrono is the kind of guy that you want on your team for sure. He won’t back down from a duel. Chrono has definitely developed into a character worthy of his mysterious deck.

Shion is still Chrono’s rival but at this point that is rarely evident as he has completely mellowed out into being a friend. I suppose it’s a good change of pace to have a rival who isn’t super rude or obnoxious the whole time. Shion is finally back to being master of the Kiba empire at this point so as you can imagine he feels pretty unbeatable. That’s why his first fight with Valeos was so intense because it was basically unheard of for someone to have the upper hand against Shion. It also showed that the villains recognized him as a legitimate threat. Shion’s role in this season is still rather small but it is a good one nonetheless. He does get his revenge for the earlier loss as well.

Then we have Tokoha who has started to bounce back from the last season. That one didn’t go so well for her as she absorbed quite a few losses and wasn’t really in a right state of mind since Miguel was taken out of the picture. Now she has mainly recovered from this and is back to being a strong contender. Like Shion she doesn’t get too many duels here but still gets to help out in the final battle.

Kazuma certainly has a large role in this season and is probably the most crucial aside from Chrono. Now that he has his brother back Kazuma is ready to take the fight to the villains. While he is a very strong fighter and Kazuma’s confidence is at an all time high, he still isn’t quite ready to take on these villains yet. Things don’t go very well for him, but I do appreciate the attempt. Kazuma still has a cool deck and a nice theme. Couple that with his character development into a more confident character and he is one of the best members of the main cast. At the very least I think he would be second among the main G heroes.

Kazumi was one of the big villains of the last season since he was being possessed but it’s important to remember that he was a world class duelist even before all of that. It is fortunate for the heroes that he is around. Kazumi’s a nice character and you will get some Itachi vibes from him. Unfortunately he doesn’t look great when it comes to dueling. After all, what better shock value can there be than taking down the former Under 20 champion? Winning and losing are t everything though and it doesn’t change the fact that he is quite formidable.

Arata and Makoto are a little important in this season because of what happened to their friend Noa who was possessed by the dark side. Still, they really can’t fight so for the most part they are stuck cheering everyone on in the background. The characters really weren’t needed to be honest but I guess it would be weird if they had just vanished. They aren’t bad characters, they just aren’t ready for a villain of this magnitude.

Noa is one of the big villains and probably the strongest aside from perhaps Gyze. He was in the shadows a lot for the last season but his presence is always felt. He has the Link Joker deck which is still the best one in the series. The monster is the only one who doesn’t just fade away after being defeated or turns good. This guy can’t stand the humans and does his best to bury them. I would have liked Noa to have dueled a little more to be honest, but I’m certainly satisfied with how much effort it took to bring him down. Having Aichi and Kai team up against you is always a sign of respect.

Kouji is definitely an interesting character. I’m still not really a fan of the guy. He is essentially the vanguard of the heroes but his plans never seem to be very good. The villains always have the drop on the heroes and while he may have been very powerful back in the day, Kouji seems a little outmatched against all of the new villains. He has softened up completely into a nice guy, but never likes to admit to it which leads to him always trying to keep to himself. He’s not as bad as in previous seasons as he has finally stopped doubting Chrono’s ability, but the guy just needs to be cooler. Maybe a new costume would have done the trick.

Saori doesn’t last too long in this season as he was mainly a big character in the last season, but he is still a lot of fun here. He still has one of the best battle themes out of all the characters and he is just a tough fighter. Saori has a lot of doubts about what he is doing, but ultimately just stays on his path. The villain’s confidence is really what makes him a fun character.

Aichi finally gets to duel a little more seriously here which is good. In general I still think the original cast didn’t get to do a whole lot compared to what I would have liked to see. They did have 4 seasons (Aichi only had 3) so I guess that was enough fights. I don’t like how Aichi has basically retired from Cardfight but I suppose as long as his skills don’t get rusty he will always come to help out when it counts. Likewise Kai is also here to fight the good fight. He gets 2 big fights against the villains which is good. Wakamizu actually does give him a good fight, but the outcome is what matters and at the end of the day Kai is still one of those guys that you never expect will lose.

Kamui also looks solid here. He has done a good job of keeping up with the other characters over the years. While he isn’t in the top 5 at this point he still helps out a lot against the villains and it’s always nice to see him around. Misaki finally gets a duel of her own. The series took its time with her, but having her take on one of the big final villains was certainly good. I am a little skeptical on her being strong enough to take on this particular opponent, but perhaps her deck was simply well suited from the job. In a duel you never ultimately know who is going to win. Her tactical style does bring out the best from her deck as well.

Valeos is a bit of a tragic case since I actually liked the villain quite a bit. He was a credible threat to the heroes and seemed to be the main thinker of the villains. Going after Shion’s OP sword was brilliant and taking it out of the equation definitely helped their goals get a bit easier. That’s why it makes no sense when he suddenly goes insane near the end. The show was slowly building up to this as we gradually got hints of his psyche decaying, but why did it have to happen at all? It came out of left field and seemed to just be an excuse to let Shion have the upper hand. If he didn’t crack then I don’t really think Shion would have been a match for him. Not sure what to think of this guy by the end but at least he had a great intro.

