RWBY Review


RWBY may be the greatest TV show of all time but I hadn’t gotten around to checking out too many of its other media endeavors before now. I played a few of the games which were mostly all solid and have read the manga titles but not the comics yet. Well, it was time to check this one out from the library and it is definitely a fun read. It’s nice to see what the characters were up to around volumes 3-5 with a lot of stories spread in throughout different time frames. It’s a fun way to see more of Team RWBY.

So there are 14 issues in the comic, you’ve got the intro and epilogue, then each character gets 3 stories. The intro is really a quick catchup for people who may not be too familiar with the franchise. We get a recap of what happened in the first few volumes and where the characters are at currently. There’s not much to say about this story but I think it does cover all of the big events well enough where you should be able to follow along well enough.

The first RWBY story splits itself between present and past. It starts the collection off with a bang because it has my single favorite scene in the collection. In the present Ruby and team Jaune manage to defeat a bunch of Hollow wasps and we see how far she has come. It’s a good segment and I always like a good action scene. In the past segment Ruby is still torn up about losing Summer so Yang tries to cheer her up by lying about a lot of great things Summer has done.

It’s all well intentioned but the problem with stories that are fake is that it leads to Ruby being crushed when she finds this out. How does she find this out? Raven decided to fly over and start tearing these lies to shreds while also badmouthing Summer. This just comes out of nowhere to the point where it’s funny. It’s so exaggerated that you think Ruby is dreaming but it was all real. On a more serious note, it does show that Raven was watching over Yang at least to the point of being around the house on a regular basis which was cool. It adds a little development to their relationship and maybe Raven is more of a caring parent than she lets on.

The second Ruby story involves the team heading to a village that won’t let them in because the people believe that all huntsmen are evil after the events of volume 3. As a result they are isolated when fighting the grimm and it isn’t going well. Ruby and co. fend the grimm off and Ruby gives them a stern lecture. I remember her speech made a lot of waves because people said it was too harsh and seemed out of character. I think it seems harsh because of how the art makes Ruby look extremely angry at these people. The actual speech isn’t too bad, admittedly it is hard to picture Ruby lecturing them to this extent though. It’s another solid story though with good action and a realistic look at how some villages would have treated the heroes. It’s nice to see the call backs and references to volume 3 since the tournament was on tv so a lot of people would have seen it.

Ruby’s final story has her take a walk through a garden as she deals with all of the friends she has lost up til now. The bird gives her a pep talk and it all seems to just be an illusion caused by the magical garden. It’s the most low key of her stories. It’s a good way to wrap up her stories here and she had to deal with the feelings of loss at some point. It may not stand up to the other stories but it’s not really supposed to.

The first Yang story has her go help an old lady with her harden and other miscellaneous tasks. At first she resents this because she figures Tai only did this to patronize her. Later on she thinks that maybe there is a prize waiting for her and this was a test. Ultimately it was neither one of those things and Yang realizes that he is just treating her normally which is what she wanted. Yang may not look great here but she is coming off a traumatic incident so it makes sense. It’s low key but a decent story.

The second Yang story actually shows us the aftermath of Yang ditching Ruby in episode 2. It was nice to see Tai confront her about this because while it worked out and was more of a gag than anything else, it was a bit distressing for Ruby. The issue has Yang overcorrect the whole time by being really clingy to everyone until Blake helps to set her straight. It’s a fun issue and really shows how Yang can mean well and still go way too far the whole time. It’s probably the most light hearted comic in the bunch and fits her personality well.

The final Yang story has her thinking about the morals from the first two as she continues to search for Ruby and Raven. She’s confronted by a biker gang member which turns out to be a big mistake on his part. She beats him while also trying to teach him the lessons she learned but of course it’s hard to just get someone to learn that straight off the bat. It doesn’t work but the rest of the bandits know not to mess with her after that. It’s another fun story and while the bandit never stood a chance, it’s always fun to see Yang getting more wins.

The first Blake story deals with how she first met Adam…so you can probably sense some retroactive retcons coming in. Adam is one of those characters that is strongly disliked in universe as well as out of it. While he was a very nuanced character initially that is not the case in the present and this comic makes it seem like he was insane from the beginning. He cries and also revels in how many humans he murders. I’d say he was out of character the entire issue and it also makes Blake look worse because suddenly she knew he was crazy from the start but stayed with him anyway. This would have to be the weakest story in the collection because I have a hard time buying any of this. It’s nice to see more of Blake growing up since we don’t know as many details on her past but Adam just doesn’t seem consistent.

The second Blake story is about her finally confiding in her mother about why she was so nervous to come back home and how she ditched her friends. Her mom consoles her about this and reminds her that she’s always welcome there. It’s effectively an expansion to her coming home moments in the show. It’s a good emotional read but is probably the second weakest story in the bunch. What are the odds that Blake would have the weakest stories right? She’s always been my least favorite RWBY member (Although she started out great in the first two volumes) and her volume 4 plot didn’t help matters. I suppose even the comics couldn’t make this part more interesting.

The final Blake story has her and Sun save a group of travelers from some Grimm. That’s when she realizes that one family she recognizes from her days with Adam when he murdered one of them. She decides to come clean about this much to Sun’s horror and allows the mother a chance for revenge. The traveler decides not too since she doesn’t want to continue the cycle of violence. It’s another decent emotional story and I’d say it beats the first two. I do think Blake put herself in a tricky spot here since if the mom wanted vengeance then what? Blake has a lot of responsibilities at this point so she can’t just let herself die. Hopefully she would have split or volunteered to help out from time to time or something.

The first Weiss story takes place in early volume 1 as we see a bit of rivalry between her and Cardin. Cardin was basically insulting everyone as usual and showing off but this time he went after Weiss and she wasn’t having that. So she humiliates him in the next round and everyone is thrilled about it except for Blake who thinks it went too far. I was not on Blake’s side in this one though. Weiss didn’t cheat and simply beat Cardin. She used her abilities to trick him but it was all technique. I understand you don’t want to always go for revenge but Cardin really makes everyone’s lives miserable. Maybe he would think twice after this. It was super nostalgic seeing everyone back in their volume 1 costumes. I’d say this was one of the stronger stories.

