6 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

The Reflection Review


Stan Lee made a few works over in Japan that I’ve already checked out. Hero Man was pretty fun. It was a good show/manga with a fairly basic premise but one that just worked out well. Then we had Ultimo which had a great premise, but questionable execution which caused it to stumble across the finish line. Finally we’ve got the Reflection and unfortunately this is closer to Ultimo than Hero Man. The terrible animation keeps this from being a true contender even though the story itself isn’t that bad. It’s not a show you’ll likely ever re-watch but it’s reasonably interesting.

The show starts off by introducing us to the Reflection event. One day a mysterious cloud showed up and rained the world in bolts of energy. These bolts destroyed some people and it gave others super powers. The vast majority of people experienced no real change. The ones who have changed are known as the Reflected. The ones who were blasted with purple energy turned into villains and the green rays turned the others into heroes. Society still doesn’t know how to deal with them so they’re treated like mutants in X-Men. The government wants no part of them and Reflected are at risk of being destroyed just trying to live in every day life. So when some of them go missing nobody seems to care.

This takes us over to Eleanor. She is looking into these vanishings and is approached by a guy named X-On who asks her to look into Wraith. She finds out that Wraith is related to a villain organization with some kind of mysterious plot. She doesn’t know what it is, but is quickly dragged into the battle. Wraith wants her as well as all of the other Reflected and is going around attacking political figures. Eleanor bands together with X-On to stop them and gradually the group grows but their partnership is a very weak one. Will they actually be able to work together or is this partnership doomed to fail?

Reflection’s plot is rather vague. Most of the series is the heroes trying to stop the villains, but not really knowing much about why they’re doing this. Stopping the kidnappings is reason enough so the heroes don’t really need to know much more than that. It’s easy to see that they’re not particularly invested though. Their fights tend to end in stalemates with the villains getting away. Even by the final episode we still don’t really know anything and everyone is at large so nothing really gets accomplished. Needless to say this show ends on a big cliffhanger which will likely never get resolved. It’s hard to know what the show was going for so it ends up being an odd experience, but not necessarily a bad one.

The show’s only real problem is the fact that the animation is terrible. It’s probably the worst animation I’ve seen aside from FLCL and Pop Team Epic. You could also make a strong argument that while those two were also using experimental animation styles they were higher quality than Reflections. Reflection looks like the 1960 Marvel motion comic shows based on Thor, Avengers, Iron Man, and the other originals. You have to take the time into account so back in the 60s that wasn’t bad. Post 2000s? That’s downright horrible. It’s really hard to get as invested in the show as you could have with proper animation. I’m convinced that it cost the title at least a star.

Reflection is only 12 episodes but it still made the questionable choice of having episode 2 basically be a repeat of 1. We go through the same events from a different point of view with recycled animation. I know this isn’t the first show to do it, but it’s a terrible move. The opening episodes are where you try to get in viewers. Using recycled footage like this is only good for eliminating viewers and no show would actually aim to do that. You can see how the show got off to a rocky start. At least the soundtrack is decent. It’s incredibly limited so you’ll be hearing the same tunes a lot but at least they aren’t bad.

Okay, I think we’ve got the negatives out of the way. Lets look at the positives. I-Guy is a fun character who gets a surprising amount of character development. He starts out as a bit of an annoying celebrity who values his background noises more than actually stopping the villains. This results in a lot of innocents getting murdered on numerous occasions. Eventually this leads to people close to him getting bumped off so he finally takes being a hero seriously and aims to wipe everyone out. He’s a compelling character and by the end I was more interested in his plot than X-On’s. I also liked the armor design.

Reflection also has a solid atmosphere. It’s similar to Dead Fantasy or early RWBY. Due to the nature of the animation and how gray-scale everything is, you can never tell when something serious is going to happen. I-Guy’s allies being murdered or the villains destroying the old lady are very unexpected. In a more traditional anime it’s often obvious when someone’s about to die and there’s a big deal made about it. In a show like this it just happens out of nowhere and you aren’t given as much time to process it before going to the next event. While some shows may go too far in the shock value, Reflection uses this sparingly which makes it that much more effective.

The various characters also have solid designs aside from I-Guy. A good amount of detail was put into the villains and heroes. Lets talk about some of the other heroes first. X-On is the main hero who shows up in every episode and he wants to get Wraith for personal reasons. We don’t end up learning what those are. He has some kind of mysterious origin which is the biggest deux ex machina I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I’ve seen people use that term a lot in anime, but this has to take the cake because there is nothing leading up to the twist. It also happens to be the only way that the heroes can possibly stop the villain’s plan. X-On isn’t one of the best characters though because he’s pretty mean to Eleanor for absolutely no reason. His tactics just make it easier for the villains to make a move. His copy ability is also super handy yet he uses it in all of the wrong situations. It should have made beating the enemies quite easy in a lot of episodes.

Eleanor is the heroine who gets dragged into all of this. She can teleport, but her ability has a short range and she isn’t exactly a fighter. She means well and does her best to help the others who are in trouble. Unfortunately she cracks by the end of the show and makes a terrible decision. At the end of the day she is the one who pulls the trigger on making a really terrible call. It’s at the very end so I wouldn’t say it’s a character destroying moment though. At least it made her more interesting. It just came at a heavy cost.

Lisa has the ability to turn into a giant mech which is pretty handy. The robot may be clunky but it is very durable which is handy. She’s a little impatient at times and just wants to jump into action. I’m not the biggest fan of her character. From the heroes she is one of the less interesting ones. The worst would have to be Michael though. His ability is that he can see other Reflected so he takes them all to an underground shelter. Most of them seem to like this but it ends up just gathering everyone together to get bumped off. Too bad most of them can’t fight right? His partner is Vy, who used to be his wife until she was turned into a giant monster. She’s a lot better than Michael as she can fight and actually does well against the villains. Usually he chickens out and tells her to stop early though which is unfortunate.

From the villains we had a lot of members but most of them didn’t have much character. Wraith doesn’t actually do anything until the last 2 episodes. He has a cool design and his powers are definitely crazy. The guy likes using a lot of mind games but at the end of the day his big plan is basically to merge with darkness and give up on life. It’s not the best way to go out and as a leader it basically means he failed. His plan doesn’t make any sense to me and just seems pretty terrible to be honest.

We had a thunder villain named Volt who really didn’t have much character. He appears a lot but doesn’t do much. Same can be said for the guy who can turn into a dog. Flaming Fury’s character seems to be that she is merciless even as far as the villains go. Her fire abilities are fun at least. Then you’ve got Stan Lee who you expect to be the big villain the whole time but it turns out that he is just another underling working for Wraith. His telepathy is good but it seems like he may not be able to fight.

The two biggest villains were Steel and Dead Wing. Steel is the squad leader while the villains are on a mission. She can manipulate steel and is a formidable foe. Towards the end of the series she starts to have doubts on her mission, but it seems late for that since she is one of the main villains who was murdering a bunch of people. It’s possible that she is related to Eleanor or something based on how she acts at the end. From the villains I’d say that she was my favorite though. I like a good character arc and she probably would have had a good one.

Finally we have Dead Wing who seems to particularly like messing with I-Guy. In this case I don’t think there is a connection though and he just enjoys murdering everyone. His fights with I-Guy get pretty boring after a while but I suppose you have to like his confidence. No matter how many times he gets beaten he gets right back up. It works out well for him too since in the final fight he was easily dominating I-Guy. That’s why you should always fire your lasers when you’re in a robot suit instead of falling to your knees immediately.

