Medusa vs The Son of Hercules Review

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It’s time for a really old film that basically nobody remembers at this point. It’s just very obscure and it’s easy to see why since it’s pretty low budget and feels kind of random. The good news about this is that the film can basically do whatever it wants because it’s not like there were any expectations for it. The film’s pretty fun and has some nice monster designs. I wasn’t sure if it would be able to stay the course for the whole film and cross the line into boring territory but it stayed entertaining throughout.

The character names are a little tricky, but I know the important ones. Perseo is just an ordinary guy living in the poor slums of the world. He doesn’t know that he is actually the son of Hercules so I’m assuming that as a baby he got lost or was banished for some reason. Either way, he’s content since the princess (He doesn’t know that she is royalty) comes to visit him every day but never tells him that her name. He vows to catch her one day before she escapes him. The problem is that Andromeda has an arranged marriage to Galenore in order to stop an impending war. Galenore and Perseo meet which ends up with Perseo getting humiliated in combat. He will get one chance to redeem himself as Andromeda saves him by initiating a tournament. The winner claims Andromeda so the stakes are high. Can Perseo win?

This is one of those films with a ton of different climaxes. There are many times you’ll think the film is about to end when it just keeps on going. I’d say that this is a good thing for the most part since it means that the film keeps up a very fast tempo. I’d expect nothing less. It’s old but the effects are actually pretty good for its time. Case in point, the monsters. There are two main monsters here. The first one is a Sea Serpent who picks off anyone who gets too close to the water. Fortunately for the serpent, everyone runs to the water and even the villain trips inside it towards the end for plot convenience. I liked his design and this monster was not to be trifled with. Nobody could stop him.

Then we have the Medusa. It’s a living Tornado with an evil eye that turns everyone into stone. It claims a lot of victims during the very first scene but sadly only appears once or twice after that. It’s definitely another strong opponent and this may be my personal favorite Medusa design. At the very least you have to admit that it’s very original and unexpected. Since the Medusa is even in the title, you want it to go down with a little dignity. It certainly had a lot more than the human villains.

Galenore is the main antagonist and he talks a good game while he’s winning. Once he suffers his first defeat, he quickly becomes afraid of his Perseo. He basically cowers behind his father from this point on and only fights when his opponent is at a disadvantage. Naturally I’m not a fan since his only motivation is basically that he wants to marry Andromeda. You can probably see why he’s not my kind of villain from that scene alone. His whip skills were fairly solid I suppose, buit I definitely don’t consider it t be one of the better weapons out there. Give me a sword any day.

Andromeda was an okay heroine. She had bow and arrow skills which is more than I can say for most. I would have been happier if she had used them more during the film though as opposed to getting knocked out with ease. Granted she was in her room in the palace so you’d think that nobody would break in, but the guards were all dispatched in an instant. Honestly the security was pretty terrible. Going against the arranged marriage was good and all, but she could have been more direct with Perseo. The romance was pretty weak throughout though so I’m glad it was given a relatively small presence. I saw the comedy version on Svengoolie with the extra sound effects and I can certainly say that they did at least make all of the scenes a lot funnier. Enough that I’d possibly give it an extra star as most of the additions were pretty well placed and also made Andromeda a better character.

To round out the main cast, I can’t say that I like Perseo all that much either. He just seems a little desperate for Andromeda and yet he still gets completely wrecked in his first fight. I was expecting him to put forth a little more effort to be honest. It was just sad how he lost and even in the rematch he was not faring well for a while until Galenore got overconfident and went too close. It was interesting to see him suddenly become the head of the army and break into the villain base though. It was a pretty big shift in stature in just the span of a few minutes. The King of the heroes wasn’t even that grateful the whole time as he forced Perseo to get in the army. Then we got a plot twist about where Perseo truly belonged which was at least mentioned in the beginning so there was some foreshadowing. I felt bad for the Mom since it took ages for Perseo to arrive. I believe she ended up dying rather tragically as well but I don’t remember the specifics.

It would have been nice if Perseo’s army was a little stronger though. The difference in power was crazy and how did the villains get those overpowered monsters? The heroes losing everyone to the Medusa was also pretty suspect since you’d expect at least a few to throw some arrows or sword stabs into the tornado while it was busy freezing others. Of course, given their lack of teamwork and how they got picked off by random guys the whole time, I suppose it is to be expected.

Overall, This was a pretty fun film. It’s certainly not amazing or anything, but it’s surprisingly a pretty solid experience. Something is always happening and the film never got too fishy with Galenor’s obsession with Andromeda. Perseo was always ready to break things up. The action scenes are entertaining and this just makes for a really good light hearted action film. It’s certainly not serious and it’s not even self aware but you’d be surprised at what you can do with a limited budget. This film was clearly ready for it and I’d certainly be up to seeing more films in this series. I’d recommend checking it out but don’t expect the monsters to get a huge role. At the end of the day, it’s just a story of the hero trying to save the Princess from the villains.

Overall 6/10

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review

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It’s time for another Pirates of the Caribbean film. This series has never been synonymous with quality and this film certainly doesn’t change that. It’s a bad mash of characters trying to be funny along with crude humor. I’ve never been able to get along with the franchise and at this point I don’t see that changing anytime soon. It’s dead in the water at this point. I like to think that the sequel will be better…but it won’t be.

The film starts off with Jack attempting to rob a bank. Unfortunately it seems like he let the door hit him on the way out so he fell asleep while getting drunk inside. The cops open the bank vault and notice him, but don’t do anything about it so Jack gets away. He gets kidnapped and captured several more times after this until he eventually runs into Henry and Carina. Carina wants to find this legendary treasure and Henry wants the treasure so that he can bring his Dad back from being an undead zombie. Jack just wants a good beer. Meanwhile, Salazar and his crew are hunting for Jack. They want to destroy him once and for all since Jack defeated Salazar back when he was just a kid. The race is on!

Yes, we finally get Jack’s backstory. It doesn’t add anything to the film though so we can skip that. Jack is still a very terrible character. He’s always drunk and everyone ends up pushing him around. He can fight to an extent, but usually just remains alive due to plot armor and writing shields. He helps people cheat on their significant others just because he can and seemingly has no morals. He’s always joking but since the writing isn’t good the lines don’t work well. It’s just a mess and that’s putting it lightly. There really isn’t anything likable about Jack.

As for the other main lead, Henry is fairly generic. I guess it’s admirable that he completely ignored Salazar’s threats and went to go get Jack anyway. Saving his father is a noble goal as well, but getting mixed up with these pirates may not have been his best move. He didn’t do a great job of saving Carina either. Henry is a huge step up from Jack, but he’s just pretty generic and there aren’t any really great character traits that he possesses to make him memorable either. You’ll just remember him as another pirate with a sword.

Carina talks a good game as the main heroine, but can rarely back it up. The defiant personality trope can be quite good when handled well, but you can’t just talk the talk. She insults everyone and is constantly bragging about how smart she is, but at the end of the day she doesn’t contribute a whole lot. Her inclusion into the film seems to mainly have been for fanservice and iffy dialogue so I definitely don’t think the film used her all that well. As with Henry, she can just be rather generic.

Next up is Salazar, the main villain. He tries to toe the line of being a funny villain as well as a super evil one. Unfortunately he falls down as a result. His funny scenes aren’t very funny and while he does murder a bunch of people, it’s hard to enjoy him as a villain. Between his design and the fact that it has taken him forever and a day to get revenge on Jack, you have to wonder what he’s been doing all these years. An old villain/rival, Barbossa shows up as well and gets his character arc. I wouldn’t say it’s a great one either as I just don’t like the character. It’s probably a good thing that he didn’t mention the plot twist out loud because that would have been very shocking for all parties involved.

This franchise may try hard, but at this point it’s probably going to need a full reboot to get good. One of the main problems as I mentioned earlier is how there is so much crude humor here. The characters are all rather grotesque. It’s not as extreme as in previous films but enough to make you shake your heads. The designs for the villains prioritize looking dead and old as opposed to scary. The writing is very bad and that ends up hurting the film as well. Throw in the fact that the film is super long and you don’t have the most pleasant of experiences.