The second Weiss story has her and Willow go on a hunt. It’s one of the rare times Weiss has to bond with her but then she gets stabbed in the back as Willow claims the credit. Willow’s personality here is certainly interesting. She is still drunk as always but instead of being hopeless she seems to have a very fake sense of happiness? Like she’s completely faking it but doing a decent job of it. I was not expecting her to betray Weiss like that either. It’s easy to see why Weiss does not trust her family at all after this. It was a good story as it leaves you just as confused as Weiss at why Willow acts the way that she does. Definitely makes for a toxic relationship.

The final Weiss story is one of the highlights of the collection. She decides to finally have a big act of defiance against the family before leaving and she does so by freeing a bunch of Faunus and animals from the estate. She even has to fight Willow to pull this off and naturally wins that battle. It was a good way to show how Weiss has developed and will defend herself now. She has come a very long way from her old self and the comic captures that. Seeing her summons in action is always cool.

The epilogue story is wholesome as we see each character gear up in the present and a few more moments from when they were kids. I think the scene of Willow finally standing up to Jacques may be a bit early since in the show she never takes a stand like that but the book probably wanted that to cinematically close out Weiss’ part. It’s not really a big deal either way and you close the book feeling good. It was a solid choice to end the collection with.

Really my only issue is that the artwork’s not very good and is even bad in some instances. Personally it just didn’t match the artstyle of the show very well and was going for more of a water paint kind of look that just isn’t as streamlined as it could have been otherwise. A smoother and more colorful artstyle would have been perfect for a RWBY adventure like this. It’s not awful or anything though with characters usually staying on model. The quality writing keeps this up anyway.

Overall, This was a fun collection. The scene with Raven badmouthing Summer has to stand out as the best in the whole thing. That was just a blast. The art may not really be my thing but the writing is solid enough where I can get past that. It’s just great to see the gang again and I look forward to checking out more RWBY comics in the future. There are a whole lot of stories you could tell in this universe that there wouldn’t be time to expand on in the show. Hopefully the franchise continues to expand.

Overall 7/10

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: Avatars!!


Dragon Ball Heroes just doesn’t stop with all the expansions. This one’s early on with just 2 chapters but it’s got potential to be another winner. How can you go wrong with card game battles? I’ll have a review for this series up when it finishes.

Overall 7/10

Fun with Dick and Jane Review


All right, who here remembers the classic books? It’s nice that the film effectively pays homage to them while telling a new story. This is a fun film that balances the criminal life while also showing us just how Dick and Jane got to such a state where they would become true robbers. The comedy is on point and the film really breezes by.

The movie starts with Dick & Jane enjoying their normal life. They have a great house, nice kids, nice neighbors, etc. Everything is going super well, but then that all changes when Dick’s fired from his job. Not because he was doing a bad job or anything but just because it was downsizing time and it went by seniority instead of by quality. The main characters have a very expensive lifestyle which eats through their funds quick and neither one is able to hold a job. Perhaps…it’s time for a life of crime?

Naturally with a plot like this it can go in a few different ways. If it was played seriously then naturally you’re rooting for the main characters to fail at every turn as you hope the cops catch them. In this case it’s a much more light hearted adventure. I noticed that the film made sure they failed every time they tried to take on a ma and pa shop or rob an old man and only let them rob from corporations, hotels, and professional places that have insurance.

I suspect this is a subtle way to allow you to have fun watching the characters without actively rooting against them. Now, naturally I was rooting for them to be stopped aside from the last case even with this. After all, they may have rough circumstances but who doesn’t right? There’s always another way outside of crime and when you see that the main characters still have a full time maid, a babysitter, a huge house, etc….well you get the picture.

The humor is effective as we see them slowly start to get used to the life of crime though. Dick in particular has a rough time of it. That first robbery attempt will likely haunt him for the rest of his life. It’s definitely a moment where you were rooting for the old man though so that worked out really nicely. Dick’s adventures around the unemployment line were also cool as well.

The agency really doesn’t play around in this instance and it was impressive that they could recognize him even in disguise. Dick was not about to pull a fast one on these guys, that’s for sure. The script is good and the same goes for the writing so it is able to pull this adventure off rather easily. The character roster is also solid here.

Dick makes for a solid main character. He may be on the wrong path despite the good intentions but he has a lot of fun moments. He is doing his best to make sure that the family has enough resources and didn’t enter the life of crime lightly. Additionally his plan at the end with Jane works rather well in the climax. It was well thought out and even the villain had to respect it.

Meanwhile Jane did well on her side too. She was the first one to start budgeting since it was clear that they couldn’t live quite as lavishly as they did before. Additionally she was quick to get the hang of being a crook to the point where you could definitely say that she was better at it than Dick. She was more compassionate though so they each had different weak points in that arena.

One of the best parts of the film has to be the montage where they’re robbing everyone. Robbing the phone company for example was a great scene as everyone even cheered them on and opened the door for their escape. That’s quite a lot of team unity against the company. We don’t see them for long but from the brief dialogue we did get, it seems like the company was corrupt.

Likewise the main characters stopped a corrupt evangelist which was a good move on their part. Finally you have the main villain Charlie. Well, the film doesn’t hold back here. He’s got every trait you would expect in a corrupt CEO. He loves getting drunk, wastefully manages the company, accepts and gives out brides, flirts with married women, etc. So when the heroes decide to rob him you have to raise an eyebrow because this guy certainly isn’t doing a good job with his funds at the moment.

Hmmm, it makes you think. So that’s a good climax and we even get a brief confrontation with Dick & Jane vs Charlie. Yeah this film had a lot going for it, that’s for sure. There are also some fun supporting characters like the insurance agent who came over to inspect the place. The kids are mostly off screen which is good. They’re not bad and don’t have enough screen time to affect anything. It was a good decision because I think they would have ended up taking away from the general dynamic.

I’d also say that most of it seems pretty realistic. I imagine it was really hard to stop shoplifters back in the day because there weren’t a lot of security cameras or anything like that. Especially with how the main characters would rob a place and then dash out. No chance to grab their license plates or anything like that. The only one that may be tough to buy is their breaking into the safe. I understand they got better as they did more and more jobs but could they get so sophisticated as to break into a safe in one of the richest buildings in the city? It has to be a top line safe so it shouldn’t be very easy to pick. Still, there are ways to explain it and I can live with them.

