Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown Review

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It’s time for the third Charlie Brown special in a row. The main plot in this one isn’t that bad and may be the most entertaining, but we also got the worst subplot of the trio. Yes, Linus actually got the worst plot for a change and it was a little surprising since you’d expect his story to be pretty interesting most of the time. I suppose it just wasn’t to be, but at least we got to see Snoopy pranking people and just making the day more fun in general.

It’s Valentine’s Day and Charlie is hoping that he’ll actually get one for a change. The problem is that the system is rigged against him as it involves students each writing Valentine’s to the other kids and then someone hands them out later. Since Charlie has no friends to send him Valentine’s, this means that he has to sit around and wait as they slowly show him all of the letters that are for everyone else. I’m surprised that Charlie was surprised at this result, but I guess you have to be in a state of denial sometimes or the school will overwhelm you. The main plot sees Charlie get down about this, but he must hang in there. Surely someone will give him a card before the day is over…right?

As for the Linus subplot, he buys a chocolate for his teacher. The problem is that she’s always dashing around so he can’t find an opportunity to give it to her. Can he make it in time or will he have to start looking for a refund. I’d say that it was an emotional trip, but it really wasn’t. The subplot didn’t really add anything to the special except for an opportunity to see Sally chase after him for the chocolate. I’m definitely in the mood for such a large quantity myself. It looked pretty filling although assorted chocolates usually don’t end up taking away your hunger all that much. The pieces are just too small.

The end of the special has a pretty tough choice. Would you accept a used valentine? That’s the question that you’ve gotta ask yourself. I’d definitely say “Lol no” but maybe I’d say that I appreciate the sentiment if I didn’t feel like it was intended as an insult. It just seems like you’d be better off with no card than to get a fake one. I guess Charlie was pretty desperate at the end though. Once again, his imagination takes off with him though as he starts to believe that he is actually really popular all of a sudden. It’s a little hard to take seriously, but everyone has to start somewhere right? Maybe Charlie’s time has finally arrived.

A decent interlude during all of this was Snoopy’s live puppet show. It really reminds you just how intense the dog could be. He deliberately used the play as a ruse so he could attack Lucy and laugh about it. Charlie didn’t seem to mind much so I guess Snoopy already had him on the payroll. The scene wasn’t too long which prevented it from dragging on or getting obnoxious. It’s always good to have a change of pace as long as it is handled well.

The animation is consistent as always. The chocolate box looked pretty good and all of the character models were on point. It’s nothing to write home about, but there are no real flaws either. It’s a tried and true recipe to success. This special didn’t really have any songs though and it feels like the specials just ditched the concept of a soundtrack all of a sudden. Where’d all the music go? I always like to have some music as it makes the whole special more endearing.

Overall, The special was decently good. The Linus part could have been left out, but Charlie’s plot had the right mix of tragedy and comedy. You never felt too bad for him because this was probably one of the most minor sad events to ever happen to him. Seriously, it’s usually a lot worse. Not getting a Valentine on Valentine’s Day is like not getting a turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s sad, but you’ll live so long as you have Mash and a bowl of Macaroni and Cheese. I’m not sure when I’ll see my next Charlie Brown special, but there are always more out there so they shall return. In the meantime, prepare for some more intense reviews coming up.

Overall 6/10

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You’re in Love, Charlie Brown Review

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This Charlie Brown special was definitely a lot more true to what the series is all about. It’s another story of Charlie Brown trying to win the red haired girl’s attention, but getting embarrassed along the way. However, it’s certainly not as personal as in the last one. Everyone is mean to him, but that’s to be expected at this point. It was just more enjoyable and this special was even older so it makes sense. Peppermint Patty has her first real role here since the Chuck gimmick happens for the first time based on Charlie’s reaction and it just feels retro.

Charlie tries to impress the red haired girl quite a few times or to at least stand out, but it keeps backfiring. You can appreciate his effort as he was able to write some really cool equations on the whiteboard, but it turned out that he didn’t know how he got there. It was still impressive that he knew them in the first place though. Hiding under a paper bag when the girl approached was a little harder to sympathize with though as it showed that he lacked the nerve when it counted.