Gastille is essentially the deputy of the villains. Gyze is certainlty still the leader but while he is out of commission Gastille tends to call the shots. He is a powerful villain, but one who doesn’t get to appear a whole lot. Still, he does really well in his brief appearances and I liked him. He’s still not the best villain since Noa and Saori are around but otherwise he is probably the beast. You get a Ren vibe from the guy with how confident he is. Well…okay all of the Cardfight characters are confident, but they tend to show it in different ways.

Taiyou was one of the big members of Chrono’s team for the last few seasons, but his role in this one is rather small. He gets badly injured after one of the early duels and never really recovers after that. You still have to like the guy’s dedication though. He’s very loyal to helping out the heroes and won’t hesitate to throw himself into harm’s way. He eagerly attacks the villains and while he doesn’t succeed, he did put up a good fight.

Then we have Wakamizu who is probably the least interesting villain. He’s technically pretty smart and the villains would have had a tough time without him, but his deck isn’t quite as good as the others. He’s deceptively strong, but I just didn’t care for the guy much. Not a bad villain, but I suppose he was simply outshined. His master Gredora was certainly more compelling even though her screen time was incredibly limited. At the very least she felt like more of a commander though. She was also a villain who actually cared about her subordinates and quickly went to defend Wakamizu after he was defeated. It’s always nice to see villains who also show loyalty and that’s why Gredora was a villain worthy of an army.

Gyze is the big boss of the series. Naturally this means that he is asleep until near the very end though. He gets 2 duels which isn’t bad, but I would have liked to have seen him more. The guy serves his purpose as a big final boss though and puts up a good fight. He just wasn’t ready to deal with the likes of Team TRY 3. He did come close to destroying the world though and I like how even in defeat the world would get destroyed by the sheer impact that it had on space and time. Gyze is definitely not the kind of opponent who does anything halfway. He did have a pretty cool design and his special ability of bringing in all of the Zeroth Dragons at once is really useful.

As always the animation is certainly stellar. The character designs starting from the last season certainly look really good. Chrono and the others look more experienced than they used to be and they also act accordingly. They get the respect you’d expect them to have considering that they have saved the world a few times now. The duels are as sharp as ever and the colors are vibrant. There is nothing negative at all to say about it. Then the soundtrack is just as impressive. I really like the new bumper/music that comes at the start of each episode. It’s a very dramatic theme that has you keep your guard up. It also really supports the feeling of dread that the heroes have. Each character still has a battle theme and most of them are quite epic. Even the few characters whose theme doesn’t absolutely stand out still have a good one. The best theme is definitely the red haired kid’s, but Kazumi’s is also excellent. You have a lot of options to choose from. Cardfight never disappointed on a technical level (Or any level for that matter) and this last season was no exception.

All right it’s time to rank all of the Cardfight seasons! There have definitely been a lot of great ones over the years so it’s tough. I know the first and last place ones off the top of my head, but the rest get really tough. Still, I gotta make the tough choices at some point so it may as well be now.

1st. Cardfight Vanguard: Link Joker. Pretty easy number 1, this was the best season by far and the season was completely amazing. Really has everything that you could ever want in a single season.

2nd Cardfight Vanguard. The original Cardfight definitely helped get the series on the right track. It’s really rare to see a main character who actually loses as many fights as Aichi. If handled wrong that could have been annoying but overall he learned from his losses and got really good. It was just a great season and is also super nostalgic.

3rd Cardfight Vanguard Asia Circuit. This season probably has less memorable aspects to it compared to the other seasons, but this was the big Psyqualia boom. Everyone had it from Leon to the leader of the kid squad to Ren and Aichi. I still miss Psyqualia to this day so that was a lot of fun and the season was basically nonstop tournaments so you really can’t go wrong there. The climax was also super hype as you would expect.

4th Cardfight Vanguard Legion Mate. This season is tough because I thought it was awesome from the plot to the execution. At the same time it was a little short. I guess 33 episodes is a solid length, but it’s really close between this and NEXT. I’ll give Legion Mate the edge because having Kai as a main character was hype and the loser of each match getting burned was definitely a very real way of raising the stakes.

5th Cardfight Vanguard G NEXT. Definitely the best G season. The tournament was really good and Kazumi was just such an awesome villain It was also really long so we had time for a bunch of fights. We hadn’t had a tournament that was this long and serious since the original Cardfight days. The new animation style also worked quite well for this saga and the first episode was the perfect way to hype up the new villain.

6th Cardfight Vanguard G Z. This season is very close to NEXT, but it mainly loses out because it’s a lot shorter. There’s less chance to quite match the hype that was behind NEXT. Still, a great way to end the series and 6th is certainly nothing to be ashamed about when it’s relative to other Cardfight seasons. A superb show in all aspects.

7th Cardfight Vanguard G Stride Gate. We finally got the payoff to the first G arcs here and it was definitely a lot of fun. I liked the main villain and this is really where Chrono came into his own as a solid main character. He didn’t fall for the mind games of the villains and kept dueling as he knew best.

8th Cardfight Vanguard G: GIRS Crisis. The plot started to get moving with this show, but it was still a little slow. Not a whole lot happened here compared to what you might guess from the title. The heroes were still trying to get recognized as serious fighters here, but it would be a while before the grownups would acknowledge them.