Overall, This was a pretty good film. The writers did well in managing to balance the main characters being criminals with not doing anything malicious enough where you’d be turned off at their being the leads. There’s a lot of good banter here and it just makes for a fun film that really ends as soon as it begins. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to watch a nice lighthearted film.

Overall 7/10

Tom & Jerry Review


Tom & Jerry have returned at long last. It feels like a while since they got a big film, certainly since they’ve gotten a big budget production like this. It is nostalgic to see the old duo back in action although ironically, I was more invested in the human plot. I’ll go into detail on that later on but ultimately this is a pretty fun show and I would recommend checking it out. It’s not soaring into the next dimension or anything like that but it’s a well rounded product.

The movie starts with Tom finally becoming a master pianist and really excelling in Central Park. Jerry can’t have that though so first he humiliates Tom by immediately surpassing him and then breaking the guy’s piano. Jerry breaks into a legendary hotel while Tom is stuck out in the back. It looks like Tom has finally been defeated once and for all and even has to watch his back as the alley cats are quite fierce.

Meanwhile we cut away to the main human character named Kayla. She desperately needs a job and manages to steal someone’s resume so she can be hired at this fancy hotel. Kayla figures she can fake it until she makes it and the timing is fortunate since a super fancy wedding is about to happen between Preeta and Ben. If she can help plan this to perfection then she will be good. The only obstacle in her path is Jerry. The little guy is making a mockery of the establishment as he lives in total bliss. Kayla will need to team up with Tom to stop him but will their combined efforts be enough?

Now I’ve always been on Team Tom. He is typically on the losing side but if anything that makes it easier to root for him because who doesn’t appreciate an underdog? I’d also argue that Tom has been shown to be far more compassionate over the years as he expresses real sadness when Jerry is seemingly dead while the reverse is almost never true. They each have their moments of course but 9 times out of 10 I’d be banking on Tom to take the high road. Like in this film where he was really minding his own business until Jerry stepped in.

Maybe Jerry just wants to be friends and doesn’t know how to express himself but either way it’s tough for Tom. Tom & Jerry are consistent with how they usually appear and it’s nostalgic to see them fight. I would say the reason it just doesn’t totally capture me is because it all seems a little played out. I feel like a lot of specific instances here were grabbed from the old cartoons. I don’t think the slapstick itself is just over the hill though as there are ways to make it work but this one was not able to pull it off. They aren’t bad scenes but I guess they feel like filler as you wait on the human side.

On the flip side, the human sides are strong enough where you could see this as being more of a strength to that section as opposed to being a weakness on the other. Kayla may be taking some rather radical shortcuts like when she suckered the actual interviewee but that was also a good demonstration of her people skills. The interviewee was also shown to immediately be antagonistic and rather stuck up to make it harder to feel bad for her. Seriously this lady was getting ready to interview for a job…isn’t that the worst time to be getting an attitude since staff could be watching?

Once she’s in, Kayla does a good job of quickly getting into the swing of things. She has some good ideas and if not for the fact that Jerry is supremely powerful (even able to break out of a sealed, chained up box in an instant since he was already behind Tom before it finished moving) Kayla probably would have been able to claim victory here. There isn’t a lot more to her personality beyond just being a good worker and earnest so don’t expect a big character arc or anything but she makes for a good main character.

Then you have the two people who are to be married and I can’t say that I was a big fan of either to be honest. Ben was definitely the weaker of the two though as his whole character arc is that he wants to impress Preeta’s father even at the expense of Preeta not getting the wedding that she wanted. Yes, she could have spoken up more but at the end of the day it’s really his fault for not picking up on any of the obvious signs. He just got too obsessed to the point where he allowed this to cost him everything.

As for Preeta, she was unhappy the whole time but wouldn’t speak up. Instead she effectively blows up at the end of the film but if she had confronted Ben more at the start then this could have been avoided. She takes less of the blame here but I found that trait to be annoying, particularly as they are about to be married in which case they should certainly be close enough to have a conversation of this level. How will they handle more difficult topics if this one poses such a challenge?

Terence is really the main villain here and I would absolutely say that he gets off too easily. Keep in mind that the entire reputation of the hotel is riding on this wedding and that it has cost a small fortune. Keep that closely in mind whenever this guy is on screen. Now, as an antagonist he is great though. The guy has a lot of solid lines and was the only one to suspect Kayla at the beginning. He doesn’t even seem like he was always going to go down the villain route as he is a tough boss but one who does get along well enough with the staff.

There don’t seem to have been any complaints previously so that is worth keeping in mind. He just gets progressively more and more obsessed as the film goes on until he has totally lost his mind. Meanwhile Cameron is way more of a laidback kind of character who serves as a contrast to Terence. He’s just having a good time serving the drinks and cheering Kayla on. He doesn’t ultimately get a ton to do, but I think the humor there is mainly supposed to be in how calm he is while everyone’s panicking. I like this addition because I do think some people would take this whole situation in stride.

Joy is the comic relief character who does not work. Her thing is she’s very socially awkward and takes forever to get to the point. I understand the character trait and what the movie is going for but it just doesn’t work. None of her scenes are entertaining at all and just end up falling flat.

Dubros is the boss of the hotel and I liked this guy. He’s very open minded like when he allowed Tom to work at the hotel and does a good job of running the business. He’s not too controlling and just makes sure that things are working on a macro level. You can see why the hotel is as well known as it is. There are a few other characters around like Spike who is still portrayed as the strongest animal in the film but that’s about it for the main cast. Ultimately it’s a fun group of characters.

I’d give the writing a thumbs up here. There are enough well written scenes to make you smile and have a good time. It’s really the definition of what I would call a pretty good film. It’s playing it very safe and not doing a whole lot of things outside of the box but at the same time that means it’s also not trying too hard to be the next big thing. Whether or not you’re a big fan of the Tom & Jerry aspects, I’d say there is a lot you can get out of this.

Overall, Tom & Jerry is worth checking out. It’s not the kind of film that would really be amplified in a theatrical experience so you could certainly just went it or catch it on TV when it’s around. It’ll be nice if they could continue to make more films in the series but it is crucial that the human aspect stays rather solid or they find some way to make the Tom & Jerry parts a little more creative. I do think there is a whole lot more you could do with that dynamic after all like maybe a full fledged team up. Not a small one for a small part of the climax but I mean a full cinematic adventure where they team up. Maybe someone kidnaps that little friend/cousin Jerry used to hang out with in the TV show so he asks Tom for help. That could make for a great story.