Now there is one more problem I had with the show. That’s the fact that the heroes and villains keep fighting each other over and over with no actual progress being made. I-Guy fights Dead Wing 4-5 times throughout the series which is way too often. There’s not much point having a colorful villain cast when it’s always going to be the same pairings. It would help if the fights weren’t always stalemates but almost every time the fight ends with one character just walking away. That gets old very quickly. Same with X-On vs Flaming Fury or Steel. A lot of the time it feels like these fights are just to buy time. It’s less of a problem in most shows because at least you have fun animation but we’ve already gone over the fact that this won’t be happening here. This show easily has some of the most boring battles I’ve ever seen.

Reflection also seemed to forget about some of its characters at times. I suppose in fairness the show must have planned this out, but throughout the show there is a group of girls who are on their way to America. It takes them forever to make it though and they fight until the very last episode of the show. You’re waiting since episode 1 or 2 and the payoff is terrible. Literally they lose their first fight so what was the point of the hype? I expected them to at least win, but even 4 against 1 they ended up getting completely wrecked. I don’t think the writers were big fans of these characters.

Overall, The Reflection is a show that is interesting for its plot and atmosphere. You should be engaged on your first run through. It’s playing itself up as a mystery and that’s what it is. That’s the best way to go into the show. The animation will prevent you from ever coming back to the show on a second run. It does succeed in looking a lot like a comic book, the problem is that it looks like one of those comics that I probably wouldn’t check out of the library. There’s just not a whole lot for you to come back and experience. If it ever got a second season I would certainly be there though. One of Reflection’s greatest strengths is the fact that it didn’t make any big mistakes. While that may not sound as enticing as other positives, it’s still an important one to have. If you want to see Stan Lee’s take on creating a whole new set of heroes and villains then this is a fun one to check out. Get ready to watch the characters make some questionable decisions though. The only one who can save them all is I-Guy.

Overall 6/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel Review


It’s time to take a look at one of the latest Pokemon movie manga. This one brings back memories as it had the real Ash and not the reboot version we’ve gotten for the last few films. It’s nice to have the veteran that I’m so used to. This isn’t the most exciting story out there, but it’s pretty solid and I dare say that the pacing is better than in the movie. It’s a solid title with some good action scenes and you’ll get to learn more about the new Pokemon.

So the story starts with Ash bumping into a Pokemon named Volcanion. This guy is pretty upset because his pal was kidnapped by a villain and his thugs. They plan to use the metal Pokemon Magearna in their plans. Magearna is a Pokemon that was created by humans much in the same way as Mewtwo and this makes her highly valued among the villains. Volcanion wants to save her, but he spends the majority of the manga getting beaten black and blue by the various Mega Pokemon. Fortunately Ash is here to help. Can Volcanion get over his distrust of humans long enough to join forced with Ash and save the day?

Volcanion can be a bit annoying with how much he doesn’t like humans but I’ll cut him some slack since most humans are pretty dicey. At least Ash is good, but he has no way of knowing that. My real problem is just how weak he is. Ash has to save his bacon many times in this adventure so when the guy still keeps on talking tough it’s impossible to take him seriously. He’s losing to the random villains of the movie and their Pokemon. That’s unacceptable, especially for a Pokemon who is supposed to be super powerful. Volcanion didn’t really leave a good impression on me.

He still looked better than Magearna though. My issue with her is that she has no character. She sort of just stands around as everything happens. I think part of the point is that she doesn’t have full emotions yet or has a hard time expressing them, but I needed her to show a little more agency in the meanwhile. Even just a quick scene where she fights back against the villains when they show up to capture her would have gone a long way. Mewtwo definitely doesn’t let himself get trapped like that.

Meanwhile Ash looked great though. While being stuck to Volcanion is a big inconvenience Ash takes it in stride and gets right into the action. Nobody’s going to stop him from saving the day and Pikachu also gets some good hits on the Mega Pokemon. If not for Volcanion being unable to keep up Ash probably would have taken them all down. This is really Ash at his peak and its one of his best portrayals in a long time. It’s always good to see him getting his props.

Meanwhile the art is pretty solid. At times Ash looks a little out of character and is a bit inconsistent with how he’s drawn, but that’s about it. The most egregious example of this is definitely the back cover of the manga. Where the artist really shines is when the action scenes come in though. The Mega Pokemon all look quite fierce and the attacks are also pretty impressive as well. The scenes are easy to read so they aren’t convoluted but still have a good amount of scale to them. You can tell that the Pokemon here really know how to fight.

I guess there isn’t a whole lot to this title beyond what I’ve said, but that’s part of its charm. It’s not a grand tale or one of the more ambitious Pokemon movies turned into a manga. Effectively it’s just a fun little Pokemon story with Ash showing more Pokemon why hunmans are decently good at times. I doubt we’ll ever see Volcanion or Magearna again, but if we do that would certainly be pretty cool. I also thought the villain was a step up over some of the other villains. Not saying he’s super memorable or anything, but at least he actually had a good army of Pokemon.

Overall, Volcanion and Magearna are probably the weakest points of this manga but as far as legendary Pokemon go I’ve certainly seen worse. Volcanion took a while to come around, but by the end he sees why everyone loves Ash. Ash always manages to get the job done and that’s really the key takeaway here. Pikachu is fun as always the artwork is good so it all flows together pretty well. Whether you’ve seen the movie or not I would recommend checking out the manga. It’s a good way to spend 20 minutes or so and it’s one of the last times you will get to see the main Ash in the manga so it has that going for it as well.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Ghostbusters: The Video Game Review


Time for another film type PS3 game. This one got a lot of hype since it plays out as a sequel to the original Ghostbusters films which is pretty cool. It’s nice to get some extra closure for the characters and it feels nostalgic right off the bat. The main character doesn’t add much but it gives the others an extra target to talk about so that works out well. It’s a very fun game and I can see why it ended up getting a remake. You really can’t go wrong here.

The game starts with the Ghostbusters hiring a new guy to help them out. It’s been a bit of a tough stretch lately with the mayor hiring someone to keep an eye on the team. (Peck) Peck really doesn’t like the Ghostbusters and aims to run them out of town even if it means losing his job. I guess you have to give the guy credit for persistence because that’s really taking his job to the next level. I feel like a lot of other guys would have quickly faltered once their job was on the line. There’s no time to waste on him though as more and more ghosts have been appearing around town. Looks like the Ghostbusters are going to need to bring their A game here.

It’s nice to see fan favorites like the Marshmallow Man making an appearance here as well. He makes for a pretty intimidating boss in the early levels. The plot is solid and the main villain finally fighting himself instead of summoning more monsters was certainly impressive as well. The game gets to go all out with the supernatural aspect this time around as the characters go to different dimensions and the ghosts really mean business here. All of them are pretty fun even if the romance bit doesn’t really work out so well. I think the gag should have ended with the main character failing once again. The guy was persistent so getting one last rejection would have been perfect.

The game has pretty strong writing throughout as we get quite a lot of solid banter. All of the characters have an answer for everything and they’re constantly bringing up the past to try and mess with each other. You can really see how they are a close knit group that has been through a lot. They all make fun and stuff, but at the end of the day end up helping each other out. It reminds me why we need a proper third Ghostbusters film. Not what we’ve gotten lately. Hopefully the new one is good, but the focus on the kids is an early red flag.

As for the graphics, they’re definitely quite good. Like Terminator Salvation this is a very cinematic heavy game. It feels like an interactive movie to an extent as the story keeps going and you throw in your guns to blast away at the enemies. The gameplay is like your typical shooter only with a Pokemon capturing thing thrown in. The goal is to capture the ghosts in little devices that you carry on hand and then you keep it moving. The game also has various detective portions of the level where you have to find the ghost or solve some kind of mystery. For that you have a pair of goggles that let you see the invisible things in the air. This may sound like a lot, but you’ll quickly master the controls.