I mean, the film also takes place in the olden times for extra salt. Can’t I at least have cool buildings to look at in the meantime? Part of the problem is that pirates aren’t interesting and this whole historical period isn’t very interesting to watch. Everything is very old and dirty. The ocean looks the same after a while and I just miss my neon glass towers. At least we did get an evil ship that had fangs and ghost sharks. Those were interesting enough I suppose. Jack and friends probably should have died during the encounter but the villains can’t catch a break.

There is an after credits scene so if you actually watched the film then I guess you should stick around for it. It seems like the MnMs villain is back which isn’t very exciting. Again, it was a crude humor gimmick where he litters everywhere as he walks with old candy and stuff. I guess they’re going for a horror element with that ending, but this series won’t be able to pull it off. It’ll be back to comedy mode before you know it.

Overall, The writers for the Pirate series must like playing it safe. I feel like just about every Pirates film is the same and they just don’t do anything new. It’s the same old story of Jack making a mockery of everyone and somehow managing to live into the next film. It’s a cycle that just never ends and the films keep making money so that’s not going to stop anytime soon. I just don’t even remotely see the appeal of the franchise and until I do, it’s probably a lost cause for me.

Overall 2/10

My Little Pony The Movie Prequel Review

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It’s time to look at the events that lead up to the movie. This comic focuses on developing the new additions to the cast so instead of the Mane 6 we get to see more of Tempest, Storm King, and the pirates. The movie didn’t have the strongest of supporting characters, but that’s what the comic is for so could it improve the characters? Well, I’m still not a Storm King fan, but it was nice to see more of Tempest.

The first issue is about the Storm King as he continues to conquer more and more kingdoms. Unfortunately his lieutenant betrays him and the Storm King must now give chase. He hands the 2nd in command position over to one of his weaker minions so that if he is ever betrayed again it won’t be that serious. It’s a sound decision, but one that also has some obvious weaknesses. While the Storm King did get suckered, it did help me gain respect for Strife. He actually seems like a pretty good villain. I don’t really trust in his abilities in a fight, but betraying the Storm King definitely earns him some respect in my book. The issue also shows how the Storm King is definitely a villain through and through as he destroys a village for no real reason.

The 2nd comic takes place at the same time, but is from the pirates point of view. They’re determined to do whatever it takes to survive. Unfortunately their money and supplies have been dwindling so they decide to rob a Storm King vessel. Fortunately Strife is here to help as he aims to stay aboard their ship for safety. Since he disables the Storm King vessel they’re okay with this, but you can’t keep the Storm King down for long. It would help the pirates a lot if they could fight, but unfortunately for them it seems like this is not the case. Once the Storm King actually does arrive, the pirates completely throw in the towel. In their defense I suppose they would get wrecked if they fought, but I definitely would have liked them to have thrown a few shows. It was a little weaker than the first issue, but still a fun enough read.

The third comic is about Capper and his tragic backstory. He never wanted to be a crook, but became one to make ends meet. He had a friend who was more enthusiastic about this. Eventually the friend decided to cut their ties so he betrayed Capper and ran off. Surprisingly this partner may have died since the blimp he took blew up. That’s what you get when you betray the heroes I suppose. Definitely the darkest story of the bunch and you can’t help but feel bad for Capper. Too bad this turned him into a full fledged villain though. At the same time, he works better as a villain than a hero I’d say.

Finally, the last comic is the best one since it stars Tempest. I still say she was very naive to trust the Storm King at all. Fighting it out with him would have been a lot of fun. Her lack of a horn definitely makes her design even cooler even if she isn’t a fan of it. You already see a good chunk of Tempest’s backstory in the film so this comic focuses on the part after that as she first meets up with the Storm King. Selling out Equestria was definitely pretty drastic though so she definitely has to be thrown in the traitor category as well. If only Equestria wasn’t so mean to everyone who isn’t the Mane 6. If the Mane 6 had never come around, I have a feeling Ponyville would be very different.

The art is pretty good here. I found it to be more consistent than in Friends Forever. All of the character designs are on point. The backgrounds are clear and the artwork never gets cluttered. It makes it easy to just pick up the comic and start reading. Even the text is nice and large. You’ll be done with the comic very quickly since it’s only 4 issues and the panels are pretty big. Still, it covers a pretty good amount of story in that time.

To reiterate, the comic really only has one weakness, the characters. As much as the comic gives them development, I still couldn’t find myself caring about the pirates, Capper, or the Storm King. Tempest is always cool, but the others just can’t really hold their own stories. That’s why even though the stories are good, they aren’t quite as engaging as they could have been otherwise.

Overall, This was a good comic. You definitely end up missing the main ponies though. It’s hard to have a My Little Pony comic that only has 1 pony show up during the whole adventure. I’m still not sold on the Storm King either. I dunno, as a villain Tirek and the others just work a lot better. This guy has a lot of fun with his job which is fun, but definitely takes away from the fear factor. I do recommend checking out this prequel though, especially if you’re going to watch the movie. If you’re looking for an MLP comic to start the franchise off with though, then you’re better off checking out Friends Forever or Pony Tales.

Overall 6/10

My Little Pony: The Movie Review

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It’s time to finally take a look at the new My Little Pony film. After being a pocket fan of the series for a while, this was the last step I needed to really embrace the franchise. It was pretty eery walking into the theater as it was completely empty, but it help set the tone for the film. Gradually some little kids came in and I can say that the film succeeded in being an emotional roller coaster for them. They cried when Twilight Sparkle cried, laughed at some of the jokes, and even cheered a bit during the hype moments. Definitely a solid group all around. I definitely enjoyed the film and it hit a lot of the right notes. It could have been better if it had been a little more serious at times and made the Mane 6 more reasonable, but all in all you couldn’t ask for much more from the title. Now the series can finally be mainstream.

So the film starts off with Twilight Sparkle preparing a big party. She’s even going to have a singer show up to wow the crowd. Unfortunately Princess Celestia, Luna, and the other pony all say no to Twilight’s plan to make the party even more awesome. They explain that true friendship is knowing when not to lend a hoof in need. Twilight does her best with her friends but Pinkie Pie squashes the cake by mistake and embarrasses Twilight in front of the town. That’s when the Storm King’s minions show up and take over Equestria. Twilight Sparkle and her friends are wrecked in seconds and forced to flee. They must now find a legendary Queen to save them, but they’ll have to travel outside of their home for once. Going into the modern day cities will be tough since everyone is a swindler and the Ponies are used to dealing with nice folk. This could be tough.

Well, for starters I enjoyed the graphics. It feels like an interesting flash/CGI hybrid at times with how the designs look. They look more wholesome and detailed than the TV show, but at the same time I found myself missing the classic TV show versions once in a while. I think you very quickly get pulled back into the film though and this style certainly worked really well for the energy effects. They really stood out.

The soundtrack for the film is excellent as you would expect. The Open Your Eyes song is definitely catchy and even contained a brief origin story within it. The final song that the movie ends with was also quite good. During the movie the Mane 6 sang a few times as well. While the songs couldn’t quite match those 2, they were still really good. Mix that in with the danger themes in this film and you can see why it was so good. I would have liked to have seen the My Little Pony theme song, but I suppose that might have been too much to ask for.

One thing that the film does well is keeping up a sense of danger during the movie. We get the opening attack on Equestria which was quite good. A slice of life movie would have been solid as well but throwing in the action to make the film really feel special was a good move. We got mini action scenes throughout the film as well since the heroes were being pursued the whole time. The end of the movie doesn’t really have much action as it isn’t taken seriously anymore, but it’s better than nothing. I basically got what I expected in this department.

Unfortunately not all of the Mane 6 members look all that good. Twilight Sparkle is definitely a lot less impressive in combat than she should be in this film. At least the villains had an orb that can one shot any pony in their possession so that made the whole scene a little better. Twilight should have no problem with the minions though and using more magic would have helped them get to the goal a lot sooner. She also doesn’t act like a very nice pony at times like when she yells at Pinkie Pie. I do actually agree with her decision to steal from the other Ponies though. It’s nothing personal to the kids, but Twilight has a kingdom to save so she can’t let these “allies” waste a valuable resource like that. She’d bring it back afterwards anyway so it’s all good. It’s a shame that she couldn’t do that without getting tied up though. It’s a close match between her and Rainbow Dash as the best hero in this film. I’d probably give it to Rainbow Dash here though.