9th Cardfight Vanguard G. Still a very solid show, but pretty much the whole season was just character introductions. While that is similar to the first half of the original Cardfight, we didn’t get a big payoff at the end like the original. There was no Psyqualia equivalent or an antagonist quite as interesting as Ren.


Overall, This was a really great way to end the G part of the series. By the end of its run it had really solidified itself as an excellent show even without the influence of the main series. I currently have Cardfight Vanguard as a whole in my top 5 shows. If we count G separately then it would likely still be in my top 15, perhaps just barely making it into Top 10, but no guarantees there. Throughout the various sagas the characters got a lot of development and we got a bunch of great characters. The animation and music were on point and this show has met the high bar that the card game genre has set. I definitely recommend checking this show out. Honestly, it’s best if you start with either the first G series or the very first season as opposed to starting with Z, but either way you’ll have a blast here. I look forward to seeing the retro season coming up.

Overall 9/10

Cardfight Vanguard G: NEXT Review


It’s time to take a look at the next Cardfight season! The show has already solidified itself in the Top 5 shows of all time and these extra seasons just continue to cement it there. It’s going to be just about impossible for the series to step down at this rate and it has earned itself a spot as a true rival to the Yu-Gi-Oh series. Both franchises have titles that are above and below the others. The best Yu-Gi-Oh season is above the best Cardfight one, but they’re all pretty neck and neck as they fight for the top spots. This G season is the best installment and it’s definitely up there with the classic seasons now. With G already getting another season that’s currently airing, there’s just no slowing down for this title. If it can even manage to pass NEXT, then G really could pass some of the classic seasons.

This season has a bit of a timeskip. I forgot the details on how long it was, but the three main characters have split up. Chrono has grown bored of dueling to an extent. It’s probably because he is so much better than his current competition, but it’s also because he just doesn’t know why he’s dueling. He’s lost his purpose. This all changes when a mysterious guy walks into the shop and challenges Chrono. Chrono is soundly defeated and the man then tells him to enter the Under 20 competition. Chrono vows to enter to try and take his revenge on this guy, but he’ll need to find 2 new partners. He chooses Taiyou and Kazuma. These three will have to quickly develop into a team if they want to win because there’s some tough competition ahead.

Shion is still trying to balance being a company head and a Vanguard fighter. The latter has been losing out lately. Then he comes across a Cardfight club at his school which is going to be demolished by the school board. He pulls some connections and convinces them not to shut it down until after the Under 20 tournament. If they win then the club gets to stay open. The board agrees and Shion quickly recruits the scrawny club president. They’ll still need a third member so Shion recruits a reluctant Rin into the fray. This team has even less camaraderie than Chrono’s so they’ll have to bond fast.

Finally, Tokoha moved to France to get away from Japan and dueling. There she meets a guy named Miguel and the two hit it off right away. Unfortunately, he is run over by a car and dies instantly. He had been going to enter the Under 20 so Tokoha decides to fulfill his dream for him. She heads back to Japan and decides to team up with her best friend Kumi and the ex sub-leader of the villains from the last arc. He’s a changed man now and decides to help her out in order to pay back his crimes from last time.

As they all enter the tournament, they are unaware of the true threat lurking in the background. The Diffriders are using this tournament to end Cardfight once and for all. A Diffride is when a monster possesses a human. So, three powerful monsters inhabit 3 powerful players including the legendary champion Kazumi Onimaru. They believe that Cardfight forces monsters to be shackled to destiny so eliminating the game is their way out. Kouji calls in some old characters like Aichi and Kai to help out, but at the end of the day the new generation is going to have to handle this. Can Chrono, Shion, and Tokoha take these guys down or is it already too late?

It feels good to have a Cardfight season with 50+ episodes again. That’s always a good sign since it gives the show a lot of time for all of the duels. Considering how many big characters there are here it’s certainly for the best. After all you want to see all 3 of the main characters take on Kazumi. I was worried at first since Shion’s first fight with him was off screen but they had a proper fight after that. This season tries to bill Chrono, Shion, and Tokoha as three equal main characters and they do a pretty good job with it. All of them get pretty large roles in this season, but at the end of the day we all know that Chrono will have to be the one to step up. He’s still a bigger obstacle for the villains than the others because of his unique time deck.

The animation style is very different from the last seasons and takes a little getting used too. Although, it may be more the character designs than the animation that feels rather different. Shion’s in particular doesn’t work too well I have to admit as he just looks extremely overconfident and like the kind of character that you can’t take seriously. It’s not really the personality that’s the issue, but the design just makes it a bad mix. Tokoha’s also doesn’t mix well with her new voice since she sounds really old instead of being the same age as the others. I think her VA gradually gets better as the show goes on. The animation brings its A game when the duels begin and they always look flashy as you would want them to be. The action scenes can be high budget when they happen although the first half prefers to skip most of the actual duel in favor of the talking. I do miss seeing the battles in more depth from the original series but I’ve grown used to the fact that the show has moved on from that. It’s still showing a lot more than it used too. I would certainly give the animation a passing grade here. It may not be quite as catchy as some of the other seasons, but it’s still consistent as always. You can still take one look at the anime and deduce that it is a very modern title.

