Haikyu!


I started this series a little while back and it’s definitely been a pretty hype title. I’ll have a review up for when I finish it but you really can’t go wrong with Volleyball so I don’t see this title taking a dip. Every sport should have a definitive manga title and with this one in the books that’s one more sport complete to join Basketball (Kuroko), Football (Eyeshield 21) and Tennis. (Prince of Tennis)

Overall 8/10

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Review


The Hunchback of Notre Dame is definitely quite a bit darker than your average Disney film. Someone breaks their neck in the opening scene and from there it only gets darker. The movie does a good job of balancing this out though so it stays intense without going into super gritty territory. I wouldn’t say that it’s quite on the level of something like Frozen but this is a very good film. I thought it had one of the most memorable songs from the villain which definitely mixed in well with the flames everywhere. If you want a very atmospheric title then this is the one for you.

The movie starts with Claude going around murdering people as per usual. He manages to destroy a mother and goes for the child when a member of the Church shows up. He scares Claude into having the boy adopted instead. This boy would grow up to be known as Quasimodo. His body is quite deformed and so Claude has decided to hide him away in the church for all eternity. The Church doesn’t seem to have any qualms with this and Quasi was brainwashed as he was growing up to never leave the room. Still, he hopes to leave someday to experience life outside of the walls. One day he gets his chance and sneaks out. There he meets a dancer named Esmeralda and they become quick friends. Can Quasimodo keep this secret away from Claude? Additionally, Quasi may have to choose a side soon because Claude has decided to ramp up his efforts to murder all of the gypsies in the land.

The plot of having the villain trap and trick the hero is definitely a Disney classic. It wasn’t so long ago that I saw Tangled with a very similar premise. The idea is to manipulate the hero right away so that he just doesn’t know any better. I would argue that Claude is a little less obvious than the villain from Tangled but of course it would still be nice if Quasimodo has escaped earlier on to get into the spotlight. It doesn’t help that in his case the townsfolk probably will be pretty mean to him since they’re never happy to have someone who looks different. There’s a whole contest in the town about making fun of people. It’s not the nicest town so in some ways it’s not like Claude was totally lying about it, but of course we all know that his intent wasn’t exactly just. He knew exactly what he was doing the whole time.

As a main character Quasimodo’s not bad. He certainly means well and is a pretty nice guy. Things don’t always work out super well for him but he’s earnest. He does help Esmeralda when things get tough and at the end he’s pretty understanding. I wouldn’t call him one of the better characters, but he’s not bad. Then you have Esmeralda who is a pretty strong heroine. She does a good job of rebelling against Claude and making a mockery of his events. In some ways she’s a lot like Zorro as she uses her athletics to get the better of her opponents. The fact that she can actively fight is definitely very good and so she’s a standout character here.

Next up is Phoebus and he is a worthy counterpart to Esmeralda. He’s a soldier in the army who wants to do his best but gradually sees more and more how corrupt the whole thing is. Eventually he has enough of this. Once he turns away the guy never looks back and was definitely crucial in helping one of the families from a burning house. He does let his guard down at times but fights rather well. There are a few supporting characters like various gargoyles flying around but I wouldn’t say any of them were particularly entertaining. I understand why they’re around though as Quasimodo’s scenes may not have held up as well without them. He needs someone to talk to after all. I’d also say I was less than impressed with the main priest. He talks tough but ultimately doesn’t really stand against Claude.

As the main villain Claude’s definitely not one of the better ones. He reminds me a whole lot of Jafar. He’s more interested in scoring the main villain than in something more ambitious like taking over the country. He already has great influence within the town even though he doesn’t like the people. He just wants to eliminate the Gypsies at all costs even though he can’t decipher his own feelings. It’s part of what makes the Hellfire song pretty intense though. The villain songs tend to be quite memorable and this one is no different. It has some of the best background visuals I’ve seen in a song since Aladdin and there’s always something going on. So while I can’t take Claude seriously as a villain, at least he has that going for him.

In general the animation is quite striking and is easily one of the best looking Disney films. I dare say it even looks better than some of the ones that would come afterwards like Frozen, Big Hero 6, or Tangled. The colors are very sharp and all of the movement is on point. It may even be the best looking Disney animated film when I think about it. The songs from the Gargoyles don’t really rank but the villain song alone puts the soundtrack on the map as well. The writing is on point and so the film succeeded in all of the key areas. As I mentioned, the film doesn’t hold back on being quite serious as well. I was not expecting the opening scene to be quite so sinister and it sets up some tension right away as Claude is willing to do whatever it takes to win.

There is some romance in the film which I admit was not handled all that well but I was glad there was no drama with Quasimodo. He is satisfied being a good friend which is important. For Esmeralda and Phoebus, they only just met so the whole thing seems rather rushed. I think you could have axed that plot and it wouldn’t have really hurt the film at all. You could use the extra scenes to maybe show the Priest actually fighting back against Claude. That would have looked really good for him at least.

Overall, The Hunchback of Note Dame is a solid film. The movie feels very high quality throughout and the pacing is quick. The movie definitely goes all in on making Quasimodo deformed to the point where he may be a little harder to look at compared to other main characters but does underscore that he’s a good guy. The narrative irony being that the main townsfolk are the real monsters here as they eagerly go about trying to put others beneath them. The town seems very mean spirited in general so it’s good that there are some heroes around. Phoebus and Esmeralda will likely go about making the town a whole lot more hospitable in the future. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the sequel since by now things should be looking up. I suppose there are probably still enough corrupt people running around to keep on messing things up though. It’s hard to change the whole place in a day.

Overall 7/10

Crash Twinsanity Review


It’s time to look at one of the classic Crash games from the PS2 era. I knew right away that it was going to be time to give this a shot after going through the newer Crash game. It’s always fun to take a peak at the classic games and Twinsanity definitely has that charm. In some ways I would even say that the plot may beat the newer one. It definitely has a lot of fun embracing the crazyness of the series and a certain guest star’s cameo at the end of the game was brilliant. It’s not something that can be topped very easily.