Rainbow Dash definitely gets her props as she helps a group of pirates learn how to be heroes again. Her sped is also put on full display for most of the film so you get to see just how strong she is. It’s a shame that Rainbow Dash didn’t get to actually fight at all though. Seeing her take down the villains would have definitely been really cool. Applejack fans won’t be thrilled as she doesn’t do much here. Some shade is thrown her way by the other ponies, but she takes it in stride for the most part. She just doesn’t get to do anything for most of the film.

Rarity is also basically a non factor here. She falls for Capper’s tricks a lot easier than the other Ponies and was one of the weaker characters here. She spends the majority of the film complaining, although most of the Mane 6 are guilty of that at one point or another. Twilight Sparkle may have had an easier time without her friends since they slowed her down quite a bit. Rarity’s a nice enough pony, she’s just really out of her element. Unfortunately, Fluttershy was probably the worst pony here. She spends most of the film crying or shaking in fear from the villains. I get that she is the nervous one of the group who is lacking in confidence for the most part, but I thought she was past that by now. To an extent this film can feel like a bit of a reboot in terms of character development t make it accessible to the general audience. Fluttershy simply fell victim to this.

Pinkie Pie looks pretty good. She is definitely a little on the hyper side as she makes jokes during moments that would be tense otherwise and helps to sabotage the heroes at times. At least she has heart though and is always smiling. Pinkie Pie was a good character here and I’d probably give her 3rd out of the Mane 6. It was also neat seeing all of the cameos in the background like Cheese Sandwich and Big Mac. It felt like the movie tried to get all of the supporting characters. I’d say that it’s a shame not seeing the Cutie Mark Crusaders much, but I can’t because I prefer the Mane 6 anyway.

Time for the film original characters. I liked Tempest Shadow quite a lot. She makes for a very cool villain with a neat design. She’s also quite powerful and is portrayed as one of the strongest ponies in the whole series. It would be cool if she were to start appearing in the TV show. At this point, Ponyville should be known as one of the strongest places in all of Equestria. I mean, I won’t say much about her role even if the trailer makes it pretty obvious but regardless I thought she was a cool character from start to finish. Sure, she’s rather naive the whole time, but every character has a flaw of some kind. I’d say that she got past it and is easily the best film character. The rest were rather lackluster to be honest.

We’ve got Grubber, who is the comic relief sidekick. He got in the good one liners which weren’t bad, but then he has to try and explain them which isn’t very funny. There wasn’t really a point to his scenes. The Storm King may be the main villain technically but he’s played off as a comic relief character for the most part. He could have easily won the day once and for all if he was a little smarter. Alas, he wasn’t and he ended up lowering his guard quite a bit. I definitely wouldn’t have minded if Tempest had simply betrayed him.

Capper is a smart cat who knows the ways of the world. The problem is that he’s a blatant ripoff of the main character’s sidekick in Zootopia down to his fast manner of speaking and mannerisms. He’s not a bad character as his only flaw is being generic, but I don’t think we really needed him. There was also Princess Skystar who showed up to learn about the powers of friendship but then missed out on the whole climax. So much for that character eh? Trying to guilt trip the Mane 6 certainly wasn’t very nice. There were also the Pirates but they didn’t do much either.

Now, I know for a film you want to use your newfound budget to make other backdrops and all, but I kind of wished we had stayed in Ponyville for a bigger chunk of the film. I much prefer that to the desert, ocean, or any of the other places we went too. I can’t fault the film for wanting to leave since most of the Pony episodes take place there, but it would have been neat to have seen it a little more. Perhaps next time. While the film original characters didn’t get the best of write ups, they weren’t bad. It’s just that the film may have tried to cram in too many of them into the film. At least they all had a purpose so in the end the Ponies could see how many people they reached in the end. After all, at the end of the day, the Ponies just want to make new friends.

If there’s something the next film could improve on, it’s the action. I want to see the Mane 6 take names. I was even expecting Derpy to jump in and start chopping the villains down to size. It doesn’t have to become a full blown action movie although I’d be down with that, but since the Ponies can fight, it would be nice to see them utilizing their abilities more. At the very least, Rainbow Dash can speed blitz most of these guys. We definitely got robbed of our Twilight Sparkle vs Tempest Shadow match.

Overall, My Little Pony is a film you should check out. It has a good amount of action and adventure within it. Twilight Sparkle is a nice character who always does her best even if the other Ponies don’t help her out all that much. Once she tunes them out and gets to work, nothing can stop her. It’s a shame that my favorite Pony Starlight Glimmer didn’t get to show up and wreck Tempest, but we all know how OP she is so it makes sense. Whether you’re a Pony fan or not, you’ll be able to enjoy the interactions between the characters and get invested in the story. The film never drags on so it’s a fun ride from start to finish.

Overall 8/10

LBX: Little Battlers Experience Review


After completing the LBX game it was definitely time to go back and check out the manga. As it’s only 6 volumes it makes for a quick read and I marathoned it all during the Cowboys vs Giants game. Watching the Cowboys drive a truck through the Giants defense was really satisfying and the manga was just as intense. It may not be a perfect adaption, but it did a really good job in the volumes that it did have and I’d definitely recommend checking it out. It also seems as if the series was only scanned in Spanish or French online so you’ll need to buy the volumes to see it in English. It’s definitely worth the purchase.

The story is divided into two arcs which are each 3 volumes long. I had read the first four volumes back in the day, but I never got around to 5 and 6 so reading those for the first time was pretty cool. The first 3 volumes’ plot you should be familiar with after my recent LBX game review but here’s a brief reminder. Van lives in a future where LBX is the hot game that everyone is playing. You grab a toy robot and fight it out with other kids. The tricky part is that all of the robots use real weapons and equipment so the stakes are always high which is why the toys are controversial. A terrorist group wants Van’s LBX since it has a code inside of it that lets you harness unlimited energy. Van must stop them and also rescue his father who has been kidnapped from the group.

Months after the first arc has ended, Van is called into action once more. A new organization is threatening the entire world and hits multiple countries with LBX attacks. The threat is wide in scale this time so Van enlists the help of a new kid called Hiro. Hiro has never had an LBX battle before, but he’s eager to learn. Hiro gets the hang of it pretty quickly so now Van has a reliable teammate to help him against the dangerous robots at the ready. Will they be able to conquer the obstacles ahead of them or is it Game Over?

The manga can feel like an abridged series at times. Not the kind of abridged series that changes the plot and makes it more comedic, but in the literal sense as it’s chopping scenes and condensing the series as much as possible. Considering that they’re trying to adapt a 15 hour game into just a few volumes, it makes sense. Some characters show up only to get wrecked and at least half of the cast from the anime/games don’t really get to do much. It’s worth it though since this allows the series to still give the fights an appropriate amount of screen time. I can definitely get behind that. In that sense this is one of those manga titles that you can more fully appreciate after you’ve seen the anime or played the game.

Meanwhile, the art isn’t exactly top tier quality. The artist reuses stances and whenever a character yells it is as if they dislocated their jaw. It can be funny, but I get the feeling that it isn’t intentional. Justin is also drawn to have long fingernails and stands in a way that looks as if his back is broken. It’s a rather odd design for him and while this may have been an intentional choice to make him appear more feminine, it didn’t work when comparing it to his game design. Fortunately the art stepped up when it came to the battle scenes. We got a lot of really good splash pages for the bigger attacks and the action scenes in general were pretty good. As such, the art is a mixed bag but at least it does have its positives. The action is what I’m focusing on anyway so that’s the most important element.

By now you’ve heard me talk about these characters quite a lot but this is the last time since we are now caught up with LBX media. Van is the main character and he’s pretty solid. He’s actually a little more hardcore than his other versions as he goes through several chapters being badly bruised and injured while still fighting to the end. He was really determined to save his Dad even if it didn’t work out. He also makes the hero move to risk his life against the final boss on his own so the others wouldn’t be in danger. Now, he claims this was just so he could fight 1 on 1, but I don’t actually think he meant that. It would be a weird jump from the rest of his character arc. I’m definitely a big Van fan at any rate.