I appreciate what they did for the soundtrack in this season. Each major character has his/her own theme as opposed to a standard battle theme being applied for everyone. I’ve always been a fan of characters getting their own theme since it makes the duels more personal. There can still be standard themes for when there isn’t a big moment or something and that happens as well. The soundtrack here is easily 5 star material. Unfortunately, Chrono’s theme may be the weakest from the main characters which is ironic, but it happens. The villains tend to have the best themes here, but Tokoha likely has the best hero theme. It’s a nice balance of intensity/emotion to fit her character arc.

I think it goes without saying why this season is one of the best. It’s essentially all just a huge tournament. Right up until the last episode which is the aftermath, the 51 episodes before that are all from the tournament arc. Of course, it doesn’t start immediately though. First the show builds up to it by showing the 3 main characters assemble their teams. Each team gets a few episodes and then they have to deal with their personal issues. There are quite a lot of those and they pop up between tournament rounds. Don’t be mistaken though, the tournament is still quite long and just about every duel is given a full episode. That results in a lot of duels and it was one of the best handled tournaments in the series. It’s a battle royale style like Battle City where you just fight whoever you bump into. The logistics and rules of it could be a little intriguing at times, but it’s handled well and it’s always fun since you never know who you’ll bump into. Plus, you can keep going even if your teammates lose which is a nice touch since I never liked being defeated by default.

It was a wise move from the show since it doesn’t have as many rivals as the original Cardfight. You can’t really compare the two when it comes to threats to the hero team. The only team that could fight well against any of the 3 main characters would be Onimaru’s team or maybe the 3 kids, but everyone else consists of no names. In the old Cardfight we had Ren’s team, Shion’s, the Celebrities, and a few other high tier teams. There are many other characters that G could have pulled out, but since the rules specify that you have to be under 20, most of them couldn’t enter by default. I still think we should have had an Aichi team since he shouldn’t be 20 yet, but maybe he is. It’s certainly possible since even Kamui was getting close to the age limit but still made it in the tourney at least. As a result, the Battle Royale method is good because then the main characters can take on Onimaru’s team without actually getting eliminated yet. It was certainly really hype how he took out all 3 main characters on his own. That’s pretty unheard of and it’s why he’s one of the best villains of the series.

This whole season is also build up for the upcoming Z installment since the real villains are about to make up their move. It’s similar to the last two G seasons where the first was set up for the climax arc. In that case the season was essentially split into two half seasons so this one had even more build up since it was 52 here to lead into what could be another 50+ installment. Unlike the other set up season though, this one was still really exciting and had a lot of epic duels throughout. The stakes were still pretty high as well and that’s because the overall level of dueling has been kept pretty high. Having to deal with actual monsters and former champs makes the road rather tough for the heroes. I do feel like the older ones are being left in the dust like Ibuki and the rest of the Dragon Branch managers, but it had to happen sometime. I definitely have really high hopes for Z as a result but passing this one will be tough.

Chrono is a solid main character as always. He’s certainly more experienced than he used to be and is treated like a pro. His jacket/jersey is pretty cool and he’s just very calm and collected. He’s not as hot headed as he used to be, but will certainly act quickly to protect someone when necessary. His challenge to Onimaru after Kazuma was taken down was definitely one of his best moments. Even if it wasn’t an authorized tournament duel, Chrono wasn’t going to let him get away without a fight. I’d actually say that he is considerably better than Aichi back when Aichi was a main character. Evil Aichi is still the best, but comparing their heroic selves, you want someone like Chrono on your side.

Taiyou is Chrono’s right hand man on the team. He’s still improving a lot and is the most enthusiastic of the team. I like him well enough and consider the kid to be underratted. He’s certainly not one of the strongest yet, but he’s getting there. His personality isn’t as interesting as some of the other characters but he always gives it his 100%. Definitely someone you can root for. Kazuma is the new kid in the group and he starts off as being very unreliable. He’ll quit games in the middle and tends to run off when things get tough. He gets better, but it does take him a while. I always thought he had potential because his design is pretty good, but of course that’s not the best reason to root for a character. His ritual deck is very unique for Cardfight and he’ll definitely go pretty far as long as he keeps appearing. In some ways he’s a lot like Naoki although certainly not in personality. Either way I liked him well enough by the end. He’s not quite top tier yet power-wise, but like Taiyou he is improving very quickly. He’s likely surpassed Taiyou by this point as well.

Next is the rival team. Shion isn’t quite as good as in the last few seasons, but it would be tough to pass that. Gone are the days of breaking into villain hideouts and beating the information out of the minions there. Still, he does a good job of saving the card club and does his best in the fights during the tournament. He’s still one of the strongest cardfighters although he is no longer a match for Chrono. His Paladins are always fun since they remind you of Aichi’s deck. His design works against him, but Shion is still a good rival as always.