Overall 7/10

One Piece: Vivi’s Adventure Review


One Piece has been getting quite a lot of different one shots and specials to celebrate the 1000th episode coming up. It’s definitely fun to see a series get so much content and last for so long. One Piece has lived through many powerful Jump titles and continues to tell its tale. I thought it slowed down quite a bit after the timeskip because you can’t really compare masterpiece arcs like Water 7 and Marineford to Punk Hazard or Fishman Island. I thought Whole Cake Island was fun though and while Wano started out slow, we’re definitely in the payoff part now. So things are on the up and up all around. This special chapter rewrites Vivi’s iconic farewell with a new art style. It’s a fun revisit although personally I would have picked more of an action chapter here.

Since this is just one chapter stretched out to more of a monthly sized one, there isn’t a whole lot that happens. The chapter opens up with Vivi being forced to make a tough call. She can ride out with the Strawhats and officially become one of them or she can stay home and rule her land as a Princess. Her land would be devastated without her, but on the other hand if she doesn’t join now then she may never see the Strawhats again. What is the right decision? She only has 8 hours to decide at which point Luffy and the gang have to skip town.

Vivi was a fun character back in the day and everyone thought she had a fairly strong chance to join the crew. Ultimately she did not but perhaps one day when she reappears she will still be considered as one of Luffy’s mega crew. Sort of an extension of the main crewmates at least. Vivi’s still in the arc that is happening off screen so everyone’s looking forward to seeing how that plays out. Vivi would have made a good addition to the crew as she has a nice personality that would bounce off of the others pretty well. I would definitely take her over Franky or Brook in a heartbeat after all. She would need to learn a few more fighting moves though. Ultimately if I were her I would have chosen to leave but I won’t fault her for deciding to stay home.

As for Luffy and the gang, it definitely feels weird to see them being overwhelmed by normal enemies. Random marines with iron spears are absolutely decimating the ship and there’s just nothing the heroes can do about it. Effectively it is the weakness of not being able to fight much at sea. The gang of pirates are always at their best when fighting on land which can be ironic but that’s just the way it is. Zoro and Sanji at least don’t have devil fruits so they would be able to swim around and fight but it’s still hard to out maneuver whole ships in the meantime.

There are some pretty strong friendship messages in this chapter like Luffy and the gang arguing with Mr. 2 but as soon as they explain they are staying here for a friend he is quick to jump on their side. After all, risking your life for a friend is definitely fair game. Luffy and the others also take it pretty well when Vivi decides to stay. There wasn’t a lot of yelling for her to come aboard or anything, they just rolled with it and hoped for the best and had the iconic X pose.

It’s a very self contained chapter so it works really well as a one shot. Of course, I would like to have added a final scene at the end showing modern Vivi or something like that as a stinger into the future. Maybe show her entering the Reverie or something. It would be a pretty good way to build hype if you ask me, but I’m definitely ready to see what’s next on the One Piece spinoff list. This one as drawn by the artist of Nisekoi and it was impressive since I wouldn’t have otherwise recognized the art style if I didn’t already know about it. Granted, I haven’t read Nisekoi in a little while which probably would have helped a bit.

Overall, Vivi’s Adventure is a pretty good story. The good thing about choosing this chapter is that it works very well even if you don’t know much about One Piece. You can still understand what is going on with the story. The large scale context doesn’t matter much as the main story is really just about the emotional choice between friends and your family duty. In that sense you can immediately understand the stakes and what is going on here. So definitely give this one a read and as it’s only 1 chapter long you’ll have it completed really quickly.

Overall 7/10

Toy Story 4 Review


Time for the final Toy Story adventure. At least from the main films as there are still spinoffs to check out. Toy Story 3 was and still is the definitive title in the series. 4 does its best to follow suit and it is nostalgic to see the old characters again but ultimately it doesn’t match the first 3 titles. I’d still call it a good movie in its own right but it probably would work best as being right before 3 instead of after.

The movie starts with a flashback where we see how and why Bo Peep left the house. Andy’s sister was planning to get rid of Bo so she hid in a box and allowed herself to be taken away. We cut to the present where Bonnie is slowly growing out of her toys and Woody isn’t being played with much anymore. He isn’t the leader of the squad anymore since that’s the job for Bonnie’s main toys so things just aren’t as smooth as they used to be.

At school, Bonnie creates a toy of her own named Forky. This toy wants to die which is pretty dark for a kid’s film but Woody forces him to stay in the game and tried to teach Forky why he must now act like a true toy. This would be a 15 minute film except that Woody then sees Bo outside. It turns out that she is a lost toy now who just roams around. Woody isn’t thrilled to hear about this but Bo actually likes the setup. She now has a lot of freedom to do whatever she wants whenever she wants. Woody must now decide if he wants to stay with her or go back to his life of being neglected at home. Additionally, there is a girl named Gabby who wants Woody’s voice box so he has to be careful.

That’s the main plot but we also have a sub plot for Buzz and the rest of the old toys. Buzz leads a rescue mission to find Woody but the problem is that he isn’t very smart anymore. He forgets how to think for himself and also doesn’t realize that he is a toy anymore so he listens to his own sound box. It’s a very odd subplot and I can see why many would say it was a waste of time. It’s nice seeing the old characters but this guy doesn’t act like how Buzz used to. It’s a pretty big contrast especially after watching the first three films back to back.

The Woody plot is really the meat and potatoes of the film. In the third film he decided that living as someone’s toy was his ultimate dream. It didn’t matter if they would eventually grow bored of him because one day he would go on to the next owner and the next. Well, here is has to actually follow through on that and you can tell he is starting to have some regrets. Bonnie doesn’t really care for his toy as much as the others and being stuck in the closet every day is no fun.

Bo makes a valid point that being a free toy is even better because you can play with the kids when you want to and then just do your own thing as well. It’s the best of both worlds and it might be a bit more dangerous but there’s never a dull moment. I’m cool with Woody seeing the light here and it’s an engaging plot.

The movie also does a good job of making Gabby appear to be an intimidating villain. She has nothing on the guy from 3, but she’s tough and has her own army which is cool. The film even lets her scenes get rather dark with some ominous music and a few jump scares happening during her moments. She is respected so much that nobody dares go against her. Now that’s a lot of props.