Ami is a nice friend, but unfortunately she doesn’t get to do a whole lot in the manga. She loses her very first fight in a single hit which was a bad omen of things to come. Even when she gets her new robot she is mostly relegated to a background role. Her most impressive showing was likely when she turned evil and was able to fight Van and Hiro teaming up. That was pretty impressive. Kaz is the other friend and he’s in a similar boat as Ami. His LBX gets a little more screen time and looks reasonably good. The manga actually improved Kaz from the anime quite a bit as he didn’t randomly join the terrorists or get mind controlled by an LBX. He just stayed as a dependable friend from start to finish. I also like how he wanted to go with Van at the end for the big battle before Hiro stole his role. Technically it would have made sense for Kaz to have gone right?

Justin is a solid rival. He may have started out as a rather mean guy, but he was never evil. Once he found out that he was working for the bad guys he quickly left them and joined the heroes. He looks really good during Arc 1, but his only real role in the next saga was to lose to minions off screen and remind the audience that Van was their only hope. It’s always tragic when you go from being one of the strongest characters in the series to someone who is just here for the show.

Dak and Gouda get identical roles to the anime and games. Their roles are so set in stone that nobody wants to mess with them. Dak’s magician is certainly an impressive LBX to have and I didn’t mind him as a rival. His best scene was actually when Van walked over and ripped his card up. It was an amazing moment because usually the heroes will just watch as the villains brag and play mind games with them. Van wasn’t having any of that and set the tone from the start. Gouda is all right, but he’s fairly weak and not much of a factor.
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Professor Yamano is a decent character here. He stays on as a hero the whole time and it’s not as much his fault that he can’t be with the heroes. The villains just keep kidnapping him, but otherwise he would be here to help. It was funny how he kept creating new LBX machines that were stronger and stronger the whole time. The guy just doesn’t take a break which is fortunate for the heroes.

Hiro is one of the main characters from Arc 2, but I can’t say that I would be much of a fan from the manga. He doesn’t take the situation very seriously and comes off as a rather unlikable guy at times. I am glad he switched his character design after falling in the pond since that at least helped a bit. The anime did a better job of giving him a more complete personality. Still, he’s not a bad character, he just doesn’t feel like he had much of a reason to be here. He had his share of action scenes and all, but it easily could have been someone else.

Ran shows up as well but unlike the anime where she got a big role, she doesn’t do much here. She helps the team in their fusion fight, but mostly just watches for the rest of it. It’s still a better fate than most of the season 2 characters as a bunch of them only get one page cameos or don’t even talk. Even though it was 3 volumes long like volume 1, they weren’t able to adapt much of it in the manga. I guess they just focused on other fights and such instead, which isn’t necessarily bad. It’s a very loose adaption to the point where it feels like an original story which is pretty fun.

Lex is one of the big characters in the first three volumes and he gets pretty intense. The bonus stories try to mess with his hype a little, but they are just side stories so you shouldn’t take them too seriously. He’s definitely a very likable character and I like the design. His LBX is one of the best in the whole franchise. Kaido is also a pretty big character in the series and I thought his ending was handled better than in the anime. The guy just wouldn’t give up and his tenacity was impressive. Not even a bullet could stop this guy and we didn’t need robot thrown in. In a way, the same set of circumstances happened like last time, but the event was moved back.

Kurtis is a really fun character. He felt like a nice addition to the cast as Justin had recently become an ally instead of a rival. Kurtis is another genius whose abilities are on another level. He loves pulling off fancy JoJo poses all of the time and maybe has a little too much fun with that, but his skills are certainly the real deal. His role in the series may not be huge, but it is memorable. We also got to see Kousuke in Arc 2 who looks so similar that I often mix the two characters up. He’s another really solid character and you almost feel bad for him since he wants to be known as the greatest LBX player in the world, but Van is too strong. Van also just ducks their fight the first time and waits until he gets a stronger LBX so is it possible that the main character would have lost the first time around?

Finally, Mizel is the big final boss. There’s also the leader of the Directors (Should have kept it as Detector) but that guy was pretty bland. He’s basically just an old man after all and he is mostly around just to panic the whole time. Mizel could actually fight and his LBX was one of the strongest of all time. If anything it may have been a little cheesy the way he was taken down, but I can live with it since the set up to the fight was incredibly hype. He had a really good design and a great LBX, you can’t ask for much more than that.

It’s definitely cool that LBX got a full manga like this. It’d be nice if I could read one for Season 3 as well but it seems like that may not be in the cards. I wonder if this one sold well. If you didn’t watch the show, I can still picture the cover being enough to attract people into reading the manga. It’s a pretty easy concept to get into since it’s a lot of action and has robots. That should be a winning combination for just about everyone right? The quick pacing means that the series cuts out all filler and even slow cannon moments so something is always happening. It may not be the same experience as watching the anime, but it’s a fun adventure all the same.
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Overall, If you haven’t checked this series out yet then you need to reconsider if you’ve made the wrong move. There’s really nothing to dislike about the manga because it has no weaknesses. If anything, the only problem is that the title is too short and that the art could have been a little better. Neither one of those issues are groundbreaking though and the manga is absolutely great. Now we just need Custom Robo to get a big manga and it can join Megaman and LBX as fun titles where mini robots fight each other. Seeing as how Megaman and LBX both got at least an 8, I’m confident Custom Robo would as well.

Overall 8/10

Pokémon + Nobunaga no Yabou ~Ranse Iroemaki Review

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It’s time for a rather odd Pokemon adventure. Do you guys remember Pokemon Conquest? It came out quite a while ago and it was always an interesting concept. The game didn’t really look like it was my style but who’d have thought that the Pokemon characters would go back to retro China. (Or Japan, one of those) Well, it got a one shot manga to bring in the hype. Unfortunately, it fails for the most part due to not having a plot or any really good fights.

There are 6 chapters and they all have some kind of story going on. One of them has Nobunaga, the famed Devil King show up because he wasn’t invited to the party. Some of the heroes get him to come anyway though and they all have a fun party. There was a story with someone being tricked into thinking that Pokemon could evolve into food and training to surpass the guy. There were some comic relief characters who went intro the mountain, etc. You get the general jist of the story.

That’s not to say that there was absolutely no action. It was just kept in the background throughout and any action we got was quite brief indeed. What also holds the manga back is the artwork. Honestly, I thought it was rather sub par. Perhaps being in color made it that much easier to notice its limitations or if we’re being honest, maybe it just wasn’t very good to begin with. That may be more likely to be honest. It doesn’t seem as if the artist wasn’t skilled though. This seems like it was some kind of style and it just didn’t work well for me. It is neat that the whole thing is in color though, most manga never really get the color treatment.

The characters were okay, but all of them were rather generic. They all had personalities and yet they were completely forgettable. It was just fun trying to see how many names I remembered from the Sengoku Basara anime. Of course this version of the characters are certainly very different from the anime so it is really just them in name only. You won’t really have much to say about any of the characters by the time you’re done. This is one of the many weaknesses of the anthology format. You barely get to really meet any of the characters since they appear and disappear so quickly. The series not having a plot doesn’t help either, but there’s only so much you can expect from a one shot right?

I don’t want to be too harsh on the title as it is pretty short so there’s not a whole lot it could have done. There’s nothing downright bad about the manga so that is actually a good start. The worst aspect is the art and even that isn’t unbearable. The main problem is just that the title is boring. That is pretty serious, but it won’t automatically make this a bad manga either. I certainly don’t see myself getting the game anytime soon though. I’ve warmed up to the Fire Emblem style of combat, but not quite enough to buy a full game just yet.

I also have to admit that I’m not a big fan of the Sengoku cast in general. The anime/main series games are the only ones that have made them interesting. As much as I like the gameplay in Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors, the plots are extremely boring. I wish they had used the anime versions for this crossover as I guarantee it would have made the manga a lot more enjoyable. I almost hate to say this next part, but I would have even preferred it if the manga had added an original character to the mix. A random kid from Tokyo or New York or something who has a Pokemon and travels to the Dynasty Warrior era. That would have made for a much more enjoyable time than everyone randomly having Pokemon, but not doing a whole lot with them. It says something when Natsume’s Book of Friends is more emotional and entertaining at the same time compared to this one.