The ending is a little on the cheesy side to be honest and I like to think that the letter was written by one of Charlie’s friends so he wouldn’t be moping during the entire summer vacation. If it was real then at least Charlie got some attention for once and hopefully she wouldn’t forget him over the summer vacation. Charlie will also have to stay on his best behavior since he’s now on the school’s naughty list for yelling at a teacher. It’s definitely not something that you’d expect from Charlie, but he was wound pretty tight by this point. Eventually he was definitely going to crack after all of the pressure.

Peppermint Patty and Linus are really the only two people that Charlie can count on. The former may have let him down with her plan to meet on the baseball mound, but at least her heart was in the right place. Linus also offers words of encouragement even if they turn into subtle insults at times. He certainly made things worse by telling Lucy and the others about the red haired girl. Snoopy is around as well although he doesn’t do much. His shenanigans are always cool though and help the special pass by. It was another romance centered one, but the special was still layered. We got to see the whole cast and the comedy was handled well. It was just far more entertaining than the last one.

The animation is as consistent as ever. This special is even older so it’s all the more impressive to see how it’s held up over the years. That really speaks to how good the overall style is. You can easily glance at the special and immediately recognize all of the characters and what’s happening. It’s changed a little over the years, but by and large it is the same style that we all know.

Overall, I’m one step closer to watching all of the Charlie Brown specials. I can definitely see their appeal as it’s easy to watch these. They’re just nice, light hearted fun. Now, whether a happy ending makes up for a sad beginning and middle for Charlie is another question altogether. In this case, I’d say that it sort of does since Charlie doesn’t take it personally and the stakes were a lot lower. It really depends on how it’s handled since this kind of thing can easily turn mean spirited if the writers aren’t careful. It has already happened a few times after all, but by and large the franchise has always been good with that. This one is winning as of now, but next up is the final special that I’ve seen at the moment. Can the special with Valentine’s Day in its title take the win or will it fall into the trap of the former? Time to find out!

Overall 6/10

It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown Review

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This is one of the more tragic Charlie Brown specials. You can’t help but feel bad for the guy as he’s framed and suffers from serious memory loss all in the span of 20 minutes. He got to have some fun though and at least has a happy ending for a change. I certainly wouldn’t say that it’s one of my favorite specials, but I suppose it gets the job done.

The plot involves Charlie being framed by Lucy for losing the team’s big football game. It was a little on the mean spirited side, but the series doesn’t mind going there when it suits the franchise. I’ll never forget how the bullies humiliated the heroes in the racing challenge. I’m still a little sore about that one. When you consider the high stakes of this game, it also shows you that Lucy has her priorities completely mixed up. Nevertheless, Charlie must try to get past this because he has been assigned to be the little red haired girl’s escort in a big party. Can he steel his nerves and get through this without fainting?

You can tell that this is one of the older specials right off the bat because the graphics are a little more dated. It’s nothing too drastic though and the special still looks good overall. It’s not like you can stop the passage of time right? There isn’t much in the way of music here or sub plots. It’s really just one straight adventure to the end so at least there aren’t a whole lot of filler scenes.

By the same token there isn’t a whole lot to talk about here. One thing that I have to say is that the red haired girl was given a fairly throwaway design for some reason. She resembled a non playable character more than you would have expected. She also had no real personality, but I suppose that is to be expected since she never really got to talk back in the day. I was surprised to actually see her since it’s a running gag that she never appears.

While the party was apparently pretty exciting, it doesn’t really amount to much since it was all off screen. There also wasn’t enough Snoopy action for my liking. He’s always the life of the party so you gotta have him in a starring role. If the whole special had been the Football game and Charlie had gotten to win it in the end, the special would have certainly been verrrrrrry different.

Overall, This was a reasonable special. It did have some noticeable issues though like the Football game. You can’t help but feel bad for Charlie there and the rest of the kids need to start wearing glasses. Charlie fainting at the end was also pretty sad and makes the whole situation even worse for him. Also, a special can’t really last for the full length with just a romance plot. The football scenes were meant to help with this…but we know how that turned out. If you’re going to watch a Charlie Brown special then you can certainly do a lot better than this one. That being said, it’s still not a bad special. It went by really fast so I’d say that it actually has a reasonable amount of replay value. It’d just be too depressing to watch again without some kind of break. I recently saw two of the other romance specials so we’ll see how they stack up. At the very least, I can confirm that the other two aren’t as tragic.