So the game starts with Cortex hatching another plan of his. He dresses up as Coco and is able to even trick Crash with his disguise. It’s not Crash’s best moment but you could also make the case that it’s pretty much par for the course with this Bandicoot. Unfortunately for Cortex there are other players at work here. A pair of aliens have shown up and they want revenge on Cortex for something he did to them as a child. They certainly don’t tend to forgive and forget the way that other characters do. Cortex is basically forces to work with Crash as a result so that he doesn’t get destroyed. Along the way all of Crash’s other enemies pop up including the iconic Dark Crash. Will the heroes be able to win?

The plot is pretty bonkers but that’s part of why the game succeeds so well. Things just happen out of nowhere and the story goes crazy. Dark Crash literally jumps out of nowhere to chase Cortex and vanishes as soon as he shows up. It’s almost like how Shadow just suddenly showed up in Sonic Boom the game. Dark Crash has a pretty terrifying final scene though so he’s still someone you don’t want to mess with. Cortex certainly does look very good here so I can see why he was a fan favorite. We learn a bit about his backstory like in his school days and more of his motivations for dealing with Crash. The guy may not be a very serious Crash villain most of the time but he is still a genius so you really don’t want to be on his bad side. He can deal out quite a bit of pain when he really wants to. Even by the end of the game he still tries his usual tricks.

For a villain like Cortex you do gotta find the right blend of comedy and action for his character to work. Cortex is just skilled enough where you can picture him destroying Crash but a nice enough guy where they could team up on the regular. I’m always up for a team up so that part of the plot was definitely a blast. The ending also leaves a lot of potential for future games even if it’s unlikely. Perhaps the most emotional part of the game is that Crash clearly still wants to be friends with Cortex. he doesn’t let any of this get to him personally as seen by his attempt to be Cortex’s friend in the end. The betrayal hits really close to home as a result and you may even shed a tear.

As for the gameplay, this is your classic 3D Platformer. You jump across obstacles and try to get to the end. While it’s a simple style, the execution wasn’t nearly on the same level as what I’m used to seeing in the series. Some jumps that should be very easy end up being quite tricky thanks to the various camera angles. It’s hard to see where you’re going and in the levels where you’re running towards the screen you better have lightning fast reflexes. The gameplay changes at times when you play as a different character. I was sad that the robot style gameplay only showed up for part of one level but that was certainly fun. Maybe it just comes down to the physics engine not being very good which messes with the jumps. I don’t know, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly but making the experience a little smoother would go a long way.

The graphics are excellent here. The character animations are often way out of model but I believe it’s on purpose. Sonic DX for example was very authentic in the graphics and it just so happened that it would become very humorous in the future. For this game I think they were trying to make it as out there as possible and I would say that it really succeeded. I love the designs and mixing that in with the dialogue is perfect. The scene where Cortex’s voice cracks as he talks to his teacher mixed in with the animation was brilliant.

The soundtrack can also be pretty fun. It’s a really crazy one for sure though. Sometimes you’ll have a very tropical theme and then you’ll quickly switch to something that’s pure rock. The changes happen quite suddenly and you can never guess what the next tune will sound like. The shock value may not be enough to make this one of the all time greats, but I would definitely call it a pretty solid array of themes.

There isn’t a lot of replay value here but enough to keep you going. Each level has some gems which look like Chaos Emeralds. So you can go back to the old levels and try to grab them. The hub world is also quite large so you can have a lot of fun exploring. I almost wonder why the game bothered with the hub world since you never really get to walk around it during the story. It was nice that they put in the effort to set it up though so that’s definitely pretty neat. I suppose I would recommend giving it a shot at some point. The game is pretty cheap so it’s well worth the purchase.

Overall, Crash Twinsanity is a pretty fun game. I do feel like the gameplay wasn’t very polished though and that’s what would keep it under the main 3 as well as the recent time travel story. You gotta have clean gameplay to accompany the rest of the title. Still, it’s a fun adventure. The game may be short but you should die enough times to stretch out the length a bit. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how Crash fares in the next installments. It’s not like the enemies are going to be getting any easier so Crash will really have to focus himself. One thing’s for sure, this Bandicoot is never afraid of charging in since he can’t understand the danger.

Overall 7/10

Krull Review


It’s time to look at a classic Sci-Fi film from a while back. This one is definitely going for that classic Lord of the Rings feel with a bit of Star Wars thrown in. That said, aside from the energy blasts and a quick scene at the beginning it’s harder to see that. LOTR is first and foremost the angle this one is going for. I wouldn’t say it did a poor job. It destroys the Lord of the Rings with ease of course. The film may be a tad slow at times but it’s an adventure that will keep your interest and the climax makes for some good action scenes.

The film starts by introducing us to the Slayers. A group of monsters that have taken over many planets over the years. There is seemingly no way to stop them and so they have quickly become one of the driving forces of the universe. They are led by the Beast. On one planet two kingdoms decide to unite so that they will be ready. Princess Lyssa marries Prince Colwyn so they can usher in a new era. Unfortunately the Slayers couldn’t care less so they break in and kidnap Lyssa anyway. Both kingdoms were burned to the ground and just about everyone was murdered. Colwyn swears to find Lyssa. Fortunately an old man named Ynyr agrees to help him. The two will find more allies along the way and Colwyn is given an ancient weapon to use to slay the Beast. Will this be enough to turn the odds?

It’s interesting that for the magical weapon they went for more of a Shruiken Star/Chakram disc as opposed to a sword. It’s certainly more original so I’ll give the film props there. It’s also just a handy weapon in general since you can throw it and then it will return to you like a boomerang. You can’t go wrong there right? He’s told not to use it until the end of the film though so you don’t get to see it in action for very long. It does look good at the end although I got nervous when it was stuck on the villain. That would have been rather anticlimactic but it’s just that Colwyn couldn’t draw out its full power.