I think the series did try a little though as each chapter was over 50 pages. That means it’s roughly a 300 page series which is pretty good even if all of the “pages” are extremely small. Maybe the format was just built that way, but it feels like someone divided each page into 3 different pictures to make it look more impressive. I’ll assume this wasn’t the case as that seems just a little bit sketchy if you ask me.

Overall, This Pokemon manga is one that will likely be forgotten by everyone almost instantly. It is very short, has no plot, and the art isn’t very good. There are just no real reasons to actually sit down and read it except to add it to your collection of manga titles that you’ve read. I don’t recommend the title because it just comes across as pointless. That being said, if you do read it you can at least take solace in the fact that it didn’t really do anything wrong. It didn’t do anything right, but that’s just how it goes. I wish they’d go ahead and finish scanning the Reburst chapters. Now that was a Quality Pokemon series that even rivaled Adventures.

Overall 5/10

Pirate’s Quest: Hunt for Blackbeard’s Booty Review

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It’s time for another Wii party game. It’s actually been quite a while since I got to play one so this was nostalgic. The actual games are better than most in this genre although that is fought back by the limited content in this game. Seriously, the game only has 5-6 minigames which is significantly less than pretty much any other party game. Name a title that has less minigames, I’ll wait. I give the game some kudos for actually getting a story together with actual cutscenes though. It’s not much but it shows that this game has more of a budget than the rest.

So the main mode is story mode of course. You can also just play the minigames freely in multiplayer mode as well which is where you’ll likely spend most of your time after beating the game. After all, there is nothing else to do. The main story mode has 3 worlds which each have the 5-6 minigames. It’s just the same ones that get recycled so this is an obvious ploy to extend the game without actually coming up with new content. It’s a little sloppy and forced if I’m being honest, but at least it’s only 3 worlds so it could have been much worse. The cutscenes explain how Blackbeard found his treasure. They’re fairly low budget, but not half bad. The story should last you for a full 2 hours. Multiplayer can be infinite but considering that you’ll likely switch to Mario Party before long, I doubt you’ll be sticking around. There’s really almost nothing to do in this game so buying it at full price would have been crazy. For only around 2 dollars though, it’s really not a terrible bargain.

The graphics are pretty underwhelming but what else is new right? It’s what I’d expect from a Wii game of this caliber. There isn’t much of a soundtrack either so just focus on the minigames. On a technical level the game does not surpass expectations and merely meets them half heartedly. So far this review has been pretty tough on the game eh? It’s time for the actual games then to see if they can save the title. First off is Poloball which is actually my favorite. It’s like Golf, but actually exciting and with more stakes. Essentially you have to hit a ball through about 10-16 checkpoints. Once you cross them all, then you get a poison ball and want to hit all of the other balls. Whoever gets the poison ball first naturally has a huge advantage over the others. The game can theoretically take a long time if everyone is good though. This is because the gates are narrow and if you bump another ball then you can shoot it far away. As a result, everyone could keep shooting each other’s balls away for a while which would make for a big stalemate. Hopefully that doesn’t happen.

The swordfighting game is probably the weakest one. It’s about swinging your Wii remote as the sword so you can see why this didn’t work out too well. The remote just won’t listen to you half of the time and it feels like the computer always has the edge. You’ll just want to keep swinging and hope for the best, but it doesn’t make for a very balanced minigame. It was generic at best. We had the tag team boat racing where one character controls the cannons while the other steers. This one is pretty fun although I don’t like the fact that if you get too far ahead of the opponent he is brought up to where you are. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of the minigame don’t you think? That felt like a big flaw.

Another minigame is treasure hunting. It’s also 2 on 2 which the game seemed to love. You have to dig for chests while the other team tries to whack you on the head. Then you switch placed after a certain amount of time or it happens instantly if they get both of you at the same time. This game has a lot of strategy behind it and I definitely enjoyed the game. You really have to try and stay one step ahead of your opponent throughout the game. Teamwork is also important because if both players go after one person then the other one has free reign. It’s pretty well done for the game. As you can see, in general the minigames are actually pretty good. They’re just really limited and you can only play a minigame for so long before you grow tired of it. I doubt I’d want to play too many games of poloball back to back after all.

Technically there are a bunch of a costumes, weapons, and characters to unlock. You’ll just notice very quickly that they don’t make for much of an incentive to grab them all. I was happy to grab some along the way with the in game currency but they’re way too pricey. I would have to play the game for a very long time to get them all and I’m not willing to make such an investment in time. Not on this game anyway and especially without any trophies for my efforts.

Overall, This game ranks up there with Casper as one of the shorter games. Perhaps the campaign is longer than the others since it is 2 hours, but in terms of actual content this one is way shorter than that. The lack of minigames just can’t be ignored. While there are unlockables they seem purely cosmetic so it’s not as if they really add a dimension to the game. If you find this title for 2 dollars then you should probably snag it but otherwise I’d advise getting a better party game instead. There is no shortage of other options to be honest as even the newest Mario Parties are better games than this one. Sorry Blackbeard, but my treasure is in another title.

Overall 5/10

Good Scouts Review

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It’s been a while, but time to finally check out the next Disney special. Donald Duck always makes for a pretty good protagonist and this time is no different as he tries to survive the harsh elements of the great outdoors. Unfortunately, he doesn’t tie up his tent correctly so he gets splattered with honey and then a bear attacks him. Can Donald stop the bear and get back to teaching his nephews what being a professional is all about or is he doomed?

The special is super short as always, but it manages to capture the adventure rather well. The plot/pacing felt a lot tighter than usual which was really good as all of the scenes really had a purpose. When you have to tell a full story in roughly 10-12 minutes you really have to think through every scene to decide if it should be there or not. I can’t think of any scene that should have been removed. Donald was perhaps even more sputtery than usual as it could be hard to hear what he was saying, but it just increases the “Donald” effect that you like to see in his specials. His nephews were pretty solid this time around as well. They did at least try to stop Donald from nearly breaking his back on the stone tree. Perhaps they could have tried a little harder, but they did enough.

Donald also recovered from it pretty well which is why he’s such a good character. He took the whole thing in stride and even decided to play a practical joke on his nephews. It may have failed in every sense of the word and I’m not sure about the spelling of the ketchup (Was the word copyrighted back in the day?) but it showed that Donald was ready to spread the chaos. It just didn’t work this time around.

The animation is pretty fluid and consistent like you’d expect it to be. I do like these simple hand drawn days. You can tell that the animators put a lot of effort into it and I still can’t imagine drawing frame by frame. That just sounds like soooo much work. There isn’t much of a soundtrack in this one, but we get all of the classic sound effects for the chase scene. You could feel the desperation in Donald as he struggled to escape before realizing that it was all ultimately futile. There is just no running away from a big bear.

Overall, I enjoyed this special quite a bit. It’s easily one of Disney’s best shorts. The cast may have been a little smaller than usual, but it just meant that we got to see Donald more. I’m waiting for a special where he challenges Mickey to something like Basketball or Hockey so we could see his competitive side come out a little more. We know that Donald never gives up and is always bursting with confidence after all. Putting him in a situation like that would absolutely make for quite the spectacle. If you haven’t seen this special yet, then I’d advise you to do so ASAP. Prepare yourself for the somber ending though. Donald knows that he’s got to keep running because if it catches him….it’s game over.

Overall 7/10

Tegami Bachi Review

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Tegami Bachi is one of those titles that took a big risk as it has a very original plot. It’s about mailmen who deliver letters in an apocalyptic world where giant monsters run wild. Nobody dares leave their house because of these monsters and there really isn’t an army or police to speak of. The Mailmen are known as the last defense and their method of attacking the monsters is to use guns that are fueled by their hearts and the hearts of others. As such, the mail that they deliver carries the feelings of the person who wrote them and that is what allows them to fight the monsters. Otherwise, they have to use their own heart and if they use too much, they’ll die as well.