Overall 5/10

Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale Review

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March has been off to a pretty intense start. Between my birthday and the release of Legend of Zelda Breath and the Wild, things were already going well. This got even better when I won free tickets to the big U.S. premiere of Ordinal Scale. Special Shoutout to Anime Girls NYC for letting me know about the contest in the first place. Winning it was pretty hype although it was still a tough call because it was on at the same time as a class I was supposed to be at. I thought long and hard about it, but missing out on this big event with free tickets would have been a shame so I played hooky and just skipped it. Characters do that on TV all the time right so missing one day shouldn’t be bad…hopefully! Well enough of that, time to talk about the film. It was great as expected and I dare say that it did a better job of getting the concept of virtual gaming better than the show did. Arc 1 of the first season is still the absolute greatest, but this movie has no second half to weigh it down.

This movie takes place after the first two seasons of the show. A new augmented reality game has launched called Ordinal Scale. After the tragic events of Sword Art Online and Gun Gale Online, people are fed up with virtual reality games. This new company took the opportunity to launch their augmented reality game since it is very different. I won’t go into how these genres are different since you can just Google that, but think Pokemon Go, but the more intricate version. You use the new system in every day life to get free coupons and to increase your score. The major boosts are obtained through boss fights and taking down minions. Kirito is sore that nobody is playing his favorite games anymore though so he pouts about it for the first chunk of the movie.

Kirito is so sore about this that he even takes the time to tell his friends that they’re playing games too much nowadays. After all, if you’re not playing his favorite games then you shouldn’t be playing at all. Kirito was such a jerk during the first part of the movie that it was actually pretty funny. He comes across as hypocritical and lying to his future wife’s face for super minor stuff also makes you shake your head. Now you may think that I’m not a Kirito fan based on this, but he’s actually my favorite character and I’m a big fan. His attitude and negative demeanor is part of what makes him endearing. Anyway, Kirito is forced to get on board when the game begins to get dangerous. Asuna is attacked and her memories of Sword Art Online are stolen. On a more minor note, the villain also broke Klein’s arm and injured a group of people, but Kirito’s more concerned about the Asuna situation. He must now get stronger in this game so he can beat up the villains and force them to return her memories. He may be a legend in the video game world, but can he do so well in the human realm? Time to find out!

Part of what makes this a little more challenging is the fact that Ordinal Scale is still in the real world. The illusions don’t change the fact that you have to physically move around and Kirito is supposedly out of shape. The film keeps on saying that, but he always looks like he’s in shape so Kirito’s just that good. He has a quick training montage and reminds us why he is the hero. It was great to see hardcore Kirito return for a little bit as he finally decided to go all out on the villains. It’s something that you don’t see from him quite as much now that he’s gotten a bit more mellow, but in his defense, the stakes have never been as high as they were in SAO. I’m sure the third season should change that once we finally adapt the next big arc.

The soundtrack in the film is easily 5 stars. There are a ton of great themes and I’ve already listened to the soundtrack on Youtube quite a few times. As I always say in my reviews, a good soundtrack can take a film to the next level. It’s safe to say that the film wouldn’t have been quite as exciting with a more laid back set of tunes. We get remixes from the show and even some tunes that seem to be grabbed directly from it. Coupled with the new tunes, it makes for a pretty unforgettable experience.

As always, the graphics are also excellent. The fight scenes really stand out and the choreography for the hand to hand fights are excellent. The best fight is naturally Kirito vs Eiji, but there were great moments all around. All of the fights were a blast with the colorful visuals and great sound effects. You could really hear every slice and clang and that’s part of what will always make going to the theater such fun. It’ll still be around at home of course, but your neighbors never let you turn the volume up quite as much as you would like. The solution is to live in a house of course, but I don’t think I’ll be moving anytime soon. Besides which, I’m just a city kid at heart anyway.

There are some plot elements I have to mention because they don’t make much sense. I’m not gonna go into too much detail on this, but Ordinal Scale just doesn’t work in practice. At least not the way that the film presented it. As one person pointed out on Youtube, one scene has a car turn into a bunch of barrels and later on we see the barrels get thrown around. That means that a car just got totaled and the poor owner is going to sue the game or a player bumped into the car and probably broke his back if we assume that it wasn’t enough to throw the car. There are many scenes like this throughout the film where you try and remember what the real world looked like the whole time. In a sense it almost feels like Boss Baby where the characters feel like they’re doing something intense, but it’s actually a lot less wide scale and epic than you are led to believe.