Unfortunately, he has the worst teammate in Henri. Heri’s always very nervous and he isn’t a particularly good cardfighter. He holds the team back and none of his scenes are funny, they’re just annoying. He never really improves as the series goes on so he’s the only new character that is actually bad. He’s not a terrible character who would hurt the show or anything, but he simply doesn’t contribute anything. It’s fun to see Rin return since she had a pretty big role in the older episodes. She’s done a pretty good job of keeping up with the newer characters, but I’m not sure about her going pro. I just don’t think she’s quite That good to keep on fighting at that level. Still, I suppose she’ll keep improving as long as she stays with the main characters. She’s a better character than she used to be.

Tokoha gets the biggest character arc from the main leads. It starts out pretty badly for her since she’s in mourning and it heavily affects her dueling. I was wondering why she kept losing at first, but I suppose it was all build up for her to finally get over it. She’s still a strong duelist, but taking a break for a few months certainly did hurt her in comparison to the others. Of course, everyone had breaks for not dueling as much lately so she didn’t fall as far behind as she could have. It’s nice to have her back in Japan and hopefully she is here to stay this time. Tokoha’s definitely a nice character to have around and is a good main heroine. A shame she couldn’t get better teammates though.

Her best friend Kumi is around to help, but she can’t really help. There’s no realistic way she can contribute to the team although she helps get Satoru into his rage modes when he has to avenge her. Onimaru in particular did a number on her in the duel as he defeated her so completely that Satoru had to step in. Naturally he was no match as well but at least he put up a good fight. I still don’t like Satoru since there’s no way to get around how evil he was last time. The whole season is about atonement though so at least he’s working to get past it. I dunno, I should give him a second chance, but it’s still hard to root for him in any of the duels. So as a compromise I still root against him all the time, but at least I tolerate him on the team. Maybe one day he’ll be a more likable character but in this season he technically doesn’t do anything wrong.

Kazumi is the big main villain of the season and certainly excels in the role. He might be the second best villain in the franchise behind Ren. The cliffhanger in episode 15 helped cement this as he took out Shion and Tokoha with ease. It’s one of the best cliffhangers in all of Cardfight G for that matter and it really set the tone for his character. He’s always very confident and his skills can back that up as he took so many fighters down. Clearing the first stage of the tournament in a single day was completely unheard of, but he still managed to do it. The character is really handled perfectly so I’m definitely going to miss having him around. He’s a major part of why the season was so good and he’s likely in my top 10 characters for the series. I can’t stress enough just how hype he was.

To counter that hype, Verno absorbed a lot of the losses in the series. I felt bad for her since she’s one of the big hype characters, but tends to lose a lot so other characters can get some hype. She’s not evil like the other two so that’s likely the reason as she has fun with her fights and doesn’t take them as seriously. She’s not a bad character, but it was a little hard to take her seriously as a result. It’s all well and good to have fun, but this tournament probably wasn’t the best place for it. It would have been nice if she could have gotten more big fights before leaving.

Finally, there’s Saori who has the best musical theme in the entire show. It’s a nice rock song that fits in very well with his very aggressive fire deck. He’ll also be appearing quite a bit in the next season so that’s certainly going to be exciting. I definitely liked him a lot and he was the 2nd best villain in the show. He’s good at messing with the opponents by throwing insults around and he’s certainly a formidable foe. Only Chrono could do well against him at first and then he had a big fight with Kazuma at the end. Hopefully he keeps his confident edge though as he seemed rather nervous at the end of the series. The loss may have broken him and if not, the hype of the new villains may do him in first. Either way his theme should definitely return.

There are naturally other characters around, but only a few more need to be mentioned. Team New Nippon shows up and they admire Chrono’s Dad and his old team. They’re nice kids who want to be good duelists in the future. Surprisingly they will actually be getting a role soon as one of their members, Noa has been possessed and looks to be a big antagonist in the next season. He is with the Link Joker deck and I’m sure everyone remembers how tough those guys were. I can’t speak to his character much yet since he hasn’t really started to appear much yet, but I’m expecting big things. He has a lot of potential.

Some of the old guard like Mamoru are still around, but they aren’t very helpful anymore. I’ve never been a Mamoru fan and it’s not like this season helped with that. He talks a lot, but rarely takes an active role in stopping the villains. The same can be said for Kouji as well by this point. He still doubts Chrono’s ability even after getting consistently wrecked by the kid. Any mystery and intrigue his character may have had is long gone by now. He needs a big scene to bring back the hype, but it may be too late by this point. I feel like the heroes just don’t need him all that much. Kamui doesn’t get any big duels compared to the last season, but his character arcs have all already ended by this point so it makes sense. At this point it’s just nice to see him as a cameo for the fans. He does duel as well, but vanishes whenever the going gets tough.

One annoying thing about the season is that they always hype up Aichi and the other old characters, but they still don’t do anything. I want a big Cardfight G climax with the old characters being around to help out. Aichi does duel Chrono in a practice duel but then vanishes after that. One episode preview hinted that he would fight, but it was clickbait. Since the villains are looking for more hosts, I’m hoping they possess Chrono and then Aichi becomes the main character for a few episodes. It’d be a hype twist and I just want to see how much stronger he is. The old characters are appearing more and more now so I can only assume that the show is building up to something with them. That’s my hope at any rate.