From the new characters, the weakest one was definitely Forky though. Even by the end I was not a fan of this guy. You definitely can’t count on him when the chips are down and all he does is get in the way. He’s constantly running for his life so I could have done without him. The gag of trying to jump into the trash wasn’t funny after a bit. He did have some good lines though like when he called Woody trash.

Bo isn’t a new character but she might as well be since this is her first big appearance. She was definitely a blast and one of the highlights in the film. She has a lot of confidence now as well as experience. She’s come a long way from her old days as a toy and it shows. She’s a good example of positive character development.

There’s Duke who is a fun character. The guy has an emotional backstory to be sure. Still, Duke has tried to move past that and is still good at his car tricks. He doesn’t appear until fairly deep into the film but he looks good. Finally you have Gabby. As mentioned, she’s a decent villain. She doesn’t stand out as much as some of the others but she definitely does have a commanding presence.

The humans probably get the smallest role out of the 4 films and I am definitely okay with that. Bonnie appears for a bit and while I can’t blame her for ditching Woody it would have been nice if she could have done something more in the plot. Not in terms of more screen time but with the moments she did get, maybe stopping some villains or something.

One thing I do question is how the toys seem to be able to move at will all the time. To me it always seemed like there was something built into the very nature of their being which prevents them from moving once the humans are around. It’s why everyone is so perfect about it. No human has ever discovered that toys are alive because they all know to stop moving immediately yet Forky breaks that rule by constantly trying to move. If not for Woody pinning him down the humans would have noticed. You also have Buzz actually moving his hands to keep pushing the buttons even while he was being held.

This can be explained as the toys just usually doing the right thing and staying still but to me the cleaner explanation was always that they couldn’t move. It’s easier to explain the humans never figuring things out if that was the case. This starts to get really into the details though so it’s not a big thing.

The animation looks pretty solid and definitely has the newest look out of all of them. The way the films show the toys is always impressive since they do look like the real things even while they are talking. The soundtrack is pretty decent as well with the danger themes popping up. The writing may be a step down from the first 3 films but at the end of the day the characters are still good and this should keep your attention.

Overall, Toy Story 4 couldn’t match up to the first 3 but with how good they were, maybe a drop was inevitable at some point. It did feel like the story was thrown together a little quicker with the old characters just going through the motions while Woody did all of the heavy lifting. At this point the cast was quite large so good luck remembering most of the new ones. You had these two birds who were quite intense in their plans of how to attack the old lady near the end of the film but I doubt you’ll remember their names. Bo is the standout character here with the fun banter she gets throughout. This is the kind of confidence you need when you’re on the run. If you’re up for a fun film with the toys then this is still a good bet. I doubt we’ll be getting a Toy Story 5 anytime soon so this may be your last chance to see them.

Overall 7/10

Loki Review


The next Disney+ show is now upon us. Can it continue the upwards trend of each show? I would say yes and that this is the best of the first 3. Loki’s always been a pretty fun character so it makes sense that he could hold his own show pretty well. Throw in time travel, dimension hopping, and you’ve got yourself a pretty fun premise. There’s definitely a lot to unpack here even if the show is only 6 episodes so they did a good job of throwing in a bunch of concepts. Lets start taking a deep dive into this.

The show starts with Loki’s escape from Endgame where he narrowly got away from the Avengers. Unfortunately this was short lived as he is then kidnapped by the TVA. He is approached by a man named Mobius who explains that this organization is effectively in charge of the multiverse. They make sure that nobody messes with time and they keep things progressing in the way they ought to go.

Put it this way, according to the TVA, all of life is predestined to go in a certain way. If a character so happens to defy destiny and step off the path, they go to that world and destroy not only the character but the entire timeline. Rinse and repeat as often as is necessary. As the characters are not aware of their destinies either, this just happens randomly and must be quelled. If a timeline goes too far off the beaten path, it will cause calamity and destroy everything. Now you may question why TVA even bothers to erase individual characters when they will immediately erase the entire timeline right after. It’s a fair question and one that is addressed by the end.

Mobius basically asks Loki to join them. They are on the hunt for a particularly dangerous Loki variant (“Variant” is any being who has gone off of the natural timeline) and they could really use his help. After all, who better to stop a Loki than another Loki right? It’s not exactly a proposition that Loki really likes but he’s not exactly in a good spot right now. If he declines then he will be erased. Loki will play their game for now but he vows to be the one who wins in the end.

So right there you’ve got a pretty interesting angle. This is the kind of show with a lot of twists and turns but I’ll leave those to the spoiler paragraphs since it’s naturally more fun to see those play out if you don’t know what is going to happen. Most of the show is about the gang trying to get on the other Loki’s trail but it’s difficult. The TVA may have been around for a while but most of their members are normal humans so they aren’t the most powerful group around.

Lets get the basics out of the way first. The soundtrack here is really good. It’s easily the best out of the 3 with some really ominous themes going for it. You’ve got different remixes as well. The special effects are also on point with all of the magic being thrown around here. The Loki show lends itself well to this kind of thing that’s for sure. The fight scenes are also pretty solid.

Now, I would argue that Loki looks a bit too weak at times though. He struggles against humans on multiple occasions. The TVA beats him up in the first episode, he gets wrecked by a mind controlled human 1-2 episodes from there, and then he gets overpowered on a train and thrown out the window. There are many other times he gets owned as the series goes on but these were the 3 that are the most striking. Yes, Loki has been used as a comedic character for quite a while now but I would say this is stretching it.

Loki is still a frost giant raised as an Asgardian. He should have more than enough power to easily dispatch these opponents. Still, as a character he’s fun. Loki gets a lot of constant witty dialogue throughout his appearances so you can always bet on him saying something smart. The humor is a large part of what makes the show so much fun. He also gets a lot of personality development as well.

I don’t agree with all of it like Loki saying he doesn’t actually want to cause people pain and all of that. You’ll find yourself rolling your eyes a bit during his confession scene with Mobius where he talks about how he’s misunderstood and all that. I don’t buy it…nobody buys it. Like Mobius I’d just pull out the scene of him zapping that poor guy’s eyeball from Avengers 1. Loki’s defense is that it was an act that he was even playing on himself…sure. I think this is trying to retroactively make him less evil but whether he was tricking himself or not, he was totally evil at the time. I don’t think there can be any doubts about that.