The series follows a kid named Lag. He cries a lot and isn’t really as tough as you’d expect a mailman to be. That being said, being a mailman has always been his dream ever since he saw one in person a while back. He soon finds out that the group may not be as heroic as the stories say and everyone has an agenda. He also learns the startling truth that the Sun is actually being powered by humans around the world. They are kidnapped and fed into the Sun to keep it bright. The hearts that the Mailmen are using also seem to have permanent effects on the humans so while they are helping the world….they’re dooming its inhabitants at the same time. There are others who know this and call themselves the Revolutionary army. At first I thought they were trying to black out the Sun, but they just went crazy at the end so I’ll assume that they are Twitch commentors. It seems like a simple solution though right? Just blow up the Sun. The Problem is that the embodiment of the Sun is actually Lag’s mother, who was kidnapped and forced to be the vessel. Lag can try to save her and keep the Sun alive, murdering millions in the process, or save the humans but end up destroying his Mom. Alternately he can do nothing and the Mom will turn into a giant monster and destroy the Earth on her own. He has some tough calls to make.

Honestly, one of the reasons why the series wasn’t very good is that the characters just aren’t very interesting. Lag is our protagonist, but it’s hard to like the guy. He spends over half of the series crying. It becomes such a huge part of his character that it’s how he is recognized by the others. After he spent a year training in the wilderness, everyone thought he was an imposter because he didn’t cry anymore. Honestly, that could have saved his character if it didn’t only happen for the final 2 volumes. He essentially sealed off his emotions in exchange for great powers. It was so complete that he couldn’t even shed a tear when his sister died. Was it really worth the power? Well, it gave him enough of a boost where he was able to take down the evil Insect Queen so I suppose, but I can see why the others would be completely alienated. Especially since Lag had absolutely no intention of cluing any of the others in. So, I liked Lag in the final 2 volumes, but considering that the series was a full 20, it was wayyyy too late for any of that.

His Dingo (Essentially it means partner in this series) is Niche. She has an unfortunate habit of constantly taking her pants off since she doesn’t like them and it’s one of those running gags that was never funny even at the start. I do like the fact that Niche has actual powers. She can use her hair as a barrier or as a means of attack so she doesn’t have to worry about carrying mail around. She even has a pet although she claims it is just in case she gets hungry. Again…not a very funny joke. Niche just wasn’t all that likable. She’s all right at best and is a slight improvement over Lag, but not a big one.

Gauche is one of those intriguing characters. He starts out as a great character. He’s the expert that everybody looks up to and manages to stay rather mysterious as well. Then he decided to betray everyone and joined the villain organization…then he became a hero again. By the end he has decided to stick to the path of the hero but he sure did flip flop a lot. He also lost his memories in the process so so much for that. He was a pretty good villain and I suppose he is still one of the most interesting characters in the series, but I wondered what the point of his role was.

Zazie is sort of like a sub rival. He’s a fairly good fighter, but a considerable step below Gauche. He is fairly confident and likes to talk a big game, but his weakness is that his shots lack power so he can’t take down the bigger monsters. He also looks up to Jiggy Pepper a lot. Jiggy gets a considerable amount of hype, but he never actually does much. He only appears once in a while and while it seems like he is a pretty good Letter Bee (Mailman) he just can’t be bothered to help out. You’d think with the fate of the world at stake that he’d make more of an effort.

Connor is Lag’s best friend. He’s the comic relief, overweight member of the Letter Bee police. He can’t really fight much, but he likes eating so that’s what motivates him. He’ll eat anything at any time of the day so I suppose you have to admire the dedication. That being said, it doesn’t really make him a compelling character.

Largo is one of the main leaders of the Letter Bee and naturally he also ended up being a big traitor. As with Gauche though, he seemed rather conflicted about this so after sticking with the villains for a while, he decided to become a hero again. I suppose it’s lightly hinted that he only joined to trick the villains into heading for the final boss room to provide more hearts for the heroes. He also got a really rushed/dark origin story as we find out that his Mom was experimented on and his Dad was a villain. It really had nothing to do with anything, just like this character as a whole.

Roda is Gauche’s Dingo and it’s nice to see one who really knows what she is doing. The obvious parallels between her combat ability and Gauche’s vs the pair of Lag and Niche makes you wish the series would consider trading main characters. Roda is definitely pretty good and is a little more committed to being heroic. Then there’s also Lawrence who is the main leader of the villains. Thing is, since the villains had no plan, I have to put most of the blame on this guy. Whatever he was trying to do didn’t work so clearly he should have thought it through more.
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We also meet the Head Letter Bee at the very end of the series. Essentially he went insane upon finding out that the government was using massive amounts of slaves to fuel the Sun and went crazy. Instead of trying to save them, he decided to help since “what’s done is done.” After reminding us of how he is still evil, he decided to run away, but under the guise of a giant teddy bear. Even though he ran off he still has enough authority to boss around the whole cast. He claims that he has transcended gender as well so he only talks with hearts now. I also don’t know what point this character had, but that’s a running theme in the series.

When you really break this series down, you realize that the story had a really good premise. It really could and should have been a great series. One issue is that there are no real fight scenes. Every action scene is just the main characters firing their guns and hoping for the best. The monsters never really fight back or do anything. They are portrayed as being completley mindless. The final Insect which hovers over the whole sun seems to be as abstract as it is physical. It barely matters since it is taken down in one shot as well. I’m all for mindless monsters attacking, but then that’s why you also need humanoid opponents. However, the villains never directly fought the heroes because they were too busy.

At least the art is pretty decent. It’s not great or anything, but it works well for the somber atmosphere that the series is going for. The characters can look rather similar at times which is a little iffy, but it’s not too bad or anything. Unfortunately, the series does have some fanservice at times. It’s nothing too frequent, but there is some actual nudity in it. The volumes may blur it out as I don’t remember coming across it although a panel in the final two volumes may have had a moment like it, but fortunately it seems like a stain got in the way. Basically stuff like this only happens when Niche’s sister is in town, but that’s still pretty terrible. I am reviewing the title from the volumes that I read though which is why I’m not bumping it down to an instant 0. If you decide to read it online though, be warned. There aren’t a lot of positives to go around as it is so it’s tougher to fight the negatives.

The plot is fairly confusing like Pandora Hearts, but it isn’t interesting in the way that Hearts was. You’re never interested in learning more about Letter Bee because there isn’t much more to learn. Even if you re read the series, it’s not as if you missed a whole lot. It’s just that it doesn’t really make a lot of sense anyway. Here’s one big issue with the series, at the end they say that they can only send one person to the capital to stop the giant monster. Why? The whole world is going to end anyway so why not send everybody? After a lot of drama, they decide to send 2 Letter Bees, but then the whole cast follows them anyway. There was never any reason whatsoever not to send the whole gang in. While they’re bickering and wasting time on side missions to decide who is worthy to go, whole cities are being wiped off of the planet. Yes, the aliens can take out whole cities in a single flash from the Sun but nobody seems to care. Even the manga doesn’t really treat it like a big deal. It’s just a city after all.

This is just one example of how the author didn’t think things through. I also think that he went too far in making every character act like a villain. I know many titles like to make the government evil, but you need to have some good characters. The only two groups are the evil government who kidnaps and tortures its subjects for no real reason and the terrorists who want to either take control of the Sun or blow it up. No matter who you pick, they don’t have your best interests at heart. There was no reason to go to this extreme. The government could have been shady without being evil. Did the Sun really have to be Lag’s Mom so he would be forced to destroy her in the end? Of course, it’s seen as more like he was setting her free, but it’s still rather dark.

Even the ending is rather dark to be honest. I won’t spoil that since it would be a bit much, but part of the whole point of the final journey was to try and save everyone. That’s the whole reason why Lag sacrificed his emotions and tried to get stronger. Unfortunately while it wasn’t futile, the body count was pretty high by the end. Some characters won’t even be thrilled to get their hearts back because they have already lost everyone they cared about. Nobody’s bringing the various cities back. The ending’s a little vague on a certain character, but I’d say that he’s probably dead. It tries to be an inspirational ending, but I certainly wouldn’t call it one. It’s not a classic time skip though so I’ll give it that.