As I mentioned earlier, the show does seem to be going for a more Shonen angle. It feels more like Yu-Gi-Oh Duelist then the classic G episodes for example. The villains are aiming for end of the world type situations now and there’s less time for fun and games. There are episodes dedicated to reminding the heroes not to lose sight of why they play and all, but they can’t mess around either. Even the final episode ends with a very classic villains meeting moment. That’s always fun whether it be the Akatsuki in Naruto or the Espada in Bleach. The new villains definitely have a lot of potential and I want to see them bring the fight to Chrono right away. One of my favorite tropes is when a new villain suddenly shows up to take on the main character in a new arc once the main character has just beaten the old main villain and is seemingly untouchable. Win or lose, it sets a high bar for the rest of the season and then the main goal is simply to keep the pacing up. Yu-Gi-Oh Zexla II had a fantastic season opener in that regard as it followed the trope perfectly, but then the plot vanished for a while. That’s the downside, you don’t want to go back to slice of life after a very intense season opener, but I’m confident Cardfight won’t fall into that trap if previous seasons are anything to go by.

Overall, This is another great season, but I expected no less. I went into this one with high hopes and was not disappointed. While I was cautiously wary about the new animation style at first, I got used to it really quickly. The taller, more shonen character designs work well to make the series feel more battle ready. It’s an effect that I am always enthusiastic about. The character designs may not have been optimal, but they’re not bad. The soundtrack has certainly improved and as we’ve been with these characters for so long it’s easy to get invested with what is going on now. If you haven’t seen any Cardfight shows yet you can still jump into this one pretty easily since it’s a new status quo and isn’t too reliant on the older seasons. Of course you’ll appreciate it more if you’ve seen the other shows though. Either way, it’s a great all around show with no real weaknesses and definitely one of the best.

Overall 9/10

Little Battlers eXperience Wars Review


It’s time for the next and final series of LBX or Danball Senki. Whichever title you prefer to use for the series, it can’t be denied that it is one of the best franchises out there. Each season was consistently great and you could compare the franchise to other big names like Yugioh and Cardfight. LBX’s score range is currently 8-9, Yugioh, (8-9 excluding Capsule Monsters) Cardfight, (7-9) and that’s about it for series where I’ve seen a bunch of seasons. I could add Transformers and Slayers, but their scores aren’t quite as impressive. I am tempted to make an anime section where I divide them all by scores, but that’s a bit of a time consuming project so I’ll let it be for now. While this season of LBX doesn’t quite surpass the last one, it’s still absolutely great and I highly recommend it.

The series seems to take place a few years after the last one. The governments of the world decided to place a school on an isolated island. This school is used to fight mock wars in place of real ones where the outcomes of these battles have real world consequences. As such, each country selects the most promising students to represent them. Sena is selected and he is super excited to have gotten into this prestigious institution. He is teamed with Hikaru, Haruki, and the mechanic. They have to do their team justice and win as many battles as possible. Still, it’s a little sad that they have to crush other countries in the process right? The heroes begin to grow doubtful as to whether they are doing the right thing or not…but what can they do about it?

First off, I do have to admit that the premise is completely unbelievable right from the get go. I won’t go as far as to say that it insults our intelligence for the show to insinuate that it’s possible, but it makes every government look completely inept. Lets put this into perspective. Instead of America running into Europe and taking it over, they’ll have their kids attack the European kids in the school through the mock LBX fights. (In case you’re not familiar with the franchise, LBX robots are basically mini machines that can fight through virtual reality controls. They are quite dangerous and fight in a secure containment field as a result, but are still more dangerous than the average rocket launcher. If the main kids win and claim the territory, then the same thing happens over in the real world.

How is this logistically possible? Do soldiers just come in and tell everyone to vacate the premise? Do the countries that lose these fake battles actually accept them? That’s the main problem with the system. Lets say America lost New York in the video game battles, I could see them just laughing and telling the other country to take it by force. Considering that we lost no actual soldiers in the fight, there is no reason to actually honor the deal. There is another thing to consider here…cheating. This actually becomes a big part of the show towards the second half and it’s a possibility that should have been considered when the idea was first brought up.

The main villain is Kreisler and he acts as a terrorist, bringing along a bunch of traitors from the other countries. They just go around blowing everything up and taking over cities. They don’t play by the rules and this tips the scales quite a lot. The virtual equivalent of Russia had been winning throughout the series, but lost about 80% of their forces due to these attacks. How does the real Russia feel about this? Their virtual counterpart is now a lot weaker even though their physical country is still the strongest. This is why the game just had way too many limits and the villain was right about this.

Kreisler’s main objective was to end the mock wars as he believed that they solved nothing. They simply gave off the illusion of peace, but one that could not last. I don’t see how the game lasted this long anyway though. The government even locked the creator inside of the main engine so he could keep it running through his brainwaves indefinitely. Not a very heroic move eh? Following this, which government is in control of this? Throughout the whole series, the teachers and the principals can’t make a move because the “controllers” forbade them to do anything. The problem is that it turns out that these guys were with the villain all along. I don’t know who signed off on this rigged system, but it wasn’t a good move. The villains end up taking the Prime Minister (Or his foreign equivalent) hostage at gunpoint, but this was another odd scene. How did they get past the guards and why did this plot point never show up again? It was rather odd.