On the other hand, I do like that he gets some closure with Freya in this version and that it’s part of what starts setting him off on a different track. Ultimately, acceptance by his family was something he really strived for. If things had played out differently he could have been a hero someday. Since he now knows how the adventure would have ended for him, it makes sense that he would start looking at life in a different way. By the end of the series or even fairly early on into it, you already feel like he’s becoming more heroic. Not sure I’d call him a full hero just yet but he’s close to it. I mean…he’s already more heroic by the end of the series than Scarlet Witch who is an Avenger soo………just something to think about.

It was fun to see clips of pretty much every old film Loki was in as well. Thor 2 seemed to be the only one that was skipped over a lot except for what happened to Freya. Maybe there just weren’t enough really good Loki scenes to pull. It’s been a while since I saw that film but I feel like there should still be a good amount.

Loki definitely carries a lot of the show with how much fun he is, but he does have a lot to work with. Mobius is another main character and he’s really solid. The guy has a fairly sarcastic attitude towards everything and he tends to have the best conversations with Loki. The two of them really go at it on different occasions. Mobius usually has the edge thanks to the TVA tech but otherwise Loki has the edge in overall charisma.

Mobius is old and set in his ways but you have to give him credit for eventually getting up and actually starting to take a hard look at what is going on. He’s certainly more dedicated than the average worker at the TVA. By the end he was one of the best characters. Then you have Ravonna who is one of the higher ups who serves the mysterious head of the TVA. She’s very by the books which naturally means things will be a bit dicey for her here.

Ravonna starts out better than how she ends up. She was acting pretty questionable by the end and that’s a weakness of being by the books. She was unable to adapt while everyone else was. I’ll be interested to see where she goes from here since in theory her next appearance will really be a fresh start. Then you have B-15 who seriously needs a real name. She was pretty solid. Right now she has a bodyguard type of role where she dishes out a lot of damage but doesn’t have too much personality yet. I expect she will have a bigger role going forward though. She already has a lot of confidence which is good.

While not a character, I wanted to give Miss Minutes a quick shoutout. This mascot is very amusing and works well in the TVA atmosphere. Her job is to constantly yell propaganda at everyone 24/7 through all of her TV shows and things like that. The tech behind her also seems very advanced. Naturally I would advise not believing anything she says but maybe the big trick is that what she is saying is actually legit. Who knows right? Either way you won’t be forgetting her anytime soon.

Then you have Sylvie, who is a variant that gets a pretty huge role in the series. She is pretty powerful which is why she is considered to be such a threat. In her first appearances she manages to take down quite a few TVA agents. She’s a fun enough character and is quite determined to achieve her goal. By the end of the series you have to decide if you’re on her side or not and that’ll probably determine how much you like her as a villain. I thought she did a pretty good job in the role.

Finally you have the leader of the TVA. Throughout the series they hype him up which makes sense since the guy running this whole multiversal company has to be pretty solid right? He knows everything that’s going to happen and as a result he is always at the top of the ranks. A cosmic being like that can always be a bit hit or miss depending on how powerful you find them to be. He’s interesting but I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan. He’s certainly not much of a fighter and that never helps a character’s chances in my book.

I would say the show’s biggest weak point is the romance though. It just doesn’t work at all. I’ve always found it hard to believe that two characters would fall for each other so easily and in Loki there is just no time for the characters to really learn about each other. Loki and Sylvie know each other for a few days at best before this starts up. You could definitely have had the whole adventure without the romance if you ask me and it would have probably worked better. Just have them be friends who understand each other in a way most could not. Since they are effectively the same person in different timelines, that could be a great way for them to empathize with each other. Would have made for a better dynamic.

Okay, it’s time we enter spoiler territory so tread the following grounds only if you have seen the show already or don’t mind spoilers. It’s time to really talk about what went down in the final episodes. While I would say the Cap and Winter Soldier didn’t really have a lot of twists in the end, this one’s like WandaVision where a whole lot happens in the second half. At only 6 episodes you expect a fast pacing of course but one impressive thing has been how big the effects of the shows are. Now to an extent you expect a lot of things to wrap up so people who are film only won’t be lost. WandaVision goes in a way where if you missed it, I get the feeling that you will still be okay. Likewise you can probably handle this in a similar way so you shouldn’t get your hopes too high but it certainly does change the game quite a bit.

So the TVA is basically a front for Kang (Kudos to the people who figured he was the head of the TVA from the start) as he tries to stay master of the timelines. See, he created them because without the TVA, a Kang ends up being born in all timelines and they inevitably fight for control in the end. With the TVA he is able to prevent any other Kang from being born. So it’s not that he prevents all timelines from splitting, he only stops this one outcome. It serves as a good way to add purpose to the organization and show that they don’t just act randomly.

It doesn’t change the idea that the TVA is a villainous organization though. They are openly brainwashing people to follow them and erasing entire timelines. This may be to stop the greater evil as they would say but the end doesn’t justify the means. They are still wiping out a bunch of people on a daily basis. So at the end Loki and Sylvie are given two options. Destroy Kang and dismantle the TVA or assume the throne and keep the status quo going. Naturally Sylvie wants to finish the job while Loki likes the idea of keeping things the same.

They both have merit of course but ultimately I think Sylvie’s on the right track. You don’t have to murder Kang but definitely you should dismantle the TVA or assume control in a new way. Wiping out people’s lives and brainwashing them can’t be the answer. There has to be a better way and at least this forces the issue. The final fight with Loki and Sylvie is pretty cool even if you know how it’s going to play out. Once you let emotions get to the top, you’ve already lost.

So in the ending, the war of the Kangs starts up again and a different one claimed victory this time. So, Loki retained his memories (Presumably Sylvie will keep hers as well) but everyone has been reset to the new timeline. Here’s the interesting part, the war has already ended since it takes place at the end of time like the last one and then scales back. So the reason the rest of the Marvel universe might not notice is they would have all been reset already. Perhaps Scarlet Witch and Dr. Strange would notice and perhaps not. The universe has already been reset in the past after all.

So I’m not really sure what Loki can possibly do in Season 2 since everything is already over. Perhaps he can convince Sylvie to murder the next Kang but based on the show’s logic, he would need to allow this since he would foresee it coming. In a way the show has probably written itself into a corner here. Kang is all powerful and he has already won in this universe. There are statues of him and the TVA is alive and well. No matter what Loki does, the universe has already been completely changed. You would need something crazy to stop Kang and change the universe, but again…Kang would know about it. That’s the tough thing with time travelers, they already know the future.