If only the series could have done more with its premise instead of worrying about a terribly conceived plot. I like the idea of people being unable to travel anymore so they have to rely on messages for communication. It’s retro and still gets the apocalyptic feel across. Mailmen being the ones to travel is a nice exaggeration of what really goes on as the famous saying that Mailmen deliver no matter how the weather is. It’s a fun concept and could have made for a really good series. It could have tackled some other themes like if they should deliver messages from villains and the like since they shouldn’t read it, but can read emotions so they typically know what kind of message it is. This was all far too nuanced for Letter Bee though so it simply wasn’t to be.
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Overall, Letter Bee’s not a very fun series. It’s too bad as the series was trying to get back on track by the end. Lag’s new personality was certainly a positive although the Teddy Bear at the end and all of the random twists didn’t help matters. Lag’s friend was going to sacrifice her whole city even though Lag said he had a plan just because she could. (Her plan didn’t work anyway) The series never really seems all that dark except it just is. The manga just doesn’t portray the events as being too serious. There’s not a lot of action and the cast is rather weak. There aren’t a bunch of negatives though so that’s a good thing but they weren’t needed when there isn’t much positive to fight it off. There isn’t much reason to ever revisit the series, but I suppose if you want a title with mailmen and giant monsters, then this one’s a good pick for you. That’s rather specific, but it’s the best I got.

Overall 4/10

Future Card Buddyfight Triple D Review

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It’s time for the next installment in the Buddyfight series. For a little while there I was worried that it would only get 2 seasons and die out because many great anime don’t make it to 3 seasons. However it did make it and now has a 4th season so we can safely say that the franchise is safe. Even if it were to end soon, it’s had a great run. It’s awesome to be living in a time where we have Yu-Gi-Oh, Buddyfight, and Cardfight all airing new episodes. Buddyfight is the weakest of the 3 at least when it comes to the franchises, but it always puts up a good fight. This season had a rocky start, but by the end I’d say that it surpassed season 2 while still not being able to catch the original.

Gao doesn’t have his Drum Bunker Dragon anymore so he has to get a replacement. He ends up getting a buddy named Bal. Bal is a lot younger than Drum and acts like a little kid. It takes a while for the pair to really get along, but they gradually develop a tight bond. They decide to enter the local tournaments to prove that they are the best and gradually approach the World Cup. However, they will have to get past some powerful rivals like Tasuku, the boy prodigy, and Gaito, a mysterious newcomer who wants to prove his strength above all. Meanwhile, Kyoya has been replaced as the head of the financial company and has decided to enter the tournament as a normal participant. What are his goals here? There are many other foes who have surfaced like the new head and a mysterious scientist with a split personality. Gao will have to keep his guard up at all times since these games may not just be for fun anymore.

Lets talk about why the season had a rough start. It acts a little bit like a reboot at times. It’s not a full reboot though so the best way to describe it is like Pokemon. Ash has gone on all of his adventures, but he is still only 10 years old and forgot a lot of his battle experience and even acts like he doesn’t know some of the original Pokemon at times. That’s how it is here. Gao and friends act like they barely know some of the old characters like Tasuku and many supporting characters. This is only relevant in the first episodes as they all become friends again and act like their old selves, but the early episodes are fairly bizarre. It feels like the writers couldn’t decide if he knows the others or not so it goes back and forth on that.

Another issue is that the show seems to aim a little younger this time. Particularly in the first episodes again, it seems a little like Pokemon Sun and Moon. There are a lot of visual gags now with characters faces getting exaggerated and crude humor jokes. One new addition to the show is Zom-B. His whole character is made for excessive humor as he constantly panics and destroys himself. It’s a running gag that the show spams in almost every episode of the first half along with recycled animation the whole time. None of his jokes are funny at all and he does drag down some of the battles to an extent. I was glad when he slowly started to appear less. As you can tell, I didn’t care for the humor. It did not work well at all.

So you may be wondering how this season could possibly top 2 right? Well, it has less repetition. What severely brought Buddyfight 100 down was how many times Gao had to fight the same enemy. That’s never an issue here fortunately. The season is also filled with nonstop tournaments the whole time which was really good. As a result, the action never let up and there were a lot of interesting fights in the mix. In the end we watch card game shows for all of the epic duels and that’s one of the reasons why this show succeeds. Tournaments are particularly fun to watch in this genre although I’d say that they work in just about every genre as well.

As always, the show doesn’t disappoint with the over the top visuals. Every final smash ends up severely damaging the planet and you wonder how the player can survive the intense virtual damage. All of the character designs are on point and a lot of the monster designs look really good. Gaito’s design is solid and his monster is very cool as well. The show’s soundtrack is also amazing. The show is now at its height in that regard. This is mainly because Gaito’s theme is really good and may even surpass the arena theme from 100. Fortunately that one returns along with the despair theme. Combined, those themes make this show one of the best in the business.
Gaito_vs._Kyoya
Gao is a likable character as always. He’s not quite as awesome as he was in the first two seasons, but he’s still solid. He’s less intense, but still has a lot of skills. It’s just a shame that he’s not as overpowered as he used to be. I remember when winning every single battle was child’s play for him. Kuguru and Baku don’t really do much in the season. They’re even more irrelevant than they were in the previous two seasons which is a little disappointing for their fans. Fortunately, I don’t like either character much so I’m pretty fine with this.

Bal is certainly no Drum. By the end of the show I didn’t mind him. He beats the new Buddy in the current season, but Drum is still the best. Bal’s true form is really epic to watch and I’m glad that he can actually fight. He didn’t master the form for quite a while, but the payoff was good once he got going.

Tasuku’s as cool as ever. He (finally) quit the Buddypolice for most of the season although there is a slight twist about that. Anyway, he is one character who did not lost his character development. Since he already had a bunch in the previous seasons there is no longer any room for doubt or worry. He is completely sure of himself here and doesn’t have to enter any morally grey areas. Unfortunately this also does make things tricky for him near the climax. He disagrees with challenging Kyoya because he wants to wait for the cops to make a move and thinks it’s dangerous. I disagreed with the rationale there because stopping Kyoya is the safest way to save the world. It’s risky, but still the best move. Still, Tasuku ultimately relented and was pivotal in taking down some of the minions. With Gao being slightly nerfed in the personality department you can make a case for Tasuku being the best character. His buddy Jackknife Dragon is as reliable as ever and serves as a mentor to Bal.

Gaito is the new rival on the block and he’s a really good character. He uses a Dark deck and has shadow energy at all times. This instantly meant that he was going to be my kind of character. His Dragon Abigail gets a lot of development throughout and has a big subplot to himself. I liked him a lot and he is probably my favorite hero dragon in the season. That may seem a bit specific but if we count enemies then I’d probably have to go with Kyoya’s dragon. Gaito gradually does get a little more friendly, but he always stays serious compared to the rest of the characters. Heading off to face Kyoya alone is the kind of decision that I’d expect him to make and it’s one that I supported. I didn’t like his odds going into that fight, but everyone is outmatched against that guy.

Kyoya is the main villain once again. This means that he was the final boss in 2 out of 3 seasons. It could seem repetitive if you see the plot summaries from afar, but it makes sense. True, Kyoya may have had a bit of a personality shift since he seemed like he was turning good after the original season, but his motives are fairly complex. Season 1 was like the opening act for him to gather data and season 2 was something he just didn’t calculate on. I was surprised to see him lose there, but it helped to legitimize the threat. It’s like if an alien attack our world, heroes and villains alike would team up to stop them because we want the world for ourselves. Kyoya just didn’t think it would be enough to beat him. He regained all of his hype in this season though. His new card is great and without plot hax it is virtually unbeatable. There are always some tough questions to ask like if creating your own card is really legitimate or not, but Bal gave Gao, Gaito, and Tasuku one so fair is fair right? It’s no coincidence that the 4 created cards are the strongest either. Why would you make yourself a weak one right?