The scenery and effects are fairly good. The forest and deserts here aren’t exactly my ideal setting but the film did a solid job with what it had. There was definitely a good amount of effort behind this one and that’s the important thing. The fight scenes are pretty solid and I like the energy blasts. The kingdom’s soldiers had solid armor but they all looked terrible so I guess it was just for show. The villains turning into mini xenomorphs when their masks break was definitely disturbing. It makes you wonder exactly how they are able to operate the larger bodies. Must be high tech. It can make for a bit of a violent look at times but that’s mainly just the color of the creatures themselves.

As a lead Colwyn is pretty good I’d say. For starters he easily resisted the charms of an enemy agent. Even entertaining the notion would have been a death cry to his character since the entire point of this journey is to arrive and save Lyssa. Messing that up would have had me shaking my head to be sure. You just can’t make that kind of mistake and he didn’t. Colwyn turned out to be a solid leader and he was resolute in his quest. He may not stand out a whole lot as someone you’ll think about in the future but he did everything he needed to do.

Then we have Lyssa. She certainly wasn’t very intimidated by the Beast with how she kept talking back to him so she gets points there. She doesn’t get a whole lot to do here as part of the fact that she is captured for most of the film. It’s regrettable but expected. If we ever get a sequel hopefully she could fight more. The Beast himself is definitely a lot like Sauron with the huge eye. I can’t say I was a fan. His whole goal is basically to marry Lyssa aside from ruling the universe. Why? It’s a goal that just seems pretty much out of the blue and it’s always hard for me to get on board with a villain like that. A villain’s motivation is a huge indicator of if I will like the character and this didn’t work out.

Then we have some supporting characters like the shape shifter Ergo. He’s a fun enough character. He’s going for Usopp vibes where he talks a really good game but at the end of the day he is scared of just about everything and isn’t all that strong. By the end he has his big moments of course but we’ll see if you can take it seriously by then. Then there’s Rell who is a peaceful Cyclops. I wasn’t a big fan of his character. He doesn’t really add much to the story beyond having another ally at the ready.

What fantasy epic would be complete without the old man who serves as a mentor to the lead right? Ynyr is here to provide guidance and even gets his own subplot where he has to infiltrate a spider lair. Unfortunately I can’t really give him a lot of props here. The subplot was one of the weakest parts of the film which is the first mistake. There didn’t seem to be much of a point to having this in at all. We learn that his son was murdered and it involves the master of the lair. The whole thing gets pretty intense but it has nothing to do with anything. Why not just have the first fortune teller find out the truth? I felt bad for that guy, left defenseless by the rest of the group and picked off with ease. The heroes aren’t always the best about staying together and often times that was Ynyr’s fault since he would ask to be left alone. Unity is when the heroes are strongest so they shouldn’t split up so easily.

The soundtrack has that Star Wars feel to be sure. There are a lot of happy themes that play throughout that should fill you with hope and energy. They’re all rather solid. Perhaps not the most original themes out there but they still do the job and give you the correct ambiance. At the end of the day this is a fairly light fantasy adventure even if by the end the body count is rather high. The climax itself is very serious and I got a Rogue One feel from it. When you go on a mission like this I suppose you never expect everyone to live through it. That’s just not going to happen when the villain is of this magnitude.

Overall, Krull works rather well. Old school fantasy adventures usually aren’t my thing so adding in the brief Sci-Fi bits definitely helped out. The Slayers have solid designs even if I would have preferred that they kept them and not turn into little lizard things when they blow up. At times the film may go through a few slow patches here and there but for the most part it’s pretty consistent. If someone tells you to watch LOTR or the Hobbit, tell them to watch this one instead. It’s not very well known but a lot of effort definitely went into it initially.

Overall 7/10

Dune Review


It’s time to look at a very ambitious film with a huge character roster. This was clearly trying to be a big Star Wars/Lord of the Rings kind of experience. You could also make some similarities to Game of Thrones purely from a plot perspective where you have 3 kingdoms fighting for control. In the midst of this you also have the rebels making noise. Unfortunately while the film starts out with some promise and will grab your interest, it loses this shortly afterwards. The film then continues its spiral of descent until you walk away thinking that this was a terrible movie.

The movie starts with showing us the Emperor as he is greeted by his boss. The monster lets him know that the son of the Duke has to be murdered right away. It would seem that he has some ties to the spice and the holy water so they need to remove the threats right away. The Emperor is fine with this as he likes murdering people off anyway. His plan is to have World A take down World B and then he’ll get World C to beat A. With all of the forces sufficiently weakened then he’ll be able to finish off the Duke. Additionally he has a man on the inside so he figures this will be pretty easy. Then he can go back to manufacturing the spice.

In this world, the Spice is the greatest resource of all. It allows you to gain cosmic consciousness and it can extent your life to a great degree. Here’s the problem, only the chosen few can actually use it. According to the main character, everyone else has died who tried to use it. It makes you question a bit why the spice is such a hot commodity but I suppose just the possibility that you can use it for eternal life is a promising prospect. I still feel like it’s not huge though. I also have to question how the Duke’s planet didn’t do better in the war. Their abilities seem to far outstrip the other planets when you think about it. They can use their words to force opponents to listen to them (Only top nobles have this power) and they can also turn their words into energy blasts. The latter seems like a common skill as they taught it to the rebels quite fast. I’ll chalk this up to their never teaching anyone because it wasn’t necessary at the time.

Where the film really goes wrong is that it goes from Zany to just grotesque and mean spirited very quickly. Mainly this is due to the inclusion of the villainous Baron. The Baron is made to be a very grotesque creature who goes around blowing people up and we get a pointless scene where he eats an animal. Any scene with him is bound to be quite violent or gross, sometimes a mix of both. The film definitely pushes the boundaries quite hard for a PG-13 film as I’d say you could make a solid case for this going to the next level. This is really where the film trips up. The Baron has numerous scenes and they are all completely terrible. The film goes for max grit the whole time and it takes away from all the other plots. It gets to the point where you want to automatically skip any scene with the Baron to get back to the other plots.