You can also buy upgrades for your various guns. By the end of the game your gun has 4 modes. The ones you’ll be using the most are the ooze version and the standard laser. All of them have their perks though. Then the game has a great soundtrack with the iconic theme showing up every time you hit the main menu or lose a life. It helps you not feel so bad about losing because otherwise it is a bit of a long loading screen. Throwing in a fun little song like that was the way to go for minimizing how long it feels.

In terms of length this is another short one at around 5 hours. There are a lot of collectibles to grab and monsters to scan though. If you’re aiming for the Platinum and have to grab these then the game’s play time should likely double for you. There’s a good amount to do and the price is still quite low here so it’s a good investment. What else could last this long and be this cheap to buy? There is also one puzzle that can be a bit tricky so if that ends up stumping you then you may end up being here a little longer than you would have expected. It took me around 10 minutes before I cracked it. In terms of difficulty you shouldn’t have any big problems although one level near the end with fire owls crashing everywhere was tricky. I definitely lost that one quite a few times before being able to take them all down.

Overall, Ghostbusters the Video Game is a solid experience and I recommend checking it out. It’s one of those games that just flies by because of how much fun it is. The characters all act the way they do from the original show and the gameplay is solid as well. Your A.I. partners may die quite a lot so you end up having to carry but that’s fine because you are the new recruit so it’s to be expected. I’m certainly down for a new Ghostbusters game. Building off of the story in this one would work quite nicely.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Terminator Salvation Review


It’s time to look at a PS3 game that I’ve been meaning to buy for a very long time. Terminator’s always been a pretty fun film series and it makes for solid games. Who doesn’t want to try and save the future from the Terminators right? This one is especially well known because it’s supposed to be a pretty easy Platinum trophy game and it’s quite short. It is a shame that it couldn’t be a bit longer, but I thought the game accomplished a lot in the time it had. It feels like a cinematic experience and had more cutscenes than I expected.

The plot of the game follows a man named John Connor. He is the child of destiny and has always been targeted by the machines. One day he decides to finally take more responsibility and heads into a war zone to save some men who have been trapped. The army believes this is a suicide mission and doesn’t follow him so right now it’s up to him and one lady who accompanies him. Can they possibly travel across a vast city in search of these survivors without getting destroyed by the opposing armaments? It’ll be difficult but John is ready to try.

It’s a very enjoyable story. It’s been quite a while since I watched the film so I don’t know how closely it follows the plot, but the game at least did a good job of building up the characters and the world. One interesting thing here is how much of a threat the Terminators are. They don’t appear very often as you usually fight drones. When they do appear you really can’t try to fight them in the open field. They will drain your health away almost instantly with their fast machine gun shots. It’s nice to see them as such a threat because in the films it is usually very difficult to defeat even one of them. They have grown a bit weaker in newer films as the humans can take some of them down, but in the originals you just weren’t going to win. The final level of this game even puts you in a position where winning is nearly impossible.

I actually died the first time in this level because I tried to beat them at the end. The trick is instead to run to the nearby chopper and that cuts you to the ending. If you stay and fight then you die and that’s the overall message of the game. You can’t stay and fight every time. Sometimes you just have to beat a hasty retreat. Espionage is heavily focused on in this game. You hide behind cover and then take shots in order to guarantee success. The mechanics of this are pretty solid. I like to just run in and shoot but the game makes that almost impossible to do. Your best bet is to hide behind things and even then the game can be a little difficult at times. If you pick the wrong route then your only route left may be the death screen. You have to really think about every move you make before you do it.

The best weapon in the game is easily the rocket launcher so I recommend having that on hand whenever possible. Usually you don’t see this weapon very often in the game so save your few shots for when you are in a really tight spot. I liked to save it for when I would actually be fighting a humanoid Terminator. They are easily the trickiest opponents to fight and the rocket only needs 2 good hits to take them down. Otherwise I used a shotgun for most of the game. You’re allowed to carry two weapons at all times so those were my two. There are other good weapons to be sure, but these are the two that really worked out quite well for me.

The graphics here are quite impressive. This is a PS3 game with a lot of effort put behind it. It doesn’t feel like your average movie tie in and is more like a AAA title. The backgrounds look nice and while the game does get a little too dark at times, I believe that is more due to my TV having that issue as opposed to it being the game. The soundtrack is also good with all of the usual Terminator themes you should be used to. You can beat this game in around 5 hours or so and the only replay value is to beat the game again on hard to obtain all of the trophies. The game won’t last long but it goes back to quality vs quantity. It’s short but you’ll feel like you got your money’s worth.

Overall, Terminator Salvation is a great game. It definitely exceeded my expectations of what I was expecting here and I would rank it pretty highly among the others. My favorite is probably still the third Terminator game since I really liked the combat system there and it also adapted one of the most exciting movies which doesn’t hurt. Still, if you’re got 5 bucks to spare then this is a great game to check out. You’ll really get to learn how to play a shooter game very carefully and the skills should transition into others. Before long you’ll be a pro at the ole run and gun style.

Overall 8/10

Manga

Spider-Man: Fake Red


This Spider-Man series is off to a solid start. The general premise of Spider-Man vanishing and someone having to take over for him is pretty interesting. I look forward to seeing where it goes and hopefully the series lasts for a long while. I’ll have a review up for it when the series finishes.

Overall 7/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Kill Switch Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

It’s time to look at a fairly recent Sci-Fi thriller. The title’s pretty neat and the poster’s cool so this should be a hit right? I feel like the writers really messed up here. It’s actually got a pretty engaging start and a solid plot. The problem is that the plot doesn’t progress after the first 5 minutes so the rest of the film is the characters being confused the whole time. The characters never seem to act logically and there is a ton of plot hax throughout. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a film that wasn’t thought out to this extent. It’s still way better than other films I’ve seen recently, but it’s not good enough to give a positive score.

The movie starts by introducing us to Will. He had a pretty solid job and clearly makes a lot of money. Still, he’s called in by a powerful company called Alterplex and they make him a deal that he can’t refuse. His family will be rich and the only catch is that he will be on call 24/7 for some kind of great experiment. The film cuts us between the past and the present quite a lot, but that’s the general plot of the past. In the present Will finds himself on another world and he must find out why exactly he is here and how to get back to his family.

I don’t really mind the jumping between the past and the present so much. It’s a pretty good way to jump us into the action right away and then find out why he did it. The only problem here is that the film overrates how confusing it is. It’s pretty easy to follow what’s happening, but the film gives us a few too many flashbacks to really try to give us all the details. I think a little less jumping in the second half would have helped because after a point you already get what the film is trying to go for so we don’t have to keep treading down that road.

Ironically the flashbacks were more interesting than the present scenes and I can’t think of another film where that happened. In part it helps that the flashbacks had better camerawork that was more like a traditional film. The graphics were good here and the characters were more interesting. I would have been fine staying in this plot although the drama with his sister and the kid wasn’t as interesting. Will did make the right move in deciding to go back to their old place. The kid was clearly not adjusting well even though he tried to be a good sport and it was clear that his sister wasn’t happy either. So even if it cost them a lot of money, Will was ready to leave. Things just didn’t work out so well for him there.

In the present, the problem is that Will should have died early on. We get a ton of scenes with SkyNet type drones flying around and blasting everyone. They have machine guns at the ready and are built like tanks so you really shouldn’t be knocking those out very easily. Despite this, we see humans blasting away at them and winning most battles. There are points where Will just runs up to them and start blasting. Somehow they miss every shot while Will knocks them down. It’s a common rule of action films that the villains will miss every shot while the heroes land theirs, but this one takes it to the extreme. The odds don’t matter to Will as he just runs through everything. It gets incredibly hard to take seriously.