Still, I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out of course. It is a pretty unique concept to have battles across space and time since they’re already over before you were even born. It’s a fun concept to play around with in your head. It made for a really exciting ending to be sure. I’m much happier to see Kang at the top then the lizard creatures that turned out to just be a façade in the end.

As for the actual twist behind being erased, honestly I’d prefer if that just wasn’t a thing. It turns out that when you’re erased you fall into a desert land where a giant being just eats you. It takes the power of several Lokis to stop this long enough to escape. I’m not sure I buy this creature being able to destroy too many more powerful fighters but maybe Kang got lucky and only fairly weak ones ever caused another Kang to appear.

My main issue with the whole erasure plot twist is it just feels unnecessary. Why not just have the characters actually get blown away when they’re erased? I don’t see why you would need to send them somewhere and honestly blowing them up would be simpler for the TVA. Less variables and loose ends to worry about. Your target is just gone for eternity and you now have nothing to worry about. It was fun seeing the other Lokis though.

One of them even points out how using a knife is not as practical as general energy bolts. There was also a long standing fan theory that Loki escaped from Thanos with an illusion so those fans will feel vindicated here. Of course it was a different incarnation of Loki but it does show the strategy was feasible. Presumably you could even make the case that perhaps the main Loki did this trick as well and we just wouldn’t know until the future pops up. It seems unlikely though so I wouldn’t hold your hopes out for that.

The battle royale between them was fun as well. I would have liked to have had more cool action scenes like that. I do think the show had the proper balance between action and comedy though. Each episode was sure to get you some good laughs and treat you to fun action scenes. I wish Loki had thought of a better way to dodge or defend himself in the Sif situation but it was intense to see him get beaten up so many times. Throw in the cool time travel concepts and that’s a wrap. The show was a complete experience. I also like the TVA as well. I may not take them seriously as an organization because they seem far too weak but considering that they’re really just a front for Kang messing with everyone, it starts to add up quite nicely.

Overall, Loki was a pretty fun show. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how season 2 goes. I hope Loki is ready to focus on the task at hand and isn’t moping about romance though. That would put a damper on his spirits in season 2. He’s definitely at his best when he’s being overconfident and smug about everything. It’s what makes him a really enjoyable character so you need to keep that in. There’s still a lot of places you can go with the plot even if I think it will be constrained in other areas. Loki’s probably going to need a whole lot of plot armor if he wants to get through this which is pretty unavoidable when time travel is involved anyway. We’ll see if the “What If” show coming up can match this one.

Overall 7/10

The God of High School


I should probably create a category for Manhua/Webtoons at some point but for now I’m putting this in the manga category as a place holder. I’m finally caught up with the series just as it’s about to end. It’s been a great journey and the series holds its own with the all time greats. I’ll have a review up for this series as soon as it ends.

Overall 9/10

Toy Story 2 Review


The sequel has arrived. Toy Story 2 is one of those films where I remembered the villain quite well but not some of the other elements as much. It’s definitely a solid title and for the big question of whether or not it defeats the original, I’d say that it does. It’s a pretty solid follow up to the classic and we get to actually have Buzz confront his ultimate villain. What’s not to love right?

Picking up where the first film left off, Andy is now growing older. He has to make certain decisions on which toys he wants to play with. Unfortunately for Woody, he has been ditched again after injuring his arm. We get the iconic scene where Andy drops Woody and runs off. Woody makes a daring rescue to save another toy but in his weakened condition he is unable to escape the powers of the chicken man employee who steals Woody and decides to make some huge profits.

Buzz and friends are naturally on the job to save Woody but it’ll be difficult. Buzz is used to these grand adventures but the rest of the toys are just normal house toys and don’t really know what to do in these situations. Buzz will really have to carry them here. Meanwhile for Woody, he starts having some doubts on if he really wants to go back home to Andy. If he stays with the kidnapper, Woody will be on display at a museum for many years to come and will effectively be immortalized. Additionally, if he leaves then the rest of the Woody collection set (Jessie, Bullseye, and Stinky Pete) will be thrown back into a dark box never to come out again. The stakes are a lot higher than they’ve ever been before.

In a sense there’s two main plots here so lets talk about Woody’s first. Once he is trapped by the collector it’s more of a low key plot where he has to decide what the right thing to do here is. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea to stay with the other toys if that’s what he really wants to do but he should at least let the others know that he will be gone. It’s a long journey but he would need to make it first. Additionally, I feel like he would end up regretting it eventually. The toys apparently don’t die of old age so he would be trapped inside glass at the museum for centuries with absolutely nothing to do. I don’t see a whole lot of fates being worse than that so it just doesn’t seem like it would be a good idea.

His new friends can also be a bit temperamental. Particularly Jessie who starts off dancing and singing about how glad she is to see him, to wishing he would go away and insulting him, to going back to dancing. She takes every bit of news really hard and the old man doesn’t seem to have a great opinion of Woody with his subtle digs. Considering these may be the only people he can talk to for the rest of his life…that’s going to be tricky.

So I think Woody could have thought about this a little more. His plan to ultimately offer to take them with him was always the best one. The climax would have played out a whole lot differently if he had led off with that, that’s for sure. It was an intense climax though with some solid action so that was a good way to end things.

Meanwhile you had the Buzz plot with the rest of the classic toys. They were good as expected. The pig is still nice and tough with the rest of the toys being there for backup. Buzz really gets a lot to do here as you would expect. He has to fight another version of himself and Zurg even shows up. It was a pretty intense confrontation to say the least.

I remembered Zurg’s role being a lot bigger personally but it’s been a while since I saw the movie so I suppose I just added extra scenes in my head. That kind of thing may happen once in a while after all. Still, he makes the most of every scene he’s in. While his battle with Buzz is ultimately played for laughs, it’s fun since it finally completes his character arc even if it was a different version. I’m just a little sad that we didn’t get to see the main Buzz fight him.

Both of them have the same core personality though so I guess that works out. Their fight was cool and it was nice for Buzz to finally have a worthy opponent. If you want a serious fight between them, then you have the opening scene of the movie which is played 100% seriously. It’s not quite real but you do get a cool what if of how things would go if both characters did have their respective abilities. As always Buzz is a blast in this film throughout.