This may be true to an extent, but the line is heavily blurred. The characters are also immersed to the point where the whole landscape changes and they no longer know where they’re going. Also, their fake weapons seem to have an impact when they have their glasses on, but then it fades once they take it off. I guess you can just attribute this to the AR being that realistic, but it was also a little hard to swallow. Likewise, Eiji’s abilities were also a little intriguing. By the end we can basically just assume that the tech gave him super speed in real life which is pretty neat, but it should be extremely obvious to everyone in real time. At first it was treated like getting level ups in the game just gave you special abilities, but that wouldn’t make sense in context. What I’m trying to say in all of this is to not look at the context too hard as it falls apart under scrutiny.

The film’s around 2 hours, but definitely doesn’t feel like it. The adventure zips by in a snap which is obviously a good thing. It never drags on and it just a fun adventure from start to finish. I don’t have any real negatives here. I was worried that the film would have some fanservice since the show had a big problem with that, but it actually strayed away from that for the most part. There was definitely quite a bit of romance, but that usually goes hand in hand with the series. At least everyone wasn’t trying to get Kirito’s attention for once since he’s made it clear so many times that he’s taken.

I already talked about Kirito. He may not have sounded great, but he really is an excellent character. He’s a little petty at first, but every character has an off day. This was one of Asuna’s better depictions as she got really good at the game and it’s easy to see how she’s more comfortable in this real world setting than Kirito. He was never much of a people person after all. I would have been disappointed if Asuna had decided not to jump into the fray by the end and luckily the film didn’t go that route. She’s a fighter at heart so not including her in the climax would have been a mistake.

The rest of the group members are also around like Lisbeth, Klein, Leafa, and the others. They get decent roles and are around to try and get Kirito to enjoy the game more. They all pitch in and help when necessary. Sinon probably did the most noticeable damage to the boss which was nice since she is more powerful than the others. The fact that she is a long range fighter does make her a little vulnerable to the tougher bosses though. I still think it was a little odd how nobody really cared about what happened to Klein and why he didn’t tell them that Eiji could not be trusted. He didn’t lose his memory of being attacked after all so that was a little fishy. Ah well, that’s why he’s not the main character. As for the new characters in the film, they were all fairly decent. I can’t say that I cared much for the scientist, but I typically don’t care much for scientist characters anyway. At the very least, I could sympathize with his goal. He wanted to bring his daughter back even if it meant destroying the memories of many players and ultimately destroying them as well if necessary. Clearly he’s evil no matter what the justification is, but it’s certainly a better motive than just being psychotic. I’m always more on board with a plan to bring someone back to life because someone who’s special to you should mean more than the rest of the world. If you have to put the world in danger to save someone, then so be it.

The players also made it rather easy. The theater was laughing quite a lot when one of Klein’s friends noticed arrows that led to a dark alley. It’s basically the scenario that you hear about all the time on Reddit, but this guy walked in anyway because he saw a rare item. Lets just say that it did not end well for him. When are these guys going to learn that you shouldn’t go into a dark alley no matter what the reason? I can’t say that I liked Klein’s group at all though as they came off as desperate the whole time. I was rooting for the Sword Art Online monsters to take them down.

The pop idol Yuna is another one of the new characters. Her arc never really went anywhere though. She showed some interest in things beyond her programming which could have been interesting, but I guess the film didn’t have time to delve into it. She seemed like a nice enough person although I wonder if she knew that people were getting injured to deliver the crystals to her. She may not have been as innocent as she looked, but she can definitely sing. Finally, we have the main villain, Eiji. Eiji’s a classic arrogant villain who’s really confident in his abilities and loves picking on the weak. At first it seemed like he was just beating everyone up so he could get the crystals and it wasn’t anything personal, but this facade broke down a few times. Eiji definitely loves being the villain and his design was solid. The scenes with him and Kirito were definitely handled well and I’m glad that Kirito didn’t back down even when he was outmatched. That’s just not how Kirito rolls. I feel like Eiji should have put up more of a fight in his final scene, but I guess he was just too broken by then.