Additionally there is no variety here. As soon as he exits one gunfight we are thrown into another one. Will doesn’t get any rest much like the viewer. I don’t mind nonstop action scenes for most films like car chases of Transformers throwing punches, but at least those have some kind of power scaling. These fights are just Will somehow being basically bulletproof as he takes down impossible odds. It’s really rare that you see action scenes so unbelievable. Will is a good character though. He makes the right choices here and I’m also glad that he didn’t even have to think about the final choice much. It is a bit of a no brainer on if you’re going to save your planet or a different one. It may sound selfish, but it’s not a decision I would think on much myself.

Abby is one of the main characters although we mostly just know Earth 2 Abby. Earth 1 version was fun enough and was certainly invested in her job. Earth 2 tended to panic a lot and seemed really in over her head the whole time. I really think the villains felt no real loyalty towards her even if she didn’t really seem to realize that. This is why you can’t trust villains, at the end of the day they will always betray you. Her final decisions make sense from her point of view of course, but I wouldn’t say that I was a fan either way. She’s just not my kind of character. Then you have Michael who also panics a lot. He comes in handy near the end, but you can’t help but feel a bit annoyed at him as well. His opening scene with Will is really just a compilation of the two characters yelling a lot.

One of the worst scenes in the film is definitely when Will meets up with the leader of the resistance. The guy asks him to say what is name is to which Will ignores him and starts panicking again. Both of them yell a lot but neither one is listening to what the other is saying. It leads us to another gunfight, but one that was super avoidable if Will had just answered the question. It was a simple question so I couldn’t take the scene seriously. This happens a lot in the film where characters will be talking, but nobody is listening to each other.

The writing is very weak. The characters rarely make decisions that are logical and panic way too much. Why did Will have to conveniently get partial amnesia for part of this? He also heals pretty quickly with a lot of the injuries he gets. He’s lucky that the world has a sci-fi healing equipment on hand for the final injury too since that would not have gone over very well for him. The film also randomly gets a bit violent with some of the medical stuff and you do see a lot of corpses on the ground.

Overall, Kill Switch is probably the biggest bundle of missed opportunity that I’ve seen in a very long time. It has a rock solid start and the atmosphere is pretty interesting all the way through. It’s impossible not to notice that nothing happens for a majority of the film though and eventually it gets to the point where it overwhelms the film. Everything is super convenient for Will. Getting more characters into the mix and perhaps identifying the Kill Switch earlier would have raised the stakes. If Will had gotten to meet his family from this side it would have made his choice a lot harder. As it stood, it really wasn’t a choice. It’s interesting, but I’d recommend watching a different Sci-Fi film over this one.

Overall 4/10

10 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

RWBY Volume 7 Review


It’s always a sad day when a RWBY volume ends. It’s a pretty long wait til the next one but at least in the meantime we can keep watching this one over and over again. The volume had a bit of a slow start in terms of action so initially I was a bit concerned but the final few episodes made for a really epic climax. This ended up being one of the best volumes yet. The fight scenes have improved again to the point where they are finally back up to around volume 3 level.

This volume starts off with team RWBY finally making it into Atlas. It’s been a long journey for the team but now they can talk to Ironwood about stopping Salem. He has been quite busy since volume 4 and has amassed an impressive army to combat her including the AceOps, a group of powerful fighters who are known as the best of the best. The heroes train and get some upgrades while in Atlas, even meeting up with a rebuilt Penny. The peace doesn’t last for long though as Salem sends Watts and Tyrian over to create some general chaos in Atlas. Meanwhile Cinder and Neo are after the maiden and the artifact. If the heroes aren’t careful they may lose everything. Do they retreat or hold their ground? Ironwood, Robyn, and Mr. Schnee all have their own ideas on what to do next.

A lot happens here even if the experience will feel pretty short due to how much fun it is. I believe this was one of the longest seasons to date and Rooster Teeth has done a good job of getting the episodes to pretty consistent run times. I’d like to eventually see every episode be around 25 minutes, but one step at a time. There’s so much that the volume does right so it’s almost hard to know where to start. First, one big positive here is that the story moves along quite a bit. We get through a solid chunk of the Atlas arc here to the point where the next volume should end it. We get to wrap up Weiss’ plot as well as get to the heart of Ironwood’s character arc. The pacing is solid.

The animation is definitely top notch. As I mentioned earlier, these are the best that the fights have looked in quite a while. It’s not like RWBY ever got bad at that though. Volume 4 did have the Team vs Tyrian fight which is still one of the best fights in the series and Volume 5 of course had the big Raven vs Cinder match. Volume 6 had the Grim Reaper battle as well as the climax with Adam. I’d say that the main difference is that in volumes 4 and 5 it felt like the team only had time for one big fight so the rest of the fight scenes suffered a bit. Volume 6 got past that and then Volume 7 is really thriving. We’re back to fun team combos and good background effects that amp up the battle.s

Ironwood’s battle is a good example of this with gravity playing an effect in the confrontation. It really adds an extra dynamic to the whole thing. Then Team RWBY’s fight was excellent. While most of it isn’t a pure 4 vs 4 fight, you’ve still got a lot of people moving at the same time which is something the series was infamously unable to do in the Volume 5 climax. (I’d still like to see the team re-make that fight someday) It’s a good benchmark to see how the series has really grown since then.

Then we’ve also got an excellent soundtrack which should come as no surprise since the series always has great tunes. We get the excellent Hero theme that plays during Ironwood’s fight. I’ve listened to that one a very large number of times at this point. The song that plays during the RWBY fight was also really solid. Those are the 2 best themes for me, but the credits villain theme is also solid as well as the intro. I look forward to seeing the full soundtrack for this volume coming out so we can hear the full versions of these songs.

Now we’re going to enter the more detailed part of the review so these parts will have spoilers. If you need to know the score now then know that it is a perfect 10. RWBY never delivers anything short of perfection. RWBY is definitely still the best show out there and it’s also part of why I have to discuss it in such detail. I can’t leave a stone unturned and I’m always browsing the reddit to see what everyone else thinks of the big events. It’s a title where there will always be a good amount of discussion.

The first big topic for debate here is Ironwood’s decision of course. Ironwood himself is a pretty complex character. He’s been doing his best to fight Salem since Volume 3, but things never turn out so well for him. In Volume 3 things don’t go well because Ozpin stays tight lipped about everything and doesn’t let Ironwood in quick enough. By Volume 6 2 of the 4 Kingdoms have already been defeated (Haven is still around, but without a headmaster or a relic it can’t do much to help) and so Atlas seems like it may be the next target. Given this, Ironwood has been building up his army. He has everyone fully mobalized and even got the AceOps ready for action. He’s done a tremendous job of getting everyone in tip top shape. The army may still need a little work since team RWBY got in so easily but it’s still pretty solid as a whole.

Unfortunately intruders are still getting into Atlas and Salem threatens to make an appearance as well. There is no time for Ironwood to achieve his goal of getting the communication tower up in time and the heroes could barely fend off the first wave of Grimm so the whole army would dominate them. Ironwood then makes the controversial decision to jettison Atlas into space to avoid the Grimm and in theory Salem won’t be able to chase him there. At the very least it’ll take some time for her to get up there so he can smoke out the intruders and think up a plan. Team RWBY disagrees which leads to their big fight with the AceOps.

Ruby does have the moral high ground here since abandoning a whole half of the country to die is not heroic no matter how you slice it. On a practical level Ironwood is right that they’ll all die down there given how powerful the Grimm are. It’s a matter of do you let everyone die or half of them? It’s not the heroic move, but Ironwood’s decision is the most rational. I think a good compromise team RWBY could have gone for would be to quickly gather everyone who wasn’t already evacuated into Atlas. They already got some of them over, just not everyone. This would also seal the deal for the rest of the survivors though so in effect helping Ironwood would also go against RWBY’s goals here. It’s easy to see why this would lead to a fight.