The new characters were good too. Jessie can be a bit rough on Woody but she did have to endure a long time in pitch darkness so that sounds pretty rough. I think she probably should have just tried to escape now that Woody is here instead of banking on the museum idea. She can fight which is always good. The dog is hype and then you’ve got the leader of the Woody team who plays quite a big role by the end of it. He makes for a very intimidating presence and added a lot to the story so you definitely won’t forget him. In the end he had an even bigger role than Zurg.

As with the first film the writing is very solid. The characters are good and the story will keep you engaged throughout. The animation has improved from the first one so you can tell that it is quite a bit newer. It’s cool how the actual universe ages along with the films so Andy is quite a bit older than he was in the first film. He’s still more of a non character as he doesn’t do much but he is important to the story itself as a plot element.

Overall, Toy Story 2 is a very solid all around title. It improves on everything that made the first film good and never looks back. The humor is always good when it arrives and the film really feels like it ends in a flash. It’s a title I would definitely recommend to anyone that just wants to enjoy a pretty fun film. You can watch this one at any time and have a good experience.

Overall 7/10

Toy Story Review


Toy Story is certainly a classic movie that is extremely well known. It’s rare for Pixar to turn one movie into 4 like this but Toy Story has proven time and time again to be a big draw. It’s been ages since I saw the original and I never reviewed it so now was the time. It holds up quite well to this day with a strong story and quality characters. You can see how it ended up being a winner.

The movie begins with introducing us to Woody and his friends. On this planet, all toys are sentient creatures who simply live by a code not to let humans know that they are real. They’re quite good at playing dead to the point where it seems like an innate ability. One day, their owner Andy gets a new toy and that throws everything into a different perspective. His name is Buzz Lightyear and he doesn’t believe that he is a toy. The guy thinks he is legitimately a galactic agent and despite this, all of Woody’s friends are hanging out with him now. Woody makes a desperate attempt to take Buzz out once and for all, but this leads to both of them getting stranded away from home. Can they possibly return or will they die against the bully next door?

Since they are all toys here, even crossing a small distance can be difficult. After all for a decent part of the film they’re only a few blocks away but it’s still quite the journey. The toughest part of their journey was when they were only 1 block away so it gives you a good sense of scale here. Doing just about anything can be tricky for them.

The animation’s pretty solid. It’s fun how they make the toys move while keeping them looking fairly realistic. The Buzz figure for example is something I could definitely see myself having fun with many years ago. It’s quite high quality and had a lot of gadgets. Back in my day the action figures didn’t have voice acting like this. Aside from Andy the only humans we see are usually antagonists and are drawn to look rather ugly like the characters in Finding Nemo. Get ready for the main bully who even blows up toys.

Now if you think about it, the fact that toys are all alive can get rather dark for them. Still, when they enter their toy state they are able to block out pain and such fairly well so hopefully that helps when being blown to smithereens. It should help…right? It might also help with memory like Buzz thinking he’s real even while being played with the whole time. You can probably assume that he’s just in deep cover since he knows he couldn’t fight the humans or he’s a bit slow on the uptake. That’s one of the main comedic plots here so I suppose you just don’t want to look into it too much.

Buzz was the best character either way though. I liked his confidence and he’s definitely a lot more pro active than the rest of the characters. If he wants to do something then he’s just going to go ahead and do it. He doesn’t need any complicated plans or anything like that. Buzz is also quick to assume the best and help the others out which is why he fell for Woody’s trap. Woody may have thrown a lot of insults his way but Buzz didn’t take any of them too seriously. He was also beating Woody when they had their fight.

I think it’s fair to say that Woody was still the main character here though. His character arc here is really coming to terms with the fact that Andy wants to spend more time with Buzz. Woody had been so used to being in first place all the time that anything lower just didn’t sit right with him. In a way he probably can’t understand how the other toys feel as a result since they were never number 1. Gradually he realizes that he’s being better and starts being a nicer toy.

It’s a solid character arc from start to finish. Naturally there are a bunch of other main supporting toys but Woody and Buzz got the biggest roles. The pig was good for a lot of his one liners. He seems a lot more jaded than the rest and loves throwing out insults whenever he can. You’ve got the Potato Head who is reasonably tough. He’s a little less vocal than the others but is always around. Then you have the dog who can really stretch.

I’m not really sure what the point of that toy would be though. Do you play with it just by pulling it around? Dunno, it doesn’t have a whole lot of appeal but as a character he’s cool. The dog is useful in a lot of situations. Bo Peep was a nice enough character who gives Woody encouragement from time to time. She doesn’t appear as much as the main crew though and just comes in to save the day at times. Finally there’s Rex the dinosaur who may not be the toughest dino around but Buzz gives him some nice pointers.

A film like Toy Story will really live or die by the writing. You could say that for any film I suppose but particularly it’s true for films that aren’t big action thrillers or films with big emotional highs like a sport title. This is really a slice of life title about toys realizing what it means to be a toy. If the writing was lackluster or boring then the film would reflect that real quick.

Instead the film stays interesting throughout because the characters are all fun and the dialogue is good. The film also feels incredibly short though. It’s really over before you know it. Animated movies do tend to be on the shorter side but maybe it felt extra short because it was so good. It tells a complete story from the character introductions to the big climax at the end. The toys finally have a sense of unity to them so now they’re ready for the second film.

I wouldn’t say I have any complaints here. There wasn’t any part of the film I found weak. It’s a very unique concept and the movie had a lot of fun showing how crazy the whole thing was. The characters have to constantly run and hide not to mention how they live in fear of every Birthday party. It’s a stressful life being a toy but someone’s got to live it. I would say they should probably just hide somewhere so they’re never found and can just wander around all day but it seems like being played with is a toy’s greatest desire so that wouldn’t appeal to them. It’s interesting since the movie effectively built a bunch of rules around being a toy so that’s pretty neat.

Overall, Toy Story is a solid film. It’s definitely one of the stronger Pixar titles and has a lot of replay value. The gags all work well and the characters are likable which is all you really need to have a good hit. We’ll see if the sequels are able to match or even surpass the original or if it’s all downhill from here. Sequels always have a lot of pressure on them after all.

Overall 7/10