Paul’s plot is the most interesting by far. His planet made for a good background and the hero was introduced as a good fighter from the start so it’s easy to see why he was so resourceful later on. I would have liked to have seen him use the crystal barrier technique a little more but to be fair, that move doesn’t seem all that useful in this world since “slow” objects can pierce it. Naturally the villains know this so they put it to good use. It did make for a fun fight scene near the beginning but in a way it was also pointless. If you cut the crystal shield out of the film then absolutely nothing changes which is pretty much the definition of filler.

The movie is rather long but I’d say the pacing is solid. There are a lot of characters and factions running around as I said so you need that time to develop them. Then every faction has some key players and traitors running around so that has to be accounted for as well. An interesting thing the film did here is letting us hear the character’s thoughts the whole time. In books there tends to be a lot of inner monologue that is left out of movie/TV adaptions. I think this is a pretty natural way to show those thoughts and it would work well in many other films as well. Of course here it was to remind us that the characters have telepathy so there are no real secrets to be had, but that doesn’t change the base concept which is pretty solid either way.

The effects for the fight scenes are okay, but maybe a little sub-par. I liked the backgrounds and scenery, those were handled well. It feels like the film copped out of using real effects a lot of the time though like with the heroes having guns that shoot invisible bullets made out of their words. It’s not like you could grab any kind of effects from that. So from a visual standpoint it could have been a little better but I suppose the fight scenes weren’t the main thing to focus on here. The writing was okay I guess, but the movie did little to show me how Paul and his forces were able to defeat the Emperor’s. The Emperor had legions of ships and yet they all flew low in orbit so they could be crushed by Worms and blasted by the ground forces. Why not just blow up the planet at that point or target Paul from long distance? The only real answer is that they didn’t have the technical ability to target Paul from afar in which case their tech isn’t all that great.

While there are a lot of characters I wouldn’t say most of them are particularly likable. The film goes out of its way to make quite a few of them grotesque as well. The best character would be Duncan though. While he may not have lasted a super long time or anything, he did come through when it counted to aid Paul. Then you have Paul’s sister who appeared suddenly near the end of the film and did a good job. Her powers definitely seem like they will have a lot of potential. The rest of the characters are mainly here to get wrecked or get in the way. They talk a good game but never realize that they are going to be the next ones to be bumped off until it’s too late.

Overall, Dune is a film that started out with some promise but it all quickly fell out the window and this became one of the worst films I’ve seen. It does succeed in getting the feel of a grand epic but it just couldn’t tell a good story and I feel like that happens with quite a few of these kind of films. I certainly was not a fan of the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit series either. Same with Pirates of the Caribbean and what those all have in common is that they are very long films with lots of plots and characters running around. You definitely have to handle these kinds of films carefully or you end up biting more than you can chew. Additionally, all it takes is one bad plot to spoil the rest. In this case that was the Baron’s plot. Really a waste of time and just a horrible excuse for grit. If they had cut this out and every scene related to the Baron then the film would have been so much better. If you want a solid Sci-Fi film I’d recommend checking out something like Men in Black instead. Now that one is a film that is solid in all aspects.

Overall 0/10

My Hero Academia Make It! Do-or-Die Survival Training Review


It’s time to look at a recent My Hero OVA. At two episodes you do wonder a bit why it wasn’t just released as one special or placed inside the show itself to buy it 2 weeks for the manga to get further ahead. I suppose since MHA is more of a seasonal show than ongoing they wouldn’t need 2 extra weeks. Well, it’s always fun to have some more adventures so that’s pretty neat. This one’s about getting the kids closer together with their bonds and teamwork so we get to see them in another training session. As always you could say that Bakugo is the MVP here.

The training session is simple, the students of UA have to go inside a partially destroyed building to find a lost civilian. For the purposes of the training they are to imagine that this is a normal person but in the exercise they will use a training dummy. Things fall out of the expected parameters when the building caves in. The students must now prioritize getting out of here alive. Ida has already been knocked out so the others need to get him to a doctor. The pros refuse to help so the kids will have to do everything. They’ve already split up into multiple parties though so even coordinating a plan will be difficult. Some kids may have to take things into their own hands from here.

One of the reasons why Bakugo is always a fun character is because he takes action. While everyone else is just talking a lot and standing around he is actually doing things. Bakugo is not the kind of guy who just takes a backseat and hopes for the best. He actually jumps in time after time. This special is no exception as he immediately goes for the backup power supply and also makes sure to complete the mission. While the other teams panic or immediately forget about the mission, Bakugo stays on task. He also recognizes when other kids are bluffing and stays back to protect them. His confidence is still absolute as always and when you mix his explosive power into the mix then it’s not surprising that he will one day be a pro.

The other vanguards here would be Deku and Todoroki. Todoroki is crucial towards the end of the special with his ice. It may not be a permanent fix but he covered a large chunk of the destroyed area so that was pretty good. Then you have Deku who always comes in clutch for executing the plans and crushing any extra debris. If not for the other kids being around Deku would be able to escape this area easily. His Once For All power is really well suited to this scenario. I’d make the case that it’s the best all around ability from all of the students but that’s borderline obvious with Mirio’s ability being the only one that’s close so I won’t bother.

It’s a fun special that goes by pretty quickly. All of the students who are partaking in the exercise get their moments to shine except for Ida. I guess the reason why he got his injury was when he tried to save another classmate so he gets some points for that but if his burst was a little quicker he would have been okay. Just have to throw that out there. I imagine fans of the kids who get less of a role as the series goes on will be glad to see them being useful here. Everyone has a different quirk so while in a fight it may be clear who the strongest are, some of these characters are really good at support. Take Froppy for example. While her elastic tongue isn’t viable for combat, it was helpful here for catching one of the kids who was going to plummet to their doom. Since most of the heroes can’t fly that kind of ability is a really good safety net.