I hope the series keeps Ironwood as an anti-hero who is doing what he can, but finds himself on the wrong moral side each time rather than becoming a full villain. He’s getting dangerously close to that with how he shot Oscar. The line he used for that was pretty awesome though and one of the best lines in RWBY. This volume helped Ironwood rise up from just another character to being in my top 5 now. I may need to make a new top 10 RWBY characters editorial soon since it’s been shaken up so much. At the moment my top 10 would be 1. Adam 2. Ironwood 3. Cinder 4. Yang 5. Raven 6. Neo 7. Torchwick 8.Weiss 9.Mercury 10. Ruby but it’s definitely a list that tends to change quite a bit. Ironwood’s just made for a great character and now that he is officially becoming a third party to contend with it makes him that much more interesting. I really hope he doesn’t die in the next volume although it’s looking likely. Realistically he won’t be defeating Salem or Cinder but hopefully he can bump off at least one more side villain like Mercury or Hazel.

The whole Atlas debate was a pretty big part of the volume. Meanwhile we had the Atlas election which was the setup for all of this. The Weiss family drama was less interesting, but still a necessary part in all of this since we had been waiting so long for some closure. I’m still not a big fan of Weiss’ Mom. At least Whitley is a little interesting with where his character may go. There are a lot of options for him for sure. Then Weiss’ father gets his end. He had a pretty good run and he’s a fun guy to have around. I’d have liked him to manipulate the others a little more instead of getting manipulated but I suppose that’s how it goes some times.

Winter is a character who hadn’t appeared in a long while so it was good to see her return. She’s still a little too fixated on following the law though to the point where she isn’t choosing to step up and help Weiss. For characters like her I always like to see them ultimately betray the law to help their family out. Those who do not end up suffering a big fall and it’s hard to rise back up as a character. Byakuya from Bleach pulled it off so Winter could as well, but this was not her best volume. I’m fine with her getting wrecked by Cinder since I don’t consider them to be in the same league, but I’d have liked her to have been more supportive of Weiss. I do like to think that maybe she would have helped if Weiss was actually brought in although I have my doubts.

Penny’s return was another controversial part of the volume. Especially since it was confirmed that she wouldn’t be coming back several years ago after her death. Plans change so you should never put too much stock into interviews and such outside of the show though. In-universe she is a robot so it makes sense that she could come back. Personally I would have rathered she did not. In general not bringing a character back is the right move, but it can all work out if the character has great scenes. Take Cinder for example. I’m glad she was brought back since she has had several great fights since then. At the time I’d have preferred she stayed dead, but what’s done is done. So going forward in volume 8 it’s not like I’ll still be dwelling on it. She’s here so now I’m looking forward to her getting some big fights. She’s going to be a real powerhouse now so hopefully Ironwood is unable to take control of her or the heroes are going to be in some major trouble.

Watts gets his first big role of the series and looks pretty good. His battle with Ironwood is handled really well and they both got a good amount of hype there. Watts’ motivations may be weaker than some of the other villains, but it’s still one you can understand. He feels like he should have gotten the headmaster position at Haven. I think he would have done a way better job than Lionheart, but I’m sure Ironwood had his reasons for doing that. It’s still no excuse for being evil. I’m surprised that Ironwood let him live, but Watts could end up being pretty useful going forward.

Then we have the AceOps who all become pretty big characters by the end. Clover gets the biggest role for sure. He’s a solid commander who seems to be going for a bit of a Captain America vibe. Unfortunately he makes one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen as he decides to prioritize going after Qrow instead of Tyrian. Qrow even points out that this is crazy but Clover won’t listen to reason and gets murdered over that decision. It was hard to feel bad for him there because the entire thing was completely his fault. Qrow did his best to go after Tyrian, but Clover made that impossible.

The rest of the AceOps come across as more reasonable. While they are trying to take out Team RWBY, it’s because they see their orders as being the right ones. Harriet is the main fighter of the group and she has the right idea of going all out from the start. Marrow mentions that he doesn’t want to destroy the heroes, but ironically Weiss tries to slice off their heads at the exact point he says that. Team RWBY isn’t holding back so they can’t either. Besides, you aren’t able to destroy someone if they still have Aura unless your attack is that much stronger like Adam’s famous slash which took off Yang’s arm. Either way holding back will only get you injured. Harriet was determined and even after being tied up gave Ruby a good fight.

Marrow comes across as the most reasonable of the members. He doesn’t fall for Robyn’s mind games which was impressive since everyone always falls for that. His power to stop time of either one person at a time or everyone in his line of sight is a really good ability. He’s nigh unstoppable in a 1 on 1 fight but Weiss ended up being a bad match up for him. Elm and Vine get the smallest roles of the group. Vine is the most emotionless of the group and doesn’t find any of this personal. He’s just following orders and doing what he’s got to do in order to claim victory here. Elm takes this very personally as she is quite eager and willing to put team RWBY down for good.

One thing I greatly appreciated here was the fact that Team RWBY beat AceOps fair and square. I was worried that the fight would get broken up or they would get saved, but fortunately that does not happen. RWBY just shuts them down systematically and it was quite satisfying. I also liked Ruby’s confidence there as she doesn’t always show that lately. Flat out telling AceOps that RWBY is more talented was really great. This is the kind of development I like to see from her as team leader.

Meanwhile we had one more big new character in the form of Robyn. Unfortunately I was really not impressed with her. For starters her fighting abilities are really just now impressive. She has a crossbow as her weapon which is a questionable choice at best because there just isn’t anything you can really do with that. All of the characters fighting at this level can move fast enough to catch or dodge any such arrows. It leaves her with no real room to grow. She goes down quite quickly in each match. I was hoping she would have been more of a serious third party character to worry about, but in the end Ironwood ended up taking that role so there was nothing really left for her to do. A shame of course, but I suppose it couldn’t be helped. I hope she is able to make a comeback in the next volume. She talks really tough every time so that makes me think there is still hope for her to make a comeback if she can just get a little stronger.

I can’t say that I really have any formal negatives with the volume. Even the weakest aspects of RWBY are quite solid. If there’s a plot we could remove, I wouldn’t mind losing the Ren and Nora one. Their romance hasn’t really worked since day 1 and they were better off as close friends. It is also quite telling that the instant Nora distracted Ren was when the villains attacked so he was unable to help out. It ended up costing quite a few lives. Maybe the show will use that to end this sub plot. Ren’s also been panicking a lot so if one member of the team gets bumped off I could see it being him. Team Jaune in general spent the volume not doing much and getting wrecked along the way. They haven’t really kept up with Team RWBY in terms of power although I wouldn’t expect them to. The main characters should always be in a different level compared to the supporting ones. That’s just how these things go.

Cinder and Neo still make for a pretty dangerous team. Cinder needs to watch her back since a betrayal could happen at any point. It’s a little hard for me to believe that Cinder was unable to get past the other Maiden’s ice abilities though. Cinder is a maiden herself and I can understand losing to Raven since Raven had years of experience, but an old maiden who’s getting ready to die? I’m not sure I can buy into that one. For Neo it was great to see her take down the heroes. I’ve always seen her as a top tier fighter close to Maiden level so it’ll be interesting to see who is actually able to stop her. The longer she goes undefeated the more she will stay in her mythical status of being seen as basically untouchable.

As for Team RWBY, they all look good. Blake doesn’t do too well in the big fight at the end as she has to get saved twice, but she still does contribute in the fight. Yang looks great throughout here as she helps the team make their decisions and also has the power to get things done when it counts. She is still using a lot of strategy in her fights which is good to see. Ruby looks great in the volume as she takes charge and gives orders with one exception. She only didn’t look very good in Salem’s big scene where Ruby bursts into tears right away. I thought she fell to tears way too quickly if you ask me and it just wasn’t very deserved at the time. It also made Ironwood’s decision that much easier since if the leader of the heroes bursts into tears when the villain shows up then they really don’t have much of a chance. Hopefully Ruby can keep it together when they actually fight Salem.