The surprise final boss was also great. I would have liked for that fight to be extended if anything, but they definitely fit in a bunch of action. Every character got to have a big moment in the end and there were a bunch of homages to the TV show. It was great to briefly see everyone and the movie really did do a good job of wrapping up everything from the shows. It was a good way to bridge the gap between this part and the next saga. This review was a little all over the place, but for a movie this hype it’s hard not to just start rambling as I move from section to section. It had a lot of powerful moments full of intensity and then also emotional moments as well. Kirito’s montage was excellent as I mentioned earlier and since it was personal now, I’m glad he threw everything at the mission. He even called in his favors with the government to get to the bottom of this.
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Overall, Ordinal Scale is definitely an excellent film. There was never a question about its greatness, only whether it gets an 8 or a 9. As I mentioned there aren’t any real negatives so that makes an 8 the minimum. At the same time, there are some stretches of time with no real action scenes so I’m trying to consider how a re watch of the film would go down. Honestly it is good enough for me to re watch it already so it definitely has a lot of replay value. The theater audience was also very lively which was a blast. The animation and soundtrack are top notch and the plot is good. The dialogue scenes were also solid since I do like the characters. I don’t want to take shots at Naruto too often, but it’s amazing just how much more enjoyable the cast of Sword Art Online is. Seeing them hang out at the mall is more interesting than seeing the Naruto characters fight at times which should be impossible. Of course, good directing does go a long way. Well, in the end I think the film is good enough to pull it off. It’ll join the great crowd of Resurrection F, Yugioh Dark Side of Dimensions, and more. After all, the film’s going to be even more awesome when I get to see the dubbed version of it! I look forward to seeing the series return someday and until then I may get around to reading the light novels. I highly recommend the film and keep your eye out for the Pac-Man scene. It was definitely a highlight moment as Sword Art Online acknowledges that people will still be playing the game no matter how high tech the industry gets. Pac-Man is timeless.

Overall 9/10

Moonface vs Kirito


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Moonface may have just taken a nice win, but he is completely out of his league against this sword fighter. Speed and power are not Moonface’s specialty and he will be completely blown away here. Kiritio is a master of close quarters combat and his speed is great enough for him to force their confrontation into one that suits his advantage. Kirito is as smart as he is strong and that’s a devastating combo. Kirito wins.

Waluigi vs Martian Manhunter


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Suggested by Jimmy Biscuits Waluigi has always been a pretty interesting Mario villain. He is good with a tennis racket and he’s also not a bad dancer. That being said, his physical abilities are nothing special and the Martian doesn’t even have to just rely on his super strength. His shape shifting will let him slip around all of Waluigi’s attacks and he can take his time before dealing the knockout blow. Make no mistake, one shot is all that this Manhunter is going to need to end the round. Waluigi just doesn’t have a whole lot of defense to protect him. Martian Manhunter wins.

Weather Wizard vs One Above All


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Suggested by Anon The Weather Wizard never really stood out as a villain because he had some stiff competition. Let’s face it, Zoom and Mirror Master are just a whole lot cooler. That being said, The Weather Wizard isn’t that bad. Controlling the weather is useful in a fight to a degree and he can make the battle very slippery for the One Above All. It’s hard to fight when you are unable to maintain your balance. Weather Wizard wins.

Wimpy vs Little Mac


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Suggested by Jimmy Biscuits Wimpy may not have the greatest name but you can’t deny that the guy has heart. He plays for keeps and gives every match his all. Unfortunately it will not be enough this time. Little Mac is a very experienced fighter and has been taking down opponents for years. They simply don’t have what it takes to stop him. Wimpy could throw his sandwich but that will just make Little Mac chuckle. He’d need a Big Mac if he wanted to do any real damage. Little Mac wins.

Xavier Quinn vs Train


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Xavier Quinn may be skilled with a gun, but Train is a master with it. He can hit a target from any angle with any kind of gun. Train also has super speed and can take out skilled opponents without any equipment. Xavier Quinn wouldn’t last a second against such a person and there is a reason why Train is known as one of the best marksmen in all of media. His skills simply speak for themselves and he’ll never lose a gunfight. Train wins.

Atrocitus vs Naruto


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Suggested by Anon Atrocitus is a very powerful Green Lantern villain and the TV show version DD a good job of showing off his power. That being said, he isn’t ready to handle someone like Naruto at the moment. Naruto has gradually been growing stronger for a very long time and the final two movies really helped to depict just how strong he has gotten. Atrocitius can’t hold Naruto with any of his constructs and he doesn’t have the speed needed to turn this into a hand to hand match. Atrocitus simply won’t be able to sky all that much in this match up which is why Naruto will take this round with ease. Naruto wins.