The animation looks pretty solid here. It’s like a standard episode. I wouldn’t say it goes beyond that but since there are no fight scenes in this special they probably figured that would be a waste. As long as the character designs are on point and the animation is smooth, I wouldn’t say there is any real issue that should be had. My Hero’s animation has always been consistently solid. We get the classic tunes from the TV show as well which further gives it the look and feel of a classic episode.

Overall, Do or Die is a good adventure. It’s always fun to see the heroes in new situations. It’s the very reason why “filler” as a concept isn’t bad. You’ll only be with the characters for so long so a few extra adventures sound good to me. It’ll be good if we can get some more OVA adventures with the crew. That said, I’d like to see the writers challenge themselves to give us a quick OVA with some actual villains and fight scenes. Naruto and the Water Village is a good symbol of how you can do a quick adventure with brand new villains and some fights. Just have the heroes go on some kind of vacation where it turns out there are some villains present. Then presto, you’ve got yourself a quality adventure. Regardless, fight scene or not I would recommend checking this special out if you’re a My Hero fan. Alternately, this is a good pilot of sorts if you’re someone who’s on the fence about starting the series. It’s pretty much a day in the life of MHA so if you like this then odds are good that you’ll like the series.

Overall 7/10

Your Name Review


It’s time to take a look at the manga version of a film I watched a long while ago. It’s definitely a very straight adaption so if you liked the movie then you would definitely like the manga and vice versa. If you haven’t actually checked this one out in any form before then I’m confident you will still like it. The story here is pretty good and I always like the body swapping plot. Of course you have to handle it with care but if done right then it opens up a lot of possibilties of what you can do. The premise here is also pretty original in how the two main characters switch bodies every few days as opposed to it being permanent for a while.

The manga starts with a teenage girl named Mitsuha remarking that her small town is rather boring. She wishes she were a guy in a big Tokyo city where more interesting things happen. One day she wakes up as a guy and has one of the best days of her life. She figures it was a dream but then Mitsuha starts to notice signs that this wasn’t. Writing in her notebook and people commenting that she was odd the other day. She also has no memory of the days in which she “acted off”. We then meet the other main character named Taki and his situation is really the same as hers. He wakes up one day as a girl and then this continues to happen. After some experimenting they find out that they exchange bodies every 2 days and this goes on for weeks. They try and give each other signs so they don’t mess up each other’s life but something’s bound to go wrong. Will they ever discover why this is happening?

A lot of the fun naturally comes from seeing the characters operate outside of their element. Who handles the other situation better? Well, it’s hard to say since both of them improve the life of the other but I’d have to say that Mitsuha ends up being the MVP here. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each. Mitsuha managed to score Taki a date, she made his father the best chopped potatoes ever, improved Taki’s job performance, and even got people into thinking he was a nice guy. The main con is that she had a bad habit of spending all of his money. While that may sound dismissive, it is a pretty big deal. He ends up being fine with it but imagine if he was saving up for something. That would have been pretty disappointing for sure.

Then you have Taki. Well, for the positives he got the bullies to stop messing with Mitsuha and made her a popular star among all of the sport teams. He even got a bunch of people asking her out. On the other hand, he doesn’t even try to act like a normal girl and puts Mitsuha in a bunch of embarrassing situations. Additionally, he definitely oversteps his bounds quite a bit by taking advantage of the fact that he’s a girl. While it’s played off as a comedic subplot that he is always acting rather pervy, it really makes you lose respect for the guy. They’re supposed to be friends and yet he keeps pulling this off and even at the end of the series in an emotional moment he lies to her face about this. Taki’s just not a great guy no matter how much the film tries to play him off as a good guy. Nah, I’m not buying it.

I also have to dock some more points for Taki not bothering to write his name down so she would remember him. The whole plan was to write their names in each other’s hands and he broke that on a whim. Yeah, Taki can be pretty selfish and a lot more petty than Mitsuha. In case you haven’t guessed, I thought she was the much better character. She really did her best to improve his life and I also thought she was ore sympathetic. The manga goes out of its way to show that she’s really not happy in her town while Taki was having a pretty fun time in his. Even if they hadn’t switched bodies things were going pretty well for him when you think about it.

The ending’s not very good but of course I can’t go into details on this. All I’ll say is that it’s just not very satisfying. Even if things turn out well in the long run, it’ll never really be the same without the history behind it. The ending could have been far worse though like if Your Name had opted to go for the whole destiny can’t be changed thing. I never bought into that so it always makes for a pretty bad ending. You just can’t let that happen and fortunately this series did not.

I’d say part of why the adventure works is because it’s always easy to think of what it would be like to experience a day in someone else’s life. New scenery, new experiences, etc. Of course a whole month is a bit much though, halfway through you may be wishing to go back to your own life. The risk of having someone else in your body during all that time would add an extra layer of stress as well. Who knows how your social reputation may be by the end of that right? There’s no going back depending on how some of the actions go down. It’s definitely something you’d probably say no to in real life although if it’s a magic comet then that’s another story.

The technology being wiped towards the end felt like a bit much though. The characters were pretty rational in how they planned for things to work out. Usually I’d critique the characters for not thinking of something but they actually did which is the worst part. Everything vanishing was just messed up. Of course this is all fantasy but that part didn’t really make sense. I suppose we needed that to be a part of the drama of course. A lot of these choices just come down to me writing things a little differently if I was directing the story but it’s still a solid adventure through and through. Take away some of Taki’s dicier moments and this is a pretty great story. We need more solid body swapping titles like this.


Overall, Your Name is a pretty fun adventure. I’m still not a big fan of the ending though and the first part of the adventure is the best bit. It’s still hard to believe that even though the whole premise of the adventure is the body swapping, it only really happens a lot during the first volume or two. Then the big plot starts and this quickly begins to fade as Taki tries to uncover the truth behind this. I think they could have focused more on the first bit and also switched up the ending, but either way this is a solid adventure. The character cast is small but pretty focused. If you haven’t seen this yet then you should check it out. Since the experience is about the same you can check out either the manga or the movie. As they say, you never get the first experience back so choose carefully on which version will be more emotional for you.