For Weiss this was an especially big volume. At long last she won her first true 1 on 1 fight which was awesome. It’s about time since she has trained a whole lot over the years. She earned this victory and also helps the team out quite a lot. Her summoning is only going to get better from here on out and that’ll make her a true threat in combat. Then we have Qrow who looks pretty good here. He still has some trouble with his bad luck like nearly tripping once, but as least he doesn’t spend the volume looking super nerfed or feeling sorry for himself this time. He looks pretty decent as he keeps up with Clover and Tyrian. It’ll also be interesting to see if he does try to assassinate Ironwood in the next volume. I’m surprised he let himself be captured though because that’s always a very dangerous risk.

Finally we’ve got Oscar who is doing his best to fit in with the crew. He still feels way weaker than the others, but always does his best to give good advice and talk to the various characters. Ozpin misses most of the volume so this is really just good ole Oscar. I’m not his biggest fan, but he’s not bad. There’s no way he should have actually landed that punch on Neo though. I don’t think anyone was buying that. She’s way too nimble and if she meant to knock him out then Oscar should not be waking up anytime soon.

So in the end I thought about it quite a bit and I would actually put this as the second best volume in the series. Right now I’m going to put the volumes as 3>7>6>2>5>1>4. 2 and 5 are pretty close but the train fights are still just too amazing to pass up. If the trend continues then Volume 8 could finally be the one to pass 3. It’ll be tough but with how many cool things are set up to happen we could reach that level. I’m ready for Salem to finally step in the ring herself. Sadly there is no after credits scene in this volume but I’d recommend sticking through the credits just for the song.

Overall, RWBY Volume 7 is a really great volume. We got to see more of Cinder and Neo which is always great as well as some excellent action scenes with RWBY and Ironwood to close things off. The first 9-10 episodes are a little slow, but the final few really help to give us the action we needed. It’ll work well in movie format since you can see all of that as set up for the big fights in the end. The ending is always super important and RWBY always delivers there. If you haven’t watched RWBY before then you need to do yourself a favor and check it out. You can watch this volume from the start and get what is happening since the volume is made in a clear way so you can watch it as a stand alone title, but you’d be missing out on so many hype scenes from the earlier days. I’d advise you to start from scratch.

Overall 10/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Review


It’s time to look at the DBZ game that came out recently. It definitely looked like a real game of the year contender from the instant that we got the first teasers. Interestingly the game kept focusing on the first two arcs so for a while there I was wondering if Arc 3 would be included at all. Fortunately it is here so the game ends up feeling pretty complete. The story took me around 20 hours which is pretty good for an action title. It’s quite rare for any to rank all the way up there. It’s an excellent game and one I definitely recommend.

The story follows the events of the DBZ show/manga. If you don’t know what that is, here’s a quick recap. Goku is a hero who has saved the planet many times. He ended up marrying Chi Chi prior to the game’s start and they had a kid named Gohan. That’s when an alien named Raditz arrives and kidnaps Goku’s son. Goku has to then team up with Piccolo to stop him. Along the way more aliens show up such as Vegeta and Frieza as well as androids like Cell and even mythical beings like Majin Buu. Goku will have to keep on training in order to keep up with these guys, but he believes that he will be up to the task. Goku’s never turned down a challenge before and he doesn’t intend to start now.

The gameplay is similar to the Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi series although styles in more of a single player fashion. You’re using less advanced combos here and more flashy moves to take the opponent down. It’s fun using all of the signature attacks from the show and you can learn new moves/upgrade old ones as you go through the game. I didn’t touch the upgrading part until deep in arc 2, but it’s a handy feature. You won’t be able to upgrade all that much without going through some Roshi training though. Once you beat the game you can unlock all of the training lessons and then you can make your characters really strong. If you want to beat a powerful enemy without leveling up then just buy a lot of health items. Those come in handy although of course it will make getting S ranks a little more difficult. I got an S rank on almost every level but I don’t believe there is much of a reward for doing so here so it’s not a big deal.

In combat you’ll be fine if you just go with your instincts. Typically I like to just stick to physical attacks and don’t use the special moves much unless the opponent is shooting a laser and I don’t want to wait for it to end. Sniping the enemy with a laser of your own is a really good way to counter such a technique. If the opponent is blocking your hits a lot then I would recommend landing a few hits, teleporting, and then attacking more. The opponent is forced to either drop his guard and get hit or let his shield be broken. Either way works out quite nicely for you. There is a good amount of depth to the gameplay so you have the liberty of finding what method of fighting works best for you. The toughest fights for me were the ones where you have to fight multiple opponents. The Cell Jrs that launched at you were no joke.

Meanwhile the graphics here are definitely top tier. There are a lot of animated cutscenes to watch where the characters duke it out and even the normal cutscenes look really good. The engine works really well for a game like DBZ and it feels like you are back in the TV show. The most impressive cutscene was probably Vegito’s battle against Super Buu. The animators definitely had a lot of fun with that one. The scene of Vegeta and Kid Buu punching each other was also styled really well. It keeps up with FighterZ as the two best looking DBZ games. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is really great. You’ll recognize a lot of the themes from the anime which is a nice touch. We also get an insert song at the very end of the game which was pretty neat. There was certainly no corners being cut in this title.

The sheer amount of content here is also impressive. As I mentioned I beat the game in around 20 hours. That’s considering that I didn’t stop to do any side quests or things like that. I just plunged right through the story. If you consider the side quests, extra boss, and leveling up then you’ll be here for quite a while. The Platinum trophy in this game actually sounds pretty achievable so if I start trophy hunting again then this would be one of the first games that I would focus on. I’d estimate that the game should take you around 40 hours to complete everything. That’s a lot of time and really helps to justify your purchase. Even just wandering around the hub world driving your car and fishing can be a lot of fun. The game did a good job of adding a lot of different gameplay options to have fun with. The game even let you play Baseball for a second which was nice.

Kakarot is a reasonably challenging game, but not one where you will ever be stuck for long. It all feels pretty fair and balanced in part because there are always workarounds. If a boss is too difficult for you right now then you can go and train somewhere, unlock new attacks, re-position your stat medals, cook some food, buy potions, etc. There is no way you will actually be stuck for very long but at the same time you may enjoy just retrying the battle a few times when the opponent is hard to beat like this as it really helps you learn the fighting style. Before long you’ll be racking up S rank after S rank.

Overall, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a superb game. It’s easily one of the best DBZ games I’ve played. I’ve seen it compared to Attack of the Saiyans quite a lot. While that game is also very good, I would have to give this one the edge. I’d put it in third place right behind FighterZ and Budokai Tenkaichi 3. I hope we get a sequel to this game which adapts GT, the movies, and Super. I’m sure they could also do that through DLC as well, but a sequel would be ideal because then it could be a full 20+ hour experience with a lot of cutscenes. I feel like you are slightly more limited with what you can do when it’s DLC but that’s not necessarily true. If you haven’t gotten this game yet then I’d recommend changing that. It’s one of the most complete DBZ adaptions you’ll ever see. When you finish the story you’ll feel as though you just scratched the surface of what the title has in store for you.

Overall 9/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Phi Brain: Puzzle of God: Nemesis Raetsel Review


It’s time to take a look at the final Phi Brain season. The first two seasons were pretty great so I was ready to jump into the next season. This one is also very good although I would say that it is the weakest season of the 3. It just has a hard time keeping up with the first two because of Jin’s antics. His character gets flushed away here, but fortunately Kaito still makes for a pretty epic main character. We also get to see a lot of the big characters from the first two seasons show up which is always cool. All in all, it makes for a good wrap up to the series.