I could go on for days about how the whole plot of the show makes absolutely no sense, but you get what I’m saying. No need to drone on about it and if you have any theories as to how this could make sense or any input in general, feel free to let me know. As I already mentioned, the show is brilliant overall so lets talk about why it was so good. For starters, the show takes on a very different approach and tone than the first seasons. It feels completely different and plays out a bit more like a shonen than the last few. The new locale actually worked out quite well and I liked the visuals for their new training environment. The team based strategies for the battles were also fun although 1 vs 1 is still the best.

The main cast was interesting from the get go. Haruki may have been a bit bland, but Sena was the typical hard working hero that you can always root for. Hikaru was a champion of LBX tournament fighting so he already had a lot of experience even if he still had a lot to learn. Having all of the countries hang out for lunch break added some intrigue and tension since there could always be traitors or people listening in on your conversations. You even had real currency that you would use for every day activities and if you didn’t budget well, you’d go hungry. Finally, you couldn’t afford to lose your LBX at any time. If it was ever broken, you would instantly be escorted off of the island and would be labeled as dead inside of the game. You could retreat with injuries before being completely destroyed and many characters had to use this.

It comes as no surprise that the show had an excellent animation budget. The visuals were top notch throughout and there was constant action. You could expect a big fight in just about every episode and some fights would go on for quite a while. The power levels did start to be an issue by the end though. The problem is that the show kept trying to make the next villain even stronger over and over again to the point where they just ran out of power scaling. It makes for great visuals since they move so fast that everything becomes a blur, but the side characters shouldn’t be able to do anything by the end if the main characters are as strong as they appear. I think the power levels were better than in W though so they certainly have improved. By the end, the only real contenders for the title of the strongest are Sena, Kreisler, and Itan. The rest get left in the dust by a wide margin.

Accompanying the great graphics are a stellar soundtrack. This show had quite a lot of epic tunes and the music helped to build up hype for future scenes and to also amplify the battle scenes. The openings may have been not quite as epic as W overall, but I really did like one of the theme songs for Wars. I forgot if it was the 2nd or third one, but it was really sharp. On a technical level, LBX certainly did not disappoint and when you add that to the cast and the story, it comes as no surprise that the show was so great.

Sena is a great main character and there’s really no reason not to love him. He’s hot headed and always ready for a fight. While Sena is super eager, he never gets full of himself or arrogant. He’s just a really nice guy who likes LBX battles and he always does what he thinks is the right thing even if it breaks the rules. He’s a friend that you can count on to have your back and you can be sure that he’ll always give it 100%. He doesn’t back down to Hikaru and if anything, the only mistake that Sena makes is not using his special abilities whenever he can. Sena can move his robot at super speed through the same power that Hiro had in W. Only Kreisler and Itan also had this ability and you can see why they were the strongest. Without it, there is literally no way that you can win since you move in slow motion next to them.

Hikaru is the main rival of the series although you can throw Muraku in there as well. While he had great success in the tournaments, apparently it doesn’t always translate well to team battles. I don’t really buy this logic or at least not how it was implemented, but he still did good for the most part. He stayed neck and neck with Sena until the series was almost over and I really liked the design of his LBX. Hikaru was a good character and he definitely went through a lot. The villains sabotaged his capsule which nearly destroyed him and did traumatize him for a few episodes. Hikaru recovered, but it certainly made the game a little scarier than it ever would be for the others.

Muraku starts out as the first major villain, but he’s always been about honor. He gets along pretty well with Sena and while he did destroy many of Sena’s teammates over the years, it’s not as if they’re dead in real life. You should be going all out in the game and I think that’s why Sena didn’t hold it against Muraku at all. Muraku’s very skilled and is certainly one of the best operators in the game, it’s just a shame that he never got the super power. He is heavily outmatched by the end, but his fights with Sena are still some of the best in the series. Muraku’s a solid rival and one of the more interesting figures in the show.

Now let’s talk about the captains of Sena’s army. These captains are: Kaito, Catherine, Rikuya, Gendou, and Haruki. Kaito has a pretty high opinion of himself even if he isn’t that strong. His LBX just never seemed all that special and he never got a big fight to himself. He likes telling the others what they can’t do and stealing the glory whenever possible, but Kaito never earns it. He’s definitely not a very likable platoon leader. Catherine is pretty good and at least she is usually ready for a fight. She’s also not quite as tough as her banter though and desperately needed a power up throughout the series.

Rikuya is pretty important to the plot in the second half as the villains want a program inside of his mech, but he doesn’t do a great job of protecting it. He also keeps to himself a lot more than he should, which gets others to think that he’s a bad guy. He may as well be though as he gets quite a lot of people expelled from school. It was their mission though so I like to think that the government took good care of them. Gendou is a character who got a lot of hype, but ended up not doing a thing either. The show would constantly zoom the camera in on him or have everyone get worried when he’d just stare. Unfortunately, he actually wasn’t that tough or heroic. He quickly said that his group should keep the super lab even though Sena’s team put in the most effort. LBX always loves to have a character get hyped all season to no avail though so I guess it’s to be expected.