Overall 7/10

Spider-Man 2099 vs Venom 2099 Review


I haven’t read a whole lot of Spiderman 2099 over the years. I mainly just know him from the video games and comics but he always seemed like a pretty good guy. Definitely had a pretty neat costume which stood out. This comic was very enlightening in that Spiderman 2099’s actually not a good guy. He certainly didn’t inherit Peter’s morals that’s for sure and once the big twist occurs in the final arc it’s unlikely that his character will be able to bounce back from this.

The first comic is the main crossover and unfortunately that means you won’t see Peter again after this opening issue. Still, it’s a fun team up. Basically Peter suddenly finds himself in the year 2099 while Miguel appears in the modern day. Both of them need to find a way back to their own times and quickly although both of them seem to prefer the other location a bit. We get to see Vulture 2099 and classic Venom which was fun. The two Spidermen don’t actually get to fight each other here this time though.

It’s always fun seeing Peter and if anything you wish he could have stuck around a bit. He definitely holds up as a very solid main character and I wonder what was going on in his universe at the time. He definitely has no trouble taking down Spiderman 2099’s opponents and why would he? Peter’s got decades of combat experience up his sleeve which helps out quite a bit in fights like this. If anything the only part of the story that doesn’t make sense is how Venom gets easily taken out by 2099 in a few good hits. You can argue that he was not knocked out and just chose not to continue his pursuit but I find that pretty hard to buy. He just lost real quick since the comic was almost over but for that they probably shouldn’t have even had him appear.

In the main comics we’ve got quite a few plots going around. One of the main ones involves Alchemax. They’ve finally got a new head who turns out to be a future version of Dr Doom. He has quickly begun to reshape the image of the company. Surprisingly for the better as his methods aren’t quite as draconian as the previous leader’s methods. Doom doesn’t bother with destroying mobs or hunting Spider-Man. He’s focused on the bigger picture. In fact, he’s even offered to recruit 2099 to the force although the hero hasn’t decided yet. The offer expires after 48 hours and then things will really begin to change. Meanwhile Miguel has been promoted to one of the highest positions in the company. Now he can really help make the company a good one, but will he find himself corrupted in the process?

The new status quo has just started and there’s a whole lot they can do with this so it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out. Meanwhile we also have the debut of Venom 2099 who’s off to a good start. This guy’s definitely got a crazy design and an impressive power set. It’s fair to say that 2099 is weaker than the original Spiderman but this Venom could possibly hold his own with the original. His acidic powers are pretty great and he’s also got a solid amount of regeneration. Right now 2099 seems completely outmatched against this monster although the sound weakness is a good way to turn the tides. He better make sure he continues to play this smart though because if he messes up the timing even once then it’s all over. The volume ends with a big stinger as Miguel finds out who he is really up against.

The volume doesn’t say who it is, but my theory is that it’s actually his brother Gabriel. This is where we segway into why Miguel’s not a good character. So it turns out that Dana was with Gabriel but still decided to cheat with Miguel behind his back. While Dana also shares equally in the blame, there’s no way you can let Miguel off the hook on here. Not only was he knowingly being involved in a cheating affair but it was involving his own brother. I don’t blame Gabriel for not wanting anything to do with Miguel after that. Miguel mentions quite a bit how his family is quite fractured with his mother being an alchoholic and his father being a super corrupt business man, but Miguel is no different now. Then he rebounds with Xina afterwards or during. The timeline got a little tricky there. Either way one of them doesn’t live through this volume which will make Miguel’s decision pretty easy. It doesn’t make him a better character in the slightest though.

So that hurts the cast of heroes. Really there isn’t a hero to root for. Gabriel seems reasonable in his short comics that we see between issues but he’s not doing so well in the main ones either. If anything Miguel’s boss at Alchemax might be the best character. Miguel really doesn’t like him but the guy does his best to make sure people at the company are safe. At least he’s doing his job right? Doom is also very solid although I would still consider him to be a villain. He may be acting heroic now…but it’s Doom. He’ll show his true colors soon enough.

Miguel might be a disappointment but it doesn’t really hurt the actual comic. One thing I’ve always enjoyed about the Spider-Man comics is how there can be so many different plots moving all at once. The only other story where you tend to see that is with some of the classic X-Men comics. This also occurs in Spider-Man 2099. There is just so much happening in every issue. I always say the more the better. Why stick to one plot when you can have 5? The writing is solid here as well with a lot of interesting dialogue between the characters. The future world makes for a pretty unique backdrop as well. This future is definitely quite different from a lot of the others we’ve seen. It may be a bit on the corrupt side but it’s not nearly as crazy as some other timelines.

The art is solid. It’s got a very bold style so the panels really jump at you. The action scenes are solid and the comic as a whole is easy to read. The font is the right size and I definitely enjoyed this era of comic art. In general I’m not too hard to please in this area. So long as you’ve got striking colors and the proportions are right then I’d say you’re in pretty good shape. It’s important for a comic to have good art as well so you can just read it through.

Overall, It’s definitely fun seeing the 2099 era. During the crossover we see someone from 3999 which also looks interesting. I have a lot of questions on how the Goblin is the big force nowadays. I suppose if the heroes took him out they would have changed that world quite a bit. I already have questions for 2099 as it is like how all of the heroes got taken out of the picture. People still worship Thor and I presume he is alive somewhere in Asgard. With all of the comic events since then I doubt the 2099 timeline will ever come close to coming to pass in 616 but other Earths are fair game. The more possible futures the better because it’s fun to see how things could have been. If you’re up for a solid action/adventure title then I definitely recommend this one. The dynamic of having Miguel as the corporate leader now is bound to be fun and Venom’s definitely the biggest threat I’ve seen 2099 have to deal with.

Overall 7/10

Yoshi’s New Island Review


It’s time to look at a game that I conquered really quickly. The whole game was over in one day which makes sense because the game is only about 3-4 hours. It’s also extremely easy to the point where you won’t lose much at all. Even if you do lose you can get back to where you were at within a minute or two tops. The levels are short and since you have endless health as long as you get to the baby in time there’s not a whole lot for you to worry about. There are no big gimmicks to worry about either so half the time you can keep running and jumping.