Azi Dahaka has always been a fun dragon in the series. His fans may be a little upset that he doesn’t really get to activate his master plan and is basically used by Kyoya the whole time, but he still has a very intimidating presence. He’s a good villain to have around for sure. I’ll miss him if he doesn’t return, but I somehow get the feeling that Kyoya will bring him back. If not, maybe this finally was Kyoya’s last hurrah, but I won’t believe that until I see it. Even if he returns as a rival instead of an enemy, I’d be on board with that. Kyoya’s 2 on 1 duel against Gaito and Tasuku is one of the most epic moments of the franchise. The duel may have been off screen, but it’s unheard of to beat multiple opponents. In Buddyfight, that is basically impossible to accomplish thanks to the structure of the game.
J_Genesis(Zetta)_Impact_Call
Rouga also gets to appear a little, but I have no idea what the writers are even thinking with him anymore. His character serves no point and I just don’t like the guy anymore. That may be a bit harsh, but I used to like him. It just feels like his character has gone nowhere and he hasn’t gotten any stronger while everyone else has improved. He’s not a threat anymore and I think the franchise should just write him out unless they have a specific plan in mind for him. Noboru is the opposite as he’s still a great character as always. It’s just rather tragic as he loses basically every big battle that he gets involved in. He always gets to make a good speech and it gets emotional, but he can’t close it out. It’s because he always ends up fighting the big villains. It’s a shame, but at least he is a character who tries. Actually, maybe he should be known as the best character in the series now. He’s certainly consistent and I’m always rooting for him at any rate.

Lets talk about some of the new characters. Kaido is a guy who loves yelling about festivals. He never gets serious, but that’s part of his character. He always makes sure to have fun when playing Buddyfight even if everyone else forgets that when the world is at stake. He has the largest monster in the franchise which is essentially his gimmick. It’s pretty impressive and he’s a nice guy. I don’t mind him all that much and he’s a decent rival. I don’t find him to be all that cool, but his gimmick doesn’t get too annoying which helps a lot. He’ll either be your kind of character or not. As far as the new additions go, he’s probably the weakest not counting the one shot characters.

Doctor Gara is one of the big villains who shows up and I liked him. His happy personality as a scientist is pretty boring, but his deranged form works really well. I don’t know how everyone kept getting tricked by him, but I suppose it was the Team Rocket effect. He was actually a very powerful opponent and nearly took Tasuku down. Mix that in with his cool design and he was one of the best parts of the season. Buddyfight is probably one of the few shows where the new villains always seem to be cooler than the new heroes. Maybe that isn’t too rare depending on who you ask, but I liked all of the new villains. He may be no Kyoya, but at least he was a threat. His monster: Zodiac was really good as well. He had a great design that was on point.

Genesis is the other big villain who entered the fray. He replaced Kyoya in the company and now makes it his life’s work to mess up Kyoya’s plans when possible. We get a lot of episodes where both characters are constantly trying to one up the other and it makes for an interesting plot. Kyoya always seems to win in the end, but Genesis came close. He may be the single strongest duelist in the game to be honest. His one hit KO combo is incredibly good and it really should have won. He only lost due to the cheese factor and the fact that someone came back from the grave. Yes, one character’s ability lets him keep on dueling even if his life points hit 0. All right, it’s Gaito, I may as well say it since the ability isn’t a huge plot point. Genesis’ final monster form has a really cool design and the next Buddyfight season even brought back the concept. I guess it must have been a big hit.

As always, the show has an incredible climax which just made the rest of the show even more awesome. It made me really realize what a fun show it had been. The original still wins because it had consistent writing and quality the whole time. The climax may not have been quite as explosive and awesome, but everything else made up for that. This show’s climax is easily the best of the 3 seasons and one of the best anime climaxes in general. Part of it is the fact that Kyoya returned as it feels like a big payoff from the 3 seasons.

I have to say that there’s going to be a lot of pressure for the next season I’m roughly 10 episodes in for that one so it’s way too early to say how it’ll fare. Buddyfight generally starts to ramp up the plot and intensity in the 20s as it loves to use the early episodes for character development and world building. You may think that’s a little excessive but it does work. Hear me out, it can be tough to sit through a bunch of episodes that feel like filler, but it absolutely does make you care more about the characters. Why do you think Cardfight was so successful? It takes just as long to get started at times and G gave us roughly 40-50 episodes of pure character development in the form of the first season before the plot really went underway. As long as the episodes are good anyway (Which they were in Cardfight. Buddyfight admittedly does struggle in this area) then it’s fine. It’s shows with lackluster plots like Naruto which gives the impression that development episodes are bad.

A big element in this season which I almost neglected to mention is the legendary Dragon Force. It is a super ability that only the chosen may wield which naturally means that the main 3 characters obtain it. Gao, Tasuku, and Gaito. The ability is pretty handy. Aside from the cool visuals it also gives some nice abilities to the users. Gaito gets the ability to obtain a second life, Gao can attack multiple times, and Tasuku’s also increases his attacks. Clearly Gaito got the best one if you ask me. Each character also gained an Impact Card which is essentially a super attack that their main monster can use. Gaito’s so good that he obtained two of them though.

These attacks and forms get a pretty high budget animation, but it is one that is reused constantly so it’s a mixed bag. Personally I’m all for it. Recycled footage can be a little dicey at times, but it seems more like a fun gimmick than a crutch in this case. I can understand why they wouldn’t want to have to reanimate these moments every single time. It would certainly get old fast.

When it all boils down to it, one of the best parts of the show is the large amount of hype that everyone gets. Unlike World Trigger where it is a little overdone at times, the characters all live up to the hype. Gaito gets some really epic scenes where he takes down enemies even after they figure out his Impact ability. He quickly grew to be one of my favorite characters because of it. Similarly, Kyoya, Genesis, and Tasuku had big moments as well. Unlike Sengoku Basara where the show didn’t want to give up on the hype, this show knew when it was time to choose a winner though. For example, Gaito and Genesis got to fight when both of them were near the height of their hype reputations. There wasn’t a draw though and a clear winner was chosen. The show is pretty good at not having draws overall as there was only one big one that I can recall and even in that instance, Kyoya would have won, unfortunately the machine couldn’t handle the power of his card.

There are some power level stuff that gets a bit tricky. I didn’t really buy into how Genesis was defeated and there may have been a few cheesy moments here and there. Nothing major though and a big part of card games is the luck factor involved. For the most part it was all fairly believable. I’m definitely hoping for a big reunion season soon though with a tournament that encompasses characters from all of the seasons. You have to admit that this would be hype. On one last note, Kiri fans will be disappointed by the fact that he looks terrible here. He nearly resorts to kidnapping Bal to run away from the enemy threat and doesn’t fight almost at all despite gaining these super powerful abilities of his. Not a good look considering his character development.

For fun, here are the card game seasons off the top of my head. Shows without subtitles are treated as the same though and I’m merging Zexal and Zexal II since that’s what I did on this site. The order would be Yugioh GX, Cardfight Link Joker, Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds, Yu-Gi-Oh Arc V, Cardfight Legion Mate, Yu-Gi-Oh, Cardfight Vanguard, Cardfight Asia Circuit, Digimon Tamers, Future Card Buddyfight, Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal, Cardfight G GIRS Crisis, Scan 2 Go, Buddyfight Triple D, Cardfight NEXT, Cardfight G, Buddyfight 100, Buddyfight NEXT, Yu-Gi-Oh Capsule Monsters. I’m pretty sure I got them all. It’s pretty tough to put them all in order since most of the shows are really close to each other. Some are still ongoing as well so they may move up by the end. The worst card show (Minus Capsule Monsters) on the list is still a very good title overall which is why the genre is just so much fun. I’m glad that it has been doing so well as of late.
Gao_Using_Dragon_Force
Overall, This was a great anime. I highly recommend watching this season. The best part is that since they tried to target newcomers with this title, you can go ahead and watch it without knowing much of the series beforehand. The rules are easy to follow and the plot is pretty basic. After all, a tournament is as straight forward as it gets while still being incredibly epic. We also get the awesome climax and there is a real time fight during the night where Bal fights Azi Dahaka outside of the game rules. That was fun and I’d love to see more of that. Please bring Azi Dahaka back as well, there’s still so much that the franchise can do for him. Buddyfight’s action and pacing ensure that this is a show everyone can check out.

Overall 8/10