Finally, Haruki is one of the leaders and he’s actually a main character so he gets a big role. He once led his squad to complete defeat against Muraku and they were all expelled. This causes him to be a lot more cautious this time around, but that’s not a strategy that Sena and Hikaru are going to follow. They like the direct approach and I can’t really blame them when they are always way stronger than the villains. Without plot hax, a frontal assault should always be the tactic of choice for the heroes. Haruki gradually opens up and helps the heroes more. He’s a good character by the end even if he’s naturally not as charismatic as Sena or Hikaru.

Sakuya is the mechanic and he’s probably the most annoying character of the bunch. He can’t fight so he just watches (The show says that he can fight, but he retired so that’s the end of that) and fixes the mechs between battles. Honestly, that sounds a little boring and I don’t know how Sakuya doesn’t get tired of it. He’s not quite as reasonable as the others and is quick to get upset when the other characters don’t play by the rules. His episodes can’t really hold their own and his romance was also pretty bad. This guy deserves to stay in as a secondary character. Yuno was a heroine who hung out with the main group a lot despite being in another division. She never really did all that much, but she inherited a mech from one of the main characters so that gave her a pretty big power boost. She’s a nice enough character and she did save Sena at one point. Yuno’s a loyal friend at any rate and a good member of the cast. There were a lot of other supporting characters in the show who were around, but not quite enough to be mentioned. Yuno was more prevalent than them, but not quite as much as the main characters so she’s in an interesting position.

Mito is the squad’s teacher and she has a personal stake in all of this. While she teaches by day, she searches for her father by night. She is pretty strict and by the books the whole time so she never gets quite as interesting as the others. Furthermore, she doesn’t handle the situation very well at all once the stakes are high and even faints at one point. I’d expect a little more determination considering that she wants to find her father.

Finally, we’re at the two big villains. Kreisler is the final boss and shows up with his seriously overpowered mech at the end. It basically can’t be damaged and it’s so fast that the mere thought of getting hit is out of the question anyway. He completely outclasses Itan as well as Sena during their fight. This also gives us some more brilliant battles as Itan and Sena even team up at one point while still not being able to claim the win. Kreisler was definitely a very good villain and at least he wasn’t completely loony. I also liked that he had a contingency plan for just about everything. Even while the guards were leading him off the premises when they finally caught him, Kreisler was ready. His submarine appeared out of nowhere with all of his armed troops and that was the end of that. It was really hard to keep this guy down and the show certainly got even more interesting once he showed up.

While Itan was not the final boss, he was certainly a major villain and probably had the biggest role of them all. I always felt bad for his teeth though. He always held onto a lollypop to suck on, but would end up crunching it accidentally when he got some bad news or got too stressed about something. The sudden crunch would always startle you and he would still go for another one. Lollypop aside, Itan was definitely solid. He didn’t give up like the rank and file and even after being betrayed, he vowed revenge. He lasted quite a while as he kept dodging the cops and he did his best to get back at Kreisler. He was an exceptional fighter and the fact that he could fight Sena on equal grounds is quite telling. Almost no other character can say that and he was also fun to root for. He’s probably the second best character in the series behind Sena, although Hikaru is quite close at third. I’d probably have Muraku at 4th and Kreisler at 5th. As I said, it’s a solid cast and they’re all pretty high.

One slight disappointment was that the old characters didn’t get to do anything. The big heroes like Ban/Van are mentioned and acknowledged, but they never get to appear. They get a lot of hype, but I was hoping that they’d show up to stop the main villains. After all, they do work for the government and are LBX experts, you’d think that they would have been called immediately. Jin shows up quite a lot towards the end, but he never joins in on the fights and just watches the whole time. That was a big missed opportunity and I can understand that sometimes writers want the season to stand on its own, but then why add Jin in the first place? It’s like a tease to something that will never occur so it’s better left forgotten.

I also can’t stress enough how impressive it was for the show to have constant action all the time while still introducing more and more villains. The fights started off very grounded, but gradually got as fantastic as you can imagine. Sena also got quite a few excellent rage moments where he utilized his LBX to the fullest and took care of the villains. You’ll get very invested into the show right from the get go and it never falters from there. The writing is always on point and I don’t expect that we’ll ever see another show quite like this one. It’s a shame that LBX had to end. Hopefully another long running mecha show can fill the void for this one someday, but until then at least I have the LBX game to help me remember this. The show isn’t even all that popular as finding images for this review was tough for a while. We need more people to spread the word and it all starts with this review!


Overall, LBX Wars is definitely one of the best anime out there. The visuals are absolutely amazing and the screen caps can’t do it justice. Its decently long length will ensure that you don’t breeze through it too quickly and also gives it time to develop the characters and have a lot of things happen. There are a lot of big twists even if you’ll figure out some of them way before the characters and there are a lot of enemies to defeat. The show takes quite a lot of turns by the time you’re done with it and you’ll have to decide what you think the heroes should do. Fight and possibly allow the system to control you or stay back in an attempt of defiance, but it could be futile if nobody joins you and the villains may end up achieving their true objective. There are a lot of tough calls to make here, but Sena is always ready. If you haven’t checked this show out yet, then it’s not too late. You can still make your move now before they announce a big Hollywood film that will adapt it all!

Overall 9/10