The plot of the game is that the stork actually delivered Mario and Luigi to the wrong house. Yoshi and his clan must now get them to the right place. If I were the Yoshis I would definitely be a little upset at this. Seriously they have to do this again? Well, at least they have a lot of experience in doing so. They will have to get past Kamaek and all of his minions in order to do this though. The heroes can’t lower their guard and must press on at all costs!

The gameplay is your classic 2D platformer. You jump past enemies and obstacles to get to the goal. Along the way you will see a lot of collectibles and may even solve a few puzzles. You can eat enemies and turn them into eggs. The eggs you shoot are used to activate controls and things like that. I guess the game’s main gimmick would be that Yoshi can turn into several vehicles. This doesn’t happen a whole lot though and even seems to be optional at times. Those controls were a bit weaker so I’m definitely cool with this not being a regular occurrence. I feel like that would not have been a good idea for the game long term. Part of why this game succeeds is because it’s going back to basics. It’s basically a Mario game just with the ability to throw eggs. It is fun to throw the large ones as well and it’s all well thought out. I had no issue with the gameplay.

The bosses also have a lot of variety. The Kamek bosses tend to be similar but even those switch up the background elements which is nice. Changing up the bosses so much is what separates Nintendo platformers from others. The final boss is also intense with quite a lot of forms and even a plot twist I didn’t see coming. It’s probably the most impressive part of the game because it feels like this is a moment when the game decided to go further than expected. It also had more difficulty than the rest of the game since falling into the lava would instantly cause you to lose a life. I imagine you would have to restart all of the phases again but fortunately I didn’t lose during the climax.

The level designs are on point as well. The levels are pretty short and you’re still given a checkpoint during the game so it never feels like you’re going to lose a lot of progress. It may feel unnecessary since the game is pretty easy but it’s the kind of quality of life enhancement that I always like to see. It’s important to have this kind of thing because it’s just a lot more convenient for the player. Who actually wants to have to replay a large chunk of a game that they have already cleared? It helps you improve but since this game is going for a relaxing feel then it works out quite nicely I’d say. You can play a few levels before bed or just blast through the whole thing at once.

The soundtrack is definitely very different compared to most of the big Nintendo titles. It uses the Kazoo a lot and most of the tunes sound like they’re just complete parodies of the normal themes. I suppose they would all technically be considered remixes but it had to be a little self aware. The soundtrack is just very unique. It works well enough I suppose but does make the game feel like it’s aiming even younger than usual. It does support the game’s low difficulty level though. The graphics look fine. It’s not exactly Nintendo’s A game but I think it’s going for a retro look so it succeeds in that approach. I’d rather they go with traditional graphics though because Nintendo games can look really amazing when they try.

There is a decent amount of replay value to be found here though. Each level has a number of collectibles. You can grab the red coins, flowers, and even medals. The medals are RNG though which sounds annoying to me. Fortunately the game made it so that you don’t need to grab these to complete the game which I thought was a really good move. Things like that should always be optional if you ask me. That way you don’t feel like you were penalized for trying to pay the game your way. It is part of why I cleared the game so quickly because I didn’t need to worry about stopping. If you want to explore then that’s fine but it shouldn’t be mandatory. So the main game is about 3 hours and if you try for all collectibles you can probably stretch this to about 7 I’d say.

Overall, Yoshi’s New Island is a pretty fun game. It feels like a standard platformer. It’s true that this game doesn’t really do anything new nor does it try to shatter its own limits, but that’s fine. I still would feel like i got my money’s worth on this one. It’s not the kind of game that I can find a lot of fault with. The level designs are on point and while the story is the bare minimum, I’ll give the title props for the final boss and actually having dialogue between each world. They’re little touches but things that add up. This feels like more of a complete experience than the Squeak Squad game I played for example because of this. The game may be short but it feels fleshed out. I’d recommend this one if you like platformers.

Overall 7/10

Makai Senki Disgaea Review


It’s time to take a look at the anime adaption to a game I played pretty recently. This anime isn’t a straight adaption and has quite a bit of fun along the way. It’s certainly not a great show and mileage will very but I thought it was solid. It’s certainly entertaining and the cast is strong enough to hold their own here. With solid writing behind it, Disgaea is a show that is good to pass the time with and they do quite a bit with the 12 episodes they had. I’d definitely be game for the second title getting an anime someday as well.

The show starts with an angel trainee named Flonne showing up in the demon world to assassinate the King. She finds a boy who is asleep and wakes him up. It turns out that this is Prince Laharl and his father actually died by choking on some food. Laharl is now the demon king and Flonne decides to accompany him and prove that demons have feelings too. Laharl isn’t thrilled to have company but he won’t let this distract him from assuming command. The demons won’t follow Laharl until he possesses the legendary book which proves ownership and also gets back to his real castle. His “loyal” retainer Etna also arrives to come with him on the journey. Will these 3 really be able to get alone and is Flonne right that Laharl has the potential to be a good guy?

This is a main plot in the show that is actually played pretty seriously or at least relatively so for this title like in the game. The idea of demons being capable of feeling emotions and being heroic is quite foreign for a lot of characters. The demons themselves certainly don’t think it’s possible but at the same time they all act like regular people so you never find the idea to be all that outlandish. If you’re familiar with this kind of plot you’ll also be very willing to believe that it might happen as well. Flonne can be a little naive about it but she’s still on the right track here.

I’d say that the biggest difference here compared to the game is while the game was a blend of action and comedy, this show is going for full comedy. There are rarely any serious moments until the final episode. For the most part the show is actually going for a slice of life feel as the main character visit different areas and have a lot of stand alone adventures. There are plots that reach through the whole series in the background but they don’t really take center stage here for quite a while. So how much you enjoy the series will really come down to how funny you find it to be.