The season starts with Kaito solving another puzzle as per usual. It’s a little odd that there was still a puzzle around since they should have all been solved, but he doesn’t think too much of it. This changes when a girl named Raetsel shows up and kidnaps Jin. Kaito gives chase while the rest of the Phi Brain children are attacked by a man named Enigma. He is the leader of the Master Brains, a group who is dedicated to destroying all puzzlers. He states that the group is doing this under Jin’s orders. Up til now Kaito has known Jin as his trusted master who loved all puzzles and was a hero through and through. Is it possible that this was all a lie?

Why not ask Jin? Well, they try this, but Jin is no help since he is still missing most of his memories after getting steam rolled by the main villain in season 1. Jin never truly recovered from that in future seasons and even now he is being affected. He spends most of the season teetering like a rag doll between sides as he lets everyone speak for him. Jin is effectively an echo chamber or a mindless monster who follows whatever people say. He has no will of his own and unless he is being possessed you can’t expect him to do much of anything here. He’s a bit of a dull character who is always getting everyone in trouble. He never really shapes up so hopefully you enjoy his character more than I did. He’s the weakest one in the season.

Fortunately to counter that the other villains are pretty solid. One of the new ones here is Raetsel and she claims that she’s known Jin back during the “missing” year he had and that he does in fact despise puzzles. She is a talented solver which isn’t surprising since she was trained by Jin himself. Raetsel definitely doesn’t like Kaito since from her point of view he basically took Jin away from her. It wasn’t really his fault as Jin was just a jerk, but as a kid it was hard for her to know better. Raetsel does tend to get manipulated a bit as the series goes on and I would have liked her to defect early on, but she still has a strong showing overall. She’s another great rival for Kaito and we even got a duel involving her, Rook, Gammon, Freecell, and Kaito which was pretty amazing. Pretty much all of the big rivals were there.

Enigma is another big villain here and he was fun. He’s not as solid as the other master strategist from season 2, but he’s got the smug demeanor down pat. You always want to have a villain with a lot of confidence like this. He’s also good at what he does as shown by how he easily betrays so many other villains in the process. That’s not exactly an easy thing for anyone to pull off. I don’t think anyone expected him to be the final boss or anything like that, but he definitely does last for quite a while.

Unfortunately in this season Gammon doesn’t get to do much. In the first two seasons he was one of Kaito’s biggest rivals, but you can tell that he’s slowly stopped being able to catch up to the lead. Gammon is seen as more of an after thought and only gets 2-3 big puzzles during the whole season. It’s a shame but he did get a really big role in the first two seasons so I suppose eventually he had to slow down. He still talks tough to an extent, but is more on automatic mode than anything else. Gammon’s really just going through the motions at this point rather than actively trying to be the best.

The rest of the Phi Brain children also don’t get to do much here. Cubik gets wrecked in the very first episode of the season which is quite good foreshadowing of how useful he will be for the rest of the season. He’s never been the best solver though so it’s not as if it is out of the blue. He does his best when he appears, but I’ve never been a particularly big fan of his. Ana was also one of the more quirky solvers who relies on mind games more than skill. There isn’t really anyone here with personal ties to her which limits her abilities. Nonoha was never a solver anyway so she doesn’t get to do much of course, but she’s always around for moral support which is important. She’s a nice character as always.

Kaito is a top notch lead as always. It’s pretty rough for him since in every season the villains use mind games to get to him. It’s established early on that Kaito is one of the greatest solvers of all time. He’s only lost maybe 2-3 duels in the entire show in fair fights. Usually the only other way he will lose is if someone is messing with his mind or if there is some kind of device limiting his abilities. The latter doesn’t get to happen this time, but the mind games are still present. Jin and Raetsel do a number on him and he also gets more visions of how the world will end depending on his actions. It’s a lot of pressure but he does a good job of getting past it.

At the end of the day Kaito just loves solving puzzles and the villains aren’t able to take that away from him. He jumps into every battle and is quite impulsive so he just leaps in without a plan. Kaito’s a bit of a loner despite the group he usually travels with and isn’t opposed to fighting a villain one on one. I definitely liked him quite a lot and while Gammon was fighting neck and neck with him for the earlier seasons, it’s clear that Kaito is the best at least in this season.

Meanwhile Rook has now become one of the big executives of the puzzles group that used to be evil. He is now more of a planner than an active participant although he does get to have a few duels regardless. He looks pretty solid although there was one point where I disagreed with him. He basically told all of the heroes that they weren’t allowed to go after the villains. He figured it was a trap and so they needed to stay put. It’s not the worst idea I’ve ever heard, but time was of the essence and they needed to free Jin. Not going wasn’t going to solve anything and so Kaito rightfully ditched Rook. Rook tried forcing the issue with a lethal duel and I was just not on his side the whole time. Also by fighting each other it was playing into the villain’s hands. I do like the idea of having all 5 of the super geniuses across the 3 seasons fighting each other to awaken their true powers. Since it’s been such a long time and you had characters from different seasons (3 from season 1, 1 from season 2, and 1 from season 3) it was a nice balance. I think everyone would expect Kaito and Raetsel to be the final survivors, but I won’t confirm if that was the case.

Freecell had really hoped not to have to duel anymore and I don’t blame him since it was never his passion. Compared to the other characters in the show who just live for puzzles, Freecell was just mainpulated into using them. Once he regained his sanity it was time for retirement, but it was not to me. He made some powerful enemies in season 2 and one of them ended up coming back for revenge. Freecell ultimately embraces his abilities and has some pretty good duels near the end of the season. I do like him as a character. He was at his best as a villain, but is still portrayed as a skilled solver which I appreciated. He’s a step below some of the others, but really does his best to keep up and comes across as the most sympathetic hero. He could have walked away from all of this, but stayed behind to help his friend Melancholy.

Meanwhile Melancholy gets a big role here as she signs up with the villains just to get revenge on Freecell. She has a lot to avenge at this point since he took down her boss in the last season and nearly broke her with his vague optical powers. Melancholy does pretty good and still never lost sight of herself. She didn’t actually aim to murder the heroes most of the time although some of her puzzles seemed pretty dangerous anyway. Her main mistake was allowing the other villains to have control over her puzzles as well. In the end I wouldn’t say she was the smartest villain because she got manipulated quite a bit, but she was a fun wild card to have around. I always love having a third party here to shake things up and she fulfilled that role.

In a way Elena could have been in this role as well (only as a hero) except unfortunately she doesn’t really get to duel here. It’s a shame because we know she is quite skilled, but she only offers her support financially and through planning this time around. It is helpful to have her around though as she finds out a lot about Raetsel. Although in general the Raetsel thing was a little odd since she kept trying to murder the heroes, but they were pretty relaxed around her anyway. How can you hang out with someone who’s always trying to murder you? I know Kaito doesn’t really fear anything, but even for him it’s pretty bold.

Herbert seems to appear in every season as one of those villains who just doesn’t want to stay down. You have to give him some props for that even if you never really think that he’s going to come out on top. He’s just a fun guy to go up against and here he gets a brief power up which makes him even more of a threat. Herbert doesn’t last long, but you’ll remember him. Then you have Lovushka who is mentioned a whole lot more than her actual screen time would suggest. She’s the main reason why the villains are going through the plan so she’s important in that sense. I can’t say that I was a fan, but she didn’t really appear enough for me to have much of an opinion on her.

Finally we have Orpheus who makes for a solid end boss. It was also nice to see Jin finally leave for the rest of the season which helped me like Orpheus even more. He’s fairly standard as far as Phi Brain end bosses go, but it was a nice way to tie in season 2. It gave the Orpheus Order a little more credibility here. Orpheus has a pretty cool final form and the shadow eyes effect is always a nice one. I would have liked to have seen him fight more directly though as he usually chooses to go through intermediaries.