As I mentioned earlier I thought it was pretty entertaining. The dynamic between the three main characters is a solid one. Laharl definitely takes everything pretty personally so he’s always fighting with the other two. Etna is openly antagonistic with Laharl and is constantly trying to get him assassinated which is a fun subplot. Then you have Flonne who keeps talking about love and forgetting that the mere mention of the word ends up weakening Laharl considerably. This also means that Laharl is rarely able to go all out in a fight. It might be for the best as he is clearly one of the strongest characters in the series and would end most fights really quick.

He’s definitely a solid lead character. Laharl’s design is certainly memorable and he would make for a really good overlord. The guy knows how to run a kingdom even if he acts like a kid a lot. The most memorable part of his character is easily his laugh though. It’s brilliant and I dare say it’s the best laugh in media. It’s just epic and the shows even ends off with this laugh. That’s when you know that the laugh itself has hit the big time. You just can’t watch this show without giving it some credit.

Etna is a fun side character to have around as well. I do think she looked a bit weaker than I expected at times though. If she really wants to be the overlord then she is going to need to hit the gym quite a bit if she wants to compete. As it stands right now she is nowhere near strong enough to become the leader that everyone will end up following. It’s another reason why the sequel needs an adaption because she got much more powerful in that title. She may be constantly trying to destroy Laharl but she’s still someone he can count on in the meantime. It may seem like a contradiction but that’s a crucial part of her character. Logic is flipped with demons so the fact that Etna wants to murder Laharl is why he wants her by his side. The show also has a nice gag with this when someone tries to take some demons hostage. As if that would work on Lahalr.

Flonne is definitely the nicest character in the series and always trying to convert the characters around her. She may not always live up to her standards such as accepting the Prinnies carrying the heroes around for a while even when told that she should probably get off to help them out. Flonne has her limits but at the end of the day she tries her best to make the right move. Laharl doesn’t make things easy for her though by doing things like stranding her in the desert and such. Flonne always takes on each new challenge with a smile. I would argue that she had no reason to accept such a punishment in the final episode of the show but heroic sacrifice is the whole idea of her character.

Then we’ve got the Team Rocket of the series which is Gordon, Jennifer, and Thursday. As the protector of Earth Gordon is pretty full of himself but he really can’t fight at all. I like the team because the camp works quite well in this setting. I would have liked Gordon to have looked a bit better against Curtis though. I think the fact that the show uses them as a full Team Rocket blasting off again approach weakens their characters a bit but they still work well enough. Similarly Kurtis doesn’t appear nearly as much here. He was one of the best characters in the game but I couldn’t rank him quite as high up here as a result. Still, he is fun to have around.

Then you have one of the standout characters, The Dark Adonis. The show pretty much spoils his twist early on but I suppose they thought people might find it obvious anyway. Now this guy is a show stealer. He’s always around with a cool line and shows up whenever the heroes are in trouble. Unlike Laharl he doesn’t mind being openly heroic although that doesn’t mean he will always do the right thing. The guy is as chaotic as can be and just does whatever he feels like. He is not someone you can count on. Even if he is usually portrayed as more of a good guy the fact that you are never sure means he is not the guy you want to absolutely have in your corner. You want someone that you know will have your back right?

Then you’ve got the Angels. Vulcanus gets a big role and is one of the main villains here. The guy can’t fight much though so he focuses on summoning demons to help him out. That definitely means you won’t really be seeing him as a threat here. The tougher angel is Lamington who is also a villain. The guy may try to justify his actions later on but there’s just no way he can. At the end of the day his decision was to try and murder a bunch of people to answer the question of if love was real or not. The guy does a lot of back pedaling. Laharl doesn’t buy it and neither do I. If anything Lamington seems to get off really easy by the end of the series. If only Laharl could have acted a little quicker.

While parts of the ending feel a bit forced due to one character making a terrible move, the show still manages to have a pretty satisfying conclusion by the end of it. The ending is definitely close to ideal if you ask me with the final twist being excellent. The ending could have easily swung the wrong way if you left out the final scene because that is critical. It just provides the closure we need for such an adventure.

The animation for the show isn’t all that good. I liked the art and the character model style though. The character designs look like they’re out of the show but when they start moving that’s when things fall apart. It’s not very consistent and a lot of shortcuts are taken. We maybe get 3-4 very solid animation scenes throughout the whole series. It’s rare to see so when the scenes pop up it’s pretty nice to see. It feels like the show had a very low budget and perhaps that’s why it decided to go for the comedy angle. That takes up less budget than if you decided to go full action. The soundtrack is certainly good and nostalgic though. It grabs all of the classic themes from the video game which work really well with all of the scenes. The game did a masterful job with all the tunes.

While there’s definitely lots of room for a sequel the show stands up well on its own so you don’t feel like there needed to be a second season. I imagine it would have gone more into some of the plots here like Laharl’s fake sister. At the end of the day that plot didn’t appear as much and goes about how you would expect. I have to say Laharl absolutely did get punked there though. It happens to him a few times though so it’s nothing new for the overlord. He’ll only improve from here though. I should also quickly mention that the Prinny makes for pretty fun creatures. Their plot is a little sad if you think about it, but they really are nice followers. They put up with a lot and their whole purpose is to support an overlord and his army of demons who don’t actually care for them in return. The idea is that they’re working towards their salvation in the end though so that’s probably what gets them going. The world has quite a few unique rules and the show lays them out nicely.

Overall, Disgaea is a solid story. If you could only choose one way to experience this series then you should do it with the games. The game does a much better job of telling the story. Still, if you want to see it in another way then going with the show is not a bad idea. The show is still a lot of fun. It may add a lot of gags and extra stories but at the end of the day it’s still relatively close to the main game’s plot. The creative liberties help you to experience things in a fresh way which is not a bad idea. It’s only 12 episodes too so you’ll definitely be blasting through it and whenever you see a critical story moment from the games the show does its best to adapt it sometimes even word for word. I definitely need to go and get Disgaea 3 at some point even if it will be with whole new characters.

Overall 7/10