Each season of Phi Brain always has a terrific climax and this one was no exception. As I mentioned earlier I really liked the big duel between the 5 strongest solvers in the series. It was a pretty good way to let them all have one last crack at a puzzle and those kind of stakes are just fun. It’s like the 4 way duel from Battle City in the Yugioh series. It’s a lot of fun because it does make it a little harder to know where everyone will place. You may know who will win, but it’s hard to guess aside from that. Aside from the main plot I also liked all of the duels with the Master Brains. Their competency level varied for sure, but it did bring us more puzzles which is what the whole series is about. I like to see the puzzles and watching the heroes try to solve them is fun. The series does a good job of really thinking of a lot of different combinations.

The writing is sound as well and that’s important because the puzzles are naturally going to rely on having strong writing at the ready. Weak writing would result in puzzles that don’t make a lot of sense or have convenient answers. I’d make the case that the first season still had the best puzzles with answers that you could actually solve on your own but these were good as well. My favorite puzzle was probably one of the ones from early in the season where the heroes had to find the correct door while Raetsel would snap her fingers causing the doors to shuffle. The idea is to memorize which direction her snaps cause the doors to move and then go from there. It was a very logical puzzle with an answer that made sense. It was definitely an extremely tough one, but one that followed a set of rules.

As always the animation for the season is quite good. I like the character designs and energy effects the series has. It’s looked quite solid from day 1 and that’s never changed. The first episode of the series may still have had some of the most impressive scenes with Kaito first getting his powers, but it’s been pretty consistent since then. This season is no different. Then you’ve got the top notch soundtrack. Most if not all of the tunes are from previous seasons, but the show had already established itself as having a top tier music selection so I can see why they would want to bring them back. The songs can range from being pretty emotional and ominous to having straight up battle tunes. These music selections are part of what makes the puzzles so intense and are definitely necessary for the full experience.

Overall, Phi Brain season 3 is a fun end to the saga. I may not be the biggest fan of Jin, but since his plot had started back in season 1 I suppose it was about time we wrapped that up. On a technical level the series delivered as expected with great animation and a really solid soundtrack. The old characters didn’t get to shine as much, but as they had all already finished their character arcs I suppose their time was simply up at this point. The new characters were fun and I was glad to see old favorites like Rook and Freecell again. I’d definitely like to see a revival of this series someday, but it’s probably a little too recent for that. Even so, a 3 season show about puzzles is quite unique and hopefully more and more people will find out about this title.

Overall 7/10

9 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Knight and Day Review


It’s time to look at a thriller film that I hadn’t heard of before now. It’s definitely the definition of a cinematic hidden gem as this is a movie that can hold its own with top notch titles like Mission Impossible and Jack Reacher. It’s a blast and a half from start to finish with a good blend of action and humor. The characters are written well and I didn’t really have any problems with the movie. It was firing on all cylinders.

The movie starts with June getting ready to go on a plane as she is heading to her sister’s wedding. She bumps into a mysterious man named Roy twice at the airport and nearly doesn’t get to go onto the flight due to technical difficulties, but ultimately ends up on it. While she uses the rest room this mysterious man beats up everyone on the plane and shoots both of the pilots. He tells her to forget about him and then June wakes up at home. Unfortunately her life will never be the same as now there are a lot of people out to murder her and she may have just gotten in a little over her head.

Knight and Day really doesn’t waste any time. The opening fight scene on the plane is fantastic and the best action scene in the whole movie. Now that’s a good way to get my attention right from the jump. It was really like a Mission Impossible moment and Roy is a secret agent so it all makes a lot of sense. I think at this early stage you can feel the part parody elements kicking in a bit just with how crazy it is that June doesn’t hear any of the commotion right outside the bathroom. It makes for a very entertaining sequence though and that’s really just foreshadowing for how much action we would be getting later on. There’s always some kind of fight scene going on.

One gag that the movie uses several times is how Roy keeps using a drug to knock June out. She’ll then wake up and fall back into slumber as the drug wears off where you see bits and pieces of other crazy adventures like Roy pushing her out of a plane, beating up someone after being tied up while upside down, etc. There’s a good chunk of action scenes that we don’t even get to see because she is knocked out. June can be a bit slow on the uptake for a good portion of the film which is partially why Roy has to always be knocking her out. The gag only goes a little too far with the beach one when June finds out that she has changed attire somehow. Fortunately the movie saves itself a bit here by having June turn the tables on him later on. I think having that final scene was absolutely necessary because she did need some kind of “revenge”on him. It’s also just a good scene establishing her as a partner rather than a liability. Interestingly the film had a similarity to Coma in that respect, but completely reversed.

While June did panic a lot as I mentioned, she’s a decent character. She improves a little too late in the game for me to call her a very good character or anything like that, but contributing a bit is better than not at all. June’s reservations to a good extent are pretty valid though because Roy does seem crazy quite a lot of the time. If not for the other groups seeming even shadier then she would definitely be right to just get away from him the whole time. You really can’t trust a guy who in your first encounter just murdered a whole plane filled with people.

Meanwhile Roy is definitely a terrific character. Yeah he can be a bit dicey with all the drugging at times, but aside from the resort occasion every other time at least made some kind of sense. The villains probably would have murdered June if she was awake in one moment and in the other scenarios she would have gotten them both murdered. Roy enjoys a good fight quite a lot to the point where he does tend to go a little gun happy. The guy always appears to be a bit paranoid, but when you’re in the espionage business that’s just how it is. Roy is always one step ahead of everyone else and his boundless confidence is excellent. He’s one of the best main characters I’ve seen in quite a long time.

Then you have the supporting characters like the genius Simon. He’s definitely the weakest character here because he’s just a little too loopy. Genius characters in film are always portrayed to be rather quirky, but I’d say that this guy is just a little too far gone. He never seems to know what is happening and walks into every trap. I’d have liked him to have had a little more agency. The villains are pretty fun though. The main one is nice and charismatic, always having an answer for everything. He may be a little on the obvious side as far as villains go, but some villains just can’t hide their malice.

Another cool scene in the film is when an assassin shows up and does battle with Roy. It was a nice battle scene as well since the room is so small, making both of them really have to bring their A game. Roy is a top notch agent, but assassins are also at the top of their craft so it makes sense that this one would be able to keep up with Roy pretty well. I could go on and on with the various fights in this film, but basically what you need to know is that every action scene is top notch. There are also quite a lot of action scenes which is quite excellent and you’ll be having a blast here.

As I mentioned there is also a lot of good humor here as well. Pretty much any scene in the first half with Roy and June will have some humor as he does something crazy and she does her best to take it well. He’s pretty nonchalant about taking down guys by the dozens while June just wants to have a normal life. Then you’ve also got the scene at the diner where he makes some small talk with a fireman before having to take the shot. Even then Roy does it in such a way where the guy isn’t really all that injured and will become a hero now.

One of the more impressive scenes for Roy is at the end where it turns out that he planned out quite a few things. Almost the entire movie played into his plans in one way or another which is crazy. It’s something you’d expect from the mastermind villain of a trilogy, not the main character of a quick action film. I suppose if the film has any weak points it is that the romance is rather weak. June falls for Roy a little too quickly and appears to be a bit desperate. In her defense, I suppose Roy seems like the perfect guy, but even then 15 minutes or so is wayyyyyy too quick to be making a move.

Overall, Knight and Day is definitely a great film. I’d even call it elite. There is a lot of replay value to be found here so you can easily watch this movie at any time. Even the smaller subplots end up being quite great. There’s one involving an elderly couple that is a lot of fun as they keep winning things that they didn’t even enter. It’s just a nice plot that serves to give more development to a certain character while also letting two innocent characters get a happy ending. You rarely see a film look out for the minor characters like this so it was definitely good. The ending is great and I’d be up for a sequel someday.

Overall 9/10